Leicester’s Graham Kitchener dives over for a try against Northampton in the Premiership Final at Twickenham.
Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images It is not often that the winning of a title is described as incidental, but Leicester’s first victory in the play-off final since 2010 was overshadowed by the dismissal of the Northampton and British Lions hooker Dylan Hartley at the end of the first half for swearing at the referee, Wayne Barnes.
Hartley’s red card, which may end his Lions career before it starts, came at the end of a half that was stuffed with intent and incident.
The Northampton hooker, clearly frustrated at the referee’s handling of the scrum only two of the 12 scrums resulted in the ball emerging, with Leicester awarded six free-kicks/penalties was warned after firing a verbal volley at Barnes on 38 minutes.
When Stephen Myler kicked the ball dead at a drop-out to end, as he thought, the half, Barnes, who had told the outside-half he had to keep the ball in play even though time was up, blew for a Leicester scrum and, after Northampton went to ground, awarded the Tigers a penalty.
Hartley mouthed the words ‘fucking cheat’ in the direction of the referee.
Barnes heard the remark, saw red and flourished red, leaving Hartley’s status as a Lion at the mercy of a disciplinary panel, an institution he is not unfamiliar with.
Hartley became the first player to be sent off in a Premiership final and it soured what had been an oscillating encounter between the East Midlands rivals.
Leicester had started with a flourish, 10 points ahead after seven minutes through a Toby Flood penalty and a Niall Morris try that was fashioned by Vereniki Goneva, who cut into midfield from his wing and found Anthony Allen with an inside pass.
Quick ruck ball and Flood’s vision did the rest.
Leicester had been eight points behind early on against Harlequins the previous year, only to mount a comeback.
Northampton, appearing in their first final, were galvanised rather than demoralised by the early set-back and if they did not achieve their expected superiority up front, they controlled the lineout, content to kick the ball into touch and put the pressure on the Leicester hooker, and Hartley’s Lions’ rival, Tom Youngs.
Northampton had five lineout options and Youngs struggled to find his targets.
The Saints had a foothold and when Manu Tuilagi was penalised for not rolling away after a tackle, having got back on his feet without quite letting go of Luther Burrell, Lee Dickson tapped and scuttled away, weaving in and out of defenders who dared not touch him because they were in the 10-metre exclusion zone, before linking with Burrell on his outside.
The centre found Myler outside him and the outside-half took Mathew Tait over the line with him.
Given the occasion and the derby factor, it was a remarkably open match, but one with an edge.
Flood was orchestrating Leicester’s attack adroitly until he ran into Courtney Lawes on 20 minutes.
The second row lined up his target, but his challenge was late and he was penalised.
He hit his England colleague with such force in the midriff that Flood appeared to have lost consciousness before he hit the ground: he was treated for four minutes, but got up as a stretcher arrived only to depart with concussion after another boneshaking Lawes tackle.
Tom Croft also spent a long time on the ground after tumbling head first from the top of the lineout.
He used Northampton’s Tom Wood to break his fall, hitting the ground head first.
Leicester were wounded, struggling to overcome Flood’s departure, hanging on when Dickson was held up on their line and relieving the pressure when Soane Tonga’uiha was penalised for slipping his binding.
It was the start of Hartley’s concern about the refereeing.
His mood was not improved on 34 minutes after another flowing Northampton move ended with Ben Foden crossing in the corner.
Graham Kitchener prevented the full-back from touching the ball down long enough for the full-back’s feet to touch the in-goal line and the television match official, Graham Hughes, denied the Saints a try they were confident had been scored.
They had just fallen 13-5 behind to a George Ford penalty and went into the interval 11 points adrift after Ford ended the Myler-Hartley saga with another three points.
Northampton’s rage at Hartley’s dismissal and what they felt was intimidation of the officials by the Leicester director of rugby, Richard Cockerill, was controlled: they took off a wing, James Elliott, to bring on the hooker Mike Haywood and keep their complement of forwards to eight.
It was to their immense credit that the second half was no more one-way than the first had been.
