Chris Hewett

Chris Hewett is Rugby Union Correspondent for The Independent.

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Saracens hope Owen Farrell can kick them to victory
Steffon Armitage’s displays for Toulon have prompted calls for his England recall

England open door for Armitage brothers' return after Stuart Lancaster's flying visit to the Cote d'Azur

Steffon Armitage's displays for Toulon have prompted calls for his recall to the national side

Alex Goode needs game time so will play for Saracens

Saracens have grown in stature since Clermont Auvergne cut them down to size

New-look Sarries ready for rematch with crack French side in Heineken Cup semi-final

James Hook’s future at Perpignan is in doubt if the Catalan club are relegated

Far East move may cut James Hook’s link with Wales if Perpignan are relegated

James Hook, one of the most gifted backs of his generation and certainly the most talented player to be marginalised by Wales in recent memory, could be lost to international rugby for good if his employers, the French club Perpignan, are relegated next month. Reports on the far side of the water are linking the multi-tasking 28-year-old from Port Talbot – he can play at outside-half, full-back and in both centre positions – with a move to Japan if the worst happens in the final round of Top 14 matches on 6 May.

Salesi Ma'afu of Northampton dives over for a try during the Aviva Premiership match between Northampton Saints and London Irish at Franklin's Gardens

Northampton 36 London Irish 21 match report: Saints are given an almighty scare by reborn Shane Geraghty

Northampton led 29-0 but were given a scare by the visitors

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

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The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution