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Dan Carter decided he needed another rugby fix while locked down during the coronavirus pandemic but said joining the Blues was still "a tough decision".

The New Zealand great has joined the Auckland outfit for the Super Rugby Aotearoa, a domestic alternative to the Super Rugby season that could not be finished due to the COVID-19 crisis.

At the age of 38, three-time World Rugby player of the year Carter admits it will take him some time to get up to speed, but he hopes to make an impact with the team.

He previously played 13 seasons with the Crusaders, before heading overseas for lucrative spells with Racing 92 and Kobelco Steelers, having also had a brief earlier stint at Perpignan.

Carter, the all-time leading points-scorer in international rugby, is relishing teaming up with Blues head coach Leon MacDonald and a new set of players.

He told the Blues website: "Two things from the lockdown that I realised was that I really enjoyed spending more time with my family and that I miss rugby.

"Leon is a good mate and we spoke about me helping out. For me, it is a chance to mentor some young players and to give back to New Zealand Rugby.

"I have not played for several months so it will take me a little bit of time to get game-ready.

"It's an exciting opportunity to train in the same city that my kids go to school in and my family are currently living. It will also be nice to share my experience with some of the young talent they have here at the Blues."

In a separate Instagram note, Carter said he was "back doing what I love".

"When Leon called me with an opportunity to join the Blues squad as a replacement player, it was a tough decision," he added.

The Blues open their Super Rugby Aotearoa campaign against the Hurricanes at Eden Park in Auckland on June 14, and it remains to be seen whether Carter is ready to start that game.

He comes into the squad as a replacement for utility back Stephen Perofeta, who is sidelined with a broken foot.

MacDonald could include Carter in the same team as Beauden Barrett, a two-time world player of the year, but the coach is being cautious.

What is clear is that Carter is unlikely to feature in an accustomed fly-half role, but he could find a place elsewhere within the backs.

"We have two designated 10s in Beauden and Otere [Black], and Dan will be there to help them and our other young backs," MacDonald said.

"If he gets back into playing form that warrants selection, then he could help us as a utility back in midfield or fullback.

"For Dan, it is not about the money. He is here as a favour, with a desire to give back to the sport. We are only a few minutes from his home so it works out perfectly for everyone and we are thrilled."

Shane Warne made an indelible mark on the Ashes on this day in 1993.

The future Australia great was introduced to cricket's greatest series in stunning fashion as England were set on their way to a painful defeat.

Two years later, it was New Zealand's go to turn on the style on the same day in the calendar at the Rugby World Cup.

There has also been June 4 delight for a British boxing favourite and despair for one of the greatest names in tennis.

We take a look at the major sporting events to have happened on this day through the years.


1993 - Warne delivers 'ball of the century'

Warne is now renowned as a cricketing great, but he was making his Ashes debut on this day 27 years ago.

While the series had started a day earlier with England taking the ball, the most memorable moment of the opening match at Old Trafford came when the hosts sought to build a reply to Australia's first-innings 289.

The tourists could hardly have enjoyed a better start as Warne's first ever ball in an Ashes series deceived Mike Gatting and went down in folklore.

The delivery pitched outside leg stump but turned sharply and clipped the top of off stump, setting Australia on their way to first a 179-run victory and then a 4-1 series win.

Warne collected 34 Test wickets in all during the tour, the most of any player as he launched an outstanding Ashes career.


1995 - Ellis scores six as All Blacks run riot

Japan have impressed at recent Rugby World Cups, but their experience of the 1995 tournament on this day is one they would surely rather forget.

Eventual finalists New Zealand romped to a 145-17 win in Bloemfontein, which was then a record margin of victory and is the most points scored by a team in a World Cup match

Eric Rush opened the scoring in just the second minute and the 21-try All Blacks scarcely stopped.

Rush ended with three tries, as did Jeff Wilson, but Marc Ellis stole the show with six - including a hat-trick in the opening 30 minutes.

Simon Culhane, who also crossed, successfully dispatched 20 of his conversion attempts on a humbling day for Japan.
 

2005 - Hatton stuns Tszyu to take title

If everything went to script 10 years earlier in South Africa, the same was not true when Ricky Hatton took on Kostya Tszyu in Manchester.

