Sport Jacques Burger has, due to injury, played only 10 Heineken Cup games for Saracens

Fiery flanker reveals how Sarries’ extravagant team-bonding trips will help them give their all at Ravenhill in the Heineken Cup on Saturday – and how it just might pay off

George Kruis of Saracens tries to break through the Sale defence on Saturday

Saracens 24 Sale 19: Fresh Will Fraser injury mars Saracens’ joy

If someone had beamed down from Mars – or from rugby’s amateur era, which feels even more remote – for the Aviva Premiership leaders Saracens’ 24-19 win over Sale Sharks on Saturday how would they have judged the spectacle? An arena of wonderfully nuanced and contrasting players such as Saracens’ gliding fly-half Charlie Hodgson and cerebral lock Steve Borthwick? Or a base battlefield of mega-muscled gladiators battering each other Rollerball-style with casualties shipped off to hospital on motorised carts for the benefit of the paying public, television viewer and now – as we are told enthusiastically by competing broadcasters – broadband consumers?

George Kruis of Saracens tries to break through the Sale defence

Saracens 24 Sale 19 match report: Saracens bring Danny Cipriani’s full house down with second-half tries

Sarries remain top of the Aviva Premiership as they grind out victory against a valiant Sale side led by the former England fly-half

Jonny Wilkinson (in red) and his Toulon team-mates hoist aloft the Heineken Cup after victory over Clermont Auvergne back in May

French clubs flinch in latest Heineken Cup twist

Teams meet  to discuss their next move in the long-running row

Northampton argue they have contravened no rules by releasing George North to face Australia

Northampton face fine after releasing George North for Wales duty

He will play in Saturday’s Test match against Australia, which falls outside the international window

Gareth Steenson has been a key factor in Exeter's impressive rise to the Premiership top four

Gareth Steenson: Saracens will test Premiership play-off contenders Exeter’s standing as ‘a top side’

Gareth Steenson has warned that Premiership play-off contenders Exeter are ready to “push on and achieve more” after positioning themselves strongly for domestic and European success.

The Sport Matrix: Thursday 24 October 2013

Pulis in frame for Crystal Palace job as Holloway quits

The Sport Matrix: Wednesday 23 October 2013

Arsenal come up short as Chelsea turn on the style

<b>1. Cian Healy - Leinster</b>
<br/>The Ireland prop was as solid as ever, giving the three-time Heineken Cup champions a solid base from which they could launch their sparkling attack. Dominated is opposite man, Anton Peikrishvili, that he had to go off after 45 minutes.

Indyplus gallery: Heineken Cup Team of the Weekend round two

A look at the players who impressed during the second round of European action

<b>1. Cian Healy - Leinster</b>
<br/>The Ireland prop was as solid as ever, giving the three-time Heineken Cup champions a solid base from which they could launch their sparkling attack. Dominated is opposite man, Anton Peikrishvili, that he had to go off after 45 minutes.

Heineken Cup Team of the Weekend round two

A look at the players who impressed during the second round of European action

<b>Mako Vunipola - Saracens</b>
<br/> The England loosehead was at his barnstorming best, carrying nine times and putting in the same number of tackles. His development will be crucial if Sarries are serious about their Heineken Cup chances.

Heineken Cup Team of the Weekend

Our XV best players from the first round of European action

Castres' South African scrum-half Rory Kockott passes the ball

Castres 19 Northampton Saints 13: Rory Kockott calls the tune as Northampton pay the penalty

It went down to the wire with Castres hanging on and their scrum-half Rory Kockott booting the ball out of play just a couple of seconds after the clock ticked over 80 minutes, but Northampton could only blame themselves for failing to exert the necessary control.

Heineken Cup round-up: Peace on the cards for European game

Compromise is not a thought in the mind of any rugby player as he thunders into action, but for the blazers, it could lead to salvation.

The Sport Matrix: Friday 11 October 2013

Hodgson: England expects ahead of defining qualifiers

England and New Zealand get acquainted at Twickenham in 2012

Back-to-back All Blacks risks devaluing the Tests

The Rugby Football Union have confirmed that New Zealand would be the team launching next year's autumn series at Twickenham – the last round of cross-hemisphere matches before the home World Cup in 2015 – and presented it as headline news.

The Sport Matrix: Tuesday 1 October 2013

United will hand Moyes money to revive fortunes

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Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee