Tag Archives: dominant

Heineken Cup: Harlequins 12 Munster 18: Quins European hopes ended by Irish

Harlequins 12 Munster 18: Resurgent O'Connell jumps back into the Lions queue

PUBLISHED:

15:17 GMT, 7 April 2013

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UPDATED:

21:09 GMT, 7 April 2013

It may have been basic, but Munster strangled the English champions and were led by Paul O’Connell, who jumped and tackled his way back into Lions contention.

The 2009 Lions captain led a second-half charge which left Chris Robshaw and his Premiership men looking stunned in front of a full house of 15,000.

Munster’s pack won the crucial collisions — paving the way for another rejuvenated Irish master, Ronan O’Gara, to kick six penalties — four in the space of 14 minutes after the interval.

Resurgent: Paul O'Connell (centre) produced a dominant performance that must have put him back in Lions contention

Resurgent: Paul O'Connell (centre) produced a dominant performance that must have put him back in Lions contention

Quins’ previous Heineken Cup quarter-final four years ago, ended in the ‘Bloodgate’ scandal and a 6-5 win for Leinster.

The ramifications will not be as seismic this time, but Quins’ season is now in danger of collapse after three successive Premiership defeats.

They had turned around 9-6 ahead to harbour hopes of reaching a first semi-final at the fourth attempt, but that belief was shattered by Munster’s start to the second half.

O’Gara, shaking off the dis-appointment of being dropped by Ireland during the Six Nations, calmly kicked four penalties to follow his two shots before the interval.

Thin red line: The Munster No 8 steals the ball from Quins No 8 Nick Easter at the lineout

Thin red line: The Munster No 8 steals the ball from Quins No 8 Nick Easter at the lineout

O’Connell led the pack to give watching Lions coach Warren Gatland a firm reminder of his class and strength. On this showing O’Connell, who missed Ireland’s Six Nations campaign due to a back complaint, is a candidate to lead the Lions again following his impressive stint on the 2009 tour to South Africa.

For the moment, the 33-year-old refuses to discuss the prospect. ‘I’ve got a little bit to go in terms of match fitness but this was another injury-free day and I’m delighted to be back,’ he said.
Munster coach Rob Penney believes O’Connell will be ‘humming’ by the time of the Lions’ crucial games in Australia.

Quins director of rugby Conor O’Shea was also full of praise for O’Connell and a Munster pack in which back-rowers Tommy O’Donnell and Peter O’Mahony were outstanding.

Thank Evans: Quins' New Zealand fly-half Nick Evans secures another three points during the home side's rampant start

Thank Evans: Quins' New Zealand fly-half Nick Evans secures another three points during the home side's rampant start

O’Shea said: ‘Paul was absolutely magnificent. They rallied around him and followed him.’

O’Shea now has the task of re-energising his own team. ‘We didn’t play the way we can play because we weren’t allowed,’ was his blunt assessment.

‘Munster bossed the start of the second half and from then on it was a very big mountain to climb.
‘Our job is to qualify for the Premiership play-offs. We will be written off, no doubt, but we will just have to learn.’

Such thoughts seemed unlikely when Quins took charge at the opening scrums.

Pull the other one: Nick Easter drags back Paul O'Connell by his shirt before bringing him down

Pull the other one: Nick Easter drags back Paul O'Connell by his shirt before bringing himdown

The pressure brought a 6-0 lead through two penalties from Nick Evans and it was Munster who looked likely to crack.

But there were no clear try-scoring chances and the match became increasingly nervy as O’Connell and his gang started to win the crucial decisions from French referee Jerome Garces.

A third penalty from Evans helped Quins limp to a 9-6 lead at half-time and Munster turned to play into a stiff wind.

That handicap looked to make them more focused and a brilliant period of pressure rugby was rewarded by O’Gara’s nerveless kicking. He took Munster to a lead of 18-9 after 56 minutes.

Red riding hood: Munster's famous support were out in force at the Stoop

Red riding hood: Munster's famous support were out in force at the Stoop

A fourth penalty from Evans raised Quins’ hopes in the 65th, only for Munster to produce some clinical ‘keep-ball’ rugby and close out the match — much to the delight of their big following.

O’Connell claimed his team had not talked about such tactics, although his smile said something else. ‘The maul worked well and our kicking game was outstanding — you can’t win these tight games without that,’ he said in praise of O’Gara.

