The Sport Matrix: Monday 18 March 2013


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Ireland scrape past Italians to claim first Grand Slam

Ireland's women completed their first Six Nations Grand Slam by edging out Italy 6-3 in a tense finale in Milan yesterday.

The Irish trailed to a Veronica Schiavon penalty after three minutes but full-back Niamh Briggs levelled with a penalty shortly after.

Another Briggs penalty in the 51st minute saw Ireland secure victory in very difficult conditions.

The Irish had already sealed the championship after winning their first four matches and finished the tournament four points clear of runners-up France.

England's women finished the campaign in third after beating Wales 20-16 in Cardiff yesterday, with a Sally Tuson try three minutes from time clinching the win for Gary Street's side.

Spurs duo cause England headache

Tottenham pair Aaron Lennon and Michael Dawson will miss England's World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro next week after picking up injuries in the 1-0 defeat to Fulham yesterday. Dimitar Berbatov scored the only goal.

Horror challenge sours Wigan win

Arouna Kone's last minute goal gave Wigan a vital 2-1 win over Newcastle yesterday, but the game was marred by a horror challenge by Callum McManaman on Newcastle defender Massadio Haidara, with the midfielder going unpunished. MORE

Raikkonen hungry for his second title

Lotus's Kimi Raikkonen hopes to use victory in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix as the foundation for a second world title. Raikkonen beat Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel in a tense fight in Melbourne yesterday, with Lewis Hamilton finishing fifth. MORE

Rain dashes hopes of Second Test win

England's hopes of beating New Zealand in the Second Test in Wellington looked certain to be thwarted after rain delayed the start of day five. England did not even travel to the Basin Reserve, with abandonment inevitable.

Odemwingie vents fury at club again

West Bromwich Albion striker Peter Odemwingie yesterday took to Twitter again to show his dismay at his employers. The striker wrote: "Keeping me on the bench now is worst (sic) than what they did on the 31st."

Sam Wallace

It is not Rio Ferdinand's fault, but now the dust has settled and Roy Hodgson can take a good look at his squad, the rest of us could be forgiven for thinking it feels a bit like 2006 all over again. MORE

Lancaster hopeful despite hefty loss

England coach Stuart Lancaster gave an honest account of his side's brutal defeat to Wales on Saturday, but hopes it will spur them on to success. "We were second best in virtually every department," he said.

Norwich hold on despite harsh red

Norwich earned a deserved point at fellow strugglers Sunderland, despite having goalkeeper Mark Bunn controversially sent off for a handball. Wes Hoolahan put Norwich ahead before Craig Gardner equalised. MORE

Lampard reaches Chelsea milestone

Frank Lampard scored his 200th Chelsea goal on the way to helping his side to a 2-0 win over a hapless West Ham at Stamford Bridge yesterday. Lampard's goal came before Eden Hazard doubled the lead for Chelsea. MORE