Rugby Union

Fresh face Auterac puts down a marker for England

To witness the uncapped loosehead prop Nick Auterac’s compelling combination of hard scrummaging and ballistic contributions in the loose in Bath’s 19-16 European Cup win over Leinster on Saturday was to see a man timing his run right for inclusion in the next national squad when it is named in January.

McCaw refuses to lose focus over All Blacks retirement

Richie McCaw, the record-breaking All Black captain who is attempting to become the first man to lead his country to successive world titles, will not entertain talk of retirement – perhaps because he knows that every other player in the international game wishes he had retired already.

Six Nations 2014: Warren Gatland stays true to tried and trusted squad

Warren Gatland already knows a thing or two about laying hands on the union code's glittering prizes, but if he makes Six Nations history over the next few weeks by coaching Wales to a third successive title, his reputation as a rugby alchemist will be secure. The 32-man squad he announced looked extremely powerful, but with several key players in contractual limbo, others plying their trade abroad and still more lamenting the viciousness of the political turf war west of the Severn, the New Zealander may have a difficult job bringing people together in common cause.

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Quade Cooper and Aussies show World Cup class in abundance

It remains nothing more than a dot on the rugby horizon – the 2015 World Cup, that is – and pretty much anything could happen in the 664 days between here and there. The club-versus-union conflict could send the whole of the European game into meltdown (perfectly possible); New Zealand could hit a bad patch (it has to happen sometime, surely); the Wallaby coach Ewen McKenzie could decide that his predecessor was right all along and chuck Quade Cooper out on his ear (barely conceivable on latest evidence, admittedly).

Sport minister Helen Grant fails to answer single question correctly

She is Britain’s Minister for sport, a former judo champion and recently told The Independent that sport was in her DNA. But Helen Grant’s sporting credential fell spectacularly short in a quiz when she failed to answer a single question correctly - including the name of the FA cup title holders and this year’s Wimbledon women’s champion.  

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.