O’Shea refused to blame referee Garces for Quins’ demise. ‘Sometimes you have to say that the better team won,’ he conceded.
Smash and grab: England and Quins Mike Brown is wrestled to the ground by Munster's James Coughlan

Smash and grab: England and Quins Mike Brown is wrestled to the ground by Munster's James Coughlan

Sorry, sir: Quins captain Chris Robshaw is lectured by French referee Jerome Garces

Sorry, sir: Quins captain Chris Robshaw is lectured by French referee Jerome Garces

Australian Open 2013: Maria Sharapova beats Kirsten Flipkens 6-1, 6-0

Maria's in love again: Sharapova into quarter final after dropping just one game to Flipkens

By
Steven Donaldson

PUBLISHED:

06:46 GMT, 20 January 2013

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UPDATED:

06:53 GMT, 20 January 2013

Maria Sharapova took a little bit of time to warm up, but continued her progress through the Australian Open with a 6-1 6-0 victory over Belgium's Kirsten Flipkens.

Sharapova had been the most dominant player in the women's draw so far, recording successive 6-0 6-0 victories in the first two rounds before she dispatched seven times grand slam winner Venus Williams with contemptuous ease in the third round.

From Russia with love: Maria Sharapova celebrates after beating Belgium's Kirsten Flipkins

From Russia with love: Maria Sharapova celebrates after beating Belgium's Kirsten Flipkins

In top form: Sharapova won in straight sets

In top form: Sharapova won in straight sets

The second seed, however, took time to get into her match against the 27-year-old Flipkens and while she won the first set 6-1, it took 43 minutes which demonstrated how difficult she found the tenacious Belgian to put away.

Sharapova, however, cranked into gear in the second set to clinch it in 25 minutes and set up a quarter-final against fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova after the 19th-seed dispatched fifth seed Angelique Kerber 7-5 6-4.

Sharapova said: 'I'm certainly happy to be playing this well but it's the quarter-finals and it only gets tougher from here.'

Manchester City face Norwich after scoring 11 goals against them last season

Cheer up City, you had a grand old time against Norwich last year

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UPDATED:

16:57 GMT, 28 December 2012

If anything can rekindle the memories for Manchester City fans of their glorious title-winning campaign last season, it has to be the 6-1 away win… at Carrow Road!

Mancini’s men repeated their famous drubbing of Manchester United at Old Trafford in October by racking up another half a dozen goals in East Anglia in April.

It took City’s tally against Norwich to 11 goals in two games after a 5-1 win at the Etihad Stadium in December, at which point they were five points clear of United.

Awesome: Tevez scored a hat-trick at Carrow Road last year

Awesome: Tevez scored a hat-trick at Carrow Road last year

Forgiven: The Argentine fell out with Mancini during a Champions League match against Bayern Munich

Forgiven: The Argentine fell out with Mancini during a Champions League match against Bayern Munich

Good job: It was the second 6-1 win on the road for City last season

Good job: It was the second 6-1 win on the road for City last season

Hole in one: Tevez celebrates scoring with a golf swing

Hole in one: Tevez celebrates scoring with a golf swing

Things just haven’t clicked for the champions this season and their hopes of back-to-back titles are hanging by a thread as they trail United by seven points.

But City are also out of Europe altogether and have found goals hard to come by as they’ve netted just 34 goals in comparison to 53 at the same stage last season.

It took an injury-time winner from Gareth Barry last Saturday to beat Reading, the team with the worst defence in the league, before they fired blanks in their Boxing Day defeat to Sunderland.

But a visit to Carrow Road might be just what the doctor ordered for City fans after Carlos Tevez’s hat-trick, two goals from Sergio Aguero and a late strike from Adam Johnson, who scored the winner against City on Boxing Day, saw them to a massive win on their way to the Premier League crown last term.

Unstoppable: Tevez and Argentine partner Aguero scored five goals

Unstoppable: Tevez and Argentine partner Aguero scored five goals

Sergio Aguero of Manchester City celebrates scoring

Carlos Tevez of Manchester City celebrates scoring

Having fun Mancini was all smiles during his team's dominant performance

Having fun Mancini was all smiles during his team's dominant performance

Can we play you every week City also hammered Norwich 5-1 at the Etihad

Can we play you every week City also hammered Norwich 5-1 at the Etihad

Worcester 12 Saracens 3: Goode kicks Warriors to victory

Worcester 12 Saracens 3: Goode kicks Warriors to victory

PUBLISHED:

00:17 GMT, 24 November 2012

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UPDATED:

00:17 GMT, 24 November 2012

Saracens missed the chance to go top of the Aviva Premiership as they were deservedly beaten 12-3 by a pumped up Worcester in a poor match at Sixways.

