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 Chris Burch will play fly-half as part of a new-look back line for the UAE national rugby union team that will face Singapore at The Sevens grounds in Dubai. Sarah Dea / The National

Chris Burch to lead UAE’s charge against Singapore

he UAE’s bid to safeguard their place in the second tier of Asian rugby against Singapore next week will be piloted by a player who was contemplating retirement from the sport at this time last year.

 Seiichi Shimomura, centre, is part of a Japan squad that is the gold standard for sides such as the UAE, here in a Asian Five Nations rugby match at Dubai on May 10, 2013 and Singapore aspire to reach. Marwan Naamani / AFP

UAE and Singapore are rugby teams with a similar tale to tell

The UAE versus Singapore in rugby: a battle to see whether our expatriates are better than their expatriates, surely? Well, maybe not for much longer.

 Southampton owner Katharina Liebherr is pictured before the Premier League match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England, on March 1, 2014. Glyn Kirk / AFP

New Southampton owner leading club’s resurgence from the shadows

Katharina Liebherr keeping with family tradition and letting others dominate the spotlight

 Sharjah Cricket Stadium's colorful past was never like this – the IPL match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Daredevils was loud, raucous and commerical. Pawan Singh / The National

No need for rose-coloured glasses when Sharjah Cricket Stadium host IPL

Sharjah still plays well as India's home away from home when it comes to big-time cricket, but the commercial overtones were in overdrive.

 Jorginho accepts the challenge that lies ahead for Al Wasl's improvement, and the club says it will give him time ... if they see results.  Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Wasl will give Jorginho time but results in Arabian Gulf League are needed

Al Wasl officials said they will provide Jorginho, their new coach, sufficient time to change the club’s fortunes while also warning that his fate ultimately will depend on results.

 Mickael Barzalona riding Sudden Wonder, left, to victory in the Tattersalls Millions Trophy at Newmarket racecourse on April 17, 2014 in Newmarket, England. Alan Crowhurst/ Getty Images

Godolphin boosted by performances of two fresh horses at Newmarket

Be Ready underwhelms in Craven Stakes during otherwise successful day for stables

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New Southampton owner leading club’s resurgence from the shadows

Katharina Liebherr keeping with family tradition and letting others dominate the spotlight

Wasl will give Jorginho time but results in Arabian Gulf League are needed

Al Wasl officials said they will provide Jorginho, their new coach, sufficient time to change the club’s fortunes while also warning that his fate ultimately will depend on results.

Inter Milan will target Dzeko and Torres this summer

Edin Dzeko is under contract with the Premier League side until June 2015 and the Bosnian striker has attracted the interest of top clubs in Europe having scored 11 league goals for Manchester City.

Poyet says ‘I am sure that Luis Suarez is going to be happy’ after Sunderland draw at Manchester City

Sunderland’s survival chances remain slim because now they face Chelsea away at the weekend but manager Gus Poyet insists they are not trying to benefit Liverpool or his fellow Uruguayan, Luis Suarez.

Peter Shilton says Liverpool form no guarantee for England’s World Cup side

Captain Steven Gerrard was joined by Glen Johnson, Jordan Henderson, Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge in 1-0 friendly win over Denmark and the quintet should retain their places for England’s World Cup opener against Italy.

Bayern Munich set up German Cup final clash with Borussia Dortmund

Holders Bayern Munich will face Borussia Dortmund in next month’s German Cup final, their third consecutive domestic cup final, after cruising to a 5-1 win over second-division Kaiserslautern.

Carlo Ancelotti savours Gareth Bale strike in win over Barcelona

It was Gareth Bale’s first match-winning goal since joining Real Madrid from Tottenham Hotspur last summer for a world-record fee and came at the right time as Real beat Barcelona 2-1 in Copa del Rey final.

Manuel Pellegrini says Liverpool hangover cost Manchester City

Manchester City needed to win the first of their two games in hand on Liverpool to keep the pressure on the league leaders and second-placed Chelsea while a 2-2 draw to last-place Sunderland did not help their cause.

Plenty of life still in Barcelona, says Gerardo Martino

Barcelona coach maintained his side can still return to their former glories after they were beaten 2-1 by a Gareth Bale-inspired Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey final.

Roberto Martinez still hopeful after Everton loss

Everton boss has stressed he remains encouraged about his side’s chances of securing a top-four Premier League finish despite their damaging 3-2 home loss to Crystal Palace.

Late strike qualifies Al Jazira for last 16 of Asian Champions League

A dramatic late goal gave Al Jazira a 3-2 victory at Al Rayyan of Qatar in the Asian Champions League (ACL) on Wednesday night and it was just enough to push Walter Zenga’s side into the knockout stages.

Time is almost up for Barcelona ahead of Copa del Rey

Season has fallen apart in the space of four days and Barcelona supporters are far from happy just ahead of the Copa del Rey final with Real Madrid, writes Andy Mitten.

Real Madrid can take first step to a treble with Copa del Rey win

Cristiano Ronaldo is out with a hamstring injury but Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has plenty of depth to throw at Barcelona in Copa del Rey final, writes Andy Mitten.

Asian Cup expanding to 24 football teams in 2019

As part of a regional shake-up, the 2019 Asian Cup will climb to 24 teams but next month’s Challenge Cup in the Maldives will be the last, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced.