Sport Wing Jack Nowell will make his debut against France

Stuart Lancaster has selected a back-line with just 91 caps between them which includes debutants Nowell and Burrell

After a 10 month search, Nick Lord has been declared the Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year

Nick Lord claims Portrait Artist of the Year award... and a chance to paint Booker Prize winning author Hilary Mantel

The 25-year-old was nearly disqualified from the competition after realising the day before the application deadline that his entry was the wrong size

Pat Lam led Connacht to one of the best wins in the province’s history

Heineken Cup round-up: Pat Lam hails Connacht’s shock win at Toulouse

Connacht coach Pat Lam was delighted at the way his side held their nerve on Sunday to pull off one of the biggest wins in the history of the Irish provincial side and put them back in the hunt for a Heineken Cup quarter-final place.

Harlequins fly-half Nick Evans scored 17 points in the Heineken Cup win over Racing Metro

Racing Metro 8 Harlequins 32 match report: Quins make a Racing start in quest for a good Cup run

Quarter-final place now in sight as Londoners take apart French in four-try demolition

Chris Ashton scores a try for Saracens in their Heineken Cup victory over Zebre

Zebre 10 Saracens 39 match report: Sarries go top of Pool 3 after comfortable win in Parma

Tries from Kruis, Joubert, Wyles and an Ashton double sees Aviva Premiership leaders bounce back from Toulouse defeat at Wembley

Toulon fly-half Jonny Wilkinson let 11 points slip through his goal kicking inaccuracy

Exeter 9 Toulon 14 match report: Henry Slade sparkles but Jonny Wilkinson kicks Chiefs into touch

Wilkinson let 11 points slip away through missed kicks but valiant Chiefs are seen off thanks to late drop goal

Jonny Wilkinson's Toulon travel to take on Exeter

Heineken Cup: Toulon test for Baxter’s boys as Harlequins battle to stay alive

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.

Christian Wade leaves the pitch after his injury for Wasps

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.

Quade Cooper was at his mercurial best for Australia against Wales in Cardiff

Quade Cooper and Aussies show World Cup class in abundance

It remains nothing more than a dot on the rugby horizon – the 2015 World Cup, that is – and pretty much anything could happen in the 664 days between here and there. The club-versus-union conflict could send the whole of the European game into meltdown (perfectly possible); New Zealand could hit a bad patch (it has to happen sometime, surely); the Wallaby coach Ewen McKenzie could decide that his predecessor was right all along and chuck Quade Cooper out on his ear (barely conceivable on latest evidence, admittedly).

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

Nathan Catt can confirm his improvement for Bath
Wales’ Alex Cuthbert is back from injury and hoping to repeat his Lions try against Australia

Wales v Australia: British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland warns: These Aussies are different

Decision making in rugby is not always of the highest order: as the pathetic failure of leadership at Heineken Cup level demonstrates all too painfully, it is only on an unusually good day that some of those running the sport aspire to mediocrity. Yet Warren Gatland, who masterminded the British and Irish Lions victory in Australia last summer, believes the new Wallaby coach Ewen McKenzie made an inspired and brave call in throwing the disciplinary book at 15 members of his tour squad last week.

England stand-off Gareth Widdop has admitted they missed a massive opportunity in the semi-final defeat to New Zealand

Rugby League World Cup: England stand-off Gareth Widdop laments missed opportunity after gut-wrenching semi-final defeat to New Zealand

New Zealand's Shaun Johnson scored with 21 seconds left on the clock before converting his try to send the defending World Champions through to the final and eliminate the hosts

Wasps 5 Bath 28 match report: David Young hits rock bottom after Bath’s pack revives title-winning memories

By going back to the future in the scrum – the set-piece has reverted to a proper examination of strength and technique this season, thank the lord – rugby’s legislators have given Bath the clearest possible view of the road ahead.

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