Tag Archives: university

Cambridge maths expert devises Grand National formula and is backing Seabass

And this year's Grand National winner is… Cambridge maths whizz reveals winning formula ahead of Aintree race

By
Andy James

PUBLISHED:

10:48 GMT, 2 April 2013

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UPDATED:

13:17 GMT, 2 April 2013

A University of Cambridge maths whizz is backing Seabass in Saturday’s Grand National – after creating a formula that predicts the winning horse.

William Hartston, 65, forensically examined the names and ages of all victorious nags from the event’s 174 year history.

And he discovered winners are most likely to have names that are just one word, and begin with S, R, M, or C.

Racing ahead: Seabass, with Katie Walsh on board, is methematician William Hartson's pick for the National

Racing ahead: Seabass, with Katie Walsh on board, is methematician William Hartson's pick for the National

THE FORMULA IN FULL

Number of letters in the horse’s name
8, 10 = 4 points
7 = 3 points
6, 11 = 2 points
9, 12 = 1 point

First letter of horse’s name
R = 4 points
A, S, M = 3 points
C, T = 2 points
G, B, W = 1 point

Number of words in horse’s name
1 = 4 points
2 = 3 points
3 = 2 points
4 = 1 point

Age of horse
9 = 4 points
10 = 3 points
8, 11 = 2 points
12 = 1 point

The 9 highest-scoring horses based on the William Hartston scoring system
1. Seabass 13/16 (consistently high in all categories)
2. Tatenen 13/16
3. Teaforthree 12/16
4. Rare Bob 12/16
5. Mr Moonshine 12/16
6. Romanesco 11/16
7. Sunnyhillboy 11/16
8. Quel Esprit 11/16
9. Any Currency 11/16

Furthermore, the names usually consist of eight or ten letters – closely followed by seven or 11 – and the horses are typically nine or ten years old.

Mr Hartston used these results to develop a scoring system, which allowed him to rate the 40 horses that will line-up at Aintree Racecourse on Saturday.

He will now back the bookies’ 9/1 second favourite Seabass after it scored an impressive 13 points out of a maximum 16 on his scale.

The Ted Walsh-trained Irish racehorse begins with S, is a one-word name, aged ten years, and has seven letters.

It was followed by Tatenen and Teaforthree in the study commissioned by bookies William Hill.

Mr Hartston – author of several books, including The Book of Numbers – graduated from the University of Cambridge with an MA or Master of Maths.

The mathematician examined four criteria – number of letters in the horse’s name, first letter of name, number of words in the name, and age.

He then awarded each horse a maximum of four points for each of these criteria, depending on how closely they fit the historic results.

For example, a horse whose name is eight or ten letters long – the most successful in the history of the race – are awarded four points.

But a horse with nine or twelve letters – historically less successfully – are awarded just one point.

Mr Hartston said: 'Seabass is the only horse with consistently high scores across all four criteria. It begins with S, is a one-word name, aged ten years and has seven letters, which is only slightly short of the preferred eight.

'Tatenen scored an impressive 13/16 while Teaforthree scored 12/16 and

shouldn’t be ruled out – but their scoring pattern is less consistent.'

Ready and waiting: 14/1 shot Teaforthree, in training last week, also features highly on Hartson's list

Ready and waiting: 14/1 shot Teaforthree, in training last week, also features highly on Hartson's list

Michel Platini says 2022 World Cup in Qatar must be staged in winter

Qatar World Cup must be staged in the winter to protect players and fans, says Platini

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

11:49 GMT, 2 March 2013

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UPDATED:

11:49 GMT, 2 March 2013

Michel Platini says the 2022 World Cup in Qatar must be held during the winter to protect the players and fans from the searing desert heat.

Temperatures can exceed 40 degrees in the summer in the middle-eastern country, compared to a more comfortable 17 degrees in the winter.

The finals were controversially awarded to Qatar two years ago with Platini, the UEFA president, one of those who voted in their favour.

Winter World Cup: UEFA President Michel Platini says the 2022 tournament in Qatar must be staged in the winter months to protect players and fans from 40C temperatures

Winter World Cup: UEFA President Michel Platini says the 2022 tournament in Qatar must be staged in the winter months to protect players and fans from 40C temperatures

'I am in favour of Qatar under two conditions,' the former French star told Bild newspaper. 'Because of the heat the World Cup will need to be held in the winter.

'With over 40 degrees, playing football is impossible and for fans it would also be unbearable.

'Also, the neighbouring emirates must be included so that the World Cup is staged throughout the entire region.'

Grand designs: The proposed Al-Rayyan football stadium in Doha, to be built for the 2022 World Cup

Grand designs: The proposed Al-Rayyan football stadium in Doha, to be built for the 2022 World Cup

Spectacular: The Qatar University Stadium in Doha, another one of the proposed venues

Spectacular: The Qatar University Stadium in Doha, another one of the proposed venues

Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait are among the neighbouring countries that could be considered.

Platini's proposals will cause chaos to the regular football calendar, with six or seven weeks of disruption to domestic leagues.

Oscar Pistorius shooting: How the South African icon was driven by anger

Icon who fell to earth: Poster boy Pistorius had scars that ran so deep

During an interview with Oscar Pistorius in Pretoria last year, our conversation turned to how the South African’s prosthetic legs affected the way he runs. Pistorius had been training on the grass track at the city’s university and it was striking that he moved in an ungainly, fidgety way.

He shifted his weight from side to side when he was not running. Those 2,600 carbon-fibre blades defined him as one of the most iconic athletes on the planet, but they looked cumbersome; painful even.

Questions turned to how being a double amputee impacted on his training regime. How was he able to compete with rivals who were born with fibulae, the bones that connect your knees to your ankles

Historic: Oscar Pistorius in Olympic action in London last year

Historic: Oscar Pistorius in Olympic action in London last year

Pistorius’s oft-repeated argument for his inclusion in able-bodied athletics was ‘there are tens of thousands of people using the same prosthetics I use and there’s no-one running the same times’, but what made Pistorius different from the rest

When asked what it would mean to become the first double amputee to run at the Olympic Games, a remarkable feat he duly achieved some five months later, it was clear he was irritated. Suddenly, the mild exterior of one of sport’s most famous faces clouded over. Pistorius became fractious and prickly.

‘It’s pretty similar to any other athlete,’ said Pistorius. ‘I think it’s a reward for any athlete, after years of training, to progress to a competition like that.’

