RC Toulonnais v Racing-Metro 92
Fri 21/08 20:45 FRA / 18:45 GMT / 19:45 BST

Rob (R&R): Toulon by 8
Max (R&R): Toulon by 9
Oddschecker: Toulon (1.33/4.20)

La Rochelle v Clermont Auvergne
Sat 22/08 14:45 FRA / 12:45 GMT / 13:45 BST

Rob (R&R): Clermont by 3
Max (R&R): Clermont by 5
Oddschecker: Clermont (1.91/2.10)

Bordeaux Begles v Castres Olympique
Sat 22/08 18:30 FRA / 16:30 GMT / 17:30 BST

Rob (R&R): Bordeaux by 9
Max (R&R): Bordeaux by 10
Oddschecker: Bordeaux (1.22/5.50)

Grenoble FC v Agen
Sat 22/08 18:30 FRA / 16:30 GMT / 17:30 BST

Rob (R&R): Grenoble by 12
Max (R&R): Grenoble by 15
Oddschecker: Grenoble (1.15/7.00)

Montpellier Hérault RC v Union Sportive Oyonnax
Sat 22/08 18:30 FRA / 16:30 GMT / 17:30 BST

Rob (R&R): Montpellier by 13
Max (R&R): Montpellier by 10
Oddschecker: Montpellier (1.17/7.00)

Stade Toulousain v CA Brive
Sat 22/08 18:30 FRA / 16:30 GMT / 17:30 BST

Rob (R&R): Toulouse by 15
Max (R&R): Toulouse by 11
Oddschecker: Toulouse (1.12/9.00)

Stade Francais Paris v Section Paloise
Sun 23/08 16:15 FRA / 14:15 GMT / 15:15 BST

Rob (R&R): Stade Francais by 16
Max (R&R): Stade Francais by 12
Oddschecker: Stade Francais (1.10/10.00)

Joe Schmidt

Joe Schmidt

Ireland fans have been given a boost as the IRFU announced that Joe Schmidt has signed a new contract to remain as head coach until June 30, 2017. Since taking on the role of head coach Schmidt and his coaching team have won back-to-back Six Nations Championship titles and a first Test Series win in the Southern Hemisphere. Ireland were unbeaten during the 2014 November Series which included victories over South Africa and Australia.

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World Rugby

World Rugby Rankings

Ireland have moved up to second place in the World Rugby Rankings for the first time since they were introduced in 2003. Saturday’s 35-21 win over Wales at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff earned them 1.13 ratings points, putting them a fraction ahead of Australia who jumped two places to third on the back of their Bledisloe Cup triumph against the All Blacks. The Nic White-inspired Wallabies gained 1.61 points to move on to 86.84 points, 0.05 behind the Irish and 1.44 in front of England, the only top six side not in action at the weekend, who remain fourth.

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Louis Picamoles

France skipper Thierry Dusautoir has been left out of a 25-man squad for Saturday’s match against England at Twickenham due to injury. Dusautoir sustained the injury during a training session earlier in the week but is expected to recover in time for the return match between these sides in Paris a week later.

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Courtney Lawes

Courtney Lawes

England second-row Courtney Lawes has hailed the attitude in their training camp as they look to banish the ghosts of 2011’s World Cup campaign. “Everyone just gets on with it, works hard, and works for each other. No-one is negative and everyone is trying to prepare the best we can,” he told BBC Sport, with the 45 players in the squad set for the next training camp in Denver.

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Dan Coles on the charge

Dan Cole on the charge

They’ll be the first to tell you, but the tighthead is one of the most important positions on the pitch. The anchor of the pack and a crucial cog at the set-piece, they’re now expected to hit rucks, dominate the contact area and make turnovers. Rugby World spoke to one of the world’s best tightheads in 50-cap England No 3 Dan Cole about five of the toughest opponents he’s faced…

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Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

If you heard a low rumbling noise last Thursday, it may well have been a collective sigh of relief from armchair rugby fans across the country (writes Sion Clwyd Roberts). You’ve probably already heard that the Six Nations is set to remain free-to-view, as BBC and ITV’s joint bid for the broadcasting rights was successful.

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The European Champions Cup competition starts on the weekend of 14 – 15 November 2015. The final will take place at the new Grand Stade de Lyon on 14 May 2016.

European Rugby Champions Cup pools

Pool 1 | Saracens, Ulster, Toulouse, Oyonnax
Premiership champions Saracens are alongside Ulster, Toulouse and competition debutants Oyonnax.

Pool 2 | Clermont Auvergne, Ospreys, Exeter, Bordeaux
Clermont will start their campaign in Pool Two with Ospreys, Exeter and Bordeaux.

Pool 3 | Glasgow, Northampton, Racing 92, Scarlets
Pro 12 champions Glasgow Warriors are in Pool Three alongside Northampton, Racing 92 and Scarlets.

Pool 4 | Stade Francais, Munster, Leicester, Treviso
Stade Francais, Munster, Leicester and Treviso make up Pool Four.

Pool 5 | Bath, Toulon, Leinster, Wasps
Bath, Toulon, Leinster, Wasps are drawn together in Pool Five.

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