Sport Saracens' Nathan Earle is held by Zach Kibirige during the game on Sunday

Saracens recorded a comfortable 41-8 victory over Newcastle on Sunday to ensure they finished top of their LV= Cup pool and so sealed their progression to the semi-finals.

George North: The wing’s proposed move out of Wales started the latest row

WRU head accused of damaging Welsh rugby

Regional Rugby Wales has accused the Welsh Rugby Union chief executive of “overseeing the decline of Welsh rugby outside the international tier” as relations between the two bodies threaten to break down.

Dan Biggar

Wales fly-half Dan Biggar agrees new deal with Ospreys

The 23-year-old will remain at Liberty Stadium until 2016

Elliot Daly evades a tackle on his way to scoring Wasps’ second try

Wasps suffering with an identity crisis

London Wasps’ supporters are going through the uncertainty familiar to every club in any code who undergo a change in ownership at the same time as asking themselves what they are all about.

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.

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.

Murder suspect extradited from Morocco and due in court

A Chinese businessman wanted over the murders of a family is being extradited to the UK from Morocco.

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

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

Outstanding 'sin bin' school for troubled teenagers becomes pioneering academy

Headteacher will now be allowed to take greater control of policy on pupil admissions
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.

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

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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month