PRL chief Mark McCafferty is planning for the start of the Rugby Champions Cup next season

Rugby clubs set for collision course over European competitions

The last lingering hopes of a speedy solution to the argument over the future of European rugby evaporated when five of the six major governing bodies threw their weight behind the existing Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup competitions. The French, Irish, Italian, Scottish and Welsh unions effectively pledged to stand against the new Rugby Champions Club being organised by the leading clubs in England and France.

New Zealand-born Rangi Chase has been dropped by England for the semi-final against the Kiwis

Rugby League World Cup: Steve McNamara abandons Rangi Chase after quarter-final lapses

England's coach, Steve McNamara, has bitten the bullet and dropped Rangi Chase for the World Cup semi-final against New Zealand on Saturday.

Christmas gift ideas 2013: best drinks bottles

Do judge these bottles by their labels…

Mamadou Sakho celebrates scoring France’s first goal

World Cup 2014: Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho revels in France comeback against Ukraine

Les Bleus overturned a 2-0 first leg deficit in Paris

Didier Deschamps (centre) celebrates with Mathieu Valbuena (left) and Patrice Evra

France 3 Ukraine 0: Didier Deschamps hails Les Bleus after 'magical' comeback to qualify for World Cup 2014

Result takes Les Bleus to the World Cup in Brazil

Market Report: A rise in Enterprise Inns' share price let Ted Tuppen go out on a high

Investors in Enterprise Inns raised a glass yesterday as sales increased. News of the 0.6 per cent rise in the final quarter of the pub group's financial year accompanied a full-year pre-tax profit of £121m – flat on the previous year. The shares soaked up a 16p rise to 154p, which meant founder and chief executive Ted Tuppen was able to go out on a high.

The former hostage Francis Collomp arrives at Villacoublay military airport outside Paris on Monday

The great escape: How a French hostage fled Islamists kidnappers in Nigeria

Francis Collomp, 63, duped his captors into thinking he was feeble and old

Former French hostage Francis Collomp escaped his captors during a Nigerian army operation against Islamist group Boko Haram

French hostage held by Islamist extremists in Nigeria in daring escape on motorbike

A French engineer held hostage by Islamist extremists in northern Nigeria made a daring escape on a motorcycle taxi at the weekend while his captors were being attacked by the Nigerian army.

Dean Cox of Leyton Orient skips round Jack King of Preston

Leyton Orient 0 Preston North End 1 match report: Lacklustre Orient surrender top spot

Looking dazzled by a rare day in the spotlight without Premier League football, Leyton Orient suffered a first home defeat since February and with it lost their place at the top of League One yesterday. Until a late rally, the London side were outplayed by a Preston team organised and disciplined under Simon Grayson in an effective 3-4-1-2 formation.

Ryan mighty: England’s winger Ryan Hall scores his second try last night

England 34 France 6 match report: England feel the width with Ryan Hall and Josh Charnley

England survived an early scare to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup, with rather less assurance than New Zealand or Australia, but still with more than enough to spare.

Rugby round-up: Quade Cooper stars for Australia in win over Ireland

Australia inflicted a first defeat on Ireland's new coach Joe Schmidt as they won 32-15 at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Quade Cooper finished the match with 17 points after scoring a try and kicking three conversions and two penalties. The flanker Michael Hooper scored two tries and the wing Nick Cummins claimed another. Ireland had to rely on the boot for all of their points, with Jonathan Sexton kicking four penalties in the first half and Ian Madigan, his replacement at half-time, adding a fifth.

Catalan Dragons aim to add spirit to French flair

This weekend’s quarter-finals are a testing time for the World Cup, not so much for the nations which are expected to go through as for the tournament as a whole.

Hugo Lloris cannot keep out Ukraine’s penalty

Ukraine 2 France 0 match report: Trouble for France after poor display in Kiev

Ukraine stunned France with two second-half goals on Friday to win the first leg of their World Cup playoff 2-0 and put the heavily favored visitors in real danger of missing next year's tournament.

French stars Karim Benzema Yohan Cabaye

World Cup 2014 play-off: Ukraine v France match preview

A look ahead to tonight’s World Cup play-off at the Olympic Stadium

Last Briton born in the 1800s, Grace Jones, dies at 113

Miss Jones, who was a member of the small group of individuals who live to be over 110

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The current recommendation from Britain's Chief Medical Officer, is that people refrain from drinking on at least two days a week
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A nearly completed RoboThespian robot inside the Engineered Arts workshop is tested in Penryn, England. The Cornish company, operating from an industrial unit near Falmouth, is the world's only maker of commercially available life sized humanoid robots
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition