Tag Archives: brutal

Jesse Ryder out of induced coma and interacting with family after sickening assault in Christchurch

Ryder releases statement after brutal attack as cricketer says he feels 'heaps better' after coming out of induced coma

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

00:05 GMT, 31 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

07:04 GMT, 31 March 2013

New Zealand cricketer Jesse Ryder today said he was 'heaps better' but 'really tired' in his first public statement since the attack which put him in intensive care.

The 28-year-old Wellington all-rounder was admitted to Christchurch Hospital in the early hours of Thursday morning and placed in an induced coma after suffering multiple injuries, including a fractured skull, in an attack outside a bar.

Ryder was yesterday brought out of the coma and is now out of intensive care.

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Critical condition: Jesse Ryder

Support: Ryder

Stable condition: Jesse Ryder has come out of an induced coma and is regaining speech

Scene: The New Zealand cricketer was attacked close to Aikmans Bar

Scene: The New Zealand cricketer was attacked close to Aikmans Bar

He today he released a statement
saying: 'I just want to let everyone know that I’m okay. I feel heaps
better today but still really tired.

'I’ve been reading your messages that have been sent so thank you to everyone for thinking of me over the last few days.

'I want to thank everyone who has
been caring for me at the hospital – they have been awesome. Thank you
to my family and friends who have been here also.'

Two men – a 20-year-old and a 37-year-old who police said are related – will appear in court on Thursday charged with assault.

Found: The McDonald's in Merivale, Christchurch, where Ryder was found

Followed: The McDonald's in Merivale, Christchurch, where Ryder was attacked

Induced coma: Ryder remains in Christchurch hospital

Induced coma: Ryder remains in Christchurch hospital

Police chief reveals details of incident which left Jesse Ryder…

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Police believe Ryder was involved in
an altercation with two people outside Aikmans bar in the Christchurch
suburb of Merivale shortly after 12.30am local time on Thursday morning,
and was then assaulted by one of the two, who followed him towards the
car park of a nearby McDonald’s.

Ryder, a controversial figure whose
career has been plagued by off-field incidents, has not played for New
Zealand since February last year.

He spent three days in intensive care
but on Saturday his manager, Aaron Klee, revealed that he is now
breathing independently and talking to his family. Police have arrested
two men.

Former New Zealand pace bowler Iain O'Brien said of Ryder: 'He's the kind of guy that always will have a drink.

Jesse Ryder

Jesse Ryder

International: Ryder has played 18 Tests, 39 ODIs and 20 T20s for his country

'When he is off the stuff he's a
wonderful, wonderful man – he's one of the funniest guys and very jovial
– but on the other side of it, when he has been drinking he can
certainly suffer the lows.'

Ryder has played 18 Tests and 39 one-day internationals for the Black Caps, his last appearance an ODI against South Africa.

David Price ready for Matt Skelton

I won't be Mr Nice in the ring, insists Price ahead of Skelton challenge

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UPDATED:

18:37 GMT, 28 November 2012

Nice guy David Price is happy to keep nurturing his nasty streak as he builds his growing reputation as the hottest property in heavyweight boxing.

The genial Liverpudlian's stock has continued to rise in 2012 with a series of brutal wins brought about by his devastating punching power.

Price, 29, hopes to finish a successful year in style when he defends his British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles against tough veteran Matt Skelton at Aintree on Friday.

Head to head: David Price (left) takes on Matt Skelton in Liverpool on Friday

Head to head: David Price (left) takes on Matt Skelton in Liverpool on Friday

After destroying other British rivals such as Tom Dallas, John McDermott, Sam Sexton and Audley Harrison in brutal style, the pressure is on for Price to repeat such ferocity.

And the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist admits even he has been taken aback by his explosive power.

'I've surprised myself with my progress at times,' he said. 'I've expected the fights to be a bit more difficult.

'It's the punch power which surprises me because in training I know I can punch, but it's when I put the 10oz gloves on, get in the ring and start punching then that it produces results which I didn't think were possible.

'I have got that nastiness in there. It's something that people always thought I never had. I've heard a lot of people say to me 'you're too nice'.

'But being nice is one thing and being soft is another and I'm not soft.'

Knockout: Price destroyed Audley Harrison in the first round in his last fight

Knockout: Price destroyed Audley Harrison in the first round in his last fight

Price added: 'I might be a nice person but when I'm in that ring a completely different persona comes out. It's heavyweight boxing, at the end of the day.

'If I don't finish the job it can give them an opportunity to take me out. It only takes one punch. So I want to get them out of there as quickly as possible and when I hit someone, I make sure they stay hit.

'That's what boxing is about. It's the noble art. For all the trash talking involved in boxing – which there is a place for, because people get excited about it, but it's not for me – there's always room for gentlemanly conduct as well.

'I just be myself and be normal and it comes across well to the fans as someone they can relate to.

'There's also a market for the trash talk as well, so it creates a nice balance.'

After such progress this year, the selection of Skelton (28-6) as challenger has drawn criticism from some quarters.

On the rise: Price remains unbeaten as he looks to dominate the heavyweight scene

On the rise: Price remains unbeaten as he looks to dominate the heavyweight scene

But while the 45-year-old Bedford brawler's age has unsurprisingly raised eyebrows, the former kickboxing champion arguably poses more of a threat than the timid Harrison managed last time out.

