Saracens full-back Max Malins has had surgery to repair a broken foot, ruling him out for three months.
The 23-year-old former England Under-20 international suffered the injury in Sarries’ 14-7 defeat at Premiership leaders Exeter on 29 December.
He will now begin a rehabilitation programme following Monday’s successful operation but is expected to be out of action until April.
Saracens are bottom of the Premiership table on -7 points.
The reigning champions were docked 35 points and fined £5.36m in November for breaching salary cap regulations.
One of the first mixed-sex couples to become civil partners hailed it as a “unique, special and personal moment”.
Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan, who won a legal battle for the right to heterosexual civil partnerships, celebrated at Kensington and Chelsea Register Office in west London.
Previously, the law only allowed same-sex couples to be civil partners.
About 84,000 mixed-sex couples could form civil partnerships next year, the government says.
Introduced for same-sex couples in 2005, civil partnerships offer almost identical rights as marriage, including property, inheritance and tax entitlements.
After Ms Steinfeld and Mr Keidan won their legal bid at the Supreme Court in 2018 for the right to have a civil partnership instead of a marriage, the rules were changed to make them available to everyone.
Speaking on the steps of the register office, Ms Steinfeld said their “personal wish” to form a civil partnership came from a “desire to formalise our relationship in a more modern way, with a focus on equality, and mutual respect”.
She said: “So today is a unique, special and personal moment for us, a moment that we’ve been able to affirm our love and commitment to one another in the company of our beautiful children, Eden and Ariel, and close friends.”
Ms Steinfeld said it creates “new, modern possibilities” for thousands of people to express their love and commitment and ends “the unrivalled position of marriage”.
She called for “deeper discussions” on giving legal recognition to other kinds of caring relationships, including those between friends, siblings and co-parents.
Mr Keidan said they succeeded in their legal battle “against all odds” but added that their mental health has suffered under the strain.
Five years after being refused permission to give notice of a heterosexual civil partnership, Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan will finally become civil partners today.
Their conscientious objection to marriage and what they saw as its patriarchal associations led to a lengthy legal battle culminating in a unanimous Supreme Court ruling last year that the law was discriminatory and breached their right to a family and private life.
The government changed the law, opening such a union to the majority of the UK’s 3.3 million co-habiting heterosexual couples.
Many believe they are already protected by so-called “common law marriages”, but these do not exist.
As a result, they do not enjoy the same property, inheritance and tax entitlements as married couples and civil partners.
The government estimates as many as 84,000 mixed sex couples could become civil partners this year, giving them greater rights and protections within their relationships, without having to get married.
Another couple, Julie Thorpe, 61, and Keith Lomax, 70, said they were looking forward to being among the first mixed-sex people to officially enter a civil partnership – but it would not change their relationship “one jot”.
The couple from near Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, have been living together for most of their 37-year relationship and have three children.
They will have a civil partnership ceremony at a register office in Halifax.
Ms Thorpe said: “It won’t change our relationship one jot. It will not make any difference to how we behave towards each other when we get up the next day.
“We have had a very successful relationship for 37 years and a bit of paper is not going to make any difference to that whatsoever. It does give us some legal protection within that relationship.”
Mr Lomax, a human rights lawyer, added: “It is a mutual celebration of all of those and also of the people who actually brought the case to court and changed the law in the first place, because that was a very brave and bold thing to do at considerable financial risk.”
A 60-year-old man has been stabbed to death in a residential street in south London.
Police and ambulance crews were called to reports of a stabbing in Woodcroft Road, Thornton Heath, Croydon, at 21:30 GMT on Monday.
The victim was found outside a property with knife injuries and was pronounced dead at 21:49, the Met Police said.
A 50-year-old man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder and taken into custody.
The suspect became unwell while in custody and was transferred to hospital where he is in a stable condition, police said.
Det Ch Insp Simon Harding said: “The victim was found injured in a residential street. While it is not a heavy footfall location, there may have been members of the public travelling through Woodcroft Road who saw something.
“I urge those people to come forward and speak to my officers without delay.
“No matter how insignificant you think it may be please do make the call.
“We are building the sequence of events leading up to and immediately following this attack which has led to a man’s death, your call could complete the picture.”
Inquiries into the circumstances continue.
Ellie Goulding was travelling along the busy A40 when she witnessed a driver being ‘T-boned’ by a Royal Mail truck.
The singer and her driver got out to help the man who appears in the Volkswagen, who was not injured.
The Royal Mail says it is investigating the crash.
London’s new fire commissioner has been announced after the brigade’s current chief stood down over criticisms of how it responded to the Grenfell fire.
Andy Roe takes over from Dany Cotton from January after she announced last week she was stepping down.
Mr Roe was the fire officer who revoked the “stay put” advice minutes after becoming incident commander at the Grenfell Tower fire.
Seventy-two people died during the tower block fire on 14 June 2017.
Ms Cotton announced last week that she would step down at the end of December after facing pressure to resign after a critical public inquiry report into the fire.
An inquiry into the fire concluded “many more lives” could have been saved if the advice to residents to “stay put” had been abandoned earlier than 02:35 BST.
It said London Fire Brigades’s (LFB) preparations for such a fire were “gravely inadequate”.
Mr Roe will be tasked with implementing the Grenfell Tower Inquiry’s recommendations as well as producing the next London Safety Plan, which outlines how the brigade will make London safe.
As well as having had operational command of the brigade, Mr Roe is a former British Army officer. He joined LFB in 2002 as a firefighter and has been assistant commissioner since 2017. He was in charge of the response to the Croydon tram crash in 2016.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the brigade’s overall response to the disaster had been “not good enough”, and there were “significant lessons”.
Mr Roe said: “We have some real challenges ahead, but I’ll be working tirelessly with the brigade, the mayor and London’s communities to ensure we deliver on the recommendations of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry report.”
A man has been arrested on suspicion of murdering a 12-year-old boy who died in a hit-and-run outside a school.
The 51-year-old was also detained on suspicion of the attempted murder of four other teenagers and a 23-year-old woman who were hurt in the crash.
It happened near Debden Park High School in Loughton, Essex, at about 15:20 GMT on Monday.
Essex Police said officers were looking for a silver Ford KA that was “likely to have damage to [its] front”.
Earlier, the force took the step of naming Terry Glover, 51, as someone they wanted to speak to in connection with the crash.
It is understood that all the injured children – two 15-year-old boys, a 13-year-old boy, and a girl, 16 – are pupils at the school.
Debden Park’s head teacher Helen Gascoyne, said: “Our thoughts are with the family and all those affected.
“The school will be open [on Tuesday] with a number of counsellors on hand to support our community.”
‘Liked and loved’
Christian Cavanagh, executive head teacher, described the boy’s death as “a young life so tragically lost”.
He said: “This young man had made his mark on the school and was liked and loved by staff and students.
“We will consult with the family and our school community to decide how best to commemorate his life.”
Donna Mills, the mother of Alfie Barnes who was one of the 15-year-olds struck by the car, said he was “still in shock”, “battered and bruised”.
“He remembers the car coming towards him, he remembers getting hit but it is a bit of a blur. “e hit his head and I think he blacked out for a bit,” she said.
“It was a bit scary, very scary for him.
“Alfie rang me and said ‘mum I have been hit by a car’, so I shot down there as fast as I could, it was horrendous.
“It was… horrible to see, kids laying on the floor, just terrible.”
Det Ch Insp Rob Kirby described the crash as “truly shocking” and appealed for dashcam footage.
“I would like to thank the many members of the public who have called us with information and spoken to our officers, as well as those who provided crucial medical assistance at the scene,” he said.
Willingale Road, where the crash happened, cannot be accessed from junctions on either side of the school and remains cordoned off.
At the scene
Charlotte Rose, BBC Essex
Pupils arriving to school this morning knew today was not going to be an ordinary day.
Many of them may have witnessed some of the events that unfolded on Willingale Road as they left school last night, many more who may not have seen it firsthand will probably have seen reports on social media.
The school has decided to open in order that pupils can come in, can be with their friends, fellow pupils and teachers and can receive counselling if they want or need it.
A number of students have laid floral tributes, some with cards and messages for the family.
Chris Whitbread, leader of Epping Forest District Council, said any parent who had heard about the crash would have been “devastated and shocked”.
Sixth-form student Scarlett Bearman, 17, said exams had been cancelled for the day and counselling was being provided to pupils.
She said: “From my point of view the school has handled it extremely well. I expect the mood there to be quite low today.”
Coldplay may have put their touring plans on hold, but a select group of fans were treated to a one-off show amid the fossils at London’s Natural History Museum on Monday.
It was a spectacular setting, with the museum’s great hall bathed in pastel lights as the band played beneath Hope, a giant 128-year-old skeleton of a blue whale.
“I said, when we launch our album can we play a gig near Wales, and look what happened,” joked Chris Martin, as he took to the stage.
“It’s so hard, as a British person, not to come up with Natural History Museum puns for the whole show,” he added. “But the last artist who tried that was Dodo and you know what happened to her.”
His jokes may have prompted groans but, when it came to the songs, Martin was drowned out by the 1,000-strong audience singing along to hits like Sky Full Of Stars and Viva La Vida.
For the most part, though, the set concentrated on Coldplay’s latest record, Everyday Life – a playful and probing double album that cautiously ventures away from their lighters-out pop template.
They were joined on stage by Afrobeat scion Femi Kuti and his brass section for the limber and funky Arabesque, while Norah Shaqur added a beautiful Arabic verse to Church.
