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Updated: 13 min 11 sec ago

All eyes on the Australian Open – a photo essay

1 hour 1 min ago

Marking 30 years of grand slam tennis at Melbourne Park, our photographer Jonny Weeks captured the opening days of this year’s tournament

Almost 750,000 spectators will flood into Melbourne Park over the course of the Australian Open to watch one of the showpiece events in the tennis calendar. It’s been the home of Australian tennis since 1988, when the facilities were purpose-built to replace those at Kooyong.

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Eddie Jones has Georgia in mind to root out weak from England’s pack

2 hours 22 min ago
England coach plans fearsome training battle in Tbilisi during Six Nations to test forwards against world’s finest scrummagers

The England squad will enjoy the warmth of the Algarve, if enjoy is the right word with Eddie Jones promising three days of training this week unlike anything they have experienced. But after the first two rounds of the Six Nations next month they could find themselves trembling in Tbilisi.

Jones is planning a repeat of the training session England arranged with Wales in November, when the two sets of forwards opposed each other in a series of scrums and lineouts in Bristol as they prepared for their respective autumn international series. The Australian, who last week signed a two-year contract extension with the Rugby Football Union to take him through to 2021, believes one of the aspects that defines whether a player is able to take the step up from club rugby is the ability to thrive in tough training conditions.

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Mike Ashley and Amanda Staveley are adding to the fog on the Tyne

2 hours 23 min ago
The takeover uncertainty leaves Newcastle in limbo, with no obvious direction, a willing but limited team and a manager happy to leave everyone wondering whether he will quit

When Kevin Keegan took over as manager at Newcastle United in 1992, the first thing he wanted to do was restore some pride in the place. Keegan had been at St James’ Park as a player eight years earlier and nothing seemed to have been touched since he left. He was shocked by how filthy everything was and sure they were still the same stains on the communal baths at the club’s training ground that had been there in his day.

The water had scum floating on the surface and Keegan’s first request to the board for money was not for a new player but for the kind of secret makeover, on his first weekend back, that has become fashionable on daytime television. The walls got a lick of paint, the baths were jetted down and the first the players knew about it was the following Monday morning when they turned up to find the place gleaming. Newcastle, Keegan told them, needed to have standards. The club was too important, with too much going for it, not to be treated with care.

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Anthony Joshua desperate to make Joseph Parker pay for ‘king of steroids’ jibe

2 hours 24 min ago

• Joshua derides Parker’s remarks as a ‘PR stunt’
• Pair meet in March with Joshua’s WBA, IBF and IBO belts at stake

Anthony Joshua has admitted Joseph Parker got under his skin with jibes about his supposed glass jaw and being “the king of steroids” – but said he will come in faster and lighter and make the New Zealander pay when they fight in March.

Joshua, who puts his WBA, IBF and IBO belts on the line against Parker, wants to end the year as undisputed heavyweight champion – first by taking the New Zealander’s WBO belt and then by defeating the WBC champion, Deontay Wilder, in what he hopes will be a compelling summer unification fight at Wembley Stadium. He warned his rivals he has improved significantly after revamping his training following his below-par showing against Carlos Takam in October.

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José Mourinho expects Alexis Sánchez move 'soon or never' – video

3 hours 4 min ago

The managers of Manchester City and Manchester United discuss the movement of Alexis Sánchez from Arsenal. At one point, Pep Guardiola seemed certain to get the player he worked with at Barcelona, but in recent days José Mourinho's side edged ahead, with a swap deal involving Henrikh Mkhitaryan imminent.

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Alexis Sánchez move to Manchester United 'so close', says José Mourinho

3 hours 37 min ago
  • ‘If you ask me if he is coming, I think so,’ says Man Utd manager
  • Arsène Wenger: ‘I expect it to happen but I cannot announce it’

José Mourinho said he was cautiously optimistic about Manchester United landing Alexis Sánchez while Arsène Wenger confirmed the Arsenal player is “up north” and suggested a move is close. Manchester United’s manager backed United’s executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, to secure Sánchez in a transfer worth around £60m.

“If you ask me if he is coming, I think so, but I have no confirmation. I expect it soon or never,” Mourinho said. “It is so close – so close that if it doesn’t happen it’s not going to happen. So I am positive. I know my people are doing everything they can. The owners [Glazers] with the green light, Mr Woodward working hard with Matt Judge [head of corporate finance] and everybody is giving everything they can and I think they are going to be successful.”

