ANDREW CORNAGA/PHOTOSPORTNZ Section:GDN 1S PaGe:1 Edition Date:180331 Edition:03 Zone: Sent at 30/3/2018 23:59 cYanmaGentaYellowbla ••• Sports newspaper of the year Light fantastic Joshua sheds the pounds to shape up for Parker showdown Here’s Jonny Bairstow hits ton but England all out in quick time Page 12 Wilkins ﬁght Former England star is put in an induced coma Page 6 Wilshere fearr ld Midﬁelder could or leave Arsenal for free in summerr The Talk Page 4 Saturday 31 March 2018 Section:GDN 1S PaGe:2 Edition Date:180331 Edition:01 Zone: Sent at 30/3/2018 16:04 • 2 The Guardian Saturday 31 March 2018 Sport Boxing Battle of gentleman heavyweights Joshua prepares to unleash his mean streak Joseph Parker, the WBO champion, will be a formidable foe when the Briton tries to add a third ollection world title to collection Kevin Mitchelll Cardiﬀ W hen Anthony Joshua said he wanted to clean up the heavyweight division, he surely did not intend to be mistaken for the Dalai Lama. Yet, in the months, weeks and days leading up to yesterday’s weigh-in at Cardiff, prayer meetings have generated more friction than that between the world champion and his wellmannered New Zealand guest, Joseph Parker, who stands between the Watford man and the ultimate cleansing of the business, against the American Deontay Wilder and then, perhaps, Tyson Fury. That is some way off. For now, we have an argument over three of the four recognised world title belts between two polite gentleman pugilists whose respect for each other borders on friendship, and it moves smoothly towards resolution in front of 80,000 fans at the Principality Stadium tonight. Although Joshua says: “Boxing is not just about knocking people out,” there had been flickering signs of animal tension before yesterday’s cYanmaGentaYellowbla weigh-in, where he scaled 17st 4lb – 12lb lighter than his last fight – to Parker’s 16st 12lb. They intruded most obviously on Sky’s Gloves Off preview, as the whispering adversaries tried to stare each other down across a table in a darkened studio, and the jovial Johnny Nelson did his best to crank up the aggravation. On screen, Parker tried to backtrack on earlier observations that Joshua had a fragile chin, although he added he would be counting on exploiting exactly that as the quickest route to what would be a genuine upset. Joshua glowered – and went all philosophical. “Everything that you are is everything that I am,” he told him, sounding more like Jean-Paul Sartre than Fury, “and everything that you are is what you’re going to face on 31 March.” The Briton – who recovered from a mid-fight crisis to dethrone Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley last year – reminded the rock-chinned Parker: “I may not be as durable but I can definitely take a punch.” That betrayed alarming vulnerability until he added “and get up and keep going – and I’ll get the win”. Sartre – who boxed – would have loved that; his Parisian salon sparring partner, Albert Camus, probably would not. Joshua and Parker, unwittingly perhaps, are on Sartre’s side. Enough. Joshua and Parker are proud representatives of Nigerian and Polynesian fighting heritage respectively, and that will underpin their commitment. There will be plenty of thinking going on but as with every collision in boxing’s most hazardous workplace, the matter will be settled in bruises and split-second regrets. Anyone who saw the Australian ▼ Anthony Joshua survived a scare to beat Wladimir Klitschko in April 2017 RICHARD HEATHCOTE/GETTY IMAGES Lucas Browne fall like an axebattered oak in the sixth round against Dillian Whyte at the O2 in London last weekend – failing to stir until the smelling salts and oxygen kicked in – was reminded of heavyweight boxing’s core truth: stand in front of a heavy puncher for too long and a night in hospital beckons. This fight has all the makings of an equally uncomfortable evening – and, when it gets seriously demanding, Joshua and Parker will draw on the invisible attributes of determination, self-belief and honesty. The boxing ring is no place for liars. Parker earlier in the week spoke of the inner strength he has constructed from the inspiration of a God-fearing upbringing and the comfort of a close Samoan family. His parents will be ringside; his brother in his corner. Joshua, who had his well-publicised brushes with authority on the streets of Watford but learned from his mistakes, responded eloquently to questions about the changes in his teenage attitude and behaviour. When his promoter, Eddie Hearn, described him as “a bad guy trying to be good”, the champion smiled and said: “I get his point but I think what he is saying is that I can be completely different, I can act different. I choose not to. I choose to be respectful. It’s good to look back at the struggle. It shows where you’ve come from, the journey you are on.” Pausing, he asserted: “The world is built on opposites, isn’t it? It’s either success or failure, good or bad. It’s good to show the comparisons.” Asked what the Joshua of 2018 would say to the young “bad” Joshua who was busted for marijuana possession, he said: “That was 2011, a year or so before the Olympics. Watford was everything to me back then. What would I say to that kid? ‘What you see is what you can achieve. If you don’t know there’s a Range Rover out there, you won’t aspire to get one.’ “I would tell that kid to have a broader mindset, not focus on the estate or the community that you know. There’s a whole world out there. There are people with a lot of knowledge. It’s about broadening your horizons. “Kids can feel like there’s nothing out there for them. Life is tough. I won’t tell people it’s easy. And the way the world is set up makes it difficult, doesn’t it? I support a lot of kids, a lot of people, but you can only take them so far. It’s up to them to do the rest.” To that end, Joshua wants to invest some of his considerable fortune in the north London gym, Finchley ABC, where he learned his craft as an amateur, stretching its remit to benefit young boxers away from the ring. “Floyd Mayweather’s gym is an iconic spot in Vegas and people travel from around the world to go there. Finchley has a lot of history and Sean [Murphy, the head coach] is the character of the gym. I just thought, how could you commercialise this space, make it bigger? They should have a foundation where we raise money, have some kind of legacy there, education for kids, tutorship and discipline. ▲ Joseph Parker in action during his win over Hughie Fury last year “Boxing is not just about knocking people out. It’s healthy living, discipline. You mix with different races, culture, religions. Let’s say this religion doesn’t like that religion. In boxing, you shake hands and respect each other. It teaches kids all these benefits. But boxing is also quite backward, old and rugged. I thought they could advance the gym a bit if they wanted to,” said Joshua. ‘I t’s good to challenge kid’s minds. Reading and knowledge used to be forbidden. A lot of secrets, knowledge and wisdom were kept [away from them]. But now you have access to all this knowledge. We shouldn’t take that for granted. It’s all out there. Even though it’s tough, there is a way.” And that is what he has to do tonight, find a way as he reaches for his 21st early finish in 21 professional fights, to keep his WBA and IBF belts and take Parker’s WBO title as well. All the talking will be irrelevant the moment the bell goes. For whom it tolls at the end is up to the fighters. This is no existential game. This is as real as it gets. And it is heartening to realise the fighters are going to battle with clean hearts. They already speak the same language. Like Sartre and Camus, they are ready to put their similar but competing philosophies to the test. I expect Joshua to win the argument in a bloody battle full of drama that ends before the 10th round. Joshua’s weight loss ‘I feel better’ A leaner and lighter Anthony Joshua weighed in six pounds heavier than Joseph Parker, tipping the scales at 17st 4lb 2oz yesterday. “I’ve been running well, training well,” he said. “Losing that little bit of extra weight has made things that little bit easier. I feel better. If everything goes to plan, you’ll see I’ll be a lot sharper and my reactions and timing will be a lot better.” Joshua’s camp had made much his obsession with shedding the pounds and how that had been paying off in his ringcraft and training. Parker took it as a compliment. “It makes me think he’s taking this fight really seriously. He’s trained very hard,” he said. Reuters Section:GDN 1S PaGe:3 Edition Date:180331 Edition:01 Zone: Sent at 30/3/2018 16:04 Saturday 31 March 2018 The Guardian cYanmaGentaYellowbla • 3 Fight zone Joshua v Parker •••••••••••••••••••••••• Wins Wins •••••••••••••••••••• 20 Tale of the tape All by KO/TKO 19 by KO/TKO, 5 on points 15 Oct 1989 Born 9 Jan 1992 Watford Place South Auckland , NZ 28 Age Orthodox 26 Orthodox Stance 6ft 6in Height 6ft 4in 17st 4lb Weight 16st 12lb 82in Reach 76in Total rounds 123 65 ‘I can be completely diﬀerent, I can act diﬀerent. I choose not to. I choose to be respectful’ 24 Expected crowd Tonight Principality Stadium, Cardiﬀ Ringwalk expected 10.15-10.30pm 80,000 Past 3 ﬁghts ts Beat Carlos Takam 28 Oct 2017 Late stand-in Takam lasted 10 rounds before the referee intervened with Takam bleeding around both eyes Beat Wladimir Klitschko 29 Apr 2017 Got up off the floor in the sixth to stop Klitschko in the 11th and add the WBA belt to his IBF title Beat Éric Molina 10 Dec 2016 Referee called a halt in the third with Molina reeling Years since Anthony Joshua was preparing for his breakthrough – winning gold at the London 2012 Olympics Beat hie Fury Hughie 23 Sep 2017 ker found Parker y elusive, Fury was outboxed ly on but early e through came it decision by split Beat Razvan an Cojanu 6 May 2017 Laboured ured to his first defence of the he WBO title. Won on a unanimous animous decision ecision Beat Andy y Ruiz Jr 10 Dec 2016 Parker er grabbed the e vacant WBO O title by a majority decision sion with 115-113 3 from two judgess and a 114114 4 draw 61 Joseph Parker is the only New Zealand-born heavyweight world champion, a feat he achieved last March The undercard Alexander Povetkin v David Price () WBA/WBO heavyweight Pove P weight inter-continental and international v Yonfrez Parejo WBA bantamweight Ryan Burnett B Anthony Crolla v Edson Ramirez Ant rez lightweight v Hakim Ben Ali vacant Joe Cordina Cord nt WBA lightweight Carlos Molina vacant WBA international Josh Kelly v Ca nternational welterweightt v Mose Auimatagi Jr super middleweight Morgan Jones J Sean McGoldrick v Ricky ky Little iej Grafka Joshua Buatsi v Bartlomiej The referee Giuseppe Quartarone Quartaron Italy Took charge at York Hall H for Katie Taylor’s WBA title defence in de December and refere refereed Alexander Povetkin’s WBA heavyweight win heav over Cedric Boswell in 2011 Odds Joshua a 1–6 Parker 9–2 Draw 28–1 TV Live ve on Sky Sports Box Office Radio Live on TalkSport Online e Join Bryan Armen Graham for ourr unrivalled round-by-round coverage age at theguardian.com/sport ‘If you love it, you don’t see it as tough. I enjoy the pain my body goes through’ Section:GDN 1S PaGe:4 Edition Date:180331 Edition:02 Zone: Sent at 30/3/2018 21:19 cYanmaGentaYellowbla •• 4 The Guardian Saturday 31 March 2018 Sport Football The talk Escape like it’s 1999 Mark Hughes will use the memory of Southampton’s great escape in 1999 to help inspire another. “Anxiety plays a bigger part at the wrong end of the table,” he said. News and views from around the game ‘We have to keep Sterling – he knows he is important to us’ Pep Guardiola Pep Guardiola has stressed the importance of Manchester City keeping hold of Raheem Sterling after the 23-year-old impressed again for England in midweek. It is barely a year since the winger’s future at the Etihad appeared to be in doubt, but Guardiola is aware Sterling’s transformation this season into both a goalscorer and effective attacking threat will not have gone unnoticed. The former Liverpool player is under contract until 2020, but it is understood City will open negotiations on an improved extension at the end of the season. “Txiki [Begiristain, the club’s director of football] is talking about that,” Guardiola said before City’s visit to Everton this evening. “There is no doubt we have to keep him. Maybe other clubs are now interested because he is playing so well but he knows how important he is to us.” Sterling was man of the match in England’s 1-1 draw against Italy, and from being a fringe player is now a certain starter when England take to the field in Russia in June. Guardiola revealed that John Stones suffered concussion in the game at Wembley before coming off late in the second half and will have to sit out today’s match at his former club owing to medical protocol. Stones should be able to return for the Champions League quarterfinal at Liverpool on Wednesday, and Guardiola is aware of the danger of the significance of the second trip to Merseyside overshadowing the first. “We have had a three-week break, and plenty of time to review our games this season against Liverpool,” he said. “But I have still tried to prepare for Everton as if it is the most important game of the season. “Goodison is always a tough place to go and I think it would be a mistake to do otherwise. We are very close to the title, two more wins would suffice, but I keep telling my players that though we are in a very good position, it is not done yet.” Paul Wilson Everton v Man City, 5.30pm, today ▲ Raheem Sterling will open talks over a new contract in the summer ‘Wilshere will always have injury’ niggles – it’s how he’s structured’ Steve Bould Arsenal fear midﬁelder could leave for free in June after reduced wages oﬀer Arsenal fear Jack Wilshere will reject their offer of a new contract and leave on a free transfer in the summer. Arsène Wenger has previously suggested the club have made him a take-it-orleave-it offer and, at