And some moments that fall flat on the new record – notably the anti-firearm anthem Guns – gained a little bite on the stage, with Martin spitting invectives at gun rights activists as he thrashed his acoustic guitar.
In some respects, Coldplay have always felt like a church worship band, with their earnest goofiness and hand-on-heart positivity. It’s an instinct they embraced on Monday night, handing out badges declaring “love”, while supporting musicians wore T-shirts emblazoned with the Bible verse “Do everything in love”.
They were even joined by a four-piece gospel choir, who embellished the harmonies (while politely declining to show up Martin’s vocals) on tracks like BrokEn and Cry Cry Cry.
Martin was so enraptured by their presence that he asked them to reprise the final chorus of Fix You a capella, “so we can hear what our band would sound like if we had really good singers”.
“Just imagine,” he added. “We’d be playing much bigger venues than this place.”
It was a knowing nod to the band’s more usual habitat, playing to tens of thousands of fans in open-air stadiums. It’s a mode of touring they have decided they can no longer pursue in good conscience – citing the environmental impact of taking a full-production rock concert on the road for 18 months or more.
“The hardest thing is the flying side of things,” Martin told the BBC last week. “But, for example, our dream is to have a show with no single-use plastic, to have it largely solar powered. We’ve done a lot of big tours at this point. How do we turn it around so it’s not so much taking as giving?”
In that respect, playing the Natural History Museum felt like a recalibration, with the band exploring whether their music could work in smaller venues, with a minimal production. Proceeds went to the non-profit organisation ClimateEarth (regrettably, though, the beer cups on the night were all single-use plastic).
Songs like Daddy and Sparks felt more intimate, while the big-tent anthems like Orphans lost none of their impact. And no-one missed the flashing wristbands or pyrotechnics of Coldplay’s bigger shows.
Well, no-one except the frontman.
“Normally we have some fireworks at this point,” he observed during Sky Full Of Stars. “But they said this building was too precious.”
After 23 years, Coldplay might be rock dinosaurs, but they’re not fossils yet.
See the set list below (Sky Full Of Stars was a last-minute addition to the encore, just before Guns).
A man accused of rape was caught on camera at a hotel just before one of his alleged victims smashed him over the head and escaped, a court heard.
Joseph McCann went into the Phoenix Lodge Hotel in Watford on 25 April, leaving two women in a car outside, the Old Bailey was told.
He was allegedly captured on CCTV entering the hotel wearing a tracksuit and a baseball cap.
Mr McCann, 34, from Harrow, denies 37 offences against 11 victims.
After going into the hotel, he held the front door open and glanced repeatedly outside while rapping on the window of the reception desk to speak to staff, the court was told.
He then told his alleged captives to get out of the car and smile as he put his arms around them.
Instead, one of them, a 25-year-old woman, grabbed a bottle of vodka and hit him over the head with it before running for help, jurors heard.
The trial continues.
Cardiff City chairman Mehmet Dalman says the club are targeting a younger manager to replace Neil Warnock and expect a quick appointment.
Warnock left the Championship club on Monday following three years in charge.
Dalman said owner Vincent Tan will play an active role in naming the 70-year-old’s successor.
“We’re down to a small number of names. I’d be surprised if we don’t announce something in the next 72 hours, certainly by the weekend,” he said.
Former Millwall manager Neil Harris is among the early favourites to replace Warnock, who Dalman said was relieved to leave his role.
Speaking to Radio Wales Breakfast with Claire Summers, Dalman claimed it was Warnock’s decision to leave the club who are14th in the Championship following Sunday’s 1-0 defeat by Bristol City.
“It was Neil’s decision to go,” he said.
“I really wanted him to stay until the end of the season, but he felt it was time for a change. I think he was quite relieved actually when I had a chat with him and we felt maybe it was right, so he left on his own terms.”
Dalman said Tan would have a say on who replaces Warnock.
“I think Vincent wants to take a much more hands-on involvement in (appointing) the next manager, which I think is right, after all he’s the owner of the club,” he said. “I think he wants somebody younger, maybe a little bit more (of an) offensive type of manager.”
Dalman added the club could consider a director of football type appointment in conjunction with the new manager, saying he would welcome “more football knowledge at board level.”
And, in terms of a new manager, he did not rule out a move for Harris, the 42-year-old currently out of work having left Millwall last month after four years with the south London club.
When asked specifically about bookmaker’s favourite Harris, Dalman said: “I don’t know. At the moment, we’re still going through the thought process, we’ll go through the names that we have and we’ll focus on one of them.”
Harris ‘worth a gamble’ – Kavanagh
Ex-Cardiff captain Graham Kavanagh says ex-Millwall boss Harris, 42, could be worth a “gamble” to replace Warnock.
