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RugbyU: Champions Castres face make or break Montpellier clash

Champions Castres face a crunch home clash with Top 14 leaders Montpellier on Friday with the defence of their title on the line. Castres hold the sixth and last play-off qualification spot -- also the last guaranteed place in next season's European Cup -- but with just two games remaining they are in the firing line of two teams hoping to deny them the chance to extend their campaign.

RugbyU: Tough Easter derbies for Sharks, Chiefs

The Coastal Sharks and defending champions Waikato Chiefs face testing Easter derbies, while Wallaby ace Israel Folau returns to bolster the NSW Waratahs in this weekend's Super 15 rugby. Jake White's Sharks tackle the Central Cheetahs in Durban on Saturday, while the Chiefs host seven-time Super Rugby champions Canterbury Crusaders in a blockbuster New Zealand derby.

RugbyU: Germany call-up SA-born Saracens forward Melck

Saracens' South African-born flanker Justin Melck has been called-up by international rugby minnows Germany in their bid for a place at next year's Rugby World Cup in England. Cape Town-born Melck, 31, who has a German passport and whose mother is German, has been called into the Germany squad for their international away to Sweden on April 26. Having made 77 appearances for Saracens since making his debut against London Wasps in 2009, Melck is one of only a handful of professional players in the Germany squad and he can play in all three back-row positions.

RugbyU: Wallabies line up European tour with eye on World Cup

The Wallabies will play the cream of European nations on their 2014 tour with an eye on the World Cup the following year, the Australian Rugby Union announced Wednesday. Coach Ewen McKenzie will be looking to be at least as successful as on last year's tour when Australia narrowly lost to England before embarking on a four-match winning spree. "The (southern) spring our last year was the most successful in five years for the Qantas Wallabies and we'll be looking to improve on that come November," McKenzie said.

RugbyU: Farrell gives Saracens fitness boost

English Premiership leaders Saracens on Tuesday moved to reassure fans over the extent of an injury sustained by their England fly-half Owen Farrell. Farrell went off at half-time in Saracens' 28-24 win over title rivals Northampton on Sunday due to a foot problem, but subsequent tests revealed no cause for concern. "Owen Farrell will resume training towards the end of this week," Saracens said on their official website.

RugbyU: RFU exec bids to stop English talent drain

England's leading clubs are determined to challenge the financial rewards on offer in French rugby in a bid to prevent a post-2015 World Cup player drain. Rugby Football Union chief executive Ian Ritchie has highlighted the importance of making it commercially feasible for members of Stuart Lancaster's squad to reject an approach from the Top 14. It is current RFU policy to only select those playing at non-English clubs in exceptional circumstances, a position Ritchie views as "fundamental" to retain control of England internationals.

RugbyU: Leicester stalwart Chuter retires

George Chuter, the Leicester hooker and England 2007 World Cup finalist, on Monday announced his immediate retirement from professional rugby. The 37-year-old is the first player to make 250 Premiership appearances, going on to line up in 292 first-team games in 13 seasons with Leicester. He has played in seven Premiership finals at Twickenham, a record he shares with former Tigers club captain Geordan Murphy. Chuter has been a part of a Leicester squad which reached four European Cup Finals and won 24 caps for England.

RugbyU: England's Farrell in injury scare

England outside-half Owen Farrell is set to find out the full severity of the foot injury that forced him off at half-time during Premiership leaders Saracens' 28-24 win over second-placed Northampton on Sunday. Farrell, who England will hope is fit enough for their post-season tour of New Zealand, had to be relieved of kicking duties by Argentina's Marcelo Bosch and didn't take the field in the second half at Saracens' home ground in Hendon, north-west London.

RugbyU: Sharks claim derby with solo try as Force win again

The Coastal Sharks won a fierce South African derby to stay top of rugby's Super 15 as Australia's resurgent Western Force won their fifth straight match this weekend. A superb individual try from fullback Lwazi Mvovo secured the Sharks a 25-12 victory over the Golden Lions to hold on to a two-point lead in the southern hemisphere provincial series. Jake White's Sharks needed the win to stay clear of Australia's ACT Brumbies and back-to-back champions Waikato Chiefs.

RugbyU: Crusaders snare Cheetahs with four-try finish

Canterbury Crusaders scored four last-quarter tries to defeat Central Cheetahs 52-31 Saturday after a see-saw Super 15 struggle in Bloemfontein. It was the first clean sweep by the New Zealanders in South Africa since 2008 after comfortably overcoming the Golden Lions in Johannesburg last weekend. And it was the first victory by the record seven-time Super Rugby champions over the Cheetahs since 2007 in the republic.
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