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England’s Joe Marler apologises for ‘Gypsy Boy’ comment ahead of hearing

Guardian Sport - Mon, 04/04/2016 - 15:26
• Prop due to appear at World Rugby misconduct hearing on Tuesday
• ‘I’m not a racist. What I said to Samson was out of order’

Joe Marler has apologised for calling Wales prop Samson Lee a “Gypsy Boy”, and insisted he is not a racist ahead of a World Rugby misconduct hearing on Tuesday.

Harlequins front-rower Marler escaped with a reprimand after insulting Scarlets prop Lee in England’s 25-21 RBS 6 Nations win over Wales last month, but could face a retrospective ban from World Rugby.

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Grand National 2016: Former victor Pineau De Re looks sure to miss cut

Guardian Sport - Mon, 04/04/2016 - 15:14
• Richard Newland angry over ‘incredible’ Aintree outcome
• Trainer Jim Best disqualified for four years by BHA

Pineau De Re, winner of the Grand National in 2014, now seems certain to miss the cut for this year’s race on Saturday. The veteran chaser needs five withdrawals from those above him in the list if he is to be allowed to take his chance and his trainer, Dr Richard Newland, who has given up hope, called for a rethink about the way in which horses are qualified for the famous Aintree race.

“It’s very disappointing,” Newland said, “and all the more frustrating because he is in fantastic shape. But everyone else has paid their £5,000 to stay in the entries to this point, so I would think they want to run and we’re not going to get many dropping out.”

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Tuesday's Championship team news

BBC Sport - Mon, 04/04/2016 - 15:06
Previews for all of Tuesday's Championship matches, with leaders Burnley hosting Cardiff City.

Darren Sammy delivers diplomatic masterclass in West Indies’ World Twenty20 triumph | Vic Marks

Guardian Sport - Mon, 04/04/2016 - 15:03
Captain has forged a team of champions by uniting some tricky characters from different nations

It was one of those nights when the man hosting the presentation ceremony, who happened to be Nasser Hussain, barely earned his corn. He had only to ask Darren Sammy one question and the victorious West Indies captain was up and away.

Sammy thanked the Almighty and then berated Mark Nicholas (please do not get this pair confused) before going on to castigate his own board, which had been rather slower than anyone else in the Caribbean to send support and then congratulations for a stunning victory.

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Rules help Football League clubs pass financial health checkup

Guardian Sport - Mon, 04/04/2016 - 14:59
• Only two out of 72 clubs showing signs of distress, say accountants
• TV money and good housekeeping head off problems

Financial fair play-style rules have dramatically improved English football’s financial health in recent years, according to an analysis of clubs’ figures by the accountants, Begbies Traynor.

In an annual report on clubs’ accounts, the firm concluded that of the 72 clubs in the Football League, only two lower division clubs, which were not named, show signs of financial distress. No club in the Premier League, which in 2013 introduced regulations to limit clubs’ losses and spending on players’ wages, are in distress; most now make a profit.

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Watson loses in Katowice first round

BBC Sport - Mon, 04/04/2016 - 14:50
British number two Heather Watson is beaten by Czech Kristyna Pliskova in the opening round of the Katowice Open.

Antonio Conte signs £15m Chelsea deal but faces tough task to keep Diego Costa

Guardian Sport - Mon, 04/04/2016 - 14:30
• Italian will earn £5m bonus if Chelsea qualify for Champions League
• Costa intent on leaving, with Cavani and Higuaín potential replacements

Antonio Conte is convinced he can restore Chelsea to the Champions League at the first time of asking but already faces an uphill task to persuade Diego Costa to remain at Stamford Bridge next season with the Spain international intent on returning to La Liga.

The manager of Italy has signed a three-year contract worth £5m a season, with a £5m bonus should he steer Chelsea to their second European Cup. He will take up the reins once Italy’s participation at Euro 2016 has concluded and will inherit a team who have had a traumatic season and are set to miss out on European competition of any kind for the first time in Roman Abramovich’s 13-year ownership.

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Rangers v Dumbarton

BBC Sport - Mon, 04/04/2016 - 14:27
Rangers can win the Scottish Championship title if they beat Dumbarton at Ibrox on Tuesday evening.

Manchester United’s Luke Shaw returns to training after seven months out

Guardian Sport - Mon, 04/04/2016 - 14:24
• England defender suffered double leg fracture in September
• Juan Mata uploads picture of Shaw in training on to Instagram

Luke Shaw returned to training on Monday for the first time since suffering a double fracture in his leg in September.

The 20-year-old England full-back is entering the final stages of a long rehabilitation for an injury he sustained in the Champions League match at PSV Eindhoven.

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Trainer Best banned for four years

BBC Sport - Mon, 04/04/2016 - 14:24
Trainer Jim Best is disqualified for four years over the running of two horses in races last December.

Bubba Watson: ‘Dad had a dream I’d play baseball and was a little upset when I chose golf’

Guardian Sport - Mon, 04/04/2016 - 14:00
The two-times Masters champion, who was achieving sub-70 rounds by the age of 12, plays down talk of achieving the hat-trick and does not hold back when giving his verdict on the US team’s Ryder Cup woes

Bubba Watson’s willingness to defy convention was apparent in his youth. Had Gerry Watson, the late father of the double Masters champion, had his way there would have been sporting development of an altogether different sort for the man who went on to become one of the best golfers in the world.

“Dad’s favourite team was the Yankees,” says Watson, taking up the story as he prepared for the first major of the year at Augusta this week. “It wasn’t anything bad about golf as a sport, he just had a dream that I would play baseball – and I played it; I was good at it. At high school, my dad said I had to choose; baseball or golf. I chose golf. He was a little upset at first but he got used to the idea – and it worked out.

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Lapasset wants Six Nations relegation

BBC Sport - Mon, 04/04/2016 - 13:58
World Rugby chairman Bernard Lapasset wins backing from Romania's Welsh coach Lynn Howells for relegation from the Six Nations.