Sport

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.

Banahan form forces Johnson to drop rival

The England manager, Martin Johnson, would deny it with his dying breath, but a clear pecking order for next year's World Cup in New Zealand is emerging – a pecking order that certain well-established Test performers, Delon Armitage and James Haskell among them, will find profoundly unappealing. Both the London Irish full-back and the Stade Français flanker were among 11 players released back to their clubs yesterday, and they will take no part in the last of the autumn internationals, against South Africa this weekend.

Midfield experiment shows Banahan is centre of learning

"Not every game," Martin Johnson said, "will be played the same way as the Australia game." Which was the England manager's way of saying, when he named his starting XV against Samoa, that just because the home side exhilarated one week, don't expect them to do so seven days later.

Nick Easter to captain England against Samoa

Nick Easter will captain England in Saturday's Investec Test against Samoa after manager Martin Johnson made four changes from the team that beat Australia.

Mark Cueto unconcerned by lack of England tries

Mark Cueto is sick to the back teeth of being reminded that he has now gone 15 Tests without scoring a try for England.

Johnson's dynamos are Youngs at heart

Youth, they say, is wasted on the young. Never in Australian rugby and now, it appears, not in England either. Notorious for their mistrust of youth, England's inspiration yesterday came from the cradle.

Ashton's fire reduces Australia to ashes

England 35 Australia 18: Wing points the way to the World Cup for an England side suddenly bristling with attacking intent

England storm to sensational win over Aussies

England 35 Australia 18

England bring in Hartley to face Australia

Dylan Hartley will start at hooker for England against Australia.

Johnson's triers fail to bridge gap in class

England 16 New Zealand 26: Spirited England comeback cannot overcome difference in execution and skill exposed by Gear and Read

England comeback not enough to beat All Blacks

England 16 New Zealand 26

England pick a fight in mocking the All Blacks' attacking style

The way their rivals tell it, England reached the final of the last World Cup in 2007 playing "anti-rugby" – a profoundly negative, forward-driven, kick-obsessed style of union that undermined the tournament as a spectacle and drove the law-makers to seek radical new ways of selling the sport to a mass audience. The way the red-rose hierarchy told it yesterday, the killjoy spirit is alive and well. Martin Johnson's side will go into this weekend's highly significant match with New Zealand at Twickenham with one change in their starting line-up – Andrew Sheridan for Tim Payne at loose-head prop – and no change at all in their mindset.

Johnson labours to find the right midfield mix

Experimentation? Martin Johnson never had the inclination, and now he doesn't have the time either. The seventh World Cup is less than a year away, so the prospects of the manager ripping things up and starting again at this stage in the game are on the distant side of remote. The vast majority of those who beat Australia last time out, in Sydney back in June, will take the field against the All Blacks at Twickenham on Saturday, and unless something really drastic happens – a defeat of 25 points or more – they are likely to stay together for the meeting with the Wallabies a week later.

Mike Tindall: Staring role in the battle of who blinks first

England have not beaten the All Blacks for six years but the squire to the Queen's granddaughter is ready to fight for his country. Hugh Godwin meets Mike Tindall

Jonny Wilkinson ruled out of Autumn internationals with injury

Jonny Wilkinson has been ruled out of England's autumn international campaign with a shoulder injury.

Moody fitness boost for Bath and England

Lewis Moody is on course to captain England against New Zealand on November 6 after being passed fit to play for Bath against Harlequins this weekend.

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