Martin Johnson says his tackles make a distinctive sound and plenty of opponents will agree – the athletic Saint is out to make his mark. Hugh Godwin meets Courtney Lawes
It still takes some believing that New Zealand, hosts of next month's World Cup, can voluntarily go in search of a first global title in almost a quarter of a century without the services of Hosea Gear and Sitiveni Sivivatu, by common consent two of the scariest wings in the sport.
World Cup hopefuls all around the globe no doubt had the date 22 August pencilled into their diaries months in advance. Monday was the deadline for head coaches of the twenty international sides featuring in the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand to announce their final 30-man squads for the tournament. Tough decisions had to be made and, inevitably, there were a number of winners and losers. Here we take a closer look at those players who didn’t make the final cut.
Australia coach Robbie Deans has signed a new two-year contract and will remain in charge of the Wallabies until the end of the 2013 international season.
Gavin Henson has not always endeared himself to the Welsh rugby public – nor, indeed, to his colleagues in the national team. Yet there is not a man Jack of them who would have wished this on him. The celebrity centre looked like a real centre for the half-hour he spent on the field against England at the Millennium Stadium at the weekend, but his hopes and dreams of participating in next month's World Cup evaporated when he fractured a bone in his right wrist.
Former Great Britain scrum-half Sean Long has confirmed his retirement from the game at the age of 34.
Scotland 10 Ireland 6: Robinson's men look very fit but worryingly short of skill in their victory over weakened opposition
Samoa ran in four tries to stun Australia 32-23 in a famous and well-deserved victory yesterday that gave the Wallabies the worst possible start to their World Cup season.
Queensland Reds 18 Canterbury Crusaders 13
Nick Easter is satisfied England's pool at the World Cup will leave the team sufficiently battle hardened for the knockout stages.
Southern game comes to HQ tomorrow with a galaxy of stars on show – but can it win over the traditionalists?
A tale of two fly halves this holiday season.... A pair of international rugby players, we shall see, of considerable playing abilities on the field but very different values and principles, away from it.
Youthful side must learn fast with only eight games to go until World Cup
It was only when I was coming away from Twickenham last Saturday that I became fully aware of what exactly happened in the final game of our Investec Internationals. Obviously, I soon became aware that England were beaten 21-11 by South Africa but the details of the game escaped me at the time.