In the spotlight: Pistorius leaves the Boschkop police station, east of Pretoria

In the spotlight: Pistorius leaves the Boschkop police station, east of Pretoria

In the spotlight: Pistorius leaves the Boschkop police station, east of Pretoria

He was not being modest, just evasive. Pistorius, after all, was not just ‘any athlete’. He redefined what it is to run fast. He challenged the traditional perception of what a sprinter looks like.

Inspirational is a word too often attached to athletes, but it is a description that accurately reflects what Pistorius has achieved on a 400metre track.

His parents took the decision to have his legs amputated below the knees when he was just 11 months old, yet he became a symbol of battling against adversity, recognised across the globe.

No fear: Pistorius poses for Sportsmail's Andy Hooper last year

No fear: Pistorius poses for Sportsmail's Andy Hooper last year

The speed of Pistorius’s rise to prominence has only been beaten by the swiftness with which he has fallen since reports came in of the shooting in the early hours of Thursday morning.

In 2007, the IAAF, athletics’ governing body, said Pistorius’s prosthesic limbs gave him an unfair advantage but he fought the ruling and saw it overturned the following year.

He did not just challenge legislation, however, he transcended athletics and certainly Para-athletics, testing ideas and dividing opinion about what is right and wrong and acceptable in competitive sport.

Happier times: Oscar Pistorius had been with girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp for a couple of months

Happier times: Oscar Pistorius had been with girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp for a couple of months

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE BLADE RUNNER

Born November 1986 without the fibula, the bone that connects the knee to the ankle, in each leg. Has both legs amputated below the knee before his first birthday.

January 2004 Takes up athletics, initially to recover from a rugby injury.

June 2004 Receives his first pair of Ossur Flex-Foot Cheetah legs, Pistorius’ blades.

August 2004 Wins gold and bronze in the T44 200m and 100m at the Paralympics in Athens.

July 2007 Competes for the first time internationally against able-bodied athletes in Rome.

November 2007 Undergoes clinical tests and is then banned from IAAF competition. The organisation say Pistorius’ blades give him an unfair advantage.

May 2008 The Court of Arbitration for Sport over-rules the IAAF decision.

September 2008 Misses qualification for the Olympics by 0.7secs, but wins three golds at the Paralympics in Beijing.

January 2011 Wins three IPC world titles but loses for the first time in seven years over 100m.

August 2011 Qualifies for the IAAF World Championships in Daegu. Wins silver in the 4x400m relay, but misses out on a place in South Africa’s team for the final.

August 2012 Becomes the first double amputee to run at the Olympic Games, reaching the semi-finals of the 400m and the final of the 4x400m. Carries the South African flag at the Paralympic Opening Ceremony and then wins a silver and two gold medals in the 200m, 400m and 4x100m relay.

February 2013 Charged with murder after his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, is shot dead.

SOUTH AFRICAN GOLD MINE

Pistorius’ exploits made him the most famous Paralympic athlete on the planet and one of the sports’ top earners.

Estimated net worth: 3.2million

Estimated sponsorship deals: 3m (inc Nike and BT)

He is the highest-paid Paralympian in the world and last year was rated the eighth highest-paid Olympic athlete.

Yet, despite the countless awards and myriad appearances on chat shows and glossy magazines around the world in his crusade to be seen as a role model, the Blade Runner’s brand continued to be underpinned by his achievements on the track.

His attempt to break the 45-second barrier was set to continue this season before yesterday’s events. Pistorius had spent the last month training with British 400m runner Martyn Rooney in South Africa and was scheduled to contest two events in Australia in March.

He seemed calmer and more at ease than in the frenzied run-up to London 2012 but the burning desire to achieve, the drive that saw him lose 17kg in weight and change his body shape dramatically, remained.

Pistorius has never been afraid to set himself targets. He won three Paralympic gold medals in Beijing after failing to qualify for the Olympics and then told the world he would not miss out again in London. That he achieved that dream by reaching the semi-finals of the 400m is a testament to his self-belief and determination.

Seeing Pistorius swap race numbers with Kirani James, who eventually won 400m gold, after their semi-final provided one of the most touching moments of the Games, yet the South African’s participation was always going to be more significant than his performance.

It was not until the Paralympics that we saw the true sporting icon Pistorius had become. He was the poster boy of the Games; the good-looking South African plastered over adverts for Nike, Thierry Mugler, Oakley and BT in deals worth an estimated 3m a year, a figure that ranks him among athletics’ top earners.

When I visited him last February there was a copy of GQ magazine on the coffee table, heralding Pistorius as South Africa’s best-dressed man. The Blade Runner was the first and, possibly, only Paralympian whom many would have been able to name before the Games began. But then, suddenly, the halo slipped.

Pistorius lost his T44 200m crown to Alan Oliveira and claimed that the Brazilian’s blades were too long. His comments were not only ironic, given his continued insistence that blades did not give him an unfair advantage, but unsportsmanlike and deeply disrespectful. Yet, in the eyes of many, his outburst was the moment the Paralympics became relevant. This was elite sport we could relate to, argue over and dissect. And Pistorius was at the heart of it.

He comfortably retained his 400m crown and won another gold medal in the 4 x 100m relay, but he lost his 100m title in the stand-out race of the Paralympics. It was not Oscar’s name but that of 19-year-old Briton, Jonnie Peacock that was chanted by the sell-out crowd in the Olympic Stadium that evening.

Would there, though, have been a Jonnie without Oscar, the athlete Peacock has described as his ‘hero’ It was Pistorflius’s extraordinary sporting story that seemed to make it possible for a teenager from Cambridge who contracted meningitis when he was five years old.

And now the remarkable narrative of a quite extraordinary athlete has taken the most unimaginable twist.

A BLOODY HISTORY OF TALENT AND TRAGEDY…

Rugby star killed his daughter
Former Springbok rugby player accidentally shot dead his 19-year-old daughter when he mistook her for a car thief in 2004. Her Volkswagen Golf was being driven out of the driveway of their family home at 5am and he shot the driver from his bedroom window, thinking his daughter Marle was in bed.

Troubled end for Belcher
In December 2012, Jovan Belcher, a 25-year-old line-backer for the Kansas City Chiefs, shot his girlfriend dead before driving to the training ground and killing himself in front of his coach. The couple had a three-month-old child.

