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News

Thursday 15th February 2012

franceHEAD COACH Philippe Saint-Andre makes five changes to the team which lost to England on Sunday, William Servat comes in at hooker, and David Attoub makes his RBS 6 Nations debut on the tighthead. Dimitri Yachvili returns at scrum-half, Alexis Palisson starts on the left-wing and Florian Fritz wears 12 (with Fofana moving from inside centre to right-wing).

On the bench Julien Pierre is included for the first time this campaign, whilst Clermont Auvergne back Jean-Marcellin Buttin is selected for the first time.

The starting lineup contains players with 584 test caps, with the bench having another 195 caps.

france15 Clément Poitrenaud 14 Wesley Fofana 13 Aurélien Rougerie 12 Florian Fritz 11 Julien Malzieu 10 Lionel Beauxis 9 Dimitri Yachvili 1 Jean-Baptiste Poux 2 William Servat 3 David Attoub 4 Pascal Papé 5 Yoann Maestri 6 THIERRY DUSAUTOIR [C] 7 Julien Bonnaire 8 Imanol Harinordoquy BENCH: 16 Dimitri Szarzewski 17 Vincent Debaty 18 Julien Pierre 19 Louis Picamoles 20 Morgan Parra 21 François Trinh-Duc 22  Jean-Marcellin Buttin

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Thursday 15th February 2012

englandDavid Strettle returnsENGLAND today made one change to the starting team for Saturday’s final RBS 6 Nations match against Ireland at Twickenham Stadium.

David Strettle (Saracens) has recovered from his sternum injury and takes over from Charlie Sharples (Gloucester Rugby) on the left wing, while on the bench Bath Rugby’s Lee Mears comes in for Rob Webber of London Wasps, who injured a shoulder against France.

England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said: “It seems like yesterday when we got together in Leeds in January and began a new journey for England Rugby. Graham, Andy and myself firmly believe in this group of players and the direction we are going. Saturday is another step on that road and we are looking forward to coming home to a packed Twickenham with its special atmosphere and crowd. Their support has been phenomenal and we hope we can do the whole nation proud again.

"David Strettle has now recovered from his injury and will replace Charlie Sharples, who gained valuable experience in Paris. It's good to have Lee Mears on the bench and he will bring great energy and experience should he get a chance to come on."

england15 Ben Foden 14 Chris Ashton 13 Manusamoa Tuilagi 12 Brad Barritt 11 David Strettle 10 Owen Farrell 9 Lee Dickson 1 Alex Corbisiero 2 Dylan Hartley 3 Dan Cole 4 Mouritz Botha 5 Geoff Parling 6 Tom Croft 7 CHRIS ROBSHAW [C] 8 Ben Morgan BENCH: 16 Lee Mears 17 Matt Stevens 18 Tom Palmer 19 Phil Dowson 20 Ben Youngs 21 Charlie Hodgson 22 Mike Brown

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Thursday 15th February 2012

walesSAM WARBURTON returns to lead Wales’ assault on the RBS 6 Nations Championship title against France at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday (2.45pm) in the only change to the side which beat Italy last weekend to keep dreams of a 2012 clean sweep alive.

Unbeaten Wales have also been able to name the same back line for the fifth match running, with France-based Mike Phillips the only player in the starting line-up currently plying his trade outside Welsh rugby.

Up front Warburton’s return from a knee problem - in place of Ospreys flanker Justin Tipuric, who misses out altogether - with prop Gethin Jenkins keeping his place but asked to return the captaincy to his team-mate.

Matthew Rees keeps his place at hooker and is set to win his 50th cap for his country, taking the Scarlets’ contribution on Saturday up to a quartet of starters.

Consistency has been a watchword for Warren Gatland and his coaching team this campaign with a total of 10 players having started every match in the tournament - the backline of Leigh Halfpenny; Alex Cuthbert, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, George North, Rhys Priestland and Mike Phillips join, Evans, Faletau and prop Jones in the achievement.

“We are obviously aware of what this game means to the fans, 60,000 of them came to the Millennium Stadium during the Rugby World Cup to watch us face France in the semi-final on the television screens and that tells you everything about how dedicated they are,” said Wales head coach Gatland.

“But this weekend we play in front of a sell-out 74,500 crowd with a chance to make history in Cardiff, they will be there to watch us in the flesh, they can make a real and positive contribution to the atmosphere and, like us, will be thinking of nothing other than the here and now.

wales15 Leigh Halfpenny 14 Alex Cuthbert 13 Jonathan Davies 12 Jamie Roberts 11 George North 10 Rhys Priestland 9 Mike Phillips 1 Gethin Jenkins 2 Matthew Rees 3 Adam Jones 4 Alun-Wyn Jones 5 Ian Evans 6 Dan Lydiate 7 SAM WARBURTON [C]8 Toby Faletau BENCH: 16 Ken Owens 17 Paul James 18 Luke Charteris 19 Ryan Jones 20 Lloyd Williams 21 James Hook 22 Scott Williams

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Wednesday 14th February 2012

italyItaly starting line up v ScotlandJACQUES BRUNEL again makes wholesale changes from the side which lost to Wales.

Fit again Martin Castrogiovanni returns at tighthead, Marco Bortolami comes into the second row, and Robert Barbieri is included at openside. In the backs Edoardo Gori resumes at scrum-half, Tomasso Benvenuti comes in at centre, and and Giovanbattista Venditti once more starts on the right-wing. Joshua Furno and Manoa Vosawai are named on the bench for the first time this campaign.

The selected team is the most experienced Italy team of all-time with a total of 787 caps with another 50 caps on the bench.

italy15 Andrea Masi 14 Giovanbattista Venditti 13 Tommaso Benvenuti 12 Gonzalo Canale 11 Mirco Bergamasco 10 Kris Burton 9 Edoardo Gori 1 Andrea Lo Cicero Vaina 2 Fabio Ongaro 3 Martin Castrogiovanni 4 Quintin Geldenhuys 5 Marco Bortolami 6 Alessandro Zanni 7 Robert Barbieri 8 SERGIO PARISSE [C] BENCH: 16 Tommaso d'Apice 17 Lorenzo Cittadini 18 Joshua Furno 19 Simone Favaro 20 Manoa Vosawai 21 Tobias Botes 22 Giulio Toniolatti

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Wednesday 14th February 2012

scotlandScotland starting line up v ItalyNICK DE LUCA, who was a late injury withdrawal from last weekend’s international against Ireland in Dublin, is restored to the Scotland team for Saturday’s final RBS 6 Nations Championship match against Italy in Rome.

De Luca is named at outside centre with Max Evans moving to the wing in place of Lee Jones whose concussion has ruled him out of Scotland’s first game at the Stadio Olimpico.

Otherwise the pack is again unchanged for the third successive game with captain Ross Ford warning his colleagues that an increase in accuracy and intensity is a pre-requisite for any success against Italy.

Meanwhile, on the bench, Jack Cuthbert, the 24-year-old Bath Rugby full-back/wing is involved in a Six Nations 22 for the first time. Cuthbert won his only cap to date off the bench in the EMC Test against Ireland last August.

Scotland head coach Andy Robinson said today: “Nick was unfortunate to miss the game in Ireland through a hamstring problem and the challenge for him on Saturday will be to contribute as purposefully against the Italians as he did in his last game, against France.

“Jack has featured regularly for Bath this season. He’s strong and we know from his involvement with the squad back in the summer how much it means to him to play for Scotland.”


Scotland have beaten Italy in the last two internationals between the countries but Robinson knows that Scotland have only won twice in Rome since the Italians were admitted to the Championship in 2000.

“We are not where we wanted to be at this point in the championship. Yes, we have played some good rugby at some points in games and there has been some improvement but we all know that we need the substance that comes from a win, especially after the display in Dublin.”

Scotland team to play Italy at the Olympic Stadium, Rome on Saturday 17 March in the RBS 6 Nations Championship, kick-off 1.30pm CET (12.30pm GMT)

scotland15 Stuart Hogg 14 Max Evans 13 Nick De Luca 12 Graeme Morrison 11 Sean Lamont 10 Greig Laidlaw 9 Mike Blair 1 Allan Jacobsen 2 ROSS FORD [C] 3 Geoff Cross 4 Richie Gray 5 Jim Hamilton 6 John Barclay 7 Ross Rennie 8 David Denton BENCH: 16 Scott Lawson 17 Euan Murray 18 Alastair Kellock 19 Richie Vernon 20 Chris Cusiter 21 Ruaridh Jackson 22 Jack Cuthbert

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Tuesday 13th March 2012

englandStuart LancasterSTUART LANCASTER has named his final squad of 24 as interim England Coach for the St Patrick’s Day clash at Twickenham. By this time next week we should know if he has the job on a permanent basis, but in the meantime, the following players will return to Pennyhill Park on Wednesday evening...

FORWARDS: Mouritz Botha, Alex Corbisiero, Dan Cole, Tom Croft, Paul Doran Jones, Phil Dowson, Dylan Hartley, Joe Marler, Ben Morgan, Tom Palmer, Geoff Parling, Chris Robshaw, Matt Stevens, Rob Webber

BACKS: Chris Ashton, Brad Barritt, Mike Brown, Lee Dickson, Owen Farrell, Ben Foden, Charlie Hodgson, Charlie Sharples, David Strettle, Manusamoa Tuilagi, Ben Youngs

Lancaster said: “With such a short turnaround after Paris the lads have had to really re-focus and we are pleased with how they have applied themselves to reviewing the game and training today.

"We’ll meet again tomorrow night but it’s important to recognise the contribution of those not coming back into camp. This has been a collective effort, not just the 15 who have started games, or the 22 in the match-day squads but 30-plus players who have all bought into what we are trying to achieve and are committed to the journey we are on. The next time these guys will all get together is ahead of the South Africa tour and we wish them well at their clubs for the rest of the season.”

The following players have returned to their clubs this evening:

Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby)
Calum Clark (Northampton Saints)
Karl Dickson (Harlequins)
Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers)
Joe Launchbury (London Wasps)
Lee Mears (Bath Rugby)
Jordan Turner-Hall (Harlequins)
Thomas Waldrom (Leicester Tigers)

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Tuesday 13th March 2012

IrelandTHE Ireland Team to play England at Twickenham on St. Patrick’s Day in the final game of the 2012 RBS 6 Nations Championship has been named.

There is one change to the starting XV which took the field last weekend with Sean O’Brien returning, having recovered from the skin infection which ruled him out of that game.  Peter O’Mahony moves to the replacements.

Keith Earls and Cian Healy will both win their 30th caps on Saturday while Donncha O’Callaghan joins Paul O’Connell on 85.

Ireland Captain Rory Best will become Ireland’s most capped hooker on his 59th appearance on Saturday.

Ireland15 Rob Kearney 14 Tommy Bowe 13 Keith Earls 12 Gordon D'Arcy 11 Andrew Trimble 10 Jonathan Sexton 9 Eoin Reddan 1 Cian Healy 2 RORY BEST [C] 3 Mike Ross 4 Donncha O'Callaghan 5 Donnacha Ryan 6 Stephen Ferris 7 Sean O'Brien 8 Jamie Heaslip BENCH: 16 Sean Cronin 17 Tom Court 18 Mike McCarthy 19 Peter O'Mahony 20 Tomas O’Leary 21 Ronan O'Gara 22 Fergus McFadden

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Tuesday 13th March 2012

scotlandTHREE players have been added to the Scotland squad training for their final RBS 6 Nations Championship game against Italy in Rome on Saturday.
 
They are Alex Grove, the 24-year-old, three times capped Worcester Warriors centre; Jack Cuthbert (Bath Rugby), 24, the full-back/wing who won his solitary cap to date against Ireland in the EMC Test last August; and Peter Murchie, the uncapped, 26-year-old Glasgow Warriors full-back/centre.
 
Meanwhile, a number of players who were involved in the loss to Ireland in Dublin three days ago are still in the care of the Scotland medical team.
 
Full-back Stuart Hogg (shoulder and groin), centre/wing Max Evans (calf), scrum-half Mike Blair (shoulder) and flanker John Barclay (ribs) are "all improving" according to Scotland team doctor James Robson and are likely to do some training this afternoon.
 
Nick De Luca, the Edinburgh Rugby centre who missed the match in Dublin with a hamstring problem, is also making progress.
 
Dr Robson added that wing Lee Jones had returned home to Selkirk last night after the head injury he had sustained on Saturday. "He is doing well.  He will have a few days’ rest and recovery and will be assessed later in the week.  He is ruled out of Saturday’s match against Italy."
 