Northampton started it spiritedly, Foden scoring in the corner four minutes in, but when Ford kicked a penalty seven minutes after the second row Kitchener had found himself on the wing and with just enough pace to make the line, it was 24-10 to Leicester.
Back came Northampton, Dickson touching down after another burst from the impressive Burrell, whose ability to break tackles was not matched by his handling.
The Saints had struggled to create for much of the season, but with 14 minutes to go they were outscoring Leicester on tries and showing more imagination.
The one-man deficit told in the end.
Tuilagi skipped away from Wood to secure the title for the Tigers.
Two Ford penalties either side of a try by Goneva gave the scoreline a flattering hue for Leicester, whose fourth play-off final victory will always be remembered for Hartley’s red mist and colourful language.
Goldie Hawn gained fame in the 70s, 80s, and 90s as a comedic actress in movies such as Overboard and Death Becomes Her. The 67-year-old actress may have put aside her acting career a decade ago, but she is still making the rounds in Hollywood circles.
Since stepping aside and allowing her daughter, Kate Hudson1, to take over the family acting business, Hawn has kept herself busy lending her name and image to charity. According to a Los Angeles Times report2, the 67-year-old actress was spotted just this week at a charity event in Cannes, France, where the 66th annual Cannes Film Festival is being held.
Hawn attended the Foundation for AIDS Research s (amfAR) annual Cinema Against AIDS charity auction.
She was joined by stars such as Zachary Quinto, Nicole Kidman, Jeremy Renner, Adrien Brody, Christoph Waltz, and amfAR Ambassador Janet Jackson. AmfAR has stated that this year s auction raised $25 million for HIV and AIDS3 research.
When she s not lending her name to AIDS research, the retired actress spends time with her longtime boyfriend of 30 years, Kurt Russell, as well as her children and grandchildren. She is also an avid cyclist.
Hawn chronicles her love of cycling through her Twitter feed, and also shows that she still has a sense of humor:
(Image courtesy amfAR)
Gibraltar should soon be hosting senior football matches after being admitted fully to Uefa.
Photograph: Design Pics Inc/Rex Features Gibraltar has become Uefa’s 54th member nation after the European ruling body voted for its inclusion at its congress in London.
There had been opposition from Spain but the Gibraltar FA won a case at the court of arbitration for sport obliging Uefa to accept the British overseas territory as a member.
The Uefa president Michel Platini said that Gibraltar would be kept apart from Spain in qualifying for Euro 2016.
“Gibraltar will not play qualifying matches with Spain we also have this situation with Armenia and Azerbaijan,” he said.
“This is a momentous occasion for football in Gibraltar,” said Gareth Latin, president of the Gibraltar Football Association.
“Uefa membership means that we can begin the next chapter of Gibraltarian football.” He added: “At last we’ll be able to show the whole of Europe that we can match the best with football of a high standard and entertaining style.
“It will open up a whole new world of opportunities for our highly skilled young footballers.
This is one of our greatest ever sporting moments.” Gibraltar’s first application, in 1999, had been rejected in the face of intense opposition from Spain, who feared that that if Gibraltar were to be admitted to Uefa, it would set a precedent that could inspire similar claims from separatist Basque or Catalan teams.
The last vote was in 2007 when only three countries supported Gibraltar’s application and Spain threatened to withdraw all its teams from Uefa competition if Gibraltar were admitted.
Cycling Anthology, volume 2
Volume two of The Cycling Anthology has just been released, and this edition of collected essays from some of the world’s foremost cycling writers focuses on the Tour de France.
William Fotheringham, Jeremy Whittle, Ed Pickering, Daniel Friebe, Ruper Guinness, James Startt and Samuel Abt return to contribute to the latest volume. The book’s editors, Lionel Birnie and Ellis Bacon, also submit chapters.
Their work appears alongside essays from new contributors Ned Boulting, Brendan Gallagher, Richard Williams, Daniel Lloyd and Colombian writer Klaus Bellon Gait n.
