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Trimble ruled out of opener in Rome Gatland hits out at Hartley in run-up to Cardiff showdown Royal & Ancient to 'assess' its rules after Harrington fiasco England send home injured Swann ahead of World Cup

RUGBY: Ireland winger Andrew Trimble has been ruled out of the Six Nations opener against Italy with a broken right hand.

An X-ray today revealed the Ulster back had broken a metacarpal in Saturday's 43-6 Heineken Cup victory away to Aironi.

The 26-year-old will definitely miss the clash with Italy on Saturday week and a date for his return has yet to be set.

Stephen Ferris and Tommy Bowe underwent scans on knee problems today and an update on their progress is expected in the next 24 hours.

Magners introduce neutral judges for all disciplinaries

RUGBY: Magners League organisers have confirmed the introduction of neutral judges for disciplinary matters, ending the long-standing arrangement where unions sit in judgement of their own players.

The competition's disciplinary structures will now operate in a more transparent fashion, mirroring that of the Heineken Cup and the Six Nations competitions.

Two men with long-standing experience within the Six Nations will oversee the new regime. Ireland's David Martin will become the first independent disciplinary chairman, with Jon Davis as disciplinary officer.

Gatland hits out at Hartley in run-up to Cardiff showdown

RUGBY: England hooker Dylan Hartley has been challenged by Wales manager Warren Gatland to show what he has "got to offer" when he lines up against Wales in next week's Six Nations opener in Cardiff.

Gatland has earmarked Northampton captain Hartley for some verbal treatment just 11 days before the Millennium Stadium clash on Saturday week.

Gatland said: "a couple of weeks ago I saw Hartley go to pieces (for Northampton) against Leicester. He's always got a lot to say, hasn't he? Let's see what he has got to offer and how he fronts up against us on February 4."

Royal & Ancient to 'assess' its rules after Harrington fiasco

GOLF: The Royal & Ancient Golf Club (R&A) is taking a fresh look at its golfing rulebook following recent high-profile incidents, such as the one involving Padraig Harrington last week, affecting the game.

Harrington was disqualified from last week's Abu Dhabi Championship when he signed for an incorrect score after a television viewer noticed the Irish triple major winner had accidentally moved his ball on the green.

"We need to assess whether, at times, these penalties are still appropriate," said the R&A's rules golf director, Grant Moir.

England send home injured Swann ahead of World Cup

CRICKET: England spinner Graeme Swann is out of the rest of the one-day series with Australia with a back injury but is expected to be fit for next month's World Cup. Swann will leave Australia tomorrow because of a lower back strain and was initially out for two weeks with a bruised kneecap but has since strained his back.

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