Sport Alex Cuthbert admits that Wales will be the team to beat ahead of this year's Six Nations

Fixture list favours Wales this year although they still face a testing trip to Twickenham to take on England on March 9

Chris Ashton has vowed to maintain his try-scoring resurgence at Ireland’s expense

Six Nations: Chris Ashton insists England culture has changed

'We’re here to play rugby, to be on the back pages, not the front pages'

Former Hull chairman Adam Pearson leads the consortium

Sale of Leeds United will make GFH Capital a tidy profit

GFH bought Leeds from Ken Bates for £17m

Thomas Keneally says for him the report was ‘cosmos-changing’

Thomas Keneally: 'We used to see ourselves as the Mr Clean of sport'

Author and Manly fan Thomas Keneally reveals his shock at this week’s Australian drug report

Widespread use of performance enhancing drugs has been uncovered in Australian sport

Drugs in Sport: Stunned sports bodies admit they need help to fight back

Australian sport has reacted swiftly to the Australian Crime Commission report about widespread drugs cheating and organised crime links. Jason Clare, the national Minister for Home Affairs and Justice, summed up the mood of anger. "The findings are shocking and will disgust Australian sports fans," he said. "It is cheating but it is worse than that. It's cheating with the help of criminals. We're talking about multiple athletes across multiple codes."

Clare Balding is undoubtedly a good thing, but are we in danger of having too much of her?

Out, proud and excellent at her job: Clare Balding's brilliance may just be enough to overcome the tradition of the Great British backlash

Dan’s the man: Daniel Holdsworth is one of the players who left Salford; he may solve Hull’s half-back problem as the club try to threaten the ‘Big Four’

Saving Salford gives much-needed boost

Dr Koukash flies in to ensure a full line-up of clubs start the new season

Eboni Beckford-Chambers of England defends against New Zealand last year

Netball: Goodbye to the pleated skirt as playground game grows up

England's new promise faces the toughest test with the visit of world champions Australia

RFU to investigate Leeds Carnegie v Plymouth Albion match

The game, won 34-16 by Leeds, went to uncontested scrums after just 13 minutes

The sporting week ahead (06/01/13)

Today

O'Connell captained the Lions in South Africa four years ago

Ex-captain Paul O'Connell likely to miss looming Lions tour

The chances of Paul O’Connell completing a full house of British and Irish Lions trips to the great southern hemisphere rugby nations appeared more remote than ever today, despite successful back surgery at a hospital in Dublin.

Courtney Lawes is back in squad after injury in place of Mouritz Botha

Courtney Lawes called up by England as Mouritz Botha and Tom Palmer head home

Courtney Lawes, the thoroughly modern lock from Northampton whose Test progress has been badly hampered by injury, is back in the England mix for the final international of the year, against New Zealand at Twickenham on Saturday. Lawes replaces Mouritz Botha of Saracens in the match-day squad and is likely to be given a run off the bench.

Freddie Flintoff makes his boxing debut on Friday

Bunce on Boxing: Freddie Flintoff has put hard yards in – but he's no Mundine

When former England cricketer Freddie Flintoff is finally left alone on Friday night at the MEN Arena, hopefully he will not look down at the wet imprint left by his pal Ricky Hatton's stricken body on the same canvas.

Rule of thumb: Bradley Wiggins is favourite to win Sports Personality

Bradley Wiggins set for rugby sevens role

Olympic champion and Tour de France hero Bradley Wiggins will be taking part in the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens - as a water carrier.

Bill Drake would have thrived in the modern game

Bill Drake: Hull rugby league stalwart

Bill Drake was one half of a celebrated pair of twins who formed part of the much-feared Hull pack of the 1950s and early '60s. Unlike other twins in rugby league, notably Keith and Kevin Rayne and Kevin and Bob Beardmore, Bill and Jim were not identical, in build or in style of play. Jim, the elder by 10 minutes, was a squat, aggressive prop, a renowned handful on the pitch. Bill, who has died four years to the day after him, was tall, athletic and stylish.

Andy Hazell

Andy Hazell claims he was provoked following frenzied attack on opponent during Amlin Challenge Cup clash

Gloucester flanker Andy Hazell has claimed that he reacted to provocation in last night's Amlin Challenge Cup clash against French club Mont-de-Marsan. 

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Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why