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Sam Warburton ruled out of Challenge Cup clash

Warburton could enter Wales' autumn series without having played a game. Credit: PA

Sam Warburton could enter Wales' autumn series without having played a game since undergoing surgery to repair a fractured cheekbone sustained three weeks ago.

The Blues flanker will miss Friday night's Challenge Cup clash with Pau in Cardiff due to neck stiffness, leaving him short of match fitness ahead of captaining Wales against Australia on November 5.

Only one Guinness Pro 12 fixture remains before the Wallabies visit Principality Stadium - against the Scarlets on Friday week - and he is unlikely to be risked in that with four autumn internationals looming.

The British and Irish Lions skipper had a metal plate inserted into his cheekbone to repair the injury suffered against Leinster on October 1 and while the operation was a success, his comeback has been delayed.

A Blues statement read: "Sam Warburton was not considered for selection as a precaution after experiencing some residual stiffness in his neck, but has fully recovered from surgery on a fractured cheekbone."


England and Wasps flanker fractures leg in training

Sam Jones would have been in line for his first England cap. Credit: PA

Flanker Sam Jones is expected to miss England's autumn internationals after breaking his right leg in training.

Wasps confirmed the 24-year-old suffered a fracture to his right fibula during England's training camp in Brighton.

Jones had been in contention to feature at openside flanker in England's November series, but must now instead wait to discover how long he will be sidelined.

Wasps academy graduate Jones suffered his injury blow in Tuesday's training during England's three-day camp in Brighton.

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) initially said Jones had suffered ankle damage, but Wasps released a statement on Wednesday confirming the fracture to his right leg.

"Following an X-ray, Wasps can confirm that back row forward Sam Jones has suffered a fracture of his right leg, fibula, during England training," said Wasps' statement.

"The club is awaiting the results of subsequent MRI scans and Jones will see a specialist on Friday afternoon to determine the extent of the injury."

Former Saracens captain retires following concussion injury

Saracens lock forward Alistair Hargreaves has retired from rugby following a concussion injury.

The 30-year-old made 79 appearances for Sarries after joining the club from Super Rugby franchise Sharks in 2012.

South Africa international Hargreaves has retired. Credit: PA

In his first season as club captain the South Africa international led Saracens to the Premiership title in the 2014-15 season.

Hargreaves, who won four international caps for the Springboks, told "It's been a very tough decision to make. I've suffered a number of concussions in the last two seasons and after seeking medical advice I've come to the conclusion that the risk is outweighing the reward.

"I have a young family, I have to make decisions that are right by them and although this was a hard decision for me personally it's one that I feel is the right one to make.

"My period at Saracens has been the best four years of my life - It's been an absolutely phenomenal time. Everyone at Allianz Park; the players, the coaches, the backroom team and the fans, have all contributed to this incredible experience.

"It's an experience that I didn't expect when I arrived, but I leave as a Saracens man to the core. My time in South Africa was fantastic, it was great to play for the Sharks and be capped by the Springboks but this time at Saracens has been my highlight."


Jones: Cipriani must prove himself to earn England recall

Danny Cipriani must oust George Ford and Owen Farrell to reignite his England career.

Eddie Jones omitted Cipriani from England's training camp squad and the Elite Player Squad (EPS) on Friday, then challenged the Wasps playmaker to raise his performance levels.

Cipriani has been left out of Eddie Jones' latest England squad. Credit: PA

Cipriani won the last of his 14 England caps in August 2015 and has not featured at all under head coach Jones.

Now Australian boss Jones has admitted he does not consider the 28-year-old as a back-up squad option, after promoting Saracens' 23-year-old Alex Lozowski into his 45-man EPS.

"I had a number of difficult conversations yesterday," said Jones of informing a host of players they had been overlooked for selection.

"Danny knows what he's got to do.

"Look he's a talented player but I said it quite clearly to him. At the moment he's not one or two in England in terms of stand-offs.

"We see George (Ford) and Owen (Farrell) together as one and two. They are 23 and 24 years old, they are the heart of the England side.

"They can organise the team, they are tactically smart.

"So for Cipriani to get into the squad he's got to be able to show he can be number one."

All Blacks thrash South Africa to maintain 100% record

New Zealand wing Julian Savea on the rampage. Credit: PA

New Zealand all but secured the Rugby Championship crown as they dominated the second half on their way to a comfortable 41-13 victory over South Africa in Christchurch.

The All Blacks made it four wins out of four as they outscored the Springboks 26-3 after the break, and will now win the tournament barring a bonus-point victory for Argentina against Australia later on Saturday.

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