Dominant Wales booked a place in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals after crushing Australia 40-6 and leaving Eddie Jones’ team close to pool-stage elimination.

A third successive Pool C victory sent Wales into the last-eight for a fourth successive World Cup under head coach Warren Gatland.

They are guaranteed to top the group if they defeat Georgia next month, setting up a likely quarter-final clash against Argentina in Marseille.

Wales overcame the early loss of injured fly-half Dan Biggar to boss Australia in every key department and coast home through tries from scrum-half Gareth Davies, centre Nick Tompkins and captain Jac Morgan, while Biggar, who kicked an early conversion, saw his replacement Gareth Anscombe boot 23 points.

It was Wales’ record win against Australia, overtaking a 25-point margin in 1975, and former England boss Jones will be left to face the music as the Wallabies lurch towards World Cup oblivion.

The Wallabies boss said on Friday he had no doubt Australia would win the game, yet Wales rammed those words down his throat, with two Ben Donaldson penalties Australia’s only scoring acts.

It was an outstanding display by Gatland’s team as they delivered the goods through a performance that bristled with confidence, power and accuracy.

Gatland named the team that accounted for Fiji in their World Cup opener, with lock Adam Beard winning his 50th cap in a line-up skippered by flanker Morgan.

Australia showed three changes from the side beaten by Fiji last weekend as full-back Andrew Kellaway, scrum-half Tate McDermott and flanker Robert Leota were all handed starts.

Wales blasted out of the blocks and were ahead after just three minutes when Morgan broke through in midfield and Davies ran a brilliant supporting line before gathering the pass and diving over.

Biggar converted, with Wales asking immediate questions of Australia’s confidence.

The Wallabies then responded through a concerted spell of pressure inside Wales’ 22, before Biggar took a blow and required treatment and Donaldson kicked a short-range penalty that made it 7-3.

Biggar could not shake off what appeared to be a shoulder problem, being forced to leave the pitch after just 12 minutes and replaced by Anscombe.

A second Donaldson penalty cut the gap to a point as the Wallabies fought for their World Cup lives.

Anscombe hit the post with a 19th-minute penalty, but he made no mistake off the tee just two minutes later as Wales moved 10-6 ahead.

It was a fast and furious contest, and Wales had to defend resiliently at times as Australia utilised powerful back-row runners Leota and Rob Valetini.

Anscombe’s second successful penalty 12 minutes before half-time opened up a seven-point gap, and then he completed a hat-trick before Wales attacked from halfway and almost breached Australia’s defence through wing Louis Rees-Zammit.

Wales took a 10-point lead into the interval, and they were good value as the prize of a quarter-final place drew closer.

Wales extended their advantage just two minutes into the second period when Australia conceded a scrum penalty and Anscombe duly obliged with three points.

The Wallabies’ lineout also started to go astray, and Wales were turning the screw through a dominant pack superbly marshalled by Morgan and lock Will Rowlands.

And they claimed a second try after 48 minutes when Anscombe’s pinpoint chip over the top of Australia’s defensive line led to Tompkins touching down, with Anscombe converting to leave the Wallabies 26-6 adrift.

Two more Anscombe penalties took Wales past 30 points, and they were now almost toying with their hapless opponents.

Australia had no answer in the set-piece area, with Jones being loudly booed each time he appeared on the stadium’s giant screens.

Gatland was able to ring the changes with his team in so much control, and Anscombe dropped a goal 10 minutes from time that rubbed salt into gaping Australian wounds.

Wales fans were jubilant, and Morgan scored try number three from a driven lineout as Gatland’s men cruised to a remarkable landslide triumph.

Warren Gatland believes there will be degrees of desperation on both sides when Wales tackle Rugby World Cup rivals Australia on Sunday.

Victory for Wales would send them into a fourth successive World Cup quarter-final with one group game to spare.

Australia, meanwhile, know that defeat realistically condemns them to a pool-stage exit for the first time in World Cup history.

“It will be one hell of a game, and that will be down to not just them being desperate, but us being desperate to progress through this pool,” Wales head coach Gatland said.

“There is definitely desperation for us because a loss or no points and the group could potentially come down to points difference.

“That is the last position we want to be in. I think that, when you’ve worked so hard and made as many sacrifices as the coaches and players have made in the past four months, that creates its own desperation.

“Why give yourself a get out of jail card when you don’t need to do that? We are desperate for the right reasons.”

Wales co-captain and hooker Dewi Lake has missed out on a place in Wales’ matchday 23 for the Lyon showdown.

Gatland has named the same team that defeated Fiji 12 days ago, with Ryan Elias starting at hooker in a side skippered by flanker Jac Morgan.

