NEWS

Wales have named uncapped pair James Davies and Josh Adams in their squad for the Six Nations.

Flanker Davies, 27, has been rewarded for his excellent form with Scarlets, while Worcester wing Adams is the top try scorer in the English Premiership.

Bath number eight Taulupe Faletau is included despite being ruled out of the first two rounds of the Six Nations with a knee injury.

Harlequins centre Jamie Roberts and Bath lock Luke Charteris are left out.

The 39-man squad is larger than usual, partly because of fitness concerns over a handful of players.

Northampton wing George North is included after picking up ia knee injury,although he is expected to be fit to return to action this weekend.

Bath fly-half Rhys Priestland injured his hamstring last Friday and Dragons back Hallam Amos suffered an ankle injury in the Christmas derby match against Cardiff Blues.

Gloucester back-rower Ross Moriarty, who deputised for Faletau during last year's Six Nations, returns to the squad having missed the bulk of this season with a back injury.

His is a timely return because flankers Sam Warburton and Dan Lydiate are out for the season, as is centre Jonathan Davies, the brother of the uncapped James.

"It is an exciting opportunity for the two new caps," said Wales head coach Warren Gatland.

"James' form over the last couple of years has been impressive, he's in a competitive area but we look forward to seeing what he can do.

"For Josh it's a great opportunity, he's been on great form and the back-three is somewhere we are looking to create depth in.

"We have selected a larger squad and it is an opportunity for us to work with a wider group and continue building for the next 18 months.

"We have included a couple of players who are carrying injuries. With Taulupe we are hoping he will be available towards the end of the campaign and Rhys [Priestland] picked up a knock at the weekend so we will see where he is at.

"It's useful to have these experienced guys around camp and to have them included and to work with them."

Still in our thoughts
Gatland insisted it was not the end for Roberts and Charteris.

"For those players like Jamie and Luke there is still an opportunity for them," said Gatland.

"We picked some youngsters in the autumn and it was a chance to work with them again.

"The message to Jamie and Luke is you are not out of the picture and are still part of our plans.

"Bradley Davies has come back into the squad with the injury to Jake Ball.

"His form has improved and we will see how he goes in the squad but Luke is very much part of our thinking process."

Gatland also hopes Faletau can return to his form and fitness later in the tournament as he looks to Moriarty, Josh Navidi or Ellis Jenkins to fill the number eight jersey against Scotland on 3 February.

"We have spoken about the lack of depth at No.8," said Gatland.

"Taulupe is potentially going to be fit towards the back end of the tournament which is positive.

"He had a fantastic Lions series and from his high standards, he was disappointed with how he went in the autumn."

Wales squad for the 2018 Six Nations
Forwards: Rob Evans (Scarlets), Wyn Jones (Scarlets), Nicky Smith (Ospreys), Scott Baldwin (Ospreys), Elliot Dee (Dragons), Ken Owens (Scarlets), Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs), Samson Lee (Scarlets), Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Blues), Adam Beard (Ospreys), Bradley Davies (Ospreys), Seb Davies (Cardiff Blues), Cory Hill (Dragons), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys, capt), James Davies (Scarlets), Taulupe Faletau (Bath), Ellis Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Ross Moriarty (Gloucester), Josh Navidi (Cardiff Blues), Aaron Shingler (Scarlets), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys).

Backs: Aled Davies (Scarlets), Gareth Davies (Scarlets), Rhys Webb (Ospreys), Gareth Anscombe (Cardiff Blues), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Rhys Patchell (Scarlets), Rhys Priestland (Bath), Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets), Owen Watkin (Ospreys), Owen Williams (Gloucester), Scott Williams (Scarlets), Josh Adams (Worcester Warriors), Hallam Amos (Dragons), Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), Steff Evans (Scarlets), Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets), George North (Northampton Saints), Liam Williams (Saracens).

Fourth one-day international, Hamilton
Pakistan 262-8 (50 overs): Hafeez 81, Fakhar 54
New Zealand 263-5 (45.5 overs): De Grandhomme 74*, Nicholls 52*
New Zealand won by five wickets
Scorecard
Pakistan all-rounder Shoaib Malik suffered concussion after being hit on the head by the ball during the one-day international defeat by New Zealand.

