The sporting week ahead (27/05/12)

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The Independent Online


Amazing. It's still May and yet the domestic football season ends today. Normally doesn't it go on until deepest July? Crewe Alexandra and Cheltenham Town have the honour of contesting the very last match to see who makes it into League One next season. It's almost end-of-term time, too, in rugby union with England playing the Barbarians at Twickenham for something called the Killik Cup. No one does the French Open like Rafa Nadal, the champion with feet made for clay. The Spaniard has won this title six times out of the last seven years, losing only to Robin Soderling in the fourth round in 2009. You would be a brave man to bet against him on this surface, particularly after he beat Novak Djokovic in Rome last week. As ever, he looks hot at this time of year.


It's time for shooting and fencing to glimpse the Olympic limelight, as they announce their teams for 2012.


Barbarians take their try-show to Gloucester's Kingsholm stadium for what should be an entertaining encounter with Ireland.


Lancashire and Durham have had an inauspicious start to the new County Championship season and both will be looking for something better when they meet at the Riverside. In rugby union London Welsh play their return match against Cornish Pirates in the second-leg play-off for the right to stay exactly where they are – in the Championship.


Usain Bolt is moving ever closer to London. This time he is in Rome for a Golden League showdown with his fellow Jamaican Asafa Powell. In football John Terry will find out whether Uefa intend to extend his ban beyond the mandatory one match for his Champions' League semi-final indiscretion against Barcelona.


So why are there so many famous Belgians these days? And how surprising is it that such a talented bunch of individuals could not get it together to claim a place in the European Championship? Today they head to Wembley to face Roy Hodgson's new England. Meanwhile England's first opponents at the Euros, France, face Latvia while Northern Ireland head for Holland. In rugby union, the Barbarians sign off against Wales in Cardiff.