The visitors could have pulled off an unmerited win if Nils Mordt and Sam Stanley had not missed with four routine penalties.

On the charge: Josh Matavesi of Worcester makes a break

On the charge: Josh Matavesi of Worcester makes a break

In a game of stout defence, neither side showed enough attacking nous to threaten the try line but the home pack were the dominant force, which enabled Andy Goode to kick them to victory with three penalties and a drop goal.

Saracens were minus at least eight of their first choice line-out due mainly to international commitments. In contrast, Worcester were only without Samoan captain David Lemi.

The Warriors had the better of the first 10 minutes and were rewarded with the first score when Andy Goode kicked a 30-metre penalty.

Moments later, the visitors had their first chance for points but Mordt was off target with his 45m penalty attempt. Worcester suffered a blow when young centre Joe Carlisle hobbled off in the 14th minute, to be replaced by Alex Grove.

The Warriors suffered another setback when Mordt brought the scores level with a simple penalty.

Then at a ruck 45m out, Saracens were penalised but Goode could not take advantage and the score remained at 3-3 at the end of the first quarter.

Big hit: Saracens Duncan Taylor is tackled by Worcester's Chris Pennell

Big hit: Saracens Duncan Taylor is tackled by Worcester's Chris Pennell

Worcester were denied the first try of the game when, close to the Saracens line, Errie Claassens somehow failed to gather a clever chip ahead from Goode.

However, the hosts were not to be denied points for long as Goode put them back in front with his second penalty. The outside half then missed a 35m drop goal attempt before Saracens lost flanker Jackson Wray to a leg injury.

A poor clearance from Goode allowed Ben Ransom and Duncan Taylor to counter-attack and when the Warriors were penalised for offside, Mordt had a good chance to tie the scores – but his 35m kick was a poor one.

Worcester extended their lead when a Ransom kick was charged down to put his side under pressure.

Warriors won a ruck close to the visitors' line and Goode fired over a drop goal from point blank range, before the outside half added a penalty to give Worcester a deserved 12-3 interval lead.

A general view of play during the Aviva Premiership match between Worcester Warriors and Saracens

A general view of play during the Aviva Premiership match between Worcester Warriors and Saracens

The first 10 minutes of the second half represented the best period of the match for Saracens. The visitors dominated in terms of possession and territory but they were not able to convert it into points as James Percival and Josh Matavesi both stole crucial ball from them at vital stages to relieve the pressure.

After 51 minutes Mordt was presented with another penalty chance but once again he failed as his 30m kick rebounded back off a post.

It could have been worse for Saracens but Goode failed with both a drop goal and a long range penalty.

It therefore remained at 12-3 going into the final quarter and just afterwards the unhappy Mordt was withdrawn.

Sam Stanley was his replacement but he fared no better on the kicking front, with a 30m penalty miss depriving his side of a bonus point.

North London derby – the best of recent history

Goals, goals, goals! Sportsmail looks back on a London derby date that rarely disappoints

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UPDATED:

17:08 GMT, 16 November 2012

Arsenal host Tottenham in one of the most eagerly-anticipated fixtures in the domestic calendar tomorrow – the north London derby. It rarely disappoints.

Since Tottenham ended a run of more than a decade without a win against their fierce rivals, no-one has managed to lay claim to being the dominant force.

And you can almost always guarantee goals, goals, goals. IN the last two seasons alone, there have been 26 goals spread across five meetings, and in two of those the team who led 2-0 went on to lose.

So Sportmail cast their mind back over the last 20 years and picks out the most memorable North London derbies. And we don't even have space the not-so-memorable but enormously significant meeting at White Hart Lane in 2004, when Arsenal secured the point needed to claim the title.

February 26, 2012 – Arsenal 5 Tottenham 2

Where better to start than last season's clash at the Emirates Stadium.

Bragging rights: Arsenal produced a stunning comeback in the last meeting

Bragging rights: Arsenal produced a stunning comeback in the last meeting

Bragging rights: Arsenal produced a stunning comeback in the last meeting

Bragging rights: Arsenal produced a stunning comeback in the last meeting

Tottenham, brimming with confidence after a run of excellent form under Harry Redknapp, swaggered on to the pitch and went 2-0 up thanks to a deflected Louis Saha strike and penalty from former Gunner Emmanuel Adebayor.

