16-12-2018 'It's right for the team': Steve Hansen steps down as All Blacks coach – video

After 14 years Steve Hansen has called time on coaching New Zealand. The 59-year-old announced that he will be stepping down after the World Cup in Japan next year, saying that it was time for 'a fresh pair of eyes'. The All Blacks have lost only eight of 96 Tests under Hansen, a win ratio of 89%.  Continue reading...

16-12-2018 Can women save Sumo? The crossroads facing Japan's national sport – video

The ancient Japanese ritual of Sumo is in crisis. Only last week, a Mongolian wrestler was forced to retire after assaulting a teammate – but that's just the tip of the iceberg. Years of controversy and scandal, coupled with the country's declining population, have greatly impacted the sport's ability to attract new talent. The Guardian visits Tokyo's Ryōgoku district, the birthplace of Sumo, to see how this iconic institution is adapting to life in the 21st century, and why - despite women being banned from the ring itself - young female fans are flocking to watch it like never beforeYokozuna, controversies and a 'Dump Truck': a sumo history – in pictures Continue reading...

16-12-2018 The Spin | Big Bash’s flipping bats recall stories of cunning ploys with tossed coins

When you look closely at the ritual, it begins to seem odd that cricket lets blind luck and ‘dynamical bias’ play such a large partWhen he was 14, Persi Diaconis packed a fresh deck of cards and a spare pair of socks into a knapsack and ran away from home to become a magician’s assistant. He spent the next few years as an apprentice with Dai Vernon, whose sleight of hand was so smart, so sharp, he even beat Harry Houdini, who famously claimed he could pick any magic trick on the third go, until Vernon fooled him seven times in a row.They used to call Vernon “the Professor”, and now they do Diaconis, too. Because that is what he is. The Mary V Sunseri professor of statistics and mathematics, to be exact, at Stanford, where he has been continuing his lifelong study of chance and probability. Continue reading...

16-12-2018 BBC Sports Personality of the Year: who should win five top awards? | Observer writers

Our writers offer their choices for the highest honours at the prestigious ceremony, from Ronnie O’Sullivan to Tracey NevilleRonnie O’Sullivan has been winning for 25 years now: five world championships, seven Masters and seven UK titles, the latest of them this month. His 19th major victory means he has overtaken Stephen Hendry and become the most successful player in snooker history. Continue reading...

16-12-2018 Watford hold on for nervy home win after Cardiff’s frenetic fightback

This was a good win for Watford. Such was the harum-scarum nature of the closing stages, however, that a moment’s reflection was needed in order to be sure. After dominating possession and storming to a 3-0 lead with some sumptuous goals, they almost threw it away in the last 10 minutes. The final moments saw the hosts clinging on to the result, keeping the ball by the corner flag.The time-wasting made Neil Warnock chuckle afterwards and once again his Cardiff side had rattled loftier opponents. Junior Hoilett and Bobby Reid both scored in the last 10 minutes to make the result close but even the Cardiff manager had to admit it was closer than it should have been. “We thought we would try and contain them and then have a go in the last half-hour,” he said. “But you don’t legislate for losing two or three goals by that point.” Continue reading...

16-12-2018 Sports Personality of the Year: Billy Monger to receive Helen Rollason Award

Teenage racing driver Billy Monger will receive the Helen Rollason Award at the 2018 BBC Sports Personality of the Year show.

16-12-2018 Liverpool 'have to be angry' against Manchester United, says Klopp – video

The Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has said that his side will be angry ahead of their game with Manchester United on Sunday, adding that 'we fight for our points'. When asked about his counterpart José Mourinho Klopp praised what he called 'one of the most successful managers in the world' Continue reading...

16-12-2018 European Rugby Champions Cup: Leinster 42-15 Bath

Champions Cup holders Leinster make up ground on pool leaders Toulouse and end Bath's hopes of reaching the knockout stage with a 42-15 win in Dublin.

16-12-2018 Australia v India: second Test, day three – live!

