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James Hook, the forgotten man of Welsh rugby, did all that one man could do to set Perpignan on the road to European success last night. But Gloucester, desperately needing a winning injection to their season, returned to Heineken Cup rugby after a year's absence by snatching the verdict in the final five minutes.

Saxons decide to unleash youngest Tuilagi on Italians

Italian rugby has its weaknesses, but as the scrum is very definitely not among them, the Azzurri's second-string international with England Saxons at Worcester tomorrow is likely to prove highly significant. The hosts have picked two "bolters" for World Cup selection, the Harlequins prop Joe Marler and the London Irish forward Alex Corbisiero, in their front row, and a top-notch performance from either man – or, indeed, both – could force the red-rose manager Martin Johnson to adjust his thinking ahead of the global gathering in New Zealand this autumn.

Martin Johnson quiet on England captaincy decision

Martin Johnson today reinforced his injury-hit squad ahead of the RBS 6 Nations - but he is remaining tight-lipped over who will captain England into the championship.

Flutey ready to be centre of attention

Kiwi should return for Six Nations after injury but compatriot stands in his way

Redpath's men gain revenge for Chiefs ambush

Gloucester 37 Exeter Chiefs 23

Queen 'delighted' with Peter Phillips' new daughter

The Queen is "delighted" with the birth of her first great-grandchild - a baby girl.

Royals attend Christmas Day church service

More than 1,000 people gathered today to watch members of the Royal Family attend a Christmas Day church service at Sandringham.

John Walsh: Zara, Mike, and an outbreak of tut-tutting

By the way...

Zara Phillips to wed boyfriend

The Queen's granddaughter Zara Phillips has got engaged to long-term boyfriend and England rugby player Mike Tindall, Buckingham Palace announced today.

Brewer braced for Brive test

Sale Sharks head coach Mike Brewer will read little into Brive's current "crisis club" status ahead of today's Amlin Challenge Cup game in France.

Johnson's young guns are running out of time

Youthful side must learn fast with only eight games to go until World Cup

England's size-obsession shown to be big mistake

England 11 South Africa 21

Fleet-footed England sunk by the Bismarck

England 11 South Africa 21: Johnson's side scuppered by brute force of Springbok forwards and early injuries to key players Croft and Flood

World champions give England a reality check

England 11 South Africa 21

Johnson relishing toe-to-toe battle with wounded Springboks

Martin Johnson has always been alert to the prospect of a rough Test match: he reads it in the tea leaves, smells it on the breeze, feels it in his bones. "This," the England manager pronounced yesterday, "will be as confrontational as it gets," before adding, with a glint in his eye: "That's the fun of it." If truth be told, the old Leicester hard-head would love to mix it personally with South Africa, the reigning world champions, at Twickenham tomorrow. Instead, he must content himself with watching Courtney Lawes do it, which is probably the next best thing.

De Villiers feels the heat ahead of Twickenham

It is four years since the South Africa coach Jake White brought his Springboks to Twickenham for the second of two internationals with England in the knowledge that defeat would cost him his livelihood. The Boks won that day – a result that kept White in a job and left Andy Robinson, his opposite number, seeking gainful employment. It is a rough old world out there, and it never changes. This weekend, White's successor finds himself similarly exposed to the slings and arrows of rugby fortune.

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