Things soon started to unravel for Redknapp's men, however. Bacary Sagna and Robin van Persie took just eight minutes to make it 2-2 and the floodgates then opened in the second half.

Tomas Rosicky's strike and a brace from Theo Walcott gave the Gunners a three-goal cushion and Spurs were lucky that the margin of defeat remained at three as Arsenal romped home to victory.

Cup kings: Paul Gascoigne orchestrated a stunning FA Cup semi-final win at Wembley

Cup kings: Paul Gascoigne orchestrated a stunning FA Cup semi-final win at Wembley

April 14, 1991 – Tottenham 3 Arsenal 1

Already crowned champions after losing just one match all season, Arsenal went in to the first FA Cup semi-final between the two teams as clear favourites.

Paul Gascoigne had other ideas, however. Despite having just undergone a double hernia operation, the midfielder put on one of the most outstanding performances of his glittering career. He clipped a wonderful 30-yard free-kick beyond David Seaman to put Spurs ahead before Gary Lineker doubled the lead.

Alan Smith pulled Arsenal back in the game but Lineker scored again to seal Tottenham's progress to the final, which they won after beating Nottingham Forest in extra-time.

November 20, 2010 – Arsenal 2-3 Tottenham

Spurs had failed to win at Arsenal for 17 years, but the away team that turned up at the Emirates two years ago were clearly cut from a different cloth.

Fresh from having trounced Inter Milan at White Hart Lane, Tottenham headed in to the meeting in Islington full of confidence, but they soon found themselves 2-0 down, with Marouane Chamakh and Samir Nasri both on target.

Comeback: Younes Kaboul scored the winning goal in Tottenham's first win over the Gunners in N5 for more than 17 years

Comeback: Younes Kaboul scored the winning goal in Tottenham's first win over the Gunners in N5 for more than 17 years

Redknapp's words of wisdom ensured that Spurs came out a completely different team in the second half, however. Gareth Bale's fine finish put Tottenham on the path to recovery and Rafael van der Vaart scored from the penalty spot after Cesc Fabregas' handball.

Then with five minutes to go Younes Kaboul glanced home Van der Vaart's free-kick to give Tottenham the spoils.

October 29, 2008 – Arsenal 4-4 Tottenham

Having inherited a team in the relegation zone, Redknapp may have expected a drubbing in his first game in charge, but his team took the lead with one of the greatest goals in the history of the derby – a 35-yard looping volley from David Bentley.

Arsenal hit back with a vengeance, with William Gallas, Emmanuel Adebayor and Mikael Silvestre all finding the target to give the hosts a two-goal cushion. The game was not over for Redknapp's men, though as Jermaine Jenas and Aaron Lennon scored in the final two minutes to level the scores.

Stunner: David Bentley scored one of the best North London derby goals

Stunner: David Bentley scored one of the best North London derby goals

November 13, 2004 – Tottenham 4-5 Arsenal

Martin Jol was probably wondering what he got himself in for after this – his first league game since taking over from Jacques Santini.

The highest-scoring north London derby in history began with Noureddine Naybet scoring his first – and last – goal in a Spurs shirt, but Thierry Henry equalised on the stroke of half-time.

Lauren's penalty and Patrick Vieira's strike put the Gunners ahead, only for Jermain Defoe to pull one back for the hosts.

Freddie Ljungberg and Ledley King were both on target before Freddie Kanoute set up a tense finale by scoring two minutes from time. Spurs threw everything at the visitors, but they could not find an equaliser and Arsenal claimed victory.

Blackburn 1 Birmingham 1: match report

Blackburn 1 Birmingham 1: Berg still in search of first win after tense draw on home debut

Press Association

PUBLISHED:

17:51 GMT, 10 November 2012

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UPDATED:

17:51 GMT, 10 November 2012

Henning Berg is still waiting for his first win as Blackburn boss as his home debut ended all square after an enthralling encounter against Birmingham.

Berg enjoyed many a battle with opposite number Lee Clark during their top-flight playing days and they went head-to-head in the dugout at Ewood Park in front of 14,919 fans – only 1,000 up on average from games under Steve Kean and caretaker boss Eric Black this term.

The Norwegian started his Rovers reign with one point from two away games and a draw this afternoon was the right result on the balance of play.

