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From the back pages, February 11: England singing in the rain as grand-slam dream takes shape

Stuart Lancaster

Stuart Lancaster

It was not pretty but it did the job. A fine display of tackling, rigid discipline and the reliable right boot of Owen Farrell helped England to a 12-6 victory over Ireland yesterday, their first championship win in Dublin for a decade, and kept alive the dream of a grand slam for Stuart Lancaster’s fledgeling side. (The Times)

Jose Mourinho has claimed this week’s Champions League showdown between Real Madrid and Manchester United is the ‘match the world is waiting for’. United head to the Bernabeu for the first leg on Wednesday, before the tie is decided at Old Trafford three weeks later. The only certainty will be one of the heavyweights getting knocked out at the end, with Cristiano Ronaldo pitted against his old club in a mouthwatering duel. (Daily Mail)

Roberto Mancini has launched a blistering attack on his Manchester City players. His outburst followed the 3-1 defeat at Southampton that he believes has ended their chance of retaining the Premier League title. (The Express)

Real Madrid skipper Sergio Ramos last night fired a warning to Manchester United: Cristiano Ronaldo is coming to get you. Ronaldo’s hat-trick in Saturday’s 4-1 win against Seville showed the ex-United superstar will be on fire in Wednesday’s Champions League tie. (The Sun)

Six Nations 2013, France v Wales: revived champions ready for title fight after ending run of eight defeats. What a difference 80 mind-numbingly cold, scrappy, error-strewn but undeniably gutsy and ultimately victorious minutes make. (The Telegraph)

It says much for the baffling politics of Nigerian football that a week before the Cup of Nations began there were moves afoot in the sports ministry to have Stephen Keshi replaced as coach. And it says much for the 52-year-old’s strength of character, his combination of thick skin, single-mindedness and good humour that he was able to ignore all the distractions so that he stood on the touchline in Johannesburg on Sunday night beaming as only the second man – after the Egyptian Mahmoud El Gohary – to win the Cup of Nations as both player and coach. (The Guardian)

 

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