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 difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?