the moment, it looks as though the midfielder will do the latter. Everton, West Ham and Juventus have been linked with a move for the 26-year-old. Arsenal have proposed a heavily incentivised deal because they are mindful of Wilshere’s fitness record. He pulled out of Gareth Southgate’s England squad during the recent international break with a knee problem but the player has trained and is in contention to face Stoke at Emirates Stadium tomorrow. “That’s the nature of Jack, I’m afraid,” Steve Bould, the assistant manager, said. “He can pick up an injury because his ankle will turn. He’s got a sore knee. I think perhaps he will always have a little niggle here and there because of the way he is structured. But he’s a great player. A fit Jack Wilshere is a very good player.” Bould was asked whether he hoped Wilshere and the club could work out their differences over the new deal and reach an agreement. “Of course,” he said. “I’ve known Jack since he was a real young kid. He loves the football club and we just need him fit more often than he has been in the past. It is something he might have to manage all his career.” The Wilshere contract saga has rumbled on since September, after he chose to stay put at Arsenal and fight for his place. Wenger had told Wilshere that the club would not offer him a new deal and, if he could get something elsewhere, he could take it and go. Wilshere did not find anything and, as he was not fully fit at the ▲ Jack Wilshere is not happy with Arsenal’s £80,000 contract offer DAVID PRICE/ ARSENAL/GETTY time, decided to put his head down, concentrate on his conditioning and hope to impress in the Carabao Cup and Europa League – which he did. He worked his way back into Wenger’s first-choice team in December and there have been games in which he has shown his best form. Wilshere has managed to change Wenger’s mind about him to the extent that he does now have the Arsène Wenger won’t break the bank to keep Jack Wilshere offer of a contract, albeit on reduced basic terms of £80,000 a week, which he finds unacceptable. But the question has nagged away as to how much Arsenal truly want him to stay at the club. They have shown the ability to break the bank for players they consider essential – for example, Mesut Özil agreed a new deal worth £350,000-a-week in February when it looked as though he was planning to make a summer departure as a free agent. A similar offer was also made to Alexis Sánchez, although in the end it was not enough to keep him from departing the club for Manchester United. Wilshere has said that his preference is to stay at the club he joined at the age of nine. Something significant must give for that to happen, however. David Hytner Arsenal v Stoke, 1.30pm, tomorrow Section:GDN 1S PaGe:5 Edition Date:180331 Edition:02 Zone: Sent at 30/3/2018 21:43 Saturday 31 March 2018 The Guardian cYanmaGentaYellowbla •• Football ﬁxtures, results and tables Cook’s added ingredient Eddie Howe believes Lewis Cook can make England’s World Cup squad after his debut this week: “I think it can give him that confidence to say he deserved to be there.” Pardew hopes for Baggies stay Alan Pardew wants to remain at West Brom even if they are relegated. “I’d like to come back with a squad that better reflects the way I play, with more attacking prowess.” SKY BET CHAMPIONSHIP P W Wolves 39 26 Cardiff 38 24 Fulham 39 20 Aston Villa 38 20 Derby 38 16 Middlesbrough 39 18 Bristol City 39 16 Millwall 39 16 Sheffield Utd 39 18 Preston 39 15 Brentford 39 14 Leeds 39 15 Ipswich 38 15 Norwich 39 13 QPR 39 12 Nottm Forest 39 13 Sheffield Wed 39 10 Hull 38 9 Reading 39 9 Bolton 39 9 Barnsley 39 7 Birmingham 38 9 Sunderland 39 6 Burton Albion 39 7 ‘Ask Pogba about his dip in form when you get a chance. It’s not to do with his injury’ José Mourinho ‘Liverpool have only ﬁnals from now on’ Jürgen Klopp Jürgen Klopp has said Liverpool are well-equipped for the series of “ﬁnals” that will deﬁne their season. The Liverpool manager takes charge of his 100th Premier League game at Crystal Palace where victory, coupled with a Tottenham win over Chelsea tomorrow, would establish a 10-point lead over the champions in the race for a Champions League place. Liverpool then face Manchester City in a Champions League quarterﬁnal, either side of a Merseyside derby. “We have only ﬁnals from now on,” Klopp said. “As we have said before, you create the basis for the ﬁnish. We are in a good position.” Klopp will be without Joe Gomez () who is out for three to four weeks with an ankle injury. Andy Hunter Crystal Palace v Liverpool, 12.30pm today José Mourinho denied Paul Pogba’s drop in form is a hangover from the serious hamstring injury he suffered in September, with Manchester United’s manager saying the £89m midfielder should be asked the reason why he is struggling. Mourinho also said he expects Luke Shaw to still be at United next season, despite substituting the defender at half-time in the win over Brighton before the international break and again criticising the left-back’s display. Pogba suffered the hamstring problem early in the first half of the 3-0 win over Basel in the Champions League on 12 September. He had been in fine form until then but since his return for the 4-1 victory over Newcastle in November, the 25-year-old has laboured. While Pogba was dropped and an unused replacement against Brighton, Mourinho dismissed the suggestion the player’s continued omission was because of any lingering effects of his spell out. “It’s nothing to do with his injury,” Mourinho said. “His recovery was good.” Pressed on what the dip in form is down to, Mourinho said: “Ask him when you get a chance.” Pogba scored for France in their 3-1 friendly win in Russia on Tuesday, yet Mourinho refused to give an assessment of his display. “I don’t comment on my players’ performances in national teams,” he said. Of Shaw still being at Old Trafford next season, Mourinho said: “I think so but I always say the door is open for everyone [to leave] so no problem for him.” Mourinho also confirmed Shaw is in the squad for today’s home game against Swansea. “He’s selected, he’s in the 18,” the manager said. Jamie Jackson Manchester United v Swansea, 3pm, today Sam Allardyce believes Jordan Pickford has strengthened his claims to be England’s World Cup goalkeeper not only with an impressive display against the Netherlands but also with his performances throughout Everton’s difficult season. Pickford has been one of Everton’s few transfer successes of last summer and during England’s recent 1-0 win in Amsterdam enhanced his prospects of starting in Russia next summer. The 24-year-old has conceded 50 Premier League goals in his debut season at Goodison Park but that statistic, Allardyce argues, reflects the team’s struggles in general and not the goalkeeper’s form. The Everton manager said: “He’s given Gareth a lot to think about with his performance the other night and his performances for us. People go on about him conceding a lot of goals for Everton but that is not the statistic you look at. You look at the saves he makes. He’s been far too busy on too many occasions.” Allardyce said he has never felt insecure in his position at Everton, despite criticism from fans and other managers being linked with the job. “It is not an insecure position and never has been,” he said. “You can create as much insecurity as you like with speculation but the reality is I have never felt insecure.” Andy Hunter Everton v Manchester City, 5.30pm today A 34 32 41 37 38 38 44 37 44 41 47 54 48 46 56 56 53 59 57 58 58 57 69 70 GD +37 +29 +27 +24 +18 +17 +12 +11 +8 +8 +8 -2 -1 -5 -11 -13 -8 -6 -12 -24 -19 -29 -27 -42 Pts 85 79 72 69 62 62 62 61 61 60 55 53 52 52 47 46 44 39 39 39 34 33 31 30 Lincoln City Mansfield Swindon Carlisle Colchester Newport County Cambridge Utd Crawley Town Cheltenham Stevenage Crewe Yeovil Morecambe Port Vale Forest Green Grimsby Chesterfield Barnet 39 39 39 40 40 39 40 40 40 39 40 37 39 40 39 40 38 40 17 16 19 16 15 13 14 15 12 11 13 11 9 10 11 9 9 8 13 15 4 12 13 15 12 8 12 12 4 9 15 12 7 11 7 9 9 8 16 12 12 11 14 17 16 16 23 17 15 18 21 20 22 23 56 56 60 57 49 49 42 50 58 50 50 47 38 43 47 32 41 36 42 41 59 49 44 50 52 57 58 56 65 57 48 55 67 61 68 59 +14 +15 +1 +8 +5 -1 -10 -7 0 -6 -15 -10 -10 -12 -20 -29 -27 -23 64 63 61 60 58 54 54 53 48 45 43 42 42 42 40 38 34 33 Barnet (0) 2 Akinde 51pen 87pen 1,951 Crewe McKirdy 70 (0) 1 Cambridge Utd Ibehre 4 Maris 22 Brown 59 (2) 3 Crawley Payne 49pen (0) 1 Cheltenham 3,107 (0) 0 Carlisle Devitt 74pen (0) 1 Colchester Eastman 15 Prosser 28 (2) 2 Luton Hylton 88pen 5,461 (0) 1 Grimsby 5,368 (0) 0 Stevenage (0) 0 Lincoln City Rowe 60 Green 62 Palmer 86 (0) 3 Exeter Stockley 10 Taylor 78 9,785 (1) 2 Mansfield 5,053 (0) 0 Accrington Stanley Conneely 60 (0) 1 Newport County Demetriou 40 4,667 (1) 1 Coventry Biamou 79 (0) 1 4,131 Bristol City Diedhiou 31 Brownhill 90 (1) 2 Brentford Mepham 68 11,174 (0) 1 Sheffield Utd Basham 55 (0) 1 Cardiff Zohore 16 Mendez-Laing 45 Paterson 64 (2) 3 Burton Albion Bent 21 (1) 1 Derby Vydra 42 27,890 (1) 1 Sunderland (2) 4 Honeyman 10, Fletcher 36 McGeady 50pen, O’Shea 76 Leeds Ekuban 4 Hernández 50 (1) 2 Bolton Le Fondre 53 35,377 (0) 1 Wycombe (0) 0 (0) 1 Wolves Costa 32 Cavaleiro 37 (2) 2 Notts County 8,038 (0) 0 Middlesbrough Bamford 90 27,658 Nottingham Forest (0) 0 Chesterfield Reed 56 5,713 (0) 1 (2) 2 Port Vale Pugh 45 Whitfield 82 (1) 2 Millwall Williams 1 Gregory 33 Fulham Johansen 66 Cairney 70 (0) 2 Morecambe Lang 43 (1) 1 (0) 0 Swindon Norris 55pen 6,328 (0) 1 Norwich (1) 1 QPR 20,273 (0) 0 Preston Moult 72 26,588 (0) 1 21,086 16,004 Sheffield Wed (0) 4 Nuhiu 50 90, João 52 Forestieri 90 SKY BET LEAGUE ONE P Wigan 37 Blackburn 38 Shrewsbury 39 Rotherham 39 Scunthorpe 40 Plymouth 39 Peterborough 39 Charlton 38 Portsmouth 38 Bristol Rovers 39 Bradford 38 Southend 39 Doncaster 38 Gillingham 38 Fleetwood Town 39 Blackpool 39 Oxford Utd 38 Walsall 38 MK Dons 39 AFC Wimbledon 39 Oldham 37 Northampton 40 Rochdale 37 Bury 39 AFC Wimbledon 4,378 Blackpool Daniel 56 4,533 Bristol Rovers Telford 65 Lines 85pen Northampton W 24 23 23 20 15 17 15 16 17 16 16 13 12 12 13 11 12 11 10 11 10 10 8 7 (0) 0 (0) 1 (0) 2 (0) 0 6,416 Join us live Coverage of Bayern v Dortmund and LA Galaxy v LA FC today theguardian. com/football F 71 61 68 61 56 55 56 48 52 49 55 52 47 41 45 43 45 53 45 34 39 28 42 28 (1) 2 Reading Aluko 13 Sam Allardyce L 6 7 7 9 8 13 9 10 14 9 12 16 16 13 16 19 15 17 18 18 19 23 20 23 Barnsley Moore 7, Potts 78 12,236 26,750 ‘Pickford’s given England a lot to consider with his displays in Amsterdam and for us’ D 7 7 12 9 14 8 14 13 7 15 13 8 7 13 11 7 14 12 12 12 13 6 13 9 5 Oxford Utd Henry 56pen 7,479 (0) 1 Plymouth Lameiras 3 88 Carey 33 52 (2) 4 D 8 10 9 6 15 9 13 10 4 6 5 11 13 13 9 14 10 11 12 9 10 10 14 9 L 5 5 7 13 10 13 11 12 17 17 17 15 13 13 17 14 16 16 17 19 17 20 15 23 F 71 72 52 64 57 51 61 50 48 56 49 45 47 43 51 45 53 47 39 37 50 36 38 32 A 23 35 31 46 48 47 49 46 47 58 56 59 45 43 57 50 58 57 52 50 65 67 46 59 GD +48 +37 +21 +18 +9 +4 +12 +4 +1 -2 -7 -14 +2 0 -6 -5 -5 -10 -13 -13 -15 -31 -8 -27 Fleetwood Sowerby 22 Doncaster Rowe 43 70 Pts 80 79 78 66 60 60 58 58 55 54 53 50 49 49 48 47 46 44 42 42 40 40 38 30 (1) 1 (1) 2 Bury Danns 54 9,030 Charlton Reeves 14 Fosu 19 51 Magennis 79 (0) 1 (2) 4 Scunthorpe Toney 12 (1) 1 Southend (0) 0 11,965 Yeovil (-) P Forest Green (match postponed – waterlogged pitch) (-) P VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE Boreham Wood 0 Barrow 0; Bromley 1 Wrexham 1; Chester 0 Torquay 2; Dover P Tranmere P (waterlogged pitch); Eastleigh P Ebbsfleet Utd P (waterlogged pitch); Fylde 2 Halifax 0; Gateshead 0 Dag & Red 0; Guiseley 1 Leyton Orient 3; Maidenhead Utd 2 Sutton Utd 3; Maidstone Utd 1 Hartlepool 2; Solihull Moors 0 Aldershot 0; Woking 2 Macclesfield 3. Leading standings: 1 Macclesfield P40 Pts78; 2 Sutton 39-72; 3 Wrexham 40-68 VANARAMA NATIONAL NORTH Alfreton Town 1 Nuneaton 1; Boston Utd 3 Kidderminster 2; Brackley 0 Harrogate Town 0; Bradford PA 2 Stockport County 3; Gainsborough 4 Spennymoor Town 1; Salford City 2 Curzon Ashton 1; Tamworth 4 North Ferriby Utd 1. Leading standings: 1 Salford City P37 Pts79; 2 Harrogate 36-73; 3 Brackley 34-68 VANARAMA NATIONAL SOUTH Bognor Regis P Chelmsford P (waterlogged pitch); Braintree 0 Oxford City 0; Concord Rangers P Hungerford Town P (waterlogged pitch); Dartford 1 Hampton & Richmond 0; Havant & Waterlooville 2 Weston-super-Mare 0; Poole P Whitehawk P (waterlogged pitch); Truro City 3 Hemel Hempstead 3; Welling P Bath City P (waterlogged pitch). Leading standings: 1 Havant & Waterlooville P36 Pts70; 2 Dartford 36-68; 3 Hampton & Richmond 36-63 Fixtures 3pm unless stated SKY BET CHAMPIONSHIP Birmingham v Ipswich; Hull v Aston Villa (5.30pm) SKY BET LEAGUE ONE Walsall v Portsmouth LADBROKES SCOTTISH PREMIERSHIP P W D L F A GD Pts Celtic 30 20 8 2 59 20 +39 68 Rangers 31 18 4 9 61 36 +25 58 Aberdeen 30 17 5 8 44 33 +11 56 Hibernian 30 14 10 6 43 33 +10 52 Kilmarnock 30 12 10 8 40 38 +2 46 Hearts 31 10 12 9 32 29 +3 42 St Johnstone 31 10 7 14 31 43 -12 37 Motherwell 30 10 6 14 34 39 -5 36 Hamilton 29 8 6 15 40 51 -11 30 Dundee 30 8 4 18 30 48 -18 28 Partick 30 6 7 17 26 50 -24 25 Ross County 30 5 7 18 33 53 -20 22 Aberdeen v St Johnstone; Celtic v Ross County; Hibernian v Partick; Kilmarnock v Hamilton; Motherwell v Rangers (12.30pm) LADBROKES SCOTTISH CHAMPIONSHIP Dumbarton v Livingston; Dunfermline v Queen of the South; Falkirk v Brechin; Inverness CT v St Mirren; Morton v Dundee Utd Rochdale (1) 3 Rathbone 45 Davies 80, Henderson 90 Shrewsbury Thomas 8 2,817 (1) 1 Rotherham Lavery 68 9,573 (0) 1 Peterborough Marriott 90 (0) 1 LADBROKES SCOTTISH LEAGUE ONE Alloa v Arbroath; East Fife v Ayr; Queen’s Park v Airdrieonians; Raith v Albion Rovers; Stranraer v Forfar Wigan Grigg 40 Vaughan 49 Powell 66 (1) 3 Oldham (0) 0 LADBROKES SCOTTISH LEAGUE TWO Annan Athletic v Berwick; Cowdenbeath v Stenhousemuir; Elgin v Stirling Albion; Montrose v Edinburgh City; Peterhead v Clyde SKY