The Breakdown | England’s dilemma: undermine Eddie Jones or risk scramble for a top coach

Looking for a successor could be a distraction in World Cup year but waiting could mean the talent is snaffled up and Wales and Ireland have already made their moveThe start of the World Cup is nine months away but countries are already thinking about their next coach. Wales are sorted, appointing Wayne Pivac in the summer knowing Warren Gatland would be off after his side’s final match in Japan, as are Ireland, with Andy Farrell to take over from Joe Schmidt.In New Zealand, Steve Hansen is due to announce this evening UK time as to whether he will seek a new contract after the World Cup. Rassie Erasmus has told South Africa he will not be carrying on after Japan, focusing on his director of rugby role instead. Australia’s Michael Cheika may not last that long after taking part in a performance review this month after the Wallabies’ worst year, in terms of results, for 60 years. A decision is expected before Christmas. Continue reading...

19-12-2018

Lewis Hamilton 'used wrong words' in slums comment

Lewis Hamilton says he is "super proud" of hometown Stevenage after his faux pas at the SPOTY awards.

19-12-2018

José Mourinho must take the consequences, says Jürgen Klopp

• Klopp has more sympathy for sacked lower league managers• Liverpool beat Manchester United in Mourinho’s last matchJürgen Klopp said he has more sympathy for managers sacked at lower league clubs than José Mourinho and his former Manchester United rival had to “take the consequences” for what unfolded at Old Trafford.The Liverpool manager oversaw a comfortable victory over United on Sunday in what proved to be Mourinho’s final game. He said Mourinho remained an outstanding manager who has “all my respect” for what he has achieved and would not find it difficult to land another top job. For that reason, and perhaps the lucrative pay-off from Old Trafford, Klopp insists he has greater concern for peers sacked at the lower level than a two-times Champions League winner. Continue reading...

19-12-2018

John Farnworth's freestyle skills: How to do a popcorn flick

CBBC's expert freestyler John Farnworth explains how to perform a popcorn flick. Watch more skills on CBBC's new show Match of the Day: Can You Kick It?

19-12-2018

Tyson Fury is no angel but he should have been on the Spoty shortlist | Kevin Mitchell

It is toweringly paradoxical that a fighter who is trying against mountainous odds to put embarrassing chunks of his past behind him is reminded of his sins again in a public referendumGeraint Thomas deserves the acclaim of armchair Britain as the nation’s outstanding athlete of 2018. He’s a wonderful cyclist, won the Tour de France – only the third Briton to do so, after Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome – and is, by all accounts, a decent man.Tyson Fury, on the other hand … is, well, a bit difficult. He fights for a living. He’s prone to discomfit “civilised company”. He grew up on a Travellers’ site. Some of his views would embarrass a nightclub bouncer. Or once did. Continue reading...

19-12-2018

Carabao Cup: Burton Albion win 1-0 at Middlesbrough to reach semi-finals

Burton boss Nigel Clough says reaching the Carabao Cup semi-finals for the first time after beating Middlesbrough is "absolutely remarkable".

19-12-2018

Daryl Gurney into round three of PDC world darts with win over Ross Smith

• Gurney won 3-0 with match average of 100.3• Vincent van der Voort also through with 3-0 winDaryl Gurney shook off early double trouble to beat Ross Smith 3-0 and book his place in the third round of the PDC world championship at Alexandra Palace.The fifth seed appeared on course to take the opening set 3-0 before missing eight darts at a finish as Smith recovered to level at 2-2, only to see Gurney then hit double 12. Continue reading...

19-12-2018

Hamilton would be world champion in a Mercedes or a Ferrari - Palmer column

In his latest column, former Renault driver Jolyon Palmer looks at the brilliance of five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.

19-12-2018

Pete Shelley's Tour de force, Miami's Miracle and Premier Passions | Classic YouTube

This week’s roundup also features Paul Sherwen, NHL deflections and Dean Jones’s very bad idea1) It wasn’t always widely known, but Buzzcocks’ brilliant Pete Shelley, who died this past week, wrote the music for the iconic Channel 4 Tour de France theme, itself taken from within 1984 track Give It To Me. Another sad passing this week was Paul Sherwen. It’s well worth a listen to the Cycling Podcast’s tribute, while Sherwen recalls how he met his broadcasting partner Phil Liggett.2) The Miami Miracle! Obviously there’s already a Tecmo Super Bowl version out there. Gronk’s still stumbling. More laterals: here’s the Music City Miracle, which always features highly among some of the NFL’s most famous. There are more in college football, including … Miami (!) v Duke, Trinity v Millsaps and the classic: Cal v Stanford. Watch out for that band! More on The Play. Continue reading...

19-12-2018

Mourinho and United ended up like a loveless celebrity marriage | Barney Ronay

His style at Manchester United has been defence-heavy and excitement-free but problems exist in all areas of the clubFarewell, then, José. It’s been fun. Or if not exactly fun then fitful, tedious and wreathed in a familiar sense of entropy. Either way José Mourinho’s abrupt departure from Manchester United on Tuesday morning completes a familiar three-year cycle of doomed hope, doomed decline and, by the end, simply doom.There was at least an inevitability about the end. It has been clear since the summer that Mourinho was preparing for this moment, using his public pronouncements to shift blame, distance himself from the squad of players assembled, and tend to the one element that really matters: his glorious but increasingly distant legacy. Continue reading...

19-12-2018

'Solari the stopgap with bigger name to come' - what is going on at Real Madrid?

The relatively unknown Santiago Solari has been placed in charge of Real Madrid - but he is not likely to be in the role for long, writes Andy West.

19-12-2018