MELBOURNE - Leinster hooker Tom Sexton will "return home" next year after signing with the Melbourne Rebels for the 2014 Super Rugby season. Sexton was born in Melbourne, but at the age of four moved to Ireland where he went on to captain the Irish Schoolboys and play six games for European Cup champions Leinster. The 23-year-old will join the Rebels at the end of this year and is excited by the challenge of testing himself in the 15-team southern hemisphere competition.
PARIS - Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has written off his team's chances of catching Spanish league leaders Barcelona and has turned his attention to helping the club win the Champions League for the 10th time. With the Spanish league more than halfway through, Barcelona is 15 points ahead of Madrid, which won the title last season but is now in third place behind crosstown rival Atletico. "It's impossible to win the league this year. We have to think about the Champions League and the Copa del Rey."
LONDON - Jamie Heaslip sees no problems in leading an Ireland side in the Six Nations set to feature former captain Brian O'Driscoll. No.8 Heaslip led the side during their end-of-year series in 2012 when star centre O'Driscoll, Ireland's captain when fit since 2004, was recovering from an ankle injury. However, the midfielder is now available for Ireland's tournament opener away to Wales in Cardiff on February 2. "I spoke to Brian (O'Driscoll) and he said he's 100 per cent behind me," Heaslip told reporters.
MADRID - Spanish police have arrested a former professional cyclist and three others after breaking up a gang producing illegal drugs for doping in sport, officials say. Officers raided a laboratory in Murcia, southeastern Spain, and seized 300,000 doses of doping products, a centrifuge for processing blood plasma and other equipment, a national police statement said. A police source who asked not be named told AFP separately that the former professional cyclist mentioned in the statement was Jose Luis Martinez Jimenez who was formerly a rider in Spanish teams.
Swansea in final
LONDON - Swansea completed an unfancied lineup for the League Cup final by advancing past Chelsea after a goalless second leg of their semi-final, with the European champions further humbled by finishing with 10 men from a bizarre foul. Protecting a 2-0 lead from the first leg two weeks ago, the Welsh club defended stubbornly to reach the first major cup final in their 100-year history. A match bereft of chances and action came to life in the 80th minute when Eden Hazard aimed a kick at a ballboy behind the Swansea goal as the Belgium winger attempted to reclaim the ball.
LOS ANGELES - Kevin Durant dropped in 24 of his 32 points in the second half as the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder downed the Los Angeles Clippers 109-97 on Wednesday night in a battle for NBA supremacy. Russell Westbrook tossed in 26 points while Serge Ibaka contributed 17 with nine rebounds for the Thunder (33-9), who hit 15 of 27 from behind the arc to remain at the top of the league standings.