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Brown closing on England return after concussion

Full-back Mike Brown is expected to return for England's clash with Scotland next weekend.

The 29-year-old missed Sunday's defeat to Ireland after suffering a head injury against Italy, which caused concussion.

Brown will take part in full contact training ahead of the crucial Calcutta Cup match on March 14.

Mike Brown is getting back to full fitness. Credit: PA

"We're pretty confident about Mike. He's had a reasonable amount of time now and certainly all the signs from everyone, including from Mike himself, is that he's back to 100 per cent," head coach Stuart Lancaster said.

"He has to tick the final box and then I'm sure he'll be training on Friday. He has been symptom free since last week."

Bath star Sam Burgess not thinking about England

Sam Burgess has insisted he must scrap all thoughts of his England ambitions and focus on honing his rugby union skills at Bath.

Burgess is focused on doing his best for Bath. Credit: PA

The rugby league convert admitted he has learned more in the last three weeks than at any time of his cross-code switch.

Burgess made his England bow in the second-string Saxons' 18-9 victory over Ireland Wolfhounds in Cork in January, but is refusing to target his Test debut.

Bath have slipped out of the Aviva Premiership play-off places after losing their last three matches - leaving Burgess refusing to countenance any talk of making the autumn's World Cup.

I'll leave those guys outside things to talk about it all. I guess that's the job, so I'll leave it to others to talk about that.

For me it's probably important not to comment on it, and just get on with my work at Bath, which I'm doing, and having fun doing it as well. I would just rather continue enjoying my time at Bath and see how things turn out.

– Sam Burgess

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Ireland to bid for Women' Rugby World Cup

Phillip Browne, centre, wants the best Women's Rugby World Cup ever. Credit: PA

The Irish Rugby Football Union has announced its bid to host the 2017 Women's Rugby World Cup.

The IRFU revealed its plans to host the pool stages of the tournament at University College Dublin before switching to Belfast for the semi-finals at Queens University Sport and the Kingspan Stadium, where the final would also be held.

Interest and participation in women's rugby continues to grow and building on this momentum we believe Ireland can deliver the best Women's Rugby World Cup to-date.

We hope that the growing interest in women's rugby in Ireland, world leading facilities at UCD, Queens University Sport, Kingspan Stadium and our internationally recognised reputation for being one of the world's most welcoming nations will make an Irish bid the standout submission for the 2017 tournament.

– IRFU chief executive Philip Browne said

Six Nations HT: Ireland 9-3 England

It's been a highly competitive game. Credit: PA

Johnny Sexton booted three penalties to edge Ireland into a 9-3 half-time lead in the RBS 6 Nations Grand Slam eliminator against England in Dublin.

The Racing Metro fly-half steered Ireland to tactical control as the Six Nations' two remaining unbeaten sides clashed at the Aviva Stadium.

Ireland flanker Sean O'Brien suffered a suspected concussion and was removed from the fray, reeling when trying to regain his feet after hurtling into contact.

Wales power past France in Six Nations

Wales claimed a fourth successive RBS 6 Nations victory over France as they powered home in Paris and kept alive their title hopes.

Wales, aiming to be crowned Six Nations champions for a third time in the last four years, triumphed 20-13 through fly-half Dan Biggar's second-half try and five Leigh Halfpenny penalties.

Wales beat France for the fourth consecutive time. Credit: PA

France delivered a 68th-minute try for full-back Brice Dulin, with fly-half Camille Lopez kicking a conversion and two penalties, but hopes of Six Nations silverware ended amid a fine Wales performance.

After losing to England in their opening Six Nations game, Wales are now firmly back on track.

Prospects of claiming another Six Nations title are still out of their hands, but successive wins against Scotland and France have put them in the mix, setting them up nicely for appointments with Ireland and Italy next month.

England women's appoint Middleton as head coach

Simon Middleton previously worked at Leeds Carnegie. Credit: PA

Simon Middleton has been appointed as the new head coach of the England Women's side, the Rugby Football Union have confirmed.

Middleton, the current England Women's sevens head coach, is succeeding World Cup-winning boss Gary Street in taking permanent charge of the 15s and will hold both roles simultaneously in a change from the previous structure.

He is on a fixed-term contract that will run until the end of 2017, taking up the 15s post following the conclusion of the Sevens World Series in May.

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Cipriani won't take England chance for granted

Danny Cipriani touched down after coming on. Credit: PA

Danny Cipriani says he will seizure his latest chance in the England team after coming off the bench to score a try on Saturday.

The Sale Sharks fly-half was making his first international appearance since 2008 in the the 47-17 win over Italy.

That's what I'm doing now: every moment and every experience I am appreciating and there's no way I want to be out of this England side ever again, for as long as I'm playing.

I'm very focused on making the best of my ability.

– Danny Cipriani

French lock Pape set for disciplinary hearing

France lock Pascal Pape will face a disciplinary hearing after kneeing Jamie Heaslip in the back, which could see him miss the rest of the Six Nations.

Pape was sin-binned for kneeing Heaslip in a ruck in Ireland's 18-11 victory at the weekend.

Pascal Pape was only sin-binned during the game. Credit: PA

Referee Wayne Barnes ruled the action was intentional after video review, but declined to hand the 34-year-old a red card.

Independent citing commissioner Stefano Marrama from Italy has deemed the incident worthy of further investigation however, and Pape will appear before a disciplinary commission later this week.

"Pascal Pape, second row forward for France, has been cited by the independent citing commissioner at the RBS 6 Nations match between Ireland and France in Dublin on Saturday, for the incident in the 52nd minute of the match for which the player received a yellow card," read a Six Nations statement.

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