Life and Style

Empress Eugénie's influence on fashion came very much from her far from ordinary  life, says Alexander Fury

Saint-André calls time on Sale spell

Frenchman to be succeeded by Kingsley Jones at end of season after four-year reign

Gloucester 22 Biarritz 10: Gloucester gain from odd decision

Not for the first time in top-level European competition, Biarritz failed to win an important match in England for the very good reason that they failed to play for the first two-thirds of the contest. As this was more by design than accident – the word "conservative" doesn't do the remotest justice to their lack of adventure – it reinforced their reputation as a thoroughly odd bunch of Basques. There again, they would have had to have been very singular indeed to have kept pace with Peter Allan in the peculiarity stakes.

Barkley a banker when it comes to 'le crunch'

Gloucester 22 Biarritz 10

Ospreys may regret decision to axe Henson

Flamboyant centre will miss two matches – starting with the Heineken Cup game at Leicester tomorrow

Ruck and Maul: Touch and go but referee insists that Cipriani's penalty missed

Danny Cipriani's return to the game for Wasps against Bath last Wednesday was not without incident. He scored 11 points before being replaced but he was under the impression it should have been 14. Awarded a penalty in the 29th minute, the kick at goal by Cipriani appeared to be good as both touch judges raised their flags and the stand-off trotted back, thinking he had landed a three-pointer. However, the referee, Sean Davey, overruled, deciding that the kick had gone wide. Shaun Edwards, the Wasps' coach, was angry and bemused. "I've seen cases where one touch judge has his flag up and the other down but I've never seen both of them being overruled," he said. Mr Davey, a teacher at Christ's Hospital School for disadvantaged pupils in Sussex, revealed all to Ruck and Maul. "There was a strong wind and the ball swung a good 10 yards. The bottom line is that it didn't go through the posts. It missed by at least a yard. I have the final call and I had no hesitation in disallowing it." There is a sting in the tale, for the consensus is that the posts at Adams Park – Wasps share with Wycombe Wanderers – are probably the shortest in the Premiership and goal kicks often soar above them, rather than between them, making the job of touch judges difficult, particularly under floodlights. "The posts are far too short for professional rugby," Davey observed. "At our school ground the posts are much taller."

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Club-by-club guide: Leicester Tigers

Countdown to the Premiership: Cometh the Grim Reaper

The formidable flanker Serge Betsen has arrived at Wasps to fill the void left by Lawrence Dallaglio. Chris Hewett meets a man more than ready for England's challenges, and at 34 still keen to learn

Wales 29 France 12: Williams the richer as Welsh live large

The scene at the Wales team hotel yesterday may not quite have been the blithering mess left by England's Ashes celebrations but there was still a definite feel of the morning after the night that had gone on and on and on before.

Italy 23 Scotland 20: Hadden carries on oblivious to farce

An hour after the deed had been done, and Andrea Marcato's last-minute drop goal had sealed Scotland's fate, Frank Hadden was in the press room at the home of the rugby-playing Azzurri reflecting on a Six Nations campaign that his charges finished with four defeats, one Calcutta Cup and within a three-point differential of the wooden spoon. Scotland's head coach spoke of "a difficult preparation," of problems with the release of players from their clubs. "We trained in extremely difficult weather conditions," he added. "We had illness. We had a constant stream of injury and unavailability."

Mallett out to hammer the Scots

Nick Mallett is not exactly a man you would want to run into in the Eternal City on this particular day, the Ides of March, especially if you happen to be the Scottish rugby union team. After all, Italy's Hertfordshire-born, South African-raised head coach hit Ian Botham for three sixes in one over in his Oxford University days and subjected Scotland to something approaching a cricket score when his Springboks ran in 10 tries in a record 68-10 win at Murrayfield in 1997.

France 25 Italy 13: Rougerie stars in latest French variety show

France 25 (Tries: Floch, Jauzion, Rougerie. Cons: Yachvili 2. Pens: Yachvili 2) Italy 13 (Try: Castrogiovanni. Con: Marcato. Pens: Marcato 2

New faces keep France on their toes

Franco-Italian links are the flavour of the month in Paris, with President Nicolas Sarkozy having married Carla Bruni, an Italian supermodel, in February and the ex-Mrs Sarkozy, Cécilia, announcing her forthcoming nuptials this week through the Versace fashion house. For the transalpine rugby collision at Stade de France tomorrow there are five French-based players in the Italy side, including the highly regarded captain and Stade Français No 8, Sergio Parisse (who is dating a recent Miss France).

France 13 England 24: Sheridan and Vickery mug up essence of an English win

Brian Ashton has spent the last 13 months talking about a great leap forward for English rugby. Here in the French capital he watched some English rugby forwards leave their opponents in a great heap, which was almost the same thing but not quite. Ashton's team did not silence the home crowd with the dynamism of their running game or stagger them with the breadth of their vision, but they succeeded in exposing the frailties of this new Tricolore team while re-establishing their credentials as serious challengers for the Six Nations title. The coach would happily have settled for that before kick-off.

Wales 47 Italy 8: 'The Gatfather' offers Wales an irresistible year

Wales has at last settled on a nickname for Warren Gatland, one that is perhaps ironic considering the scale of Italian bloodshed just inflicted by his men's latest gun-down. "The Gatfather" suits the coach quite nicely. Charming one minute, ruthless the next, he stops at nothing to get the job done, yet is always entertaining. Rather like his Wales team are proving to be.

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