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.

Jamie Elliott, the 20-year-old product of Northampton’s academy, scored three tries and denied the Irish one with his intelligent covering

Northampton Saints 40 London Irish 14 match report: Saints end mid-life crisis and boost play-off hopes

Northampton have been waiting for this since October. Five months ago their unbeaten start to the Aviva Premiership ground dramatically to a halt in Reading when London Irish registered a bonus-point win on their own turf; here they returned the compliment with interest – or "icing" as Brian Smith, Irish's director of rugby, said.

Tyson Keats’ ineligibility to play could cost London Welsh dear
Dylan Hartley, right, last started for England exactly eight months ago, against South Africa in Port Elizabeth. Now he knows that, for all his experience, he has a genuine challenger for the No2 shirt in Tom Youngs and he needed to grasp his chance here with an all-round display

What we learned: Courtney Lawes gets birthday blues after back-row blunders

Returning to the fold is never easy, especially out of position, and Courtney Lawes was no exception. Invited to play blindside flanker rather than his customary international position of lock, Lawes found on his 24th birthday that France were offering no presents and cannot have been surprised when he was removed in the 52nd minute.

Aviva Premiership round-up: Jamie Elliott pulls the plug on Bath hopes

Jamie Elliott scored two tries as Northampton resisted a brave Bath fightback to complete a 25-23 win in a thrilling Aviva Premiership encounter at Franklin's Gardens yesterday.

Stuart Lancaster had a “good chat” with his Lions counterpart

Six Nations: England call up Elliot Daly and Joel Tomkins as cover for France showdown

Two uncapped drafted in for Twickenham showdown

Aviva Premiership round-up: Indiscipline leaves Irish trapped in survival scrap

Injuries are hitting Irish rugby thick and fast, but unlike the blow to Gordon D'Arcy, who joined the list of Six Nations absentees on Friday, the damage to London Irish yesterday mostly involved pride. For the moment. The 40-16 defeat by Bath left them scrapping with London Welsh and Sale – who meet today – to avoid finishing bottom of the Aviva Premiership.

Tom Homer finished up with five penalties and two conversions

Exiles underline Irish love of a challenge

If England already sufficiently aware of the challenge facing them in Dublin his afternoon, London Irish offered another example of a Green triumph out of adversity with a remarkable 29-16 victory over title-chasing Saracens in rugby union's Aviva Premiership.

Dylan Hartley recalls how Ireland’s tactics cost England a Grand Slam in 2011

Dylan Hartley warns of repeating past errors in Dublin

Amid the frenzied discussion of England's midfield selection dilemma for the Six Nations trip to Ireland – there was a growing sense that the coaches might revert to the tried and tested Brad Barritt-Manu Tuilagi centre partnership, although there have been as many firm predictions as there are possible permutations and they cannot all be right – one man made the salient point that if things go wrong up front, it will not matter a jot who wears the shirts numbered 12 and 13 on Sunday.

Paul Gascoigne pictured in November last year at a Lazio match

England players eager to help save troubled Paul Gascoigne

Captain Steven Gerrard pledges support for fallen idol after yet another relapse

Paul Gascoigne has suffered a long battle with alcoholism

PFA's Gordon Taylor vows to help Paul Gascoigne beat demons

Former England midfielder is struggling with his battle against alcohol

Billy Twelvetrees (pictured) kicked 10 points and inspired a second half that Leicester won 25-3

Billy Twelvetrees to make debut for England against Scotland in the Six Nations

Centre selected in place of the injured Manu Tuilagi

Anonymous hackers jailed for DDoS attacks on Visa, Mastercard and Paypal

Two self-styled “hacktivists” were jailed today for carrying out cyber attacks with hacking group Anonymous, one of which cost a website £3.5 million.

Anonymous cyber attacks: four men to be sentenced

Four men will be sentenced today for carrying out cyber attacks with hacking group Anonymous.

Calum Clark

England flanker Calum Clark a doubt for Six Nations

Northampton flanker faces shoulder surgery

Chris Robshaw will remain as England captain

Loyal Stuart Lancaster ignores doubters to retain Chris Robshaw in role of 'general'

England coach confirms Quins flanker will retain captaincy for upcoming Six Nations campaign

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
i100

Other places that have held independence referendums
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur
film

It scooped up an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards when it was first remade in 1959

Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

Arts and Entertainment
Blossoming love: Colin Firth as Stanley and Emma Stone as Sophie, in 'Magic in the Moonlight'
film

Actors star in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

News
news

News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
Arts and Entertainment
Maxine Peake plays Hamlet at Manchester's Royal Exchange
theatreReview: Maxine Peake brings emotional ferocity to Shakespeare's starring part
News
London's New Year's Eve fireworks event is going to be ticketed this year for the first time at £10 a head
news

Revellers will have to pay to see New Year's Eve fireworks in London

Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona from £949pp
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro from £799pp
Provence from £599pp
Apulia, Lecce and Vieste – Undiscovered Italy from £899pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples from £759
Classical Spain from £539pp
Prices correct as of 12 September 2014
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week