The Scotland team is scheduled to be announced on Wednesday.

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Friday 9th March 2012

englandEngland unchanged for FranceSTUART LANCASTER continues to build his tried and tested starting XV by keeping faith with the same players that narrowly lost to Wales in week 3 of the RBS Six Nations.

The only changes to the squad are on the replacements bench where “Chargedown” Charlie Hodgson returns following his minor but play-stopping finger injury, and Tom Palmer steps in for the injured Courtney Lawes.

England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said: “We’ve had a good week following on from the Loughborough training camp and the players have been very positive and focused. We were really disappointed to lose to Wales but we took a lot out of the performance and felt it was right to pick the same starting team to go to Paris. It will be a massive challenge going to the Stade de France and playing against an experienced an unbeaten French side but we are excited about the opportunity and want to do the country proud."

england15 Ben Foden 14 Chris Ashton 13 Manusamoa Tuilagi 12 Brad Barritt 11 David Strettle 10 Owen Farrell 9 Lee Dickson 1 Alex Corbisiero 2 Dylan Hartley 3 Dan Cole 4 Mouritz Botha 5 Geoff Parling 6 Tom Croft 7 CHRIS ROBSHAW [C] 8 Ben Morgan BENCH: 16 Rob Webber 17 Matt Stevens 18 Tom Palmer 19 Phil Dowson 20 Ben Youngs 21 Charlie Hodgson 22 Mike Brown

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Thursday 8th March 2012

IrelandSean O'BrienIRELAND flanker Sean O'Brien has been forced to withdraw from the RBS 6 Nations game against Scotland due to a skin infection on his foot which has failed to recover as quickly as expected.

Peter O'Mahony will now move from the replacements to start at No.7, with Shane Jennings being called into the squad to take O'Mahony's place on the bench.

Ireland Team Manager Mick Kearney said, "We knew Sean was carrying this infection in his foot, but unfortunately it has not cleared as quickly as we expected. While it has not healed enough for him to play this Saturday, we expect him to be fine for next weekend."

Now the team to face Scotland is as follows:

Ireland15 Rob Kearney 14 Tommy Bowe 13 Keith Earls 12 Gordon D'Arcy 11 Andrew Trimble 10 Jonathan Sexton 9 Eoin Reddan 1 Cian Healy 2 RORY BEST [C] 3 Mike Ross 4 Donncha O'Callaghan 5 Donnacha Ryan 6 Stephen Ferris 7 Peter O’Mahony 8 Jamie Heaslip BENCH: 16 Sean Cronin 17 Tom Court 18 Mike McCarthy 19 Shane Jennings 20 Tomas O’Leary 21 Ronan O'Gara 22 Fergus McFadden

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Wednesday 7th March 2012

englandLEE MEARS (Bath Rugby), Toby Flood and Thomas Waldrom (both Leicester Tigers), Paul Doran Jones and Calum Clark (both Northampton Saints) were last night released from England training to prepare for this weekend's LV= Cup semi-finals.

“All the players did well at the weekend and got a lot of game time, which was what everyone wanted, and we are looking forward to seeing them play again in what should be two great LV= Cup semi-finals," said England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster.

In addition, this evening Joe Launchbury, Charlie Sharples and Jordan Turner-Hall have returned to Wasps, Gloucester and Harlequins respectively.

Wasps’ scrum half Joe Simpson dislocated his shoulder at the weekend so was forced to step down from England duty. With no place for Harlequins in the LV= Cup Semi finals this weekend, the players were given the week off, and scrum half Karl Dickson was had barely unpacked on holiday in Jamaica when he received the call to get to Pennyhill Park to train with his younger brother, the electric Lee Dickson, and the England squad.

The players returning to Pennyhill Park on Thursday evening to train with England ahead of Sunday's RBS 6 Nations match against France at Stade de France are:

FORWARDS: Mouritz Botha, Alex Corbisiero, Dan Cole, Tom Croft, Paul Doran Jones, Phil Dowson, Dylan Hartley, Joe Marler, Ben Morgan, Tom Palmer, Geoff Parling, Chris Robshaw, Matt Stevens, Rob Webber

BACKS: Chris Ashton, Brad Barritt, Mike Brown, Karl Dickson, Lee Dickson, Owen Farrell, Ben Foden, Charlie Hodgson, David Strettle, Manusamoa Tuilagi, Ben Youngs

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Wednesday 7th March 2012

francePHILIPPE SAINT-ANDRÉ has changed his centre pairing in his bid for France to win the Six Nations Championship, even though the Grand Slam slipped out of their grasp following the draw with Ireland last week.

Morgan Parra and François Trinh-Duc have been dropped to the bench and replaced by Lionel Beauxis and Julien Dupuy at 10 and 9 respectively, a centre partnership that is well tried and tested from their 2 years together at Stade Français, and Saint-André sees it as a strategic fit.

Recognising ‘Le Crunch’ is more than just another rugby fixture, and the historical significance of France facing England, the Coach is determined that his team will this weekend capitalise on the dominance they have achieved so far and turn it into a win. Though Les Rosbif may have the upper hand with the Six Nations win record, Les Bleus have not lost a match at the Stade de France in the last 10.

france15 Clément Poitrenaud 14 Vincent Clerc 13 Aurélien Rougerie 12 Wesley Fofana 11 Julien Malzieu 10 Lionel Beauxis 9 Julien Dupuy 1 Jean-Baptiste Poux 2 Dimitri Szarzewski 3 Nicolas Mas 4 Pascal Papé 5 Yoann Maestri 6 THIERRY DUSAUTOIR [C] 7 Julien Bonnaire 8 Imanol Harinordoquy BENCH: 16 William Servat 17 Vincent Debaty 18 Lionel Nallet 19 Louis Picamoles 20 Morgan Parra 21 François Trinh-Duc 22 Maxime Mermoz

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Wednesday 7th March 2012

IrelandDECLAN KIDNEY has named his Ireland team to play Scotland in the penultimate round of the RBS 6 Nations at Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

In the absence of Paul O’Connell, Rory Best has been named as captain and he will lead out the team for the third time. Best, whose brother Simon also captained Ireland, has previously worn the skippers armband for Ireland in wins over Canada and the USA in 2009.

Donncha Ryan will start his first RBS 6 Nations game having featured as a replacement in five previous games in the championship.

Mike McCarthy, who made his Ireland debut in the Guinness Summer Series last August is included on the bench.

Eoin Reddan will partner Jonathan Sexton in place of the injured Conor Murray with Tomas O’Leary named in the replacements.

Ireland15 Rob Kearney 14 Tommy Bowe 13 Keith Earls 12 Gordon D'Arcy 11 Andrew Trimble 10 Jonathan Sexton 9 Eoin Reddan 1 Cian Healy 2 RORY BEST [C] 3 Mike Ross 4 Donncha O'Callaghan 5 Donnacha Ryan 6 Stephen Ferris 7 Sean O'Brien 8 Jamie Heaslip BENCH: 16 Sean Cronin 17 Tom Court 18 Mike McCarthy 19 Peter O’Mahony 20 Tomas O’Leary 21 Ronan O'Gara 22 Fergus McFadden

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Wednesday 7th February 2012

walesGETHIN JENKINS will lead Wales in their 2012 RBS 6 Nations Championship match against Italy at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday with squad captain Sam Warburton ruled out of contention this weekend with a knee problem.

In one of two changes, both up front, to the starting line-up which beat England, Blues open-side flanker Warburton is replaced by fellow back row specialist Justin Tipuric who wins his fourth cap, but makes his first start for Wales.

Former squad captain Matthew Rees will pack down at hooker between fellow 2009 British & Irish Lions props Jenkins and Adam Jones to win his 49th cap, replacing fellow Scarlet Ken Owens who moves to the bench.

In the backs a rapid return from injury for Blues centre Jamie Roberts (knee) means Wales are able to field the same back line for the fourth match running.

There are three changes on the bench with Owens replacing Ospreys hooker Richard Hibbard and Dragons lock Luke Charteris, who completed his return from a wrist injury for his region on Friday, in for the promoted Tipuric. Perpignan fly-half James Hook, now fully recovered from the illness (chicken pox) which meant he was a last minute withdrawal last week in London, returns to the bench in place of Scarlets playmaker Stephen Jones.

Blues prop Jenkins wins his 86th cap having led Wales three times already, the first time against South Africa in November 2007 when he became the 125th Welsh captain, and he takes charge of a side victorious in its last three matches and leading the Championship table with just two weekends of action left.

wales15 Leigh Halfpenny 14 Alex Cuthbert 13 Jonathan Davies 12 Jamie Roberts 11 George North 10 Rhys Priestland 9 Mike Phillips 1 GETHIN JENKINS [C] 2 Matthew Rees 3 Adam Jones 4 Alun Wyn Jones 5 Ian Evans 6 Dan Lydiate 7 Justin Tipuric 8 Toby Faletau BENCH: 16 Ken Owens 17 Paul James 18 Luke Charteris 19 Ryan Jones 20 Lloyd Williams 21 James Hook 22 Scott Williams

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Tuesday 6th March 2012

italyItaly v WalesJACQUES BRUNEL has rung in some serious changes following Italy’s 42-10 defeat to Ireland last weekend. The Azzurri have a fearsome task taking on an on-form Wales at the daunting Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

Starting with the centres, Kris Burton, Fabio Semenzato and Gonzo Canale come in to replace Botes, Gori and Benvenuti. McLean shifts to the right wing allowing Mirco Bergamasco to return  from his shoulder injury on the left, and Lo Cicero returns to the front row. Bortolami drops to the bench  with Barbieri as Van Zyl and Favaro step  into the pack.

There is no room in the squad for Venditti and Gori, whilst Michele Rizzo and Roberto Quartaroli will be travelling with the squad.

italy15 Andrea Masi 14 Luke Mclean 13 Gonzalo Canale 12 Alberto Sgarbi 11 Mirco Bergamasco 10 Kristopher Burton 9 Fabio Semenzato 1 Andrea Lo Cicero 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini 3 Lorenzo Cittadini 4 Quintin Geldenhuys 5 Cornelius Van Zyl 6 Alessandro Zanni 7 Simone Favaro 8 SERGIO PARISSE [C] BENCH: 16 Tommaso D’Apice 17 Fabio Staibano 18 Marco Bortolami 19 Robert Barbieri 20 Tobias Botes 21 Tommaso Benvenuti 22 Giulio Toniolatti

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Tuesday 6th March 2012

Nick de Luca Scotland FrancescotlandSCOTLAND have made one change in personnel in their starting team for Saturday’s RBS 6 Nations Championship match against Ireland in Dublin.

Nick De Luca, the Edinburgh centre, who impressed off the bench against France, returns with Sean Lamont moving to take up his customary wing berth in place of his injured younger brother, Rory.

On the bench meanwhile, there are three changes with Euan Murray, Ruaridh Jackson and Max Evans replacing Ed Kalman, Duncan Weir and De Luca respectively.

Scotland head coach Andy Robinson said: “We did many good things in the game against France but we need to be better, especially in our accuracy and execution at breakdown, in order to beat Ireland.

“If we do the basic things well and are ruthless in contact then we can put ourselves in a position to defeat a very good Ireland team.”

Robinson is asking De Luca to replicate the form he showed against France by handing him the starting berth, while he also welcomes back Jackson.  “Ruaridh has worked hard and done well in his games with Glasgow.

“He had a tough time with injury following the Rugby World Cup but he has the strength of character required in international rugby.

“We are also delighted to see Max and Euan back in the squad and look forward to their contribution this weekend.”

scotland15 Stuart Hogg 14 Lee Jones 13 Nick De Luca 12 Graeme Morrison 11 Sean Lamont 10 Greig Laidlaw 9 Mike Blair 1 Allan Jacobsen 2 ROSS FORD [C] 3 Geoff Cross 4 Richie Gray 5 Jim Hamilton 6 John Barclay 7 Ross Rennie 8 David Denton BENCH: 16 Scott Lawson 17 Euan Murray 18 Alastair Kellock 19 Richie Vernon 20 Chris Cusiter 21 Ruaridh Jackson 22 Max Evans

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Wednesday 29th February 2012

franceIrelandFRANCE make just two changes to their starting line up for Sunday's rescheduled match against Ireland.

Clément Poitrenaud steps in at full back replacing the injured Maxime Médard, and there is a shuffle in the back row with moving up to 7, Imanol Harinordoquy comes in at No. 8 and Louis Picamoles drops to the bench.

IRELAND have name an unchanged side from last weekend's win over Italy.

france15 Clément Poitrenaud 14 Vincent Clerc 13 Aurélien Rougerie 12 Wesley Fofana 11 Julien Malzieu 10 François Trinh-Duc 9 Morgan Parra 1 Jean-Baptiste Poux 2 Dimitri Szarzewski 3 Nicolas Mas 4 Pascal Papé 5 Yoann Maestri 6 THIERRY DUSAUTOIR [C] 7 Julien Bonnaire 8 Imanol Harinordoquy BENCH: 16 William Servat 17 Vincent Debaty 18 Lionel Nallet 19 Louis Picamoles 20 Julien Dupuy 21 Lionel Beauxis 22 Maxime Mermoz

Ireland15 Rob Kearney 14 Tommy Bowe 13 Keith Earls 12 Gordon D'Arcy 11 Andrew Trimble 10 Jonathan Sexton 9 Conor Murray 1 Cian Healy 2 Rory Best 3 Mike Ross 4 Donncha O'Callaghan 5 PAUL O'CONNELL [C] 6 Stephen Ferris 7 Sean O'Brien 8 Jamie Heaslip BENCH: 16 Sean Cronin 17 Tom Court 18 Donnacha Ryan 19 Peter O’Mahony* 20 Eoin Reddan 21 Ronan O'Gara 22 Fergus McFadden

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Tuesday 28th February 2012

scotlandRory Lamont Scotland FranceSCOTLAND back Rory Lamont has undergone surgery in Edinburgh today after the leg injury (fractured fibula) which forced him to retire from Sunday’s RBS 6 Nations match against France at Murrayfield.

Rory underwent surgery yesterday at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Scotland team doctor James Robson said: "Rory is comfortable.  His convalescence will get underway at once. Injuries of this nature require typically three to four months of rehabilitation. We all wish Rory a speedy recovery."

Dr Robson added that Rory’s older brother, Sean, suffered an abrasion to his right eye; centre Graeme Morrison will require further assessment for a knee injury, stand-off Greig Laidlaw appears to have suffered a concussion and will now be subject to return to play protocols; while his half-back partner Mike Blair had a dead leg.

Among the forwards Dr Robson reported leg bruising for Jim Hamilton and dead legs for Glasgow Warriors pair Richie Gray and John Barclay.

Six other players from the match-day 22 will require treatment from the Scotland medical team for lesser soft tissue injuries.

Scotland’s home-based players will convene at Murrayfield on Wednesday to begin preparations for their next match in the RBS 6 Nations Championship – against Ireland in Dublin on Saturday 10 March.

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Monday 27th February 2012

italyMartin CastrogiovanniMARTIN CASTROGIOVANNI returns to the Azzurri training squad despite his broken rib, in preparation for the final two matches against Wales at the Millennium Stadium on 10th March, and Scotland at the Stadio Olimpico on 17th March.

Alongside the Leicester prop, veteran prop Carlo Del Fava from Aironi replaces the injured Antonio Pavanello, Manoa Vosawai of Benetton Treviso comes in for the suspended Mauro Bergamasco [4 week ban for striking Rhys Webb during the Ospreys vs Aironi match on 17th February]. Finally, Mirco Bergamasco returns from his shoulder surgery  to the squad.

The squad reconvene in Rome on Sunday, 4th March, and Jacques Brunel will announce his starting 22 on Wednesday, 7th March, before the team leave for Cardiff the following day.

FORWARDS: Martin Castrogiovanni, Lorenzo Cittadini, Andrea Lo Cicero, Michele Rizzo, Fabio Staibano, Tommaso D’Apice, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Marco Bortolami, Carlo Antonio Del Fava, Quintin Geldenhuys, Cornelius Van Zyl, Robert Barbieri, Simone Favaro, Francesco Minto, Sergio Parisse [C], Manoa Vosawai, Alessandro Zanni

BACKS: Edoardo Gori, Fabio Semenzato, Kristopher Burton, Tobias Botes, Tommaso Benvenuti, Gonzalo Canale, Luca Morisi, Alberto Sgarbi, Mirco Bergamasco, Roberto Quartaroli, Giulio Toniolatti, Giovambattista Venditti, Andrea Masi, Luke Mclean

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Monday 27th February 2012

englandTHIRTY-TWO players will meet up at Loughborough University on Monday evening through to Thursday afternoon to prepare for the RBS 6 Nations match against France at Stade de France on March 11.

A selection of players will be released on Wednesday evening to train with their clubs ahead of Aviva Premiership Round 17.

The 32-man squad heading to Loughborough are:

FORWARDS: Mouritz Botha, Calum Clark, Alex Corbisiero, Dan Cole, Tom Croft, Paul Doran Jones, Phil Dowson, Dylan Hartley, Courtney Lawes, Joe Marler, Lee Mears, Ben Morgan, Tom Palmer, Geoff Parling, Chris Robshaw [C], Matt Stevens, Thomas Waldrom, Rob Webber

BACKS: Chris Ashton, Brad Barritt, Mike Brown, Lee Dickson, Owen Farrell, Toby Flood, Ben Foden, Charlie Hodgson, Joe Simpson, Charlie Sharples, David Strettle, Manusamoa Tuilagi, Jordan Turner-Hall, Ben Youngs

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Monday 27th February 2012

franceMaxime Medard France injuryWITH the exception of Maxime Médard, the Fédération Française de Rugby is keeping together the same squad in preparation for the rescheduled match against Ireland on Sunday, 4th March at the Stade de France.

Médard was forced off in the final quarter of the winning match against Scotland at the weekend with a knee injury. On the team’s return to Paris on Monday, Médard will undergo a thorough medical examination to determine the severity of the injury, which is thought to be a strain of the anterior cruciate ligament the medial collateral ligament of the knee.

Seasoned fullback Clement Poitrenaud with 44 caps from Toulouse has been called in to replace Médard.

FORWARDS: David Attoub, Julien Bonnaire, Vincent Debaty, Thierry Dusautoir [C], Imanol Harinordoquy, Nicolas Mas, Yoann Maestri, Lionel Nallet, Pascal Papé, Louis Picamoles, Jean-Baptiste Poux, William Servat, Dimitri Szarzewski

BACKS: Lionel Beauxis, Vincent Clerc, Julien Dupuy, Wesley Fofana, Julien Malzieu, Maxime Mermoz, Morgan Parra, Clement Poitrenaud, Aurélien Rougerie, François Trinh-Duc

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Thursday 23rd February 2012

walesStephen Jones replacement WalesWALES fly half Stephen Jones will replace James Hook on the replacements bench against England in the 2012 RBS 6 Nations Championship third round match at Twickenham on Saturday, 25 February.

Perpignan back Hook underwent a medical review of his recent bout of chicken pox at the Wales team headquarters in London after flying in from the French-based club this afternoon (Thursday).

Although Hook is physically well it was felt that, in the best interests of the Welsh team and the opposition, he should be withdrawn from the game.

Whilst this decision has not been taken lightly, it was concluded that this was the most responsible course of action in the present circumstances.

Jones, who holds the Welsh records for the highest number of international appearances (104) and most conversions (153), will wear the number 21 shirt vacated by Hook.

wales15 Leigh Halfpenny 14 Alex Cuthbert 13 Jonathan Davies 12 Jamie Roberts 11 George North 10 Rhys Priestland 9 Mike Phillips 1 Gethin Jenkins 2 Ken Owens 3 Adam Jones 4 Alun Wyn Jones 5 Ian Evans 6 Dan Lydiate 7 SAM WARBURTON [C] 8 Toby Faletau BENCH: 16 Richard Hibbard 17 Paul James 18 Ryan Jones 19 Justin Tipuric Andy Powell 20 Lloyd Williams 21 Stephen Jones 22 Scott Williams

For previews, officials and details for week 3 of RBS Six Nations, click here:

6Ns12 Results

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Thursday 23rd February 2012

englandEngland RugbyENGLAND have made four personnel changes to their starting line-up for Saturday’s RBS 6 Nations match against Wales at Twickenham Stadium.

Lee Dickson, Ben Morgan and Geoff Parling will all start their first Tests at the home of English rugby after coming off the bench against Scotland and Italy.

In addition, Owen Farrell will move to No 10 in place of Charlie Hodgson, who has not recovered from an injury to his left index finger, with Manusamoa Tuilagi coming in to the centre.

Courtney Lawes and Toby Flood make their first appearances of the campaign on the bench.

Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said: "It's been a good start with two wins but we've got real competition for places and Lee, Ben and Geoff deserve an opportunity to start this game. It means that Phil (Dowson) and Ben (Youngs) will provide a different role from the bench and it's great to have Courtney and Toby, who can also give us options in what I am sure will be a full-on encounter.

"Charlie cut his finger in training earlier in the week and needed stitches but it swelled up and there is a sprain there. We assessed him this morning and he cannot grip fully. Owen has trained throughout and knows our patterns and plays so we are fully confident in his ability to run the game from 10 and we are looking forward to seeing how Brad and Manu gel together in the centre.

"It's our first home game of the RBS 6 Nations which we are really excited about and we are sure the crowd will get behind us just as the travelling supporters have done in Scotland and Italy. Playing at Twickenham makes it extra special for us and I know we will get all the encouragement we need."

england15 Ben Foden 14 Chris Ashton 13 Manusamoa Tuilagi 12 Brad Barritt 11 David Strettle 10 Owen Farrell 9 Lee Dickson 1 Alex Corbisiero 2 Dylan Hartley 3 Dan Cole 4 Mouritz Botha 5 Geoff Parling 6 Tom Croft 7 CHRIS ROBSHAW [C] 8 Ben Morgan BENCH: 16 Rob Webber 17 Matt Stevens 18 Courtney Lawes 19 Phil Dowson 20 Ben Youngs 21 Toby Flood 22 Mike Brown

For previews, officials and details for week 3 of RBS Six Nations, click here:

6Ns12 Results

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Wednesday 22nd February 2012

italyITALY coach, Jacques Brunel, has made four changes to his side which face Ireland in Dublin on Saturday afternoon.

In the Azzurri backs, Tobias Botes starts at fly-half alongside centre, Alberto Sgarbi, and in the front row Michele Rizzo and Lorenzo Cittadini are named in the starting line up, the latter replacing the injured Martin Castrogiovanni. Andrea Lo Cicero will travel to the Emerald Isle with the team.

Italy’s only previous win in Ireland was 37-29 in a friendly at the old Lansdowne Road on 4 January 1997.  Ireland have won their last 16 test matches against Italy, since the Azzurri triumphed 37-22 in
Bologna on 20 December 1997.

italy15 Andrea Masi 14 Giovanbattista Venditti 13 Tommaso Benvenuti 12 Alberto Sgarbi 11 Luke Mclean 10 Tobias Botes 9 Edoardo Gori 1 Michele Rizzo 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini 3 Lorenzo Cittadini 4 Quintin Geldenhuys 5 Marco Bortolami 6 Alessandro Zanni 7 Robert Barbieri 8 SERGIO PARISSE [C] BENCH: 16 Tommaso D’Apice 17 Fabio Staibano 18 Antonio Pavanello 19 Simone Favaro 20 Fabio Semenzato 21 Kristopher Burton 22 Gonzalo Canale

Andrea Lo Cicero and Giulio Toniolatti will travel with the squad.

For the teams, previews, officials and details for week 3 of RBS Six Nations, click here:

6Ns12 Results

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Wednesday 22nd February 2012

scotlandStuart Hogg ScotlandGLASGOW WARRIORS teenage full-back Stuart Hogg will make his first start for Scotland in Sunday’s RBS 6 Nations Championship match against France at Murrayfield.

Hogg, a product of the Hawick club, will be joined by his Warriors’ team-mates, centre Graeme Morrison and flanker John Barclay in the starting line-up, while a fourth change in personnel from the team that lost against Wales earlier this month sees Edinburgh Rugby’s Mike Blair preferred to his fellow British Lion, Chris Cusiter at scrum-half.

There are two further positional switches with Rory Lamont moving to the right wing and his elder brother Sean moving to outside centre.

Cusiter and Nick De Luca are now on the bench, where Richie Vernon will be involved for the first time in a match-day 22 since the Rugby World Cup pool match against England last October.

Scotland head coach Andy Robinson said: "Stuart Hogg did well off the bench in Cardiff, stood out in the A team victory over England Saxons and has been one of Glasgow’s most consistent performers this season. He fully deserves his first start."

