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Category: England rugby union team

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George North and Ben Te’o set to miss autumn internationals with injuries

• Wales winger and England midfielder the latest injury casualties• Ben Te’o awaiting verdict on whether he needs operation on ankle problemThe British & Irish Lions team-mates George North and Ben Te’o are both set to miss this autumn’s Test match…

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Could Saracens win the Six Nations if they were allowed to enter it? | Robert Kitson

If you took the Saracens players out of their national sides and put the team in the Six Nations, their hammering of Northampton suggests they could win itAwaiting its UK cinema release next month is the Battle of the Sexes, the film based around the f…

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‘Everything has to be earned,’ Dylan Hartley tells Saracens’ Jamie George

The England captain will take nothing for granted when he goes head to head with the Sarries hooker in Northampton’s Champions Cup openerGood is the word Dylan Hartley eventually settles on when asked how his right hand was after bruising kept him out …

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Brian ‘Stack’ Stevens obituary

England rugby international with a reputation for hard forward playEnglish victories against the All Blacks in New Zealand are rare events and the win in Auckland on 15 September 1973 turned the world of rugby union upside down. To say the England team…

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Brian ‘Stack’ Stevens obituary

England rugby international with a reputation for hard forward playEnglish victories against the All Blacks in New Zealand are rare events and the win in Auckland on 15 September 1973 turned the world of rugby union upside down. To say the England team…

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Saracens’ Jamie George ready to impose authority to impress Eddie Jones

Hooker, who took advice off a magician last week, admits he needs to work on his leadership qualities to nail a starting place in the England team

Jamie George started three Tests for the Lions in the summer, but the Saracens hooker looks destined to return to the bench for the start of England’s autumn international campaign against Argentina at Twickenham next month with Dylan Hartley standing in his way.

The pair will renew their rivalry on Sunday when Northampton face the holders Saracens in the European Champions Cup at Franklin’s Gardens and while the England head coach, Eddie Jones, will watch with interest, the prime reason he has favoured Hartley since taking charge at the end of 2015 is the leadership qualities of the Saints’ captain.

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England’s Jack Nowell set to miss Australia and Argentina Tests

• Jack Nowell injured a cheekbone playing for Exeter Chiefs
• Stuart Lancaster responds to Rob Andrew criticism

England’s autumn international plans are facing further disruption with Exeter’s Jack Nowell the latest player to be forced out through injury. The British & Irish Lions winger is still undergoing checks after he sustained a blow to his left cheek and it is understood he is unlikely to resume playing for at least five weeks, ruling him out of the November Tests against Argentina and Australia.

Nowell, who has scored 11 tries in 31 Tests for England, was hurt in the first half of the Chiefs’ 34-24 win against Newcastle and his left eye remains badly swollen. Scans are still being carried out to determine the full extent of the damage but the 24-year-old Cornishman is a certain non-starter for his club’s opening two European Champions Cup pool games, against Glasgow Warriors and Montpellier this month.

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Bloodied Jack Nowell an injury concern for Exeter as Sam Simmonds impresses

• Exeter unsure of extent of damage to Nowell’s cheek
• Simmonds’s try against Newcastle was his fifth in as many appearances

Exeter’s brief return to the top of the Premiership, of which they are the champions, was marred by the uncertainty over an injury to Jack Nowell. The England wing was forced off in the 20th minute of the bonus-point win against Newcastle on Saturday. He left the field with blood pouring from his face after a collision, and never returned. Exeter are as yet unsure of the extent of the damage to his left cheek, but such is the injury crisis in English rugby the temptation to fear the worst would be understandable with the autumn internationals five weeks away.

Related: Exeter eager to emulate gold standard set by Saracens in Champions Cup | Paul Rees

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England unveil new £95 kit that may be worn in only one Test

• Dark grey design is 10th strip released in just over three years
• Marc dal Maso named scrum consultant on a 12-month contract

England have unveiled a dark grey alternate kit – the 10th replica shirt released by the Rugby Football Union in a little over three years – which is likely to be worn in just one Test by Eddie Jones’s side.

