Vandals hit flood wall

The Environment Agency is making emergency repairs to a flood wall at the River Gaunless in West Auckland, County Durham, after vandals damaged part of the flood defence scheme.

Let's all think positive, says Catt

Mike Catt's rollercoaster international career will climb to another high on Sunday with the World Cup winner claiming the "positives outweigh the negatives" during 13 years of Test rugby.

Spotlight is firmly on Flood

Toby Flood's family history suggests he should feel comfortable with life in the spotlight.

Expect Toby to turn it on

Newcastle director of rugby John Fletcher has backed Falcons fly-half Toby Flood to shine at Twickenham on Sunday, writes Andrew Baldock.

Injuries could put Corry back in control

Martin Corry could regain the England captaincy for Sunday's Six Nations showdown with title favourites France - just two months and three Tests after he lost it.

First-half horror show seals loss

Jonny Wilkinson's injury hoodoo struck again as Newcastle crashed to another away Premiership defeat.

England face Wilkinson wait

England will begin preparations for their Six Nations clash against France in a familiar position - with an injury cloud hanging over Jonny Wilkinson.

England wait on injury update

Jonny Wilkinson faces an anxious wait to prove his fitness ahead of England's must-win RBS 6 Nations Championship clash with France next weekend after limping off with a hamstring injury in the Falcons' 38-12 defeat against London Irish.

Fletch needs time

John Fletcher reckons his big-guns backline boasts so many outstanding individuals it might take time to click.

Morgan ruled out for rest of season

England full-back Olly Morgan has been ruled out for the rest of this season after being told he requires shoulder surgery.

Fearless coach selects rookie

David Strettle is braced for "a baptism of fire" at Croke Park today after being handed one of the toughest jobs in European rugby - replacing Jason Robinson.

Double joy for Ireland

Ireland were given a welcome lift on two fronts yesterday with news that Peter Stringer is fit to face England and Gordon D'Arcy has signed a new contract with Leinster.

England to `step it up' for Ireland

Brian Ashton believes England will need to step up "two or three gears" when they face arguably the biggest challenge of their entire Six Nations campaign on Saturday.

Misery for Falcons

Newcastle suffered a last-gasp heartbreak against Guinness Premiership title contenders Bristol just when it looked as though they had successfully overcome the absence of England star Jonny Wilkinson, writes Andrew Baldock.

Noon gets back to basics again

The prize for stating the obvious ahead of tomorrow's Bristol game goes to Falcons centre Jamie Noon.

Falcons do their bit

Jonny Wilkinson will enjoy a well-deserved rest this weekend after John Fletcher acceded to Rob Andrew's request to omit Newcastle Falcons' in-form fly-half from his Bristol-bound squad.

Victory over Wales was vital, insists Cusiter

Scotland scrum-half Chris Cusiter believes it is impossible to underestimate the importance of the victory over Wales in the Six Nations Championship.

The referee wasn't to blame – O'Sullivan

Ireland head coach Eddie O'Sullivan admitted he felt "sick" about the heartbreaking manner of his side's Six Nations defeat by France in Dublin yesterday.

Andrew begs for players' release

England will hope their former fly-half Rob Andrew can play a blinder this week and help avoid preparations for a crunch Croke Park clash against Ireland descending into farce.

Jonny's tipped for glory

  • BBC

He's hardly back from the dead, but Jonny Wilkinson's Calcutta Cup comeback is up there with the best - if Britain's bookies are to be believed.

Hadden going through the permutations

Scotland coach Frank Hadden insists he will explore every reasonable option at stand-off after Dan Parks lost his place to Phil Godman for Saturday's Murrayfield clash against Wales.

Easter's in good Nick for England debut

Dean Richards has saluted new England flanker Nick Easter as Harlequins' "form player for the last two seasons" following his shock RBS 6 Nations Championship call-up.

Defining day looming

Next Saturday might well turn out to be a defining day - just four weeks before the Cheltenham Festival.

French class leaves sorry Italy stunned

France made a barnstorming start to the defence of their RBS 6 Nations Championship crown by plundering five tries in a convincing win against a beleaguered Italy at the Stadio Flaminio.

Three-game ban for flouncing Thomas

Gareth Thomas will miss the first three games of Wales' Six Nations campaign after being banned for the month of February at a European Rugby Cup disciplinary hearing in Dublin.

Katy's international call-up

Jonny Wilkinson will not be the only North-East fly-half facing a nervous weekend.

New coach wins Flood of cheers

Democracy is alive and well in Brian Ashton's brave new England - and Toby Flood could not be more excited.

Wilkinson ready to return

When Jonny Wilkinson runs out in an England jersey on Saturday for the first time in more than three years, he promises he will be better than ever.

Wilko can still get better, says Rob

Rob andrew believes Jonny Wilkinson has yet to reach his peak as he prepares for an England return in this season's RBS 6 Nations Championship.

England Falcons come home buzzing

Newcastle Falcons' England quartet have returned to Tyneside "buzzing" ahead of tomorrow's Guinness Premiership trip to Heineken Cup favourites Leicester.

New skipper has hunger for success

Phil Vickery will lead England into the 2007 Six Nations admitting the last 12 months have proven "unacceptable" for the world champions.

Scots reel from Blair injury blow

Scotland scrum-half Mike Blair will miss the start of the RBS 6 Nations campaign after tests confirmed he has suffered ligament damage to his shoulder.

Flood boots Falcons to victory

Toby Flood's new boots - and his nerve - handled the test of kicking the Falcons to a heart-stopping last-gasp win last night.

Vickery in message of hope

England's new captain Phil Vickery yesterday revealed that deposed skipper Martin Corry was the first player to congratulate him on his appointment.

Newcastle Falcons 40, Sale Sharks 25

Toby Flood underlined his England claims with another man-of-the-match performance as Newcastle dumped champions Sale in a try feast at Kingston Park.

Rugby's leaders look at shake-up

Rugby Football Union chief executive Francis Baron believes English rugby needs a new structure to end conflict between the clubs and the national side.

Hoping for Flood gates to open up

Toby Flood wants momentum and integration to help the Falcons smash Gloucester when the Guinness Premiership resumes.

Don't panic, says Dallaglio

Lawrence Dallaglio has warned Twickenham officials not to make a panic appointment and hand World Cup-winning skipper Martin Johnson the vacant England coach's role.

Spice added to Robbo farce

The former performance director of the Rugby Union, Chris Spice, insists English rugby chiefs have to look at themselves for the mess surrounding head coach Andy Robinson's protracted exit.

Robinson thrives on challenge

Andy Robinson faces the defining few weeks of his career as England head coach, insisting: "I have never ducked a challenge."

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer