Aussie Saker lands England role
CRICKET: Australian David Saker has been named England’s new bowling coach.

The 43-year-old has spent the last six years as assistant coach of state side Victoria and succeeds Ottis Gibson, who left to become West Indies head coach in February.

England coach Andy Flower said: “David has a wealth of playing and coaching experience and will be a valuable addition to the set-up.”

Smith set for Davis Cup job
TENNIS: Andy Murray’s former coach Leon Smith is set to hold off the challenge of Greg Rusedski and be named Great Britain’s new Davis Cup captain.

The Scot is expected to succeed John Lloyd and take charge of the relegation play-off with Turkey in July.

Smith’s first role will be to launch an internal review into last month’s humiliating defeat in Lithuania.

Cole and Essien boost for Blues
FOOTBALL: Chelsea have received a double injury boost for their title run-in with the news that Ashley Cole and Michael Essien are nearing first-team returns.

Boss Carlo Ancelotti confirmed that left-back Cole, who broke his ankle against Everton on 10 February, is being geared up for a return against Stoke on 25 April with midfielder Michael Essien scheduled for a week later.

The return date gives Cole plenty of time to impress England boss Fabio Capello before he announces his initial 35-man World Cup squad on 12 May.

Rugby chiefs to settle Soane row
RUGBY UNION: The future of Soane Tonga’uiha will now be decided by a formal Premier Rugby panel.

The Tongan prop sparked a row between current club Northampton and Saracens after reneging on an agreement to sign for Sarries next season.