'Matt Skelton's a fighter a lot of fighters would prefer to avoid because he's a tough opponent who can make guys look bad,' said Price (14-0, 12KOs).

'He's fit, he's durable and he's a fighter. I think it's a significant fight for me.

'I haven't been getting many rounds under my belt and I think Skelton will be able to take my punches. If he doesn't then he doesn't and it's a confidence boost for me and if he does, then it's good rounds in the bank for me.'

Ricky Hatton can now look to a bright future

Hatton can take the Tyson track and head for a better future after comeback

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UPDATED:

00:01 GMT, 27 November 2012

The end for Ricky Hatton was eerily reminiscent of the evening one of his idols realised that the force was no longer with him.

It was seven years ago to the month that Mike Tyson sat on his stool and forfeited the victory which gave run-of-the-mill heavyweight Kevin McBride his one moment of totally unexpected fame.

As an event it was less violent than Hatton's collapse under a brutal blow to the liver in Manchester on Saturday night but the shock which reverberated around the world was far greater.

The end: Ricky Hatton's comeback ended in disappointment on Saturday night

The end: Ricky Hatton's comeback ended in disappointment on Saturday night

Moving on: Hatton can hang up the gloves for good this time with his head held high

Moving on: Hatton can hang up the gloves for good this time with his head held high

Gave it a go: Hattonwent at Vyacheslav Senchenko of Ukraine at the Manchester Arena

Gave it a go: Hattonwent at Vyacheslav Senchenko of Ukraine at the Manchester Arena

More from Jeff Powell…

Jeff Powell: Over to you, Ricky… Froch hands over British baton to returning hero Hatton
19/11/12

Jeff Powell: Cannon fodder will help Brits catch the big fish in the end
12/11/12

Jeff Powell: Fury on the campaign trail for a world title if Klitschko's political move disappoints Haye
05/11/12

Jeff Powell: Steward is gone but Hearns will fight for The Kronk to live on
29/10/12

Jeff Powell boxing column: So long, Ricky Fatton! Returning Hitman vows to quit boozing between bouts
22/10/12

Jeff Powell: Retired and broke, Holyfield still has hope… but it's help he really needs
15/10/12

Jeff Powell: Tyson takes time to show Hatton and Haye the way back to the top
08/10/12

Jeff Powell: Sold out arena, tough opponent… all Hatton needs now is a TV station
01/10/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

The outcome was the same – a comeback ended more abruptly than any of us could have imagined.

Both Hatton and Tyson had been out of action for more than three years. Tyson spent most of that time in prison, Hatton in wild and self-destructive excesses.

Tyson, one of the great boxers of the modern era, retrieved from his jail cell enough of his physical strength and aura of menace to regain the world heavyweight title.

Hatton, a fighter of the people and for the people, was too damaged by the freedom of his lifestyle to return for more than a single fight.

Yet both men have come through these toils clinging to a better future.

One difference is that where it took Tyson years after that surrender to build a new life, Hatton has done it while in the course of preparing for his one-night comeback.

Yet the hour of truth was the same for both men.

Tyson came before those of us who had chronicled his extraordinary career to say this about his capacity for almost decapitating opponents: 'I just can't do this any longer.'

Hatton told we who he had taken on a thrilling ride: 'It's not there any more.'

That said, Tyson walked out into the cold, dark, rain-soaked streets of a Washington night in November 2005, never to throw a punch in anger again. Hatton did the same in Manchester shortly after midnight on Saturday.

They say they never come back. But they do. And who is to say they shouldn't try.

Both the Hitman and the Iron Man have been improved by this harrowing experience.

Long may they remain so.

The end for Iron Mike: Tyson lost to Kevin McBride in Washington

The end for Iron Mike: Tyson lost to Kevin McBride in Washington

It's certainly not cricket, Freddie

The up-coming weekend is heavy in more ways than one for boxing.

Two Brits aiming for world title shots next year – David Price and Tyson Fury – should move another rung up that ladder without undue discomfort.

It is less certain what will happen when a former Ashes winning cricketer – Freddie Flintoff – steps into the prize-ring for the first time.

Neither Price nor Fury are likely to be derailed by Matt Skelton or Kevin Johnson, respectively.

Skelton, who is a toned advertisement for fitness fanaticism despite being well into into his 40s, will do his best to rough up Price for as long as he can evade the giant Liverpudlian's sledgehammer right hand at Aintree on Friday night.

Change of scene: Andrew Flintoff (right, with British champion David Price) laces up the gloves on Friday

Change of scene: Andrew Flintoff (right, with British champion David Price) laces up the gloves on Friday

Johnson, who most of us on this side of the Atlantic thought had retired, will bring his American wiles and professional pride to Belfast on Saturday night and make it as awkward as possible for Fury to land his knockout bazooka.

Neither fight is likely to go the distance and the odds are that Fury will precede Price into world championship challenges to a Klitschko next year.

Predicting the consequences of Flintoff entering the MEN Arena on Friday evening is more problematic.

Whatever Freddie thinks boxing for real may be like, one thing is for sure – it isn't cricket.