Look How Big It’s Become’ by Samuel Abt
F lix L vitan ran the Tour with an autocrat’s discipline. But although he was authoritarian he was also visionary.
He dreamed of a truly international Tour, with a Grand D part in New York or Moscow. He left the organisation suddenly and in controversial circumstance and was effectively exiled for more than a decade before Jean-Marie Leblanc invited him to the start of the 1998 Tour in Dublin.
Samuel Abt was cycling correspondent for the International Herald Tribune
‘A Life of Brian’ by Ned Boulting
Ned meets Brian Venner, the man responsible for putting the Tour de France on British television in the 1980s.
Ned Boulting presents ITV Sport’s coverage of the Tour de France and is the author of How I Won the Yellow Jumper and On the Road Bike: The Search for a Nation’s Cycling Soul
‘The Angel of the Mountains’ by Richard Williams
Charly Gaul, the graceful climber from Luxembourg, won the Tour de France once, in 1958. It wasn’t Gaul’s results but his daring exploits in the mountains that captured the imagination and earned him the most romantic nickname of them all.
Richard explains why Gaul personified panache in a way the metronomic efficiency of Jacques Anquetil never could.
Richard Williams is a former chief sports writer of The Guardian
‘Nervous but Prepared’ by Klaus Bellon Gait n
One of L vitan’s dreams was to invite teams from all over the world to participate in the Tour. In 1983, the Colombians arrived and began to make waves in the mountains. Klaus charts the rise of cycling’s popularity in Colombia, remembering a time when a nation had its collective ear glued to a radio listening to the Tour.
‘It’s All About the Car’ by Brendan Gallagher
Covering the Tour is a marathon, not a sprint.
During the month of July, the journalist’s car becomes his castle, mobile office and transport caf . Brendan describes what it’s like trying to keep up with the greatest sporting spectacle when it keeps pedalling away from him.
Brendan Gallagher has been a sports journalist for 30 years, writing for the Daily Telegraph for 20 of those years
‘The Reluctant Prince’ by Daniel Friebe
It’s incredible to think that just six summers ago, Linus Gerdemann took the yellow jersey at Le Grand Bornand and was being hailed as the saviour of German cycling. But he did not fulfill his potential and now is without a place on a professional team.
Daniel looks at what went wrong…
Daniel Friebe is the author of The Cannibal, a biography of Eddy Merckx, and Mountain High
‘ a M’est gal’ by Jeremy Whittle
This summer’s Tour will be Jeremy’s 20th as a journalist. In those years, the Tour has been affected by scandal as often as it has been touched by greatness. But, he concludes, despite everything, the Tour has an intoxicating charm no other event can match.
Jeremy Whittle is the author of Bad Blood and cycling correspondent for The Times
‘Napoleon’ by William Fotheringham
Cyrille Guimard can justifiably claim to be the greatest directeur sportif in the history of the Tour.
He led Lucien Van Impe, Bernard Hinault and Laurent Fignon to victory and set Greg LeMond on the path to glory too. He was a combination of motivator and dictator, which earned him the nickname Napoleon. William explores his legacy.
William Fotheringham wrote Eddy Merckx: Half-Man, Half-Bike.
His collection of work for The Guardian, Racing Hard, is on sale soon
‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ by Ellis Bacon
The 1989 Tour de France was the greatest of all time. The final-day time trial, in which Greg LeMond turned a 50-second deficit to Laurent Fignon into an eight-second overall victory, was arguably the most dramatic day in the Tour’s history but it was also the culmination of a race that see-sawed one way then the other. Ellis enjoys a nostalgic trip back to 1989 by re-watching the montage produced by Channel 4 that told the story of the race.
Ellis Bacon is the author of Mapping Le Tour, published by Collins
‘The Tour Winners’ Club’ by Edward Pickering
Edward Pickering studies two Tour winners, Jan Janssen (1968 champion) and Bernard Th venet (1975 and 1977) and asks what it takes to achieve victory.
We like to think that Tour winners are extraordinary people but wouldn’t it be more accurate to say they are ordinary men doing the extraordinary?