Waiting game: Henning Berg (right) is still searching for his first win as Blackburn boss

Waiting game: Henning Berg (right) is still searching for his first win as Blackburn boss

MATCH FACTS

Blackburn: Robinson, Henley, Dann, Grant Hanley, Martin Olsson,
Formica, Etuhu, Murphy (Lowe 84), Markus Olsson (Nunes 71), Rochina (Vukcevic 61), Rhodes.

Subs Not Used: Kean, Orr, Pedersen, Nuno Gomes.

Goals: Rochina 13 pen.

Birmingham: Butland, Spector, Caldwell, Robinson, Murphy,
Burke (Ambrose 90), Morrison, Mullins, Elliott, Zigic (Redmond 75), King.

Subs Not Used: Doyle, Ibanez, Lovenkrands, Hancox, Diop.

Booked: Morrison, Spector.

Goals: King 17.

Referee: Michael Naylor (Sheffield).

Attendance: 14,919

Click here for latest Championship results, fixtures and table

Spaniard Ruben Rochina handed Rovers a
deserved early lead from the penalty spot after David Murphy felled
Mauro Formica but, crucially, Birmingham pulled level almost immediately
courtesy of Marlon King's ninth goal of the season from close range.

Both sides could indeed have clinched
all three points but it was not to be, with Birmingham now 19 attempts
without victory at Ewood Park stretching back to 1968.

Blackburn were undoubtedly the dominant side from the off.

Blues skipper Steven Caldwell denied
Jordan Rhodes after Jack Butland had raced out of his area
unnecessarily, before Rochina fired wide from 12 yards when well placed.

It was no real surprise when the hosts took the lead after 13 minutes.
Full-back Murphy brought down Formica in the area and Rochina stepped up to send Butland the wrong way from the spot.

But Birmingham pulled level almost immediately with their first real attack.

Chris Burke's cross was met by a
combination of former City defender Scott Dann and Wade Elliott and the
ball fell to Nikola Zigic, whose effort came back off a post and King
was on hand to tap home from two yards.

The goal inspired the visitors and Ravel Morrison brought a save out of Paul Robinson before King fired narrowly wide.

Rovers passed up a great chance to
retake the lead from Rochina's corner as the game flowed from end to
end, with Blues very much now in proceedings.

Danny Murphy struck the side-netting
from distance on the half-hour mark before both sides saw goals
rightfully ruled out for offside.

Catch me if you can: Ruben Rochina tries to find a way past Hayden Mullins

Catch me if you can: Ruben Rochina tries to find a way past Hayden Mullins

Markus Olsson was presented with a
clear opportunity to put Blackburn in front on the stroke of half-time
but he could only fire wide.

Zigic headed wide from Burke's cross
at the start of the second half when the towering 6ft 8in Serbian should
really have done better.

Rhodes was next to threaten at the
other end as his header was cleared off the line by Blues defender Paul
Robinson in impressive fashion.

His Blackburn namesake got down well
to deny marauding City full-back Murphy, while Rovers were being
constantly dogged by the offside flag in the final third.

Formica brought a good save out of
England prodigy Butland with former Three Lions stopper Robinson showing
what he could do to turn away Burke's effort from distance.

Robinson then tipped over Hayden
Mullins' 81st-minute strike from 30 yards before substitute Nuno Gomes'
impressive effort flew over amid a breathless conclusion to proceedings.

Dann came within inches of a late winner against his former employers but a point apiece was just reward.

Sebastian Vettel wins Korean Grand Prix

Vettel leapfrogs Alonso in F1 championship after commanding display at Korean GP

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UPDATED:

08:44 GMT, 14 October 2012

Sebastian Vettel survived a late tyre scare to move back to the top of the Formula One drivers' championship with a dominant victory in Korea, as McLaren's title hopes disintegrated.

The Red Bull driver got the jump on team-mate Mark Webber from second on the grid and was able to ease away to his third win in a row and go six points clear of Fernando Alonso, despite concerns his right-front tyre would wear out in the closing laps.

Good Korea move: Vettel has now moved to the top of the championship

Good Korea move: Vettel has now moved to the top of the championship

Good Korea move: Vettel has now moved to the top of the championship

Korean Grand Prix

1. Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull

2. Mark Webber – Red Bull

3. Fernando Alonso – Ferrari

4. Felipe Massa – Ferrari

5. Kimi Raikkonen – Lotus

6. Nico Hulkenberg – Force India

7. Romain Grosjean – Lotus

8. Jean-Eric Vergne – Toro Rosso

9. Daniel Ricciardo – Toro Rosso

10. Lewis Hamilton – McLaren

Click here for full standings

Webber was a solid second as Red Bull
became the first team to secure a one-two finish in 2012, with Alonso
getting the maximum out of his Ferrari with third place.