There are dangers inherent in facing up to fast bowlers but the object of the game is not to hit the opponent in the head.

Flintoff is not the first successful British sportsman to fancy his chances in the ring.

Olympic rower James Cracknell, for one, ventured into one heavyweight fight which lasted less than a minute.

There is a difference with Flintoff. He has been taken under the wing of Barry McGuigan, who is not only one of our legendary world champions but also one of the most intelligent icons in the hard old game.

Bring it on: Flintoff has been training under the guidance of Barry McGuigan and his son Shane (pictured)

Bring it on: Flintoff has been training under the guidance of Barry McGuigan and his son Shane (pictured)

McGuigan and his fitness trainer son Shane have pared 50lbs of Flintoff's post-cricketing flab, kept him off the booze and promise they are bringing him to this moment properly prepared.

In that, they have convinced the British Boxing Board of Control to issue Freddie with a license.

/11/26/article-2238757-1626019E000005DC-274_634x449.jpg” width=”634″ height=”449″ alt=”Dream team: Flintoff with Barry (left) and Shane McGuigan” class=”blkBorder” />

Dream team: Flintoff with Barry (left) and Shane McGuigan

There is no denying that Flintoff has dedicated himself to the task and lived right during his training camp.

But although his hand-picked opponent is just a two-fight professional novice plucked out of the American back-woods, he will be at physical risk.

Reports from those who have seen him sparring are mixed, to say the least, and more than one established boxer has warned him to be shocked and rocked to his boots the first time he is caught by a blow from a heavyweight wearing the lighter fight gloves.

Flintoff himself says: 'I won't know what it will be like until the bell rings.'

Questions have been asked of the Board's decision to sanction this experiment. Although they have studied Flintoff in the gym and put him through stringent medical tests, they too will be hoping that nothing goes too painfully wrong.

It takes courage for any man – or woman these days – to climb through the ropes, notably so in this case given the memory of how worryingly long it took for Cracknell to be revived.

So it would be churlish not to wish our Freddie the best of luck, along with out Barry and our game.

Price-Skelton and Flintoff's debut will be live Friday night on BoxNation. Fury-Johnson will be live Saturday night on Channel 5.

Goodby brave Camacho

Hector Camacho was as brave as any man to have laced up the gloves and his senseless slaying is a cowardly violation of the fighting qualities he brought to the ring.

Yes, the Macho man had slipped into a cocaine habit towards the end of his career and there are suggestions of a drugs gang connection to his fatal shooting.

Even so, for this to happen in Puerto Rico, where he was a national hero, defies belief.

Boxing grieved with his family as they came to the heart-rending decision to allow his life-support machine to be switched off.

Sad ending: Hector 'Macho' Camacho was shot and killed in Puerto Rico

Sad ending: Hector 'Macho' Camacho was shot and killed in Puerto Rico

It is more years than he would have cared to remember since Camacho won world titles at three weights, lost to Oscar De La Hoya and then ended Sugar Ray Leonard's last comeback with a famous win in his last fight.

Yet just lately, aged 50, he was considering a comeback. If it had happened he would have thrown himself into it with all his old effervescence.

We would also have seen again that infectious smile, which made the shooting of Camacho in the face all the more obscene…..but for which we will remember him.

West Ham anti-Semitic chants: Two Hammers fans arrested over vile songs at Tottenham with one Upton Park season-ticket holder slapped with banning…

Two West Ham fans arrested over anti-Semitic chants at Tottenham with one Upton Park season-ticket holder slapped with club banning order
Football Association confirm probe into alleged chants referring to Adolf Hitler and attacks on Spurs fans in Rome last week
Society of Black Lawyers have reported incident to Metropolitan PoliceWest Ham vow to ban for life fans found guilty of sick chants

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UPDATED:

17:15 GMT, 26 November 2012

Two West Ham United supporters have been arrested following the anti-Semitic chanting that marred Sunday's London derby at Tottenham.

The two fans have accepted police cautions reportedly for making Nazi salutes, while one of them, a season ticket holder at Upton Park, has already been issued with a life-time banning order by the club.

West Ham earlier today vowed to enforce life bans on any supporters found guilty of participating in vile anti-Semitic chanting that marred the 3-1 Tottenham victory.

The club are working with Tottenham in their investigation after references to Adolf Hitler, the Holocaust and last week's brutal attacks on Tottenham fans in Rome were reportedly heard during West Ham's 3-1 defeat at White Hart Lane.

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Let down: West Ham fans hit a new low with their chants at White Hart Lane

Let down: West Ham fans hit a new low with their chants at White Hart Lane

Tweet from Sportsmail's Alex Kay

Lazio' chants have gone on for most of
first half. Not just a few people, hundreds. It's sad and pathetic. Ban
them all.' @Alex_Kay_DM

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: ‘Two men were arrested during the football match between Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham on Sunday November 25 on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offence. The men accepted a police caution.’

West Ham this
morning issues a statement, which read: 'West Ham United are in contact with Tottenham Hotspur to
assist them with their investigation into the conduct of a small number
of supporters and alleged inappropriate chanting during yesterday's
match at White Hart Lane.

'West Ham United will take the
strongest possible action against any of their supporters, including
enforcing life bans from the club, that are found guilty of behaviour
which is categorically not condoned by West Ham United.

