London Irish (rugby)

Takeover will enable Exiles to recycle Irish cash

England's leading clubs may not know who the hell they will be playing next season, thanks to the latest rampant outbreak of political squabbling over Europe, but the uncertainty has not stopped London Irish negotiating a bright new future for themselves. The Exiles, badly strapped for cash in recent seasons, are on the point of confirming a takeover by a consortium headed by an Irish businessman, Mick Crossan, who made his pile in recycling and waste management.

Christian Wade injury is kick in the guts for England

This is getting silly. England's chances of piecing together something resembling a first-choice back division for the Six Nations opener against France in Paris at the beginning of February took another heavy blow when the Wasps wing Christian Wade was ruled off-limits for six months. The most elusive attacking runner in the country will miss the forthcoming tournament in its entirety and must be rated extremely doubtful for the three-Test tour of New Zealand in June.

England face headache over Joe Marler concussion

Forget the scrummaging machine and the midfield playbook; make way for the stethoscope, the thermometer and the neurocognitive assessment kit. This weekend’s “vengeance match” between England and New Zealand already has the makings of a medical drama as well as a sporting one, with the home camp expressing concern over the concussion suffered by the loose-head prop Joe Marler during the victory over Argentina three days ago and the tourists taking every anti-virus precaution under the sun.

Last night's viewing - London Irish, Channel 4; The Wrong Mans, BBC2

The first episode of brand new Channel 4 sitcom London Irish opened and closed with the four twentysomething Northern Irish expat protagonists getting bladdered in the pub. That's right, writer Lisa McGee (a Londonderry woman herself) isn't afraid to confront those national stereotypes head on. This would also explain the scene riffing on a certain budget airline's baggage policy, and the cameo from Father Ted's Ardal O'Hanlon.

More headlines

Gavin Henson capitalises on Bath’s display of coaching strength

Bath’s high-profile coaching group led by Gary Gold arrived midway through 2012, so by necessity they spent last season, when the Rec crew finished seventh out of 12 in the Premiership, juggling their predecessors’ resources. Not any more. As Matt Banahan, the scorer of Bath’s second try in Saturday’s 27-20 win over Leicester, put it: “You have always got a settling in period with coaches and with players. Coaches obviously want their squad and the players they want to come in, and sometimes they are working with players when they would rather have different ones. So this year we have had that teething out of the way and we have got a squad we want to build on.”