Real Madrid humiliated; Gordon D’Arcy on world rugby’s problems

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

 Real Madrid’s Luka Modric after his team’s 4-1 defeat to Ajax. Photograph: Susana Vera/Reuters

Real Madrid’s Luka Modric after his team’s 4-1 defeat to Ajax. Photograph: Susana Vera/Reuters

Reigning champions Real Madrid crashed out of the Champions League after a 4-1 home defeat to Ajax last night. Leading 2-1 after their last-16 first leg in Amsterdam, the Spanish club were humiliated at the Bernabeu to complete a week in which they’ve gone 12 points behind in the league, been knocked out of the Copa del Rey, and the competition they won in four of the last five years. Tottenham joined Ajax in the quarter-finals after a 1-0 away win over Borussia Dortmund (4-0 on aggregate) - Harry Kane scored their goal after Hugo Lloris had made a number of excellent first half saves. Tonight Manchester United travel to Paris, trailing PSG 2-0 on aggregate, but it’s not mission impossible according to their caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjær.

In his column this morning, Gordon D’Arcy explains why the absence of a proper global calendar is the root of world rugby’s problems: “The Six Nations is the only annual Test-match tournament that’s an established success. Rather than framing it as an insurmountable problem, how about making it the launch pad for a global season?” Yesterday France named an unchanged team for Sunday’s penultimate Six Nations match with Ireland, which is slightly unnerving for Ireland according to Gerry Thornley. Gonzaga created history by making the Leinster Senior Cup final for the first time after a 22-19 win over Clongowes.

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