Life in prison for pitcher Ogawa
Japanese baseball pitcher Hiroshi Ogawa was convicted in September 2005 of killing a 67-year-old woman and was sentenced to life in prison. Deeply in debt, Ogawa stole $20,000 from the chairman of an industrial plant and pushed the housekeeper down the stairs before drowning her in a lake.

Did OJ get away with murder
In June 1994, NFL Hall of Famer OJ Simpson (below) was arrested for the murders of his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman but was eventually acquitted. In 2008 he was convicted of armed robbery and kidnapping and is currently serving 33 years.

Rozier’s seven murders
Former American footballer Robert Rozier played for St Louis Cardinals before joining black supremacist cult ‘The Brotherhood’. He admitted to seven murders and was jailed for 22 years in October 1986 after agreeing to testify against other members of the organisation.

'Suicide bid’ went wrong
Jamaican fast bowler Leslie Hylton, who played in six Tests for the West Indies against England, taking 16 wickets, was hanged in May 1955 for the murder of his wife and remains the only cricketer to have ever been executed. Hylton claimed he had been trying to shoot himself but missed.

Manchester United players and WAGs at UNICEF charity gala

Manchester United stars suited and booted for charity dinner at Old Trafford

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UPDATED:

10:01 GMT, 20 December 2012

The stars of Manchester United were out in force on Wednesday night for the club's annual gala dinner.

Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand fronted the star-studded cast arriving at Old Trafford for the dinner in aid of charity UNICEF.

Questioning: Rio Ferdinand is joined on stage by Nemanja Vidic, Wayne Rooney and co at Unted's gala dinner as they are interviewed by BBC political editor Nick Robinson

Questioning: Rio Ferdinand is joined on stage by Nemanja Vidic, Wayne Rooney and co at Unted's gala dinner as they are interviewed by BBC political editor Nick Robinson

Cheer up, Ryan: A rather glum looking Giggs poses for a picture with team-mates Rooney and Fletcher

Cheer up, Ryan: A rather glum looking Giggs poses for a picture with team-mates Rooney and Fletcher

Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney

Chris Smalling

Double act: Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney strike a pose with Chris Smalling and partner Sam Cooke

Sir Alex Ferguson however was a notable absentee.

The United boss, whose secrets behind
his unrivalled success at Old Trafford were in part revealed following an
unprecedented study by Harvard University, didn't join his side at the
black-tie affair despite his name being mentioned on the official
invite.

Patrice Evra

Darren Fletcher

Suit you, sir: Patrice Evra and Darren Fletcher look the part as they arrive at the home of Manchester United

Happy: Hernandez shares a joke with Valencia while Cleverley, Young and Welbeck are all smiles (below)

Happy: Hernandez shares a joke with Valencia while Cleverley, Young and Welbeck are all smiles (below)

Happy: Hernandez shares a joke with Valencia while Cleverley, Young and Welbeck are all smiles (below)

The United boss is unlikely to be
happy that his side playing three games in seven days over the Festive
period starting with a tricky trip to Swansea on Sunday.

United will begin the tough run of games with a six-point cushion over rivals Manchester City as they
attempt to wrestle back the Premier League trophy to the red half of the
city.

SHINJI KAGAWA

Jonny Evans

Thumbs up: Shinji Kagawa (left) and Jonny Evans with his girlfriend Helen McConnell

In the swing: United veteran Ryan Giggs arrives at the star-studded evening at Old Trafford

In the swing: United veteran Ryan Giggs arrives at the star-studded evening at Old Trafford

Men in black: Tom Cleverley, Ashley Young and Danny Welbeck pose for the assorted media

Men in black: Tom Cleverley, Ashley Young and Danny Welbeck pose for the assorted media

Nick Powell

Alexander Buttner

Picture perfect: Summer signings Nick Powell and Alexander Buttner with their respective partners

Lat year's gala raised 130,000 for
charity and some punters would have paid in excess of 3,500 a ticket
for last night's do which included a three-course meal, free bottle of
wine and a VIP drinks reception at the United museum, according to the
club's website.

Catherine Tyldesley

Catherine Tyldesley

Red Devil: Coronation Street actress Catherine Tyldesley arriving at Old Trafford for the gala dinner

PS United are always in the news… but what are you doing here, Nick

The evening was hosted by BBC political editor Nick Robinson – a lifelong Manchester United fan who is from Macclesfield

Holding the mic: Nick Robinson

Sir Alex Ferguson"s Harvard management techniques analysed

Analysing Fergie's master class: Sportsmail takes a closer look at Sir Alex's blueprint for success

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UPDATED:

00:10 GMT, 20 December 2012

An in-depth study of Sir Alex Ferguson and his management techniques has revealed the Manchester United manager at his most candid.

Put together with Ferguson’s help by Harvard Business School in America, the study is entitled ‘Sir Alex Ferguson: Managing Manchester United’ and provides a genuine insight into how the 70-year-old has been so successful for so long.

Here, Sportsmail’s Ian Ladyman picks out his highlights and provides his own analysis of Ferguson’s methods…

University challenge: Sir Alex Ferguson opened up earlier this year for an essay at Harvard

University challenge: Sir Alex Ferguson opened up earlier this year for an essay at Harvard

Study: The front page of the Harvard Business School thesis

ON PLAYER POWER

Sir Alex Ferguson: Some English clubs have changed managers so many times that it creates power for the players in the dressing room. That is very dangerous. Football management in the end is all about the players. You think you are a better player than they are, and they think they are a better manager than you are.

Ian Ladyman: At one English club in the North West the captain tries to tell the manager what he is doing wrong. That wouldn’t happen at Old Trafford. Ferguson welcomes input from his players, but only when he asks for it.

ON HOW ANDREA BOCELLI INSPIRED A TEAM TALK

SAF: I once heard a coach start with: ‘This must be the thousandth team talk I’ve had with you,’ and saw a player respond with: ‘Yeah and I’ve slept through half of them.’ So I tell different stories and use my imagination. I remember going to see Andrea Bocelli, the opera singer. I had never been to a classical concert in my life. But I am watching this and thinking about the co-ordination and the teamwork — one starts and one stops, just fantastic. So I spoke to my players about the orchestra — how they are a perfect team. You can get help from some of the players. Bryan Robson, for example, was brilliant.

IL: To Ferguson, the team ethic is everything. He encourages and seeks out individual brilliance, but won’t tolerate anything or anyone who begins to feel they are bigger or better than anybody else. Several players have discovered this to their cost over the years.