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Sergio Agüero puts Manchester City back on track against Newcastle

4 hours 41 min ago

Manchester City could reflect on a satisfying way to bounce back from their first defeat of the season at Anfield last weekend. At 2-1, they did briefly have a wobble against a Newcastle United side that probably shocked themselves to be still in the game. Yet normal service quickly resumed when Leroy Sané’s quick feet and slaloming run set up Sergio Agüero for the goal that soothed the crowd’s nerves and made sure the Premier League leaders kept their 12-point lead at the top.

That was Agüero’s hat-trick goal after opening the scoring in the first half as well as safely converting a penalty after one of Raheem Sterling’s slightly dubious falls. Agüero now has 22 goals for the season and, astonishingly, this was the 11th hat-trick of his City career. That is some collection of souvenir match-balls and a timely reminder, perhaps, of his own firepower on the back of City’s now aborted attempts to bring in Alexis Sánchez from Arsenal.

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Dan Jones inspires Scarlets to edge past Toulon and into knockout rounds

4 hours 43 min ago
• Scarlets 30-27 Toulon
• Welsh side into knockout stage for first time since 2007

The Scarlets, playing before the biggest crowd in the Champions Cup here, are known for their silky qualities but it was the steel they showed in defending a slender lead in the second half against the three-times champions this decade that took them into the last eight for the first time in 11 years.

The Welsh team made a fast start as they sought the victory that would take them into the knockout stage for the first time in 12 years. They forced a turnover on Toulon’s 22 from the kick-off and took play through multiple phases as the visitors’ No 8 Duane Vermeulen lay on the ground receiving repairs before Rhys Patchell’s long pass freed Tom Prydie on the right wing.

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Harry’s game: Kane making a striking case to succeed Messi and Ronaldo | Nick Ames

5 hours 22 min ago
Tottenham striker started his career slowly but he has improved so fast he could become the best player of his generation with the right choices

There was nothing too restrained about the celebrations when, seven years ago on Monday, a young loanee scored his first professional goal. Harry Kane’s close-range finish for Leyton Orient against Sheffield Wednesday was sufficiently gift-wrapped that he glanced over his shoulder towards the linesman as he wheeled away; that element of doubt having been dispelled, the joy was unconfined. At 17 you never know quite how often moments like that will come.

The Kane of January 2018 has a somewhat clearer idea. If he scores twice against Southampton on Sunday, he will hit the 100-goal mark in the Premier League; it would be the latest milestone to fall at his feet and evidence, yet again, that targets have become virtually redundant. “I said to someone the other day that it would be great to get to that 100 club before the end of next season,” Kane said in May after scoring four times at Leicester.

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Football League: Jed Wallace seals epic late win for Millwall at Leeds

5 hours 33 min ago
  • Millwall gave up a 2-0 lead at Leeds to trail, before winning 4-3
  • Shrewsbury slipped to third in League Two

• Despite the shock at the top of the table, the game of the day in the second tier was at Elland Road where 10-man Leeds came from 2-0 down to lead Millwall 3-2, only to concede two late goals and lose 3-4. After the visitors had earned a 2-0 advantage at the break and Liam Cooper was sent off, two Pierre-Michel Lasogga strikes came either side of Kemar Roofe’s close range effort to turn the game on its head. The result was by no means settled. though. In the 87th minute Tom Elliott drew the Lions level before Jed Wallace provided the final twist with a heart-breaking injury-time winner. At Villa Park, efforts from Scott Hogan (two) and Conor Hourihane ensured Aston Villa moved up to third as they beat Barnsley 3-1.

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Roy Halladay had amphetamine, morphine in system, autopsy shows

5 hours 38 min ago
  • Eight-time All-Star pitcher was piloting small aircraft when he died
  • Autopsy showed evidence amphetamine and morphine in system

An autopsy report says retired star pitcher Roy Halladay had evidence of amphetamine, morphine and an insomnia drug in his system when he died in a small plane crash in Florida last year.

Related: Roy Halladay, eight-time All-Star pitcher, killed in plane crash off Florida coast

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Willie Mullins’ Un De Sceaux proves an ‘iron horse’ with Ascot hat-trick

6 hours 39 min ago
• ‘He takes his training very seriously every morning,’ says trainer
• The New One achieves fourth win in Haydock’s big hurdle race

Un De Sceaux was hailed by his connections as “an iron horse” after slogging to victory in Ascot’s Clarence House Chase, becoming the first to win the race three times. The same label could also be applied with at least as much justice to The New One, who achieved a fourth consecutive win in the day’s other major race, Haydock’s Champion Hurdle Trial.

Known as a front-runner, Un De Sceaux was in the unusual position of being 10 lengths off the paceon Saturday, thanks to a swashbuckling speed set by the 16-1 shot Speredek. A progressive handicapper who had won five of his last six, Speredek stayed so far in front for so long that his Betfair odds dropped to 9-2 before a couple of tired-looking jumps up the side of the course.