BET LEAGUE TWO P Accrington Stanley 38 Luton 40 Wycombe 40 Notts County 40 Exeter 39 Coventry 39 10,625 W D L F 24 5 9 65 21 11 8 82 20 11 9 73 18 13 9 61 20 6 13 52 19 8 12 48 A 40 42 54 42 44 32 GD +25 +40 +19 +19 +8 +16 Pts 77 74 71 67 66 65 PRESS & JOURNAL HIGHLAND LEAGUE Brora v Turriff Utd; Buckie Thistle v Forres Mechanics; Clachnacuddin v Huntly; Fort William v Cove Rangers; Keith v Nairn County; Strathspey Thistle v Lossiemouth; Wick Academy v Deveronvale FERRARI PACKAGING LOWLAND LEAGUE Cumbernauld Colts v Gretna; East Stirlingshire v Spartans; Gala Fairydean v Hawick RA; Selkirk v Dalbeattie Star Section:GDN 1S PaGe:6 Edition Date:180331 Edition:03 Zone: Sent at 31/3/2018 0:01 ••• The Guardian Saturday 31 March 2018 Sport Football 6 Alderweireld’s World Cup bid will not inﬂuence Pochettino David Hytner MARK RALSTON/AFP/ GETTY IMAGES cYanmaGentaYellowblac ‘The lion is hungry’ Zlatan Ibrahimovic was in typically bombastic form when he was introduced by LA Galaxy, his new team. “I feel young, I feel like Benjamin Button. Don’t worry about my age,“ said the 36-year-old striker. “I feel excited, the lion is hungry.” Guardian sport Wilkins ﬁghting for life after cardiac arrest Ray Wilkins has been placed in an induced coma after suffering a cardiac arrest and a fall. The Chelsea legend and former England international was taken to St George’s Hospital in south London last night with his son Ross saying it would be “touch and go whether my father will get through this”. “He’s in hospital, he’s had a cardiac arrest and is in intensive care,” Jackie Wilkins, his wife, told the Daily Mirror. “He is not in a good state at all, I’m afraid. He’s critically ill. The cardiac arrest led to a fall which has meant he’s had to be put in an induced coma. It’s very, very bad.” The 61-year-old won 84 England caps between 1976 and 1986 and had a hugely successful playing and coaching career starting at Chelsea and Man- chester United before spells at Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, Rangers and Queens Park Rangers, among others. Many of these clubs posted messages of support yesterday. Wilkins was given the all clear after a double-heart bypass last summer and also revealed in 2014 that he was battling ulcerative colitis but he has worked regularly as a media pundit, appearing on Alan Brazil’s breakfast show on Talksport as recently as Tuesday morning. “It’s a very difficult time for the family. He’s going to have a further scan on Tuesday,” his wife added. “We hope to have an update then.” Michael Butler ▲ Ray Wilkins has been put in an induced coma after a cardiac arrest Mauricio Pochettino will not change his defensive system to accommodate the fit-again Toby Alderweireld and has made it plain the centre-half is behind Jan Vertonghen and Davinson Sánchez in the Tottenham pecking order. Alderweireld has endured a torrid five-months, during which he has had hamstring problems and made only two appearances for the club. When he has felt fit, there have been times when Pochettino has disagreed and left him out – namely for the Arsenal and Juventus games in mid-February. The situation has come against the backdrop of a breakdown in negotiations over a new contract and it has not been difficult to pick up on the mood at the club – he has become a disposable asset. Because of a clause in his deal, he can be bought for £25m in the summer of 2019. If Tottenham can get more for him this year, they may take it. The 29-year-old re-injured his hamstring in training on 22 February and Spurs improving quicker than us, says Conte Dominic Fifield Antonio Conte believes Tottenham are ahead of Chelsea in their development even though the Stamford Bridge club denied their London rivals in the race for last season’s title. The champions go into tomorrow’s derby five points behind Tottenham with both clubs targeting a top-four finish and the FA Cup from the runin to a draining campaign. Conte has suggested in the past that Spurs have benefited in recent years without the ▲ The defender Toby Alderweireld has become disposable at Tottenham returned to the squad for the FA Cup tie at Swansea on 17 March, when he was an unused substitute. Alderweireld played 90 minutes for Belgium on Tuesday in the 4-0 friendly win over Saudi Arabia but the national coach, Roberto Martínez, has warned his place in the World Cup team will be under threat if he remains on the fringes at Tottenham. Pochettino is unmoved by potential World Cup heartbreak. He stressed he would continue to pick a starting XI purely in Tottenham’s interests and at the moment that means sticking with Vertonghen and Sánchez, which he will do against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge tomorrow. Sánchez arrived in a club record £42m deal from Ajax last same levels of expectation heaped upon managers at Stamford Bridge, though he acknowledged they have made considerable progress under Mauricio Pochettino. “I think they have started before us,” he said of Spurs’ development. “I am talking about my period, my era, at Chelsea. We are talking about a team who, in the last few years, have been competing to win the title. Don’t forget that, two years ago, they were very close to winning the title when Leicester won it. Last season they tried to compete with us. Don’t forget that our run-in to the season was incredible. We won eight of our last 10 games. “So for sure, now, they are ahead of us in terms of that development.” For all Spurs’ excellence under Pochettino, they are still to win a trophy under the Argentinian. “Every manager wants to win a trophy,” added Conte, who has welcomed summer and it is difficult to overstate how highly the manager rates the 21-year-old. “Every single player needs to show in training that they are better than their team-mate and then I pick,” Pochettino said. “In the last four or five months Toby has struggled with his injury. Now, he is playing and we use a back four, with two centre-backs, and we play Jan and Davinson. I am not going to change the system [to three centre-backs] because Toby needs to play in the World Cup and he needs to play [at Tottenham]. “I need to pick two centre-backs and, if you are happy, you keep the couple of players and he needs to wait. Like everyone. It’s the same situation with different players, like Moussa Sissoko. He maybe needs to play more because he was out of the France squad. “I have an amazing relationship with Roberto. He texted me about his comments and I replied. I fully understand them. What do the national team managers want? They want their players to play. But my focus is to win games with Tottenham. I cannot be kind with every single manager. “What can I do? I cannot play with 13 or 14 players. If Toby keeps working hard, he is going to have the possibility to play and compete. He is an experienced player. He needs to be fit and to be fit, he needs to train every day and give his best. That is enough, no?” Andreas Christensen back to training after a groin complaint and will assess Thibaut Courtois’s hamstring problem tomorrow. “But, if you just want to win trophies, maybe for important managers it’s easier to go to another country. “In England, if you stay here, never, never will it be easy to win trophies. To be a coach in this league is a great achievement for a manager, because the tournament is so difficult.” ▲ Antonio Conte’s Chelsea must beat Spurs to maintain top-four ambitions Section:GDN 1S PaGe:7 Edition Date:180331 Edition:02 Zone: Sent at 30/3/2018 21:57 Saturday 31 March 2018 The Guardian cYanmaGentaYellowbla •• 7 ▼ Ivan Cavaleiro turns away after scoring Wolves’ second goal SAM BAGNALL/AMA/GETTY IMAGES Sky Bet Championship Nuno celebrates ‘massive win’ for fractious nine-man Wolves Middlesbrough 1 Bamford 90 Wolves 2 Costa 32, Cavaleiro 37 Louise Taylor Riverside Stadium Rúben Neves and Matt Doherty were sent off as Wolves lost their tempers on Teesside but even the reduction to nine men failed to prevent Nuno Espírito Santo’s side from extending an apparently unassailable lead at the top of the Championship. While three wins would guarantee Wolves promotion, Tony Pulis’s Middlesbrough cling to sixth place on goal difference. If they are to reach, let alone win, the play-offs, a team increasingly built around the attacking talents of Adama Traoré will need to be rather more ruthless than this. Although the largely isolated Patrick Bamford registered his ninth goal in seven games with a brilliant 94thminute volley, it was too little too late. “I’m really disappointed; nine men behind the ball can make it difficult for you but we lacked a bit of quality,” said Pulis, whose midfield sat deep and lacked invention. Boro’s manager suffered the indignity of a seemingly out of control Nuno declining to shake his hand at the final whistle before provocatively, manically, jumping up and down in celebration in front of him. It was needless and hardly classy, and stewards, sensing potential trouble, surrounded the pair. Pulis, though, played things down. “It don’t make no difference to me,” he said. “It would have been different if I’d known him but I don’t know the fellow.” Nuno claimed the indiscipline Rúben Neves is sent off by Stuart Attwell stemmed from the referee’s perceived failure to send off George Friend for a supposedly “professional” foul on Hélder Costa that many neutrals interpreted as a dive on the forward’s part. “A bad decision caused the emotions,” said a manager whose otherwise elegant side’s often rough treatment of Traoré in a game of two red cards and eight yellows showed Wolves know how to play tough. “It was difficult to keep calm. Both teams lost control. It was crazy.” And his celebration? “I jumped in the air. I was very happy.” An absorbing first half was littered with evidence revealing precisely why Wolves are cantering to the title, not to mention why Traoré is arguably the division’s most dangerous attacking force and why Neves’s excellent central midfield skills will surely enhance the Premier League. By the end of it Darren Randolph had made a couple of exceptional saves following subtly swerving long-range Neves shots and the visitors had scored twice. After Randolph saved from Costa, Ivan Cavaleiro performed wonders to keep the ball in play, permitting it to fall to Barry Douglas, whose audaciously chipped, high-calibre pass was volleyed home, left-footed, by Costa. The second goal arrived from a corner after Randolph could only parry Willy Boly’s header and Cavaleiro headed in the rebound. Neves was sent off after receiving his second yellow card in as few minutes. Newly booked for dissent, he then slid recklessly into a lunge on Friend. Bamford, set up superbly by Traoré, lost his footing while shaping to shoot, and Doherty lost his composure, catching Friend’s head with an elbow as they challenged for a high ball and seeing a second yellow card and dismissal. Nuno’s nine men somehow held on. “It’s massive,” Nuno said. “A massive win.” Middlesbrough 4-3-3 Randolph; Shotton• (Cranie• 70), Ayala, Gibson, Friend; Clayton (Assombalonga 70), Leadbitter• (Howson 63), Friend; Traoré, Bamford, Downing Subs not used Konstantopoulos, Fry, Harrison, Baker Wolves 3-4-3 Ruddy•; Bennett•, Coady, Boly; Doherty•, Saïss•, Neves•, Douglas; Costa (Gibbs-White 84), Afobe (Bonatini 63), Cavaleiro (N’Diaye 58) Subs not used Batth, Vinagre, Hause, Norris Referee Stuart Attwell Attendance 27,658 Sky Bet Championship roundup Sunderland make it a very good Friday Sunderland lifted themselves off the bottom of the Championship with an astounding 4-1 win at play-off contenders Derby County. A Craig Forsyth own goal and an Ashley Fletcher strike gave Chris Coleman’s side a two-goal lead before Matej Vydra pulled one back. However, after Forsyth gave away a penalty, Aiden McGeady converted a second-half penalty and John O’Shea’s first club goal for more than four years made it a very good Friday for Sunderland. Cardiff beat relegation-battlers Burton 3-1 to extend their winning run to eight games. Kenneth Zohore, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Callum Paterson scored for the hosts, with Darren Bent on target for Burton. Paul Clement made a winning start as the Reading manager as his 10-man side eased their relegation fears with a 1-0 home win over QPR. Sone Aluko’s fine individual goal in the first half secured their first victory in 10 matches, moving them six points clear of the bottom three. Millwall’s 2-0 home victory over Nottingham Forest means they remain in contention for a topsix finish having recorded a 13th successive match unbeaten. They scored with only 27 seconds on the clock through a header from Shaun Williams and looked in control after Lee Gregory’s 10th of the season, in the 33rd minute, doubled the lead. Fulham maintained their push for promotion with a 2-0 win over Norwich at Carrow Road. They secured the points thanks to two goals in four minutes, with Stefan Johansen and Tom Cairney on target. Caleb Ekuban and Pablo Hernández scored as Leeds beat Bolton 2-1 at Elland Road. Sheffield United and Brentford both had a player sent off as they drew 1-1. Chris Basham put the Blades in front only for Chris Mepham to level things up. Jamal Blackman and Ryan Woods were then shown straight red cards. Guardian sport Section:GDN 1S PaGe:8 Edition Date:180331 Edition:01 Zone: Sent at 30/3/2018 16:56 cYanmaGentaYellowbla • The Guardian Saturday 31 March 2018 Sport Football Premier League 8 How they stand P Manchester City HOME D L F W 30 14 1 A W 0 51 10 12 AWAY D L F 2 A GD Pts Form 1 34 10 +65 81 WDWWWW Manchester Utd 30 12 2 1 33 7 8 3 4 25 16 +35 65 WLWWWW Liverpool 31 10 6 0 38 10 8 3 4 35 24 +39 63 WWWLLW Tottenham 30 10 4 1 31 9 8 3 4 28 16 +34 61 DWWWWW Chelsea 30 10 2 3 26 11 7 3 5 26 16 +25 56 LWLLWW Arsenal 30 11 2 2 39 17 3 4 8 16 24 +14 48 WLLLWW Burnley 30 6 4 5 12 12 5 6 4 15 14 +1 43 DLDWWW Leicester 30 6 5 4 21 17 4 5 6 24 26 +2 40 DLDDWW Everton 31 9 2 4 25 18 2 5 9 12 32 -13 40 WLLWWW Bournemouth 31 6 4 6 23 26 3 5 7 14 23 -12 36 LDDLLW