'During the 46 games in the
Championship last season, West Ham United had zero arrests for racism or
violence, so while we are surprised to see such reports today, we will
examine any available evidence of such conduct thoroughly and take the
appropriate action.'

The FA also moved quickly and released a statement on Monday afternoon.

It read: 'The FA can confirm it has begun investigating reports of abusive chanting at the Tottenham Hotspur FC versus West Ham United FC fixture on 25 November 2011.

'The FA Governance Department has this morning contacted both clubs and will continue to make enquiries into the matter in the coming days.

'We note the statement issued by West Ham United FC and encourage Clubs to identify and ban for life any individuals involved in incidents of abusive chanting.

'There is no place for anti-Semitism or any form of discrimination in football. The FA is committed to working with the Clubs, Leagues, fans groups, the police, CPS and community stakeholders to play our part in addressing this unacceptable behaviour.'

Tottenham Hotspur also confirmed that five supporters were arrested during Sunday's match at White Hart Lane outside of the stadium for unrelated incidents.

The chairman of the Society of Black Lawyers Peter Herbert also confirmed his organisation had already notified police after some Hammers supporters appeared to mock the gassing of Jews in the Holocaust during the match at White Hart Lane.

VIDEO: Anti-semitic chants at Spurs Fan's video captures shouts in stands

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Asked if he would take the issue to the police, Herbert told Sky Sports News: 'We've done so already.

'In
fact we were due to meet a borough commander of the Met Police either
later this week or early next week and it's one of the things that will
be on our agenda.

'As far
as we're concerned there has to be zero tolerance of this. If these
people can be identified on camera and prosecuted then that is something
we'd like to see.'

Meanwhile, a Tottenham club
spokesperson said: 'We are currently compiling a full report for the
Football Association and shall be submitting this with all our evidence
including relevant CCTV footage.'

Sportsmail
has learnt that FA officials are waiting to digest the referee's report
before launching a full probe – although off-the-field incidents
typically take longer to investigate
than those on the pitch.

Hundreds of West Ham supporters
chanted ‘Viva Lazio’ at numerous points during the game in a macabre
show of support for the hooligans who left at least 10 Spurs fans
injured and one needing emergency surgery.

Ashley Mills, 25, of Essex, had to be admitted to hospital for stab wounds to his head and groin after being set upon by a gang of masked thugs while in Rome for Tottenham’s Europa League match against Lazio. Two men have since been charged with attempted murder.

Italian flags were seen in the away section on Sunday and a red flare was also set off. After Tottenham had scored their second and third goals, ‘Lazio’ was chanted, bringing ironic cheers from the home crowd.

The most distasteful chants were saved for towards the end. In reply to Spurs fans chanting, ‘Can we play you every week’ West Ham fans sang: ‘Can we stab you every week’

Anti-semitic chanting, hissing and the references to Hitler then followed.

The FA said they would await reports from referee Andre Marriner and fourth official Mark Clattenburg before taking further action.

At the double: Jermain Defoe scored twice as Tottenham cruised to victory over West Ham

At the double: Jermain Defoe scored twice as Tottenham cruised to victory over West Ham

Chance: Tottenham's Gareth Bale tries to score past West Ham's Mohamed Diame (left) at White Hart Lane yesterday

Chance: Tottenham's Gareth Bale tries to score past West Ham's Mohamed Diame (left) at White Hart Lane yesterday

WEST HAM'S OFFICIAL STATEMENT

West Ham United are in contact with Tottenham Hotspur to assist them with their investigation into the conduct of a small number of supporters and alleged inappropriate chanting during yesterday's match at White Hart Lane.

West Ham United will take the strongest possible action against any of their supporters, including enforcing life bans from the club, that are found guilty of behaviour which is categorically not condoned by West Ham United.

During the 46 games in the Championship last season, West Ham United had zero arrests for racism or violence, so while we are surprised to see such reports today, we will examine any available evidence of such conduct thoroughly and take the appropriate action.

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce said he had not heard the chanting but agreed his fans ‘should not be doing that’. Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas branded the chants as ‘stupid’.

Allardyce said: ‘I don’t hear what the fans say or do when I’m concentrating on a game of football.

‘They shouldn’t be doing things like that, should they But it’s the least of my worries at the minute.’

Asked about the Hitler chanting, Allardyce said: ‘If I didn’t hear it, I can’t condemn it. I’ll wait and look at it myself and then I’ll comment after I’ve listened to what they’ve said. I don’t want to be a political animal. I’m in here to talk about football, not what fans are saying or singing.’

Villas-Boas said: ‘We know the animosity
there is between Tottenham and West Ham. As long as it doesn’t reach
stupidity, it is a great rivalry.

Aftermath: The Drunken Ship pub in Rome were Spurs fans were attacked this week

Aftermath: The Drunken Ship pub in Rome were Spurs fans were attacked this week

‘I understand the whole situation is unavoidable although we can’t decipher the complete meaning of what they were singing.’

The two clubs have a long-standing history of abuse between supporters. Former West Ham striker Jermain Defoe, who was booed throughout, scored two of the goals in the win for Tottenham, a victory that takes them one place above the Hammers.

