Chris Hewett

Chris Hewett is Rugby Union Correspondent for The Independent.

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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

Ed Slater of Leicester Tigers at the Oadby Oval

Leicester's Ed Slater eager to force way into England set-up

New captain is ready to use Premiership derby with Northampton to further his red rose claims, as he tells Chris Hewett

Tom Palmer returns to the Wasps second row for today’s tough challenge against Saracens

Weekend preview: Saints’ hopes face severe local test from reviving Tigers

Northampton v Leicester (3.15pm Saturday)

Edward Griffiths believes the new European format will allow all competitors to earn more money

Saracens chief slams ‘big egos’ in saga over Heineken Cup deal

Griffiths took a swipe at the rugby establishmen

Francois Louw of Bath dives to score the late match winning try during the Aviva Premiership match between Bath and Leicester Tigers

Aviva Premiership: Francois Louw loss leaves Bath exposed for showdown with Sale

Things are getting just a little tight at the business end of the Premiership, thanks to some unexpected results in the last couple of rounds, so fresh injury concerns over seriously good players are enough to drive head coaches to the brink of despair. Ask Mike Ford of Bath and Rob Baxter of Exeter, neither of whom can afford a slip-up in their pursuit of the big prizes – a semi-final place for the former, European qualification for the latter.

Day In a Page

Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal
Supersize art

Is big better? Britain's latest super-sized art

The Kelpies are the latest addition to a growing army of giant sculptures. But naysayers are asking what a pair of gigantic horse heads tells us about Falkirk?
James Dean: Back on the big screen

James Dean: Back on the big screen

As 'Rebel without a Cause' is re-released, Geoffrey Macnab reveals how its star perfected his moody act
Catch-22: How the cult classic was adapted for the stage

How a cult classic was adapted for the stage

More than half a century after it was published 'Catch-22' will make its British stage debut next week
10 best activity books for children

10 best activity books for children

Keep little ones busy this bank holiday with one of these creative, educational and fun books
Arsenal 3 West Ham United 1: Five things we learnt from the battle between the London sides

Five things we learnt from Arsenal's win over West Ham

Arsenal still in driving seat for Champions League spot and Carroll can make late charge into England’s World Cup squad
Copa del Rey final: Barcelona are paying for their complacency and not even victory over Real Madrid will put things right

Pete Jenson on the Copa del Rey final

Barcelona are paying for their complacency and not even victory over Real Madrid will put things right
Rafa to reign? Ten issues clay courts will serve up this season

Rafa to reign? Ten issues clay courts will serve up this season

With the tennis circus now rolling on to the slowest surface, Paul Newman highlights who'll be making the headlines – and why
Exclusive: NHS faces financial disaster in 2015 as politicians urged to find radical solution

NHS faces financial disaster in 2015

Politicians urged to find radical solution
Ukraine crisis: How spontaneous are the pro-Russian protests breaking out in Ukraine’s east?

Ukraine crisis

How spontaneous are the pro-Russian protests breaking out in Ukraine’s east?
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: The first execution at the Tower of London for 167 years

The first execution at the Tower of London for 167 years

A history of the First World War in 100 moments
Fires could turn Amazon rainforest into a desert as human activity and climate change threaten ‘lungs of the world’, says study

New threat to the Amazon rainforest:

Fires that scorch the ‘lungs of the Earth’
Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City: And the winner of this season’s Premier League title will be...

Who’s in box seat now? The winner of the title will be ...

Who is in best shape to take the Premier League prize?