Edward Pickering is the author of The Race Against Time, the story of Graeme Obree and Chris Boardman’s battle for the hour record
‘Roche and the Rookie Reporter’ by Rupert Guinness
In 1987, Rupert Guinness headed to West Berlin to cover the Tour for the first time. As an Australian reporter, he hoped for a good performance by Phil Anderson. Instead, he witnessed the battle between Ireland’s Stephen Roche and Spaniard Pedro Delgado.
Here, he tells the story of that race.
Rupert Guinness writes for the Sydney Morning Herald
‘A Guide for the Cynics and Sceptics’ by Lionel Birnie
The Festina Affair in 1998 did not end cycling’s relationship with performance-enhancing drugs but it almost brought the Tour to its knees. Since the fall of Lance Armstrong, it’s tempting to believe that this was the dirtiest era in the sport’s history but it was also the most transparent.
Lionel Birnie writes for The Sunday Times
‘The Director’ by James Startt
Meet Jean-Fran ois Pescheux, the man who runs the Tour every day. The former professional rider plans the route and is the judge and jury during the race itself.
The 2013 Tour will be his final one before retirement and James Startt explains why he will leave a big hole for Thierry Gouvenou to fill.
James Startt writes for Bicycling magazine
‘A Domestique’s Tale’ by Daniel Lloyd
What’s it like to ride the Tour? It’s the question every fan wants the answer to. And for a professional cyclist there’s another question that is always asked.
Have you ridden the Tour?’ In 2010, Daniel Lloyd was called up as a late replacement to replace an injured team-mate, and rode the race as a domestique, supporting Carlos Sastre and Thor Hushovd.
He tells the story of the Tour from the inside.
Daniel Lloyd rode the Tour for Cerv lo in 2010.
He is now a presenter for YouTube cycling channel Global Cycling Network
A wholesale review of safety at racecourses is on the cards after a jockey won compensation for a fall at Cheltenham, above.
Photograph: David Davies/PA A wholesale review of safety at British racecourses may be necessary in the wake of a successful claim for damages by Philip Hide, a jockey who fractured his pelvis and was put into an induced coma after falling at Cheltenham in 2006.
Jockey Club Racecourses, owners of the track, were ordered to pay him 58,000 in compensation by the Court of Appeal on Wednesday as the court reversed an earlier decision and ruled the track was liable for his injury.
“This is fantastic news,” said Hide, who returned to the saddle some months after the accident but retired in 2010 and is now a trainer.
“Of course, I hoped that the case could have been settled earlier, but the litigation has been very civilised and this outcome means a lot to me.
“I don’t remember anything about the accident because I had a head injury as well.
My parents were warned that it could be bad.
Every time I was made to look back at the films, I realised it wouldn’t have taken much more to have changed everything for my family and I truly appreciate my good fortune.” Hide, 39, was riding Hatch A Plan in the first race of the day on 11 November 2006 when the horse fell at the first hurdle, skidding to the right and throwing Hide against a plastic upright that formed part of the outer rail.
The upright was held in place by a metal spigot at its core, against which Hide struck his hip.
Lawyers for Hide argued that Cheltenham was responsible for the injury, that the rail was too close to the hurdle and that the upright was insufficiently padded.
Those contentions were rejected by a judge at Oxford County Court last summer, who said the manner of the fall was so unusual as not to be “reasonably foreseeable”, adding comments apparently critical of the “remorseless march” of health and safety legislation and the “relentless logic of the personal injury lawyer”.
But his decision was overturned by three judges at the Court of Appeal, who ruled he had misconstrued the relevant legislation.
It had been drafted, they said, to ensure those in control of workplaces took “the necessary steps to prevent foreseeable harm”.
If a defendant was to avoid liability for an injury, he would have to show “that it was due to unforeseeable circumstances beyond his control or to exceptional events the consequences of which could not be avoided”.
“This the defendant cannot do,” said Lord Justice Longmore, delivering the principal verdict.