Elliot Dee provides cover for Elias on the bench, while lock Adam Beard will win his 50th cap. There is also a spot among the replacements for former England prop Henry Thomas, who is on course to make his Wales World Cup debut.

Flanker Tommy Reffell, a late withdrawal due to a tight calf muscle before Wales faced Portugal last weekend, also misses out, with Taine Basham providing back-row bench cover.

“He (Lake) was disappointed. He hasn’t had a lot of rugby, he has been carrying an injury and that was probably the decision we made for that one,” Gatland added.

“I have always been a fan of Elliot Dee in terms of his lineout throwing and how he brings energy off the bench. I know Dewi was disappointed, but it doesn’t mean that he is not going to feature in further games.”

Gatland is relishing another coaching encounter with Australia head coach and former England boss Eddie Jones, who has come in for considerable criticism following the Wallabies’ 22-15 defeat against Fiji last weekend.

That result has left Australia in the last-chance saloon as they look to navigate their way out of Pool C and onwards in the competition.

“You have come to realise what to expect from an Eddie team,” Gatland said.

“With regards to the way they are going to play on Sunday, we have prepared for a couple of scenarios.

“I was surprised at their tactics against Fiji. There were 11 less minutes ball-in-play time to us (Wales against Fiji), so I am not 100 per cent sure tactically how they will come at us.

“As coaches, we all come under pressure at times – it is part of the job.

“In fairness to Eddie, he is trying to take as much pressure off the players as he can, saying he is responsible for the results and that things aren’t good enough.

“Our relationship has always been good. We have been out on a number of occasions and had meals together. I find his company good – he is engaging.

“If you look at the recent record of games between Wales and Australia, there is never much in it. They won’t lie down and roll over for us.

“What I am happy about at the moment is putting some pride back in that Welsh jersey. It doesn’t take long to lose it.

“I don’t think we had the respect of the rugby world in terms of performance and results. That has been an objective of ours over the last few months, and players have made a lot of sacrifices.”

Gareth Thomas says it would be “an amazing feeling” if Wales beat Australia and book a Rugby World Cup quarter-final place one game inside the distance.

Wales tackle the Wallabies in Lyon on Sunday knowing that victory would confirm one of the two qualifying spots from Pool C.

England or Argentina are then likely last-eight opponents in Marseille next month, with Wales maintaining a 100 per cent record of reaching the knock-out phase under head coach Warren Gatland during four successive World Cup campaigns.

Wales then have a break next week before completing their group schedule against Georgia in Nantes.

“When we came here we always wanted to win all the games in the group and nothing has changed,” Wales prop Thomas said.

“We’ve got the same mindset. We want to go out there and perform and get the win.

“That would be an amazing feeling wouldn’t it, getting the third win? We don’t want anything but that. We are looking forward to this weekend and then we will have a couple of days to recover after that.”

While Wales occupy the box-seat, Australia must win to have any chance of progressing from a pool that also includes Fiji, Georgia and Portugal.

A 22-15 defeat to Fiji in Saint-Etienne last weekend has elevated the prospect of Australia not progressing to the quarter-finals, which has been their minimum achievement in all nine previous World Cup campaigns.

Australia’s record in the tournament against Wales is a good one, though, having toppled them five times from seven attempts, but the latest meeting will undoubtedly see them weakened by injured forwards Taniela Tupou and Will Skelton missing out.

Thomas added: “They are always going to be dangerous when you play against them.

“We wanted to come here with the mindset of winning all the pool games, and nothing has changed for us. So whether they have won or lost, it doesn’t change anything for us.

“We take a lot of confidence from the Fiji game and Portugal game and what we’ve done all summer, really, and feel like we can only get better as well.

“We know it is going to be a big, physical contest and we are looking forward to getting out there.

“It doesn’t really make any difference to me whether they (Tupou and Skelton) are in or not.

“We’ve got our heavies behind us – Will (Rowlands) and Beardy (Adam Beard) and Daf (Dafydd Jenkins). They are all heavy boys and Christ (Tshiunza) as well. We’ve got plenty of power ourselves.”

Thomas is among 16 Wales players involved in a first World Cup campaign and he is relishing the experience on and off the pitch.

Wales assistant coach Alex King has compared the squad to a “band of brothers”, and Thomas said: “There is just something special about every game in the World Cup, so we are watching them and just enjoying them because there is a big buzz about everything.

“We have fines committees. The (latest) sheet came out with all the fines on it and Nick Tompkins racked up a decent bill.

“He wore the wrong T-shirt and he was a little bit late for monitoring after the Fiji game because his alarm didn’t go off. It’s all good fun.

