Sport Jonny Wilkinson's Toulon travel to take on Exeter

If Morecambe and Wise had been blessed with Premier Rugby’s sledgehammer sense of timing, the celebrated Andre Previn sketch would have been about as side-splittingly funny as a David Cameron one-liner.

Tom Queally and Frankel end 2011 in glory on Ascot Champions Day

Frankel is a world beater – it's official

To aficionados of the Flat, reluctant to interrupt their hibernation even for Kauto Star, midwinter reliably offers one comforting ritual. And while the publication yesterday of the International Classification as usual prompted debate, not to mention dissent, unanimity was by no means confined to the identity of the most accomplished horse on the planet in 2011. For whatever different people may make of his present rating, the fact that Frankel will be around to strive for a new peak in 2012 guarantees a treat for them all.

Failed tycoon Quinn loses court case over bankruptcy

Sean Quinn, the failed property tycoon who was once Ireland's richest man, is likely to be barred from relaunching his business career after a British court ruled that his bankruptcy must be judged in the tougher jurisdiction of Ireland.

Captain Conan, ridden by Barry Geraghty, wins the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown on Saturday

Mullins and Meade add to Ireland's March quest

Even in its quieter reaches, the unfolding themes of the season grow steadily more apparent. What had looked one of its least instructive weekends ultimately reiterated not only that the best novice hurdlers in Britain appear to be divided between Nicky Henderson and Philip Hobbs, but also that the Irish may have still better ones.

Delon Armitage bursts through Sale’s defences yesterday

Armitage ponders move after Irish squeak home

London Irish 21 Sale 19

Ryanair's passenger numbers fall 5 per cent after it cuts routes

Ryanair carried 4.8 million passengers in December, 5 per cent down on a year ago, Europe's largest budget airline said yesterday after it grounded 80 aircraft to avoid flying routes made unprofitable by high fuel prices.

Enda Stevens becomes Villa's first January signing

Aston Villa signing Enda Stevens eager to learn

New Aston Villa signing Enda Stevens is aiming to learn from fellow left-back Stephen Warnock after completing his move from Shamrock Rovers.

Enda Stevens becomes Villa's first January signing

Aston Villa sign left-back Enda Stevens

Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish is hoping left-back Enda Stevens can quickly adjust to the demands of the Barclays Premier League after completing his move from Shamrock Rovers.

Roundabout route: Azealia Banks is tipped as a top newcomer, but she has been around the block before

Azealia is a sure thing, and she might be the real thing

The industry's list of breakthrough acts is no revelation. Yet this galaxy of polished-up stars will dazzle fans and the bean-counters alike

Clinton Cards boss to refurbish stores and supply lines

Darcy Willson-Rymer, the chief executive of embattled high street favourite Clinton Cards, is looking at revamping shop layouts and streamlining supply lines as part of his strategic review.

Paul O'Connel replaces the injured Brian O'Driscoll as captain

Paul O'Connell named as Ireland Six Nations captain

Paul O'Connell will captain Ireland in this season's RBS 6 Nations Championship, the Irish Rugby Football Union has announced.

Fishing vessel is freed from Antarctic ice

A Russian fishing vessel stuck for 12 days and in danger of sinking in the frigid waters off Antarctica began a trek through 100 miles of sea ice to open water yesterday.

US warns Iran over vital oil route closure

The United States yesterday warned Iran that it would not tolerate any disruption of naval traffic through the Strait of Hormuz, after Iran's navy chief said the Islamic Republic is capable of closing the vital oil route if the West imposes new sanctions targeting Tehran's oil exports.

Michael O'Neill took Shamrock Rovers into the Europa League

O'Neill: I will restore Northern Irish pride

Michael O'Neill intends to "restore a sense of belief and pride" to the Northern Ireland national side after being appointed on a two-year contract by the Irish Football Association yesterday. The former Shamrock Rovers manager was chosen ahead of Jim Magilton and Iain Dowie to replace the departed Nigel Worthington.

Michael O'Neill led Shamrock Rovers into the Europa League

O'Neill confirmed as new Northern Ireland manager

Michael O'Neill intends to "restore a sense of belief and pride" in the Northern Ireland national side after being appointed on a two-year contract by the Irish Football Association.

O'Neill set to take the top job

Northern Ireland are set to name their new manager next week, with Michael O'Neill the favourite to succeed Nigel Worthington.

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there