Sunday’s match is a 67,144 full-house at Murrayfield and supporters are again reminded to allow extra time to reach the stadium on account of ongoing road and tram works in Edinburgh, while supporters travelling by train from the north, north-east, Tayside and Fife are also advised of engineering works being carried out by Network Rail which will extend their journey times.

There will be extensive pre-match entertainment in the stadium and its grounds, and supporters have the chance to acclaim Nathan Hines, the 77-times-capped lock and back-row forward and Dan Parks, the 67-times-capped stand-off, who together be delivering the match ball.

scotland15 Stuart Hogg 14 Rory Lamont 13 Sean Lamont 12 Graeme Morrison 11 Lee Jones 10 Greig Laidlaw 9 Mike Blair 1 Allan Jacobsen 2 ROSS FORD [C] 3 Geoff Cross 4 Richie Gray 5 Jim Hamilton 6 John Barclay 7 Ross Rennie 8 David Denton BENCH: 16 Scott Lawson 17 Ed Kalman 18 Alastair Kellock 19 Richie Vernon 20 Chris Cusiter 21 Duncan Weir* 22 Nick De Luca

Not considered due to injury: Max Evans, Joe Ansbro, Alasdair Strokosch and Kelly Brown.

For previews, officials and details for week 3 of RBS Six Nations, click here:

6Ns12 Results

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Tuesday 21st February 2012

englandTHE following players will return to Pennyhill Park on Wednesday evening to train with England ahead of Saturday’s RBS 6 Nations match against Wales at Twickenham Stadium:

FORWARDS: Mouritz Botha, Alex Corbisiero, Dan Cole, Tom Croft, Phil Dowson, Dylan Hartley, Courtney Lawes, Ben Morgan, Geoff Parling, Chris Robshaw, Matt Stevens, Rob Webber

BACKS: Chris Ashton, Brad Barritt, Lee Dickson, Owen Farrell, Toby Flood, Ben Foden, Charlie Hodgson, David Strettle, Manusamoa Tuilagi, Ben Youngs

Lee Dickson, Geoff Parling and Ben Morgan should all start, and suspect Tuilagi, Lawes and Flood will be on the bench.

England will name their team to face Wales on Thursday morning.

The following players return to their clubs this evening and are available for the weekend’s Aviva Premiership Round 16:

Chris Brooker (Harlequins)
Mike Brown (Harlequins)
Calum Clark (Northampton Saints)
Paul Doran Jones (Northampton Saints)
Joe Marler (Harlequins)
Tom Palmer (Stade Français)
Joe Simpson (London Wasps)
Jordan Turner-Hall (Harlequins)
Thomas Waldrom (Leicester Tigers)

England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said: "We've had a great two days of  training and some difficult selection decisions with players coming back into the equation. There are some players have missed out this time but their attitude in training has been outstanding. We will look forward to meeting again on Wednesday night with our match day 22 and finalising preparations for the game."

For previews, officials and details for week 3 of RBS Six Nations, click here:

6Ns12 Results

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Tuesday 21st February 2012

franceIrelandBOTH France and Ireland have named the same teams that were due to play each other in Week 2 to face Scotland and Wales this weekend.

The rescheduled match has been confirmed for Sunday 4th March in the previously designated rest week, with a kick off time of 4pm CET at the Stade de France.

For the teams, previews, officials and details for week 3 of RBS Six Nations, click here:

6Ns12 Results

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Tuesday 21st February 2012

walesSAM WARBURTON returns to captain Wales in one of three changes made to the side which triumphed over Scotland last time out for the RBS 6 Nations third round visit to Twickenham on Saturday.

Ospreys second row Alun Wyn Jones comes straight into the starting line-up against England, after completing his return from a toe injury to join up with the squad earlier this week and will win his 60th cap.

That means last week’s captain, his regional colleague Ryan Jones, moves to the bench, with Sale Sharks back row Andy Powell missing out.

Finally, Scarlets hooker Ken Owens makes his first start for his country in place of injured Osprey Huw Bennett (calf).

Owens won the second of his two caps as a replacement in the 27-13 win over the Scots at the Millennium Stadium just under a fortnight ago and made his debut from the bench against Namibia in the Pool stages of the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

The Wales backline remains unchanged from that which started both victories so far in the Championship, against Ireland in Dublin and Scotland in Cardiff.

"A fit again Alun Wyn Jones is selected based on his Rugby World Cup form and his experience as an international lock," said Wales head coach Warren Gatland.

"He gave us a selection dilemma but it has been a great problem to have and, whilst Ryan Jones is particularly unlucky to miss out on this occasion, this is just that kind of competition for places we have been striving for.

"Ken Owens has been waiting patiently for his chance and whilst injuries elsewhere have meant he gets his opportunity this weekend we are expecting him to take it."

wales15 Leigh Halfpenny 14 Alex Cuthbert 13 Jonathan Davies 12 Jamie Roberts 11 George North 10 Rhys Priestland 9 Mike Phillips 1 Gethin Jenkins 2 Ken Owens 3 Adam Jones 4 Alun Wyn Jones 5 Ian Evans 6 Dan Lydiate 7 SAM WARBURTON [C] 8 Toby Faletau BENCH: 16 Richard Hibbard 17 Paul James 18 Ryan Jones 19 Justin Tipuric Andy Powell 20 Lloyd Williams 21 James Hook 22 Scott Williams

For previews, officials and details for week 3 of RBS Six Nations, click here:

6Ns12 Results

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Monday 20th February 2012

scotlandRuaridh Jackson ScotlandGLASGOW WARRIORS stand-off Ruaridh Jackson, is added to the Scotland squad having played in the last two Warriors RaboDirect PRO12 matches against Scarlets and Connacht.

Scotland wing Max Evans and lock Jim Hamilton were unable to train with the squad when they convened at Murrayfield today to begin preparations for Sunday’s home RBS 6 Nations Championship match against France.

Evans is continuing his rehabilitation for the ankle injury he sustained against Wales eight days ago, while Hamilton has a throat infection.

Two other forwards, Richie Vernon (ankle) and Scott Lawson (dead leg) are also receiving treatment from the Scotland medical team following injuries they sustained in their club matches at the weekend, Vernon for Sale Sharks against Northampton Saints and Lawson in the Gloucester v Bath encounter.

Meanwhile, Ed Kalman, the Glasgow Warriors prop who made his international debut in Cardiff, resumes team training today having recovered from neck pain following that match.

The Scotland team will be named on Wednesday.

For previews, officials and details for week 3 of RBS Six Nations, click here:

6Ns12 Results

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Monday 20th February 2012

walesAlun Wyn Jones & Richard Hibbard WalesWALES have called Ospreys forwards Alun Wyn Jones and Richard Hibbard into their RBS 6 Nations 2012 training squad preparing to take on England at Twickenham on Saturday.

The 59-times capped lock Jones made his second appearance for his region since returning from a toe injury on Friday night and he joins the squad as a direct replacement for Blues second row Bradley Davies, who is currently serving a suspension.

Hibbard, who has featured for his country on 15 occasions, has been called up as cover due to the well documented injury concerns over fellow Ospreys hooker Huw Bennett and Scarlet Matthew Rees (both are recovering from calf strains) and will boost training numbers at the WRU National Centre of Excellence, alongside Jones, to 38 from Monday.

For previews, officials and details for week 3 of RBS Six Nations, click here:

6Ns12 Results

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Friday 17th February 2012

scotlandRoss Ford Thierry DusautoirSCOTTISH RUGBY have confirmed that for the first time since Murrayfield Stadium was redeveloped in 1994, the Scotland v France match has sold-out.

Sunday’s match will have a capacity attendance, 67,144, just as the Calcutta Cup match did earlier this month.

Scotland captain Ross Ford today thanked fans for their support. He commented "We’re really grateful to the Scotland fans. It’s humbling to know that our fellow countrymen and women are right behind us."

Scottish Rugby’s Director of Communications and Public Affairs Dominic McKay added: "We are delighted to have sold-out our two home Scotland matches in this season's RBS 6 Nations Championship. The feedback we received following our enhanced match-day entertainment that we introduced at the game against England has also been very supportive.

"Once again supporters will be entertained pre-match by pipes and drums, a brass band, Kilter, Sambalistic and Clann An Drumma, while the Red Hot Chilli Pipers will play in the stadium itself.

"Thanks again to all our supporters for their continued backing of the Scotland team."

The match against France kicks-off at 3pm on Sunday 26 February and will be preceded by a come and try rugby skills zone on the artificial pitch behind the West Stand, in addition to the musical entertainment.

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Wednesday 15th February 2012

englandChris Robshaw England captainCHRIS ROBSHAW has been made England captain for the rest of the 2012 RBS 6 Nations.

Having led England to away wins over Scotland and Italy, and made the most tackles of both matches so far, Harlequins’ Robshaw will next skipper the side against Wales at Twickenham Stadium on February 25.

England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said: "Chris has stepped into the role well and led a new team in two tough away fixtures. He is one of many leaders we could have chosen against Scotland and Italy but he has shown on and off the field the qualities required to captain a side. We feel it is right to make a call now that Chris will lead England for the rest of the RBS 6 Nations."

Meanwhile, 15 players will be available for Aviva Premiership Round 15 this weekend when they leave the England camp tonight.

Ben Morgan will also be available to the Scarlets for their RaboDirect PRO 12 match against Leinster, while Tom Palmer has been training with Stade Français for their Top 14 Orange game against Toulon.

"It’s important that we support the clubs and also that players get some game time so we can see where they are really up to in terms of fitness and form before we head into a Test week against an on-song Wales," said Lancaster.

Players available for Aviva Premiership Round 15/ RaboDirect PRO 12/ Top 14 Orange

Mike Brown (Harlequins)
Calum Clark (Northampton Saints)
Paul Doran Jones (Northampton Saints)
Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)
Joe Marler (Harlequins)
Lee Mears (Bath Rugby)
Ben Morgan (Scarlets)
Tom Palmer (Stade Français)
Charlie Sharples (Gloucester Rugby)
Joe Simpson (London Wasps)
Matt Stevens (Saracens)
Manusamoa Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers)
Jordan Turner-Hall (Harlequins)
Thomas Waldrom (Leicester Tigers)
Rob Webber (London Wasps)top

 

 


Tuesday 14th February 2012

franceDavid Attoub Stade FrancaisPHILIPPE SAINT-ANDRÉ has announced his 23 man squad to face Scotland at Murrayfield on Sunday 26th February.

The only change to the squad who were to face the Irish is the addition of Stade Français prop David Attoub who earned his only cap so far against Romania in 2006.

FORWARDS: David Attoub, Vincent Debaty, Nicolas Mas, Jean-Baptiste Poux, William Servat, Dimitri Szarzewski, Yoann Maestri, Lionel Nallet, Pascal Papé, Julien Bonnaire, Thierry Dusautoir [C], Imanol Harinordoquy, Louis Picamoles

BACKS: Julien Dupuy, Morgan Parra, Lionel Beauxis, François Trinh-Duc, Vincent Clerc, Wesley Fofana, Julien Malzieu, Maxime Médard, Maxime Mermoz, Aurélien Rougerie

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Monday 13th February 2012

scotlandSCOTLAND’s blindside flanker Alasdair Strokosch could miss the remainder of the RBS 6 Nations Championship on account of an injury he sustained in Sunday’s international against Wales in Cardiff.

Strokosch was examined under the care of his club’s medical team in Gloucester and was found to have fractured his hand.  "Recovery from such an injury takes typically between four to six weeks," said Scotland team doctor James Robson.

Dr Robson also reported that wing Max Evans, who is on crutches and wearing an immobilising boot, was being sent for a scan when the team arrived back in Edinburgh following the ankle injury that forced his substitution during the first-half of the match at the Millennium Stadium.

"Max will be seen by the specialist ankle surgeon John McKinley at Spire Murrayfield Hospital today and we will await a further update later this week," Dr Robson noted.

Two other players will also require medical monitoring this week, back-row forward David Denton, who has a foot injury, and debutant prop Ed Kalman (neck pain).

The Scotland squad will reconvene next week for their third match of the championship – against France at Murrayfield on Sunday 26 February (kick-off 3pm).

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Thursday 9th February 2012

englandCourtney Lawes Manu Tuilagi England 2012ENGLAND have announced the thirty players who will return to Pennyhill Park on the evening of Monday, February 13 to prepare for the RBS 6 Nations match against Wales at Twickenham Stadium on February 25.

Manu Tuilagi and Courtney Lawes both return to full training.

David Wilson (jaw) will remain at Bath Rugby for treatment while Tom Palmer will train with Stade Francais and be available for their Top 14 Orange match against Toulon on Saturday.

The squad will train up to and including Thursday with a selection of players being released on Wednesday evening to play in Aviva Premiership Round 15.

FORWARDS: Mouritz Botha, Calum Clark, Alex Corbisiero, Dan Cole, Tom Croft, Phil Dowson, Dylan Hartley, Courtney Lawes, Joe Marler, Lee Mears, Ben Morgan, Geoff Parling, Chris Robshaw, Matt Stevens, Thomas Waldrom, Rob Webber

BACKS: Chris Ashton, Brad Barritt, Mike Brown, Lee Dickson, Owen Farrell, Toby Flood, Ben Foden, Charlie Hodgson, Joe Simpson, Charlie Sharples, David Strettle, Manusamoa Tuilagi, Jordan Turner-Hall, Ben Youngs

For teams, officials and details for week 2 of RBS Six Nations, click here:

6Ns12 Results

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Thursday 9th February 2012

walesWALES have made three changes to their starting line-up for the RBS 6 Nations Championship Round 2 match against Scotland at the Millennium Stadium on Sunday (kick-off 3.00pm).

Gethin Jenkins, the 83-times capped Blues and British & Irish Lions loose-head prop, has overcome a knee problem to replace Rhys Gill in the front row, with Gill missing out altogether, and Dragons back row forward Dan Lydiate (ankle) returns to the flank. Ryan Jones, who featured in the back row last weekend, moves to lock in place of the suspended Bradley Davies, and makes his 60th international appearance on Sunday.

One more change occurs on the bench, with uncapped Scarlets lock Lou Reed set to make his debut if required, but elsewhere Warren Gatland and his coaching team have said ‘same again’ to the team who gave them a winning start to the 2012 Championship in the tough opening fixture at the Aviva Stadium last Sunday.

Wales assistant coach Rob Howley agrees that his side must have the right approach in order to achieve victory over Scotland this weekend.

"Scotland should have beaten England at the weekend, they will obviously be disappointed and they will want to go one better, which would obviously mean winning the game, so we must be ready for them," he said.

wales15 Leigh Halfpenny 14 Alex Cuthbert 13 Jonathan Davies 12 Jamie Roberts 11 George North 10 Rhys Priestland 9 Mike Phillips 2 Gethin Jenkins 2 Huw Bennett 3 Adam Jones 4 Ryan Jones 5 Ian Evans 6 Dan Lydiate 7 SAM WARBURTON [C] 8 Toby Faletau BENCH: 16 Ken Owens 17 Paul James 18 Lou Reed* 19 Andy Powell 20 Lloyd Williams 21 James Hook 22 Scott Williams

For teams, officials and previews for week 2 of RBS Six Nations, click here:

6Ns12 Results

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Thursday 9th February 2012

scotlandSCOTLAND have made two changes to their starting line-up and a further three on the bench for Sunday’s RBS 6 Nations Championship match against Wales in Cardiff.

The alterations in the starting team following last weekend’s Calcutta Cup defeat see a first start for Edinburgh Rugby captain Greig Laidlaw in the number ten shirt, replacing Dan Parks, while his club mate Geoff Cross comes in at tight-head prop for the unavailable Euan Murray.

On the bench, three uncapped players have been called-up, all rewarded for recent form in the colours of both Glasgow Warriors and Scotland A – prop Ed Kalman, 20-year-old stand-off Duncan Weir and 19-year-old full-back Stuart Hogg.  Weir and Hogg both scored fine individual tries in Scotland A’s 35-0 win against their English counterparts last week.

scotland15 Rory Lamont 14 Lee Jones 13 Nick De Luca 12 Sean Lamont 11 Max Evans 10 Greig Laidlaw 9 Chris Cusiter 1 Allan Jacobsen 2 ROSS FORD [C] 3 Geoff Cross 4 Richie Gray 5 Jim Hamilton 6 Alasdair Strokosch 7 Ross Rennie 8 David Denton BENCH: 16 Scott Lawson 17 Ed Kalman* 18 Alastair Kellock 19 John Barclay 20 Mike Blair 21 Duncan Weir* 22 Stuart Hogg*

For teams, officials and previews for week 2 of RBS Six Nations, click here:

6Ns12 Results

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Thursday 9th February 2012

IrelandTHE Ireland team to play France in the RBS 6 Nations Championship on Saturday, February 11th in Stade de France has been named.

There is one change to the starting XV as Keith Earls returns to the starting XV having missed out on the game against Wales last Sunday. Fergus McFadden moves to the bench in place of David Kearney.

Ireland15 Rob Kearney 14 Tommy Bowe 13 Keith Earls 12 Gordon D'Arcy 11 Andrew Trimble 10 Jonathan Sexton 9 Conor Murray 1 Cian Healy 2 Rory Best 3 Mike Ross 4 Donncha O'Callaghan 5 PAUL O'CONNELL [C] 6 Stephen Ferris 7 Sean O'Brien 8 Jamie Heaslip BENCH: 16 Sean Cronin 17 Tom Court 18 Donnacha Ryan 19 Peter O’Mahony* 20 Eoin Reddan 21 Ronan O'Gara 22 Fergus McFadden

For teams, officials and previews for week 2 of RBS Six Nations, click here:

6Ns12 Results

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Thursday 9th February 2012

franceDimitri Yachvili & Morgan Parra | FranceLES BLEUS have been forced to make a change to their starting line-up announced on Tuesday to face Ireland.

Dimitri Yachvili, who started at scrum half last week, is suffering from a back problem which is not going away, so Morgan Parra steps up to the number 9 position. Saint-André has named Stade Français' Julien Dupuy on the bench as Para's replacement, who has 6 caps but has not played for his country since 2009.

france15 Maxime Médard 14 Vincent Clerc 13 Aurélien Rougerie 12 Wesley Fofana 11 Julien Malzieu 10 François Trinh-Duc 9 Morgan Parra 1 Jean-Baptiste Poux 2 Dimitri Szarzewski 3 Nicolas Mas 4 Pascal Papé 5 Yoann Maestri 6 THIERRY DUSAUTOIR [C] 7 Imanol Harinordoquy 8 Louis Picamoles BENCH: 16 William Servat 17 Vincent Debaty 18 Lionel Nallet 19 Julien Bonnaire 20 Julien Dupuy 21 Lionel Beauxis 22 Maxime Mermoz

For teams, officials and previews for week 2 of RBS Six Nations, click here:

6Ns12 Results

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Thursday 9th February 2012

englandEngland RugbyENGLAND today named an unchanged 22 to play Italy in Saturday’s RBS 6 Nations match at Stadio Olimpico.

Seven players were capped for the first time in the Calcutta Cup win over Scotland and the same starting XV and bench will travel to Rome.

Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said: "We have had a good week in spite of the weather and reflected on the game, reviewed and learnt from it and will look to improve the quality of our performance this week.

"We have decided to leave the starting team the same to allow them more time to gel together and we are expecting our bench to come on and make an impact as they did last week. Italy will be a very difficult challenge with nearly 700 caps in their starting line-up and it promises to be an outstanding occasion at the sold-out Stadio Olimpico."

 

england15 Ben Foden 14 Chris Ashton 13 Brad Barritt 12 Owen Farrell 11 David Strettle 10 Charlie Hodgson 9 Ben Youngs 1 Alex Corbisiero 2 Dylan Hartley 3 Dan Cole 4 Mouritz Botha 5 Tom Palmer 6 Tom Croft 7 CHRIS ROBSHAW [C] 8 Phil Dowson BENCH: 16 Rob Webber* 17 Matt Stevens 18 Geoff Parling 19 Ben Morgan 20 Lee Dickson 21 Jordan Turner-Hall 22 Mike Brown

For teams, officials and previews for week 2 of RBS Six Nations, click here:

6Ns12 Results

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Wednesday 8th February 2012

italyJACQUES BRUNEL has made only two changes to the team from the first round of the RBS Six Nations in a bid to beat England on Saturday at the Stadio Olimpico.

Marco Bortolami comes into the second row to earn his 90th cap displacing Cornelius Van Zyl from the 22, and Gonzalo Canale steps into the shoes of Alberto Sgarbi who is also dropped.

On the bench, Mauro Bergamasco has recovered from his shoulder injury so joins the squad, alongside Benetton Trevso captain, Antonio Pavanello, while Luca Morisi is named at 22 hoping to win his first cap.

On Tuesday afternoon, there were only 2,000 tickets left available for the Italy vs England clash, and is expected to sell out resulting in the largest RBS Six Nations home crowd for Italy.

italy15 Andrea Masi 14 Giovanbattista Venditti 13 Tommaso Benvenuti 12 Gonzalo Canale 11 Luke Mclean 10 Kristopher Burton 9 Edoardo Gori 1 Andrea Lo Cicero 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini 3 Martin Castrogiovanni 4 Quintin Geldenhuys 5 Marco Bortolami 6 Alessandro Zanni 7 Robert Barbieri 8 SERGIO PARISSE [C] BENCH: 16 Tommaso D’Apice 17 Lorenzo Cittadini 18 Antonio Pavanello 19 Mauro Bergamasco 20 Fabio Semenzato 21 Tobias Botes 22 Luca Morisi*

For teams, officials and previews for week 2 of RBS Six Nations, click here:

6Ns12 Results

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Wednesday 7th February 2012

walesBradley Davies Stephen Ferris yellow cardsBradley Davies, Wales lock forward, was suspended for 7 weeks having been cited by Achille Reali, the independent Six Nations citing commissioner for an incident of foul play in the RBS 6 Nations match between Ireland and Wales in Dublin on Sunday.

The independent Six Nations Disciplinary Committee, having considered the citing report and the television footage, and having listened to the player’s explanation, found that the incident, in which the player lifted his opponent beyond a horizontal position but did not bring him to the ground safely contrary to Law 10.4(j) and the IRB’s particular emphasis on this aspect of the game, merited a top end entry to the IRB’s table of sanctions. 

The Committee applied an additional two weeks to the entry point of 10 weeks to reflect the need for a deterrent for this type of foul play but, in mitigation, took account of various factors in the player’s favour including his admission of guilt, his previous good disciplinary record and his conduct at the hearing in allowing the maximum possible reduction of five weeks. 

Bradley Davies can resume playing on 26 March 2012, and has the right of appeal.

Following Davies' hearing, next up was the case for Stephen Ferris resulting in the Irishman being exonerated and free to play immediately.

The independent Six Nations Disciplinary Committee considered a citing complaint under Law 10.4(j) by Achille Reali in the same match at the weekend, and after careful analysis of the video evidence and consideration of the player’s and his representative’s explanation of the tackle, did not uphold the citing.

Ireland Team Manager, Mick Kearney commented, "We are obviously delighted that Stephen has been totally exonerated of any wrongdoing.

"While we understand and fully support the stance to stamp out dangerous tackles in the game to make it safe at all levels, the disciplinary panel itself felt that the decision to award a penalty was incorrect and we also felt that it was a fair and legitimate tackle by Stephen."

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Tuesday 7th February 2012

englandEngland Rugby training at the O2AFTER a hard day's training at the O2 under the cover of the London Soccer Dome, peppered with a mild sprinkling of R&R whilst chatting to the media in the comfort of the futuristic O2 Lounge, Stuart Lancaster has sent home the following players to their clubs this evening and will be available for the weekend’s Aviva Premiership Round 14:

Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby), Matt Banahan (Bath Rugby), Calum Clark (Northampton Saints), Karl Dickson (Harlequins), Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers), Lee Mears (Bath Rugby), Charlie Sharples (Gloucester Rugby), Thomas Waldrom (Leicester Tigers).

The O2 LoungeA beaming assistant coach, Andy Farrell told us "We defended like Trojans. To fight for each other like we did after only nine days together and come out on top was a tremendous effort.

"At the final whistle I felt as proud as I have in my rugby career." But as well as being a proud mentor to this young side, he also watched his son, Owen, make his England debut in a very promising fashion. Though Faz did admit "There's a lot we need to improve on."

And it was not just the win that pleased the coaching staff immensely; the England analysts, Michael Hughes and Duncan Locke have been seriously hard at work too, and figured the team made the highest tackle count for a long while with 238, and defended for 27mins 54 secs, which is 5 mins 23 seconds longer than in any of the last 17 Test matches!

