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George Ford will be the talk of the town if, as widely assumed, he replaces the France-bound Toby Flood in a revamped England squad this afternoon, but the 20-year-old Bath outside-half's promotion has not been at the top of the red-rose hierarchy's agenda in recent days. Stuart Lancaster and his lieutenants are far more concerned with issues up front, where injuries to important players are making life very complicated indeed.
Goals from Kenwyne Jones and Charlie Adam were enough to see Stoke through to the fourth round with a late David Nugent goal nothing more than a consolation
Richard Cockerill will not face disciplinary action over his post-match comments made following last Saturday’s Premiership game between Leicester and Sale Sharks.
Northampton paid a fine of £60,000 to the Premiership for allowing George North to play for Wales outside the official international window last month, and if it made a nonsense of the league’s collective policy on the subject, everyone else appears to believe it was a stand worth taking.
Billy Vunipola was in Tiggerish mood against the Leicester Tigers as Saracens stayed on top of the Premiership with a six-try, 49-10 win at Allianz Park. The all-action England No 8, playing on Sarries’ blind-side flank, spilt a coupled of restarts amid the wind and rain, scooped up an errant opposition put-in at the scrum, scored a third-quarter try and stepped mischievously into every position at rucks and mauls: offside and on.
Record defeat for Leicester follows confirmation they will lose their England fly-half to France
Cockerill confirmed that the England fly-half will leave the club when speaking before the match against Saracens
Leicester moved level on points with QPR at the top of the Championship
Visitors easily maintain remarkable average of three goals per game this season
The English clubs may be turning their backs on the most compelling annual tournament in the union game but at least they are showing the good grace to wait until the end of the season. The French appear to be engaged in a mass skedaddle with two thirds of the campaign still to run. Racing Métro, Perpignan, Toulouse... between them, three of the biggest teams in the country have just made a mockery of the idea that they are still remotely interested in European competition.
If Morecambe and Wise had been blessed with Premier Rugby’s sledgehammer sense of timing, the celebrated Andre Previn sketch would have been about as side-splittingly funny as a David Cameron one-liner.
All 12 clubs from the Aviva Premiership will be in attendance at the 'emergency meeting'
The wing starred in England's summer tour of Argentina but has suffered a torn hip tendon after missing the bulk of the autumn internationals through injury
Hospitals in Southampton and Leicester have reported cases of norovirus, with some wards being closed to new patients
A new student-led organisation is stepping into the breach in an attempt to teach schoolchildren about sex
Champions Leicester ended a dismal run in the Aviva Premiership with a 20-11 victory at home to London Irish thanks to two controversial penalty tries.