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Forrest guides Celtic past poor Brechin and into fifth round

6 hours 39 min ago

Holders Celtic eased into the fifth round of the William Hill Scottish Cup with a 5-0 home win over struggling Brechin.

The visitors arrived bottom of the Championship without a league win all season and hopes of a shock result at Parkhead disappeared as early as the second minute when winger James Forrest opened the scoring with a simple finish.

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Owen Farrell orchestrates Saracens romp against Northampton

6 hours 50 min ago
• Saracens 62-14 Northampton Saints
• Farrell kicks 27 points to boost Saracens’ quarter-finals push

Saracens could not have asked for more in their attempt to squeeze into the Champions Cup quarter-finals through the back door – racking up yet another half century against Northampton with Owen Farrell orchestrating a mighty performance from the two-times defending champions.

It has not been a vintage European campaign for Saracens but the bonus point victory – added to the Ospreys’ defeat at Clermont and Exeter’s loss in Glasgow – ensured it was rare ray of light for the Premiership in what has already been a difficult season on the continent, even if Northampton do not see it that way. Saracens finish the pool stages with 18 points and in second in their pool behind Clermont, eliminating the Ospreys who came away from the Massif Central empty-handed in a 24-7 defeat.

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Joe Allen strike sees off Huddersfield and gives Stoke renewed hope

6 hours 55 min ago

A brave new era at Stoke City got off to the best possible start as Paul Lambert’s first game in charge delivered the precious victory that breathes fresh life into their troubled season. Joe Allen and Mame Biram Diouf scored the goals that lifted Stoke out of the relegation zone and had Lambert manically running on to the pitch to celebrate.

The 48-year-old was way down Stoke’s original list of candidates to replace Mark Hughes and news of his appointment was not exactly welcomed by the supporters, yet few will be complaining if this result proves a sign of things to come. This was Stoke’s first win in five league matches and their first clean sheet since October.

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Aitor Karanka secures first win as Forest manager as Wolves’ unbeaten run ends

6 hours 56 min ago

Aitor Karanka secured his first win as Nottingham Forest manager with a stunning victory against the runaway Championship leaders Wolves at Molineux. Goals from Kieran Dowell, his 10th of the season, and Ben Osborn in the final five minutes of the first half ended Wolves’ 13-game unbeaten run in the league.

It was Forest’s first Championship win in seven games, after taking only two points from the previous six matches. The victory also extended Karanka’s amazing run when facing Wolves. The former Middlesbrough manager has now won his last five games against them.

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Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez double-act sees Leicester City sink Watford

7 hours 22 sec ago

Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez fired Leicester to a routine win over Watford as Claude Puel’s powers of recovery continued.

Mahrez, who has been linked with a January move , maintained his fine form with a third goal in six games after Vardy’s first-half penalty put Leicester ahead. Leicester move up to seventh in the table while Watford’s struggles continued, with Marco Silva’s side having won just once in 11 games and now just four points above the relegation zone.

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Manchester United and Anthony Martial dig deep to battle past Burnley

7 hours 7 min ago

Manchester United did what they could to exert pressure on Manchester City, before the leaders faced Newcastle in the late match, as Anthony Martial’s goal nine minutes into the second half saw off Burnley. Winning is all José Mourinho’s men can do and while it was a patchy victory they will hardly care.

United were pushed close during the five extra added minutes at the end, when two corners and a free-kick needed defending, but they escaped and came away with three points that they just about deserved. If Alexis Sánchez does arrive from Arsenal the hope will be he can add some much needed quality in front of goal.

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Oumar Niasse’s volley earns draw for listless Everton against West Brom

7 hours 14 min ago

Sam Allardyce would have chosen a more salubrious way to celebrate managing 1,000 games in English football, but might console himself that things should have been even worse. Everton could hardly have looked less coherent but saved a point in a manner that will provide a drop of encouragement.

It will do Theo Walcott’s confidence no harm that, on an otherwise quiet debut, he provided the assist from which substitute Oumar Niasse equalised Jay Rodriguez’s goal, and that is as far as the positives go.

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Javier Hernández rescues point for West Ham against Bournemouth

7 hours 15 min ago

A match of fits and starts had both sides scoring within 60 seconds as the points were shared. Ryan Fraser gave Bournemouth a second-half lead against the run of play only for substitute Javier Hernández to provide a typical finish directly from the restart.

It was an exciting passage in a match that had its moments. However, the result will be unlikely to have satisfied either manager.

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