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Rugby

Thu, 12:03

Saracens welcome South African franchise the Blue Bulls to Allianz Park on Saturday for another northern hemisphere vs southern hemisphere clash in north London.

Pete Wood scored twice for Hampstead but it wasn't enough. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Hampstead were left rueing missed opportunities as they lost 29-20 to a hardworking HAC team in a game that could have gone either way in London North-West Division Two.

Dave O'Dwyer (centre) scored the decisive winning try against Hackney. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Captain Dave O’Dwyer scored a winning try with the last play of the match as UCS Old Boys came from behind to earn a dramatic 8-5 victory over Hackney in the Middlesex Cup.

Chris Wyles (right) kicks though to set up Saracens' second try against Munster as he is tackled by Simon Zebo. Pic: Matthew Impey/Wiredphotos.co.uk

Saracens head to France on Sunday knowing a victory will secure a place in the quarter-finals of the European Champions Cup, but the size of the task is not lost on Chris Wyles.

Saracens' Maro Itoje is tackled by Harlequins' George Lowe

Saracens’ Maro Itoje is “ecstatic” with his England Saxons call-up, after the lock forward was included in the 24-man squad for the upcoming game against the Irish Wolfhounds on January 30.

Lilly Hunt (centre) on the attack for Hampstead. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Hampstead Ladies remain fourth in Women’s Championship South East Division Two after losing 20-7 against second-placed Blackheath on Sunday.

Belsize Park's Rich Turner brings down Hackney's Rich Frost. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Belsize Park withstood a fightback from Hackney to complete a league double over their rivals, triumphing 24-19 at a boggy Hackney Marshes in London North-West Division Three.

Hendon captain Ger O'Donoghue touched down twice. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Hendon secured their place among the top six teams that will battle it out for promotion in phase two of Herts/Middlesex Division Two after a dominant 41-9 victory away at Uxbridge.

UCS Old Boys centre Matt Jacobs (right) is on his way back from injury. Pic: Nick Cook/UCS Old Boys

Director of rugby Geoff Boxer believes the return of key figures will bring about a change in fortunes after UCS Old Boys’ fifth straight defeat.

Saracens' Neil de Kock

Saracens return to European action on Saturday when two-time Heineken Cup champions Munster visit a sold-out Allianz Park.

Carl Brown (left) scored a consolation try for Haringey Rhinos. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Haringey Rhinos returned to action with a 36-7 defeat at Barnet Elizabethans, leaving them rooted to the bottom of the table in Herts/Middlesex Division One.

Rory Gibson in action for UCS Old Boys. Pic: Paolo Minoli

UCS Old Boys were defeated 31-11 away at Hitchin on Saturday, and a fourth successive defeat leaves them two points above the bottom two in London North-West Division Three.

Richard Wilson touched down for Belsize Park. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Belsize Park landed a big blow in the fight for promotion in London North-West Division Three, with a sterling defensive display laying the foundation for a 30-5 bonus-point victory over rivals Welwyn, who left empty-handed.

Pete Wood touched down in each half for Hampstead. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Hampstead moved into the top half of the table in London North-West Division Two after running in six tries in a 43-10 victory away against bottom club Hemel Hempstead.

The victorious Hendon team at Allianz Park. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Hendon kicked off the new year on Saracens’ pitch at Allianz Park, and their Premiership-level surroundings inspired them to a 33-16 victory over Watford, which kept them in third place in Herts/Middlesex Division Two.

Saracens' David Strettle steps inside the tackle of Ofisa Treviranus to score his second try against London Irish  at Allianz Park on Saturday

EXCLUSIVE: David Strettle admits the winter months can be tough on the wing, so he was pleased to make the most of his limited opportunities and touch down twice against London Irish on Saturday.

Saracens' Mako Vunipola. Pic: Matthew Impey/Wiredphotos.co.uk

It’s been a 2014 that Mako Vunipola may wish to forget after missing much of the year through injury, but the Saracens and England prop is now back to full fitness and looking forward to the new year.

Saracens' Duncan Taylor. Pic: Matthew Impey/Wiredphotos.co.uk

Saracens’ Duncan Taylor admits he sometimes has to pinch himself as he looks back over a whirlwind 18 months – and he is keen to stay on the international scene with Scotland ahead of the World Cup in 2015.

Seb Dunnett (centre) scored twice for Belsize Park but they were defeated. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Belsize Park were left to rue a slow start as they suffered a second defeat in three games before the festive break, going down 36-31 at Finchley in London North-West Division Three and slipping to fourth place in the table.

Kella Kapnisi was named Hampstead's forward of the match. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Hampstead Ladies’ first team were beaten 14-7 by Beckenham in Women’s Championship South East Two and dropped from third to fourth place, despite scoring the opening try through Lilly Hunt.

Dan Dimoline scored two tries for Hampstead but they were defeated. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Hampstead’s second-half fightback was in vain as they suffered a second successive defeat in London North-West Division Two, going down 32-27 away at Harpenden and dropping to eighth place in the table.

Hendon captain Ger O'Donoghue. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Hendon lost a half-time lead as six penalties from London French condemned them to an 18-17 loss - their second defeat of the season in Herts/Middlesex Division Two.

Will Allen scored one try and set up another but Belsize Park were defeated. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Belsize Park were left to rue missed penalties as they were defeated 24-21 by promotion rivals Fullerians in Watford and dropped two places to fourth in London North-West Division Three.

Hampstead & Westminster captain Toby Roche. Pic: Mark Clews

Hampstead & Westminster captain Toby Roche says he has mixed feelings about the timing of the winter break as the men’s Premier Division stops for two months.

Saracens' David Strettle. Pic: Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

Saracens wing David Strettle is looking forward to a “special fixture” as Saracens return to European action and face Sale Sharks in Manchester on Saturday.

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