Tenor for a team talk: United boss Ferguson revealed Andrea Bocelli has inspired him

Tenor for a team talk: United boss Ferguson revealed Andrea Bocelli has inspired him

ON MOTIVATING PLAYERS

SAF: There is no room for criticism on
the training field. For a player — and for any human being — there is
nothing better than hearing ‘well done’. Those are the two best words
ever invented in sports. Also, you can’t always come in (after a game)
shouting and screaming. That doesn’t work. No one likes to get
criticised. But in the dressing room, it’s necessary that you point out
your players’ mistakes. I do it right after the game. I don’t wait until
Monday, I do it, and it’s finished. I’m on to the next match. There is
no point in criticising a player forever. And I never discuss an
individual player in public. The players know that. It stays indoors.

IL: To hear Ferguson criticise a
player in public is rare. He did it with Rio Ferdinand after the
defender refused to wear a ‘Kick It Out’ T-shirt this season and
regretted it immediately. The issue was sorted in private at the
training ground the next day. Compare that with Roberto Mancini at
Manchester City, for example, who constantly seems to criticise Mario
Balotelli. Two different methods. Who is to say which one is best

ON MANAGING MILLIONAIRES

SAF: We fine them, but we keep it
indoors. You can’t ever lose control — not when you are dealing with 30
top professionals who are all millionaires. And if anyone steps out of
my control, that’s them dead.

IL: The speed at which United hustled
Roy Keane out of the door in 2005 shows how quickly Ferguson moves when
he feels one player has started to have a negative effect on the rest.
As for fines and internal discipline, you can be sure it happens at
United. It’s just that they never tell anyone.

Shifted: Roy Keane was shown out of the door at Old Trafford in 2005

Shifted: Roy Keane was shown out of the door at Old Trafford in 2005

ON UNITED’S YOUTH POLICY AND LETTING OLD PLAYERS GO

SAF: The first thought for 99 per cent
of new managers is to make sure they win — to survive. They bring
experienced players in, often from their previous clubs. But I think it
is important to build a structure for a football club, not just a
football team. You need a foundation. And there is nothing better than
seeing a young player make it to the first team. The idea is that the
younger players are developing and meeting the standards that the
older ones have set before. The hardest thing is to let go of a player
who has been a great guy. But all the evidence is on the football field.
If you see the change, the deterioration, you have to start asking
yourself what it is going to be like two years ahead.

IL: Players like Phil Neville and
Nicky Butt — founder members of the modern United — were both struck
dumb when Ferguson told them their time was up at Old Trafford. Did
their manager and mentor make the right decision, though Absolutely.

Is he talking about you, Scholesy

Sir Alex Ferguson says he would never try to coach the aggression out of his players, but, without naming him, he did pick out one who liked a tackle or two.

Paul Scholes has been hailed as the best English player of his generation, but the midfielder is not known for his tackling prowess.

Though he falls short of Patrick Vieira’s Premier League record of eight red cards, Scholes has four reds to his name and two in the Champions League. He is also third on the all-time Premier League yellow cards list, just five shy of a century.

PREMIER LEAGUE YELLOWS

Kevin Davies 99
Lee Bowyer 99
Paul Scholes 95

ON AGGRESSIVE PLAYERS

SAF: One of my players has been sent
off several times. He will do something if he gets the chance — even in
training. Can I take it out of him No. Would I want to take it out of
him No. If you take the aggression out of him, he is not himself. So
you have to accept that there is a certain flaw that is counter-balanced
by all the great things he can do.

IL: So who is Ferguson talking about
Almost certainly it is Paul Scholes. So much for the theory that all the
United midfielder’s tackles are merely ‘mistimed’

ON TALENT AND HARD WORK

SAF: I tell players that hard work is a
talent, too. They need to work harder than anyone else. And if they can
no longer bring the discipline that we ask for here at United, they are
out. I am only interested in players who really want to play for
United, and who, like me, are bad losers.

IL: Ferguson’s work ethic is
legendary. He is at United’s training ground at 7am every day. It’s his
club and he sets the mood and the standards. As for him being a bad
loser, well, there are referees across the land who will testify to
this.

Experience: Veteran midfielder Paul Scholes has not been tamed by Sir Alex

Experience: Veteran midfielder Paul Scholes has not been tamed by Sir Alex

ON JOSE MOURINHO

SAF: He is very intelligent, he has
charisma, his players play for him, and he is a good-looking guy. I
think I have most of those things, too, apart from his good looks. He’s
got a confidence about himself, saying ‘We’ll win this’ and ‘I’m the
Special One’. I could never come out and say we’re going to win this
game. It’s maybe a wee bit of my Scottishness

IL: It’s nothing to do with being
Scottish, Ferguson is merely too cute to brag before he has achieved
anything. Ferguson has always liked Mourinho, ever since the two men
first clashed in 2004. He particularly admires and empathises with the
Portuguese’s ability to inspire and motivate players.

ON NAMING HIS TEAM

SAF: We never reveal the team to the
players until the day of the game. We think of the media and the
players’ agents. And my job is to give us the best chance possible of
winning the match, so why should we alert our opponents to what our team
is For a three o’clock game, we tell them at one o’clock.

IL: Ferguson is an obsessive man and
his obsession about his team line-ups leaking out has long been high on
the list. He got rid of one very high-profile player, for example,
because he suspected he had leaked the team to the opposition before a
big Champions League game.

Sparring partners: Ferguson and Jose Mourinho have had their fair share of battles over the years

Sparring partners: Ferguson and Jose Mourinho have had their fair share of battles over the years

ON DROPPING PLAYERS

SAF: I do it privately. It’s not easy,
but I do them all myself. It is important. I have been dropped from a
Cup final in Scotland as a player at 10 past two, so I know what it
feels like. I’m not ever sure what they are thinking, but I tend to say:
‘Look, I might be making a mistake here,’ — I always say that — ‘but I
think this is the best team for today.’ I try to give them a bit of
confidence, telling them that it is only tactical, and that there are
bigger games coming up.

IL: Some managers tell players they
are playing or not playing by text message. Sometimes the old-fashioned
ways really are the best.

ON GETTING READY FOR THE HALF-TIME TEAM TALK

SAF: There are maybe eight minutes
between you coming up through the tunnel and the referees calling you up
on the pitch again, so it is vital to use the time well. Everything is
easier when you are winning: you talk about concentrating, not getting
complacent, and small things you can address. But when you are losing,
you know that you are going to have to make an impact.

