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The Sport Matrix: Monday 11 February 2013

Farrell kicks England into Six Nations box seat

Owen Farrell kicked 12 points as England took a stranglehold on this season's Six Nations with a 12-6 victory in Ireland yesterday.

On a brutal, damp afternoon in Dublin, James Haskell was sent to the sin-bin with a quarter of the game remaining as England, led by the inspirational Chris Robshaw, dug deep for the points against a disappointing home side.

Farrell hit two penalties to put the visitors 6-0 ahead at the interval as Ireland lost Simon Zebo to injury, before Ronan O'Gara levelled with two kicks of his own. Two further penalties after the hour restored England's six-point cushion and took Stuart Lancaster's, above, side top.

Three further victories, beginning with the visit of winless France to Twickenham on Saturday week, would result in England clinching a first Grand Slam since 2003. MORE

England storm past South Africa

England defeated South Africa by seven wickets in the Super Sixes to keep alive their prospects of retaining the World Cup. Anya Shrubsole took 5 for 17 as South Africa were bowled out for 77, a total England surpassed with ease. MORE

Ennis coach attacks UK board

Toni Minichiello, coach of Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis, has accused UK Athletics of "a lack of respect" and of operating "a culture of bullying" after failing to agree terms to continue his work with the governing body. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

Chris Robshaw was handed the man of the match award and, given the strength displayed by the recently besieged skipper in the most physically demanding places, there could be few quibbles. MORE

Brit rivalry takes centre stage in Tour

The duel between Bradley Wiggins and team-mate Chris Froome is likely to dominate the opening of the Tour of Oman, which runs until Sunday. This is the only stage race they will compete in together before this summer's Tour de France. MORE

Smith delighted at crucial victory

London Irish director Brian Smith spoke of his delight at the club's 29-16 win over Saracens, which took them five points clear of bottom club Sale. "The boys really stepped to the plate," he said. "It was a very physical encounter and we were very strong in defence."

Sunday best for the Super Eagles

Sunday Mba's ball-juggling helped Nigeria to a 1-0 victory over Burkina Faso as the Super Eagles won the African Cup of Nations for the first time since 1994. The 24-year-old midfielder scored just before the break in Johannesburg to give Nigeria their third title. MORE

Evergreen Giggs keeps United happy

Ryan Giggs scored for the 23rd top-flight season in succession as Manchester United beat Everton 2-0 to take a 12-point lead at the top of the Premier League. Robin van Persie, with his 19th league strike of the season, completed the scoring before half-time. MORE

Melodic tunes up for the Festival

Jeremy Scott's Melodic Rendezvous ended the unbeaten record of Puffin Billy at Exeter yesterday, with much the same swagger shown by My Tent Or Yours at Newbury. He may challenge at Cheltenham next month. page 45

Villa win to move out of drop zone

Aston Villa secured a Premier League maximum for the first time in two months as they squeezed past West Ham 2-1 yesterday. Christian Benteke, from the spot, and Charles N'Zogbia put the hosts ahead before a late Ashley Westwood own goal. MORE

Saints make most of Widnes woes

St Helens finally got their season started with a 16-4 win at Widnes yesterday, but only after the hosts were controversially reduced to 11 men. Saints made their advantage tell at the end after a dour battle was locked at 4-4 on the hour mark. MORE

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