Hatton boasted a 38-0 record but was fighting for a major title - the IBF light-welterweight belt - for the first time against one of boxing's leading pound-for-pound fighters.

The local lad held his own against the defending champion, however, even as each man landed illegal low blows.

And with Hatton just ahead on the scorecards, Tszyu failed to return for the 12th round as his corner threw the towel in, securing a stunning upset.


2016 - Muguruza off the mark as Serena stalls

Garbine Muguruza reached her second major final at Roland Garros in 2016 and, as the previous year at Wimbledon, she was faced with the daunting task of taking down Serena Williams.

However, Muguruza - beaten at the All England Club - claimed her first grand slam triumph in a display she would describe as "the perfect final".

The Spaniard became French Open champion with a 7-5 6-4 success, showing character late in the first set and dictating the second to see off Serena.

Williams had been bidding to tie Steffi Graf's Open-era record of 22 major titles and would only have to wait until a month later at Wimbledon to do so as she maintained a stunning run of form up until the birth of her daughter in 2017.

New Zealand legend Dan Carter has completed a sensational move to the Blues at the age of 38, it was announced on Thursday.

The three-time World Rugby Player of the Year has joined the Auckland franchise for the Super Rugby Aotearoa, a domestic alternative to a Super Rugby season that could not be finished due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Dual Rugby World Cup winner Carter had been plying his trade with Japanese side Kobelco Steelers since 2018 but has now returned to his homeland.

Carter spent 13 seasons playing for the Crusaders, winning three Super Rugby titles and amassing over 140 appearances before leaving in 2015.

He went on to play for Perpignan and Racing 92 – claiming titles with both French teams – prior to completing a two-season deal with the Steelers, where he led Japan's Top League outfit to silverware in 2018.

Carter, set to team up with All Blacks star Beauden Barrett, is now set to play his first rugby match on New Zealand soil in five years.

The Blues will open their Super Rugby Aotearoa campaign against the Hurricanes at Eden Park in Auckland on June 14.

Golden-point tie-breakers and red-card replacements are among the innovations set to be used when Super Rugby Aotearoa kicks off.

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) announced the rules will come into play for its domestic version of Super Rugby, which is taking place in lieu of the proper competition that was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Among the changes is the introduction of a golden point, a format used in NRL where the first team to score  – either by try, drop goal or penalty – in the event of a draw in an additional 10-minute period wins the game.

Teams can also bring on a replacement for a player who receives a red card 20 minutes after they have been sent off. The punished player will still be subject to SANZAAR's existing judicial process and cannot return to the field.

NZR head of professional rugby Chris Lendrum said: "We want this competition to look and feel different. 

"We've had great support from our coaches, players and referees to make Super Rugby Aotearoa faster, safer and more exciting than ever before.

"Draws can often leave everyone feeling a little empty and after feedback from our coaches and players we have added the golden point rule. We've seen the excitement it can generate in other codes and we think adds a real edge.

"While players should, and still will be, punished for foul play, red cards can sometimes have too much of an effect on a match. 

"There are no winners when a player is red carded, but paying rugby fans, players and coaches want to see a fair contest. Replacing a player after 20 minutes strikes the right balance."

NZR also said referees will enforce rules at the breakdown more strictly in a bid to create more attacking rugby.

The Highlanders versus the Chiefs at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, will kick off Super Rugby Aotearoa on June 13.

Premiership and Championship rugby sides have been given permission to return to non-contact training.

The Professional Game Board (PGB) confirmed on Tuesday that teams are now allowed to hold individual conditioning sessions provided social distancing measures are maintained.

The top flight in England was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, but it is hoped the season can be resumed, despite all levels from the Championship and below seeing their campaigns cancelled.

"The clubs will need to satisfy a number of requirements to start Stage 1 as we continue the huge amount of work being undertaken to enable a safe return to training," Chris Booy, PGB Chair, said in a statement.

"The welfare of the players, management and staff is our only priority, and we look forward to the season resuming when it is safe to do so."

Premiership clubs have also given unanimous backing to an overhaul of salary-cap regulations.

A review led by Lord Myners put forward 52 recommendations last month as part of a comprehensive assessment of the cap rules.

Although neither the level of the salary cap nor the issue around marquee player allowances have yet been addressed, all 52 recommendations put forward have won the support of clubs.

The suggested changes include increasing the severity of sporting sanctions on clubs in breach of the rules to include relegation, suspension, stripping of titles and the return of prize money.

The review followed the decision to relegate reigning champions Saracens at the end of 2019-20 due to repeated breaches of the salary cap.

The 2019-20 Top 14 season has been cancelled with no champions crowned or teams relegated, the Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR) announced on Tuesday.

France's domestic professional rugby campaign, which has been on hiatus since March, has been curtailed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

An LNR statement read: "Faced with the exceptional circumstances linked to COVID-19, on a proposal from the Bureau, and at the end of the consultation process carried out within the framework of the organisation set up in the context of the health crisis, the steering committee adopted the resolution providing for the permanent cessation of the professional championships of first division (Top 14) and second division (Pro D2)."

The Top 14 and Pro D2 will return for the 2020-21 campaign with the same teams after promotion and relegation was abandoned.

Qualification for the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup will be determined by the LNR once guidance is received from European Professional Club Rugby.

Bordeaux-Begles were first in the Top 14, eight points clear of Lyon. Stade Francais were last and in danger of dropping into the second division.

The LNR's steering committee will propose at an extraordinary general assembly on June 11 that a state-guaranteed loan be taken out in order to maintain payments assigned to clubs for the 2019-20 campaign.

While professional football has returned in Germany and will soon be back under way in England, Spain and Italy too, the LNR's decision falls in line with the cancellation of Ligue 1.

However, in that case, Paris Saint-Germain were awarded the title and Toulouse and Amiens were relegated to the second tier.

Rugby Australia (RA) is to cut a third of its full-time staff in the coming months as the organisation attempts to stay afloat amid the coronavirus pandemic.

RA has been hit hard by the suspension of rugby, with the organisation having previously had to stand three-quarters of their workforce down, while players have taken pay cuts.

Last month RA claimed a World Rugby bailout would provide "certainty for the next 12 months", but on Monday it announced it would be making 47 of its 142 full-time staff redundant.

The redundancies will not come into immediate effect but will take place over the months to come, while senior staff who have been retained have been asked to take a five per cent pay cut.

With all international tours scheduled for July having been cancelled, it is unclear if the Rugby Championship will be able to take place later in the year.

It is expected that the redundancies and pay cuts will reduce RA's wage bill by $5.5million.

"Today was an incredibly difficult day for the organisation with many people affected by changes that are necessary to ensure the viability and sustainability of the organisation as a result of the devastating impacts of the pandemic," interim chief executive Rob Clarke said in a statement.

"We have delivered the news to staff this morning and told them that Rugby Australia values the contribution of each and every one of them, some of whom have given significant service to Rugby Australia and to the game over many years.

"This is a difficult time for a lot of very passionate, hard-working rugby people and we are committed to helping those people find their next opportunity, whether it be within the game or elsewhere."

Rugby Australia (RA) is to cut a third of its full-time staff in the coming months as the organisation attempts to stay afloat amid the coronavirus pandemic.

RA has been hit hard by the suspension of rugby, with the organisation having previously had to stand three-quarters of their workforce down, while players have taken pay cuts.

Last month RA claimed a World Rugby bailout would provide "certainty for the next 12 months", but on Monday it announced it would be making 47 of its 142 full-time staff redundant.

The redundancies will not come into immediate effect but will take place over the months to come, while senior staff who have been retained have been asked to take a five per cent pay cut.

With all international tours scheduled for July having been cancelled, it is unclear if the Rugby Championship will be able to take place later in the year.

It is expected that the redundancies and pay cuts will reduce RA's wage bill by $5.5million.

"Today was an incredibly difficult day for the organisation with many people affected by changes that are necessary to ensure the viability and sustainability of the organisation as a result of the devastating impacts of the pandemic," interim chief executive Rob Clarke said in a statement.

"We have delivered the news to staff this morning and told them that Rugby Australia values the contribution of each and every one of them, some of whom have given significant service to Rugby Australia and to the game over many years.

"This is a difficult time for a lot of very passionate, hard-working rugby people and we are committed to helping those people find their next opportunity, whether it be within the game or elsewhere."

Elite sport is gradually returning to our screens amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Germany's Bundesliga, the UFC and the NRL were among the first top-level events to forge a route back last month after pausing due to the global crisis.