“The padding of the uprights of the guard rail could have been thicker; the hurdle could have been placed at a greater distance from the guard rail.” Lord Justice Davis spoke approvingly of an argument made by Hide’s lawyer, that such an accident “was not only foreseeable, it had in fact been foreseen: the placing of the padding round the upright of itself evidenced that.” Davis acknowledged that “jump racing is dangerous” and that risk is “inherent in the sport”.
But he insisted the verdict “does not require Cheltenham racecourse, or other racecourses, to achieve the impossible .
In the present case, there was .
ample land available beyond the outer railings at this point to permit the railings to be set further away from the hurdle, and thereby create the potential for a safety ‘lay-by’.” Hide’s solicitor, Richard Brooks of Withy King, said: “The particular features of his case meant his claim was successful where others might not be.
Racecourses have a very difficult balancing act to perform and they do it conscientiously, so I am sure they will look again at the emphasis they need to put on rider safety.
In Philip’s case, a relatively small change could have been implemented to minimise potential injury without affecting the integrity of the sport.” A similar view was taken by Paul Struthers, chief executive of the Professional Jockeys Association.
He said: “We don’t believe the judgement puts any unnecessary burden on racecourses or the regulation of the sport, but we will be asking the British Horseracing Authority and racecourses to review the layout of all obstacles.
By ensuring the use of lay-bys or adequate padding where obstacles are located close to solid posts, racecourse would then be minimising the risks as much as possible, which is what this judgement concludes they should be doing.” It is believed that the BHA’s course inspectorate team had great concerns about the implications if Hide’s case were successful.
As was noted in the judgement, the layout at Cheltenham had been passed fit shortly before the accident by the BHA’s senior inspector of courses, Richard Linley, who described it as being “in excellent condition”.
A terse statement on behalf of Jockey Club Racecourses said: “We are disappointed by the judgement.
We will be discussing the implications of the ruling with our legal team.
No further comment will be made at this stage.” JCR could yet seek to make a further appeal to the Supreme Court.
The amount of compensation to Hide was agreed between the two sides at 58,000 in the event he was successful in proving liability on Cheltenham’s part.
The fighting friendship between Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler fell apart on the final approach to Saturday’s big fight when Britain’s world super-middleweight champion said: I want to kill him.
Froch revealed the unsuspected anger that has been festering since Kessler was given a close points decision over the Nottingham fighter in Denmark three years ago when he said: Never mind all this stuff about being pals.
I want to put him out of the game.
If I have to kill him to keep my title then I will.
In fact, the way I feel now, I want to do him serious damage.
Yes, kill him.
Scroll down to watch the video Focused: Carl Froch (left) and Mikkel Kessler go head to head before they renew rivalries in the ring Danish favourite: Kessler is one of only two men to have beaten Froch Viking warrior: Kessler has brought a few friends over to London from Denmark But was it all just to boost TV sales? There is certain to be an outcry about the graphic nature of Carl Froch’s Kill Kessler remarks.
The rationale is likely to be two-fold: first that he was speaking in the high tension which all boxers inhabit in the last two or three days before the fight, especially one of this magnitude.
Second, there is no doubt that what he has had to say about what he would like to do to his world title challenger, Mikkel Kessler, might have been said with one eye on Sky’s pay-per-view television sales.
Yet the British Boxing Board of Control are bound to examine his statements.
If he has overstepped the mark, there could be the possibility of a fine.
However, they will bear in mind that Froch is the No 1 standard bearer for boxing in this country and has an impeccable disciplinary record.
By Jeff Powell As he shattered the perception of their friendship, the IBF champion spat out more venom, saying: Frankly, I ve become sick of Mikkel.
The truth is this is now personal.
The mutual respect between the pair as warriors remains but Froch explained the breakdown in friendship: As football crowds chant, “Who do you think you are?” What makes him think he can come to my country and say that he’s going to prove himself better than me, not only in Denmark where he had everything going for him, but also over here? The boxing world has been agog for weeks with anticipation of another ring war in the epic mould of their first fight.
But Froch is now taking that prospect literally ahead of their London showdown.
So much so that he goes on: If I hit him so hard and so often that he is in serious trouble I want to go in and finish him.
