Sport England captain Chris Robshaw in training at Pennyhill Park

When Chris Robshaw led England for the first time, at Murrayfield in the opening match of the 2012 Six Nations, his back division was as green as the proverbial grass. Owen Farrell was making his international debut in the centre, as was Brad Barritt, and while dear old Charlie Hodgson had a fair few caps behind him at outside-half, the impression was of a unit in its infancy. And now, two years down the red-rose road? The back line has grown less experienced, not more.

Matt Kvesic

Stuart Lancaster turns to Matt Kvesic as injuries hit England squad

Stuart Lancaster's carefully laid plans for the forthcoming Six Nations Championship were subject to early adjustment last night, with the first sight of the enemy still almost a fortnight distant. Injuries to two of the England coach's back-row forwards, the Exeter flanker Tom Johnson and the Northampton bruiser Calum Clark, forced him into action and he immediately turned to the uncapped Worcester breakaway Matt Kvesic to fill one of the gaps.

Northampton lock Samu Manoa charges through the Castres defence at Franklin’s Gardens last night

Toothless Northampton sneak home against Castres thanks to Ryan Lamb but miss bonus point

Northampton 18 Castres 12: Saints have to hope and pray for half a dozen results to go their way next week

Calum Clark

Calum Clark wants to put past behind him following England call-up

Clark broke the elbow of Leicester hooker Rob Hawkins

Exeter kicked three penalties to one by Stephen Myler (pictured)

Saints overcome the sins of Hartley to rise again

Exeter Chiefs 19 Northampton Saints 30

Alex King joins Wasps from Clermont Auvergne, where he was a coach for five years

Northampton lure Alex King from French stronghold

Northampton have recruited the former Wasps and England fly-half Alex King to replace Paul Grayson on the coaching team at Franklin's Gardens.

Croft has a funny knack of being in the right place at the right time

Tom Croft's perfect timing creates late Six Nations opportunity

Leicester flanker makes comeback from neck injury and could claim place in England squad

Courtney Lawes: 'I know I am a good enough player but I have to make sure I am the best I can be'

Courtney Lawes: The Lawes of perpetual motion

The Northampton man has high hopes regarding England and the Lions after his 2012 was beset with injuries and a lack of motivation, he tells Richard Rae

Danny Care makes a break during the victory over Northampton

Care sounds a warning of Quins' intent to retain Premiership crown

Danny Care, Harlequins' England scrum-half, spoke for the league leaders after a fearsome forwards' performance in Saturday's 18-9 win at Northampton. "We wanted to send out a statement to the rest of the Premiership," said Care, "that we're the champions and we want to be the champions again."

Back breaker Saints’ Ben Foden manages to evade Quins’ Mike Brown and Ugo Monye, but it was not to be Northampton’s day

Foden try ruled out as Saints stumble again

Northampton Saints 9 Harlequins 18: Mallinder fury as official calls forward pass but will not rewind to check

Free travel on London Midland route

The Government is forcing Go Ahead to give thousands of passengers on its London Midland route £7m worth of free tickets after the rail operator cancelled hundreds of services.

George Robson: The Harlequins lock urged his team-mates to keep their strong form going

Harlequins feast on stuffed Zebre before Big Game

Harlequins 53 Zebre 5

Saracens will start Owen Farrell ahead of Charlie Hodgson

Weekend preview: It’s win or bust as English trio seek to match Quins’ progress

Decisions may be extremely hard to come by in the Heineken Cup boardroom, but coaches do not have the luxury of procrastination when it comes to choosing their teams for the kind of must-win matches facing teams like Leicester, Northampton and Saracens this weekend.

Hartley fell out with Best after a series of scrums

Two-week ban gives Dylan Hartley chance to regain England spot

Dylan Hartley, the England hooker and occasional national captain who missed the recent autumn series with injury, was a relieved man tonight after avoiding the worst consequences of a Heineken Cup dust-up with his Irish opposite number Rory Best – perhaps his principal rival for a Lions Test place against the Wallabies in Australia next summer. Hartley was banned for a fortnight after admitting striking Best with his arm during the Northampton-Ulster match at Franklin's Gardens a week ago.

<b>Quarter-final, 2012, Bradford 1 Arsenal 1 (Bradford won 3-2 on penalties)</b><br/>
When Arsenal equalised through Thomas Vermaelen in the 88th minute it appeared as though Garry Thompson's first half strike would be remembered as little more than a scare for the Premier League side. Yet the Gunners, fielding a strong side, were unable to grab a second in extra-time and the match went to penalties. Spot-kicks were being missed all over the place with Santi Cazorla seeing his effort saved and Marouane Chamakh hitting the post. However, League Two Bradford kept things interesting with Ritchie Jones and Stephen Darby failing to convert their efforts. Up stepped Vermaelen to take the final pen - needing to score. The ball was to ping back out off the post.

The greatest League Cup shocks

Defeat for Arsenal in the Capital One Cup will go down as one of the great giant killings

Ulster’s Darren Cave breaks away at Franklin’s Gardens last night

Peerless Pienaar leaves Northampton on the brink

Northampton 6 Ulster 25

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