Sport Sam Warburton is the first to sign a Welsh central contract

Warburton became the first to agree a deal with the Welsh Rugby Union that will keep him playing for the Cardiff Blues

125 years of the British and Irish Lions, by Clem and Greg Thomas

Brian O'Driscoll's strop last week, when the Ireland centre said he "resented" the Lions head coach, Warren Gatland, for dropping him for the series-winning Third Test against Australia in July, showed just how much playing for the Lions means. Yet, as the 1968 and 1971 tourist and future tour manager Gerald Davies points out in his introduction to this definitive history, as rugby union went officially professional in the 1990s there were those who questioned whether the concept and ethos of the Lions would survive the change.

The sporting week ahead (01/09/13)

Today

Invisible Ink: No 188 - EC Bentley

Books are often dedicated to other writers. Recently this column looked at Edward Phillips Oppenheim, a dedicatee of P G Wodehouse. Here's another: G K Chesteron's novel about anarchist terrorism, The Man Who Was Thursday, is dedicated to E C Bentley, born in 1875. The pair had met as schoolboys at St Paul's and became fast friends. Bentley went to Oxford, but left law studies to become a journalist, in which profession he continued for most of his life.

The Premiership team captains line-up at Twickenham yesterday for the new season launch

Dylan Hartley: I've had a lot of time to think and this is my last chance

After spectacularly talking himself out of the Lions tour, the hooker knows an England future depends on cleaning up his act

Wigan's Sam Tomkins is the short-priced favourite to win the Lance Todd Trophy as man of the match

Challenge Cup: Sam Tomkins can wave Wigan goodbye with one more Wembley gesture

All eyes today will be on departing full-back

Leicester Tigers boss Richard Cockerill is suspended for nine matches over his conduct in the Premiership final

Leicester Tigers boss Richard Cockerill claims RFU have set a dangerous precedent that he expects to be maintained

Tigers director of rugby was banned for using foul and abusive language and expects anyone who swears in the future to face the same punishment

Steval Pumas and MTN Golden Lions compete in the Vodacom Cup final earlier this year

South Africa bring back racial quotas for teams

Almost a decade after they were dismissed as "window dressing", racial quotas are on their way back to South African sport.

Cardiff's Millennium Stadium to host Heineken Cup final for record seventh time

Cardiff will also play host to Amlin Challenge Cup

Robbie Deans speaks to his players after defeat

Australia confirm Robbie Deans' resignation as head coach following defeat to the British and Irish Lions

Ewen McKenzie becomes the new head coach of the Wallabies

Robbie Deans: The Wallabies coach is expected to be sacked after five years in charge

British and Irish Lions 2013: Australia waste little time in making head coach Robbie Deans the scapegoat, with Ewen McKenzie lined up as successor

Robbie Deans’ failure to lead Australia to a series win over the British and Irish Lions was last night expected to result in the coach’s sacking. Ewen McKenzie was lined up to be named as Deans’ successor.

Leicester Tigers boss Richard Cockerill is suspended for nine matches over his conduct in the Premiership final

Leicester critical of RFU over handling of Richard Cockerill case

The Tigers' director of rugby was banned for nine matches

Leicester Tigers boss Richard Cockerill is suspended for nine matches over his conduct in the Premiership final

Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill handed nine-match ban

Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill has been suspended for nine matches by a Rugby Football Union disciplinary panel after he was found guilty of using words that were “obscene, inappropriate and unprofessional” during the Aviva Premiership final.

James Horwill

British and Irish Lions 2013: Australia captain James Horwill to learn fate tonight over 'stamp on Alun-Wyn Jones' in first Test

Australia captain James Horwill will learn by this evening whether he is available for Saturday's series decider against the British and Irish Lions in Sydney.

Rugby star Craig Mitchell ordered to pay compensation to man he punched in Australian bar

A Wales rugby player who punched a man in an Australian hotel bar while celebrating a British and Irish Lions win must pay thousands of pounds in compensation to his victim.

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