England off to a terrific start as Spurs ‘Kane’ Arsenal in the derby

WE’LL start with Rugby Union… and the Six Nations tournament got off to a terrific start with wins for England over Wales, Ireland in Italy and France versus Scotland.

Injury-struck England came back from 10-0 down to win 21-16 in Cardiff with ‘Man of the Match’ George Ford kicking 11 points. The Irish won comfortably by 26-3 in Rome and the Scots were unlucky to lose 15-8 in Paris.

On Saturday, England play Italy at Twickenham and Ireland meet France in Dublin, while on Sunday it’s Scotland v Wales at Murrayfield. All three games are live on BBC1.

St Helens began their defence of Rugby’s Super League crown by beating Catalan Dragons 18-7. Widnes (16-0 down and reduced to 12 men) hit back to draw 22-22 with Wigan while Warrington crushed Salford 22-8.

In football, the two Premiership derbies last Saturday finished Everton 0 Liverpool 0 (in Steven Gerrard’s last all-Merseyside League clash) and Tottenham (with two Harry Kane goals) beat Arsenal 2-1.

Leaders Chelsea edged Aston Villa 2-1… reigning champions Manchester City were held 1-1 at home by lowly Hull… Manchester United drew 1-1 at West Ham… QPR lost 1-0 at home to Southampton and the relegation six-pointers ended Burnley 2 WBA 2 and Leicester 0 Crystal Palace 1. During this game, Leicester manager Nigel Pearson was involved in a touchline incident with Palace star James McArthur.

Championship leaders Bournemouth defeated Wigan 3-1… the top two in League One, Bristol City and MK Dons, drew 0-0, allowing Swindon (2-0 winners v Barnsley) to go second… and Burton Albion head League Two after Shrewsbury were held 1-1 by Southend.

Celtic beat Dundee 2-0 to reach the 6th round of the Scottish Cup, but Rangers are out, ousted at Ibrox Park 2-1 by Raith. And here in Spain, Real Madrid suffered their heaviest defeat for four years, losing 4-0 to rivals Atletico in the Madrid derby, while Barcelona walloped Athletic Bilbao 5-2 (Messi, Suarez and Neymar all on target). After 22 games, it’s Real (54 points), Barcá (53) and Atletico Madrid (50) at the top of La Liga.

The Africa Cup of Nations semi-final between Ghana and Equitorial Guinea was suspended for 33 minutes because of crowd trouble.

Players ducked flying bottles thrown by spectators and as players sought safety behind a goal, riot police used tear gas as a helicopter hovered over the stadium. Ghana won 3-0 but the Ivory Coast went on to beat Ghana 9-8 on penalties in the final. The DR of Congo finished third.

There are seven 5th round FA Cup-ties over the weekend: Blackburn-Stoke, Crystal Palace-Liverpool, Derby-Reading and WBA-West Ham play on Saturday; Arsenal-Middlesbrough, Aston Villa-Leicester and Bradford City- Sunderland play Sunday; Preston meet Manchester United on Monday.

Sport in Brief

* Top deals on football’s transfer deadline day were: Juan Cuadrado from Fiorentina to Chelsea for £23.3m (€31.3); Andre Schurrle, Chelsea to Wolfsburg for £22m (€30m); Dele Alli, MK Dons to Spurs for £5m (€7.1m); Wilfried Zaha, Manchester United to Crystal Palace for £4m (€5.3m) and Dame N’Doye, Lokomotiv Moscow to Hull for £3m (€4m).

* A back injury forced Tiger Woods to withdraw from the Farmers Insurance Open Golf tournament at Torrey Pines after 11 holes. Aussie Jason Day went on to win the title.

* GB’s Lizzy Yarnold has won World Cup and European Championship Skeleton gold medals at the same Alpine track in Austria.

* Ireland’s 19-time NH champion jockey ‘AP’ McCoy will retire at the end of this season. He’s had 200 winners so far this term and 4,174 during his career.

* And cricket’s World Cup starts tomorrow with England playing hosts Australia in front of 90,000 fans inside the MCG in their opening game.

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