Women's World Twenty20: Highlights - Windies edge England in last-over thriller

19-11-2018 Watch highlights from a thrilling final game in Group A as West Indies pass England's total of 115-8 in their final over in St Lucia to win by four wickets and finish top of the group.

'Stick to the plan!' Analytics, the Ryder Cup and the lessons for other sports | Sean Ingle

19-11-2018 Last week Thomas Bjørn admitted analytics played a big part in Europe’s Ryder Cup victory – the best teams are open to ideas no matter where they come fromThere is a scene in Moneyball, the story of how the Oakland A’s defied a tiny budget to come close to reaching the 2002 World Series, that neatly encapsulates the friction between gnarly, gum-chewing scouts and the newer wave of analysts who seek truths in spreadsheets.“You don’t put a team together with a computer,” the A’s scouting director, Grady Fuson, scoffs at the general manager, Billy Beane, who has begun deep-mining data to find undervalued – and thus cheap – players. “Baseball isn’t just numbers. It isn’t science … there are intangibles that only baseball people understand.” Beane’s terse response? “Adapt or die.” Continue reading...

Rugby union: talking points from the third round of autumn Tests

19-11-2018 Scotland need not be downhearted in defeat but Warren Gatland has an embarrassment of riches with WalesScotland continue to dazzle in attack while being susceptible at the breakdown and in defence. Huw Jones embodied both traits in their 26-20 defeat by South Africa at Murrayfield, laying on a try for Pete Horne but being stripped of possession for one of the Springboks’ scores. A first home loss for a year has not disheartened Gregor Townsend, who believes his team are still learning by the match, but the depth of their squad will be tested when the head coach makes changes for the visit of Argentina this weekend. South Africa go to Wales and must wait to find out if their captain Siya Kolisi is cited after what appeared to be a headbutt on Horne. Stuart Bathgate Continue reading...

The brilliant Saints just turned the Eagles' Super Bowl hangover into a coma

19-11-2018 Philadelphia suffered the worst ever loss by a defending champion on Sunday. The team that beat them could end up taking their crown in FebruaryIt was the worst loss ever by a defending Super Bowl champion. The New Orleans Saints demolished the Philadelphia Eagles 48-7 on Sunday. The Eagles fell to 4-6, good for third place in the NFC East, with their playoff hopes fading fast. Meanwhile, with the statement victory over the reigning champions, the Saints made a strong case that they should be the favorites to win it all this season.It was ugly for Philadelphia football history too, as it was the most lopsided Eagles loss since a 42-0 shellacking at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks back in 2005. That 2005 team was also just months removed from a Super Bowl appearance, albeit a loss. This more recent embarrassment seemed to be representative of a team that has not just been suffering from a Super Bowl hangover but something more serious. A Super Bowl coma, perhaps. Just a few months ago, Philadelphia had reason to be optimistic: not only were they coming off an impressive championship run they were getting back starting quarterback Carson Wentz, who they lost to an ACL tear late in the regular season last year. Continue reading...

Wallabies can't afford another Italian job if they want to beat England

19-11-2018 They may have won in Padua, but Australia will be punished at Twickenham if they put in a similar performanceEngland started the rot. Now the Wallabies have an opportunity to end it. Related: Marika Koroibete double helps off-colour Wallabies to victory in Italy Continue reading...

Ben Ryan: ‘If rugby were a company people would be comparing it to an Enron’

19-11-2018 Fiji’s gold-medal winning sevens coach is unhappy with the direction he believes the game is moving in – from the treatment of tier-two nations to laws being overlooked by refereesIf you love rugby union what follows will be a tough read. According to one of the world’s leading coaches, however, the time has come for the sport to get real. “If rugby were a company people would be comparing it to an Enron,” says Ben Ryan, Fiji’s Olympic gold-medal winning sevens mastermind. “It’s completely dysfunctional.”Ryan’s charge sheet is long and chilling. With Japan set to visit Twickenham this weekend he says tier-two nations continue to be treated with almost feudal disregard, that the sport’s law-book is being wilfully ignored and that skilful players are becoming disillusioned with where 15-a-side rugby is heading. Central to it all, he believes, is the selfish decision-making of certain stakeholders which is steering the global game into deeply worrying territory. Continue reading...