A clutch of Europe's other top football leagues, cricket, motorsport and the United States' major competitions all have designs on behind-closed-doors resumptions in the near future, too, which could create a significant backlog of crucial fixtures.

One positive is that sports fans might now be treated to a number of colossal match-ups back-to-back on the same day at some point over the coming months.

That prospect gives us the opportunity to reflect on five similar occasions with the greatest sporting days since the turn of the century - including one exactly a year ago.

 

JULY 23, 2000

The US had a day to remember as two of their most prominent stars bolstered their still burgeoning reputations with big victories on foreign soil.

The paths of Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong have subsequently diverged a little, however.

Woods became the youngest player to complete golf's career grand slam with a record-breaking victory at The Open in 2000, while Armstrong wrapped up a second straight Tour de France title.

The American duo stood at the top of the world, yet history will recall Armstrong's achievements rather differently now he has been stripped of each of his seven successive yellow jerseys for doping.

Woods at least maintained his high standards and held all four major titles after the 2001 Masters, winning again at Augusta as recently as last year.

FEBRUARY 1, 2004

Two more sporting greats shared the same special page in the calendar early in 2004.

It was a long day for anyone who took in both Roger Federer's performance in Melbourne's Australian Open final and Tom Brady's Super Bowl display in Houston, but they were duly rewarded.

Twenty-time grand slam champion Federer had won just one major before facing down Marat Safin in Australia, also becoming the ATP Tour's top-ranked player for the first time. He stayed at number one for a record-shattering 237 weeks.

Brady similarly then doubled his tally of Super Bowl rings by delivering a second triumph in three years for the Patriots, in what was a classic encounter against the Carolina Panthers.

Brady threw for 354 yards and three touchdowns, before Adam Vinatieri's field goal secured a 32-29 win with four seconds remaining.

AUGUST 4-5, 2012

One would struggle to find a greater array of star-studded athletes of various sports than those who congregated in London across the penultimate weekend of the 2012 Olympic Games.

On the Saturday evening, at the Aquatics Centre, swimming prepared to say goodbye to its greatest name. Michael Phelps and the United States won the 4x100m medley, clinching his 18th gold medal in what appeared set to be his final race.

Indeed, Phelps confirmed his retirement following the Games, only to return in predictably dominant fashion in 2016.

Across the city that same night, Team GB athletes were capping a stunning run of medals that would see the day dubbed "Super Saturday". There were six home golds in all, including big wins for Jessica Ennis, Greg Rutherford and Mo Farah in quick succession.

The drama only continued the next day, too, as Andy Murray finally sealed a Wimbledon win over Federer in the tennis event, while Usain Bolt lit up London Stadium in the 100m.

JUNE 1, 2019

It is 12 months to the day since another epic sporting stretch, one that concluded in stunning fashion with one of boxing's great modern upsets.

Rugby union and football each had their respective turns in the spotlight earlier, with Saracens following up their European Champions Cup success - a third in four years - by retaining the Premiership title with victory over Exeter Chiefs.

In Madrid, two more English teams were in action as Liverpool edged past Tottenham in the Champions League final.

But as Sarries and the Reds celebrated, focus turned towards Madison Square Garden where Anthony Joshua was expected to make light work of Andy Ruiz Jr, a replacement for Jarrell Miller following a failed drugs test.

The heavyweight title match did not go to script, however, as Ruiz floored Joshua four times and forced a stoppage to claim his belts, albeit only until the rematch where the Briton saved face.

JULY 14, 2019

These crazy spectacles have largely seen sport spread throughout the day, but three sets of eyes were required to keep up with the action on an epic afternoon last July.

With England hosting and then reaching the Cricket World Cup final, the scene-stealing decider fell on the same day as the Wimbledon men's final and the British Grand Prix, ensuring the United Kingdom was the focus of the sporting world.

The cricket started off several hours before either the tennis or the F1 but still managed to outlast its rival events, with Ben Stokes determined to put on a show as England won via a dramatic Super Over at the end of a nine-hour saga against New Zealand.

Novak Djokovic was battling Stokes for attention as he was taken all the way by that man Federer at the All England Club before finally prevailing 7-6 (7-5) 1-6 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 13-12 (7-3) in the tournament's longest singles final.

The respective classics made the British GP, completed earlier in the day, something of an afterthought - but not for Lewis Hamilton, who claimed a record sixth victory.

