Summer swing - February

Ahead of back-to-back Ashes series and a Lions tour later in the year, we're keeping an eye on each country's sporting fortunes.

Last Updated: 04/05/13 at 17:29 Post Comment

Every month the performances of Britain and Australia's sportsmen and women will move our 'swingometer' as we try and work out whose stock is highest.

Feel free to add your own thoughts by using the feedback form at the bottom of the page.

Storm troopers

The World Club Challenge at Headingley pitted the cream of rugby league's Super League and NRL, Leeds Rhinos versus Melbourne Storm.

Despite the Rhinos having already started their season and enjoying home advantage on a cold Leeds night, it was the Storm who came through for a 18-14 victory.

Tries from Billy Slater, Jesse Bromwich and Tohu Harris helped the Australians build a 10-point lead early in the second half.

Leeds finished strongly, Jamie Jones-Buchanan adding to an earlier Ryan Hall try, but their comeback ended short as the Storm held firm in defence.

Still on track

Britain's cyclists topped the medal table with five golds at the World Track Cycling Championships in Minsk.

Becky James, the Welsh 21-year-old, was the standout performer with double gold in the sprint and keirin, plus bronzes in the team sprint and 500m time-trial.

The team pursuit has been a Britain-Australia battleground over the last decade and that continued.

Elinor Barker, Dani King and Laura Trott saw off the Australian trio of Amy Cure, Annette Edmondson and Melissa Hoskins by almost two seconds in the final of the women's event.

But Australia's men turned the tables as Alex Edmondson, Michael Hepburn, Alexander Morgan and Glenn O'Shea produced a dominant ride to beat British quartet Steven Burke, Ed Clancy, Sam Harrison and Andrew Tennant.

Australia finished third in the medal table with two golds among a total of haul of eight, one fewer than Britain.

Top of the world

Australia's cricketers triumphed at the women's World Cup, dethroning defending champions England in the process.

The sides met in the Super Six phase and Australia narrowly prevailed as England were bowled out for 145 in pursuit of a target of 148.

Australia's lone defeat of the tournament against West Indies in their final Super Six match denied England a place in the final. Charlotte Edwards' team instead had to settle for third place.

West Indies were then brushed aside in a one-sided final to give Australia their fifth World Cup victory.

Diminishing returns

Australia's men whitewashed West Indies 5-0 in their ODI series but their performances dropped off later in the month.

West Indies upheld their status as Twenty20 world champions with a 27-run victory in the one-off fixture in Brisbane.

And the start of Australia's tour of India has not gone to plan. The lack of run-scoring support for skipper Michael Clarke was again exposed as they slumped to an eight-wicket defeat in the first of four matches, their last Test action before the Ashes.

England secured 2-1 series wins in the T20 and ODI formats in New Zealand to maintain their excellent winter form.

Samba boys silenced

England's footballers earned their first victory over Brazil in almost quarter of a century.

Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard scored in a 2-1 friendly success at Wembley on the occasion of Ashley Cole's 100th cap.

Australia, or the Socceroos as they prefer to be called (try not to laugh), conceded twice in the last 11 minutes to lose 3-2 to Romania in Malaga on the same evening.

Running hot

England won their opening three matches of the Six Nations to remain on course for a first grand slam since 2003.

Stuart Lancaster's men saw off Scotland 38-18 at Twickenham in their tournament opener and followed up with a 12-6 success over Ireland in Dublin and a 23-13 home victory against France.

England also enjoyed success on the Sevens circuit, taking victory at the Wellington Sevens and also beat Australia 26-21 in the bowl quarter-final at the USA Sevens in Las Vegas.

The new Super Rugby season kicked off and the Canberra-based Brumbies are the early leaders after winning their opening two games.

Day in the desert

There was not much for either country to shout about on the European and PGA Tours, Jason Day's third-place finish at the WGC World Match Play Championship was the best performance.

The Queenslander even had the pleasure of beating Ryder Cup specialist Ian Poulter by one hole in the third-place play-off in Tucson.

Stoke's finest

Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis ensured England made a successful defence of their World Cup of Darts title.

The Stoke duo went unbeaten throughout the competition, although it was not entirely plain sailing as South Africa and Wales both missed match darts to knock them out.

But they survived and went on to beat Belgium 3-1 in the final, Taylor's victory over Kim Huybrechts clinching the result.

Australia, represented by Simon Whitlock and Newcastle-born Paul Nicholson, were thrashed by Belgium in the second round.

Verdict

An even month with both country's athletes producing some impressive performances, highlighted by Melbourne Storm in the World Club Challenge. Rugby league and women's cricket aside, Britain held the edge in most sports, so we will call it 50-50 overall.

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M

eanwhile, England's best U21 players playing with those most likely to be in the senior team from 2020 onwards might increase their chances in those tournaments to a point where they could actually be potential winners. Unlike 2016.

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Wenger warns Hodgson

I

m not a doctor, but the cause is likely to be crap dancing after scoring. My prognosis is we may need to take that leg off.

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Rodgers reveals Sturridge woe

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or the time being we just have to focus on the players we do have, Rodgers said. We have to make the best of what is available. Jesus wept!

rodger's gusset
Rodgers reveals Sturridge woe

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