World sport: 10 photos we liked this week - 22-28 October

19-11-2018 A selection of the most striking sports photographs from around the world this week.

Gareth Thomas: 'A lot of people want to hurt us, but more want to help us heal' – video

19-11-2018 Former Wales rugby union international Gareth Thomas has said he was the victim of a homophobic attack in Cardiff in a video on social media.Thomas, who came out as gay in 2009 two years before fully retiring, has since become a campaigner for equal rights. He appeared to have suffered facial bruising from the attack, which he said took place on Saturday night in the Welsh capital.In a post on Twitter, the former Wales captain said: 'there’s a lot of people out there who want to hurt us. But, unfortunately for them, there’s a lot more who want to help us heal.'Teenager apologises to Gareth Thomas over homophobic attack Continue reading...

England sluggers to return for scrap against Australia’s ‘street fighters’

19-11-2018 • Eddie Jones says Australia ‘will be ready for battle’• Australia have lost nine of their 13 matches since last NovemberIn the aftermath of England’s unconvincing victory over Japan, Eddie Jones’s thoughts turned to the last match of the autumn against Australia and his choice of words was telling. It will be “a good scrap”, said the coach, who will renew hostilities with Michael Cheika – a “street fighter” who will have his beleaguered Wallabies “ready for battle”.There was the usual soundbite – “We want to send them home without a smile on their face” – but of most significance is that Jones is predicting a dogfight, or rather that is what he wants. If England’s three autumn matches have told us anything – and you can add in the last summer Test against South Africa – it is they are most comfortable going back to basics and slugging it out. Continue reading...

More than 200 footballers endorse call for Gordon Taylor to step down at PFA

19-11-2018 • Open letter calls for election of new PFA chief executive• Robbie Savage, Ian Wright and Chris Sutton urge changeAn open letter calling on the chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association, Gordon Taylor, to step down has been endorsed by more than 200 high-profile current and former players.It is understood the letter will call for the election of a new chief executive to bring an end to Taylor’s 37-year tenure and supports the call by Ben Purkiss, the PFA chairman, for an independent review of the union. Continue reading...

Sri Lanka v England: Pick your England team for first Test

19-11-2018 Who do you think should be in the England side for the first Test against Sri Lanka? Choose your XI and share it with your friends.

ATP Finals: Crowd boo Alexander Zverev after defeating Roger Federer

19-11-2018 Alexander Zverev faces boos during his post-match interview after beating Roger Federer over an incident in which he stopped a point because a ball boy dropped a ball.

Harry Kane strikes late to take England through to Nations League finals

19-11-2018 • England 2-1 Croatia• Lingard 78, Kane 85 | Kramaric 57In the end, it became another test of character. An examination of a young side’s ability to rouse themselves just as the occasion was veering cruelly off script, with all that giddy pre-match expectation threatening to give way to familiar, asphyxiating anticlimax. Previous England teams might have cramped up, accepting the worst. Plenty of these players had been left drained and dispirited back at the Luzhniki Stadium in July once Croatia, such familiar opponents, had seized the momentum. But lessons have clearly been learned.This current crop have something about them, a conviction that has been forged by a relaxed, appealing atmosphere around their training camps and a comfort with the style of play implemented and encouraged by the management staff. They appear to be a better team now than they were in the summer, and certainly a squad with more options to explore, so, once behind and chasing, their late rally was almost to be expected. Gareth Southgate’s team were five minutes away from being relegated to Division B of Uefa’s new competition. From one extreme to the other, up stepped the captain to force them into the inaugural finals. Continue reading...