The 35-year-old was not wearing a helmet while batting when he was struck by Colin Munro's throw in Hamilton.

Shoaib faced four more balls before being dismissed for six. He did not field as the hosts won by five wickets.

"After getting out he was reassessed and was showing delayed concussion signs," Pakistan physio Vib Singh said.

"He is doing well and is resting."

Shoaib was returning to his crease after deciding against a quick single when Munro's throw from point struck him on the back of his head.

Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur said after the match: "He's concussed. He's not great at the moment."

Colin de Grandhomme made an unbeaten 74 and Henry Nicholls 52 not out as New Zealand recovered from 154-5 to reach a target of 263 with 4.1 overs to spare at Seddon Park.

New Zealand lead 4-0 lead in the five-match series, which concludes in Wellington on Friday.
 

2018 Australian Open
Dates: 15-28 January Venue: Melbourne Park
Coverage: Watch highlights on BBC Two, the BBC Sport website and app. Live commentary on the best matches on BBC Radio 5 live, 5 live sports extra and online.
British number one Johanna Konta made swift progress into the second round of the Australian Open with victory over American Madison Brengle.

Konta, seeded ninth, won 6-3 6-1 on Hisense Arena, the third show court at Melbourne Park.

The Briton had lost three of their four previous matches but was far too strong for the world number 90 this time.

Konta, 26, goes on to face American Bernarda Pera, the world number 123, in round two.

"I'm very happy with that match," said Konta.

"I knew it was going to be tough, she gets a lot of balls back and makes her opponent work for it.

"I'm very pleased I stuck to the style of play I wanted. I'm really happy to be back and excited to come back on Thursday."

'I love the Australian heat'

Konta's rise through the rankings over the past two years has been such that, despite being well established in the top 10, she is making only her third appearance in the Melbourne main draw.

She has plenty to live up to after reaching the semi-finals in 2016 and quarter-finals in 2017, both times losing to the eventual champion.

After a worrying end to last season that saw her lose five matches in a row, Konta appears to be back on track under the guidance of new coach Michael Joyce.

She had far too much for Brengle, whose lack of power on serve proved tricky in the opening stages as Konta searched for rhythm on her return.

A sharp backhand slice down the line brought the first break of serve in game three and the Briton moved a double-break up with a drive volley for 5-2.

With the contest in her hands it took three errors in a row from Konta to give Brengle some hope, and a break back, at 5-3, but a ruthless return game followed and the first set was hers.

A forehand winner gave Konta a 3-1 lead in the second set, but there were still signs of areas to work on before tougher tests with some loose work around the net.

Konta made sure wasted energy would not be a problem as she accelerated towards the finish line, a rasping forehand return taking her 5-1 in front.

A testing game followed as Brengle clung on until Konta converted her fourth match point, securing her place in round two on Thursday, when the temperature is forecast to rise dramatically.

"I'll love it," said Konta. "I'm really looking forward to that. I love the Australian heat."

Serena Williams says that she "absolutely wants" more Grand Slam titles, but does not need them.

The 23-time champion, already the most successful player of the Open era, is two Grand Slam titles away from surpassing Margaret Court's record.

Williams, who said she was bedridden for six weeks after giving birth to daughter Olympia in September, said motherhood had taken away her anxiety.

"I don't need the money or the titles or the prestige," Williams told Vogue.

"I think having a baby might help. When I'm too anxious I lose matches, and I feel like a lot of that anxiety disappeared when Olympia was born.

"Maybe this goes without saying, but it needs to be said in a powerful way: I absolutely want more grand slams."

In a wide-ranging interview, Williams discussed:

The "low" moments of becoming a mother;
Her on-court rivalry with older sister Venus;
How she wants to teach her daughter not to "limit" herself
'No-one talks about the low moments'

Williams told the American magazine that "everything went bad" in the aftermath of giving birth to her first child.

Her daughter was delivered by emergency Caesarean section after the baby's heart rate dropped, and Williams fell ill the day after giving birth.

The American suffered several blood clots in her lung and her surgery wound re-opened, leaving her bed bound for six weeks.

Williams played an exhibition match in December, which was her first since giving birth, and forced the game against French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko into a tie-break.