Although he has only managed the Lions, ex-Republic of Ireland midfielder Kavanagh says Harris could do the job.
“If Neil Harris comes in I think it is a slight gamble,” said Kavanagh.
“He’s been in the Millwall job four years and hasn’t managed anywhere else, but he’s done a magnificent job.”
Harris, who scored 138 goals over two separate spells with Millwall as a player, took over as caretaker manager in March 2015 following their relegation to League One.
He guided the Lions to promotion back to the second tier in 2017, after reaching the League One play-off final for a second consecutive season, while the London club reached the FA Cup quarter-finals twice, in 2017 and 2019.
He stepped down as boss at the Den in October 2019 after a seven-match winless streak left Millwall five points above the relegation zone.
Harris – who briefly played alongside Kavanagh on loan at Cardiff in December 2004 – remains Millwall’s record goalscorer, despite being diagnosed with cancer when he was just 23.
“He’s a great lad, he works very, very hard, he’s very diligent and honest in his work and he does like to play,” Kavanagh, 45, said.
“He’s never had too much money to spend, but what he has spent at Millwall he’s done a remarkable job.”
Kavanagh says that Warnock will be a hard act to follow.
“He’s [Warnock] done a phenomenal job at the club, getting it promoted. I know obviously he then got relegated but it’s very, very tough to stay in the Premier League,” Kavanagh said.
“He spent quite a bit of money but it looked like he was buying Championship players with the thought that if they went back down, then they’d be able to jump back up.
“Obviously that hasn’t been how they’ve started the season, so he’s paid the price of that.
“A man of his experience and his wealth of knowledge… he’s going to be a massive loss to the club.”
A DIY home urine or swab test could potentially help more women discover whether they are at risk of cervical cancer, researchers say.
The new method could be used as an alternative to the smear test and would not require a visit to the doctor.
Scientists at Queen Mary University of London asked 600 women to provide self-collected samples for screening.
Although larger trials are needed, the work has been called “promising” and a potential “game-changer” by charities.
The findings, being presented at the NCRI cancer conference in Glasgow, suggest the method is feasible and popular.
However, larger trials may still be needed before the NHS could decide whether to offer it to patients, say experts.
Even then, it would only be one option for women – as the researchers believe smear tests would continue in their current form.
But the researchers say that in the future, some women could order the test kits online, use them at home and then send their sample by post to be analysed.
The 25% who do not attend
Screening aims to pick up early warning signs of cancer – known as pre-cancers – that can be treated to prevent the disease.
All women and people with a cervix aged 25 to 64 in the UK are invited for NHS cervical screening, but the number of women attending cervical screening in the UK has been falling.
Around one in four UK women do not attend when invited, figures suggest.
Experts have put the low uptake rates down to embarrassment, a lack of awareness or just putting it off.
Dr Belinda Nedjai and colleagues have developed an alternative screening method that does not rely on smear tests.
The S5 test measures chemical changes that are detectable in urine or self-collected vaginal fluid samples to gauge a woman’s cancer risk.
A high score suggests there is an increased risk of a pre-cancer lesion being present.
In the study, the S5 test was good at distinguishing which women had pre-cancerous growths diagnosed following conventional screening.
‘Potential to revolutionise’
Dr Nedjai said the self-sampling was “pretty accurate”, but was not as quite as effective as the UK’s current smear testing programme.
“It will be soon. With improvement we’ll get there,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
Dr Nedjaj said the S5 test needed to be tried on more than 10,000 women before it could be offered on the NHS.
She predicted the at-home tests could be available via the health service in five years.
Researchers say the test could also be used alongside conventional cervical screening to help improve detection and spare some women from unnecessary investigations.
The NHS is currently moving to primary human papillomavirus (HPV) screening of smears – testing for the presence of this virus in samples before looking for abnormal cell changes. Almost all cases of cervical cancer are linked to HPV.
Dr Manuel Rodriguez-Justo, from University College London, said: “This is exciting research that shows it’s possible to detect cervical pre-cancer that is at high risk of developing into invasive cancer in urine and vaginal samples collected by women in the comfort and privacy of their own homes.
“This has the potential to revolutionise the way a positive HPV test is followed up, as well as making it easier for women in countries with no cervical cancer screening programme to be tested.”
Sophia Lowes, Cancer Research UK’s health information manager, said: “The results look promising for detecting women with advanced cell changes. But we need to know if this test picks up all changes and if it’s as successful when testing a wider group of people.”
Robert Music, chief executive of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, said although more research was needed, DIY checks could be a “game-changer”.
“For women who find the current methods of cervical screening difficult, including those with a physical disability or who have experienced trauma, it could mean they can access screening in a far more acceptable and accessible way.”
“It could mean those requiring treatment are identified faster and reduce the number of women having to go for potentially unnecessary investigations at colposcopy.”