The last few
minutes of the first half I’m always thinking of what I’m going to say.
I’m a little bit in a trance. I am concentrating. I see other coaches
take notes, but I don’t want to miss any of the game. And I can’t
imagine going into the dressing room, looking at my notes, and saying:
‘Oh in the 30th minute, that pass you took…'. I don’t think it’s going
to impress the players.

IL: Managers and their bits of paper
can look ridiculous. What do they write on them ‘In the second half we
must try to score’ Each to their own, of course, and it’s certainly the
case that Ferguson’s coaches write things down. Sometimes, though, your
eyes are your best tool.

Getting ready for the break: Ferguson prefers not to take notes while watching

Getting ready for the break: Ferguson prefers not to take notes while watching

ON HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH DAVID GILL AND THE GLAZERS

SAF: My best relationship in this club
is with David. Sometimes we disagree, but we respect each other and we
know that arguments are just arguments. He’s very fair. The Glazers
decide (on transfers). They have generally been very supportive. The
Glazers are very low-key. If I owned United and they won the league, I
would be over the moon. I remember when I played with Rangers, when the
directors were under the shower with their clothes on, dancing about.
But the Glazers shook a few hands and had some photographs taken, that
was it.

IL: United fans feel uncomfortable
when they hear Ferguson talk so fondly of the Glazers and that’s
understandable. They don’t choose players, by the way, they merely
sanction, or otherwise, the spending. Ferguson’s relationship with Gill,
meanwhile, is the concrete on which the club is built. I have had
run-ins with both men but were it not for Ferguson and Gill’s combined
effectiveness, United would have sunk during the years of Glazer
ownership.

ON THE SHAPE OF THE SEASON

SAF: We don’t start the pre-season
training at one hundred miles an hour. We do a gradual build-up. And
we’re not normally the strongest in the early part of the season, but
October is usually a month where we get ourselves going again.

I always tell the players, every
season, that if we are within three points from the top come New Year’s
Day, we’ve got a great chance at the title.

IL: This is interesting because United
have tweaked pre-season routines in recent years to try and keep pace
with Chelsea and Manchester City, who tend to come out of the blocks at
lightning speed in August. Ferguson realised United were getting caught
cold and has tried to address it. Mind you, they lost their opening
game this season…

Mr Motivator: Sir Alex has his own ways of getting the best out of his players at Old Trafford

Mr Motivator: Sir Alex has his own ways of getting the best out of his players at Old Trafford

ON MOVING WITH THE TIMES

SAF: Some managers are ‘pleasing
managers’. They let the players play 8-a-sides — games they enjoy. But
here, we look at the training sessions as opportunities to learn and
improve. Sometimes the players may think: ‘Here we go again,’ but it
helps to win. The message is simple: we cannot sit still at this club.

IL: Ferguson admires managers like Sam
Allardyce, younger men who innovate to improve. He is happy to take
ideas from them. The club are currently building a ‘sleep room’ and have
installed tanning booths at the training ground so players can top up
their Vitamin D levels.

ON PRACTISING FOR FERGIE TIME

SAF: We practise for when the going gets tough, so we know what it takes to be successful in those situations.

IL: I have no idea how you can
replicate the pressure of added time but it clearly works. Look at what
happened in the Manchester derby recently.

ON TELLING THE REFEREE ABOUT FERGIE TIME

SAF: All I do is point at my watch to help the referee make the right decisions.

IL: Ferguson has always intimidated referees, sometimes on purpose and other times not. Has it worked Occasionally.

Watch it: Fergie time is usually a good time to grab a goal

Watch it: Fergie time is usually a good time to grab a goal

ON HOW HAVING BEEN A PLAYER HELPS HIM AS A MANAGER

SAF: Do you think Rooney cares He’ll
laugh at me and say: ‘Boss, it was so long ago, and in Scotland. Are
they still part-timers up there’

IL: Ferguson’s success debunks the old
myth that you need to be a successful player to earn respect as a
coach. It’s brains and not medals that get the job done.

ON MELLOWING OVER THE YEARS

SAF: Players live more sheltered
lives. They are more fragile than 25 years ago. I used to be very
aggressive. I am still very passionate and want to win but I have
mellowed. Age does that to you.

IL: Try telling this to Nani, David de
Gea and Alex Buttner, all of whom have been monstered by Ferguson in
the United dressing room this season.

The Fergie files

Revealed: The Fergie blueprint – Man United boss reveals secrets of his success to Harvard academics

I want to pass on my expertise to the next generation of bosses, explains Fergie on decision to reveal all to Harvard professors

Ferguson installed tanning booths so United players could top up their Vitamin D levels

ON LOSING THE TITLE TO CITY

SAF: Another day in the history of
Manchester United, that’s all it was. It created the drama that only
United can produce. I’ve still got a wee bit of anger in me, thinking of
how we threw the league away last season. My motivation to the players
will be that we can’t let City beat us twice in a row.

IL: This is slightly disingenuous. The
drama last May was largely created by United’s neighbours across town.
You can be sure of the anger he still feels, though. Very sure.

Agony: Ferguson was on the pitch at Sunderland on the final day of the season when Man City pipped United

Agony: Ferguson was on the pitch at Sunderland on the final day of the season when Man City pipped United

ON WINNING THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE AGAIN

SAF: We are in a country where
tribalism is rife so that puts tremendous pressure on you to win your
league. But the European Cup is the biggest trophy. I made a mistake
last season in Europe. I played too many young players and we went out.
It was a shock.

IL: Ferguson is obsessed with winning
the Champions League again. Defeats by Barcelona in 2009 and 2011 hurt
him more than he ever really lets on. He still refuses to talk about
2009.

ON A GLASS OF WINE WITH THE OPPOSITION MANAGER

SAF: You have to get the game out of
your system quickly or it becomes an obsession. Win, lose or draw. We
show our face and keep our dignity. We are Manchester United.

IL: Some of Ferguson’s post-match TV
comments can lack the dignity he talks about, but he isn’t alone there.
He does always offer visiting managers a drink, though. One of the
reasons Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger is shown so little warmth by Premier
League bosses is that he has never embraced this tradition.

Unpopular: Arsene Wenger never sticks around for a drink with other bosses

Unpopular: Arsene Wenger never sticks around for a drink with other bosses

A few other choice cuts…

ON TACTICS

SAF: Tactics can change depending on whom we are playing I tend to concentrate on one or two players of my opponents—the ones that are the most influential. Who’s the guy who is taking all the free kicks Who’s the guy who’s on the ball all the time Who’s the one urging everyone on

The rest of the time I concentrate on our own team. On Friday we take our players through a video analysis of our opponents: their strengths, their weaknesses, their set-pieces, what their team is likely to be, and so on.

