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Dublin: 6 °C Friday 15 November, 2019

LeBron's media machine in Hollywood, Grobbelaar on war in Zimbabwe and the week's best sportswriting

Stick the kettle on and enjoy the best of the week’s sportswriting.

 1. He winces as he remembers how one of his fellow white soldiers mutilated the bodies of black freedom fighters. “This guy would cut an ear off every man he killed. He kept the ears in a jar. And he had quite a few jars. His family had been brutalised so he wanted revenge.”

The 60-year-old pauses before describing the moment he first killed a man. “My first time was at dusk. As the sun sinks you’re seeing shadows in the bush. You cannot recognise much until you see the whites of their eyes. It’s you or them. You shoot, you drop and there’s overwhelming gunfire. You hear voices on your side: ‘Hey, corporal, I’m hit.’ You whistle to shut them up otherwise we’re all getting killed. When the firefight is finished you see bodies everywhere. The first time everything in your stomach comes up through your mouth.”

How many people did he kill? “I couldn’t tell you.”.

Donald McCrae chats to Bruce Grobbelaar on his traumatic experiences in Zimbabwe’s war of independence, Heysel and Hillsborough, and the match-fixing trials which tainted his reputation

6570 Source: Christopher Thomond/Guardian

 2. Rugby has historically been a macho world. The men would go and watch the local rugby team, have a few pints in the clubhouse afterwards, enjoy a day out with the lads.

As the years have gone by, it’s become a really inclusive sport – on and off the field.

These days you see loads of women going to enjoy games too – be it the local club side, one of our regions, Wales at Principality Stadium, or whoever – and go for a drink afterwards too. It’s become a day out where youngsters can also enjoy the rugby occasion – and quite rightly so, in my humble opinion.

The change off the field has helped the change we have started to see on it in terms of the number of women and young girls playing the sport these days – and, of course, the emergence of Ireland’s Joy Neville as a top referee.

Nigel Owens says the macho world of rugby has become more inclusive and we’ll see more women referees

referee Joy Neville and assistant referee George Clancy Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland

 3. With 32 minutes gone at Old Trafford an unusual event took place. Alexis Sánchez did something. Not something to make the highlights reel. Or indeed to pay back any significant part of the £130,000 of actual human wealth Sánchez earned for being a Manchester United player on Tuesday .

With the score 0-0 and the game drifting – unless specifically stated otherwise, this game was always drifting – United won a free-kick 30 yards from goal. Sánchez spotted it, paused, then punted the ball hard and flat on to the head of the nearest defender.

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