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England ready to name two spinners for second Test

Jonny Wilkinson ruled out of Autumn internationals with injury

Jonny Wilkinson has been ruled out of England's autumn international campaign with a shoulder injury.

Moody fitness boost for Bath and England

Lewis Moody is on course to captain England against New Zealand on November 6 after being passed fit to play for Bath against Harlequins this weekend.

Payne given the cold shoulder by England

Four months ago, the Wasps prop Tim Payne was one of the men principally responsible for dismantling the Wallaby scrum in Sydney and helping England to a rare victory on Australian soil. It did not mark him out as one of the great front-row forwards in rugby history – an ailing maiden aunt with a wooden leg would have outscrummaged the hosts that night – but he must have expected something better than to be drummed out of the national squad ahead of next week's big game with the All Blacks at Twickenham.

More agony for Fourie on dire night for Leeds

Leeds 3 Sale 6

A new stage: When sportsmen venture into the recording studio

Andrew Sheridan, the Sale and England loose-head prop who can rearrange an opponent's ribs with a single flexing of the biceps in the tree trunk that passes for his left arm, quietly fancies himself as a self-accompanying crooner of gentle country and western-style love songs.

Thompson gets kicks on the long road back

If Steve Thompson's ears are burning at the praise he has just received from two heroes of the game, ancient and modern, it is a feeling Leeds's England hooker is accustomed to. Thompson spent a fortnight in the summer riding a motorbike across America on the fabled Route 66, fulfilling a long-held dream on a trip of fierce desert heat, run-ins with the law and outstanding spare ribs.

Johnson unfazed by Tri Nations teams

Martin Johnson insists England should enter their autumn series undaunted by the prospect of facing the Tri Nations teams on successive weekends.

Club-by-club guide to the new Aviva Premiership season

Will it be Sarries or Saints, the Tigers or Bath who win the title...and can Exeter stay up? Chris Hewett looks at the tea leaves

Panel allows doctor at heart of 'Bloodgate' scandal to continue practising medicine

Wendy Chapman, the doctor embroiled in the fake blood scandal at Harlequins, still has a career to pursue. The General Medical Council yesterday decreed that her ability to practise had not been impaired by her behaviour towards the end of the Heineken Cup quarter-final between Quins and Leinster in April of last year. The council ruled that Chapman failed to act in the best interests of her patient – the wing Tom Williams, whose lip she sliced open with a stitch cutter as part of a substitution scam orchestrated by the London club's director of rugby Dean Richards, who is currently a third of the way through a three-year ban.

Saracens ready to turn Stevens loose in the scrum next year

Matt Stevens, persona non grata for the last season and a half after testing positive for cocaine and scheduled to remain among rugby's untouchables for another five months, will have an awful lot of ground to make up when he finally resurfaces at Saracens early in 2011. Yet it is not out of the question that he will complete the catching-up process sufficiently quickly to resume international duty with England at the World Cup later next year, especially if his new employers play him on the loosehead side of the scrum.

Johnson reveals anguish over his decision to dump Borthwick

'Conversations don't get any tougher' says coach but former captain vows to return

Payne expects an improved Australia

Tim Payne knows exactly how the Wallaby front-rowers are feeling, not that he has the slightest sympathy for them. Sympathy has no place in the scrummagers' code - the set-piece world is too harsh and punishing to embrace any virtues beyond raw courage and honour - and as far as England's loose-head prop is concerned, what goes around comes around. Payne suffered his share of humiliation during his Premiership campaign with Wasps and had his issues with the Australian first-string at Twickenham last November. If their second-string are the ones suffering now… well, how tragic.

Size matters for selectors with Barkley set to miss final Test

England's most skilful No12 will play against Barbarians today in a game that may decide his fate at World Cup

Barkley in line for England recall

Olly Barkley's England career could be resurrected when Martin Johnson names his 44-man squad for the summer tour to Australia and New Zealand later this morning.

Flatman's return for Bath could be boost for England

England's great leaps forward in the Test arena have not been blindingly obvious this season – to most eyes, they have taken a series of small steps backwards – and their work in the scrum, the very foundation of their game, has been particularly unimpressive. This might be about to change, just in time for the build-up to next year's World Cup. The Bath prop David Flatman, last capped in 2002, has recovered from his latest injury hassle and is ready to challenge for a place on next month's five-match trip to Australia and New Zealand.

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Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
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