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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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment