Sport Mike Brown of England celebrates after scoring the first try during the Six Nations match between Italy and England at the Stadio Olimpico

Another second place for England but this was a step forward from last year. Stuart Lancaster’s side have made strides over this Six Nations, even if he will be looking back at that French game and thinking what might have been.

Jonny Wilkinson lifts the Heineken Cup

IRB step in to try and resolve Heineken Cup row as uncertainty over European rugby continues

The International Rugby Boar has promised to 'work actively with its unions towards the goal of achieving a unified and acceptable outcome for all involved'

George Ford has benefited from a long run at No 10 with Bath

George Ford set for England promotion but Stuart Lancaster battles with problems up front

George Ford will be the talk of the town if, as widely assumed, he replaces the France-bound Toby Flood in a revamped England squad this afternoon, but the 20-year-old Bath outside-half's promotion has not been at the top of the red-rose hierarchy's agenda in recent days. Stuart Lancaster and his lieutenants are far more concerned with issues up front, where injuries to important players are making life very complicated indeed.

England and Wales during last year's Six Nations. New scrummaging laws that were introduced only a few months ago will be implemented before the first round of matches

Six Nations: Scrum rule to change yet again in time for tournament

New 'put-in' rule may be fairer but it comes at a bad time

Brad Barritt, centre, believes the current Saracens side is the best in his five years at the club

Heineken Cup: Brad Barritt backs flying Saracens to test Toulouse

Brad Barritt believes the current Saracens side is the best  in his five years at the club

Danny Cipriani on his way to scoring a try in the Amlin Challenge Cup match against Oyonnax

Danny Cipriani back in the spotlight but London Irish coach Brian Smith warns his London Irish side not to let the Sale Sharks fly-half dictate play

Cipriani finds himself on the cusp of an unlikely England return due to a flood of injuries in the Premiership but Smith feels he has more than enough players capable of giving Sale their own problems

Wales captain Sam Warburton is considering playing in France

Angry fans plan protests over state of Welsh game

Recent political carnage over the future of the Heineken Cup has brought the fraught union-region relationship to a head

Quade Cooper was at his mercurial best for Australia against Wales in Cardiff

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).

Aviva Premiership round-up: Wasps' Christian Wade is new England injury worry

The gloss was taken off Wasps' 19-12 victory for over London Irish when they lost their exciting wing Christian Wade, who limped off late on after going over on his ankle. He will have a scan today that should reveal the extent of the injury.

A disconsolate Wales team can't bare to look as Australia celebrate their win at the Millennium Stadium

Wales 26 Australia 30 match report: Wales edged out by battling Wallabies

Two tries from George North cannot prevent Australia from coming out on top in a thrilling finale to November internationals

Rugby World Cup 2015: Progressive tickets but some nightmarish late kick-off times

Some tickets for the major pool games, including those featuring England, will set you back 41 times the current living wage rate. How on earth will Prince Harry afford it?

Gloucester sign Sila Puafisi to boost forward drive

Rugby Union Correspondent

Courtney Lawes back to earth with a bump for Phil Godman

It is to be hoped Phil Godman enjoyed the Doctor Who special on Saturday evening because earlier in the day the Newcastle fly-half’s adventures in space and time had an unhappy ending thanks to the tackling of Courtney Lawes.

Dragon flies: Toby Faletau dives over to score Wales’ second try in yesterday’s win over Argentina

Wales 40 Argentina 6 match report: Wales finally blossom in autumn to leave Pumas in the shade

Revenge is sweet as record win ends four-year run without a November victory for Warren Gatland's side

Alex Corbisiero’s knee injury has added to England’s front-row problems

England prop Alex Corbisiero to undergo knee surgery

The Northampton Saints player had already been ruled out of this weekend's clash with New Zealand

<b>1. Joe Marler - 14 caps</b>
<br/>The prop came through a midweek concussion test to take his place in the starting line-up, and his fitness is a major boost for Lancaster who is already without the influential Alex Corbisiero and Mako Vunipola.

England v New Zealand: Stuart Lancaster names XV to face the World Champions

A look at the side which will line-up against the 2011 World Cup winners at Twickenham on Saturday

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