But Lewis Hamilton could only finish
10th after suffering with tyre degradation and fell 62 points behind
Vettel with just 100 points up for grabs from the final four races.
Team-mate Jenson Button was a first-lap retirement and is 84 points
adrift of the German.

Much of the pre-race speculation had centred around whether Webber would be willing to move over for Vettel to help his team-mate's championship chances.

As it turned out any concerns proved unnecessary as Vettel got the better start from the dirty side of the grid and went up the inside of Webber into turn one to take a lead he never relinquished.

Chequered flag: Vettel crosses the line first, under the flag waved by Korean rapper Psy

Checkered flag: Vettel crosses the line first, under the flag waved by Korean rapper Psy

Behind the two Red Bulls the Ferraris made good starts as Alonso got by Hamilton and Felipe Massa made a move on Kimi Raikkonen for sixth.

But behind them Button, who had started 11th, and Nico Rosberg were already out of the race. The pair were clouted by the wayward Sauber of Suzuka hero Kamui Kobayashi at turn three and went no further, the Japanese driver serving a drive-through penalty before being forced to park up in the garage.

Vettel quickly began to eke out a
lead over Webber as the top six held position through the first-round of
stops. But this proved to be the start of Hamilton's woes.

The Briton had failed to do a
meaningful long run during practice and soon found his tyres to be
wearing at an alarming rate, and Massa breezed past him on the run to
turn three before he was forced to pit for a second time several laps
earlier than his rivals. It would have ramifications later on.

Start to finish: Vettel led from the first corner to last and now leads the F1 championship

Start to finish: Vettel led from the first corner to last and now leads the F1 championship

Start to finish: Vettel led from the first corner to last and now leads the F1 championship

Vettel's was comfortably managing the
gap back to Webber, but had tyre struggles of his own during the latter
stages of his second stint, which meant his team-mate got back within
5.3 seconds.
But once he pitted Vettel quickly re-asserted his authority with a lap
1.5 seconds better than his team-mate and the advantage was soon back up
to 8.5 seconds.

Meanwhile Hamilton's tyre woes had returned and it became apparent he would need to make an extra stop before the end.

He desperately tried to keep Romain
Grosjean and Nico Hulkenberg at bay, but eventually had to give way to
the Force India as the German pounced around the outside at turn four,
after Hamilton had run Grosjean out of road at turn three.

At Ferrari, Massa's excellent pace
prompted a request for him to slow up in order to give team-mate Alonso
some breathing space as he kept pace with the third-placed Spaniard.

Hamilton pitted again on lap 42 for the super-soft tyre and resumed down in 10th place. It was at this point that Vettel's cruise to victory was thrown into doubt.

Day to forget: Hamilton endured a torrid afternoon - and was seen dragging astroturf under his car at one stage

Day to forget: Hamilton endured a torrid afternoon – and was seen dragging astroturf under his car at one stage

Day to forget: Hamilton endured a torrid afternoon - and was seen dragging astroturf under his car at one stage

He was advised to cool his pace with eight laps to go as the drivers struggled with heavy wear on their right-front tyres.

A further warning was issued to the
German with five laps to go, while Hamilton's woes were compounded as he
picked up a loose strip of Astroturf under his McLaren which slowed his
pace.

Vettel continued to receive
increasingly concerned messages from race engineer Guillaume 'Rocky'
Rocquelin, but ultimately came through to take the win by 6.8 seconds
from Webber and close in on becoming just the third man to win three
straight titles. Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher are the
others.

Alonso was a solid third for Ferrari
as Massa underlined his recent improvement with fourth to allow the
Italian team to move above McLaren into second in the constructors'
championship.

Thumbs up: The team in Korea put on a great show at the track

Thumbs up: The team in Korea put on a great show at the track

Thumbs up: The team in Korea put on a great show at the track

Raikkonen was fifth ahead of Hulkenberg, Grosjean and the Toro Rosso pair of Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo.

Hamilton salvaged a point for 10th,
but will know his chances of leaving McLaren for Mercedes as a world
champion are all but over.