On Saturday, we might give them another, shorter version—just a recap of the previous day.

ON PEP GUARDIOLA

SAF: Guardiola is an impressive guy. He’s brought about change in Barcelona, urging the team to always work hard to get the ball back within seconds after losing it. They are gifted but work hard. It was a fantastic achievement. He elevated the status of his players.

Pep talk: United boss Ferguson was impressed by the way Guardiola transformed Barcelona

Pep talk: United boss Ferguson was impressed by the way Guardiola transformed Barcelona

ON THE HAIR-DRYER

SAF:
You can’t always come in shouting and screaming. That doesn’t work. No
one likes to get criticized. But in the football dressing room, it’s
necessary that you point out your players’ mistakes.

I
do it right after the game. I don’t wait until Monday, I do it, and
it’s finished. I’m on to the next match. There is no point in
criticizing a player forever.

ON HOW BEING A PLAYER HELPS HIM AS MANAGER

SAF:
Do you think Rooney cares He’ll laugh at me and say “Boss, it was so
long ago, and in Scotland. Are they still part-timers up there'”

Sir Alex Ferguson in his own words: Manchester United boss talks to Harvard

Fergie in his own words: Tenor for a team talk, moving on from losing the title and why he's too Scottish to be like Mourinho – what the United boss told Harvard University

|

UPDATED:

10:15 GMT, 19 December 2012

Read the full Fergie study…

You can purchase the Sir Alex Ferguson case study from Harvard Business School HERE

Sir Alex Ferguson has opened up to Harvard Business School in a way never seen before.

In an extensive and wide-ranging essay on Managing Manchester United, written by Anita Elberse and Tom Dye, Ferguson offers an extraordinary insight into life at Old Trafford, his views on man management, how Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli inspired a team talk and how once a player crosses him ‘they’re dead’.

Here is Ferguson in his own words.

Sir Alex Ferguson

University challenged: Sir Alex Ferguson opened up earlier this year for an essay at Harvard

ON LOSING THE TITLE TO MAN CITY LAST SEASON

‘Another day in the history of
Manchester United, that’s all it was. It created the drama that only
United can produce.

'Who would have thought that Blackburn, being bottom
of the league, would beat us 3-2 at Old Trafford Or that Everton would
draw with us when we were up 4-2 with seven minutes to go

'I’ve still
got a wee bit of anger in me, thinking of how we threw the league away
last season. My motivation to the players will be that we can’t let City
beat us twice in a row.'

Agony: Ferguson was on the pitch at Sunderland on the final day of the season when Man City pipped United

Agony: Ferguson was on the pitch at Sunderland on the final day of the season when Man City pipped United

ON PLAYER POWER

‘Some English clubs have changed managers so many times that it creates power for the players in the dressing room. That is very dangerous.

'Football management in the end is all about the players. You think you are a better player than they are, and they think they are a better manager than you are.’

ON HOW ANDREA BOCELLI INSPIRED A TEAM TALK

‘I like to tell different stories, and use my imagination. But generally, it is about our expectations, their belief in themselves, and their trust in each other.

'I remember going to see Andrea Bocelli, the opera singer. I had never been to a classical concert in my life. But I am watching this and thinking about the coordination and the teamwork, one starts and one stops, just fantastic.

'So I spoke to my players about the orchestra – how they are a perfect team. You can get help from some of the players. Bryan Robson was a great captain – he spoke with each player. That’s brilliant.’

Tenor for a team talk: United boss Ferguson revealed Andrea Bocelli has inspired him

Tenor for a team talk: United boss Ferguson revealed Andrea Bocelli has inspired him

ON MOTIVATING PLAYERS

‘There is no room for criticism on the training field. For a player – and for any human being – there is nothing better than hearing ‘well done.’

'Those are the two best words ever invented in sports. You don’t need to use superlatives.

'I made it plain that I meant to put an end to United’s reputation of being almost as much a social club as a football club.

'It’s interesting to see all the foreigners sit together, and the British players sit at another table. That’s not because there is a division – it’s just that players tend to migrate towards familiarity. It’s fantastic to watch them have fun.’

Mr Motivator: Sir Alex has his own ways of getting the best out of his players at Old Trafford

Mr Motivator: Sir Alex has his own ways of getting the best out of his players at Old Trafford

ON MANAGING MILLIONAIRES

‘We fine them, but we keep it indoors. You can’t ever lose control – not when you are dealing with 30 top professionals who are all millionaires. And if anyone steps out of my control, that’s them dead.’

ON UNITED’S YOUTH POLICY AND LETTING OLD PLAYERS GO

‘The first thought for 99 per cent of newly appointed managers is to make sure they win – to survive.

'They bring experienced players in, often from their previous clubs. But I think it is important to build a structure for a football club – not just a football team. You need a foundation. And there is nothing better than seeing a young player make it to the first team.

'The idea is that the younger players are developing and meeting the standards that the older ones have set before.

'The hardest thing is to let go of a player who has been a great guy. But all the evidence is on the football field. If you see the change, the deterioration, you have to start asking yourself what it is going to be like two years ahead.’

Experience: Veteran midfielder Paul Scholes came through the ranks at United, retired and then came back

Experience: Veteran midfielder Paul Scholes came through the ranks at United, retired and then came back

ON AGGRESSIVE PLAYERS

‘One of my players has been sent off several times. He will do something if he gets the chance – even in training. Can I take it out of him No. Would I want to take it out of him No.

'If you take the aggression out of him, he is not himself. So you have to accept that there is a certain flaw that is counterbalanced by all the great things he can do.’

ON TALENT AND HARD WORK

‘I tell players that hard work is a talent, too. They need to work harder than anyone else. And if they can no longer bring the discipline that we ask for here at United, they are out. I am only interested in players who really want to play for United, and who, like me, are bad losers.’

ON JOSE MOURINHO

‘He is very intelligent, he has charisma, his players play for him, and he is a good looking guy. I think I have most of those things, too, apart from his good looks. He’s got a confidence about himself, saying ‘We’ll win this,’ and ‘I’m the Special One.’

