Rory McIlroy delighted with Dubai form amid European Tour membership stir

• McIlroy makes 69 in DP World Tour Championship first round • World No 7 undecided on retaining full membership in 2019A welcome 69 for Rory McIlroy in Dubai, which he assessed as “the best I have played in a while”, was immediately overtaken by another subject. It has been that kind of week.Proof that McIlroy remains nothing if not single-minded arrived when the topic of his 2019 schedule was raised again. On Tuesday, the Northern Irishman suggested he might not retain full European Tour membership next year; a day later Paul McGinley, McIlroy’s former Ryder Cup captain, was among those to offer criticism, saying that he was “finding it hard to understand” and found McIlroy’s thinking “very disappointing”. Continue reading...

15-11-2018

World sport: 10 photos we liked this week - 22-28 October

A selection of the most striking sports photographs from around the world this week.

15-11-2018

Women's World T20: India beat Ireland and take 'team hat-trick'

Three wickets in successive balls - though not all credited to the bowler - help India beat Ireland by 52 runs to reach the Women's World Twenty20 semi-finals.

15-11-2018

Olivier Giroud says it is ‘impossible’ to show homosexuality in football

• Chelsea forward says there is a lot of work to be done• Giroud has posed on the cover of a gay magazineChelsea’s forward Olivier Giroud has admitted he “understands the pain and difficulty” that prevents professional footballers coming out as gay, saying that it is “impossible” to show homosexuality in the sport.Giroud, who is in the France squad to face the Netherlands and Uruguay this week, posed on the cover of a gay magazine in 2012. Continue reading...

15-11-2018

Jadon Sancho lights up Wayne Rooney’s farewell match for England against USA

There were glimpses for the majority inside this arena to cherish, flashbacks to the skill and vision Wayne Rooney had delivered for England over a career now complete, and celebrated, at 120 caps. The former captain’s final cameo amounted to 32 minutes, a period illuminated by one sharp shift on to his left foot to whip away a shot that was claimed, one wonderful lofted pass for Ruben Loftus-Cheek to gather, and a shot in injury time which nearly, so nearly, squirmed beneath Brad Guzan and in. His script did not quite extend to a 54th international goal.It mattered not, and he played out his time with a smile. Gareth Southgate, too, could be satisfied with plenty he had seen. Jadon Sancho, such a livewire on the flank, has now served notice of his blistering talent on this stage, and will have enjoyed his rat-a-tat passing routines with Rooney as the clock ticked down for the 33-year-old at this level. England’s past and future had combined in that exchange just inside their opponents’ half. Continue reading...

15-11-2018

Republic of Ireland rescued by Darren Randolph in draw with Northern Ireland

This friendly meeting, laced as it was with all kinds of potential drama, of the two Irish sides was a matter of expediency in the international calendar.A dull scoreless encounter ultimately drew a sense of fateful disappointment for the Republic of Ireland and their manager Martin O’Neill in particular, where Northern Ireland – the country he used to captain with much distinction – should have won. Continue reading...

15-11-2018

Ed Smith’s clever picks have given England a Ferguson-style makeover | The Spin

National selector is doing a brilliant job by using rotation to craft bespoke XIs as the former Man Utd manager once didIt’s often said that selectors, like wicketkeepers and umpires, are doing their best work when you don’t notice them. Since taking over as national selector, Ed Smith has been in the news more than many of the players he has picked – yet he’s doing a brilliant job.There are two main reasons for Smith’s profile. The first, a slightly cringeworthy media obsession with his education, is not his fault. And the second is a virtue – a series of selections that have managed to be innovative and eye-catching without being ostentatious. Continue reading...

15-11-2018

The Breakdown | It was tough on Sam Underhill, but England try was rightly disallowed

Courtney Lawes took a gamble and lost when he charged down TJ Perenara’s kick against the All Blacks. The referee was correctSam Underhill may be one of England’s youngest, least experienced players but he reacted to one of the biggest disappointments of his senior career with a mature detachment. “If the referee says the grass is pink, then the grass is pink,” he said when asked about his disallowed try five minutes from time against New Zealand when Courtney Lawes was ruled to have been offside when he charged down a kick. Related: Japan captain Leitch says his side will not bow down at Twickenham Continue reading...

15-11-2018

Richard Scudamore: Departing Premier League chief to receive £5m farewell gift

Outgoing executive chairman Richard Scudamore will get a £5m farewell bonus paid by clubs, the Premier League confirms.

15-11-2018

Which football teams have worn most kit combinations in a season? | The Knowledge

Plus: huge gaps between victories in the same competition, winning the same title with multiple teams, and loose dentures. Mail [email protected] or tweet @TheKnowledge_GU“It appears that Fulham’s kit designer is having as bad a season as their defensive coach,” muses Richard Hilton. “Fulham have worn five different kit combinations in their first five away matches of the season (red/red; black/black; blue/blue; white/black; white/white). Is this a record?”It turns out Fulham’s kit designer still has a little more meddling to do, Richard. Here’s Chris Oakley. “I can confirm that they have some way to go yet! I’ve been creating some illustrations for Rochdale AFC’s official matchday programme, The Voice of Spotland, which show they had seven kits during the 1997-98 season. Two of them used elements of a kit worn two seasons before.” Continue reading...

15-11-2018

The Spin | England reaping the benefits of Lions tours that turn tyros into Test players

Four of England’s winning Test team in Galle were on a successful Lions tour to Sri Lanka two years ago and this is one part of ECB planning that should be praisedAs the projected costs of The Hundred mount, tripling from the original estimate of £13m up to £40m – and counting – budgets are being slashed at ECB Towers. Gone is Andrew Strauss’s pet North-South series, gone is the not-so-mourned Pace Programme, gone are the Overseas Placements that so benefited Ollie Pope and Mason Crane in consecutive winters in Sydney.But still hanging on, whether by thread or rope, is the Lions Programme, perhaps English cricket’s most secret and deadly weapon. The first part of this winter’s tour starts on Sunday against Pakistan A, with a four-day match at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium. Five one day and two Twenty20 games follow over the next three weeks, ricocheting between Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Pope has been dispatched from the main England tour to get more match practice than he would twiddling his thumbs on the sidelines in Sri Lanka. Then, after Christmas, the Lions head to India. Continue reading...

15-11-2018

Michael O'Neill: It is a game Northern Ireland should have won

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill says he is disappointed his side failed to take their chances in the 0-0 draw away to the Republic of Ireland.

15-11-2018