Watford 31 6 4 5 22 26 4 2 10 17 29 -16 36 LWWLLL Brighton 30 6 6 3 21 21 2 4 -12 34 WDWWLL 9 7 19 Newcastle 30 5 4 6 15 15 3 4 8 15 25 -10 32 DWDLWW Swansea 30 6 2 7 15 19 2 5 8 10 23 -17 31 DWLWDD Huddersfield 31 5 5 6 15 22 3 2 10 10 30 -27 31 WWLDDL Crystal Palace 31 4 5 6 18 23 3 4 9 12 25 -18 30 LLLLLW West Ham 30 5 4 5 16 20 2 5 9 20 37 -21 30 LWLLLL Southampton 30 3 7 6 16 21 2 6 6 13 23 -15 28 WLDDLL 9 12 33 Stoke 31 5 4 7 17 25 1 5 West Brom 31 2 7 6 16 24 1 4 11 8 25 Will Sparky ﬂy? Southampton’s Mark Hughes begins his sixth Premier League tenure with a six-pointer at West Ham. Here is his top-ﬂight record 155 won Man City In all his premier league games in charge, Hughes has a -29 27 LDDDLL 25 20 LLLLLL LLLLL -25 Leading goalscorers 28 24 21 15 14 14 14 12 Mohamed Salah Liverpooll Harry Kane Tottenham Sergio Agüero Man City Raheem Sterling Man City y Roberto Firmino Liverpooll Romelu Lukaku Man Utd Jamie Vardy () Leicester Son Heung-min Tottenham m Debut match Aston Villa 4 Man City 2 170 lost Blackburn Rovers 40% Debut match Liverpool 1 Stoke 0 Stoke City from 55 34.9% 39.5% 33.3% win rate from a total of 444 games from 147 games from 174 games Fulham 29% from 38 Debut match Blackburn 1 Portsmouth 0 Debut match Bolton 0 Fulham 0 119 draw QPR 20% Debut match Newcastle 1 QPR 0 from 30 SOURCE: PERFORM GROUP Arsenal Brighton Chelsea Crystal Palace Stoke Leicester Tottenham Liverpool p Tomorrow 1.30pm SSPL Venue Emirates Stadium Last season Arsenal 3 Stoke 1 Odds H 1-3 A 10-1 D 5-1 Today 3pm Tomorrow 4pm SSPL Venue Stamford Bridge ea 2 Last season Chelsea Tottenham 1 Odds H 13-9 A 9-4 D 29-12 Today 12.30pm SSPL Venue Selhurst Park Last season Crystal Palace 2 Liverpool 4 Odds H 15-2 A 8-15 D 4-1 • Bellerín • Cech • • Koscielny Mustafi • Ramsey • Mkhitaryan • Wilshere • Ndiaye • Stafylidis • Cameron • Zouma • Ryan • Monreal • Schelotto • Xhaka • Aubameyang • Diouf • Sobhi Venue Amex Stadium Last season n/a Odds H 20-11 A 2-1 D 9-4 • Özil • Shaqiri • Allen • Bauer • Shawcross • Butland ARSENAL Subs from Ospina, Macey, Iliev, Chambers, Holding, Maitland-Niles, Kolasinac, Mavropanos, Mertesacker, Elneny, Iwobi, Nelson, Welbeck, Lacazette Doubtful None Injured Cazorla (achilles, unknown) Suspended None Discipline Y46 R0 Leading scorer Lacazette 9 STOKE Subs from Haugaard, Niakete, Edwards, Johnson, Wimmer, Fletcher, Campbell, Berahino, Rodríguez, Martins Indi, Crouch Doubtful Cameron (hamstring) Injured Choupo-Moting (groin, 16 Apr), Grant (wrist, unknown), Ireland (calf, unknown) Suspended Adam (first of three) Discipline Y42 R1 Leading scorer Shaqiri 7 Referee Craig Pawson • Duffy • Dunk • Stephens • Pröpper • March • Gross • Albrighton • Murray • Vardy • Okazaki • Ndidi • Chilwell • Maguire • Bong • Izquierdo • Mahrez • Iborra • Simpson • Morgan • Schmeichel • Courtois • • • Azpilicueta Cahill Rüdiger • • Moses Alonso • • Kanté Bakayoko • • Willian Hazard • Morata • Son • • • Eriksen Alli Lamela • • Dembélé Dier • • Davies Trippier • • Vertonghen Sánchez • Lloris BRIGHTON Subs from Krul, Mäenpää, Huenemaier, Rosenior, Bruno, Goldson, Suttner, Kayal, Baldock, Hemed, Ulloa, Locadia, Gyökeres Doubtful Stephens (hamstring) Injured Brown (knee, unknown), Sidwell (back, unknown), Skalak (ankle, unknown) Suspended Knockaert (second of three) Discipline Y43 R1 Leading scorer Murray 11 CHELSEA Subs from Caballero, Eduardo, Christensen, Drinkwater, Emerson, Pedro, Zappacosta, Fàbregas, Sterling, Hudson-Odoi, Giroud Doubtful Christensen (groin), Courtois (hamstring) Injured Barkley (hamstring, Apr), David Luiz (ankle, 21 Apr), Ampadu (ankle, Aug) Suspended None Discipline Y34 R4 Leading scorer Hazard 11 LEICESTER Subs from Hamer, Jakupovic, Gray, Diabaté, Dragovic, Iheanacho, Silva, Huth, Fuchs, Benalouane, Choudhury Doubtful Iheanacho (hand) Injured Amartey (hamstring, 7 Apr), James (achilles, unknown) Suspended None Discipline Y39 R3 Leading scorer Vardy 14 TOTTENHAM Subs from Vorm, Gazzaniga, Aurier, Walker-Peters, Rose, Alderweireld, Foyth, Wanyama, Winks, Sissoko, Oakley-Boothe, Lucas, Llorente, Kane Doubtful Kane (ankle) Injured None Suspended None Discipline Y38 R2 Leading scorer Kane 24 Referee Chris Kavanagh Referee Andre Marriner Kick off All the he data you need for the weekend Six of Luka Milivojevic’s eight goals for Palace have been penalties • Hennessey • • Sakho Kelly • • Wan-Bissaka Van Aanholt • • McArthur Milivojevic • • • Townsend Cabaye Zaha • Benteke • Mané • Firmino • Salah • Oxlade-Chamberlain • Milner • • Robertson Alexander-Arnold • • Van Dijk • Matip Karius • Wijnaldum CRYSTAL PALACE Subs from Cavalieri, Henry, Souaré, Tomkins, Riedewald, Fosu-Mensah, Delaney, Jach, Rakip, Lee, Sørloth, Loftus-Cheek Doubtful Sørloth (hamstring), Tomkins (calf), Zaha (knee) Injured Speroni (knee, 7 Apr), Ward (calf), Wickham (groin, both Apr), Schlupp (ankle, May), Puncheon (knee), Sako (ankle, both Sep), Dann (knee, Oct) Suspended None Discipline Y55 R0 Leading scorer Milivojevic 8 LIVERPOOL Subs from Mignolet, Henderson, Can, Lallana, Lovren, Klavan, Moreno, Solanke, Woodburn, Ings, Ward, Clyne Doubtful Can (back) Injured Gomez (ankle, unknown) Suspended None Discipline Y37 R1 Leading scorer Salah 28 Referee Neil Swarbrick Section:GDN 1S PaGe:9 Edition Date:180331 Edition:01 Zone: Sent at 30/3/2018 16:56 cYanmaGentaYellowbla • Saturday 31 March 2018 The Guardian 9 Five asides What to look out for this weekend 1 2 3 4 5 Portugal’s best manager arrives at Old Traﬀord Chance of a lifetime awaits City if they put Everton to the sword Brighton need to take full advantage of excellent home form Is lesser-spotted Gabr ﬁnally going to get a start for West Brom? Palace visit oﬀers Klopp ideal reason to bring back Clyne Once José Mourinho was king but now he cannot even claim to be the Premier’s League best Portuguese manager. It is hard to imagine anyone else turning Swansea around as impressively as Carlos Carvalhal has done since taking over in late December, when the Welsh club seemed doomed. Now they are out of the relegation zone and within reach of survival. Even Mourinho must admire the solidity that Carvalhal has introduced to Swansea, who will not give up chances easily at Old Trafford. Paul Pogba could return for the hosts having performed well for France in midweek. Manchester City are going to win the Premier League. But their game at Everton is one of the most important of their season because if they win it, they know for sure that they can clinch the title in their following match against Manchester United. Football is great for many noble reasons, but the ignoble – such as revelling in the misery of others – is just as much part of its charm, and after spending the best part of 70 years suffering at the hands of their local rivals, City now have the opportunity of a lifetime. It would be surprising if they didn’t give themselves a shot at it. Brighton have lost their last two matches, both away, but have been strong at home all season, unbeaten by anyone outside the top five. Beating Leicester, and Huddersfield the following week, would almost guarantee survival, which would make their run-in – featuring games against Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester United – look a lot less daunting. Claude Puel’s task is to ensure that Leicester do not simply go through the motions for the remainder of the campaign. They certainly have enough quality to spoil Brighton’s home record and even push for European qualification. Alan Pardew travelled to Switzerland this week to watch Egypt take on Greece and run the rule over Ali Gabr ( above), the Egyptian defender he signed on loan from Zamalek in the last transfer window who has since been restricted to just one appearance on the bench. With West Brom 10 points from safety with seven matches to go, the introduction of a player with no Premier League experience against Burnley may be too little, too late. Nevertheless, a run-out for Gabr would at least help justify some of the money he’s been paid since arriving at the Hawthorns No doubt Liverpool would have chosen a different fixture in which to resume action after the international break, and before a week featuring Champions League bouts against Manchester City either side of the Merseyside derby, than a trip to Crystal Palace. With that schedule, Jürgen Klopp is unlikely to risks players’ fitness. Andrew Robertson limped off for Scotland in midweek and Joe Gomez is out. Trent Alexander-Arnold is available but perhaps the fit-again former Palace player Nathaniel Clyne ( left) will be given a first league appearance of the season? Everton Manchester United Newcastle Watford West Brom West Ham Manchester City Swansea Huddersﬁeld Bournemouth Burnley Southampton Today 5.30pm BT Sport 1 Venue Goodison Park Last season Everton 4 Manchester City 0 Odds H 19-2 A 4-11 D 23-5 Today 3pm Venue Old Trafford Last season Manchester Utd 1 Swansea 1 Odds H 5-19 A 18-1 D 11-2 Today 3pm Venue St James’ Park Last season Newcastle 1 Huddersfield 2 (Ch’ship) Odds H 7-9 A 19-4 D 5-2 Today 3pm Venue Vicarage Road Last season Watford 2 Bournemouth 2 Odds H 11-8 A 9-4 D 5-2 Today 3pm Venue The Hawthorns Last season West Brom 4 Burnley 0 Odds H 17-10 A 11-5 D 5-2 Today 3pm Venue London Stadium Last season West Ham 0 Southampton 3 Odds H 2-1 A 8-5 D 9-4 • Coleman • Pickford • • Jagielka Keane • • Davies Walcott • Gueye • De Gea • Baines • Rooney • Bolasie • Valencia • • Sterling • D Silva • De Bruyne Fernandinho • • • • Walker Danilo Otamendi Kompany • Ederson EVERTON Subs from Robles, Niasse, Schneiderlin, Calvert-Lewin, Martina, Kenny, Klaassen, Vlasic, Baningime, Funes Mori Doubtful Gueye (hamstring) Injured Sigurdsson (knee, May), Mangala (knee, Aug), McCarthy (leg, Sep), Holgate (ankle), Stekelenburg (groin, both unknown) Suspended Williams (last of three) Discipline Y45 R3 Leading scorer Rooney 10 • Smalling • Matic • Pogba • Rashford • Young • A Ayew • Olsson • Carroll • Ki • Dubravka • • Lascelles Lejeune • Shelvey • Martial • Sánchez • Yedlin • Dyer • • • Naughton Mawson • Van der Hoorn Fernández • Fabianski • Ince • Gayle • Mounié • Pritchard MANCHESTER UNITED Subs from J Pereira, Lindelöf, Shaw, Darmian, Carrick, Lingard, McTominay, Mata, Fellaini, Rojo, Herrera, Jones Doubtful Young (knee) Injured Blind (ankle, unknown), Romero (knee, unknown) Suspended None Discipline Y56 R1 Leading scorer Lukaku 14 • Mooy • Malone • Dummett • Kenedy • Pérez • Prödl • Mariappa • Doucouré • Capoue • Janmaat • Femenía • Pereyra • Holebas • Richarlison • Dawson • Wilson • Van La Parra • • Hadergjonaj Jorgensen • Lössl NEWCASTLE Subs from Darlow, Manquillo, Clark, Mbemba, Haïdara, Merino, Hayden, Atsu, Murphy, Slimani Doubtful None Injured Joselu (ankle, 7 Apr), Elliot (back, unknown), Gámez (ankle, unknown) Suspended None Discipline Y41 R2 Leading scorer Gayle 5 • Stanislas • A Smith • Gosling • Aké • King • L Cook • S Cook • Ibe • Francis • Begovic WATFORD Subs from Gomes, Bachmann, Okaka, Ndong, Lukebakio, Gray, Carrillo, Hughes, Britos, Zeegelaar, Cathcart, Kabasele Doubtful None Injured Chalobah (knee), Cleverley (hamstring), Deulofeu (foot), Hoban (knee), Kaboul (foot), Sinclair (unknown), Wagué (hamstring, all unknown) Suspended None Discipline Y50 R4 Leading scorer Doucouré 7 • Evans • Hegazi • Nyom • Gibbs • Phillips • Livermore • Rodriguez • Deeney • Hogg • Schindler • Foster • Karnezis • Diamé • Ritchie • Lukaku • Abraham • Tosun • Agüero • Sané • Bailly • Lennon • Ward • Brunt • Rondón • Barnes • Gudmundsson • • • Hendrick Cork Westwood • • • Lowton Tarkowski Mee • Pope WEST BROM Subs from Myhill, Palmer, Field, Robson-Kanu, Gabr, Yacob, Harper, Leko, McClean, McAuley, Krychowiak, Barry, Burke, Chadli Doubtful None Injured Sturridge (hamstring, 7 Apr), Morrison (achilles, 15 Apr) Suspended None Discipline Y58 R1 Leading scorers Rodriguez, Rondón 5 • Hart • • • Ogbonna Cresswell Collins • • Zabaleta • • Masuaku Kouyaté Noble • • Arnautovic Antonio • Lanzini • Gabbiadini • Boufal • Bertrand • Carrillo • Lemina • Tadic • Højbjerg • Hoedt • Soares • Stephens • McCarthy WEST HAM Subs from Adrián, Trott, Rice, Evra, Fernandes, Cullen, Hernández, Mario, Hugill, Haksabanovic, Quina Doubtful Collins (hamstring), Kouyaté (ill) Injured Carroll (foot, 21 Apr), Byram (ankle), Obiang (knee), Reid (knee, all unknown) Suspended None Discipline Y63 R2 Leading scorers Arnautovic, Hernández 7 MANCHESTER CITY Subs from Bravo, Touré, Adarabioyo, Díaz, Laporte, Foden, Zinchenko, B Silva, Jesus, Delph, Gündogan Doubtful Agüero (match fitness) Injured Mendy (knee, 7 Apr), Stones (concussion, 7 Apr) Suspended None Discipline Y46 R2 Leading scorer Agüero 21 SWANSEA Subs from Nordfeldt, Narsingh, Bartley, Britton, Routledge, Roberts, James, Maric, King, Clucas Doubtful None Injured Rangel (groin, 14 Apr), Sanches (hamstring, 14 Apr), Bony (knee, unknown), Fer (achilles, unknown) Suspended J Ayew (last of three) Discipline Y42 R1 Leading scorer J Ayew 6 HUDDERSFIELD Subs from Coleman, Green, Sabiri, Depoitre, Smith, Billing, Kachunga, Quaner, Löwe, Kongolo, Scannell, Stankovic Doubtful Stankovic (knee) Injured Hefele (knee, 21 Apr), Williams (ankle, unknown) Suspended None Discipline Y50 R3 Leading scorer Mounié 6 BOURNEMOUTH Subs from Boruc, Federici, Butcher, Simpson, Surman, Hyndman, Arter, Mousset, Taylor, Defoe, Wiggins, B Smith, Pugh Doubtful Begovic (knee), Mousset (match fitness), A Smith (back) Injured Mings (back, unknown) Suspended None Discipline Y47 R1 Leading scorer Wilson 7 BURNLEY Subs from Lindegaard, Heaton, Arfield, Wells, Ward, Vokes, Marney, Long, Taylor Doubtful Heaton (shoulder) Injured Brady (knee, unknown), Deffour (knee, unknown), Walters (knee, unknown) Suspended None Discipline Y55 R0 Leading scorer Wood 7 SOUTHAMPTON Subs from Forster, Taylor, Bednarek, Pied, Davis, Hesketh, McQueen, Obafemi, Sims, Austin, Ward-Prowse, Long, Redmond, Romeu Doubtful Davis (hamstring) Injured None Suspended None Discipline Y41 R0 Leading scorer Austin 6 Referee Paul Tierney Referee Bobby Madley Referee Martin Atkinson Referee Andy Madley Referee Lee