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North to sit out Northampton European clash

George North is out. Credit: PA

Wales wing George North will not play for Northampton in Saturday's European Champions Cup quarter-final at Clermont Auvergne after his latest head injury.

North has been knocked unconscious three times in recent months, including in last Friday's 52-30 win over Wasps.

We won't play him at the weekend. Clearly he had a nasty knock.

He's making good progress. The day after he was up and about.

He's improving and down there at the moment going to see a neurologist and we'll wait to see what the experts say.

– Jim Mallinder

Hines has no points target for Sale

Nathan Hines isn'tHine thinking numbers. Credit: PA

Nathan Hines has little interest in any Aviva Premiership points target as Sale Sharks continue their quest to secure European Champions Cup qualification.

Sale are currently seventh in the Premiership table - one place off sealing a guaranteed Champions Cup place next term - with five games left.

I don't know what will get us into the top six. All I know is we want to win every game.

If we are thinking about how many games we need to win, that will be our undoing.

We are just thinking about Gloucester, win that one, chalk that one up and then move on to the next. That is the best and most efficient way to look at it, really.

I know it's a cliche to say one game at a time, but if you start spreading your focus around too many things, you will come unstuck.

It's about making sure not to worry if we win and someone else loses. It's more about worrying about our own performance as a team and as individuals. It's about getting our own stuff right.

– Nathan Hines


North feeling fine after being knocked out

George North was stretchered off. Credit: PA

Winger George North says he's feeling OK after being knocked out during Northampton Saints' win over Wasps.

The Welshman suffered a knee to the head by Nathan Hughes, who was sent off for dangerous play but protested his innocence.

North was stretchered off unconscious and in a neck brace, but tweeted to say he was fine.

Rugby World Cup chief quits for personal reasons

Debbie Jevans has resigned. Credit: PA

The woman in charge of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, Debbie Jevans, has resigned due to personal reasons.

With just six months to go before the start of the tournament, the decision has come as a bombshell.

This is the right decision for me to make at this time. I am immensely proud of the team and all that we have achieved in the time that I have been Chief Executive.

Everything is in place to ensure that this is the best Rugby World Cup ever, and I am confident my team will deliver an exceptional tournament.

The organisation is strong, there is a great team in place and I am really looking forward to watching the Rugby World Cup as a fan later this year.

– Debbie Jevans

England Six Nations performance unacceptable - Richie

England's fourth successive RBS 6 Nations runners-up spot is "not acceptable", according to Rugby Football Union chief executive Ian Ritchie.

But Ritchie believes Stuart Lancaster's men have the quality to win the Rugby World Cup later this year.

Ian Ritchie is not pleased. Credit: PA

England finished second to Ireland by a difference of six points, falling short despite a heroic 55-35 defeat of France on Saturday.

"Four years as runners-up is not acceptable and we are not happy with how that came about," Ritchie said.

"If you go back through history, bearing in mind a lot of things, we should be, as a country, winning more in terms of Grand Slams, Six Nations championships, other things."

Wales name side to face Italy in Six Nations

Aaron Jarvis is in. Credit: PA

Wales have made two changes for their vital Six Nations clash with Italy on Saturday. Props Aaron Jarvis and Rob Evans are in the side, replacing injured duo Samson Lee and Gethin Jenkins.

Wales team to play Italy in the RBS 6 Nations Championship in Rome on Saturday:

L Halfpenny (Toulon); G North (Northampton), J Davies (Clermont Auvergne), J Roberts (Racing Metro), L Williams (Scarlets); D Biggar (Ospreys), R Webb (Ospreys); R Evans (Scarlets), S Baldwin (Ospreys), A Jarvis (Ospreys), L Charteris (Racing Metro), A-W Jones (Ospreys), D Lydiate (Ospreys), S Warburton (Cardiff Blues, capt), T Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).

Replacements: K Owens (Scarlets), R Gill (Saracens), S Andrews (Cardiff Blues), J Ball (Scarlets), J Tipuric (Ospreys), G Davies (Scarlets), R Priestland (Scarlets), S Williams (Scarlets).


Scotland announce side for England clash

David Denton, Jim Hamilton, Matt Scott and Dougie Fife will all start for Scotland against England on Saturday after Vern Cotter made five changes to his starting XV.

Stand-off Finn Russell also returns to the Dark Blues line-up for the penultimate RBS 6 Nations clash at Twickenham after suspension ruled him out of the 22-19 defeat to Italy at Murrayfield two weeks ago.

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