With his aggressive and high-tempo style Rhys Webb has earned his starting place in the Wales team against France tonight

Jamie Roberts on Six Nations 2014: Dropping Mike Phillips for Rhys Webb was a massive call but Warren Gatland has got so many of those right over the years

If the coach feels a player is ready to step into the XV we all respect that immediately

RFU chairman Bill Beaumont is to meet club officials about the future of the Heineken Cup

Pro 12 collapse fears as Treviso walk out

Rugby Union finds itself facing a new crisis

Jamie Roberts (third left) roaring Jonathan Davies on his way to a dramatic try against Ireland in Dublin in 2012

Jamie Roberts: It’s usually a classic when Wales play Ireland and Saturday's clash will be no exception: a huge game, a passionate crowd...I can’t wait!

As defending champions we’ll be a target, but other teams are targets for us too

The battle between Farrell (left) and Ford could become like the Montagues and the Capulets

Brian Smith: You can’t blame Stuart Lancaster for his substitutions in the Six Nations – it is one of the hardest areas for us coaches

The Six Nations has a well-earned reputation for unpredictability and last weekend’s opening round lived up to it: Italy were a good deal more competitive against Wales than many people predicted, while the France-England rumble flew directly in the face of expectation, if we leave aside the performance of Billy Vunipola at No 8.

Owen Farrell could consider himself unlucky to end up on the losing side against France last week after excelling in his fly-half role

Lewis Moody Six Nations 2014 comment: Murrayfield will be just as intimidating as Paris but if England play the quick-ball game again they'll win back Calcutta Cup

The way England came back into the game in Paris after a poor start augurs well for Stuart Lancaster's team

England, Wales and Scotland players will not be able to combine to form a Team GB side at the Rio 2016 Olympics when rugby sevens is included

No chance of a Team GB in rugby sevens at Rio after IOC and IRB ruling states only one of England, Wales or Scotland can represent Britain

Players will not be allowed to be mixed to form a genuine Team GB side ruling out the possibility of a British and Irish Lions-style sevens side

The outstanding Billy Vunipola of England shrugs off the challenge of the French defence during the Six Nations match at the Stade de France

Lewis Moody Six Nations 2014 comment: So now England know what France do – it's not over until it's over

France showed England what it meant to never surrender

Flex Luther: Luther Burrell muscles his way through the French defence en route to his try

The Calvin Report: Stuart Lancaster's new approach carries air of authenticity

The decision by England's coach Lancaster to expose young prospects to top-class competition ends in narrow defeat but his work in formulating a new strategy ultimately will bear fruit

Jamie Roberts trains with Wales at the Vale Hotel near Cardiff this week for the Six Nations opener against Italy Saturday
Billy Vunipola can establish himself by next year's World Cup as the world's best No 8

Brian Smith: England need more tries – and a plan that goes beyond just bullying the French pack in Six Nations

How a team starts a match says everything about  their approach 

Sam Warburton is the first to sign a Welsh central contract

Wales captain Sam Warburton hopes many more will join him after signing central contract with WRU

Warburton became the first to agree a deal with the Welsh Rugby Union that will keep him playing for the Cardiff Blues

Sam Warburton celebrates

Wales and British and Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton signs first ever Welsh Rugby Union central contract

Warburton will be released to play for Cardiff Blues at no cost and comes in a week that Alun Wyn Jones also chose to remain in Wales

Mathew Tait has been forced to pull out of the England Saxons' side on Saturday with a back injury

Six Nations: Back injury ends Mathew Tait's hopes of Stuart Lancaster audition for England

It would be factually incorrect to suggest that Mathew Tait is “always injured”, but there are undeniably times when it seems that way. Like now. Stuart Lancaster and his fellow England coaches were relishing the prospect of watching the Leicester full-back play for the second-string Saxons against the Irish Wolfhounds at Gloucester this weekend and Tait knew that a strong performance would do his chances of a welcome red-rose recall no harm at all. Sadly, there will be no performance of any description. The poor man is crocked again.

On his way: Toby Flood is thought to be lining up a move to Toulouse

Exclusive: Aviva Premiership salary cap to rise in the battle to stop more players moving abroad

Cap set to rise by almost 10 per cent this year – the first increase in two seasons

Referee Nigel Owens escaped unhurt following a car accident on the M4 as he returned from Castres v Leinster on the weekend

Referee Nigel Owens escapes unhurt after car crash on the M4 as he returned from officiating Castres v Leinster in France

Owens thanked those who stopped to check he was ok as he made his way back to south Wales from his trip to France

Sport
New Zealand captain Richie McCaw
MATCH REPORTWales 16 New Zealand 34: World champions dominate second half to leave Wales waiting for win
Sport
Simon Zebo
MATCH REPORTIreland 26 Australia 23: Wallabies run out of ideas as Irish end superb year on a high
Sport
Alex Dunbar slides over to score for Scotland
MATCH REPORTScotland 37 Tonga 12: Five tries for rampant Scots as they continue to impress under Vern Cotter's guidance
Sport blogs

The Football Lawyer: The career of a Premier League footballer is similar to that of a City professional

In football, where money talks, there are few pronouncements louder than the salary of a Premier Lea...

A World Cricket XI for the ages

One man’s pursuit of cricketing nerd nirvana: an all-time XI made up of a player from each decade 19...

Wheels: Journeys in Parlympic Sport

The World Cup is all well and good, but James Moore can't wait for the arrival of new chairs for his...

The Independent around the web
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
Featured Advertorials

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game