The only very slight injury niggles are Lee Dickson's hand which appears to be coming along nicely, but Joe Simpson is retained as cover just in case, and Charlie Hodgson did not participate in any contact training due to a sore shoulder, but is expected to be fine for the battle against Italy.

The squad returning to Penny Hill on Wednesday evening are:

FORWARDS: Mouritz Botha, Alex Corbisiero, Dan Cole, Tom Croft, Phil Dowson, Dylan Hartley, Joe Marler,  Ben Morgan, Tom Palmer, Geoff Parling, Chris Robshaw, Matt Stevens, Rob Webber

BACKS: Chris Ashton, Brad Barritt, Mike Brown, Karl Dickson, Owen Farrell, Ben Foden, Charlie Hodgson, Joe Simpson, David Strettle, Jordan Turner-Hall, Ben Youngs

To see how all the teams fared in week 1 of RBS Six Nations, click here:

6Ns12 Results

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Tuesday 7th February 2012

francePHILIPPE SAINT-ANDRE has made four changes to his starting line up to face Ireland at the Stade de France in Paris on Saturday evening. A more experienced pack has been chosen to face the Irish team who no doubt the French are wary of after the strong display of the provinces in Europe's Heineken Cup.

Yoann Maestri FranceToulouse lock Yoann Maestri makes his first start for Les Bleus with Lionel Nallet dropping to the bench. The front row is bolstered with Jean-Baptiste Poux and Dimitri Szarzewski, relegating Vincent Debaty and William Servat to replacements. And finally the strength and depth of Imanol Harinordoquy at No. 8 is preferred over Louis Picamoles.

"It’s the same squad of 22 except there are four changes in the starting line-up. We wanted to keep things fresh. We perhaps worked a little too hard last week and were lacking energy in the first half," Saint-André commented on his decision.

"We won’t play with 15 players, but 22. They are very good in the lineout. It’s logical for Imanol Harinordoquy to come in.

"We need to be more precise with our cleanouts. Yoann Maestri was very good in that area when he came on against Italy.

"These aren’t punishments, just adjustments for Ireland. We wanted to have some consistency in the backline. As soon as we injected some pace we were dangerous. We wanted to see exactly the same backline in action again."

france15 Maxime Médard 14 Vincent Clerc 13 Aurélien Rougerie 12 Wesley Fofana 11 Julien Malzieu 10 François Trinh-Duc 9 Dimitri Yachvili 1 Jean-Baptiste Poux 2 Dimitri Szarzewski 3 Nicolas Mas 4 Pascal Papé 5 Yoann Maestri 6 THIERRY DUSAUTOIR [C] 7 Imanol Harinordoquy 8 Louis Picamoles BENCH: 16 William Servat 17 Vincent Debaty 18 Lionel Nallet 19 Julien Bonnaire 20 Morgan Parra 21 Lionel Beauxis 22 Maxime Mermoz

For teams, officials and previews for week 2 of RBS Six Nations, click here:

6Ns12 Results

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Tuesday 7th February 2012

walesBradley Davies Stephen Ferris yellow cardsBradley Davies (Wales) and Stephen Ferris (Ireland) have been cited for foul play under IRB Law 10.4(j)* by Achille Reali (Italy), the Ireland v Wales independent Six Nations Citing Commissioner. 

The players’ hearings, before an independent Six Nations Disciplinary Committee, will be held on Wednesday (8 February) in London.

IrelandBradley Davies tip-tackled Ryan dumping him on his head with serious intent and should have seen a red card without question, which even Wales coach, Warren Gatland admitted on camera after the game. Stephen Ferris tackled Ian Evans barely getting him off the ground, possibly not even warranting a penalty unless watched in slow motion, but definitely not deserving of a yellow card.

*Law 10.4 (j) states: "Lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground whilst that player’s feet are still off the ground such that the player’s head and/or upper body come into contact with the ground is dangerous play".

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Tuesday 7th February 2012

walesDAN Lydiate and Gethin Jenkins are both expected to return to full training this week in time to make themselves available for selection for Wales’ second round RBS 6 Nations clash with Scotland at the Millennium Stadium on Sunday (Kick-off 3pm).

The Wales side to take on the Scots in Cardiff will now be named on Thursday, 9 February, to allow injury issues to subside and to await news from the citing hearing taking place tomorrow (Wed) involving Bradley Davies.

Dragons back row Lydiate (ankle) and Blues prop Jenkins (knee) will be integrated back into full training during the early part of this week as will Blues wing Alex Cuthbert, who is following the normal return to play protocols following taking a bump to the head.

Cuthbert will be available for selection and it is also hoped his Blues colleague, the Wales captain Sam Warburton, will recover sufficiently from a dead leg to be in contention, but his fitness will be continually assessed over the next few days.

Tickets are still available for Wales versus Scotland and the clash with Italy on Saturday 10 March, from the telephone hotline 02920 230130 or online:

Ticket Office Wales Ticketline UK

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Sunday 5th February 2012

englandKarl Dickson QuinsKARL DICKSON of Harlequins will join up with England tomorrow to prepare for Saturday's RBS 6 Nations match against Italy at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

Dickson comes in as injury cover from the England Saxons Elite Player Squad  for younger brother Lee, who fractured a metacarpal in his left hand during Saturday’s Calcutta Cup win over Scotland and saw a specialist today following consultation between the England and Northampton Saints’ medical teams.  

Toby Flood EnglandToby Flood, who played for Leicester Tigers against Newcastle Falcons in Saturday’s LV= Cup Round 4, returns to camp in place of Saracens’ Alex Goode.

The squad meet up at Pennyhill Park tomorrow morning.

Staying at their clubs this week are Courtney Lawes (knee), Manusamoa Tuilagi (calf) and Tom Wood (foot).

FORWARDS: Dave Attwood, Mouritz Botha, Calum Clark, Alex Corbisiero, Dan Cole, Tom Croft, Phil Dowson, Dylan Hartley, Joe Marler, Lee Mears, Ben Morgan, Tom Palmer, Geoff Parling, Chris Robshaw, Matt Stevens, Rob Webber, David Wilson, Thomas Waldrom

BACKS: Chris Ashton, Matt Banahan, Brad Barritt, Mike Brown, Karl Dickson, Owen Farrell, Ben Foden, Toby Flood, Charlie Hodgson, Joe Simpson, Charlie Sharples, David Strettle, Jordan Turner-Hall, Ben Youngs

For teams, officials and reviews for week 1 of RBS Six Nations, click here:

6Ns12 Results

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Friday 3rd February 2012

IrelandKeith Earls IrelandKEITH EARLS has been forced to withdraw from the Ireland team to face Wales on Sunday. His new-born daughter is critically ill in hospital in Limerick, and so Earls has rightly chosen to remain with his family at home at this worrying time.

We wish her and the family godspeed and speedy recovery.

Leinster boys will now fill the void: Fergus McFadden will step up to fill Brian O'Driscoll's boots at 13, and Dave Kearney, starting fullback Rob's younger brother, comes in on the bench.

For all starting line ups, officials and previews for week 1 of RBS Six Nations, click here:

6Ns12 Results

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Friday 3rd February 2012

walesSam Warburton Warren Gatland WalesRhys Priestland and Jamie Roberts will both start for Wales in the RBS 6 Nations Championship opener against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Sunday (KO 3.00pm).

Scarlets fly half Priestland and Blues centre Roberts have recovered from knee injuries in time to take their places in a starting line-up which shows six changes to that which faced Australia at the Millennium Stadium in December and just five from that which defeated Ireland in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals six weeks earlier.

Osprey Huw Bennett is set to win his 50th Wales cap, making him only the second hooker to do so (Garin Jenkins has 58 caps), in a squad which features no debutants in its ranks but has three players who will make their second appearance for their country.

Saracens loosehead prop Rhys Gill comes into the side for the injured Gethin Jenkins, after winning his other cap two years ago. Blues wing Alex Cuthbert, who made his debut against Australia before Christmas, makes his first start profiting from the retirement of Shane Williams, with Scarlets wing George North (who played in all 7 RWC matches last year) switching flanks to take the No. 11 jersey synonymous with Wales' top try scorer.

The third player with a single cap to his name is Scarlets hooker Ken Owens, who starts on the bench after making his debut at the RWC in the Pool D clash with Namibia.

Ospreys and British and Irish Lions prop Adam Jones returns to the front row alongside Gill and half centurion Bennett.

The final change from the Australia match sees another Osprey Ryan Jones come into the back row for injured Dragon Dan Lydiate (ankle).

"We have been able to retain continuity in some key areas, we have been working hard and we feel we are approaching this match with the right attitude and with some good preparation work done," said Wales head coach Warren Gatland.

Team to face Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Sunday 05 February KO 15:00 GMT:

wales15 Leigh Halfpenny 14 Alex Cuthbert 13 Jonathan Davies 12 Jamie Roberts 11 George North 10 Rhys Priestland 9 Michael Phillips 2 Rhys Gill 2 Huw Bennett 3 Adam Jones 4 Bradley Davies 5 Ian Evans 6 Ryan Jones 7 SAM WARBURTON [C] 8 Toby Faletau 16 Ken Owens 17 Paul James 18 Andy Powell 19 Justin Tipuric 20 Lloyd Williams 21 James Hook 22 Scott Williams

For teams, officials and previews for week 1 of RBS Six Nations, click here:

6Ns12 Results

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Thursday 2nd February 2012

englandEngland Brad Barritt Owen Farrell Phil DowsonENGLAND today named three new caps in the starting team to face Scotland in Saturday’s RBS 6 Nations match at Murrayfield.

Saracens Brad Barritt and Owen Farrell will form a new centre pairing at international level, while Northampton Saints’ Phil Dowson makes his debut at No 8.

The match 22 sees five more uncapped players on the replacements’ bench – Rob Webber (London Wasps), Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers), Ben Morgan (Scarlets), Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints) and Jordan Turner-Hall (Harlequins).

Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said: "We have been impressed with how the whole group has come together in the last 10 days and we have done a lot of work on and off the field.

"Now is the time to turn all that into a performance against Scotland that we can all be proud of. It is a massive challenge – Murrayfield, the first game of the Six Nations – but one we are relishing."

Team to face Scotland in the Calcutta Cup at Murrayfield on Saturday 04 February KO 17:00 GMT:

england15 Ben Foden 14 Chris Ashton 13 Brad Barritt* 12 Owen Farrell* 11 David Strettle 10 Charlie Hodgson 9 Ben Youngs 1 Alex Corbisiero 2 Dylan Hartley 3 Dan Cole 4 Mouritz Botha 5 Tom Palmer 6 Tom Croft 7 CHRIS ROBSHAW [C] 8 Phil Dowson* BENCH: 16 Rob Webber* 17 Matt Stevens 18 Geoff Parling* 19 Ben Morgan* 20 Lee Dickson* 21 Jordan Turner-Hall* 22 Mike Brown

Charlie Sharples and Joe Marler will travel as reserves

For teams, officials and previews for week 1 of RBS Six Nations, click here:

6Ns12 Results

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Wednesday 1st February 2012

italyTHE Azzurri’s new coach, Jacques Brunel has announced his starting 22 to retain the Garibaldi Trophy in the opening match of the RBS Six Nations Championship 2012, which Italy won in an historic 22-21 victory last year over Les Bleus at Stadio Flaminio.

Italy Giovanbattista Venditti Tobias BotesBrunel has named two uncapped players in the team; Aironi’s Giovanbattista Venditti starts on the wing, and with Luciano Orquera out with a hamstring injury, South African-born Tobias Botes is named on the bench ahead of both Fabio Semenzato and Eduardo Gori. Botes qualifies for Italy under the four-year residency rule, and is Benetton Treviso’s first choice scrum half who can also play at fly half and on the wing.

There are seven changes to the team that lost in Italy's last match to Ireland in the Rugby World Cup in Dunedin last year, and captain Sergio Parisse will earn his 84th cap as he leads his team out at the magnificent Stade de France.

Azzurri veteran utility back, Andrea Masi, who boasts 64 caps, 3 world cups and has missed just one Six Nations tournament in 2006 due to injury since 2003, is determined that Italy can continue to make an impact on the international scene. "We have to concentrate on our attitude, we have to be determined and aggressive because that's the only way to put a more powerful team in difficulty," he said.

"They're better than us but we can have our say, if we're determined and organised we can do something." Having played in France for Biarritz Olympique and Racing Métro 92 alongside the opposition for 5 years before returning home to Aironi, he would know.