So much so that when we get to that point I hope the referee doesn t interfere.
There will come a moment in this fight when the boxing goes out of the window.
So no more Mr Nice Guy.
As Froch declared his violent intentions he pointed to the goosebumps on his arms and said: Hairs are already up on the back of my neck.
I wish the fight was starting right now.
Joker of the pack: Kessler grins at Froch (above) after arriving at the press conference (below) Confident: Froch is adamant he will avenge his defeat to Kessler He admitted: I m really angry.
I know I will have to channel that anger into my boxing and I m now going to talk to my trainer (Rob McCracken) to make sure that I m under control.
But when Mikkel says he’s ready for what we re both going to face in the ring then for his own sake he bloody well better be.
The comeback: Mikkel Kessler replies to Carl Froch’s taunts What made Froch’s statement of intent all the more chilling was that he said it within the context of a calm mood.
Although he admitted to being nervous, he also reported himself excited and delighted with the attention being showered upon what now seems certain to be the greatest fight involving a British boxer so far this century.
Buzz: Tickets for the rematch sold out within hours and London’s O2 Arena will be filled to capacity Loyal following: Rarely has an overseas fighter brought so many fans with him to the UK Drawn? Kessler possibly looks tight at the weight Froch was even specific about the kind of injury he might inflict on Kessler, who holds the under WBA title one rung below that organisation’s champion Andre Ward.
Kessler has previously confessed that he thought his career was over because of an eye injury sustained in his win over Froch.
Froch now says: If I see the slightest sign of that weakness I will go for it.
Suits you: Froch and Kessler eye up the belts they are putting on the line in Saturday’s unification clash The last time I felt this motivated and driven was before the fight with Lucian Bute in which I became a three-time world champion.
And everyone knows what I did to him and it looks like I may have ended his career.
Kessler has said he is likely to retire if he loses in London’s sold-out O2 Arena and Froch is determined to make that happen.
With friends like Froch, who needs enemies? Froch-Kessler is live this Saturday on Sky Sports Box Office HD.
Tom Croft: Focused on Saturday’s final Leicester flanker Tom Croft insists he will put all thoughts of the British and Irish Lions to the back of his mind – until Sunday at least.
Croft is one of six Tigers players that will head to Hong Kong and Australia with the Lions.
However before the England back-rower can get too excited, he has the small matter of the Aviva Premiership final clash against Northampton at Twickenham to negotiate.
And despite the prospect of three mouth-watering Tests against Australia, Croft is focused solely on putting one over East Midlands rivals Northampton.
Exciting “We met up (with the Lions) a week ago on Monday said hello, had a few meetings, tried on a bit of kit and things like that then it was straight back to Leicester training,” Croft told Sky Sports.
“This is an exciting time for the club and it is what the boys play for throughout the year.
“It is not about ‘oh I wish I was with the Lions now’ it is about finishing off the job here, hopefully picking up the trophy and then you can flick the switch on Sunday and meet up with the Lions and fly off to Australia.” Watch every Lions game live and exclusive only on Sky Sports.
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Sean O’Brien: Leinster flanker could face Ulster at the weekend Leinster flanker Sean O’Brien is making rapid progress in his recovery from a knee injury and could feature in Saturday’s RaboDirect PRO12 final against Ulster.
O’Brien, who has been named in the British and Irish Lions squad for the tour to Australia, was expected to be out for two weeks after incurring bone bruising in last weekend’s Amlin Challenge Cup final victory over Stade Francais.
But the injury is not as bad as first feared and the 26-year-old Ireland back row may be in contention for selection against Ulster at the RDS.
“It’s up to Sean and Leinster whether he plays, but he’s a lot better than first thought,” said Lions forwards coach Graham Rowntree.
“Back row is Sean’s best position – he can play in all three positions.
He’ll be a good impact player and is an exceptional talent.” O’Brien will miss out on the Lions’ opening fixture against the Barbarians in Hong Kong on June 1 even if he does face Ulster, but he could then face Western Force four days later.