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.
Player will miss the entire 6 Nations after damaging foot ligaments
Bath v Exeter Today, 3.15pm
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
Argentina are exploring the four corners of the earth. Since late summer the Pumas have roamed the southern hemisphere, to South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. Now it is time for the northern hemisphere, the air miles ticking ever upwards.
Ben Foden comes in on the left wing as Joe Marler, Dylan Hartley and David Wilson form new front-three
Lancaster will freshen up England side with Ashton, Youngs and Cole due to be rested
Hosts recover from early setback to maintain Ravenhill fortress
Harlequins v Saracens
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.
Influential inside centre has operation on injured ankle and will miss all four November Tests
The Kiwi-born inside centre has settled into the second playmaker role for the Tigers and could very well find himself in the Red Rose in the not too distant future
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.”
England centre Brad Barritt will miss the autumn internationals after undergoing foot surgery, his club Saracens have announced.
Statistically speaking, there is as much chance of Gloucester prevailing on their first visit to Saracens’ all-weather Allianz Park tomorrow as there is of Private Eye being nice to Michael Gove, throwing its unqualified support behind Boris Johnson or deciding that the sweetheart deals between big business and the British tax authorities are perfectly fair and reasonable after all.
There are those who think that these two teams will finish the Aviva Premiership at opposite ends of the table, and yesterday at a sun-dappled Twickenham may have confirmed that. Saracens eased away without playing particularly well, though they had to wait until the final move of the match before securing the bonus-point try.