Team to face France at Stade de France in the first RBS Six Nations match of 2012 on Saturday 04 February KO 15:30 CET:

italy15 Andrea Masi 14 Giovanbattista Venditti* 13 Tommaso Benvenuti 12 Alberto Sgarbi 11 Luke Mclean 10 Kristopher Burton 9 Edoardo Gori 8 SERGIO PARISSE [C] 7 Robert Barbieri 6 Alessandro Zanni 5 Quintin Geldenhuys 4 Cornelius Van Zyl 3 Martin Castrogiovanni 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini 1 Andrea Lo Cicero BENCH: 16 Tommaso D’Apice 17 Lorenzo Cittadini 18 Marco Bortolami 19 Simone Favaro 20 Fabio Semenzato 21 Tobias Botes* 22 Gonzalo Canale

For teams, officials and previews for week 1 of RBS Six Nations, click here:

6Ns12 Results

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Wednesday 1st February 2012

IrelandTHE Ireland team to play Wales in the RBS 6 Nations Championship on Sunday, February 5th in Aviva Stadium has been named.

There are three changes to the side that lined out against the same opposition in Ireland’s last game in the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Keith Earls will start at centre alongside Gordon D’Arcy with Andrew Trimble coming into the team on the left wing. In the half-backs Jonathan Sexton will win his 25th cap and he is partnered by Conor Murray.

The pack is unchanged from the last game with Paul O’Connell wearing the captain’s armband. The uncapped Peter O’Mahony is named in the replacements.

Team to face Wales at Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Sunday 05 February KO 15:00 GMT:

Ireland15 Rob Kearney 14 Tommy Bowe 13 Keith Earls 12 Gordon D'Arcy 11 Andrew Trimble 10 Jonathan Sexton 9 Conor Murray 1 Cian Healy 2 Rory Best 3 Mike Ross 4 Donncha O'Callaghan 5 PAUL O'CONNELL [C] 6 Stephen Ferris 7 Sean O'Brien 8 Jamie Heaslip BENCH: 16 - Sean Cronin 17 Tom Court 18 Donnacha Ryan 19 Peter O’Mahony* 20 Eoin Reddan 21 Ronan O'Gara 22 Fergus McFadden

For teams, officials and previews for week 1 of RBS Six Nations, click here:

6Ns12 Results

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Tuesday 31st January 2012

englandENGLAND RUGBY has released the following players back to their premiership clubs for a weekend of LV= Cup action: Dave Attwood, Matt Banahan, Calum Clark, Alex Goode, Lee Mears, Joe Simpson, Thomas Waldrom and David Wilson.

Chris Robshaw England CaptainWith a host of uncapped players in the final training squad this week, Stuart Lancaster's brave new England will be sporting at least 7 debutants at Murrayfield alongside the new captain, Chris Robshaw. The players left in contention to start against Scotland on Saturday in the Calcutta Cup are:

BACKS: Chris Ashton, Brad Barritt*, Mike Brown, Lee Dickson*, Owen Farrell*, Ben Foden, Charlie Hodgson, Charlie Sharples, David Strettle,  Jordan Turner-Hall*, Ben Youngs

FORWARDS: Mouritz Botha, Alex Corbisiero, Dan Cole, Tom Croft, Phil Dowson*, Dylan Hartley, Joe Marler*, Ben Morgan*, Tom Palmer, Geoff Parling*, Chris Robshaw, Matt Stevens, Rob Webber*y

The squad will reconvene at Penny Hill Park on Wednesday evening, and the the starting 22 will be named on Thursday morning.

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Tuesday 31st January 2012

franceWesley Fofana ASM Clermont Auvergne FranceUNCAPPED centre, Wesley Fofana has made the starting line up in the team to face Italy at the Stade de France on Saturday.

New coach, Philippe Saint-André is under no illusion that last year's Six Nations defeat to Italy is not to be repeated under any circumstances, and the fresh vibrant atmosphere in Les Bleus camp is reflected in his confident choice of players to face the Azzurri.

Thierry Dusautoir Philippe Saint-AndreAnchoring influential captain, Thierry Dusautoir at the helm, Saint-André has made five changes to the starting XV that lost the Rugby World Cup Final to the All Blacks in October. In the backs, Fofana replaces Maxime Mermoz who is benched, Julien Malzieu takes the centre position from Alexis Palisson who has no place in the 22, and Francois Trinh-Duc lays claim to the fly half position with Parra as a replacement. In the forward pack, Vincent Debaty is to earn his second cap in the front row with Jean-Baptiste Poux on the bench, and Louis Picamoles has trumped Imanol Harinordoquy to the No.8 shirt who joins the replacements.

"Italy lost to Australia at the World Cup (in the pool stage) but were on level terms at half-time against a team who scored 60 points against us the year before," Dusautoir said. "This is not the Italy of a few years ago. Last year we lost to them but it was only logical after the progress they have made.

"We are going to approach this match knowing how important it is to win the first game, and for a win in Paris in front of our supporters."

Team to face Italy at Stade de France in the first RBS Six Nations match of 2012 on Saturday 04 February KO 15:30 CET:

france15 Maxime Médard 14 Vincent Clerc 13 Aurélien Rougerie 12 Wesley Fofana 11 Julien Malzieu 10 Francois Trinh-Duc 9 Dimitri Yachvili 1 Vincent Debaty 2 William Servat 3 Nicolas Mas 4 Pascal Papé 5 Lionel Nallet 6 THIERRY DUSAUTOIR [C] 7 Julien Bonnaire 8 Louis Picamoles BENCH: 16 Dimitri Szarzewski 17 Jean-Baptiste Poux 18 Yoann Maestri 19 Imanol Harinordoquy 20 Morgan Parra 21 Lionel Beauxis 22 Maxime Mermoz

For teams, officials and previews for week 1 of RBS Six Nations, click here:

6Ns12 Results

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Tuesday 31st January 2012

scotlandSCOTLAND have named one new cap and two other players making their first start in the RBS 6 Nations Championship for Saturday’s Calcutta Cup clash with England at Murrayfield.

Lee Jones ScotlandLee Jones, the 23-year-old Edinburgh Rugby wing, is the debutant with his club colleagues, back-row forwards David Denton and Ross Rennie, starting in the competition for the first time.

The trio are joined by experienced and battle hardened campaigners – six players in the squad have won more than 50 caps – as Scotland strive to win their opening match in the Championship for the first time since 2006.

In all, head coach Andy Robinson has made eight changes in personnel from the starting XV in Scotland’s last match – the narrow loss to England in the Rugby World Cup in Auckland back in October.  Chris Paterson has retired and Joe Ansbro and Ruaridh Jackson are recovering from injury but the five other changes are down to selection.

Robinson said today: "We have experienced players in our team and they must make that knowledge count by helping the team to a successful start on Saturday."

Robinson and the Scotland team are calling on fans at the 67,144 capacity Murrayfield and throughout the country on Saturday to wear blue and show their support for the side.

Team to face England in the Calcutta Cup at Murrayfield on Saturday 04 February KO 17:00 GMT:

scotland15 Rory Lamont 14 Lee Jones* 13 Nick De Luca 12 Sean Lamont 11 Max Evans 10 Dan Parks 9 Chris Cusiter 1 Allan Jacobsen 2 ROSS FORD [C] 3 Euan Murray 4 Richie Gray 5 Jim Hamilton 6 Alasdair Strokosch 7 Ross Rennie 8 David Denton BENCH: 16 Scott Lawson 17 Geoff Cross 18 Alastair Kellock 19 John Barclay 20 Mike Blair 21 Greig Laidlaw 22 Graeme Morrison

For teams, officials and previews for week 1 of RBS Six Nations, click here:

6Ns12 Results

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Monday 30th January 2012

England SaxonsEngland Saxons Benjamin Joseph SeymourENGLAND SAXONS have called Miles Benjamin (Worcester Warriors), Jonathan Joseph (London Irish) and David Seymour (Sale Sharks) into their squad to face Scotland A on Friday (Galashiels, 7pm) replacing Delon Armitage, Matt Banahan, and Thomas Waldrom.

The Saxons go into the game at Netherdale on the back of a 23-17 win over the O2 Ireland Wolfhounds at Exeter secured by tries from Leicester Tigers No.8 Thomas Waldrom and Saracens scrum half Ben Spencer, and 13 points from Gloucester Rugby fly half Freddie Burns.

Flanker Seymour, 27, and centre Joseph, 20, take over from Waldrom and Matt Banahan (Bath Rugby), who have been added to the senior squad training for the opening match of the RBS 6 Nations at Murrayfield.

Benjamin, 23, replaces Delon Armitage (London Irish) following the latter’s suspension from the Saxons Elite Player Squad. The Worcester wing scored five tries in two Churchill Cup appearances against the USA and Canada last summer.

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Monday 30th January 2012

englandChris Robshaw England CaptainCHRIS ROBSHAW was today named England captain for at least the first two games of the RBS 6 Nations. The Harlequins skipper will lead England into the Calcutta Cup match against Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday.

"It’s a huge honour and a very proud day - hopefully one that will live in my memory for a long time to come. Thanks to everyone who has helped me, especially Quins," said Robshaw.

Harlequins provided England's most successful captain after Martin Johnson in Will Carling with just eight caps under his belt when he became England's youngest ever captain. Both Quins, the legendary Jason Leonard captained his country briefly, as did No.8 Nick Easter momentarily. But Robshaw is only the fourth player in England Rugby history to be given the honour after winning just one cap. The other three were John Daniell against Ireland in 1900, D'Oyly Lyon against Australia in 1909, and Edward Keith Scott against Australia in 1948.

 

England Head Coach, Stuart Lancaster said: "We have a strong leadership group and I have been very impressed with the way they have all stepped up so far. Chris is a key member of that group and has shown with Harlequins and when I have worked with him in the Saxons that he can lead a team tactically and passionately. I am delighted that he has got this chance at the highest level and I know it will be a very proud moment for him, his club, family and friends when he leads England out at Murrayfield on Saturday."

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Monday 30th January 2012

IrelandTHE Ireland management have named a 32 man squad as preparations reach their final stages for Ireland’s opening game of the 2012 RBS 6 Nations Championship against Wales on Sunday, February 5th.

The majority of the squad that trained in the Limerick camp last week have been retained and there are also call ups for O2 Ireland Wolfhound players Denis Hurley, Dan Tuohy, Chris Henry and Rhys Ruddock, all of whom have been capped previously for Ireland.

David Kearney, Eoin O’Malley, Simon Zebo, Brett Wilkinson and Peter O’Mahony are the uncapped players in the squad to join up with the senior Ireland squad in Kildare.

TRAINING SQUAD:
Rory Best, Tommy Bowe, Tom Court, Sean Cronin, Gordon D'Arcy, Keith Earls, Stephen Ferris, Cian Healy, Jamie Heaslip, Chris Henry, Denis Hurley, Shane Jennings, Rob Kearney, David Kearney*, Fergus McFadden, Conor Murray, Sean O'Brien, Donncha O'Callaghan, Paul O'Connell, Ronan O'Gara, Peter O’Mahony*, Eoin O’Malley*, Eoin Reddan, Mike Ross, Rhys Ruddock, Donnacha Ryan, Jonathan Sexton, Andrew Trimble, Dan Tuohy, Paddy Wallace, Brett Wilkinson*, Simon Zebo*

6Ns12 Squads

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Monday 30th January 2012

scotlandDavid Denton ScotlandEDINBURGH RUGBY back-row forward David Denton has recovered from injury and will train with the Scotland squad at Murrayfield today as they step up preparations for Saturday’s RBS 6 Nations Championship opener against England.

Denton was a late withdrawal from his club’s Heineken Cup victory over London Irish eight days ago after he suffered mild hamstring discomfort but he has been given the all clear to resume full training.

Meanwhile, centre Joe Ansbro (London Irish) is returning to his club and will play no part in this weekend’s Calcutta Cup encounter.

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Sunday 29th January 2012

englandThomas Waldrom Matt Banahan EnglandTHOMAS  WALDROM (Leicester Tigers) and Matt Banahan (Bath Rugby) joined up with England tonight to prepare for Saturday's RBS 6 Nations match against Scotland at Murrayfield.

Waldrom and Banahan, part of the England Saxons side that beat Irish Wolfhounds 23-17 at Exeter on Saturday, take over from Luke Narraway (calf) and Henry Trinder (ankle) who will remain at Gloucester for treatment.

Saxons vs Wolfhounds

Also staying at their clubs this week are Toby Flood (knee), Courtney Lawes (knee), Manusamoa Tuilagi (calf) and Tom Wood (foot).