Vettel, who leads the standings for
the first time since May, said: 'I'm very pleased. It's fantastic. The
foundation was to have a good start.

'I wasn't sure because I was starting
on the dirty side, but I had a good launch and managed to get past
Mark. But it wasn't over, it's a long way and even in seventh gear I
could hear Mark coming, but I was able to get a good run to turn three
and pull away.

'We were a bit worried about the
front wheel because we've seen a lot of people locking up and
overshooting the apexes so I am really, really happy.

Gangnam style: Ubiquitous rapper Psy was on hand to teach the drivers his moves

Gangnam style: Ubiquitous rapper Psy was on hand to teach the drivers his moves

Gangnam style: ubiquitous rapper Psy was on hand to teach the drivers his moves

'I'm looking forward to next couple of races. A lot can happen, but we need to focus on ourselves and go from there.'

Alonso admitted he had got the best result possible and knows Ferrari need to find more speed if he is to take the fight to Vettel over the final four races.

He said: 'We have to be happy with the performance today. We finished third and fourth behind the Red Bulls, who are difficult to beat.

'It was a good day for team, for me and for Felipe, and we overtook McLaren in the constructors' championship so we are definitely moving in the right direction. We just need that last step to be as competitive as Red Bull.'

Mark Webber calls for Romain Grosjean to be banned after Suzuka crash

Webber calls for 'nutcase' Grosjean to be banned again after first-lap Suzuka crash

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UPDATED:

11:22 GMT, 7 October 2012

Mark Webber branded Romain Grosjean a 'first-lap nutcase' after the Frenchman wrecked his chances of victory in today's Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.

Lotus driver Grosjean has been involved in numerous first-lap incidents this season, and was banned for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza after taking out Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez at the first corner in Belgium.

In the wall: Webber's race was ruined after Romain Grosjean crashed into his Red Bull

In the wall: Webber's race was ruined after Romain Grosjean crashed into his Red Bull on the first lap

He was once again at fault here as he hit the right-rear corner of Webber's Red Bull as the field funnelled through Turn 2.

The impact sent the Australian spinning onto the infield and destroyed his chances as team-mate Sebastian Vettel took a dominant victory to capitalise on Alonso's first-corner exit.

Webber eventually recovered to finish ninth and pick up two points, but his failure to score big has hurt his title aspirations, leaving him 60 points behind Alonso, and 56 adrift of Vettel, with a maximum of 150 available.

Angry: Webber hit out at Grosjean (below) after the Japanese Grand Prix

Angry: Webber hit out at Grosjean (below) after the Japanese Grand Prix

Angry: Webber hit out at Grosjean (below) after the Japanese Grand Prix

Webber did not hold back as he spoke to reporters in the immediate aftermath of the race, suggesting Grosjean should receive another ban.

He said: 'I haven't seen what happened at the start but the guys confirmed it was the first-lap nutcase again, Grosjean.

'The rest of us are trying to fight for some decent results each weekend but he's trying to get to the third corner as fast as he can at every race.

'It makes it frustrating because a few big guys obviously suffered from that today. Maybe he needs another holiday.'

On track: Webber re-joined the race to finish ninth in Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix

On track: Webber re-joined the race to finish ninth in Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix

He added: 'He needs to have a look at himself obviously. It was completely his fault. How many mistakes can you make, how many times can you make the same error with first-lap incidents'

Red Bull boss Christian Horner echoed Webber's comments, and believes Grosjean needs to take a long, hard look at himself after his latest first-lap collision.

Horner said: 'I think that is the seventh incident he has had this year, he needs to really talk to himself or his team need to talk to him because not only is it dangerous for others, he has cost himself and his team a colossal amount of points, together with the number of innocent victims he has collected en route.

'At this level it is unacceptable to be having so many incidents. 'I think Mark has every right to express his feelings, it was a complete misjudgement.

'The most important thing when you make a mistake is to learn from it but this was a repeat incident.'

New Zealand 54-15 Argentina: All Blacks seal Rugby Championship title

New Zealand 54-15 Argentina: All Blacks seal title as Jane puts Pumas to the sword

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UPDATED:

10:55 GMT, 30 September 2012

A Cory Jane hat-trick led New Zealand to a dominant victory over Argentina on Saturday to secure the Rugby Championship title for the world champions.

Julian Savea added two tries as the All Blacks overpowered their opponents, who have yet to win in five matches in the new four-nation championship.

The victory gave the defending World Cup champions an unassailable nine-point lead atop the standings with one round of matches to go in the tournament.