Probert Referee Jonathan Moss Section:GDN 1S PaGe:10 Edition Date:180331 Edition:01 Zone: Sent at 30/3/2018 17:43 • 10 cYanmaGentaYellowbl The Guardian Saturday 31 March 2018 Sport Football Premier League A six-pointer on the pitch – and a point to be made in the stands Toxic atmosphere at London Stadium forces club to take action before basement battle against Southampton hampton Jacob Steinberg I n different circumstances it would be possible simply to look forward to a day of huge significance at the bottom of the Premier League. If life at the London Stadium was that straightforward, however, they would not be fortifying security in front of the directors’ box and there would be no clamour for the trio running West Ham United to stay away from home games for the rest of the season. The future has arrived in less than glorious circumstances, humbling West Ham as they prepare to host Southampton this afternoon. The promised dream has turned into a nightmare in a soulless bowl. It has been three weeks since West Ham’s last game descended into chaos and it is hardly ideal they have spent that time working with the authorities to prevent a repeat of the ugly scenes that marred their 3-0 defeat against Burnley. This is a relegation six-pointer with an unwelcome distraction. It is the 17th-placed team at home to the 18th, with two points separating the sides, and there will be as much focus on events in the stands as those on the pitch. It is a sad situation but there is no escaping reality for West Ham with the dust still settling after Burnley’s first goal resulted in five pitch invasions and hundreds of supporters gathering below the directors’ box to protest against David Gold and David Sullivan, the club’s owners, and Karren Brady, the vice-chairman. Sullivan was struck on his glasses by a coin and he and Gold had to leave their seats early. Almost 20 West Ham fans have been issued with lifetime suspensions for invading the pitch or throwing missiles, the club is facing punishment from the Football Association and the fallout even featured Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, rebuking Brady for claiming that cuts to the stadium’s security budget were responsible for the trouble. A pitch invader holds a corner flag against Burnley Stewards were overwhelmed a the toxic atmosphere raises the and prospect of trouble flaring again, p n least because Sullivan, Gold not a Brady are expected to attend and t game against Southampton and the h have indicated no desire to part with t club they led away from Upton the P Park two years ago. Brady and Khan met to discuss t stadium’s problems on Monday the a the Safety Advisory Group, and w which features West Ham, the M Metropolitan police, the London L Legacy Development Corporation a the stadium operators, LS185, and h agreed additional security has m measures for the game. Police will be inside and outside t ground, stewards will be the positioned in the stands and by the p pitch, free flow around the stadium w be reduced and West Ham have will p placed a barrier near the directors to s stop fans getting too close. A female s steward who suffered concussion i the crush below the directors’ in b and a male steward who was box l with a blood clot behind one eye left a after being assaulted are expected to r return to work. The operation will add £60,000 to t security bill and will be covered the b the taxpayer, although the safety by enhancements are just as well given that the SAG has warned that further trouble will leave West Ham facing the prospect of playing future matches behind closed doors. “I want this club to appeal to really good international players,” said David Moyes, West Ham’s manager. “I want them to say ‘I want to join West Ham United’. I don’t think what happened against Burnley is going to make those players want to join us.” Moyes, whose contract runs out at the end of the season, says he would like to remain at West Ham. However, his decision is likely to depend on them staying in the Premier League. Uncertainty reigns. Victory will take West Ham five points above Southampton but it is telling that the visiting manager, Mark Hughes, has spoken about using the crowd against the home team. A fter all, the build-up to the Burnley game was overshadowed by Mark Walker, the head of the West Ham United Independent Supporters Association (WHUISA), becoming the target of an online ‘What happened against Burnley is not going to make internationals want to join us’ campaign orchestrated by members of the Real West Ham Fans Group (RWHFG) after his organisation tried to resurrect a cancelled protest march. Walker held productive talks with Sullivan after the club were criticised by Wes Streeting, the Labour MP for Ilford North, for failing to condemn the abuse. Yet WHUISA will vote this morning on whether to march before the Manchester City game on 28 April, while there is intrigue over rumours of rival groups holding a “static protest” outside the stadium against Southampton. The mood is fragile and, although the players have sympathy with the supporters’ complaints, which have mainly focused on a perceived lack of investment in the transfer market since the move to Stratford, they are concerned more disruptions will harm their efforts to stay up. Five of West Ham’s final eight games are at Section:GDN 1S PaGe:11 Edition Date:180331 Edition:02 Zone: Sent at 30/3/2018 21:27 cYanmaGentaYellowbl •• Saturday 31 March 2018 The Guardian Stepping up security How West Ham plan to halt further fan unrest “Signiﬁcantly enhanced” police presence, inside and outside of the London Stadium A “dynamic response team” on hand in case of another pitch invasion Supporter movement restricted by several on-venue security gates Security barriers stationed in front of the directors’ box 11 Rugby league Holbrook savours ending Wigan’s Easter supremacy St Helens 21 Wigan 18 Aaron Bower Totally Wicked Stadium It is impossible to argue Justin Holbrook has not overseen a remarkable transformation at St Helens in little over a year in charge but you felt there was still one niggling itch left for the Australian to scratch. For eight consecutive Good Friday meetings between rugby league’s biggest rivals, Wigan have held the balance of power over the Saints, winning on every occasion. While St Helens have led the way from the opening weekend of this particular campaign, victory here would undoubtedly prove the biggest assertion yet that Holbrook has built a side capable of winning the title. And while it was nerve-racking throughout the wait is over for St Helens. Not only does this win end a Racing Carbon Dating is tempting at 16-1 for a repeat win Greg Wood Angry West Ham fans make their feelings known with a banner aimed at the club owners BEN STANSALL/GETTY home, with visits from Everton, both Manchester clubs and Stoke still to come. The collapse against Burnley was alarming and Moyes, who has Arthur Masuaku available after the wingback’s six-match ban for spitting, told the players during their recent mini-break in Miami that they must show strength of character if there are more protests. “They were shocked,” Moyes said. “We couldn’t understand it. We were only 1-0 down. If anything we needed the fans’ support. I can show you the stats that said as soon as the pitch invasions started the players dropped off physically. “We’ve said to the players if anything like this happens again we have to make sure we don’t drop off and that this time we rally round each other quickly because it looked like we just went to pieces.” Moyes is still getting to grips with West Ham’s politics, which is an unenviable task, and the week has been dominated by calls for unity from claret and blue heroes like Mark Noble and Sir Trevor Brooking. The problem for West Ham is that the strength of any truce is likely to depend on which team scores the first goal. Join us live Coverage this afternoon of Palace v Liverpool and Everton v Man City theguardian. com/football The Flat season on turf is taking time to ease itself in but there can be few complaints about the feature event at Musselburgh this afternoon, which brings some excellent staying handicappers together to race for £60,000. There is more than a nod to the jumps in the 14-strong field as Harry Fry, more familiar as a leading National Hunt handler, saddles a top contender in American Gigolo. Other runners arrive fit from the winter code but the one that seems to have sneaked in under the radar is last year’s winner, Carbon Dating. As he did in 2017, Carbon Dating spent the winter running well without winning for Satish Seemar in Dubai. Twelve months ago he returned from the sunshine to run out a comfortable winner from a mark of 101. This time around he races off 100 and his overnight price of around 16-1 appears generous. Musselburgh 1.50 Masham Star was one of the busiest in training last year with 20 starts but he held his form well and looked good on his return this month. He gives weight away here but goes well with some cut in the ground and should be up to the task. Haydock 2.05 Nigel Twiston-Davies took the first two editions of this race with Ballybolley and should complete the hat-trick with Crievehill. nine-year wait for a Good Friday victory – with their last coming in 2009 – it more importantly opens up a fourpoint gap at the summit for the Saints. Both sides more than played their part in a magnificent contest. Played at breakneck pace, the meeting of first versus second was everything it promised. It looked as though Wigan’s dominance would continue with 15 minutes remaining, as Willie Isa’s try put Shaun Wane’s side into a lead that, given the nature of their second-half play, they thoroughly deserved. But Holbrook’s St Helens do not know when they are beaten. They drew level via the boot of the talented half-back, Danny Richardson, who ▲ St Helens’ Ben Barba crosses for a try in the uplifting win over Wigan Musselburgh 2.25 Alpha Delphini ended last season as a sprinter on the up and is the one to beat. At the likely odds, though, it could be worth chancing Caspian Prince on his debut for Mick Appleby. He was well below his best when sent to Doha last month but would give the favourite a race on his earlier form. Haydock 2.40 Several runners have a chance while Applesandpierres will attract support after peppering the target in recent outings. The value may lie with Wolfcatcher, who bounced back from a poor run on Boxing Day to finish a close third at Kempton last time. Musselburgh 3.00 Indomeneo’s fitness needs to be taken on trust but he finished a busy juvenile campaign on a roll with two wins in a style that suggested he could make further progress. Ayutthaya looks the danger from an opening mark that may well prove lenient. Haydock 3.15 A competitive handicap chase in which there is a case to be made for most. Shanroe In Milan is one of the least exposed over fences and improved for a step up to three miles last time. He is up 7lb for a half-length win but another furlong here should eke out a little more improvement on only his fourth chase start. Greg Wood’s tips Haydock 2.05 Crievehill 2.40 Wolfcatcher 3.15 Shanroe In Milan (nb) 3.50 All My Love 4.25 Classic Ben 5.00 Tara Mist 5.35 Muckle Roe Musselburgh 1.50 Masham Star 2.25 Caspian Prince 3.00 Indomeneo 3.35 Carbon Dating (nap) 4.10 I Am A Dreamer 4.45 Tommy G 5.20 Queen’s Sargent Carlisle 1.40 Donna’s Delight 2.10 Secrete Stream 2.50 Pixiepot 3.25 Bright Prospect 4.00 General Mahler 4.35 Lowanbehold 5.10 Derriana Spirit Kempton 2.00 Tigre Du Terre 2.35 Fabricate 3.10 Qaysar 3.45 Inn The Bull 4.20 Sputnik Platinum 4.55 Sparkalot 5.30 Excellent George Chelmsford 5.45 No Approval 6.15 Communique 6.45 Leoro 7.15 Samovar 7.45 George Of Hearts 8.15 Image 8.45 Alfonso Manana once again enhanced his burgeoning reputation with a sublime performance, before Regan Grace’s try put the hosts ahead again. Having led 12-2 at half-time courtesy of tries from Ben Barba and Zeb Taia, the Saints were perhaps guilty of not seeing off Wigan sooner. But after Richardson converted the winger’s try from the touchline to open up a sixpoint gap, the 21-year-old kicked a drop goal to create a two-score lead which, despite Joel Tomkins’ late try with a minute remaining, was enough for the hosts. Wigan could have perhaps rejected the opportunity to try to convert Tomkins’ magnificent solo effort in an attempt to salvage one or two extra plays but it was not to be. By the end, there was a sight which has become alltoo familiar – thousands of St Helens fans saluting Holbrook as he savoured the moment post-match. It has been a long time coming for the hosts: you suspect they will enjoy every second of it. St Helens Barba; Makinson, Morgan, Percival, Grace; Lomax, Richardson; Amor, Roby, Thompson, Peyroux, Taia, Wilkin Interchange Fages, McCarthyScarsbrook, Douglas, Knowles Tries Barba, Taia, Grace Goals Richardson 4 Drop goal Richardson Wigan Escare; Davies, Bateman, Gildart, Burgess; Williams, Powell; Clubb, Leuluai, Flower, Isa, Farrell, O’Loughlin Interchange Tomkins, Sutton, Tautai, Woods Tries Tomkins 2, Isa Goals Escare 2, Williams Referee Robert Hicks Attendance 17,980 Golf Woods claims he is a ‘walking miracle’ Ewan Murray Houston Tiger Woods described himself “a walking miracle” as he prepared to return to major championship action at the Masters. Next week will mark the former world No 1’s first appearance at Augusta National since 2015. Wood has suffered persistent back troubles, which culminated recently in fusion surgery. “I got a second chance on life, I am a walking miracle,” he said. Woods has the same aspiration as always at what he called “the bestrun tournament in the world”. The 14-times major champion added: “I’m just there to win.” Ian Poulter’s hopes of joining Woods in the Masters field received a huge boost as the Englishman hit a second-round 64 at the Houston Open. Poulter’s opening score of 73 had left him 124th in the field. “Are you going to pack your suitcase, throw it in your car