Chris Hewett

Chris Hewett is Rugby Union Correspondent for The Independent.

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Mike Ford, former defence coach, has put Bath on the offensive

Mike Ford interview: Head coach happy to have fired up feisty Bath

Victory in ‘Battle of Kingsholm’ shows how far club have come after troubled times

Harlequins’ Mike Brown (left) gets away from Leicester Tigers’ Anthony Allen

Harlequins 24 Leicester 20 match report: Brown swoops to keep Quins in contention

Ten minutes from the end of a tumultuous contest, Harlequins were four points adrift of the reigning champions and preparing to bid the most reluctant of farewells to their Premiership title ambitions. But no side armed with players running as hot as the scrum-half Danny Care and the full-back Mike Brown are ever wholly without hope. The two England internationals, assisted by the newly arrived Ben Botica, conjured a training ground try in the corner and when Botica added a penalty from distance, their league season was alive again.

Alex Goode needs game time so will play for Saracens

Aviva Premiership preview: Saints have to improve before problems come home to roost

Northampton v London Irish

(Sunday, 2pm) 

Strange as it may seem, Northampton have been off their game since Luther Burrell, Lee Dickson, Dylan Hartley, Courtney Lawes and Tom Wood ended their England stint and reappeared at Franklin’s Gardens. They cannot afford to stay off it for much longer. Victory over the Exiles is a minimum requirement if Jim Mallinder’s charges are to nail down a home Premiership semi-final.

Fly-half Toby Flood will try to increase the Tigers’ chances of a top-two league finish tonight

Leicester Tigers turn to Toby Flood for battle with Harlequins

The fly-half will try to increase the champions' chances of a top-two league finish

Mark McCafferty is the architect of the European Champions Cup

European Champions Cup worth the wait, Mark McCafferty tells critics

The chief executive of Premier Rugby has played a difficult hand with considerable expertise

England went out to France in the 2011 World Cup. Next year’s event on home soil may bring domestic strife with clubs

Ian Ritchie must appease clubs ahead of 2015 World Cup

Ian Ritchie may have emerged from the vicious turf war over European club rugby with an enviable reputation as a problem-solving boardroom tactician – only a skilled negotiator could have convinced some of the sport’s most powerful figures their bunker mentality would lead them to ruin – but the Rugby Football Union chief executive faces a second challenge ahead of next year’s home World Cup that will test his gifts of persuasion to the limit.

Chris Pennell re-signed at Worcester because he sees potential in a team currently last

Chris Pennell: England’s hidden treasure

Pennell is a brilliant full-back. He is also the son of a former Test cricketer. But, as he tells Chris Hewett, staying loyal to Worcester means going unrecognised in the short term

There are starts tomorrow for the excellent Chris Wyles and the fast-developing  Jackson Wray (pictured)

Weekend preview: Sarries seek to nail home semi and lighten load

Saracens v Northampton (2pm Saturday)

As things stand Andy Goode and seventh-placed Wasps would qualify for a play-off place for the new Champions Cup

Clubs the victors over deal for new European trophies

Starting next season, the new elite tournament will be a 20-team affair, four fewer than the Heineken Cup

Northampton have struggled in the past month without their injured No 10 Stephen Myler (centre)

Northampton v Saracens preview: Saints lifted by Stephen Myler return for weekend's showdown

Northampton have struggled in the past month without their injured No 10 Stephen Myler

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit