Sport Leigh Halfpenny celebrates Cardiff's Amlin Challenge Cup final win over Toulon in 2010

The full-back has scored over 350 points for Wales

Ruck and Maul: Hopes of picking up player of the year award have all gone south

The International Rugby Board will name their world player of the year on Wednesday with the holder and only two-time winner, Richie McCaw, short odds to complete a hat-trick and the shortlist continuing the recent southern hemisphere domination. McCaw, who first won in 2006, has been nominated alongside his All Black team-mate Mils Muliaina, South Africa's Victor Matfield and Australian tyros David Pocock and Kurtley Beale, with France's resurgent back-rower Imanol Harinordoquy providing Europe's sole interest. Since Keith Wood (2001), Fabien Galthié (2002) and Jonny Wilkinson (2003), only Shane Williams (2008) has won from north of the equator. Poignantly, on the same day at 2.30pm, the memorial service will be held at London's Southwark Cathedral for a home-grown star of another era whose lustre never faded: Andy Ripley.

Carter the All Black pilot plays on a higher plane

There are times when Dan Carter seems to be taking a walk in, say, Hagley Park in his native Christchurch. Only this was an international match, with 80,000 watching to see if he would slip, taking with him New Zealand's hopes of a grand-slam tour of Britain.

All Blacks want Gear to put England in reverse

On the face of it, Graham Henry was in high good humour as he named his New Zealand side for tomorrow's set-to with England at Twickenham, delivering his wisecracks with a rat-a-tat rhythm that Jackie Mason himself might have admired. "A lot of people have been pressing us to play Hosea Gear," he said when asked about the Maori wing's promotion to the starting line-up. "My wife has been telling me to pick him; even my mother asked me why he wasn't in the team. Finally, I've bent to the pressure. It's a pain in the arse, this job."

Toby Flood confident Dan Carter can be neutralised

Toby Flood is confident England can neutralise the potent threat of Dan Carter in Saturday's clash with New Zealand at Twickenham.

Wilkinson to miss autumn Tests

Jonny Wilkinson's international career, so frequently punctuated by injury, was interrupted once again yesterday when the England medical team ruled him out of the autumn Test series in its entirety. Wilkinson, struggling with a fresh bout of trouble in the neck-shoulder area after picking up a knock playing for Toulon, was always a long-odds contender for the meeting with New Zealand at Twickenham a week today, but the red-rose management hoped he might be available for the subsequent matches against Australia, Samoa and South Africa, the world champions.

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.

Wilkinson escapes operation but remains doubtful

Martin Johnson has confirmed that Jonny Wilkinson will not require shoulder surgery - but he remains doubtful for England's clash with New Zealand on November 6.

Wilkinson sent for scan on shoulder

Jonny Wilkinson underwent a scan yesterday after turning up for England duty ahead of the forthcoming autumn international campaign nursing a shoulder problem.

Peter Bills: England must not start declining Wilkinson

Jonny Wilkinson kicked four penalties and dropped a goal to score all Toulon’s points in their 22-15 defeat by Stade Francais in Paris at the weekend.

Flutey a doubt for England international

Riki Flutey's participation in England's opening autumn international against New Zealand is in doubt.

IRB's regulation 9 leaves clubs and countries at sixes and sevens

Complex rule over player release is casting a shadow over the home nations' autumn internationals

Burns is too hot for Italians to handle as Gloucester run riot

Gloucester 90 Rovigo 7

Round-up: Wilkinson takes it on the chin as rampant Munster hit Toulon for six

At Thomond Park yesterday, Munster went top of the Heineken Cup's obligatory "pool of death", Pool Three, by hammering Toulon 45-18. Bonus points mean that Munster lead the Ospreys by a point; the Welsh region are a point ahead of the French club and London Irish.

Wilkinson shines in sun in front of manager Johnson

Toulon 19 Ospreys 14: Fly-half combines with fellow England hopeful Sackey to give French big-spenders a precious victory over ambitious Ospreys
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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