6Ns12 Squads

The 6 Nations squad training together this week are:

FORWARDS: Dave Attwood, Mouritz Botha, Calum Clark, Alex Corbisiero, Dan Cole, Tom Croft, Phil Dowson, Dylan Hartley, Joe Marler, Lee Mears, Ben Morgan, Tom Palmer, Geoff Parling, Chris Robshaw, Matt Stevens, Rob Webber, David Wilson, Thomas Waldrom

BACKS: Chris Ashton, Matt Banahan, Brad Barritt, Mike Brown, Lee Dickson, Owen Farrell, Ben Foden, Alex Goode, Charlie Hodgson, Joe Simpson, Charlie Sharples, David Strettle, Jordan Turner-Hall, Ben Youngs

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Friday 27th January 2012

walesStephen Jones WalesWALES have called Stephen Jones out to their RBS Six Nations training camp in Poland.

The 104-times capped Scarlets fly-half arrives in the Olympic training village in Gdansk as Perpignan pivot James Hook leaves to make himself available for the French club this weekend.

Jones provides extra training cover in the fly-half position and is available for full training from today.

At this stage Blues prop Gethin Jenkins remains the only player in head coach Warren Gatland’s, now 36-man, training squad ruled out of the Six Nations opener against Ireland a week on Sunday.

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Tuesday 24th January 2012

walesAaron Shingler Scarlets WalesWALES have called Scarlets lock/back row forward Aaron Shingler out to their RBS 6 Nations training camp in Gdansk, Poland.

Shingler, who is a Wales 7s international and featured in last year’s IRB world series, will join the 34-man party on Tuesday afternoon and train with the squad until it returns to Cardiff on Sunday.

The Hampshire-born 24-year-old is a former Glamorgan cricketer who grew up in West Wales attending Pontarddulais Comprehensive School and Gorseinon Tertiary College.

And yes - he is the elder brother of Steven Shingler who is still in the centre of the eligibility controversy between Wales and Scotland, even though Steven has pledged his allegiance to the country of his Scottish-born mother. Aaron, the elder of the Shingler boys has represented England U19s in cricket.

Back to rugby and Aaron's eye-catching length of the field try was instrumental to the Scarlets’ 16-13 Heineken Cup victory over Castres Olympique in France last weekend which secured their place in the Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-finals.

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Tuesday 24th January 2012

scotlandRoss Ford Scotland v England RWC 2011SCOTTISH RUGBY'S Ross Ford, the 27-year-old Edinburgh Rugby hooker, was today appointed Scotland captain for the opening match of the RBS 6 Nations Championship – against England at Murrayfield on Saturday week.

Ford, the 53-times-capped product of Kelso High School, a British and Irish Lion in South Africa in 2009, was hailed by head coach Andy Robinson as a "man who will step up and lead from the front."

Robinson confirmed today that his original intention had been to bestow the captaincy on Ford’s fellow Borderer, back-row forward, Kelly Brown. Brown, however, dislocated his fibula in Heineken Cup action for his club, Saracens, against Benetton Treviso at the weekend, an injury that will require a small operation which will see him out of action for 8-10 weeks.

Robinson said: "This is a special day for Ross, who has been a key figure in our leadership group and our most consistent performer for some time. I firmly believe he is the man who will step up and lead from the front.

"That said, I’m really disappointed for Kelly Brown.  I had asked him to be the captain late last week but unfortunately injury will deprive him of that honour and the chance to lead out his country for his 50th cap. I wish him a speedy recovery."

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Monday 23rd January 2012

IrelandTHERE have been several enforced changes to the Ireland senior and the O2 Ireland Wolfhounds squads.

Paddy McAllister sustained a knee injury while playing for the Ulster Ravens team in the British & Irish Cup and has been replaced in the Senior squad by Leinster loose head prop Jack McGrath.

Munster wing Simon Zebo will move up to play for the Wolfhounds as Luke Fitzgerald has failed to recover sufficiently from injury to either be considered for the game against the England Saxons or for the Ireland training camp. Ulster wing Craig Gilroy has been called into the senior squad to replace Zebo.

Andrew Conway, who was also due to train with the senior squad in Limerick as one of the six additional players, has had to pull out due to injury, with his club mate Fionn Carr replacing him in the senior squad.

Ireld: Jack McGrath | Craig Gilroy | Ffion Carr

TRAINING SQUAD:
Rory Best, Tommy Bowe, Tom Court, Sean Cronin, Leo Cullen, Gordon D'Arcy, Keith Earls, Stephen Ferris, Cian Healy, Jamie Heaslip, Shane Jennings, Rob Kearney, Fergus McFadden, Conor Murray, Sean O'Brien, Donncha O'Callaghan, Paul O'Connell, Ronan O'Gara, Eoin Reddan, Mike Ross, Donnacha Ryan, Jonathan Sexton, Andrew Trimble, Paddy Wallace (Ballymena/Ulster)
Additional Players: Fionn Carr*, Craig Gilroy*, Jack McGrath*, Ian Nagle*, Peter O'Mahony*, Tiernan O'Halloran*

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Monday 23rd January 2012

englandLuke Narraway Tom WoodENGLAND's senior EPS suffered another blow before the weekend with potential captain, Tom Wood, ruled out for the first two matches of the Championship. An injured toe has meant a protective boot has to be worn for 4 weeks.

On the bright side, this gives Gloucester Rugby's Luke Narraway the opportunity to step up to the seniors from the Saxons, and he will be training with the squad in Leeds this week.

Louis Deacon is staying in Leicester for treatment from the Tigers’ medical staff as he recovers from a hamstring injury.

The culmination of the squad’s pre-RBS 6 Nations training camp in North Leeds will be a training session in front of local schools and clubs. On Friday, 27th January the England squad, in conjunction with the University of Leeds at their flagship outdoor sport facilities at Weetwood, have given every rugby union club and secondary school in Yorkshire the chance to attend.

The 6 Nations squad training together this week are:

BACKS: Chris Ashton, Brad Barritt, Mike Brown, Lee Dickson, Owen Farrell, Toby Flood, Ben Foden, Alex Goode, Charlie Hodgson, Joe Simpson, Charlie Sharples, David Strettle, Henry Trinder, Manusamoa Tuilagi, Jordan Turner-Hall, Ben Youngs

FORWARDS: Dave Attwood, Mouritz Botha, Calum Clark, Alex Corbisiero, Dan Cole, Tom Croft, Phil Dowson, Dylan Hartley, Courtney Lawes, Joe Marler, Lee Mears, Ben Morgan, Luke Narraway, Tom Palmer, Geoff Parling, Chris Robshaw, Matt Stevens, Rob Webber, David Wilson, Tom Wood

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Friday 20th January 2012

IrelandMichael Kearney Ireland Team managerThe IRFU is pleased to announce that Michael Kearney has been appointed as the new Manager for the Ireland international team.

Kearney replaces Paul McNaughton, who has officially stepped down from the role, and comes into the position with a strong record in both rugby and as a successful business man. Educated in Castleknock College and hailing originally from Dunboyne, Co. Meath, his rugby career continued after school as a long term member of Lansdowne FC.

His involvement in Rugby administration includes Chairman of Rugby for Lansdowne FC and President. He then moved into team management for Leinster A and U20s, followed by Ireland U20s, working closely with Ireland U-20 Coach Mike Ruddock.

Outside of Rugby, Michael is a Board member of Snap Printing, the largest print and design group Ireland, as well as a director of Home Instead Senior Care and CEX.

He is married to Eugenie and has three grown children, Michael, Emily and Chloe.

Kearney will join up with the squad next week in their Limerick camp as preparations begin for the start of the RBS 6 Nations Championship.

Michael Kearney said: “I am obviously delighted to take up the position as well as honoured to be involved with the team. My focus now is to get up to speed as soon as possible and give whatever support is necessary to Declan, the coaches and players as we head into the championship.”

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Friday 20th January 2012

scotlandTom Ryder | Scotland | Glasgow WarriorsTOM RYDER, the 26-year-old Glasgow Warriors lock, has been added to the Scotland squad for the opening two games of the RBS 6 Nations Championship, after Fraser McKenzie injured his arm in Amlin Challenge Cup action for Sale Sharks against Brive last night.

Ryder, the 6ft 5in, 18st 6lb lock, who came through the Leicester Tigers youth set-up, qualifies for Scotland through his Glaswegian father, Paul. He joined Glasgow Warriors from Saracens on a 2 month loan but never left.

He helped Scotland A achieve a 100% record in season 2010/11, impressing in the wins over USA Eagles and Italy A.

Ryder spent the opening three months of the 2008/9 season playing for Taranaki in the Air New Zealand Cup.

He said: "I'm delighted and proud to have received the call-up to the squad.

"First and foremost, my focus is on helping Glasgow Warriors win tomorrow's massive Heineken Cup match in Bath, but I'm really looking forward to joining up with the rest of the Scotland squad, putting in a lot of hard work and challenging for a place."

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Thursday 19th January 2012

scotlandPhil Godman Scotland EdinburghPHIL GODMAN, the 29-year-old Edinburgh Rugby stand-off, has been called into the Scotland squad for the opening two games of the RBS 6 Nations Championship.

Godman, hero of Edinburgh’s Heineken Cup victory in Paris against Racing Metro 92 last weekend courtesy of a last-gasp snap drop-goal, has been added to the squad for training at St Andrews next week.

He is enlisted as Ruaridh Jackson has not yet returned to match action following the leg injury that forced his departure during Glasgow’s RaboDirect PRO12 match at Llanelli earlier this month.

Godman, who won the last of his 23 caps in the 2010 RBS 6 Nations against England, has recovered from a knee injury in training in September 2010. Since returning to the game in September 2011, he always retained "hopes of returning to the international scene.

"That was the plan. You always think about getting back into it for the club but also about playing for Scotland as well.  It’s just great to be back playing for Edinburgh and to be back involved with Scotland," he said.

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Monday 16th January 2012

scotlandEd Kalman ScotlandED KALMAN, the uncapped 29-year-old Glasgow Warriors prop, has been called into the Scotland squad for the opening two games of the RBS 6 Nations Championship. He is called up after his Warriors team-mate, Moray Low, was ruled out of the start of the championship with a knee injury.

Kalman will join up with the squad for a training camp in St Andrews next week. He has played for Scotland A on 12 occasions has been with the Warriors since he joined them in 2007 after one season with Border Reivers.

He is a product of the Whitecraigs club, having played in the Glasgow south-side club for 10 years from the age of 8. While at Belmont House School in Whitecraigs, he played for Glasgow Schools, and he went on to have two seasons in the Glasgow under-20 team from 2000 to 2002. He has also played professional club rugby in England with Newcastle Falcons and Leeds Tykes and was in a winning Cambridge University team in the 2005 Varsity match.

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Wednesday 11th January 2012

scotlandMoray Low Scotland 2012SCOTLAND and Glasgow Warriors prop, Moray Low sustained a knee injury during the first half of last Saturday’s RaboDirect PRO12 match away to Scarlets.

Low has since been assessed by orthopaedic surgeon, Graham Lawson, at Spire Murrayfield Hospital. Mr Lawson confirmed that the prop has suffered damage to the medial collateral ligament (MCL) in his knee.

Low will miss the start of the RBS 6 Nations Championship. It is common for this injury to require re-evaluation but the expectation is that Low will be absent for at least eight weeks, which would make him available for the last two weeks of the tournament when Scotland face Ireland and Italy away.

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Tuesday 10th January 2012

franceFORMER French captain Lionel Nallet has been called into France's RBS 6 Nations squad after Toulouse lock Romain Millo-Chluski was ruled out with a shoulder injury.

Romain Millo-Chluski & Lionel NalletRacing-Métro second row Nallet was the only member of France’s starting lineup in the World Cup final to miss out on selection for the Six Nations in new boss Philippe Saint-André’s first squad.

At the age of 35, Nallet’s days with Les Bleus appeared to be over but he will now get the chance to add to his three Six Nations titles.

And Saint-André admitted he had no hesitation about calling the veteran forward into the side ahead of uncapped pair Mickael De Marco and Christophe Samson.

He said: "We wanted a powerful player with the same profile as Romain, Lionel’s experience as well as his physical and mental qualities led us to call him into the squad."

When he announced his squad Saint-André had made clear that those players who just missed out on selection would be ready to come into the squad in case of injuries.

He added: "Every player who missed out who I was able to get on the phone is in the starting blocks and ready to give France a hand if needed. They are there, they will keep working and if ever we need them I can assure you they will join up with us straightaway."

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