“I am on environment, so making sure everything is clean and taking the empty bottles, putting them in the bin. That’s my job, the guy who tells everyone to clean up their own stuff.”

Giavellotto will head to Qipco Champions Day or be put away until next season after connections shelved the idea of having a tilt at this year’s Melbourne Cup.

A narrow winner of the Yorkshire Cup in the spring, Marco Botti’s stable star has since finished fifth in the Goodwood Cup and third in the Lonsdale Cup back at York last month.

Given Giavellotto’s preference for a sound surface, a trip to Australia appeared an attractive proposition – but with the stringent veterinary checks required to contest the Flemington showpiece seemingly a factor, he will not contest the ‘race that stops a nation’ in early November.

“He’s in good form and has come out of the race at York in fine shape, but we’re not going to Australia,” said Botti.

“There were a few niggling problems and it’s not going to happen this year unfortunately. He’s fine, but there were concerns we might get him there and he wouldn’t be able to run or whatever, so we just decided bypass it for this year.

“Hopefully next year if we still have him and everything is going well then we can think about it as the Melbourne Cup is a race the owners would love to go for, and the race and the track would suit him as he seems to go on left-handed tracks.”

With the Melbourne Cup ruled out, the only viable option left for Giavellotto this season is the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup on October 21, but the prospect of demanding conditions at Ascot is an obvious concern.

“We’ll keep an eye on the weather as he will only go to Ascot if the ground is not too soft. Good to soft is fine, but he wouldn’t want to run on anything softer than that,” Botti added.

“If he doesn’t go to Ascot we’ll just put him away for the winter.

“We haven’t discussed plans for next year with the owners yet. I wouldn’t rule out going back to Dubai World Cup night for the Gold Cup, but let’s see how he winters and how he is after a nice break.”

Wales assistant coach Jonathan Thomas has described Australia as “a wounded animal” ahead of Sunday’s Rugby World Cup clash that could see the Wallabies make unwanted history.

Eddie Jones’ team are teetering on the edge of a World Cup pool stage exit for the first time.

If Wales beat them in Lyon, then their quarter-final hopes will be over and head coach Eddie Jones left to face the music.

“It is a cliche, and I apologise, but you just have to focus on yourselves,” Thomas said.

“When you start thinking about permutations or selection of the opposition, you go down a rabbit hole, in my opinion.

“Confidence, for me, comes from the work you do during the week. That is where we get our focus from.

“We respect Australia as a rugby nation. They are a wounded animal, they can be dangerous.”

Australia hold a 5-2 lead across the countries’ seven previous World Cup meetings, but Wales will start as favourites this time around.

They have collected a maximum 10 points from their first two Pool C games – a record that only Ireland of any other team in the competition can match.

Wales’ pool stage win against Australia in Japan four years ago set them on a course to the semi-finals, where they were knocked out by South Africa in Yokohama.

Wales centre George North added: “I’ve been to quite a few World Cups now, and to get early results is good.

“I think if you had said to us we would have 10 points after the first two games, I think everyone would have bitten your hand off. It is a massive game that we have to go and win on Sunday.

“The quality we have got now is really showing. Each day everyone is trying to get better to fight for that jersey and that’s what drives you on.

“It (qualifying on Sunday) would certainly be a little weight off the shoulders, wouldn’t it? What has stood us in good stead is just focusing on every game as it comes.

“We will have had an eight-day turnaround, which helps, from the Portugal game. We’ve had that rotation and allowed everyone to have a game.

“The families have been out and we’ve seen them. Every week, we have a day off, and that ability to switch off is key. I think it has really showed.

“This week, boys are really chomping at the bit. Yesterday was what we would call a recovery day, but it was far from recovery. It was very much on full gas.

“I think if we can keep pushing that today and the rest of the week, it will put us in a great position come Sunday.”

Wales head coach Warren Gatland’s team selection looks unlikely to deviate far, if it all, from the one that defeated Fiji in Bordeaux 10 days ago.

He could, though, decide on naming two specialist openside flankers in the back row, with Jac Morgan and Tommy Reffell starting alongside number eight Taulupe Faletau.

Reffell was due to feature against Portugal, but a tight calf muscle saw him withdrawn from the starting line-up just before kick-off.

Thomas said: “It was a prudent move not to play him. He is being assessed every day. He is the only one we will weigh up – everyone else is fit.

“The good thing we’ve got with our back-rowers is that they are versatile. All of them can play in different positions, pretty much, so those options are always there. We will see.”

Jonathan Humphreys has predicted “a hell of a game” when Rugby World Cup rivals Wales and Australia go head-to-head in Lyon.

