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Welsh regional teams will not be signing extension to participation

The four Welsh regional teams – Cardiff Blues, Newport-Gwent Dragons, Ospreys and Scarlets – have confirmed that they would not sign an extension to their participation agreement with the national governing body. They also warned that without a speedy solution to the long-running row over the Heineken Cup and on the future of the domestic Pro 12 tournament, they would "pursue further competition options".

Silviniaco Conti turns tables on Cue Card to restore Nicholls’ King

Another day, another race. Silviniaco Conti, only third behind Cue Card when the pair met in the Betfair Chase at Haydock last month, took glorious revenge yesterday in the second of the domestic season’s four top-level staying chases, the King George VI Chase at Kempton. And the seven-year-old’s three-and-a-half-length defeat of his rival has sent him to the head of the market for the third, and most important, the Cheltenham Gold Cup itself.

International Hurdle: The New One mature enough to turn tables on

The New One, part of a new wave of top-class young hurdlers threatening to swamp the reigning champion, Hurricane Fly, at the Cheltenham Festival next March, will have his credentials properly examined by a high-class yardstick, Zarkandar, in today’s International Hurdle.

Edinburgh 12 Gloucester 23: Gloucester’s call to arms gets Martyn

In the wake of Gloucester’s most recent reverse on the domestic front, their fifth in a row, Nigel Davies turned to the words of Winston Churchill for inspiration. “When you’re going through hell, keep going,” the Kingsholm commander urged his weary troops, as if all 15 of them were preparing to pad up and face the demonic Dick Dastardly of the Antipodes, Mitchell Johnson.

Youthful Spirit mature enough to take Power

There can come a time in a young chaser’s career when everything is in place for the first big win. For Johns Spirit, Jonjo O’Neill’s attractively weighted runner in this afternoon’s Paddy Power Gold Cup, the centrepiece of Cheltenham’s three-day Open Meeting, that time is now.

More headlines

Ryan Lamb ban could stretch Leicester

Leicester, the reigning English champions, have some serious rugby ahead of them over the next month: a humdinger derby with high-performing Northampton this weekend, quickly followed by a horribly difficult Heineken Cup trip to Belfast, a must-win home match with Treviso in the same competition and an awkward Premiership contest at Wasps – a game they will have to play without their England personnel, who will be in red-rose camp by then.