England

Itoje to miss Six Nations finale

Lock Itoje has returned to Saracens to continue his recovery from a knee injury after being left out of Eddie Jones' 31-man training squad ahead of Saturday's match at Twickenham.

The 24-year-old sustained the problem in England's tournament opener against Ireland on February 2 and was thought to be in the running for a return against Italy until he limped out of a training session last week.

Manu Tuilagi starts in Six Nations opener

The 27-year-old, who has suffered a string of injuries over the past few seasons, starts at 12 in the absence of injured Ben Te'o.

Elliot Daly is preferred at full-back to Mike Brown, who is left out of the 23-strong matchday squad.

George Kruis partners fellow Saracen Maro Itoje in the second row.

Owen Farrell starts at fly-half, with Henry Slade partnering Tuilagi in midfield and George Ford on the bench, while flankers Tom Curry and Mark Wilson make their first Six Nations appearances.

Brown desperate for England recall

The full-back was dropped during the Test series defeat to South Africa in June and was overlooked by Eddie Jones for the November internationals.

Harlequins stalwart Brown is determined to add to his 72 caps and will discover on Thursday whether he has been selected by Jones.

"Obviously I'm massively disappointed not to be involved, because I'm desperate to play for England." the 33-year-old, speaking on behalf of Land Rover at an off-road driving event, told Omnisport.

England's Underhill in doubt for Six Nations

Underhill injured his ankle playing for Bath in the English Premiership last weekend and is reportedly likely to be miss at least four weeks.

England plays Ireland in the Six nations opener on February 2 in Dublin, putting Underhill under a cloud for that match.

The 22-year-old was a breakout star for England in his debut Test year, playing nine Tests and becoming an important player for coach Eddie Jones.

Bath released an update on his fitness on Thursday morning (AEDT), saying Underhill would visit a specialist to confirm his prognosis later this week.

 

Steve Hansen doesn't want to play England too often

The All Blacks face England for the first time in four years this weekend at a sold-out Twickenham.

Hansen has further raised expectations for the highly-anticipated clash by declaring it bigger than last year's British and Irish Lions tour.

While the 59-year-old would be open to the idea of more regular meetings between the two countries, he has concerns about the knock-on effect.

"As long as it doesn't create more logjams in the calendar," replied Hansen, when asked if he would like to face England more often.

Owen Farrell free to play All Blacks

Citing commissioner Keith Brown had until today to make a decision but the New Zealander elected not to take action against the England co-captain.

If Brown had decided the shuddering hit was worthy of a red card, it would have triggered a citing that could have prevented Farrell playing in England's highly anticipated match against the world champions.

The clock had ticked past the 80-minute mark at Twickenham with England desperately trying to keep the Springboks at bay when Farrell smashed into replacement Andre Esterhuizen, knocking him back and dislodging the ball.

Sean Fitzpatrick says England can stop the All Blacks

That is the view of former New Zealand captain Sean Fitzpatrick, who says that while England can be one of the main threats at next year's showpiece event in Japan, it depends how they fare against South Africa, the All Blacks, Japan and Australia next month.

England coach Eddie Jones is due to announce his squad for the Twickenham tests tomorrow but his plans have been hit by a string of injuries to key players like forwards Billy and Mako Vunipola, Chris Robshaw and Joe Launchbury.

Australian netballers beat England in Quad Series

The result avenged their loss to England in the Commonwealth Games final earlier this year.

Trailing 14-9 late in the first quarter, Australia outscored England 15-10 in each of the the two middle terms to take control of the match.

They had a seven goal third quarter buffer slashed to two inside the last four minutes, but steadied down the stretch to beat England in the first clash between the nations since the Commonwealth Games.

NRL referee opens up on vile abuse after World Cup semi

Cecchin, who disallowed a try that would have given Tonga an upset win, has told The Sydney Morning Herald he was in an Auckland bar when police rang to tell him they had contacted him and several family members that had been targeted.

He was advised not the leave the hotel and told he would be picked up and taken to the airport.

On his return to Australia, he was picked up by the Australian Federal Police.

He also flicked through his phone to discover more than a thousand "vile" attacks, the likes of which he had never encountered across his entire career.

England players given parking spots

The German-owned supermarket chain has reserved spots for the Three Lions, ensuring the likes of Gareth Southgate, Harry Kane, Jordan Pickford and Kieran Trippier can shop hassle-free in their hometowns.

Kane's image adorns a space at Lidl's Chingford store, just a few miles from where the World Cup Golden Boot winner went to school, while manager Southgate can find his own parking spot in his hometown of Crawley.