Top spot in Pool C could be on the line next Sunday and Wales know that objective will move closer into view if they topple the Wallabies.

Australia have beaten them in five of their seven previous World Cup meetings, but bonus-point victories over Fiji and Portugal mean that Wales are in decent shape.

“It is going to be a hell of a game – there is going to be a lot riding on that,” Wales assistant coach and forwards specialist Humphreys said.

“We have got an eight-day turnaround, so hopefully we will have a full squad to choose from. A few boys have rested up after a tough Fiji game.

“It will be interesting to see how they come out. He (Australia head coach Eddie Jones) has always got something different in his game.

“The players he has available to him right now are a hell of a squad, and we are looking forward to what will be an incredibly tough match.”

Wales, showing 12 changes from the side that defeated Fiji, struggled to impose themselves at times against a Portugal team relishing their first World Cup appearance since 2007.

But ultimately, a 28-8 success – and a bonus point collected in the dying seconds when Taulupe Faletau scored Wales’ fourth try – meant it was a case of job done.

Humphreys added: “We are delighted to get 10 points from the first two games. If you had offered that to us before we came out here we would have taken your hand off.

“There were a lot of boys who hadn’t played for a while – we made a lot of changes. It was great that we got a bonus point, and they’ve also got a fair bit of game-time.

“The first game (against Fiji) was obviously massive for us. As a squad we really came together after that game, saying ‘it’s a good start’.

“The support the team that played against Portugal had from the rest (of the squad) tells us the spirit is there.

“We are in a pretty good place, but we know we need to improve and get better if we are to do the job against Australia.”

Fitness-wise, Wales will need to run the rule over flanker Tommy Reffell and prop Henry Thomas when they arrive back at their training base in Versailles.

Thomas, who has a hamstring issue, is the only player in Wales’ 33-strong World Cup squad not to have been involved against Fiji or Portugal.

Reffell, meanwhile, was due to face Portugal but a tight calf muscle meant he withdrew during final pre-match preparations and Jac Morgan replaced him.

“Tommy is an incredibly tough bloke, but it was the right decision,” Humphreys said.

“He was in agreement with that. If he pulled his calf, he is probably gone for the tournament. It was done as a precaution to make sure that he is not too long out.

“Jac is incredible. He wasn’t due to be involved, and the non-(matchday) 23 (including Morgan) did weights and extra-conditioning in the morning. He is an incredible player.”

Humphreys also highlighted Faletau’s major contribution in only his second start since a calf injury meant he took no part during Wales’ three World Cup warm-up Tests.

“He is a massive player for us,” Humphreys added. “To see him chasing back, make that (try-saving) tackle and get to his feet to go for the ball, he is a huge player and he will get better and better.

“That’s the thing about world-class players, on big moments like that they step up and do something. We are looking forward to seeing what more he can do.”

Adam Zampa claimed an unwanted record while Travis Head gave Australia a World Cup injury concern as they were thrashed by 164 runs in the fourth one-day international against South Africa.

Zampa bowled 10 wicketless overs for 113 – equalling the worst figures in an ODI, held by fellow Australian Mick Lewis – as Heinrich Klaasen propelled South Africa to their third-highest total.

Klaasen smashed 174 of just 83 balls as the hosts posted 416-5 at Centurion to level the five-match series 2-2, having lost the opening two.

Of greater concern for Australia will be the injury to opener Head, who retired hurt three balls after being hit on the left hand by Gerald Coetzee.

Australia coach Andrew McDonald confirmed x-rays had shown a fracture with the World Cup just three weeks away.

McDonald said: “He’s going to go in for some more scans tomorrow to work out the detail of (the injury) and then we’ll work out the management from there. How long that (recovery) time frame is, we’re yet to determine.”

Australia already have injury concerns over Pat Cummins, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc and Glenn Maxwell, while Cameron Green was concussed in the first game of the series.

Klaasen described his assault, which included 13 fours and 13 sixes, as “one of my better ones”.

He was caught on the boundary off the final ball of the innings, ending a stand of 222 with David Miller who smashed an unbeaten 82 from 45. Rassie van der Dussen also hit 65.

Michael Neser was the only Australian bowler to go for under seven runs an over, Zampa conceding nine of the 20 sixes hit by the hosts

Australia’s reply never really got going, wicketkeeper Alex Carey the only batter to face more than 25 balls but he was last man out for 99 as Australia were dismissed for 252.

Leon Smith hailed a “very good day” for Great Britain after wins for debutant Jack Draper and Dan Evans in Manchester secured victory over Australia.

Draper’s run to the fourth round of the US Open earned him not just a second Great Britain call-up but a first appearance, with Smith picking him ahead of his top-ranked player Cameron Norrie and former world number one Andy Murray for the opening tie of the group stage.