Alexander Zverev stuns Novak Djokovic to win ATP World Tour Finals title

19-11-2018 • German 21-year-old storms to 6-4, 6-3 victory• World No 1 Djokovic denied record-equalling sixth titleJust 24 hours after being booed off court for having the temerity to beat Roger Federer, Alexander Zverev not only overpowered the world No 1 Novak Djokovic in straight sets to win the biggest title of his career but won the crowd over, too, in what was an emotional conclusion to the season.Zverev served Djokovic out of the ATP Finals 6-4, 6-3, and the bewildered Serb, who was a firm favourite after beating him handily in their round-robin match four days earlier, was powerless, for the most part, to change the course of the match. Continue reading...

Rankings, redemption, running: how England are shaping up for World Cup

19-11-2018 Some of the areas Eddie Jones must tackle if England are to succeed in Japan next yearEddie Jones’s aim when he took charge was to get England to the top of the world rankings before the start of the World Cup. Reaching the top three would be an achievement with Ireland following their Six Nations grand slam with victory over New Zealand and Wales on course for a first clean sweep in the autumn internationals. Ireland and Wales have developed strength in depth and while it does not quite match England’s, they both know what they are about. England still look a work some way off completion, not helped by a perpetually long injury list; they attempted 100 more tackles than Japan and got away with missing 32, winning the match despite having only 37% of possession. Continue reading...

Steven Gerrard: ‘If I text, call or see him, Jürgen’s always got time for me’

19-11-2018 The Rangers manager on why his club is like Liverpool, his craving for pressure and what he thinks now about rejecting Chelsea“It’s a serious business,” Steven Gerrard says with familiar intensity when he is asked about laughter and football. The former Liverpool captain and enduring icon, who is carving out an impressive new career as the manager of Rangers, considers a memory that belongs to his mother. In Make Us Dream, a feature-length documentary about Gerrard’s 27 years at Liverpool, from the age of eight, his mum remembers how he laughed often as a little boy.Since then there has been glory and pain, loyalty and agony. I know Gerrard pretty well and, in 2015, just as his emotional final season as a Liverpool player approached the end, we spent a memorable few months working on his autobiography. He was much warmer than his slightly morose public image – and he smiled a lot when recalling the sweetest times. But, with Gerrard also facing his darkest days, laughter was limited. Continue reading...

Arsenal Women’s stroll against Everton marred by injury to Jordan Nobbs

19-11-2018 It is hard to find more superlatives for Joe Montemurro’s Arsenal side after another thumping win. This defeat of Everton, which took their goal tally to 38 in eight games, was marred only by a late and seemingly serious injury to Jordan Nobbs.“We’re disappointed,” said Montemurro of Nobbs, who left the ground in a leg brace, on crutches and tear-stained. “We’re just fighting battle after battle, with Kim Little [fractured fibula] obviously, Viktoria Schnaderbeck going down, Tabea Kemme’s not right. But this is football, we have to put up with these ups and downs and while the football is an up, maybe these other areas are the down.” Continue reading...

'Rugby's like a chessboard with 120kg pieces' - how virtual reality could transform training

19-11-2018 Painstaking research, virtual reality and holding the tackle bags in training... an insight into how a top rugby analyst operates.

Lalor romps home at Cheltenham to hand Kayley Woollacott ‘massive day’

19-11-2018 • Lalor’s odds cut for Cheltenham Festival Arkle Trophy• Child-friendly chaser rewards Twitter followersLalor, the horse who is helping a stable cope with bereavement, looks like being every bit as good over fences as was hoped and is the second-favourite for the Arkle Trophy in March after an accomplished display to score at Cheltenham. Richard Woollacott, who took his own life in January, spotted him as an unheralded youngster three years ago and guided him through the early stages of his career as a racehorse.Woollacott’s widow, Kayley, has taken over the training business, after some initial hesitation, and there can be no question it was the right decision. “She knows how to train a horse,” said Lalor’s owner, David Staddon, who would have been welcomed with open arms by any trainer in the country if he had elected to take his horse to a more established stable in the spring. Continue reading...