Glory: New Zealand receive their Rugby Championship trophy

Glory: New Zealand receive their Rugby Championship trophy

It was the 15th-straight victory for the All Blacks, who have also won 15 of 16 matches against Argentina – the other match was a draw.

It was also their most lopsided victory against Argentina, larger than a 36-6 victory in 1991.

New Zealand fell behind 5-0 on an 8th-minute try by Martin Landajo, delighting the 45,000 sellout crowd in the coastal city of La Plata.

It didn't last, as the world champion All Blacks showed their class in tearing apart Argentina's defense at will.

Chaos: Dan Carter (right) and Ma'a Nonu celebrate

Chaos: Dan Carter (right) and Ma'a Nonu celebrate

'It's a hell of a place to play here and we probably gave them a bit of a start there – conceding the first try – but we showed composure,' captain Richie McCaw said.

'It's easy to get caught up in (the atmosphere) and go a bit quiet. But the boys stuck to it and every opportunity pretty much we got tonight we took.'

Skipper: All Blacks captain Richie McCaw poses with the trophy

Skipper: All Blacks captain Richie McCaw poses with the trophy

New Zealand grabbed the lead – for good – in the 16th on Aaron Smith's try and Dan Carter's conversion. It was never close after that.

#We were excited (about scoring the first try) but we met a really good team today and I think today we made more mistakes than usual, and every time we did a mistake they made it seven points,' Argentina captain Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe said.

'So it was very tough, but there are lessons to be learned.'

Tip top: Cory Jane scored a hat-trick

Tip top: Cory Jane scored a hat-trick

Argentina close out the championship next week against Australia at home in Rosario, while New Zealand face South Africa.

It was a disappointing match for the Pumas, who have otherwise been impressive in their first appearance in the premier southern hemisphere tournament.

Over the line: Julian Savea dives to score a try

Over the line: Julian Savea dives to score a try

As soon as New Zealand took the lead, it began to build on it with slick ball handling and better speed than the Pumas.

Carter stretched the lead to 10-5 from a 20th minute penalty as New Zealand began to control possession and pin the Pumas back in its own half.

Jane added a 23rd-minute try with Carter adding the conversion to stretch the lead to 17-5.

Chase: Nonu being tracked by Argentina players

Chase: Nonu being tracked by Argentina players

Juan Martin Hernandez kept Argentina in touch with a 27th-minute penalty, narrowing the lead to 17-8, but Carter restored the 12-point lead with a penalty two minutes later to make it 20-8.

New Zealand scored on another counter-attack in the 31st, this time with Savea chasing down a loose ball deep in Argentina's half and pouncing on it for the try to make it 25-8.

Savea scored his second try, and New Zealand's fourth, a minute before half-time to increase the lead to 32-8 following Carter's conversion.

Bellowed out: (left-right) Eusebio Guinazu, Rodrigo Roncero, Juan Manuel Leguizamon and Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe sing

Bellowed out: (left-right) Eusebio Guinazu, Rodrigo Roncero, Juan Manuel Leguizamon and Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe sing

Argentina's Gonzalo Camacho opened the second half with a try to cut the lead to 32-15, before Jane responded in the 51st to push New Zealand ahead 37-15. Ma'a Nonu added another try in the 60th with the lead growing to 44-15 and Aaron Cruden added a penalty in the 66th to make it 47-15.

Jane added his third try in the final minute with Cruden adding the conversion to complete the rout.

Raring to go: New Zealand sing their national anthem

Raring to go: New Zealand sing their national anthem

England v South Africa – Twenty20, Edgbaston – LIVE

LIVE: England v South Africa – Follow the score from the third T20 match at Edgbaston

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UPDATED:

16:52 GMT, 12 September 2012

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England take on South Africa at Edgbaston on Wednesday night in what is the final contest of this three-match Twenty20 series.

Stuart Broad's side were thwarted by bad weather in Manchester as they attempted to level the series they trail 1-0.

South Africa won the Test series, the two sides drew the one-dayers and the Proteas can seal the T20s with victory this evening.

But this is England's final match on home soil of the summer before they head to the sub-continent to defend their ICC World T20 crown.

The tourists have been the dominant side in this summer series – but the hosts can hit them with a parting shot in Birmingham.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST SCORE

Final flourish: broad leads England out for their final match on home soil this summer

Final flourish: Broad leads England out for the last time on home soil this summer