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Rugby union

‘More than I dreamt of’: Wales and Lions hooker Ken Owens retires due to injury

Former Wales captain Ken Owens has announced his retirement from the game after failing to recover from a back problem. The 37-year-old hooker, who played five Tests for the British and Irish Lions, has been sidelined for almost a year…

The Breakdown | Beleaguered World Rugby attempts to tackle conflict at heart of the game

Governing bodies the world over can be certain of one thing only – they will be the subject of endless criticism. No half-serious journalist will write for long without taking the authorities to task over something, and journalists are the…

Champions Cup overhaul planned after damaging defeat of weakened Bulls

European rugby chiefs want to overhaul the Champions Cup schedule to avoid a repeat of last weekend’s damaging scenes in which the Bulls sent a weakened team for their quarter-final against Northampton and are lobbying participating leagues to agree. The…

Exeter blown out of Champions Cup by Toulouse’s second-half blitz

Winning big knockout games in France takes a lot of doing and two English triumphs in successive days really would have been something special. Even when Exeter led 19-17 early in the second half there was still a sense a…

Ramm inspires nine-try Northampton to emphatic victory against Bulls

The record for most points in a first half of Champions Cup knockout rugby stood for less than three hours. Earlier in the day Bordeaux-Bègles and Harlequins shared 40 points in the opening 40 minutes of their spectacular show. Northampton…

Harlequins edge out Bordeaux in thriller to reach Champions Cup semi-final

There are some daunting venues in Europe but none more formidable this season than this atmospheric and character-laden old stadium. Factor in temperatures nudging 30C, and the prospect of Harlequins enjoying a vintage quarter-final weekend in Bordeaux were supposedly on…

Scotland 0-46 England: Women’s Six Nations 2024 – as it happened

Sarah Rendell’s match report from Edinburgh is here: And that’s the lot from me. Thank you for reading – congratulations to England and commiserations to Scotland. Roll on Twickenham next week. Or indeed the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi in Parma, where…

England sweep Scotland aside in Six Nations despite Amy Cokayne red card

England’s discipline was a concern for the second time in this Women’s Six Nations as they finished against Scotland with 14 players after Amy Cokayne was shown a red card. The hooker, who started her first international game in a…

Patched-up Bulls face Northampton after travel chaos row hogs agenda

On paper the Champions Cup quarter-final between Northampton and the Bulls from Pretoria is a rugby fantasist’s dream come true. The Premiership leaders against the only South African side to claim a Super Rugby title. The 21-year-old fly-half Fin Smith…

Fin Baxter: ‘They run at me as I look young – but I’m not easy to pick on’

In the salons of Bordeaux this week relatively little attention has been paid to Fin Baxter. Harlequins have starrier names in their match-day squad and anyway it is their attacking prowess that hogs the headlines. If the massive local props…