The new kit, which follows the release of a new home jersey in August, replaces the blue strip worn by England in both summer Tests against Argentina as well as last autumn against Fiji and the Pumas.

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England prop Kyle Sinckler handed seven-week ban for gouging

• Sinckler calls incident against Northampton ‘genuine mistake’
• Harlequins man set to miss all of England’s autumn internationals

The Harlequins prop Kyle Sinckler has been ruled out of England’s first two autumn internationals after receiving a seven-week ban for gouging Northampton’s Michael Paterson. Sinckler swiftly issued a statement, denying “intentionally gouging an opponent” and labelling the incident a “genuine mistake”.

The 24-year-old, who appeared in all three British & Irish Lions Tests against New Zealand over the summer, accepted the charge of making contact with Paterson’s eye last Saturday and will miss England’s autumn matches against Argentina and Australia. Sinckler is free to play again on 21 November, four days before England conclude their autumn fixtures against Samoa.

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Naming rights are part of modern sport but Twickenham should resist | Robert Kitson

The financial benefits of stadiums having a sponsor are clear and the old cabbage patch has no divine right to remain sacred, but the RFU has the means to not follow the trend

Here are two lists, purely for purposes of comparison. The first is an evocative Who’s Who of instantly recognisable rugby arenas: Ellis Park, Ravenhill, Lansdowne Road, Murrayfield, Newlands. Now here is the second: Coca-Cola Park, Kingspan Stadium, Aviva Stadium, BT Murrayfield, DHL Newlands. Same stretch of turf, a far less romantic feel.

Do people’s sensitivities over such issues still count for anything? The Rugby Football Union clearly does not think so, judging by its apparent interest in flogging the naming rights to Twickenham. Welcome, one and all, to Hooters Twickenham? Or Twickenham brought to you by Carpetright? Or Twix Twickers? Talk about an idea that deserves two fingers stuck up at it.

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George Ford extends a generous hand to England No10 rival Marcus Smith

• Eddie Jones’s starting fly-half says competition for places is good
• Ford tells teenage pretender to remember why the coach picked him

George Ford has told the latest player to challenge for his England fly-half jersey, the 18-year old Marcus Smith who trained with the national squad in Oxford last week, to be himself and never lose sight of why he was selected.

The pair faced each other on the day before the England squad met up when Leicester defeated Harlequins at The Stoop on an afternoon when the two outside-halves showcased their talent in front of the watching national head coach, Eddie Jones, although Smith departed early with a leg injury.

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Sam Underhill, Bath’s new No7, well-placed to solve old problem for England

Openside is settling into new life after Ospreys on and off the field and may be the long-awaited solution for Eddie Jones and England

These are supposedly tough days for specialist open-side forwards. Not only is their profession increasingly brutal but the laws of the jungle have altered, banning the tackler’s old freedom to get up and cause legitimate mischief on the opposition’s side of the breakdown. It is not intended to make life easier for defenders, let alone up-and-coming English ball poachers like Sam Underhill.

So why did Underhill, with a solitary cap behind him, appear so unconcerned this week at England’s training camp in Oxford? Perhaps for the best of reasons: he is good and clever enough to adjust instantly to whatever lawmakers and referees decree. The grapevine has been suggesting for two or three years that England have a natural-born predator at No7 who could become as crucial to his country as Richie McCaw was to New Zealand.

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England’s concerns grow over Mike Brown’s ankle injury

• Harlequins full-back underwent a scan after recurrence of injury
• Brown could be doubtful for England’s autumn internationals

Eddie Jones could lose Mike Brown for England’s autumn internationals after the Harlequins director of rugby, John Kingston, conceded he is in the dark over the extent of the full-back’s ankle injury.

Brown underwent a scan on the ankle on Wednesday after reaggravating the problem, first suffered 10 days ago, against Leicester on Saturday. Kingston confirmed Brown required a protective boot following Harlequins’ loss against the Tigers and that he will miss out at Northampton on Saturday.