Spurs fans have been the subject of complaints by the Society of Black Lawyers who objected to the White Hart Lane supporters singing ‘Yid Army’ about themselves. Sportsmail has highlighted that this kind of disgraceful chanting is just as despicable as racist abuse, pointing out unacceptable behaviour such as vile abuse Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is subjected to at various grounds.

Sheffield Wednesday boss Dave Jones, who has been the victim of sustained abuse, said: ‘It is like a form of racism because it is every bit as bad.’

Spurs supporters rushed to condemn their West Ham rivals on Twitter.

Three and easy: Tottenham climbed above the Hammers with this win on Sunday

Three and easy: Tottenham climbed above the Hammers with this win on Sunday

Andrew Leason wrote: 'West Ham fans & their Lazio/Hitler chants showing what utter vile scum they are.'

West Ham fan Andrew Wiseman posted: 'The minority of hammers fans with the Lazio chants should hang their heads in shame. And I'm a Hammer. Pathetic.'

Ed Aarons commented: 'Not surprised at all by reports of moronic Lazio chants by West Ham fans at WHL. Not exactly known for their intelligence.'

West Ham fans were also accused of hissing in reference to the Jews who were slaughtered by the Nazis in concentration camps.

'Hissing, Lazio chants and (letting off) a flare. You classless bunch of p***** are really enjoying your cup final, aren't you West Ham,' posted Louise Page.

And Charlie Parrish added: 'Next to West Ham away fans. Lots of Lazio chants. Football's pretty grim sometimes.'

The anti-racism group Kick It Out also said it was looking into the reports of abuse.

Kick It Out chair Lord Herman Ouseley said: 'Kick It Out is following up with both clubs after the reports circulated concerning unacceptable chanting at White Hart Lane and is awaiting reports with further detail.'

The Board of Deputies of British Jews also moved to condemn the reported chanting.

They issued a statement which read: 'The Board of Deputies of British Jews utterly condemns and is dismayed by reports of antisemitic chanting by West Ham United fans at yesterday’s match against Tottenham Hotspur.

'Antisemitism has no place in football or society in general. For football fans to use Holocaust imagery and chants glorifying Adolf Hitler is grossly offensive to the Jewish community and is a stain upon the character of British football.

'This in the same week that Tottenham fans were attacked in Rome in an apparently antisemitic attack.'

London 2012 Olympics boxing: Anthony Ogogo reaches middleweight last-eight

Brit Ogogo stuns world champion Khytrov to reach middleweight quarter-finals

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UPDATED:

14:25 GMT, 2 August 2012

Olympics 2012

Anthony Ogogo produced arguably the greatest performance of his career to defeat Ukraine's reigning world champion Ievgen Khytrov via a nail-biting judges' decision to move within one more win of a boxing medal.

Ogogo matched his illustrious opponent in a brutal, action-packed bout which had the capacity ExCeL crowd on their feet, then faced an agonising wait as the final score showed an 18-18 tie between the pair.

Even the countback system – in which the individual scores of all five judges are tallied together – yielded an amazing 52-52 tie, before the judges were required to pick a winner and the majority went with the Briton.

More to follow…

Marching on: Anthony Ogogo was in impressive form as he reached the last eight after beating world champion Ievgen Khytrov

Marching on: Anthony Ogogo was in impressive form as he reached the last eight after beating world champion Ievgen Khytrov

Lewis Hamilton calls for McLaren redesign

Sorry Brits in bad shape: Hamilton calls for redesign after Webber wins at Silverstone

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UPDATED:

22:35 GMT, 8 July 2012

For once, those pesky McLaren pit stops ran like clockwork. Shame about the car.

The brutal truth of that Sunday's British Grand Prix.

Job done: Webber's Red Bull team rush to congratulate him as he crosses the finishing line

Job done: Webber's Red Bull team rush to congratulate him as he crosses the finishing line

The temptation to jump out of the windows was intense.

And that was just for those of us listening.

The speaking was being done by Lewis
Hamilton and Jenson Button, their voices contemplative and quiet, having
finished eighth and 10th respectively.

They had arrived at Silverstone
talking of possessing a winning car – that turned out to be the preserve
of Red Bull's Mark Webber after he passed the Ferrari of Fernando
Alonso four laps from the end – but left not only beaten but baffled.

After a dismal qualifying in which
Hamilton was eighth fastest and Button 18th, their only realistic hope
of salvation on Sunday was the rain.

Silverstone had turned into Slitherstone over the weekend, with sodden roads jammed, cars mudsplatted and fans turned away.

Yet by the time the cars lined up on the grid, Noah was disembarking from his ark.

High hopes: Webber jumps for joy after clinching his second British Grand Prix win

High hopes: Webber jumps for joy after clinching his second British Grand Prix win

High hopes: Webber jumps for joy after clinching his second British Grand Prix win

Conditions remained dry throughout the 52-lap race.

As Button walked up to the motorhome for that miserable press briefing, the rain tipped down again.

He leaned forward so he could be heard under the battering on the roof.

Leading the way: Webber overtook Alonso late in the race

Leading the way: Webber overtook Alonso late in the race

The Royal Shakespeare Company could not have staged the scene with more ironic drama.

'It's a good job in a way that it didn't rain during the race,' said Button, 'because it proves we haven't got the pace.'

He stands 79 points off Alonso in the championship summit, in eighth place. Hamilton 37 adrift, in fourth.

As for McLaren, they slipped down to fourth in the constructors' standings, behind Red Bull, Ferrari… and Lotus.

'McLaren were never really in the
race,' reflected Webber's team principal Christian Horner, enjoying what
for him was a delicious reality.

Coming out of The Loop at turn five on the opening lap, Di Resta was
sent spinning into the large run-off area, sustaining a left-rear
puncture.

Although Di Resta managed to limp back to the pits, he sustained damage
to the floor that forced him back into the garage at the end of the
second lap, and ultimately out of the race.

Di Resta said: 'I've no indication as to what happened. I don't know if
someone caught me, but I picked up a puncture, and then the heavy damage
to the floor. There was no point carrying on.'

Clear skies: The expected rain stayed away

Clear skies: The expected rain stayed away

There was bitter frustration for Di Resta, felt by Sergio Perez too on
lap 12 as Pastor Maldonado again proved a danger to all around him.

From the seventh and ninth positions the duo pitted together, and after
returning to the track Perez was soon alongside Maldonado going into
Brooklands.

Ditto McLaren's experience in the previous three years at this old airfield.

Button, who rated McLaren slower than
Williams and Sauber, said: 'When you see another car go past it's as if
you're standing still. They must be on rails. I don't know how.

'Personally, I felt as if I got everything I could out of the car.

'The strategy and stops worked but we're just not good enough at the moment.'

His anguish was not derived merely
from the stark reading on the piece of paper in front of him that stated
he has scored seven points from the last six races.

Such an abject afternoon was doubly hard in front of 125,000 fans mostly support ing him and Hamilton.

Missing out: Alonso had led the race from pole position before being overtaken

Missing out: Alonso had led the race from pole position before being overtaken

Missing out: Alonso had led the race from pole position before being overtaken

They have always been loyal to Button here, even through the thin and thinner days of his early career.

A word of credit in passing to the
organisers, who, after being woefully underprepared for the soggy
weather on Friday, managed to accommodate Sunday's crowd in still tricky
conditions.

It took a lot of hard remedial work to do so.

But back to McLaren's tale of woe.

While Button managed to improve on his grid position, Hamilton did not.

Yes, he had some fun, including a brief duel with Alonso before making his first stop.

He had to yield in the end to the Spaniard' fresher rubber.

As the race wore on, Hamilton's car grew visibly slower. Predictably, he was just as down in the mouth afterwards as Button.

It's the pits: Webber comes in for a pit-stop

It's the pits: Webber comes in for a pit-stop

Their under-pressure team principal
Martin Whitmarsh was asked about the sensitive timing of Sunday's dismal
result, with Hamilton's contract up for renewal at the end of the
season.

He replied that the former world champion's decision on his future would not be informed by one race.

It was put to Hamilton that the problem was not a single afternoon, but a broader and longer malaise at the team

He smiled knowingly, a reflection
that the car has lost ground since a promising start in Melbourne in
March and that his title was won back in 2008, rather than a
confirmation that he was about to up sticks, say to Red Bull.

He might yet do that, though.

Approaching his 100th race in
Hockenheim a fortnight hence – a fact that ages us all – he said: 'The
only positive that I'd take from today is the support from the fans.'

Close encounter: Alonso got off to a good start

Close encounter: Alonso got off to a good start

Asked if the car was fundamentally flawed, he said: 'I'm not using those words; I'll let you use those words.

'You've got to look at the cars in detail – just look at them and ours look different from the others.'

That was presumably a reference to McLaren longer nose vis-a-vis everyone else's ugly, boxer's snout of a front.

'That's a significant difference,'
he went on. 'I'm not an aerodynamicist but there's got to be something
there, so that's what we're looking at for this car, but also for next
year's car.

'It is too big a change for this season.

'I feel for us all at the team because everyone is working their a*** off.

'Jenson and I are working are a***s
off and the fans are giving us every ounce of support possible. But it's
just not happening.

'Coming to your home grand prix you want a big upgrade package. You want to be fastest and you want to win every year.

'But neither Jenson nor I have the car to be able to do that at the moment. We can get there. I believe we can get there.'

Mud bath: The car parks remained closed at Silverstone

Mud bath: The car parks remained closed at Silverstone

Champagne moment: Webber is right in contention for the driver's championship title

Champagne moment: Webber is right in contention for the driver's championship title

Champagne moment: Webber is right in contention for the driver's championship title

Champagne moment: Webber is right in contention for the driver's championship title

Completing a nightmarish day for British drivers, Paul di Resta retired his Force India.

He lost pressure in his right rear when he apparently clipped Romain Grosjean's Lotus into the fourth turn of the race.

He got back out but went off at Becketts and decided that that was enough pain. We end on a positive note.

McLaren's four pit stops were achieved at an average of under three seconds for the first time.

In terms of seconds spent in the pit
lane time, they had the fastest two times of the day and four of the
six fastest times. Small mercies.

