The Sports Matrix: Tuesday 13 December 2011


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The Independent Online


Wilkinson ends his glorious career with England

Jonny Wilkinson, whose drop goal won England the 2003 World Cup final, last night announced his retirement from playing international rugby. The fly-half's career ended with 91 caps, making him the second most-capped player in England history, and with 1,179 points, nearly three times as many as the next highest scorer. "To [announce my retirement] fills me with great sadness, but I know that I have been blessed in so many ways to have experienced what I have with the England rugby team," he said last night. "The time has come, however, for me to realise that I have gone as far as I can go with this England team and that the time is right for others to enjoy the same honour and pride that I have felt over the past 15 seasons and beyond." Lewis Moody praised his former team-mate. "I'm humbled to have played alongside him," he said. "I'm saddened but his contribution over the years, his work ethic, professionalism and commitment, has been immense." Interim England coach Stuart Lancaster described Wilkinson as "a model sportsman, down-to-earth and hard-working." MORE

Chelsea fight back to defeat City

Chelsea came from behind to inflict Manchester City's first defeat of the season last night. Mario Balotelli put the league leaders ahead but Raul Meireles equalised before Frank Lampard scored a penalty. Gaël Clichy was sent off for City. MORE

Redknapp likely to escape FA charge

Spurs manager Harry Redknapp is likely to escape censure from the Football Association today for his criticisms of Chris Foy after Sunday's defeat at Stoke City. It is believed the FA will be lenient as Redknapp did not imply any bias on Foy's part. MORE

Arsenal's Santos out until March

Arsenal left-back Andre Santos will be out for three months after surgery on ankle ligaments damaged last week. The 28-year-old returned to Brazil for the operation. Santos's understudy Kieran Gibbs is still some weeks away from fitness. MORE

Baxter and team to stay at Exeter

Exeter Chiefs head coach, Rob Baxter, and his team have signed contract extensions to keep them at Sandy Park until the end of the 2014-15 season. Baxter took over Exeter in the summer of 2009 and got them promoted to the Premiership in his first year.

Donald plans for 2012 major win

Luke Donald is focused on winning a major in 2012 after winning both the US and European money lists, and has given himself more time off before them: "Obviously, a major is the only thing missing from my résumé and I'm excited about 2012." MORE

Champion Trump to stay on attack

Judd Trump, who won the UK Championship on Sunday night, has insisted he will keep his attacking style in the future. "I don't care who I'm playing. I'm not scared of reputations, it's about my game," said the 22-year-old. "I'm not going to change it."

Simpson and Percy keep lead in Perth

Olympic champions Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson kept their lead after the second day of racing in the star class at the World Championships in Perth. Their fifth and fourth-place finishes yesterday allowed them to move 12 points clear overall.

Wigan sign Gelling from Auckland

Wigan have signed 21-year-old Anthony Gelling from the Auckland Vulcans. The Cook Island international centre, who has joined his team-mates in Florida, is a replacement for Joel Tomkins, who has gone to play rugby union for Saracens. MORE

Kauto Star will go for King George

Kauto Star will race in the William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, aiming to win the race for a record fifth time. Sam Waley-Cohen will ride Long Run, a repeat of last year's winning pair. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

Tony Pulis's Stoke City have many admirable qualities, but their win over Tottenham was a triumph for anti-football. It was a superbly marshalled version of the dark force, and will never replace the allure of real football. MORE