and go home or go out there and play?” Poulter said. “I rolled a few putts in and moved up the leaderboard. “I actually played all right yesterday. That’s why I was so angry, because I wasn’t that bad and wanted to give myself a chance.” Shane Lowry’s consecutive 68s leave him eight under and a shot ahead of Poulter. The Irishman is also chasing the Houston win that would earn him the last available Masters berth. “I have a flight booked home to Ireland next Friday and if I have to change that, it’s a good problem,” Lowry said. Section:GDN 1S PaGe:12 Edition Date:180331 Edition:03 Zone: Sent at 30/3/2018 23:48 ••• cYanmaGentaYellowbl The Guardian Saturday 31 March 2018 Sport Cricket Second Test 12 Yesterday at Hagley Oval, Christchurch Scoreboard England First innings Balls 4s AN Cook b Boult ...................................2 7 0 MD Stoneman c Latham b Southee .....35 111 4 JM Vince lbw b Southee ......................18 41 3 *JE Root b Southee ............................37 63 5 DJ Malan lbw b Boult ............................0 1 0 BA Stokes c Watling b Boult ................25 63 4 JM Bairstow not out...........................97 154 11 SCJ Broad c Sodhi b Southee .................5 6 1 MA Wood b Southee ...........................52 62 7 MJ Leach not out ...............................10 33 1 Extras (b2, lb5, w1, nb1) ......................9 6s 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 Total (for 8, 90 overs).......................290 Fall 6, 38, 93, 94, 94, 151, 164, 259. To bat JM Anderson. Bowling Boult 25-5-79-3; Southee 23-6-60-5; De Grandhomme 17-4-44-0; Wagner 20-5-69-0; Sodhi 5-0-31-0. New Zealand JA Raval, TWM Latham, *KS Williamson, LRPL Taylor, HM Nicholls, †BJ Watling, C de Grandhomme, TG Southee, IS Sodhi, N Wagner, TA Boult. Toss New Zealand elected to field. Umpires M Erasmus (SA) and BNJ Oxenford (Aus). Picture of the day Bairstow, on 58, gets a nasty bouncer in the chops from De Grandhomme. It cracks his helmet, sending it spinning off his head as he tumbles after. Headgear kaput, stumps and man unscathed Shot of the day ay Mark Wood off Neil Wagner On the way to a maiden Test 50 of bubbling happiness, Wood takes an almighty swipe at an inevitable short ball and flat-bats it over the boundary for six Ball of the day ay Trent Boult to Alastair Cook The former captain, alas, feet glued to the spot, loses his off stump to a pearler from Boult, pitched on around middle and swinging away Tweet of the day I couldn’t love Christchurch any more than I do right now … this is lunchtime on day 1 of the Test. Kids playing on the outfield, mums and dads checking out the pitch. Gorgeous! Graeme Swann @Swannyg66 Stat of the day Alastair Cook has passed 50 twice in his past 20 innings, James Vince twice in 21 2 Bairstow bails out tourists’ misﬁring batting quartet Vic Marks Christchurch As the tampering saga begins to recede – or is this just a little lull? – it is no longer possible to hide the fact that England’s Test team is undergoing a good old-fashioned crisis, stemming from a lack of runs, rather than integrity, among their batsmen. Fortunately for Joe Root his allrounders came good in the final session to keep England afloat. In this case it was Jonny Bairstow, who steered England to a total approaching respectability with an excellent, unbeaten 97. Bairstow moved on to his fifth Test century quickly on the second day’s play but the tourists did not hang around and were all out for 307. Bairstow’s chief ally on day one was Mark Wood, who may be elevated to all-rounder status for a while, after he hit a vibrant 52, his best score in Test cricket. Bairstow’s refined belligerence is familiar but there were times in their partnership when the quality of Wood’s strokeplay made it hard to distinguish them. This pair added 95 together in 18 overs, an alliance that papered over another alarming batting performance. It may be that some of the batsmen are mentally numb, others may be rusty, but on a sublime day for cricket it became all too evident that England possess only three batsmen in their top seven capable of suggesting any kind of permanence at the moment, even on a perfectly benign surface. Beyond Root, Ben Stokes and Bairstow there is currently a quartet who seem as fragile and fleeting as a rainbow but not so pleasing on the eye – with the possible exception of James Vince when cover driving. Sadly that quartet now includes Alastair Cook, who was defeated by Trent Boult once again. The autumnal sun beamed down. The locals claimed their spots on grassy banks still damp with dew when Kane Williamson won the toss. Following the pattern of the four previous Tests here he opted to bowl despite the overhead conditions. England had made three changes from Auckland, with Vince, Wood and Jack Leach, who was making his debut, replacing Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes and Craig Overton. By recent standards this was a radical overhaul. Up stepped Boult and in his third over he clean bowled Cook. It was a fine, full delivery that deviated from leg to off and, with Cook’s feet stuck on the crease and his bat lunging desperately in front of him, he missed the ball by a ▲ Mark Wood and Jonny Bairstow cross for a run in their stand of 95 remarkable distance given he has more than 12,000 Test runs to his name. Cook’s dismissal did not preface an Auckland-style subsidence, although there was some swing and nip for the pace attack. Mark Stoneman, off the mark after an inside edge sped perilously close to his off stump, played and missed frequently while Vince looked more assured. As ever a couple of drives purred from the middle of his bat as the Kiwis kept searching for swing via a full length. Then, on 18, Vince was stuck on the crease against Tim Southee and was lbw, with the replays confirming that the ball would have clipped leg stump. Like so many of the batsmen he needs a substantial score in the second innings to guarantee his place in the next Test team. Root settled easily and scored without difficulty, often on his toes and punching through the offside. He navigated the side to 70 for two at lunch, not a bad foundation after being put into bat. For another half an hour after the interval all was serenity. New Zealand tried a review against Root that reflected how dangerous the England captain was looking. Root drove Southee to the onside boundary to confirm this but then he tried to clip another full-length delivery through midwicket and was bowled. He marched off, disgusted with himself. From here there was mayhem. Section:GDN 1S PaGe:13 Edition Date:180331 Edition:03 Zone: Sent at 30/3/2018 23:48 ••• Saturday 31 March 2018 The Guardian Action stations at Hagley Oval Jonny Bairstow swings the bat on his way to an excellent unbeaten 97 on day one in Christchurch cYanmaGentaYellowbl 13 ▼ South Africa fans did not miss the chance to taunt the Australia team SIPHIWE SIBEKO/REUTERS Attacking talk ‘When I get to 20 I think I’m like Bradman’ PAUL CHILDS/ REUTERS Vic Marks Christchurch Dawid Malan missed his first ball from Boult and set off for the pavilion before the umpire’s finger was properly raised. It was as if he had never sighted the ball. In the next over Stoneman’s luck ran out as he edged a handy delivery from Southee into the safe hands of Tom Latham at second slip. Stokes and Bairstow, batting properly, now added 57 but after tea Stokes was caught down the leg side off Boult. The standard response to this dismissal is to say that he was “strangled” but this happens so often now, especially against left-handed bowlers, that the batsmen must take note of an error. Stuart Broad, elevated to No 8, did not bat like one, soon chipping an easy catch to mid-off against Southee. But Wood did. There were several crunching cover drives and as well as a six hooked off Neil Wagner. Wood had not played against a red ball since September. Practice? Who needs it? Having posted his maiden half-century in Test cricket he was bowled by Southee. All the while Bairstow had mixed discretion and aggression as he often can with the tail. The crack of two pull shots against Wagner echoed satisfyingly around the ground. After Wood’s departure, Leach supported Bairstow throughout the final 10 overs. For the New Zealanders the old firm of Boult and Southee did all the damage, with the latter the more potent this time. New blood and fresh minds came to the rescue alongside Jonny Bairstow. Mark Wood galloped to his maiden half-century and then Jack Leach nobly hung around against the second new ball, which he seemed to negotiate with fewer alarms than the proper batsmen did against the first one in the morning. The new pair, uncluttered by recent failures and eager to justify a place in the side, did Bairstow and England a favour as 164 for seven became 290 for eight at the end of the day’s play. Wood, whose previous best Test score was 32, is seldom seen without a smile. “I’ve got a Test 50 before a fivefor. That’s the wrong way round,” he said afterwards and then spent most of the time praising Bairstow. “It was nice to have Jonny at the other end. We first played against each other as 12-year-olds when Northumberland met Yorkshire. We were having a bit of a laugh out there. ‘Oh look there’s another bouncer from Waggers [Neil Wagner]’ so that helped us to forget the situation and concentrate.” Wood outscored Bairstow in their 95-run partnership, hitting seven fours mostly off the middle and one six, which was definitely came out of the sweet spot. “Jonny constructs an innings – he’s a batsman,” added Wood. “I chanced my arm a bit. Jonny’s done it before and it was great to be there with him. He sticks his chest out after the bouncer and there’s a little bit of arrogance. I like that and sometimes the bowler can get a bit frustrated. I had a great time with him except for my last ball [Wood was bowled by Tim Southee with the final ball of the 79th over]. That was a bit rubbish to have Leachy come in for the new ball.” Wood admitted that he started as a batsman as a kid and at the Hagley Oval he played some copybook drives. “The trouble is,” he said, “when I get to 20 I think I’m like Bradman and play too many shots. Sometimes I get ahead of myself. There were a lot of bouncers and that may have helped. At least I knew where the ball was likely to be.” ‘I chanced my arm a bit. Jonny’s done it before and it was great to be there with him’ Mark Wood Chin-up stance keeps Australia in the ﬁght Markram hits century for South Africa but new-look tourists refuse to wilt Adam Collins The Wanderers Stadium It felt like a great day one. The home side tucked in on an inviting track. The depleted visiting pace division raced in hard, fighting back whenever times were getting tough. A young opener, Aiden Markram, stroked another graceful century. A veteran seamer, Chadd Sayers, finally won his debut and collected his first wickets. The Bullring crowd lived up to their reputation. Pat Cummins got on a hat-trick, picking up the local captain, Faf du Plessis, first ball. It was a day that demanded attention. Yet such is the predicament Australian cricket finds itself in that all eyes will quickly return to Sydney overnight when David Warner fronts the cameras to have his say about what happened in Newlands. Unlike his fellow members of the Sandpaper Three – Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft – the opener and former vice-captain did not answer questions on landing in the country. He wanted to “take a deep breath” first. First time for everything. But the 11 players in the middle of the Wanderers could not control any of that. What they could influence was the way they conducted themselves. The standards this Australian team have kept are on trial and will be for a long time yet. So what the team did was set a standard in the field that belied any suggestion that they are going to roll over in this fixture inside three days in order to get an early flight home. It was impressive. Take Matt Renshaw, the opener who flew into the country two days ago. The Queenslander was one of three men who made that midweek hike and four changes to the team humiliated in Cape Town. Diving around in the gully he stopped everything. He was backing up the graft of the bowlers, of whom Cummins was again the standout. When the world was falling in last Sunday, he was the one that did not wilt. On the first evening of that match he ran amok with the old ball. Here it was not quite as dramatic but the exertion – off practically no practice between Tests – was the same. With Markram beyond 150 and looking better by the moment and AB de Villiers getting busy, they came close to bursting the final session open and finishing two down. Instead Cummins drew a false stroke from Markram. When Du Plessis inexplicably shouldered arms next delivery to a searing inswinger, it was two in two balls and the Australians were back in business. At stumps the new captain, Tim Paine, had a message for the world, that his era in charge would be underpinned by respect. To start on the right foot, after the national anthems were sung he arranged with Du Plessis that the sides would shake hands, an idea he picked up watching football in his hotel room. To Paine it is a small but important gesture he wants to implement at the start of each series. “We’ve got to be more respectful of our opposition and we’ve got to be more respectful to cricket,” he said. “We’ve tended to push the boundaries as far as we possibly could. I think that we’ve seen that people probably don’t like that, so it’s time for us to change.” Paine added that a humbler approach would suit the group he now oversees. “We’re a different group of players than Australia have had for a long time. We haven’t got too many guys that like to verbalise and have that really hard-nosed approach. We’re about creating an environment where guys can come in and play cricket and just be themselves.” Nobody will be getting carried away after one committed day at the grindstone and a few encouraging words – culture takes time to embed, both good and bad. But this might just be when they finally started getting it back on track and might just carry more weight than anything Warner says. Smith ‘isn’t Pablo Escobar’ Shane Warne has hit out at the treatment of Steve Smith, saying: “He isn’t Pablo Escobar”. The former Australia spinner was referring to the late Colombian drug lord known as the “King of Cocaine”. “Smith didn’t kill anyone,” Warne said on Sky Sports. “He’s a guy that’s made a mistake. To see him being manhandled at airports, to see him attacked, it is like the dogs are all over him. I think it is disgraceful behaviour from them. I think it is partly because the prime minister [Malcolm Turnbull] has come out and said: ‘This is ridiculous, what’s happening.’” PA Wicketkeeper Tim Paine took over as Australia captain Section:GDN 1S PaGe:14 Edition Date:180331 Edition:01 Zone: Sent at 30/3/2018 19:43 • Sport Rugby union 14 cYanmaGentaYellowbl The Guardian Saturday 31 March 2018 ▼ Rhys Patchell scores Scarlets’ first try in the win over La Rochelle ANDREW LEWIS/FROZEN IN MOTION/REX/ SHUTTERSTOCK Burger relishes extended test and Leinster trip Champions Cup quarter-ﬁnal at the Aviva Stadium is the next challenge for Saracens’ former South Africa a ﬂanker Gerard Meagher European Champions Cup quarter-ﬁnal Halfpenny has the artillery to break La Rochelle’s walls Scarlets 29 La Rochelle 17 Paul Rees Parc y Scarlets The Scarlets became the first Welsh region to reach the last four of the European Cup for nine years as they overcame a nervy start against imposing and enterprising opponents to seal victory with a Scott Williams try five minutes from the end when they were down to 14 men. They will be away in the semi-final to the winners of Sunday’s match between Leinster and Saracens. The Scarlets were playing their first knockout match in Europe here and had to provide extra seating to get the capacity above the requisite 15,000. The match sold out in less than an hour and there was a sizeable contingent of supporters from La Rochelle who had not seen their team win away since the beginning of November. An early Leigh Halfpenny penalty gave Scarlets the lead but they paid for carelessness in possession in which they were pushed behind the gainline by a rush defence. La Rochelle had a bulky pack and a front row that seemed to cover most of the width of the pitch, but in Arthur Retière they had a centre who weighed little more than 11st. It was Retière who inspired the opening try of the game after eight minutes. He picked up a loose ball outside the home 22 and caught his own chip ahead. He was tackled just short of the line and, when Jérémy Sinzelle kicked to the corner, Steff Evans failed to catch the ball. The television match official, David Grashoff, then ruled that the lock Romain Sazy had grounded it over the try line. It looked a decision based on World Rugby’s pronouncement following the failure to award Gareth Anscombe a try for Wales at Twickenham last month, one where the slightest contact is enough. The crowd voiced its disgust but the Scarlets picked themselves up, carried on winning penalties at the breakdown and within 10 minutes were back in the lead through two Halfpenny penalties. The Scarlets are known for their flair but they had to meet straight-running opponents head on. Their captain, Ken Owens, led the way by felling both props in quick succession and with the English referee, Luke Pearce, allowing a contest at the breakdown (to the bafflement of the French side) John Barclay became a pivotal figure. Barclay started at No 8 but became his side’s poacher after 14 minutes when the wing Paul Asquith suffered a leg injury and, with the Scarlets having only a scrum-half and outside-half on the bench, was replaced by a backrow, Josh MacLeod. The move saw the open-side James Davies moved to the Leigh Halfpenny scored 19 points with the boot wing but, despite the desire of both sides to move the ball, both struggled to achieve width. La Rochelle were dominant in territory and possession, kicking the ball in defence only for tactical advantage rather than to relieve pressure. But it was the Scarlets who led at the interval, 12-10, after Halfpenny’s fourth penalty was answered by one from Alexi Bales. Nerves were less of a factor after the break. Halfpenny’s fifth penalty extended his side’s lead but La Rochelle were making clean breaks, led by Retière, whose deceptive strength in contact allowed him to bounce off tacklers who went too high. The Scarlets were forced into a reshuffle behind when Steff Evans suffered a head injury as he chased a kick ahead, inadvertently elbowed in the face by Bales. Halfpenny moved to the wing and Rhys Patchell took over at full-back with the replacement Dan Jones taking over at outside-half. La Rochelle sensed a game there to be plundered and laid siege to the Scarlets’ line. They were held up three times, a combination of courage and a willingness to bend the breakdown laws to breaking point keeping the Scarlets ahead. Their beautiful game had had to turn ugly. Having absorbed numerous blows, the Scarlets delivered the knock-out on the hour when Hadleigh Parkes broke through the midfield and Dan Jones’s losing pass allowed Patchell Jo to use Halfpenny as a decoy before cutting inside Vincent Rattez to score. cu La Rochelle kept coming but the Scarlets played the final 10 minutes Sc a man short after Will Boyde was sent to the sin-bin for entering a ruck se from the side. Then Williams got the fr home crowd singing and Pierre Bouho dehent’s late try was the scantest of de consolations. co Scarlets Halfpenny; Asquith (MacLeod 14; Boyde 62), Williams, Parkes, S Evans (D Jones 46); Patchell, G Davies (A Davies 76); R Evans (D Evans 68), Owens (capt), Lee (Kruger 56), Beirne, Bulbring (Rawlins 56), Shingler, J Davies, Barclay (Elias 76) Tries Patchell, Williams Cons Halfpenny 2 Pens Halfpenny 5 Sin-bin Boyde La Rochelle Bouldoire (Boudehent 30); Rattez, Retière, Aguillon, Barry; Sinzelle (Noble 62), Bales (Kerr-Barlow 56); Priso (Tuifedle 62), Bourgarit, Atonio (Boughanmi 52), Sazy (capt), Tanguy, Veivuke (Gourdon 24), Kieft (Lamboley 56), Amosa (Forbes 56) Try Sazy, Boudehent Cons Bales, Noble Pen Bales Referee Luke Pearce (Eng) Attendance 15,180 Schalk Burger has a vineyard that sprawls over 180 hectares of Western Cape countryside waiting for him as soon as he decides to retire. Had he taken what he calls “the easy option” he would be winding down the clock right now and topping up the bank balance in Japan rather than preparing for a European quarterfinal. But there is an unmistakable twinkle in his eye as he explains at Saracens’ sodden training ground that, with his 35th birthday only a couple of weeks away, he is due to sign on for another year in north London. For apart from the poor weather which he describes as “one heck of a spring” that has meant “I’ve never played so little golf in my life”, Burger has relished his time at Saracens. The former South Africa flanker banked one European title last season and Saracens are now well set for the Premiership run-in, but it was the disastrous run of seven successive defeats at the end of last year – the low point of which was a 46-14 thumping by Clermont – that reinforced his feelings. That kind of adversity stirred the senses. “In every season there’s a game when you’re just not on it for some reason and the score blows you out of the water,” he says. “We’re humans, aren’t we? It was good for us to just sit down and simplify our way forward. That’s a nice process, I like that. In the World Cup we lost a game against Japan in Brighton and that was a high-pressure situation. How do you turn it around? It speaks volumes of a group if you can because it would be easier to disintegrate.” Saracens have pulled off some exceptional away victories in recent years – Burger recalls last season’s Champions Cup win at Toulon and, inevitably, the semi-final triumph over Munster in Dublin that followed has been mentioned frequently this week – but it is hard to escape the feeling that tomorrow against Leinster would be their best to date. For the odds are stacked against England’s only quarter-final representatives, the twice defending champions. Owen Farrell has been declared fit to play, though it remains to be seen if he is able to kick at goal. He is one of six starters still bearing the scars of England’s humbling by Ireland while 10 of the squad that clinched the grand slam at Twickenham line up for Leinster. Mark McCall, Saracens’ director of rugby, has been at pains to eschew the Six Nations narrative – “we’re not England” – but in truth it is inescapable. Furthermore, Leinster are the form team in Europe, breezing through what was supposedly the hardest pool with 27 points from a possible 30. Victory over Munster at the Aviva Stadium was hugely impressive last April but when Leinster are at their second home it is an altogether more formidable challenge. Saracens established their European dominance on an ability to thrive in knockout rugby, having won the last six do-or-die contests. If their aura has slipped a little this season, then this is the perfect opportunity to restore it. “The good thing about challenges is that you stand up to them,” Burger adds. “You shouldn’t let the opposition down. All the years from playing against the All Blacks, learning what the haka stands for, the biggest thing we focused on was don’t disappoint the All Blacks with what you bring to it. This weekend is a similar sort of challenge.” Burger always enjoys his trips to Dublin but among those that stand out are South Africa’s narrow defeat in 2009, when he scored the Springboks’ only try at Croke Park. That was the year of Ireland’s previous grand slam before their latest clean sweep and Burger has undoubtedly been impressed with what he has seen in recent weeks. “What everyone underestimates is how physical they are because you always see the beautiful tries or set pieces, which I think have become a hallmark, or the cross-kicks or the chips in behind, how they find space,” he says. “All of them are super physical and that is where it starts this weekend for us.” Farrell’s rematch with Johnny Sexton is just one of the intriguing match-ups but it again raises the question of whether Premiership players are feeling the strain of too great a workload. Farrell has played 1,084 minutes for his club, this season, Sexton 434, and Burger acknowledges that the domestic campaign in England is a gruelling exercise. “It’s a tough season but it was refreshing for me to do something other than Super Rugby. The easy option would have been to finish over in Japan.” Saracens will be delighted Burger did not take it. Chiefs regain trophy Jack Innard scored two tries as Exeter regained the Anglo-Welsh Cup with a convincing 28-11 win over Bath at Kingsholm. With no competition in 2015, this was the Chiefs’ fourth final in succession and, after losing the last two, they claimed back the trophy they first won in 2014. Bath were second best on the day as their wait for a first trophy since 2008 – when they won the European Challenge Cup – went on. Toby Salmon scored Exeter’s other try, with Joe Simmonds adding three penalties and two conversions, while Bath’s points came from a Cooper Vuna try and two penalties from Freddie Burns. PA Section:GDN 1S PaGe:15 Edition Date:180331 Edition:02 Zone: Sent at 30/3/2018 21:55 cYanmaGentaYellowbl •• Saturday 31 March 2018 The Guardian Results Sport 15 Football FOURTH TEST (first day of five) JD WELSH PREMIER LEAGUE Cefn Druids 3 Bala Town 1 South Africa v Australia SSE AIRTRICITY IRISH PREMIER DIVISION Bray 0 Cork City 4; Derry City 2 St Patrick’s 1; Dundalk 3 Bohemians 0; Limerick 0 Waterford 2; Shamrock Rovers 1 Sligo 0 JUPILER LEAGUE Standard Liège 1 Sporting Charleroi 0 PRIMEIRA LIGA Boavista L Tondela L Marítimo 4 Feirense 1; Rio Ave 2 Estoril 0 Rugby union EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS CUP Quarter-finals Scarlets 29 La Rochelle 17 EUROPEAN CHALLENGE CUP Quarter-finals Newcastle 25 Brive Pau 35 Stade Français 10 32 ANGLO-WELSH CUP Final Bath 11 Exeter GREENE KING IPA CHAMPIONSHIP P W D L F Bristol 19 18 0 1 760 Ealing Trailfinders 18 15 0 3 645 Bedford 18 9 2 7 550 Jersey 19 11 1 7 441 Cornish Pirates 19 9 0 10 557 Yorkshire Carnegie 18 10 1 7 416 Doncaster 19 8 1 10 496 Richmond 19 9 0 10 383 Nottingham 18 8 1 9 422 Hartpury RFC 19 6 1 12 399 London Scottish 19 4 1 14 423 Rotherham Titans 19 1 0 18 327 Richmond 12 Nottingham Chess St Louis may bid for Caruana world title match Leonard Barden By winning this week’s candidates tournament in Berlin, the 25-year-old American Fabiano Caruana has qualified for a 12-game world title series against Norway’s Magnus Carlsen in November. It was going to be in London with a €1m prize fund, but now there are rumours of a much higher bid, a venue switch to St Louis and tricky negotiations. The first American-born challenger since Bobby Fischer defeated Boris Spassky in 1972 lives in St Louis, which has become a renowned global chess centre hosting inter alia the US cham- Weekend on TV Sloane Stephens faces Jelena Ostapenko in the Miami Open final pionship and an annual elite event in which both Carlsen and Caruana compete. The billionaire Rex Sinquefield bankrolls it all and was financially responsible for Caruana, who has dual nationality, electing to represent the US rather than Italy from 2015. Caruana was born to Italian-American parents in Miami, was home schooled, learned his chess skills in Brooklyn, and at 14 broke Fischer’s age record as the youngest US grandmaster. He moved to Europe in search of the best tournaments and coaching, living in Madrid, Budapest and Lugano and representing Italy. As an American again, he led the US team in 2016 to their first ever gold medals at the biennial 150-nation Olympiad. Sinquefield is a long-time Fischer fan, who once met his idol on a plane trip, and a few years ago bought up Bobby’s personal library. Four-time US champion Yasser Seirawan, a Sinquefield confidant, said that a St Louis bid would be “significantly higher” than the €1m in London, which may be in some doubt anyway, since it was raised from primarily Russian sponsors before the Berlin result was known. For the embattled and financially stretched global chess body Fide, St Louis could prove a lifeline. However, Fide’s commercial partner Agon, based in Moscow, holds the rights to the match and is sure to fight its corner. 