'I could never come out and say we’re going to win this game. It’s maybe a wee bit of my Scottishness’

Sparring partners: Ferguson and Jose Mourinho have had their fair share of battles over the years

Sparring partners: Ferguson and Jose Mourinho have had their fair share of battles over the years

ON PEP GUARDIOLA

‘Guardiola is an impressive guy. He’s brought about change in Barcelona, urging the team to always work hard to get the ball back within seconds after losing it. They are gifted but work hard. It was a fantastic achievement. He elevated the status of his players.’

ON NAMING HIS TEAM

‘But we never reveal the team to the players until the day of the game. We think of the media and the players’ agents. And my job is to give us the best chance possible of winning the match, so why should we alert our opponents to what our team is For a three o’clock game, we tell them at one o’clock.’

Pep talk: United boss Ferguson was impressed by the way Guardiola transformed Barcelona

Pep talk: United boss Ferguson was impressed by the way Guardiola transformed Barcelona

ON TACTICS

‘Tactics can change depending on whom we are playing I tend to concentrate on one or two players of my opponents—the ones that are the most influential. Who’s the guy who is taking all the free kicks Who’s the guy who’s on the ball all the time Who’s the one urging everyone on

'The rest of the time I concentrate on our own team. On Friday we take our players through a video analysis of our opponents: their strengths, their weaknesses, their set-pieces, what their team is likely to be, and so on.

'On Saturday, we might give them another, shorter version—just a recap of the previous day.’

ON DROPPING PLAYERS

‘I do it privately. It’s not easy, but I do them all myself. It is important. I have been dropped from a Cup final in Scotland as a player at 10 past two, so I know what it feels like.

'I’m not ever sure what they are thinking, but I tend to say “Look, I might be making a mistake here,” – I always say that – “but I think this is the best team for today.”

'I try to give them a bit of confidence, telling them that it is only tactical, and that there are bigger games coming up.’

Study: The front page of the Harvard Business School thesis

ON GETTING READY FOR HALF-TIME

‘There are maybe eight minutes between you coming up through the tunnel and the referees calling you up on the pitch again, so it is vital to use the time well.

'Everything is easier when you are winning: you talk about concentrating, not getting complacent, and small things you can address. But when you are losing, you know that you are going to have to make an impact.

'The last few minutes of the first half I’m always thinking of what I’m going to say. I’m a little bit in a trance. I am concentrating.

'I see other coaches take notes, but I don’t want to miss any part of the game. And I cannot imagine going into the dressing room, looking at my notes, and saying “Oh in the 30th minute, that pass you took…”

'I don’t think it’s going to impress the players.'

ON THE HAIR-DRYER

‘You can’t always come in shouting and screaming. That doesn’t work. No one likes to get criticized. But in the football dressing room, it’s necessary that you point out your players’ mistakes.

'I do it right after the game. I don’t wait until Monday, I do it, and it’s finished. I’m on to the next match. There is no point in criticizing a player forever.’

ON HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH DAVID GILL AND THE GLAZERS

The Fergie files

Revealed: The Fergie blueprint – Man United boss reveals secrets of his success to Harvard academics

I want to pass on my expertise to the next generation of bosses, explains Fergie on decision to reveal all to Harvard professors

Ferguson installed tanning booths so United players could top up their Vitamin D levels

‘My best relationship in this club is with David. Sometimes we disagree, but we respect each other, and we know that arguments are just arguments. He’s very fair.

‘The Glazers decide (on transfers). They have generally been very supportive. The Glazers are very low-key.

'If I owned United and they won the league, I would be over the moon. I remember when I played with Rangers, when the directors were under the shower with their clothes on, dancing about.

'But the Glazers shook a few hands and had some photographs taken, that was it.’

ON THE SHAPE OF THE SEASON

‘We don’t start the pre-season training at 100mph. We do a gradual build-up. And we’re not normally the strongest in the early part of the season, but October is usually a month where we get ourselves going again.

'I always tell the players, every season, that if we are within three points from the top come New Year’s Day, we’ve got a great chance at the title.’

ON TRAINING FOR FERGIE TIME

‘Some managers are “pleasing managers”. They let the players play eight-a-side or 10-a-side games they enjoy.

'But here, we look at the training sessions as opportunities to learn and improve. Sometimes the players may think “Here we go again,” but it helps to win.

'The message is simple: we cannot sit still at this club. Rather than leaving it to chance, United’s players were also made to practice how they should play if a goal was required with 10, five, or three minutes remaining.

'We practice for when the going gets tough, so we know what it takes to be successful in those situations,’

Watch it: Fergie time is usually a good time to grab a goal

Watch it: Fergie time is usually a good time to grab a goal

ON HOW BEING A PLAYER HELPS HIM AS MANAGER

‘Do you think Rooney cares He’ll laugh at me and say “Boss, it was so long ago, and in Scotland. Are they still part-timers up there'”

VIDEO: Worst basketball free throw ever! Appalachian State basketball player Brian Okam embarrassed

VIDEO: Is this the worst free throw ever US college player suffers embarrassment

|

UPDATED:

17:24 GMT, 11 December 2012

Outside of seeing a scoreless game,
there are few certainties in basketball and it seems at least going
close to scoring a point from a free throw is no longer one of them.

The free throw often results in a
player finding the basket. If not that then the ball may bounce out, hit
the backboard or at the very least have enough power and distance to
count as a shot.

Sadly for Brian Okam, he failed to do
any of the above with his feeble attempt for Appalachian State in a
college match at Western Carolina University.

Tension: Brian Okam lines up the shot for the Mountaineers at a Saturday game with Western Carolina

Tension: Brian Okam lines up the shot for the Mountaineers at a Saturday game with Western Carolina

Embarrassment: The ball flew high into the air...and landed almost at the feet of reserve center Brian Okam

Slip-up: The players all gaze upwards as the ball soars into the air above their heads... but doesn't travel forward

Slip-up: The players all gaze upwards as the ball soars into the air above their heads… but doesn't travel far

Butter fingers: The free throw falls far short of the basket during the game at WCU

In fact, his attempt is so bad it
barely travels three feet after looping high into the air prompting a
stunned commentator to declare: ‘I don’t know what that was, that might
be the ugliest thing I have ever seen.’

Following the throw 90 minutes into the game, WCU went on to clinch the match 70-64.

Despite the clip going viral on the
internet, with comments suggesting Okam’s throw was on purpose, the
player himself admitted it was just an error and is something that he
looks back and laughs at.

