France’s Gael Fickou in action during the victory over Scotland. “I know that our fans are also very critical, it’s normal. Their disappointment, I understand it. I share it.” Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Jacques Brunel will never want for advice, the French coach inundated with suggestions from sundry sources including ex-players, media and supporters.(...)

Wales’  Corey Hill, who scored a try  against England. Photograph:Tommy Dickson/Inpho

The Six Nations championship mid-term report card highlights Wales as the star pupils, unbeaten three-fifths of the way through the tournament and the(...)

Ben Fall is shown an early red card for a tackle on Beauden Barrett. Photograph: Andrew Cornaga/Inpho

New Zealand 26 France 13 An early red card to France fullback Ben Fall ensured the All Blacks sealed a 26-13 victory in the second test at Wellington(...)

 Francois Trinh Duc is chased by  Mathieu Bastareaud during a training session at the Maurice David stadium in Aix-en-Provence ahead of Friday’s Six Nations game against Italy in Marseille. Photograph: Christophe Simon/AFP/Getty Images

France coach Jacques Brunel reshuffled his backline as Les Bleus look to end an eight-game winless streak when they face Italy in the Six Nations on F(...)

Greig Laidlaw of Scotland kicks a penalty during their Six Nations win over France. Photo: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Scotland 32 France 26 This will hardly have them dreaming of a first championship of the century, but Scotland are back on track at least. They were (...)

Ireland centre Robbie Henshaw pictured at Carton House. Photograph:  Billy Stickland/Inpho

Responsibility sits snugly on Robbie Henshaw’s broad shoulders, comfort drawn from a variety of sources, from his innate talent to the forensic detail(...)

Captain Guilhem Guirado is one of a  number of French players stuck down by gastroenteritis over the weekend. Photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

France captain and hooker Guilhem Guirado and prop Jefferson Poirot were stuck down by gastroenteritis over the weekend and missed the national team t(...)

 Ulster’s Nick Timoney is congratulated after scoring his try. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Ulster 20 La Rochelle 13 It was tailor-made for Ulster really, a wet and numbingly-cold afternoon in Belfast evoking all the glory days of when Frenc(...)

La Rochelle’s South African centre Paul Jordaan  breaks a Harlequins’ tackle during the victory over the English club at Twickenham Stoop Stadium in London. Photograph: Olly Greenwood/AFP/Getty

On the opening weekend that was, there was something old, something new, and something blue. Of all the statements of intent, none was more ominous th(...)

Geoffrey Doumayrou of La Rochelle runs in to score a try during the  Champions Cup match against  Harlequins  at Twickenham Stoop. Photograph:  Henry Browne/Getty Images

Harlequins 27 La Rochelle 34 England’s prodigal son Ryan Lamb outfoxed rising star Marcus Smith as La Rochelle edged past Harlequins 34-27 at The Sto(...)

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