What’s in The Rugby Paper: 15/12/23

What's in The Rugby Paper: 15/12/23

Alongside a report from their Saturday night clash with Cardiff, we talk to Bath’s Finn Russell and how he’s moved to the ‘rugby mad city’ to win titles in The Rugby Paper this Sunday.

Bath’s trip to the Welsh capital is one of nine Champions Cup clashes across Friday and Saturday, and we’ll have action from every single game as well as three previews for Sunday’s games, including Toulouse’s visit to Harlequins.

In-form Northampton host Toulon on Friday night with Tommy Freeman at outside centre, and Phil Dowson opens up on how he has excelled in the role following his move from the wing at the start of this season.

Transferring even further inside, Bristol Bears and England fly-half Holly Aitchison talks through her recent transition from 13 to 10 and her admiration for the club’s expansive style of play in our Red Roses column.

Mark Stevens talks to one of Exeter Chiefs’ elder statesmen in Jack Yeandle, who reveals the secrets behind the club’s early-season success, as Bears’ second row Josh Caulfield explains how his former club London Irish’s liquidation has resulted in him playing for the club he supported as a child.

Yeandle, right, is one of the Chiefs’ longest serving players and only survivors from their league and European double success in 2020 (Picture: Getty Images)

Meanwhile we’ll also be across the Challenge Cup, with Gloucester hosting Clermont Auvergne and Newcastle Falcons seeking their first win of the season in Johannesburg against the Emirates Lions among the seven reports.

Back on the domestic front they’ll also be a full set of reports from the Premiership Women’s Rugby and men’s Championship, with Nottingham head coach Craig Hammond explaining why the latter is still a great, competitive league despite the lack of jeopardy.

Ahead of their final week before the winter break we also have all the action from the leagues below the second tier: National League One, Two North, Two East and Two West.

Rounding things off with our weekly features, former Fiji international Graham Dewes looks back in My Life in Rugby, Birmingham-Moseley scrum/defence coach and ex-Wasps back row and hooker Ashley Johnson picks his Dream Team, and Bath prop Billy Sela is our Young Gun.

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