Okam said: ‘I hit the first shot and
on the second, it was just one of those crazy things where the ball
slips out of your hand. Obviously a lot of folks have seen it and it’s
gotten a lot of attention, but I’m just focused on moving ahead with
final exams this week and getting back on the winning track.

‘You look back at it and laugh a
little bit for sure, but it’s not something that will be in my mind the
next time I step to the free-throw line.’

VIDEO: Watch the 'worst free throw ever' here…

Play Video

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Glen Johnson studying for Maths degree

I'll show you: Johnson aims to prove his teachers wrong as Liverpool star takes up a Maths degree

|

UPDATED:

12:10 GMT, 10 December 2012

Liverpool defender Glen Johnson is aiming to prove his old school teachers teachers wrong by gaining a degree in maths.

While many footballers spend their spare time playing golf, computer games or shopping, the England defender spends his days with his head buried in text books.

The 28-year-old – who has been shortlisted for England's player of the year award – is half-way through the second year of his Open University degree, having passed his first year.

Opening the scoring: Glen Johnson celebrates after netting a goal against former club West Ham

Opening the scoring: Glen Johnson celebrates after netting a goal against former club West Ham

Johnson, who scored the first goal in Liverpool's 3-2 win over former club West Ham on Sunday, told The Sun: 'I love the planning, equations and problem-solving.

'For example, working out how much fuel a plane needs. I was good at maths at school but I didn’t really think of anything else but football. My teachers used to say, ‘You ain’t going to achieve anything’. So I was thinking, ‘I’ll show you’.

Doing the day job: Johnson is studying for a maths degree when he is not busy playing for Liverpool and England

Doing the day job: Johnson is studying for a maths degree when he is not busy playing for Liverpool and England

'The last thing they’d expect me to do is a maths degree. But anyone can do anything if they put their mind to it.'

Former Burnley defender and chairman of the PFA Clarke Carlisle became the first footballer to appear on game show Countdown in 2010, and has also made a couple appearances on the political debate show Question Time.

Working from home: Johnson is enrolled at The Open University

Working from home: Johnson is enrolled at The Open University

Rebecca Adlington hits out at British Swimming over failure to appoint head coach

Adlington says failure to appoint new head coach has left British swimmers in limbo

|

UPDATED:

19:49 GMT, 3 December 2012

Former double Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington has called on British Swimming to appoint a new head coach as soon as possible claiming the current situation has left swimmers feeling in limbo.

Dennis Pursley vacated the head coach role immediately after the pool programme at the 2012 Games, although his return to his native United States to coach at the University of Alabama had always been his intention, rather than any reaction to Team GB's poor showing.

The team came away with just three medals – two bronzes by Adlington in the 400 metres and 800m freestyle and Michael Jamieson's silver in the 200m breaststroke – and a devastated national performance director Michael Scott quickly announced a review.

Time for a change: Adlington has urged British swimming to appoint a new coach as soon as possible

Time for a change: Adlington has urged British swimming to appoint a new coach as soon as possible

Five men, including Michael Phelps' coach Bob Bowman, were appointed to the panel but by the time it was published yesterday Scott had resigned after refusing to relocate from Australia, where his family are based.

The Australian had been splitting his time between Australia and Britain but the review concluded the incumbent must be based here full-time.

As a result, two key positions are now vacant although it was always intended the head coach role would not be filled until the conclusion of the review.

For Adlington, though, it has been too long and she told BBC Sport: 'Why is it taking so long We've been dying for them to appoint a head coach for months.

Rebecca Adlington

Rebecca Adlington

Face of British swimming: Adlington, who won two bronze medals at the London Games, has questioned why it has taken so long to appoint a new head coach

'Surely, that would make more sense for the head coach to be appointed before the review, even if it was just one who said “look this is semi-permanent, you might want to continue after the review but you might help us until then making these decisions”.

'A lot of us don't know who we are going to at the moment. Who do we speak to It's awful what's been going on.'

Names linked with the head role include Adlington's own coach Bill Furniss along with Chris Nesbit, who ran the successful off-shore centre set up in Australia during Bill Sweetenham's tenure, while John Atkinson, British disability swimming performance director, has been mentioned to succeed Scott.

Were Furniss to be appointed, it would have a huge effect on Adlington who has trained with him since the age of 12.

Before the publication of the review, Adlington said: 'Literally everything is on hold, he doesn't really know very much. 'He doesn't know who the next head coach is going to be, he doesn't know whether he wants to do it or anything like that.

'I don't want to be nasty to Bill because he is only 58 but he probably wouldn't go on for another four years coaching and if I was to get in (to the pool), I probably wouldn't want to swim for another four years.

'No-one can make a decision, it's not just me – no-one knows what is happening, no-one knows what is happening with the programmes, it's all up in the air – that is the thing for me and Bill.

'Just waiting really – waiting and waiting. I just wish they would get on with it.'

Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny discharged from hospital

Wales full-back Halfpenny discharged from hospital after neck injury

|

UPDATED:

14:09 GMT, 2 December 2012

Leigh Halfpenny was discharged from hospital today after being carried off during Wales' 14-12 defeat against Australia at the Millennium Stadium.

The Wales full-back was hurt during the dramatic closing seconds yesterday. He had earlier kicked four penalties to put Wales within sight of victory.

Halfpenny, 23, was taken to Cardiff's University Hospital Wales, where he underwent scans after complaining of neck pain.

Treatment: Wales Leigh Halfpenny receives attention games against Australia

Treatment: Wales Leigh Halfpenny receives attention games against Australia

'He was immediately admitted to hospital to exclude any serious neck injury, a process which thankfully has now been concluded,' the Welsh Rugby Union said, in a statement.

Cardiff Blues player Halfpenny added: 'I want to say thank you to all of the medical teams who have looked after me following my injury yesterday.

'The paramedics, WRU and Millennium Stadium medical teams were outstanding. All of the staff at University Hospital Wales were also amazing.

Taken away: Leigh Halfpenny was taken to hospital

Taken away: Leigh Halfpenny was taken to hospital

'Everyone has been so supportive, and the care that I have had has been incredibly professional and second to none.

'I would also like to thank all of those who have been sending me messages of support following the injury.'

The WRU added that Halfpenny would now undertake a period of treatment and rehabilitation to ensure a swift return to play.

Halfpenny, a major contender to tour Australia with the British and Irish Lions next summer, was Wales' outstanding performer during an autumn series that produced losses to Argentina, Samoa, New Zealand and Australia.