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The Sport Matrix: Wednesday 13 November 2013

Corbisiero exit leaves England front row in crisis

England’s chances of turning the rugby world upside down for the second time in a year by beating the All Blacks at Twickenham this weekend suffered a bitter blow when the loose-head prop Alex Corbisiero, one of the most accomplished scrummagers in the game, dropped out last night with knee trouble.

He joins a second British and Irish Lions Test front-rower, Mako Vunipola (above), on the casualty list and with third-string No 1 Joe Marler suffering from concussion, the national team was on the edge of an injury crisis.

Marler may yet feature: the Harlequins player is working his way through standard medical protocols with a view to training fully tomorrow.

But if there is any slippage in his recovery, the England medical staff will withdraw him from selection. That would leave the inexperienced Wasps prop Matt Mullan as the only fit loose-head specialist in the party.

Marland Yarde, the promising London Irish wing, has also dropped out of contention for a return to the starting line-up.  MORE

United duo pull out of England squad

Manchester United pair Michael Carrick and Danny Welbeck yesterday withdrew from the England squad for the friendlies with Chile and Germany. The midfielder has been suffering from an Achilles complaint while Welbeck has not featured since September. MORE

Mumbai set for Sachin’s final bow

Sachin Tendulkar strides out at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai tomorrow for his 200th and final Test appearance for India. Andrew Buncombe speaks to some of the locals to find out how the cricket-mad country will cope after the exit of one of the sport’s greatest ever players. MORE

Johnson and Bailey in Australia squad

Bowler Mitchell Johnson and uncapped batsman George Bailey have been included in Australia’s 12-man squad for the first Ashes Test, which starts in Brisbane next week. Johnson has been a fringe player for the past few years, while Bailey has shone in the one-day game. MORE

McNamara wary of ‘dangerous’ French

England coach Steve McNamara has insisted France will provide stiff opposition in Saturday’s World Cup quarter-final, despite recording two large wins over the country recently. “They have a lot of spirit within their team,” he said. “They’re dangerous opposition for us.” MORE

Herrera deal earns Blair Jr big payday

Nicholas Blair, the son of the former Prime Minister, Tony, is suggested to have made almost £600,500 after helping broker a deal that took the Mexico midfielder Hector Herrera from domestic outfit Pachuca to European side Porto. MORE

McIlroy on salvage mission at finale

Rory McIlroy is determined to end a mixed season on a high. “My game feels in really good shape,” he said ahead of the World Tour Championship in Dubai. “I’ve got a few tournaments left to try and put a win on the board.” MORE

Kubica sets heart on F1 comeback

Robert Kubica retains ambitions of returning to Formula One, having suffered serious injuries in a 2011 crash. “I miss F1 and want to get back,” he said. “I made a mistake and paid a price. There is still a chance to drive F1, and I think it is getting better.” MORE

Djokovic happy to extend his season

Novak Djokovic has defended his decision to extend his season to this weekend’s Davis Cup final. “God knows if as a country we are going to have another opportunity to win a Cup at home,” the Serb said. “I’m going to do my best to recover.” MORE

Dolphins boss acts on ‘bullying’ row

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is to meet defensive blocker Jonathan Martin today in an attempt to resolve the bullying claims that has generated a controversy which has gripped the whole of the US. MORE

Pete Jenson

When Eric Abidal told team-mates he needed surgery, the defender joked he would be back next weekend – he started his first match just 10 weeks later and played in the 2011 European Cup final.

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