The latest rugby news on the major tournaments from around the globe.
England fly-half Toby Flood will miss the start of the RBS Six Nations after he damaged his knee ligaments.
Paul Perez, the big Samoan wing, is off to Castres as a 'medical joker'.
Veteran Biarritz forward Imanol Harinordoquy admitted he was relieved to be among the France squad unveiled by new coach Philippe Saint-Andre for this year's Six Nations despite a left knee injury.
Top 14 side Biarritz confirmed they will appeal the one-match suspension imposed on the Aguilera Stadium by France's National Rugby League (LNR) for incidents during last year's Basque derby.
Chris Ashton will start for Northampton against Harlequins on Friday after serving a four-week ban, despite doubts over his future.
The Welsh Rugby Union were on Friday poised to challenge the International Rugby Board to rule Steven Shingler ineligible for Scotland.
France will go into their opening Six Nations match against Italy with a backbone of a World Cup-hardened team, but new coach Philippe Saint-Andre has also picked a number of players purely on current form.
After last weekend's surprises anything is possible. Two matches immediately stand out, the one in Paris and Sunday's tough encounter on the massif central. Clermont will want to make up for last weekend's drab performance while Toulon will not have taken their hiding happily. The same is true of Stade Français who were humiliated by Bordeaux-Bègles last weekend.
Steven Shingler's eligibility for Scotland was called into doubt hours after his call-up.
Danny Care's bid to "come back stronger" from his England ban will begin on Friday, when he starts for Harlequins against Northampton.
Nic Sestaret has warned Exeter Chiefs that they can ill afford another ill-disciplined display when they travel to Newcastle Falcons in the Premiership on Saturday.
Gloucester youngsters Gareth Evans and Dan Robson have committed their futures to the club by penning new deals.
Northampton have recalled Chris Ashton for Friday evening's enticing Aviva Premiership encounter with table-topping Harlequins.
There are a number of crucial clashes in the Premiership this weekend as the chasing pack continues to pursue Harlequins and Saracens who have opened up a healthy lead at the top of the standings.
The last round of Pro12 matches before the start of the Six Nations opens on Friday at Rodney Parade, where second placed Ospreys will be looking to consolidate their play-off place with a victory over Newport Gwent Dragons.
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