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Australia will play Scotland in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World cup at Twickenham this Sunday after their 15-6 Pool-A win over Wales, while the Welsh take on South Africa.
Ireland’s reward for beating France 24-9 in Pool D is to avoid New Zealand – surely still the prime objective for everyone still in the tournament – and set up a last-eight tie with Argentina, leaving the French to face the fast-improving All Blacks. Meanwhile the former South Africa and Italy coach Nick Mallett claimed he had turned down an approach over the England job,even as Stuart Lancaster remains in the job.
Treble joy for Leeds Rhinos
While England’s rugby union side were huffing their way to an irrelevant win over Uruguay on one side of Manchester last Saturday, rugby league was rocking to its showpiece occasion, the Super League Grand Final, at Old Trafford. The biggest crowd in Grand Final history – 73,512 – saw Leeds Rhinos seal a domestic treble with a breathtaking comeback 22-20 victory over Wigan Warriors, which proved a fitting sendoff for three retiring Rhinos’ mainstays, Kevin Sinfield, Jamie Peacock and Kylie Leuluai. “To do the treble in the same year is brilliant, and in the context of everything this will stay with us all for ever,” said the Leeds coach Brian McDermott.
Hamilton takes Sochi GP
Russian President Vladimir Putin may be unable to conceal his contempt for his western “partners” but his country still finds plenty of common ground with Formula One’s ethically oblique, petrodollar-fuelled circus. At Sochi, Lewis Hamilton won his ninth grand prix of a season that looks set to surpass even his dominance in 2014, as Mercedes wrapped up the constructors’ title with four races to spare. Hamilton could seal the drivers’ championship at the next port of call in Austin, Texas, if results go his way: “It just feels special to have contributed to the team’s success,” he said. “I feel like a small link in the chain of many, many people.”
Djokovic beats Nadal in China
Just when it seemed men’s tennis had gone quiet and Novak Djokovic’s blistering dominance of the sport this year might all have been a dream, up popped the Serb to casually thrash his way to another ATP title, this time at the China Open in Beijing. Djokovic has now won the last four stagings of the event and his sacrificial lamb this time was Rafael Nadal, who received a 6-2, 6-2 hiding, although it was notable that the Spaniard reached the final at all given his own catastrophic recent tailoff of form. “I have been improving in every single match,” Nadal said. “It’s good energy for starting next season stronger.”
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