Mark Webber: Full result

Wales name unchanged side for third Test against Australia

Wales name unchanged side for final push at taking long-overdue Australian scalp

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UPDATED:

04:00 GMT, 21 June 2012

Wales have moved into the top four of the IRB world rankings for the first time in their history but a first win on Australian soil for 43 years would mean so much more.

Rob Howley has named an unchanged starting side for the final Test in Sydney and underlined his team’s determination to fly home with a southern hemisphere scalp.

There is one change on the bench where Scarlets hooker Ken Owens, who started the first Test two weeks ago in Brisbane, replaces Ospreys Richard Hibbard, who pays the price for giving away two costly penalties in the final minute of the second Test.

Preparations: Wales captain Sam Warburton (centre) in training in Sydney on Wednesday

Preparations: Wales captain Sam Warburton (centre) in training in Sydney on Wednesday

Howley said: ‘We know what we have to do to beat Australia, but there is a difference between knowing how to win and achieving that aim. This team was within around 30 seconds of beating the Wallabies and the challenge now is to go one better than that and make sure we are ahead on the scoreboard, not just when the hooter goes, but when the game finishes this weekend.

Wales team for the third Test:

Halfpenny; Cuthbert, Davies,
Beck, North; Priestland, Phillips; Jenkins, Rees, A Jones, Davies, AW
Jones, Lydiate, R Jones, Warburton (capt).

Substitutes: Owens, James, Charteris, Tipuric, Webb, Hook, Williams.

‘The players can take some credit for the way they have played but that will be scant consolation if we don’t come home with a win in this series.’
Lock Bradley Davies believes the squad are raring to go after some much-needed ‘R and R’ and a brutal honesty session.

‘Obviously the boys were devastated
after the game and the worst thing to do is try to train the next day so
it’s nice to have a break from it, spend some time with each other and
refresh,’ he said. ‘The rest was well needed.

‘As a pack of forwards we were
disappointed with how the game ended but I don’t thing it’s backs versus
forwards. We’re honest with each other. We have analyst sessions after
every week if you’ve done something wrong it’s going to be shown on the
video and you’ll be asked what you were doing. It’s tough, nobody’s
perfect and personally I’ve been in the situation where I’ve had a
rollocking after the game. It’s how you learn and adapt from that. We
played very well for 70 minutes and it’s about closing games out.

Last chance: Wales face Australia in the third Test on Saturday having already lost the series

Last chance: Wales face Australia in the third Test on Saturday having already lost the series

‘It’s tough to take on the chin sometimes but looking at your weaknesses is the only way you improve as a player. As a squad we’ve been on a long journey and seen a lot of lows, now we’ve seen some success, but I’ve never felt that bad before.

‘It is difficult to take as a player, now we’ve just got to make sure we finish on a high. It is important we at least finish the series with one win.’

Geoff Parling says England are ready to fight South Africa head on

Parling says England are ready to fight 'fire with fire' against the Boks

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UPDATED:

21:54 GMT, 5 June 2012

The last time England faced South Africa, they were pounded into submission by a brutal onslaught from the visiting pack and on Saturday at King’s Park, Heyneke Meyer’s new team will aim to take the same direct route to victory.

Despite the loss of such luminaries as John Smit, Victor Matfield, Bakkies Botha and Schalk Burger to retirement and injury, there remains an aura around the Springbok forwards. They expect to crush opponents with sheer ferocity and physicality, particularly at home.

But England also have a proud tradition of imposing, abrasive packs and Geoff Parling believes they can stay true to that heritage by ‘fighting fire with fire’ in the first Test here.

Crunch time: The England team prepare for the first Test against South Africa

Crunch time: The England team prepare for the first Test against South Africa

The script in these parts dictates that Stuart Lancaster’s tourists will
compete gamely but eventually succumb to the hosts’ power up front.
There is a general assumption that the Boks will prevail in an arm-
wrestle contest which suits them, but the Leicester lock who will plot
their lineout downfall is not so sure.

Not backing down: Geoff Parling says England will take South Africa on head on

Not backing down: Geoff Parling says England will take South Africa on head on

‘If that’s what people want to say, that’s fine, it’s up to us to shut
them up,’ said Parling.

‘Over the years, the South
Africans have had a very good pack. But in terms of this Test series,
that doesn’t affect us. The last game we played was against Ireland and
we were pretty good up front then.

‘If people say it’s a Springbok pack we’re facing I just think, “Yeah,
but we’re England and that’s a pretty proud thing to say as well”,’ he
said. ‘So let’s go and make a statement. If we sit back and let the
South Africans get into the game, they will be very difficult to stop.
But we can also be very direct and we want to meet fire with fire and
have a go at them.’

While refusing to be awe-struck by the prospect of taking on a Springbok
pack in South Africa, Parling acknowledged it must be considered among
the most arduous tasks in Test rugby, adding: ‘We want to move on and
improve, and there’s no better opportunity as a pack than to come and
try to do it here.

Full on: Joe Marler runs with the ball during the England training session in Durban

Full on: Joe Marler runs with the ball during the England training session in Durban

‘South African teams are consistently the most physical. I’m sure if
Scottish players or Welsh or Kiwis heard that they would say, “Hang on,
we’re pretty physical up front too”. But South Africans have been that
way consistently for years.’