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RFU’s Steve Brown will listen to player concerns in bid to avert strike

• Chief executive Brown: ‘If we have no players we have no England team’
• Brown refuses to rule out southern hemisphere successor to Eddie Jones

The new man at the helm of the Rugby Football Union has admitted averting a possible player strike is among his most pressing priorities. Steve Brown, who has taken over from the retired Ian Ritchie, says player welfare is at the top of his bulging in-tray and wants to see a swift resolution to the dispute over the future length of the domestic season.

Brown has been at Twickenham long enough as chief financial officer to know precisely how costly it would be if leading players took industrial action in protest against plans to extend the Premiership season to the end of June from 2020. “If we have no players we have no England team,” Brown said. “Our core business is seven big games a year … that would be a very challenging time for us. It is a concern and we can’t ignore it. The players have a voice and we need to listen to them. It’s not just the physical concerns but also the mental and psychological pressures players are under.”

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Long seasons are pushing players to their limit, says England’s Ben Youngs

• England and Leicester scrum-half joins debate over early-season injuries
• ‘Players have power to strike but I don’t think any player wants to get to that’

Another senior England international has claimed leading players are “at the limit” of what their bodies can sustain amid rising concern over the number of injuries in the early weeks of the season. Leicester’s Ben Youngs says the players currently wish to avoid strike action but reveals there is increasing disquiet in dressing rooms about the sport’s attrition rate.

The topic of player welfare was impossible to avoid in Oxford, where England are engaged in a three-day camp, with Billy Vunipola the latest long-term casualty and eight other squad members unable to train fully. According to Youngs, the game grows steadily more demanding and common sense is needed in terms of season length.

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Long seasons are pushing players to their limit, says England’s Ben Youngs

• England and Leicester scrum-half joins debate over early-season injuries
• ‘Players have power to strike but I don’t think any player wants to get to that’

Another senior England international has claimed leading players are “at the limit” of what their bodies can sustain amid rising concern over the number of injuries in the early weeks of the season. Leicester’s Ben Youngs says the players currently wish to avoid strike action but reveals there is increasing disquiet in dressing rooms about the sport’s attrition rate.

The topic of player welfare was impossible to avoid in Oxford, where England are engaged in a three-day camp, with Billy Vunipola the latest long-term casualty and eight other squad members unable to train fully. According to Youngs, the game grows steadily more demanding and common sense is needed in terms of season length.

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British & Irish Lions to reduce fixtures for 2021 South Africa tour

• Organisers believe there is not enough ‘meaningful’ opposition
• Premiership clubs concerned about workload of leading players

The British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa in 2021 will be cut to eight matches in a move that will be welcomed by England’s Premiership clubs, but future trips could be restored to 10 fixtures with the four home unions keeping their options open.

Talks with New Zealand, Australia and South Africa about an agreement to cover the three tours in the next 12 years are approaching a conclusion. The Lions have come under pressure from the Premiership, which secured the backing of the Rugby Football Union, to cut the duration of tours and reduce the load on leading players.

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British & Irish Lions to reduce fixtures for 2021 South Africa tour

• Organisers believe there is not enough ‘meaningful’ opposition
• Premiership clubs concerned about workload of leading players

The British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa in 2021 will be cut to eight matches in a move that will be welcomed by England’s Premiership clubs, but future trips could be restored to 10 fixtures with the four home unions keeping their options open.

Talks with New Zealand, Australia and South Africa about an agreement to cover the three tours in the next 12 years are approaching a conclusion. The Lions have come under pressure from the Premiership, which secured the backing of the Rugby Football Union, to cut the duration of tours and reduce the load on leading players.

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Marcus Smith the flower in Eddie Jones’ blossoming England vision

Head coach wants more attacking ingenuity in his team to close the gap on the All Blacks and he will cast his net wide to find exceptional talentsEddie Jones has given himself a licence to skill. The coach who plucked Matt Giteau from the obscurity of …