3560 White mates in three moves at latest, against any defence (by Fritz Giegold,1970). The black king has no moves but the subtle answer defeats many solvers. 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 a b c d e f g h 3560 1 Kc1! f5 2 Rgd7! Bxf4+ 3 R7d2 mate. CHRIS CARLSON/AP Hull’s hope Britain’s Charley Hull stood four shots oﬀ the lead after the ﬁrst round of the ANA Inspiration at Mission Hills, California, the season’s ﬁrst major. Pernilla Lindberg’s 65 left her a shot clear of the pack. The former world No 1 Lydia Ko made a double bogey at the seventh in her round of 70. PA Today Football Crystal Palace v Liverpool Sky Sports Premier League, 11.30am Motherwell v Rangers BT Sport 1, noon Bayern Munich v Borussia Dortmund BT Sport 2, 5pm Everton v Manchester City BT Sport 1, 5pm Hull v Aston Villa Sky Sports Football, 5.15pm Sassuolo v Napoli BT Sport 3, 5.15pm Las Palmas v Real Madrid Sky Sports Mix, 5.25pm Juventus v Milan BT Sport 2, 7.30pm Sevilla v Barcelona Sky Sports Football, 7.40pm Paris Saint-Germain v Monaco BT Sport 3, 7.45pm BRITISH & IRISH CUP Quarter-finals Jersey 22 Leinster A 17 28 A 366 374 468 399 503 454 498 488 483 482 637 667 B 16 15 16 8 16 8 16 8 7 13 12 6 Doncaster Munster A Pts 88 75 56 54 52 50 50 44 41 39 30 10 20 10 6 NATIONAL LEAGUE ONE Bishop’s Stortford 15 Blackheath 5; Old Elthamians 6 Ampthill & District 18 Golf HOUSTON OPEN (Texas, US) Leading first-round scores (US unless stated) 65 L Glover; K Tway. 66 J Suri; R Pampling (Aus); R Armour; R Fowler. 67 S Stricker; B Cauley; S Stefani; J Kokrak; G Chalmers (Aus); M Every; B Stegmaier; S Power (Ire); G Murray; M Thompson; K Mitchell; B Snedeker; P Harrington (Ire). 68 H Varner III; N Lindheim; D Lee (NZ); J Rose (Eng); B Haas; S Lowry (Ire); H Stenson (Swe); J Spieth; L List; S Piercy; M Kuchar; M Piller; F Gómez (Arg); T Hoge; K Streelman; J Dahmen; K Bradley; P Mickelson; JJ Henry; D McCarthy; A Ancer (Mex). WOMEN’S ANA INSPIRATION (Mission Hills, US) Leading first-round scores (US unless stated) 65 P Lindberg (Swe). 66 B Recari (Sp); A Uehara (Jpn). 67 Jang H-n (Kor); J Korda; A Valenzuela (Swi). 68 Choi C (Kor); L Thompson; C Kerr; Chun I-g (Kor); B Altomare; Park S-h (Kor). 69 E Talley; J Song; A Olson; Yoo S-y (Kor); C Hull (Eng); Park H-y (Kor); K Tamulis. 70 L Li; M Sagstrom (Swe); Park I-b (Kor); BM Henderson (Can); P Phatlum (Tha); K Kaufman; Kim S-y (Kor); A Yin; N Hataoka (Jpn); L Ko (NZ); J Ewart Shadoff (Eng); L Duncan; P Creamer; M Jutanugarn (Tha); H Green (Aus); B Law (Eng). Tennis NATIONAL LEAGUE TWO South Henley 17 Taunton Titans 20 PRINCIPALITY BUILDING SOCIETY WELSH PREMIERSHIP Aberavon 24 Bedwas 19; Bargoed 7 Cardiff 39; Carmarthen Quins 34 Ebbw Vale 23; Llandovery 24 Newport 19; Neath 10 Merthyr 29; RGC 1404 55 Cross Keys 26; Swansea 19 Pontypridd 54 ATP/WTA MIAMI OPEN (Florida, US) Men: Quarter-final: A Zverev (Ger) by B Coric (Cro) 6-4 6-4. Semi-final: J Isner (US) bt JM Del Potro (Arg) 6-1 7-6 (2). Women: Semi-final: J Ostapenko (Lat) bt D Collins (US) 7-6 (1) 6-3. Fixtures Rugby league BETFRED SUPER LEAGUE P W D L F A St Helens 8 7 0 1 228 96 Wigan 7 5 0 2 202 103 Warrington 9 5 0 4 168 149 Castleford 6 5 0 1 105 114 Leeds 7 4 1 2 136 129 Hull FC 8 4 0 4 183 158 Wakefield 7 4 0 3 128 111 Widnes 8 3 0 5 159 157 Salford 8 3 0 5 142 170 Huddersfield 8 2 1 5 114 216 Hull KR 8 2 0 6 134 172 Catalans Dragons 8 1 0 7 92 216 Huddersfield 22 Leeds Hull KR 22 Hull FC Salford 32 Catalans Dragons St Helens 21 Wigan Warrington 32 Widnes Johannesburg South Africa lead Australia by 313 runs with four first-innings wickets remaining. South Africa First innings D Elgar c Sayers b Lyon ..................................................19 AK Markram c MR Marsh b Cummins ............................152 HM Amla c Handscomb b Cummins ................................27 A B de Villiers c Paine b Sayers .......................................69 *F du Plessis lbw b Cummins ...........................................0 T Bavuma not out .........................................................25 K Rabada c Renshaw b Sayers...........................................0 †Q de Kock not out .........................................................7 Extras (b8, lb6).............................................................14 Total (for 6, 88 overs)..................................................313 Fall 53, 142, 247, 247, 299, 299. To bat VD Philander, KA Maharaj, M Morkel. Bowling Hazlewood-18-3-60-0; Sayers-26-6-64-2; Cummins-19-3-53-3; Lyon-21-1-95-1; MR Marsh-3-0-23-0; Renshaw-1-0-4-0. Australia JA Burns, MT Renshaw, UT Khawaja, PSP Handscomb, SE Marsh, MR Marsh, *†TD Paine, PJ Cummins , CJ Sayers, NM Lyon, JR Hazlewood. Toss South Africa elected to bat. Umpires IJ Gould (Eng) and NJ Llong (Eng). PD +132 +99 +19 -9 +7 +25 +17 +2 -28 -102 -38 -124 Pts 14 10 10 10 9 8 8 6 6 5 4 2 22 30 16 18 18 BETFRED CHAMPIONSHIP Batley 18 Dewsbury 10; Featherstone 16 Toronto Wolfpack 24; Halifax 30 Barrow 4; London Broncos 16 Toulouse 36; Sheffield 38 Rochdale 20; Swinton 10 Leigh 40 BETFRED LEAGUE ONE Bradford 30 Oldham 12; Coventry 18 Newcastle 32; Doncaster 14 York 16; Hemel Stags 12 London Skolars 18; Hunslet 22 Keighley 38 West Wales 6 North Wales 54; Whitehaven 14 Workington 12 Cricket SECOND WOMEN’S T20 INTERNATIONAL Colombo (SSC) Pakistan 72 (HASD Siriwardene 4-9). Sri Lanka 73-3. Sri Lanka beat Pakistan by seven wickets. TODAY (3pm unless stated) Rugby union European Champions Cup Quarter-final Munster v Toulon (3.15pm) European Challenge Cup Quarter-finals Connacht v Gloucester (1pm); Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues (5.45pm) British & Irish Cup Quarter-finals Bedford v Ulster A; Ealing Trailfinders v Cornish Pirates Cricket Fourth Test (second day of five) Johannesburg South Africa v Australia (9am) Women’s T20 international tri-series Mumbai Australia v England (5.30am) Third women’s T20 international Colombo (SSC) Sri Lanka v West Indies (5.30am) TOMORROW (3pm unless stated) Rugby union European Champions Cup Quarter-finals Clermont Auvergne v Racing 92 (1pm); Leinster v Saracens (3.30pm) Cricket Fourth Test (third day of five) Johannesburg South Africa v Australia (9am) MCC university matches (first day of three) Fenner’s Cambridge v Nottinghamshire (11am) Bristol Gloucestershire v Cardiff (11am) Canterbury Kent v Oxford (11am) Hove Sussex v Loughborough (11am) Edgbaston Warwickshire v Durham (11am) Flagge Meadow Worcestershire v Leeds/Bradford (11am) First T20 international Karachi Pakistan v West Indies (3.30pm) Tomorrow Rugby union Connacht v Gloucester BT Sport 3, 12.30pm Munster v Toulon Sky Sports Action, 2.30pm Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues Sky Sports Action, 5.30pm Cricket South Africa v Australia Sky Sports Cricket, 8.55am New Zealand v England Sky Sports Cricket, 10.30pm Golf ANA Inspiration Sky Sports Golf, 11pm Tennis WTA Miami Open BT Sport ESPN, 6pm Boxing Anthony Joshua v Joseph Parker Sky Sports Box Office, from 6pm Football Dundee v Hearts Sky Sports Football, noon Arsenal v Stoke Sky Sports Premier League, 12.30pm Werder Bremen v Eintracht Frankfurt BT Sport 1, 2.30pm Leganés v Valencia Sky Sports Football, 3.10pm Chelsea v Tottenham Sky Sports Premier League, 3.30pm Nantes v St-Étienne BT Sport 3, 4pm Mainz v Borussia Mönchengladbach BT Sport 1, 5pm Eibar v Real Sociedad Sky Sports Football, 5.25pm Atlético Madrid v Deportivo Sky Sports Football, 7.40pm Lyon v Toulouse BT Sport 1, 7.45pm Rugby union Clermont Auvergne v Racing 92 Sky Sports Action, 12.30pm Leinster v Saracens BT Sport 2, 3pm Cricket South Africa v Australia Sky Sports Cricket, 8.55am New Zealand v England Sky Sports Cricket, 10.30pm Golf Houston Open Sky Sports Golf, 7pm ANA Inspiration Sky Sports Golf, 11pm Tennis ATP Miami Open Sky Sports Arena, 6pm Cycling Tour of Flanders Eurosport 1, 9.15am Section:GDN 1S PaGe:16 Edition Date:180331 Edition:03 Zone: Sent at 30/3/2018 22:57 cYanmaGentaYellowbl ••• The Guardian Saturday 31 March 2018 Bu Burger with relish Sch Schalk ﬁred up for Sar Saracens’ mission to s to storm Dublin 16 Page P age 114 But his words chimed uneasily with the wider weather fronts of Russia 2018, a tournament that has become ever more grey and ominous, from the relentless politicking on all sides, to the bad moon that hangs over every Fifa event, an ugliness spawned in the Sepp Blatter endtimes that must now play itself out over four more years of curdled power-play. A ILLUSTRATION: MATT JOHNSTONE A happy ending? Messi’s endless genius would be ideal antidote to grey World Cup Barney Ronay I see a bad moon rising: I see trouble on the way. Or if not quite trouble, then some interesting times this summer for the poor old beleaguered World Cup; and indeed for Lionel Messi in what is surely a last realistic shot at the ultimate prize for the most exhilarating footballer of the modern age. Argentina’s travelling fans are still among the most vivid memories of the last tournament in Brazil, a sweaty, gleeful, Messi-worshipping horde from across the border that in the last few days before the final seemed to be coming up through the Rio drains and falling down from the trees, emerging in ever greater numbers from the Copacabana surf. By the end they were sleeping in cars in the Rio sidestreets, packing out the bars and parading in the main streets, and all the while singing that song to the tune of Bad Moon Rising that ends with the line: “You’re going to see Messi, he’ll bring us back the cup.” Except, of course, it didn’t happen like that. And it seems even less likely to happen this time around given Argentina’s 6-1 shellacking at the hands of Spain on Wednesday. In mitigation, Spain were sensationally good in Madrid. Plus, of course, Messi didn’t play, watching instead from the stands and looking as mournfully blank as he had four years ago, wandering off the Maracaña pitch past a huge screen proclaiming him the player of the tournament. And really it is the sense of heaviness that is striking here. “The World Cup is like a revolver to his head,” the manager, Jorge Sampaoli, had said even before the evisceration by Spain, referring to Messi having to carry both his team and his own elite sporting destiny. gainst this backdrop the idea that Messi, now 30 and who has done nothing but bring sporting joy, might get another shot at winning a World Cup has felt like a glimmer of something redemptive, a happy ending of sorts, a way of making this tournament beautiful. Even this is complicated, however. It would be fair to suggest at this point there is nothing particularly subversive or novel about the world’s most famous multimillionaire footballer illuminating Vladimir Putin’s circus. Better, from this perspective, for France to go and win it after Tuesday’s reports of racist Russian taunts, or for some perennially menaced Baltic state to make a late entrance and thrash the host nation in the semis. But this is where Messi himself becomes interesting, where glory at this World Cup might also add another layer, or at least some actual substance to the basic meaning of Lionel. Let’s face it, away from the on-field feats, the most interesting thing about Messi is how startlingly uninteresting he is, the peculiar remoteness of his public persona. Has any near-ubiquitous public face ever had so little content, so little depth? He seems nice. But Messi really does have nothing to declare but his own genius, no context beyond that endlessly gushing well of brilliance. This is not meant as a criticism. There is no extra obligation for sports people to intersect with the wider world. But usually great athletes just can’t help being political beings. Diego Maradona got to mean something simply by being poor and brilliant and flawed, the charismatic outsider with shades of darkness and light. Even Pelé, who seemed to have spent most of the 1970s travelling the world in a fur-lined helicopter wearing a solid gold hat, had a depth of meaning to his feats, a kid from Bauru who emerged from poverty to conquer the sporting world. And then we have Messi. For a while That Messi his defiantly ordinary demeanour felt might get like it might carry some significance, a kind of holy fool dynamic. The best another player in the world didn’t have tattoos shot at and a douchebag hairstyle. Then he got tattoos and a douchebag hairstyle. winning So that was that. At the end of which a World the meaning of Messi is, simply, that Cup has being really good at football is really good. Being the best is the best. Have a felt like a good time – all the time. glimmer of Except, of course, there is something something else here. The joy. As Sampaoli also said in Madrid, Messi redemptive needs to be able to enjoy football, to relax, to exist as a free spirit, to become his most exhilarating self. And this is perhaps Messi’s wider significance, a reminder that playfulness and joy are the essence of what he does, that he succeeds by communicating this basic sense of freedom, of something upliftingly impish. This enduring spark is the most striking thing about his years of success in the most managed of footballing worlds, a place of corporate lockdown and annihilating physicality. In the middle of this, hiding in plain sight, Messi is the opposite of control, an antidote to grey. It isn’t so far-fetched he could do it in Russia too. Argentina very rarely lose with him in the team. Messi himself looks fitter than four years ago and more at ease, an oddly gentle supercharged sporting genius who is still, and for all the gongs and glories, an element of grace within the machine.