England will attempt to nullify the threat posed up front with a
relatively callow set of forwards, certainly in Test terms. They will
need to show great character and play on the line of legal physicality.

If they are at all intimidated, they will be beaten, but Parling was
adamant that the young Red Rose squad will not bend the knee.Asked if
this young pack can handle the onslaught which will surely come their
way, he said: ‘Without doubt. We’re still quite a young pack in terms of
experience of playing together, but you see the character; the way
Chris Robshaw has led this season, someone like Dan Cole and the way he
trains, I’m sure we’ve got more than enough character.’

Ready for action: Dan Cole scrummages during training

Ready for action: Dan Cole scrummages during training

South Africa (probable):

Z Kirchner; JP Pietersen, J de Villiers (capt), F Steyn, B Habana; M Steyn, F Hougaard; T Mtawarira, B du Plessis, J du Plessis; J Kruger, E Etzebeth; M Coetzee, P Spies, W Alberts.

Among the Bok forward unit, hooker Bismarck du Plessis is the sort of
hard-edged figure who typifies his country’s approach to the game. He
will not take a backward step at his home ground on Saturday, but is
bracing himself for an almighty collision. He is sure the tourists will
be true to Parling’s pledge by meeting fire with fire.

‘I would like a street-fight to be honest,’ he quipped, when asked if
that is how the match will pan out. ‘England are a very physical side —
they play a forward-orientated game and set the challenge. We would
like to accept that challenge and give them what they are not
expecting.’

Meyer is expected to include three uncapped forwards in his line-up, to
be announced today: locks Juandre Kruger and Eben Etzebeth, and flanker
Marcell Coetzee. The much-heralded fly-half-cum-full-back Patrick Lambie
is likely to start as a replacement, with Zane Kirchner set to take the
No 15 shirt.

Joe Ansbro suffers cut head celebrating with Alasdair Strokosch

Ouch! Scotland star left with badly-cut eye after sickening clash with team-mate CELEBRATING win in Australia

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UPDATED:

12:56 GMT, 5 June 2012

There's no doubt that rugby is a pretty brutal game.

But the last thing players expect is a bloodied gash to the head from their own team-mate while they celebrate a last-gasp victory.

SCROLL DOWN TO WATCH THE VIDEO…

Bloodied: Joe Ansbro is taken off the field after suffering the cut

Bloodied: Joe Ansbro is taken off the field after suffering the cut

Wild party: Scotland celebrate their last-minute victory in Australia

Wild party: Scotland celebrate their last-minute victory in Australia

Yet, that was excatly what happened when Scotland secured their 9-6 win over Australia.

After Greg Laidlaw sent over his winning penalty at the death, the tourists swarmed together in delight at their shock triumph.

As the mass of players grew, Joe Ansbro and Alasdair Strokosch raced in to join their team-mates.

But as they both dived to jump on top of the pile of bodies, they clashed heads in sickening fashion.

While powerful Strokosch appeared to emerge unscathed, centre Ansbro suffered a big cut above his left eye.

Let's hope the inevitable black eye didn't stop him enjoying a beer with his pal later on…

Bayern Munich v Real Madrid: Bitter feelings add spice

Bitter feelings add spice to clash between European giants Bayern and Real

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UPDATED:

21:00 GMT, 16 April 2012

Bad vibes continue to be felt between bitter enemies Bayern Munich and Real Madrid ahead of Tuesday night’s Champions League semi-final, with each side accusing the other of arrogantly taking victory for granted.

Real manager Jose Mourinho raised the temperature on Monday, saying: ‘(Franz) Beckenbauer, (Oliver) Kahn, (Uli) Hoeness and (Ottmar) Hitzfeld all say Bayern are the favourites and we have a complex when it comes to playing them but we will see what happens on the pitch. We have lost only one Champions League game in 22 and that game (the defeat by Barcelona last season) has a history.’

Hitting out: Jose Mourinho slammed Beckenbauer and Co

Hitting out: Jose Mourinho slammed Beckenbauer and Co

Enlarge

bayern munich v real madrid.jpg

It is the latest in a list of barbs from both sides. Bayern striker Mario Gomez said after his side’s goalless draw against Mainz at the weekend: ‘They (Real Madrid) shouldn’t get too complacent – everything changes for this one: the stadium will burn on Tuesday.’ Mourinho’s response was: ‘I am sure UEFA will have extra firemen at the ready.’

Bayern’s spark on the pitch should come from Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery – one a former Real player and the other one the Spanish club tried to sign, much to the displeasure of the Germans. That incident was one of a number between the clubs who have won 13 European Cups between them.

As Beckenbauer famously said of Mourinho last season: ‘Just because you wear a cashmere sweater that does not make you a gentleman. He is a rude, loutish man.’

Adding spice to the occasion will be Howard Webb, whom Dutchman Robben and the Real Madrid trio of Sergio Ramos, Iker Casillas and Xabi Alonso will remember from the 2010 World Cup final. The English referee was criticised in some quarters for not clamping down harder on Holland for their brutal tactics against Spain.

Webb’s appointment has been interpreted by the Spanish press as UEFA’s way of making sure Real do not reach the final.

Laying down the gauntlet: Mario Gomez

Laying down the gauntlet: Mario Gomez