The European Cup and European Shield tournaments will now kick-off on 19 September, following the decision of leading French clubs to play after all. Cardiff and Swansea are expected to follow suit, and with support for an alternative competition collapsing, English clubs must now decide whether to reconsider their decision not to take part.
Lawrence Dallaglio, who led England through the Five Nations' Championship last season, has stepped down as captain of his club, Wasps, after three seasons. Dallaglio will be replaced by the New Zealand lock Mark Weedon as skipper for the coming season. He said: "I totally agree with the change."