The 21-year-old fully justified his captain’s faith, thrilling a 9,000-strong crowd at the AO Arena by breaking Kokkinakis when he served for the match then coming from 4-2 down in the deciding tie-break to win 6-7 (6) 6-3 7-6 (4) after two hours and 52 minutes.

Evans then took to the court against world number 12 Alex De Minaur, the highest-ranked player in the four-team group.

Evans has struggled for long periods this season but found his form on the North American hard courts with a title in Washington and a strong performance against Carlos Alcaraz at the US Open.

And he extended his tour-level winning record against De Minaur to 3-0 with a 6-1 2-6 6-4 victory, staying strong after the Australian fought back from 4-1 in the decider.

That gave Britain an unassailable lead, with a top-two spot in the group needed to secure progress to the quarter-finals and matches against Switzerland and France still to come this week.

“It’s a really good day for us,” said Smith. “Extremely difficult Aussie team but we’re difficult too. Jack showed again what he’s capable of, both in quality but also the heart and competitiveness he’s got. To steal it at the end when Kokkinakis served for it shows a lot of character. It’s a really good win for him.

“I said to Dan I think it’s one of the best matches I’ve seen him play, I thought he was absolutely brilliant against one of the in-form players on the tour. I just think Dan was amazing but it doesn’t surprise me.”

Australia avoided a clean sweep, with former Wimbledon champions Matt Ebden and Max Purcell defeating Evans and Neal Skupski 7-6 (5) 6-4 in the doubles rubber to make the final score 2-1.

For most of his long tenure, Smith’s team, based around Murray, virtually picked itself. Greater options have left him with more difficult decisions and he was criticised for his selection at the same stage last year, when Britain made an early exit.

There will have been great satisfaction for the Scot, therefore, in the performance of Draper, who has been kept off court for much of the season by a string of frustrating injuries but carried the confidence of his run in New York into this clash against another 6ft 4in heavyweight in Kokkinakis.

It was a match of a few crucial moments, with Draper missing a set point at 4-5 in the opening set and then unable to take advantage of momentum at the start of the decider. He looked in big trouble when he dropped serve at 4-4 before staging a rousing comeback.

Of his selection, Draper said: “Leon told me a couple of days ago. He said he wanted me to be out there and that he believed in me.

“I knew I’d played some tough matches at the US Open and I felt really good about my tennis. That helped the nerves a lot. I haven’t played too many great matches this season but I think that was one of them.

Evans admitted to nerves, too, but was proud of his performance, saying: “It means a lot. I played good tennis, I executed what we spoke about and I did it to pretty much as good as I’ve got. It was still a battle, no part of the match was easy, and that was for me the impressive thing that I pulled through.”

Australia, who made the final of the competition last year, must bounce back quickly for a must-win clash against France on Thursday, when the crowd is likely to be a fraction of what it was for this tie.

Captain and former world number one Lleyton Hewitt is a long-standing critic of the move away from the traditional home-and-away format, and he said: “We’ve just taken the great things away from what made this competition so special. It doesn’t feel the same.”

Dan Evans claimed his best Davis Cup victory to add to a debut success for Jack Draper as Great Britain began their campaign in Manchester with an excellent win over Australia.

Draper’s run to the fourth round of the US Open earned him not just a second Great Britain call-up but a first appearance, with Smith picking him ahead of his top-ranked player Cameron Norrie and former world number one Andy Murray.

The 21-year-old fully justified his captain’s faith, thrilling a 9,000-strong crowd at the AO Arena by breaking Kokkinakis when he served for the match then coming from 4-2 down in the deciding tie-break to win 6-7 (6) 6-3 7-6 (4) after two hours and 52 minutes.


Evans then took to the court against world number 12 Alex De Minaur, the highest-ranked player in the four-team group.

 

De Minaur has had a brilliant summer but Evans is also in form having won the biggest title of his career in Washington and then reaching the third round of the US Open where he took a set off Carlos Alcaraz.

And he extended his tour-level winning record against De Minaur to 3-0, catching the Australian cold and then recovering from losing the second set to lead 4-1 in the decider.

There were some late nerves as De Minaur responded with two games in a row but Evans got his tactics spot on to complete a 6-1 2-6 6-4 victory.

That gave Britain an unassailable lead against last year’s runners-up, with a top-two spot in the group needed to secure progress to the quarter-finals and with matches against Switzerland and France still to come this week.

After drilling a final backhand winner down the line, Draper pretended to hit the bullseye, a reference to the competitive games of darts that have been keeping the team busy away from the court.

