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.

Tom Wood produced an immense performance against the All Blacks

England 22 New Zealand 30: Five things we learned about English progress at Twickenham

The Red Roses came close to a second successive victory over the All Blacks

Ken Owens celebrates with George North after scoring Wales' fourth try

Wales 40 Argentina 6: George North praises 'great' victory after the Welsh improve to show their clinical side

North was one of four try scorers who gave Wales their first win in the autumn internationals in four years

Chinese businessman murdered family of four in Northampton with 'ruthless efficiency' after business relationship turned sour, court hears

Anxiang Du accused of killing a Manchester Metropolitan University lecturer, his wife and their two daughters

Christian Wade may be recalled for England

Autumn internationals: Sheer class of winger Christian Wade leads to call up

Lancaster will freshen up England side with Ashton, Youngs and Cole due to be rested

The Northampton clown spotted with some balloons

Northampton Clown is unmasked as student and film maker Alex Powell

The Northampton University student has said he will continue to appear as the clown despite death threats

Scarlets’ Rhodri Williams dives in to score the first try on Saturday

Heineken Cup: Harlequins face stiff French test of credentials after being left red-faced by Scarlets

Harlequins’ doomed attempt to play fast and loose against a Scarlets team that knows no other way – “we will never change,” said the Welsh region’s manager and former Wales wing Garan Evans, as he boarded a bus emblazoned with a rampant dragon for a happy journey back down the M4 – leaves them contemplating more of the same pain this weekend, away to Clermont Auvergne in the second round of Heineken Cup pool matches.

Luke Narraway will make an emotional return to Kingsholm

Weekend Preview: Salesi Ma’afu handed baptism of fire by brave Saints

Castres v Northampton Today 3.40pm

Uncapped Northampton No 8, Sam Dickinson

Stuart Lancaster frustrated at block on Sam Dickinson

England coach stopped by RFU agreement from bringing in impressive No 8 for autumn Tests

Toby Flood revived Leicester’s fortunes in the last quarter

Premiership: Tigers and Saints equally matched in slips and sins

The good and bad was served up in 19-19 draw at Welford Road

Ed Slater celebrates after pulling Leicester Tigers level against Northampton Saints

Leicester Tigers 19 Northampton Saints 19 match report: Saints poised to start party until Ed Slater crashes over

Flanker’s converted try salvages draw as Tigers  survive the absence of nine first-team players

The Northampton clown spotted with some balloons

Northampton Clown sells merchandise to fund travel around the UK

Anonymous performer teams up with London printmakers to create branded T shirts and bags

James Johnston of Saracens is congratulated by his team-mate Neil De Kock

Harlequins 12 Saracens 22 match report: Owen Farrell adds the points as Saracens power forward

Evans’ four penalties prove to be in vain as Harlequins are outmuscled in cross-capital derby

Leicester Tigers Dan Bowden could be playing for England after qualifying on residency rules

Dan Bowden given task to maximise the destructive Manu Tuilagi as Stuart Lancaster confirms he is on the England radar

The Kiwi-born inside centre has settled into the second playmaker role for the Tigers and could very well find himself in the Red Rose in the not too distant future

Boot polish: Billy Twelvetrees lands a penalty with the last kick of the match

Gloucester 26 Northampton Saints 24 match report: Saints lose unbeaten record as Billy Twelvetrees kicks controversial late penalty

Amidst a storm of controversy, Northampton lost their unbeaten Aviva Premiership record to the last kick of the game. Having snatched the lead only three minutes earlier, the Midland club stood and watched as Billy Twelvetrees kicked the 39-metre penalty goal which gave Gloucester their first win of the season.

Nick Wood was sent off after just eight minutes when Gloucester faced Saracens

Gloucester face fight to avoid three of a kind

A look ahead to Saturday's Aviva Premiership action

News
Monkey business: Serkis is the king of the non-human character performance
peopleFirst Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Arts and Entertainment
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
booksMalorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Sport
Thiago Silva pulls Arjen Robben back to concede a penalty
world cup 2014Brazil 0 Netherlands 3: More misery for hosts as Dutch take third place
Sport
Robin van Persie hands his third-place medal to a supporter
Van Persie gives bronze medal to eccentric fan moments after being handed it by Blatter
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
scienceScientists have developed a material so dark you can't see it...
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel Shop See all offers »
India and Nepal
14 nights from £2,159pp Find out more
Dutch Masters
five nights from £679pp Find out more
La Robla and Rioja
nine nights from £1599pp Find out more
Classical Spain
six nights from £539pp Find out more
California and the Golden West
14 nights from £1,599pp Find out more
Bruges
three nights from £259pp Find out more
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?