The Sunwolves will not play in the Australia-based Super Rugby competition this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Like New Zealand, Australia is planning to hold a domestic tournament, beginning on July 3, after Super Rugby was stopped in March due to COVID-19.

While the Force are returning to play in the competition, Rugby Australia (RA) announced on Monday the Japan-based Sunwolves would not participate.

Travel restrictions in Australia mean the Sunwolves would be forced into a 14-day quarantine period on arrival if they were allowed to enter, hindering their preparation.

"There are significant challenges facing the Sunwolves' participation in this modified competition model which Rugby Australia, SANZAAR and the Sunwolves have been attempting to work through," RA interim chief executive Rob Clarke said.

"However, the reality is, given the timeframe available the team's preparation for the competition would be severely compromised.

"All parties agree that despite our collective efforts and desire to see the Sunwolves take part in the competition, under the current circumstances their participation will not be feasible. While unfortunate, this decision delivers the certainty that all stakeholders require at this point in time.

"We all agree that this is not the way we wanted or believed that the 2020 Super Rugby season would play out when it kicked off back in late January, the impact of COVID-19 has been unprecedented and unforeseen.

"On behalf of Rugby Australia, our SANZAAR partners and the rugby community I pass on our thanks to the Sunwolves and we look forward to continuing to build on the links between Australia and Japan on and off the rugby field."

The Sunwolves had lost four of their opening five games of the season before the campaign was suspended.

Australia has seen more than 7,100 cases of coronavirus and 103 deaths, while Japan's death toll is nearing 900.

Franco Smith has been appointed as Italy head coach after leading the Azzurri during the curtailed 2020 Six Nations. 

Smith took the reins on an interim basis last November after Conor O'Shea stepped down from the role following the Rugby World Cup. 

The former Springbok was to take charge while the Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) searched for a long-term appointment to be made by July 1 this year. 

But Smith, who oversaw three Six Nations defeats before the championship was halted amid the coronavirus pandemic, has landed the job following an FIR federal council meeting. 

The 47-year-old will continue to be assisted by a coaching team that also includes Giampiero De Carli and Marius Goosen.

Smith's contract will reportedly run until after the 2023 World Cup in France.

SA Rugby and Cricket South Africa have welcomed the decision for players to be able to return to training as part of revised lockdown regulations in the country. 

Nathi Mthethwa, minister for sports, arts and culture, announced the changes at a media briefing on Saturday, with non-contact sports cleared to resume both training and playing.  

As for contact sports, Mthethwa revealed while reporting on the department’s COVID-19 sector relief fund that they will be able to go back in a staggered, controlled manner. 

All professional teams now have 14 days to submit proposals to explain how they will ensure the safety of players and officials. 

"This is the news sport has been waiting to hear as it allows us to begin to ramp up preparations for an eventual return to play," said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby. 

"We submitted a comprehensive, staged return-to-play protocols document to the department five weeks ago and we are ready to begin medical screening of players immediately. 

"We will seek further clarity from the department on the application of the guidelines as they apply to contact training. 

"But this is an opportunity for our players to enhance their lockdown training regimes by increasing their fitness work for an eventual return to play."

South Africa’s cricketers can also now prepare to resume training again, though no individual will be forced to do so if they are not comfortable with the current situation.

The updated conditions only apply to the professional game, too.

"This is a big boost for the operational side of our cricket," commented Cricket South Africa's acting chief executive Jacques Faul.  

He added: “I have already had discussions with the South African Cricketers' Association (SACA) and I would like to stress that no player, coach, support staff or administrator will be forced to return to training if they are uncomfortable with it at this stage.”

World Rugby has ruled out the possibility of holding an international invitational tournament in the United Kingdom and Ireland in 2021 to provide relief following the coronavirus pandemic.

Former Rugby Football Union chief executive Francis Baron had proposed the one-off 16-team competition to raise money "for keeping the game of rugby alive around the world", with sport suspended in recent months due to the global crisis.

The event, held in the UK in order to avoid disrupting France's 2023 Rugby World Cup preparations, would see 31 matches across June and July and prompt the postponement of the British and Irish Lions' tour of South Africa.

The suggested tournament - dubbed the 'Coronavirus Cup of World Rugby' as Baron revealed his plan to the Telegraph - would reportedly aim to bring in up to £250million to support the sport as it recovers from the pandemic.

However, the  idea has been dismissed by governing body World Rugby.

A statement read: "World Rugby notes a proposal by former RFU CEO Francis Baron suggesting the organisation of a major international rugby event in the UK in 2021 to alleviate the impact of COVID-19 on global rugby.

"World Rugby does not intend to pursue such a proposal.

"All stakeholders continue to progress productive discussions regarding the immediate global COVID-19 financial relief strategy and international rugby calendar optimisation, both of which will further the success of Rugby World Cup 2023 in France."

World Rugby has already postponed all July Tests and set aside a $100million relief fund in a bid to assist those struggling the most.

Saracens have signed Wales scrum-half Aled Davies on a three-year deal.

Davies' international career appears to be over after he opted to leave the Ospreys to join the European and Premiership champions.

The 27-year-old playmaker will not be able play for his country due to the 60-cap eligibility rule and is instead heading for the Championship after Sarries were consigned to relegation due to salary-cap breaches.

Davies said: "It's a great opportunity for me at a massive club. It's a massive honour to come here and I can't wait to get started.

"It seems like there is a good team and family ethos around the club which is very attractive for me and my family.

"I'm looking forward to putting my stamp on things and making an impact, hopefully."

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall said: "Aled is an experienced, talented player and we are delighted to welcome both him and his family to Saracens.

"He is driven to take his game to new levels and we are excited he has chosen to do that at Saracens."

Davies has won 20 caps for Wales, with his last appearance coming against Uruguay in the Rugby World Cup last October.

Lionel Messi delivered a moment of history for Barcelona on this day in 2009, as Manchester United lost the Champions League final in Rome.

Arsene Wenger also has fond memories of May 27 from his Arsenal career, having achieved an unprecedented FA Cup feat at Wembley three years ago.

Shane Watson powered Chennai Super Kings to 2018 IPL glory, while back in 1995, the great Jonah Lomu scored the first tries of a famous New Zealand career.

Join us in looking back on some memorable moments from this day in years gone by.

 

1995 – Jonah Lomu scores his first tries for New Zealand

One of rugby union's all-time most famous faces made his mark on this day back in 1995.

Lomu scored his first two tries for New Zealand as they claimed a 43-19 win over Ireland in a Pool C clash at the Rugby World Cup in Johannesburg.

He finished the tournament as joint-top try-scorer on seven as the All Blacks reached the final, where they were famously beaten by hosts South Africa.

Lomu tragically died at the age of 40 in November 2015.

2018 – Shane Watson scores unbeaten century as Chennai Super Kings win the IPL

It is two years since a spectacular innings from Watson secured Indian Premier League glory for Chennai Super Kings.

Questioned for putting their faith in a squad of players approaching the end of their careers, it was fitting that Chennai's triumph would be sealed by 36-year-old Watson's unbeaten 117 from 57 balls.

Watson hit eight sixes and 11 fours to dominate the contest, the Super Kings easing to an eight-wicket win with nine balls remaining.

 

2009 – Barcelona beat Manchester United in the Champions League final

Barcelona became champions of Europe on this day 11 years ago, denying Manchester United a piece of history and securing their own place in the record books.

Holders United were looking to become the first team to win back-to-back Champions Leagues in the modern format but were dealt an early blow when Samuel Eto'o squeezed a 10th-minute shot past Edwin van der Sar.

A header from Lionel Messi – a goal he still considers the most important of his career – made it 2-0 in the second half as Barca won the treble for the first time in their history in Pep Guardiola's first season in charge.

2017 – Arsenal beat Chelsea in FA Cup final as Wenger wins the trophy for a seventh time

Arsene Wenger became the most successful manager in FA Cup history three years ago when he lifted the trophy for a seventh time.

Premier League champions Chelsea were favourites, but a fourth-minute goal from Alexis Sanchez set the tone for the final.

Victor Moses' red card 68 minutes in made life tougher for the Blues and, although Diego Costa grabbed an equaliser, Aaron Ramsey struck what proved to be the winner three minutes later.

Aside from Wenger's feat – his 10th major trophy as Gunners boss – it was a final fondly remembered by fans for the performance of Per Mertsesacker, who was outstanding at the heart of defence.

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