Sport shorts: Wales and Scotland name Six Nations teams and Djokovic beats Federer to reach final

1. First Six Nations squads named

Wales, Scotland and France have named their squads for this weekend’s opening round of the Six Nations rugby championship.  

On Saturday defending champions Wales host Italy at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff (2.15pm).

New head coach Wayne Pivac has selected George North as Hadleigh Parkes’s partner in the centre. Uncapped winger Johnny McNicholl is also handed his first international start. 

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has named uncapped Nick Haining at No.8 for Saturday’s match against Ireland in Dublin (4.45pm). Haining starts in an all-Edinburgh back row alongside Hamish Watson and Jamie Ritchie.

In the final round one game England will play France on Sunday at the Stade de France in Paris (3pm). Anthony Bouthier and Mohamed Haouas make their debuts for the French. 

Wales team to face Italy 
  • Starting XV: 15. Leigh Halfpenny, 14. Johnny McNicholl, 13. George North, 12. Hadleigh Parkes, 11. Josh Adams, 10. Dan Biggar, 9. Tomos Williams; 1. Wyn Jones, 2. Ken Owens, 3. Dillon Lewis, 4. Jake Ball, 5. Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 6. Aaron Wainwright, 7. Justin Tipuric, 8. Taulupe Faletau
  • Replacements: 16. Ryan Elias, 17. Rob Evans, 18. Leon Brown, 19. Cory Hill, 20. Ross Moriarty, 21. Rhys Webb, 22. Jarrod Evans, 23. Nick Tompkins
Scotland team to face Ireland
  • Starting XV: 15. Stuart Hogg (captain), 14. Sean Maitland, 13. Huw Jones, 12. Sam Johnson, 11. Blair Kinghorn, 10. Adam Hastings, 9. Ali Price; 1. Rory Sutherland, 2. Fraser Brown, 3. Zander Fagerson, 4. Scott Cummings, 5. Jonny Gray, 6. Jamie Ritchie, 7. Hamish Watson, 8. Nick Haining 
  • Replacements: 16. Stuart McInally, 17. Allan Dell, 18. Simon Berghan, 19. Ben Toolis, 20. Cornell du Preez, 21. George Horne, 22. Rory Hutchinson, 23. Chris Harris
France team to face England
  • Starting XV: 15. Anthony Bouthier, 14. Teddy Thomas, 13. Virimi Vakatawa, 12. Gaël Fickou, 11. Damian Penaud, 10. Romain Ntamack, 9. Antoine Dupont; 1. Cyril Baille, 2. Julien Marchand, 3. Mohamed Haouas, 4. Bernard Le Roux, 5. Paul Willemse, 6. François Cros, 7. Charles Ollivon (captain), 8. Grégory Alldritt
  • Replacements: 16. Peato Mauvaka, 17. Jefferson Poirot, 18. Demba Bamba, 19. Boris Palu, 20. Cameron Woki, 21. Baptiste Serin, 22. Matthieu Jalibert, 23. Vincent Rattez

2. Fernandes set for United 

Manchester United fans may have been disappointed not to reach Wembley last night but they did get some good news on the transfer front. 

The Old Trafford club have agreed a deal with Sporting Lisbon to sign Portugal midfielder Bruno Fernandes. 

A statement said: “Manchester United is delighted to announce it has reached agreement with Sporting Clube de Portugal for the transfer of Bruno Fernandes. The deal is subject to a medical and the agreement of personal terms. A further announcement will be made in due course.”

3. Klopp’s men march on

Liverpool’s march to the Premier League title continued last night with a 2-0 victory at West Ham.

Goals by Mohamed Salah and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has given Jurgen Klopp’s side a huge 19-point lead at the top of the table. 

19 points clear: there’s no stopping relentless Liverpool

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4. Archer ruled out 

England bowler Jofra Archer has been ruled out of the forthcoming Twenty20 series with South Africa.

The 24-year-old paceman has been plagued by injury this winter, sitting out most of the Test series against South Africa and now he’s sidelined for next month’s T20 blast. 

Archer sustained a bone stress injury to his right elbow during England’s opening Test against South Africa last month.

5. Djokovic beats Federer to reach final

Novak Djokovic is through to the Australian Open final after beating rival Roger Federer in straight sets this morning.

Speaking after his 7-6 (7-1), 6-4, 6-3 victory, Djokovic said: “Roger was obviously hurt and credit to him for coming out and playing so well. At the start I was looking more at what he was doing than what I was doing but I managed to dig myself back into it. It was very important to do that.”

Defending champion Djokovic will now play Dominic Thiem or Alexander Zverev in Sunday’s men’s singles final in Melbourne.

Thiem and Zverev go head-to-head in the second semi-final tomorrow morning (8.30am GMT).

Djokovic vs. Nadal vs. Federer: grand slam titles and career records

Sofia Kenin will play Garbine Muguruza in the Australian Open women’s singles final

6. Kenin and Muguruza progress 

Sofia Kenin will play Garbine Muguruza in the Australian Open women’s singles final on Saturday.

In this morning’s semi-finals American 21-year-old Kenin beat world No.1 Ashleigh Barty 7-6 (8-6), 7-5. Spain’s Muguruza was a 7-6 (10-8), 7-5 victor over Romania’s Simona Halep.

Saturday’s final on Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne starts at 8.30am (GMT).

Sofia Kenin vs. Garbine Muguruza: preview, predictions and profiles

7. Vanessa Bryant: we are devastated

Kobe Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, has made her first public statement since the death of the NBA legend and daughter Gianna last Sunday. 

She said on Instagram: “We are completely devastated by the sudden loss of my adoring husband, Kobe – the amazing father of our children; and my beautiful, sweet Gianna – a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful daughter, and amazing sister to Natalia, Bianka, and Capri.

“I wish they were here with us forever. They were our beautiful blessings taken from us too soon. I’m not sure what our lives hold beyond today, and it’s impossible to imagine life without them.”

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8. Mercedes set for ‘make or break’ F1 talks

Formula 1 champions Mercedes are to have a “make or break” meeting over their future in the motorsport. 

The Daily Mirror reports that the Silver Arrows will meet in two weeks’ time to decide whether to quit F1. The paper adds that Lewis Hamilton’s potential switch to Ferrari in 2021 is now gaining “serious momentum”.

9. Ronaldo’s the king of Instagram

Juventus and Portugal superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has become the first person to have 200 million followers on Instagram. 

The social media company’s official account is the most followed with 330 million. Ronaldo’s @Cristiano account (200m) is in second place, singer Ariana Grande (173m) is third and actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (170m) is fourth. 

10. Man City through to final

Manchester City’s feat in reaching the final of the Carabao Cup makes all the back pages today, but there is a general consensus that the Sky Blues did so without any panache.

“Hollow victory” is the headline in the Independent, while the Daily Express calls City “sloppy” in reporting their second leg 1-0 defeat at home to Manchester United. The scoreline wasn’t enough to overturn City’s 3-1 advantage from the first leg earlier in the month.

Today’s back pages

Man City lose to Man Utd but still win place at Wembley

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