Speaking on court, he said: “There’s nothing better. It was a real battle, massive crowd in here. It’s amazing to play my first Davis Cup tie in the UK in this sort of arena. I’m just so happy to be here and grateful Leon trusted me and put me out here today.”

For most of his long tenure, Smith’s team, based around Murray, virtually picked itself. Greater options have left him with more difficult decisions and he was criticised for his selection at the same stage last year, when Britain made an early exit.

There will have been great satisfaction for the Scot, therefore, in the performance of Draper, who has been kept off court for much of the season by a string of frustrating injuries but carried the confidence of his run in New York into this clash against another 6ft 4in heavyweight in Kokkinakis.


There was very little to choose between them in the tightest of first sets, with Kokkinakis saving a set point at 4-5 and then clinching his second set point in the tie-break.

 

Draper came up with the perfect response, breaking Kokkinakis immediately to start the second set and looked to be in ascendancy at the start of the decider.

He could not get the break, though, and was in big trouble when he dropped serve at 4-4 before staging a rousing comeback.

Of his selection, Draper said: “Leon told me a couple of days ago. He said he wanted me to be out there and that he believed in me. I prepared well, trained well and only really started thinking about it an hour before I played, when the nerves started coming in.

“I knew I’d played some tough matches at the US Open and I felt really good about my tennis. That helped the nerves a lot. When I got out there with the home crowd and all those people supporting me, it felt amazing. I haven’t played too many great matches this season but I think that was one of them.”

Like Draper, 27-year-old Kokkinakis has been badly affected by injuries through his career, while he has had trouble closing out matches, including in a near six-hour epic against Murray at the Australian Open in January that finished after 4am.

He was left cursing a similar pattern here, saying: “I let my nerves get to me a little bit. Hats off to him, he played some good tennis when he needed to but it’s definitely a tough one, it stings for sure.”

Jack Draper justified the faith shown in him by Great Britain captain Leon Smith by coming from behind to defeat Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis in a dramatic opening rubber in Manchester.

Draper’s run to the fourth round of the US Open earned him not just a second Great Britain call-up but a first appearance, with Smith picking him ahead of his top-ranked player Cameron Norrie and former world number one Andy Murray.

The Lawn Tennis Association reported ticket sales of more than 9,000 for the tie at the AO Arena and the crowd were treated to an exciting clash, with Draper breaking Kokkinakis when he served for the match before coming through a deciding tie-break to win 6-7 (6) 6-3 7-6 (4).

They were on their feet when Draper drilled a final backhand winner down the line after two hours and 52 minutes to give Britain the perfect start against last year’s finalists.

Speaking on court, Draper said: “There’s nothing better. It was a real battle, massive crowd in here. It’s amazing to play my first Davis Cup tie in the UK in this sort of arena. I’m just so happy to be here and grateful Leon trusted me and put me out here today.”

Like Draper, 27-year-old Kokkinakis knows all too well how much physical frailty can stymie a career but he is a player with big weapons who has had some standout victories.

He won the Australian Open doubles title last year with his good friend Nick Kyrgios, while in Melbourne this year he and Murray contested a near six-hour duel ending after 4am.

It took a few games for the two 6ft 4in powerhouses to find their rhythm, with Draper forced to save two break points in his second service game.

He settled well thereafter, particularly on serve, and he had a set point on the Kokkinakis serve at 4-5 only for a backhand down the line to catch the top of the tape and drop wide.

The tie-break was as tight as the 12 games that preceded it but, after saving one set point with a big serve, Draper was unable to prevent Kokkinakis taking the second.

The set had taken more than an hour so it was a blow to Draper to lose it but he responded in the perfect fashion, taking advantage of a loose game from his opponent to claim the first break at the start of the second.

The 21-year-old was virtually untouchable on serve now while his heavy forehand was mopping up the ones that did come back.

He broke again to take the set and had all the momentum at the start of the decider but Kokkinakis dug in and looked to have made the crucial move at 4-4, taking advantage of an untimely dip from Draper to break.

However, closing out matches has never been the Australian’s strong point and back came Draper, a huge roar greeting the re-break.

The young British player produced the shot of the match in the next game, channelling Carlos Alcaraz by chasing to retrieve a lob and sending the ball back at full stretch past a bewildered Kokkinakis.

Draper looked in trouble when he trailed 4-2 in the tie-break but he roared back with five points in a row.

Trinidad and Tobago’s young sensation Nikoli Blackman continues to show marked improvements as he copped the 50 metres freestyle title in breathtaking fashion at the World Junior Swimming championships Wingate Institute in Netanya, Israel on Thursday.