Updates from the third day of play at Perth StadiumAny thoughts? Email or tweet @GeoffLemonSport 6.07am GMT 2nd over: Australia 1-0 (Harris 1, Finch 0) Bumrah’s turn, who has saved his least effective spells in this series for the start of each innings. He’s right on the mark early here, Harris defending and leaving close to his off-stump, then beaten by the final offering that straightened nicely. 6.05am GMT 1st over: Australia 1-0 (Harris 1, Finch 0) I wonder whether Ishant and co knew it was a hat-trick ball? It was straight, Harris pushing to midwicket to get off the mark first up. Finch’s turn and he’s beaten by an early ripper from the Indian number one. To be fair, he had to play at it. “Just been doing some light statistical fossicking,” reports Ian Forth. “While the test averages of India’s 7-11 add up to 69, that is riches beyond imagination compared to the 7-11 England fielded in the summer of 1999. Irani, Caddick, Mullally, Tufnell and Giddins’ averages added up to a daunting 39, with the last three named going at 5,5 and 2. As has been well said, England went into those tests with four number 12s.”On Day 1, India were very full with the new ball (54% of their deliveries pitching full), but they were too slow for it to be an effective tactic. In particular, Ishant needs to up his speeds from the 134kph he managed in the first innings, otherwise he looks floaty. #AUSvIND Continue reading...

16-12-2018 'Humble and generous, but a private enigma' - who was Leicester City's owner?

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha is revered in Leicester as the man who presided over one of sport's great triumphs - but who was the billionaire Thai businessman?

16-12-2018 'Rugby's like a chessboard with 120kg pieces' - how virtual reality could transform training

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

16-12-2018 British yachtswoman eager to race again after capsizing in storm

Susie Goodall, the only woman in the Golden Globe Race, is unfazed despite being rescued in the Southern OceanA British yachtswoman, who was rescued after her boat capsized during a solo, round-the-world race, has said she would do it again “in a heartbeat”.Susie Goodall’s comments were made after arriving on dry land in Chile, in the southern city of Punta Arenas on Friday, where she was met by her mother and brother. The family smiled and hugged before they joined her in an ambulance for a medical check-up in the port city. Continue reading...

16-12-2018 Football should not carry the can for society’s ills – but can help to remedy them | Barney Ronay

Raheem Sterling kickstarted a welcome debate on racism this week and while the game should not shoulder all the blame perhaps everyone in football has learned somethingTo be fair to the more risque element of Chelsea’s matchday support, they have been very thorough this week in representing the full political spectrum. On the one hand an ad hoc hostile environment for Anglo-Jamaican British citizens. On the other a little throwaway antisemitism on Thursday night in Hungary. This is exemplary political balance and frankly the BBC for one could learn a great deal from it.All that remains to complete the circle is for Sterling’s alleged Stamford Bridge abuser to resign from the East Stand and then turn up six months later as an outside Windrush Ticket bet for the next Conservative prime minister. And for Jeremy Corbyn to condemn, with a sad sigh, not specifically these Yid chants but “all kinds of offensive football chanting everywhere”. Continue reading...

16-12-2018 Taekwondo: GB's Bradly Sinden beats Dae-hoon Lee to reach final

Great Britain's Bradly Sinden beats South Korea's Dae-hoon Lee in dramatic style to reach the -68kg final of the World Taekwondo Grand Slam.

16-12-2018 Luka Milivojevic’s magic lifts Roy Hodgson as Palace edge Leicester

Wilfried who? Crystal Palace, after 14 consecutive defeats across two seasons in Premier League matches played without their star player in the starting line-up, have finally won.It was not pretty but Roy Hodgson did not care on a day that marked the end of relentless speculation that his team are incapable of prevailing without Wilfried Zaha. Continue reading...

16-12-2018 'Fantastic' win completes very good week for Spurs - Mauricio Pochettino

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino praises the character of his "fantastic" players after Spurs secured an important 1-0 home win over Burnley at Wembley Stadium.