Bumps, boobs and bouncing back - an athlete's path through pregnancy
On the difficulties of motherhood, Williams said: "Sometimes I get really down and feel like, 'man, I can't do this'. It is that same negative attitude I have on the court sometimes.

"I guess that's just who I am. No one talks about the low moments - the pressure you feel, the incredible letdown every time you hear the baby cry.

"I've broken down I don't know how many times, or I'll get angry about the crying, then sad about being angry, and then guilty. The emotions are insane."

Williams also said that since having her daughter she had changed her perspective on tennis.

"I want titles but I don't need them. That's a different feeling for me," she added.

'Venus' face breaks my heart when we play'

Williams beat older sister Venus to claim her 23rd Grand Slam title in January 2017 - the 17th time she had defeated her sister in 28 meetings.

Venus initially had the better of the rivalry but since 2009 she has beaten her sister just twice, winning their quarter-final in Dubai that year and then winning against Serena in three sets at the Rogers Cup in 2014.

"I hate playing Venus because she gets this look on her face where she just looks sad if she's losing. Solemn. It breaks my heart," Williams said.

"When I play her now, I absolutely don't look at her, because if she gets that look, then I'll start feeling bad, and the next thing you know I'll be losing.

"I think that's when the turning point came in our rivalry - when I stopped looking at her."

'I think sometimes women limit themselves'
Williams returned to number one in the world after winning the Australian Open, but has slipped to 23rd in her absence from the tour.

Romania's Simona Halep is currently the top-ranked player, and Williams said she had received messages of support from fellow players, as well as gifts for her daughter.

"There hasn't been a clear number one since I was there. It will be cool to see if I get there again, to what I call my spot - where I feel I belong," she said.

Williams added that she would not push her daughter into tennis, but would teach her that "there are no limits" to what she can do.

"I think sometimes women limit themselves. I'm not sure why we think that way," Williams added.

"I know that we're sometimes taught to not dream as big as men, taught not to believe we can be a president, when in the same household, a male child is told he can be anything he wants.

"I'm so glad I had a daughter. I want to teach her that there are no limits."

Four-time Olympic champion Simone Biles says she was sexually abused by former Team USA gymnastics sports doctor Larry Nassar.

In an emotional statement, Biles, a star of the Rio Games, said she would not let Nassar "steal my love and joy".

Nassar was jailed for 60 years for possessing child sex abuse images and has also admitted assaulting gymnasts.

"I know this horrific experience does not define me, I am much more than this," said Biles, 20.

Three former US Olympians have accused Nassar of sexual abuse under the guise of medical treatment, including Gabby Douglas,who won gold with Biles in the team event at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Nassar will be sentenced this month over two cases in which he admits assaulting female gymnasts.

The 54-year-old was jailed in December for three counts relating to child sex abuse images on his computer.

Nassar's lawyers told BBC Sport they would not comment on Biles' statement. USA Gymnastics has also been approached for a comment.

'My story will be much greater than this'
Biles, who won four golds and a bronze in Rio, accused Nassar in a post on Twitter headed 'Feelings #MeToo'.

"I too am one of the many survivors that was sexually abused by Larry Nassar," the Texan wrote.

"Most of you know me as a happy, giggly and energetic girl. But lately I've felt broken and the more I try to shut off the voice in my head the louder it screams. I am not afraid to tell my story any more."

She added: "It is impossibly difficult to relive these experiences and it breaks my heart even more to think that as I work towards my dream of competing in Tokyo 2020, I will have to continually return to the same training facility where I was abused.

"I am unique, smart, talented, motivated and passionate. I have promised myself that my story will be much greater than this and I promise all of you that I will never give up.

"I love this sport too much and I have never been a quitter. I won't let one man, and the others that enabled him, to steal my love and joy."

Nassar was involved with the US gymnastics programme from the 1980s until July 2015, when the sport's national governing body sacked him.

More than 130 women have filed civil lawsuits against him alleging abuse.

Olympic gold medallists Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney are among others to have come forward.

Nassar's case was part of a scandal which saw USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny resign in 2016. Penny was accused by victims of failing to quickly notify authorities about abuse allegations.

 

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