Blackman, who earlier clocked a brisk personal best 22.33 seconds in the semi-finals, later underlined his class as one of the world's top young freestylers, as he won the final in 22.35s. He bettered a quality field with Australia’s Flynn Southam (22.43s) and Lorenzo Ballarati (22.47s) of Italy, taking silver and bronze respectively.

The home country was denied its first medal of the championships, as homeboy, Mikhail Povaliaev was fourth in 22.66s, while Javier Nunez of the Dominican Republic, still just a high school junior, was sixth in 22.73s.

Blackman’s performance follows the three gold medals won at last month’s Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad and Tobago and surpassed those from last year’s edition of the World Junior Championships.

At World Juniors last September, Blackman was a finalist in the 50m freestyle and a semi-finalist in the 100m freestyle. He finished sixth in prelims of the 50m with 22.97s, then went 22.83s in both the semis and the final.

The University of Tennessee swimmer, who missed out on a medal in the 200m freestyle when he finished fifth in the heat in 1:50.36, is scheduled to contest the 100m freestyle on Friday

  

Jack Draper has been added to Britain’s Davis Cup team for next week’s matches in Manchester following his run to the fourth round of the US Open.

The 21-year-old again showed his huge potential by outperforming the rest of Britain’s singles players in New York, pushing eighth seed Andrey Rublev to four sets before bowing out on Monday.

Draper has struggled with injuries throughout the season and was a doubt for the US Open because of a shoulder problem so it was encouraging that his body held up through four best-of-five-set matches.

He joins Cameron Norrie, Dan Evans, Andy Murray and Neal Skupski in the side for matches against Australia, Switzerland and France beginning next Wednesday at the AO Arena.

It is the second time Leon Smith has called up Draper, who stayed on the bench during February’s victory over Colombia.

His inclusion presents captain Smith with a tricky selection decision given Norrie, Evans and Murray are significantly more experienced but none of the trio have had a great season, with British number one Norrie in particular in something of a rut.

Calling up Draper also indicates that Smith will rely on Wimbledon champion Skupski and Evans as his doubles partnership having overlooked Joe Salisbury, who is in the quarter-finals in New York with American partner Rajeev Ram.

Britain need to finish in the top two of the four-team group to make it through to the final stages of the competition in Malaga in November.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has described the behaviour of Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales as “inappropriate” – but called for FIFA’s investigation to be allowed to run its course.

Rubiales has refused to quit for kissing Spain player Jenni Hermoso after their World Cup final win over England on August 20.

All of Spain’s 23 World Cup winners, plus another 58 players, have said they will not represent their country until Rubiales has left his post.

Rubiales, 46, was provisionally suspended by world governing body FIFA on Saturday for an initial period of 90 days pending an investigation into his conduct in Sydney after Spain’s victory.

The president grabbed his crotch in the stadium’s VIP area in celebration, when he was stood metres away from Spain’s Queen Letizia and her teenage daughter.

Ceferin, head of Europe’s governing body, feels the full disciplinary process must be allowed to be completed without added distraction, but admits change must follow.

“I am a lawyer and one of the vice-presidents of FIFA. His case is in the hands of the disciplinary body of the international federation. Any comments I might make would feel like pressure,” Ceferin told French media outlet L’Equipe in his first public comments since the incident.

“I just have to say that I am sad that such an event overshadows the victory of the Spanish national team.

“We should change things. I had a meeting today with Laura McAllister (vice-president of UEFA) to find ways to change the way we behave. We must do more.”

Ceferin added: “Of course, what he did was inappropriate. We all know it. I hope he knows that was inappropriate.

“This is enough for the moment because the disciplinary committee will decide.”

In his current role with the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), Rubiales is also a vice-president of UEFA.

Ceferin said: “He is suspended from all his functions, everywhere. There is no need to suspend it twice.”

Rubiales and the RFEF have also been ordered not to contact Hermoso either directly or through intermediaries.

Hermoso has accused the RFEF of a “manipulative, hostile and controlling culture” and said Rubiales’ kiss was “an impulse-driven, sexist, out-of-place act without any consent on my part”.

The Spanish Football Federation is also reportedly considering whether it has grounds to sack World Cup-winning head coach Jorge Vilda, who is still in the post after most of his coaching staff resigned in protest against Rubiales.

The president was applauded by Vilda after repeatedly insisting that he would not quit at the RFEF’s extraordinary general meeting last Friday. The federation is said to be exploring options over whether they can sack the head coach.

The RFEF regional heads have also called for Rubiales’ resignation, while members of the Spanish government have added their voices to those demanding he step aside.

On Monday, Rubiales’ mother Angeles Bejar announced she was going on hunger strike over the “inhuman” treatment of her son and locked herself in a church in Motril.

