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

12-12-2018 Painstaking research, virtual reality and holding the tackle bags in training... an insight into how a top rugby analyst operates.

The 100 best female footballers in the world 2018

12-12-2018 Seventy-two judges from 30 countries have had their say and here is our top 100 of the best players in the world. In association with The Offside Rule Suzanne Wrack meets our No 1, Pernille HarderInterview: Ballon d’Or winner Ada Hegeberg Continue reading...

British Cycling coaches 'jealous' of athletes' success, says BMX champion

12-12-2018 Liam Phillips claims body denied cyclists lucrative deals at tribunal for girlfriend Jess VarnishBMX world champion Liam Phillips has claimed that British Cycling denied athletes a chance to capitalise on their success via sponsorship deals at an employment tribunal for his girlfriend, the Olympic cyclist Jess Varnish.Varnish has accused British Cycling of exercising “extreme control” over her and other athletes in her long-running legal attempt to sue the organisation for sex discrimination and unfair dismissal. Continue reading...

Alisson the rock in Liverpool’s solid defence but Matip injury is a blow

12-12-2018 • Goalkeeper vital to defensive improvement this season•Defender out for six weeks after suffering a fractured collarboneThere was a grin from Virgil van Dijk before giving his assessment of Alisson’s contribution to Liverpool’s victory over Napoli. “He was there to do his job,” the defender said. Bear hugs and effusive praise could come from others. Van Dijk was, of course, correct, although a Liverpool goalkeeper doing his job so well, so consistently and so decisively feels a novelty in the context of Anfield’s recent history.The Champions League group decider was Alisson’s 22nd appearance for Jürgen Klopp’s team following his £65m summer move from Roma. He had justified the expectation levels that soared with his signing long before Wednesday, when he earned Liverpool an extra £11m in Champions League revenue with the 92nd-minute block that secured victory and a return to the knockout phase. Continue reading...

NFL: Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson gets play very wrong against Minnesota Vikings

12-12-2018 Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson endures a nightmare play against the Minnesota Vikings, but did eventually recover to lead his team to a 21-7 win on Monday night.

Luka Doncic's genius has managed to make a great NBA rookie class look average

12-12-2018 The 2018 draft-class may well end up being one of the greatest in history. But they risk being eclipsed by the Slovenian teenagerPoor Marvin Bagley. The bouncy one-and-done Duke big man went second overall in the 2018 NBA draft and so far he is having what is, by any reasonable standard, an excellent rookie season, even though he plays for the Sacramento Kings, which is hardly his fault. Bagley is not an excellent NBA player right now; in fact, by most metrics, he’s kind of a bad NBA player. But most rookies, even the really good ones, are bad players. And just 20 games into his career, Bagley is pouring in points and grabbing rebounds at the same ferocious clip he did at Duke – 12.9 and 6.2 in just under 24 minutes per game – and he’s doing it despite taking several thousand fewer shots than Trae Young.In almost any other season, Bagley’s nifty stats plus his arrival coinciding with the Kings’ revival would be enough to anoint him an early rookie of the year candidate. If he’d come out of college two years ago, when Malcolm Brogdon won the award because Ben Simmons was injured and the rest of the 2016 draft class was trash, it would be Bagley’s name on that trophy and not Brogdon’s. Continue reading...

The Dozen: the weekend’s best Premier League photos

12-12-2018 Our picture editors choose their favourite images from the weekend’s Premier League actionView the Dozen archive Continue reading...

NFL This Week: Patrick Mahomes' no-look pass means 'all your rules go out the door'

12-12-2018 Jason Bell & Osi Umenyiora tell Mark Chapman that the defensive rule book is 'out the door' after Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw a no-look pass on Sunday.

FA Cup highlights: Bradford City 4-4 Peterborough

12-12-2018 Ivan Toney scores a hat-trick as Peterborough edge out Bradford City in a penalty shootout following an incredible FA Cup second-round replay tie.

Australia head west and into the unknown for second Test against India | Geoff Lemon

12-12-2018 The series moves to Perth and a new Test venue with plenty of local influence in the home team “A good South Australian question,” laughed Justin Langer at Adelaide airport when local journalists finished his departure press conference on the topics of local boys Alex Carey and Travis Head. But the national men’s coach is from Western Australia, and his state is no less parochial.If you didn’t know where Langer was from, a walk around the old Waca Ground would soon get you up to date. “The water that Langer and co grew up on,” promises a sign above the drinking taps, while an elevated bar is named “Langer’s Loft”. The walkway walls are covered in huge photos of various Western Warriors and Perth Scorchers, and inside one gate is a three-man montage mural of Marshes: Geoff flanked by sons Mitchell and Shaun, in a visual display of elite lineage. Continue reading...

What now for Team Sky? Vultures will already be circling their top riders

12-12-2018 Sir Dave Brailsford has six months to find a backer but cycling’s top team need big bucks and China may be the answerAs Team Sky’s sponsorship enters its final season after nine years at the peak of professional cycling one thing is certain: unless Sir Dave Brailsford announces a replacement backer this side of June, the vultures will circle ever closer to the ground. They will already be on the wing after the announcement on Wednesday that Sky will end its backing at the close of 2019.There is speculation that because some of their most valuable riders have contracts that last beyond the end of next year, backing may already be in place. It is equally likely that the contracts are long term, as the management had no option but to think that way and possibly little inkling the team may shut up shop, and that possible penalties for early termination of those contracts may be tied to the current sponsorship. Continue reading...