12-12-2018 '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.

12-12-2018 Irish police investigate rape claim against 'sports star' in Dublin

Woman reportedly filed complaint before being taken to sexual assault unitIrish police are investigating a claim that a prominent sports star raped a young woman in a hotel in Dublin city centre.Detectives from Pearse Street Garda station are investigating the alleged assault, which is said to have happened between midnight and 2am on Monday. Continue reading...

12-12-2018 The Dozen: the weekend’s best Premier League photos

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

12-12-2018 The Fiver: The only people laughing are watching David Luiz’s defending

Sign up now! Sign up now! Sign up now? Sign up now!Is it true that the Fiver never gets invited to cool dinners with influential football intellectuals? The Fiver prefers not to comment on idle speculation. The Fiver has lots of friends! Lots of important and influential friends in high places and anyway its invite to Arrigo Sacchi’s meal with Pep Guardiola and Maurizio Sarri earlier this year probably got lost in the post. So stop laughing. The Fiver totally would have applied for a passport in order to fly to Italy for that. Continue reading...

12-12-2018 The 100 best footballers in the world 2017

Our panel of 169 experts from 63 nations compile a list of the greatest male players in 2017. Click on an individual to read more about their year.• Messi edges Ronaldo to No1 | The data behind our 100 | Watch: our top 10• Meet our panel of judges for 2017 | 2016 edition | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 Continue reading...

12-12-2018 The Breakdown | Neath’s sad decline laid bare as they face judgment day in court | Paul Rees

In dire financial trouble off the pitch, short of players and bottom of the Welsh Premiership, the famous club faces a winding-up order in court on ThursdayBack in the day spectators used to clamber up the floodlight pylons at the Gnoll to get a better view because the terraces were so packed. Now, as Neath faces a winding-up order on Thursday for failing to repay a £30,000 loan taken out to cover wages, the lights may go out for good on Wales’s oldest club.Neath are due to entertain Llanelli on Friday night, a fixture that not long ago would have been a highlight of any club weekend. It will be preceded by a bash for supporters in the clubhouse, but if the court hearing goes against a club whose nickname has long been the Mourners, it would turn into a wake. Continue reading...

12-12-2018 'Solari the stopgap with bigger name to come' - what is going on at Real Madrid?

The relatively unknown Santiago Solari has been placed in charge of Real Madrid - but he is not likely to be in the role for long, writes Andy West.

12-12-2018 Liverpool 1-0 Napoli: Liverpool’s squad strength shows Jurgen Klopp progress

Liverpool's squad strength is the best way to gauge their progress under Jurgen Klopp and it will play a big part in any future success, says Mark Lawrenson.

12-12-2018 Sponsorship milestone shows women’s football is now big business | Suzanne Wrack

Backing by Visa indicates women’s game has value and is the biggest sign of its potential to be self-sustaining to dateSponsorship deals are routinely mocked, from Manchester United’s mattress partners to Everton’s Angry Birds sleeves, with some companies all too keen to get themselves associated with Premier League clubs. And we roll our eyes at the latest madcap scenarios players find themselves in at launch events.However Uefa’s announcement that it has agreed a seven-year deal with Visa as the first sponsor of Uefa women’s football deserves the celebratory tone with which it was unveiled. Because, for a change, it actually is a groundbreaking deal. Why? Because as Nadine Kessler, Uefa’s head of women’s football, said, the aim is “to assign a clear value to women’s football”. Continue reading...

12-12-2018 Barcelona 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur: Mauricio Pochettino says 'mission impossible' achieved

Tottenham achieved "mission impossible" by qualifying for the last 16 of the Champions League, according to manager Mauricio Pochettino.

12-12-2018 Washington show NFL teams would rather lose than sign Colin Kaepernick

Washington were pushing for the playoffs until two of their quarterbacks went down injured. But they have ignored a perfectly solid replacementColin Kaepernick will never play in the NFL again, that much was made clear this week. Washington’s decision to sign the lightweight talents of Mark Sanchez and Josh Johnson over Kaepernick, a week after claiming Reuben Foster – a man arrested twice in the last year for domestic violence – on waivers and announcing to the world that it was prioritizing winning football games above all else, is as shameful as it is predictable.Washington plucked Johnson, who last threw a pass in the NFL in 2011, out of obscurity this week to back up Sanchez after Colt McCoy’s season ended with a broken fibula. McCoy previously replaced Alex Smith, who is out for the season with a broken leg suffered in Week 11. Continue reading...

12-12-2018 Klopp hails 'exceptional' Salah as Liverpool brush Bournemouth aside – video

Jürgen Klopp heaped praise on Mohamed Salah after the Egyptian's second hat-trick for Liverpool powered his team to victory over Bournemouth. The 4-0 win extended Liverpool's unbeaten streak to 17 league games, equalling the club's all-time record. Klopp insisted that all credit for Liverpool's 'massive' Premier League form should go to his players. Continue reading...