According to Spanish media outlet Marca, the priest of the Divina Pastora parish confirmed Rubiales had convinced his mother to leave the church and seek medical treatment at hospital, with her feet swollen and also suffering from fatigue.

Kyle Sinckler was inspired to play for England by the 2003 World Cup final – despite being forced to miss Jonny Wilkinson’s drop-goal in order to study maths.

Sinckler was 10 years old when he watched on television as Martin Johnson’s side were held 14-14 by Australia at the end of 80 minutes, ushering in a period of extra time that was ultimately settled by Wilkinson’s boot.

But the enthralled Sinckler never got to see the greatest moment in English rugby history as his mum Donna had ordered him to study.

“Watching 2003 was a massive motivator for me. I remember when the final was on, I had a maths tutor,” the Bristol prop said.

“Obviously it went to extra time and then my mum – honestly I don’t know, she’s so ruthless that woman sometimes – she literally turned the TV off and took me to my maths tutor.

“So I had to do my maths lesson and I found out afterwards that we’d won! Honestly, it was full-time and she said ‘you’re going to your maths tutor’. I said: ‘You’re joking!’

“But she was adamant: ‘Nope. I’m paying my money. I’m working hard to pay for your maths tutor so you’re going.’

“I was like: ‘You are so evil, ridiculous!’ Don’t even start with that woman! Nuts. Nuts!

“Before that I was literally glued to the TV, it was so inspiring for me watching that. It gave me, I guess, the hope that I wanted to emulate that one day.”

England are desperately short of form for their latest attempt to claim a second world title having lost five of their last six Tests.

They open France 2023 with a tricky clash against Argentina, who sit two places higher in the global rankings in sixth.

“It’s the real deal straight away. Every Test match you play it’s tough. I’ve never had an easy Test match in my life,” said Sinckler, who is expected to overcome a chest injury in time to face the Pumas.

“It pushes you to the limit and that’s why it’s called a Test – it does test you. But if you want to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best.”

World players’ union FIFPRO has called for FIFA to investigate Spanish football president Luis Rubiales after he kissed Jenni Hermoso in the aftermath of Sunday’s World Cup final.

Rubiales, the president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), kissed the forward on the lips during the medal ceremony following the team’s 1-0 win against England in Sydney.

FIFPRO’s call for action followed a statement from the Spanish players’ union on Tuesday that condemned such behaviour as “never appropriate or acceptable”, while United States winger Megan Rapinoe described the event as a “physical assault”.

Rubiales, who has faced calls to resign, issued an apology on Monday, which Spain’s prime minister Pedro Sanchez described as “insufficient”.

And on Wednesday, a FIFPRO statement said: “FIFPRO fully endorses the statement of Spanish player union AFE in calling for immediate action to address the conduct of Spanish federation president Luis Rubiales at the FIFA Women’s World Cup final and is requesting an investigation of his actions under FIFA’s code of ethics.

“We reiterate that it was deeply lamentable that such a special moment for the players of the Spain national team taking place before a global television audience should be stained by the inappropriate conduct of an individual in a role carrying so much responsibility.

“Uninitiated and uninvited physical approaches towards players are not appropriate or acceptable in any context, and especially when they are put in a position of vulnerability by a person who holds a position of power over them in their workplace.”

Hermoso initially said on social media she “didn’t like” the kiss but a statement on her behalf was later released by the RFEF in which she described it as “spontaneous”.

The 33-year-old released a brief statement on Wednesday, which read: “My union FUTPRO, in coordination with my agency TMJ, are taking care of defending my interests and being the interlocutors on this matter.”

Rapinoe, who featured in the World Cup for the United States, also criticised Rubiales for celebrating by grabbing his crotch.

She told American magazine the Atlantic: “There was another picture that signals such a deep level of misogyny and sexism in that federation and in that man at the final whistle, just grabbing his crotch.

“What kind of upside-down world are we in? On the biggest stage, where you should be celebrating, Jenni has to be physically assaulted by this guy.”

The women’s football union FUTPRO has also condemned Rubiales’ actions and called on the RFEF to act for the protection of female footballers’ rights.

“From FUTPRO we express our firm and resounding condemnation of conduct that violates the dignity of women,” read a statement.

“From our association we ask the Royal Spanish Football Federation to implement the necessary protocols, ensure the rights of our players and adopt exemplary measures.

“It is essential that our national team, current world champion, is always represented by figures that project values of equality and respect in all areas.”

The RFEF will hold an extraordinary meeting of its general assembly on Friday and said “internal proceedings” were open in relation to integrity issues arising from the trophy ceremony.

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