Wednesday, June 03, 2015
England got the defence of their Under 20s World Cup title off to an impressive start this week with an emphatic 59-7 victory over returnees Japan, while Ireland secured a dramatic last minute win over Argentina.
The competition kicked off on Tuesday and saw easy opening wins for New Zealand who beat Scotland 68-10 and South Africa who saw off hosts Italy 33-5.
England - coached by former player Jon Callard - wasted little time in hitting form as they scored early tries through George Perkins and Jack Walker. They went on to score seven more as 19 year-old Bath fly-half Rory Jennings slotted seven conversions.
Ireland waited until the very last minute to secure their opening day victory over Argentina. Trailing 16-15 with seconds to spare, Tomas Quinlan brilliantly kicked a difficult touchline penalty to sink the Pumas.
Elsewhere, Wales suffered a 19-10 defeat to an impressive French outfit in Calvisano. Bordeaux winger Lucas Blanc finished off an excellent length of the field team try before Jarrod Evans bagged a late consolation try for the Welsh.
England romped to a 73-12 victory over the Barbarians at Twickenham on Sunday, with the likes of Wade and Danny Cipriani piling on the points. Wade ended up with a hat-trick as England scored their highest ever win over the Baa-Baas.
Earlier in the game the dynamic winger blew a golden opportunity though, bringing back memories of the likes of Christophe Dominici, Tana Umaga and even Christian Cullen. There are plenty more, so some notable bloopers have been listed in the Related Posts below this.
Luckily for Wade, it mattered none as England proved too strong for a talented Barbarians outfit, and he grabbed a hat-trick later anyway. View the match highlights here.
Tuesday, June 02, 2015
It was another jampacked weekend of rugby, so if you missed any of the Super Rugby action, the guys at the Shortball have stepped up to put together their recap of all the best action.
As always, there's the Try of the Week, which is a beauty from the Hurricanes, some big hits and a few funnies. Watch the Laurie Weeks punches on Jannie du Plessis here.
Following a one-point victory over Ireland, the Barbarians took on England at Twickenham on Sunday, but it was an entirely different affair. The home side ran in ten tries as coach Stuart Lancaster was afforded the luxury of trying out a few combinations on the Aviva Premiership Final weekend.
Christian Wade scored a hat-trick of tries, while flyhalf Danny Cipriani put his hand up with a brace, and 11 from 11 kicks at goal. Marland Yarde, Ed Slater, Jack Clifford, Henry Slade and Josh Beaumont also scored tries. Brad Thorn and Thomas Waldrom scored for the Baa-Baas.
"I've got to make sure I put my hand up every time I get a chance," said top points scored Cipriani, who picked up a personal tally of 33 in a Man of the Match performance.
"We played our England way, we played our structure, we didn't let the game get too lose and on defence we hunted them down and got the ball back which is exactly how we wanted to play," added Cipriani, who had one of his best ever games in the white jersey.
England's 73-12 victory was their biggest ever win over the Barbarians, with their previous best being the 57-26 win in May 2012.
While very little can be read into the game, Lancaster will be pleased with such strength in depth just a few months out from the Rugby World Cup. Who impressed you the most?
Monday, June 01, 2015
Saracens proved victorious in this year's Aviva Premiership final as the London based side put on a dominant display to beat a Bath, who cruised to victory in their semi-final against Leicester, 28-16 at Twickenham.
Last years losing finalists and former 2011 champions showed their strength and power with three unanswered tries through Owen Farrell, Jamie George and Chris Wyles.
Saracens in fact led 25-3 at half-time, then survived a second-half revival from Bath, after a try from Jonathan Joseph and eight points from the boot of George Ford.
The victory for Saracens is the first time a club outside of the top two in the table has won the competition, a victory that came in Saracens' fourth final in six seasons.
Director of rugby Mark McCall was delighted with his sides victory saying that "To perform the way we did in the first half was exceptional and Bath were always going to come back in the second half and they showed what they were capable of, but we hung in there and are absolutely thrilled to win"
Bath on the other hand, find themselves still searching for their first title win since 1996, a now 19 year wait. Despite losing, Bath captain Stuart Hooper remained positive stating "It's hugely disappointing but we need to make sure that we realise that it was not a wasted year. We worked hard and got to this point but we didn't really do ourselves justice today."
The game also brought with it a moment of controversy surrounding two of England's stars, Owen Farrell and Anthony Watson. Farrell committed a high tackle on Watson early in the first half and ended Watson's final prematurely.
The tackle went unpunished at the time and Farrell went on to inspire Saracens victory taking home the Man of the Match award. The tackle drew heavy criticism from Bath head coach Mike Ford who after the game said that he believed Farrell should have been sent off.
Farrell has since been given a Citing Commissioner Warning (Level 1 Citing), which means that the incident was viewed as greater than a yellow card, but doesn't quite meet a red card. The penalty is the equivalent to a post-match foul play yellow card, three of which would result in the player being subject to a disciplinary.
It was a fully deserved win for Saracens after a scintillating first half of rugby and a superb response to their extra time defeat against Northampton last year.
Melbourne Rebels prop Laurie Weeks has been banned for three weeks following a red card for multiple punches on Sharks tighthead Jannie du Plessis at the weekend. While Du Plessis struck first, Weeks' retaliation and flurry of punches is what got him sent off.
As both tightheads 'chased' a high ball in the first half, Weeks appeared to obstruct Du Plessis which obviously frustrated the veteran Springbok. He lashed out with a meaty slap to the back of the head, leading Weeks to turn and start swinging.
Du Plessis did well to refrain from throwing punches himself, as Weeks threw roughly six shots, most of which landed. The doctor was yellow carded, while Weeks received a straight red.
Both players were surprised with the calls, with Du Plessis calling his shot 'a push', and Weeks obviously feeling that his reaction was justified after being struck pretty hard on the back of the head. His reaction did him no favours though.
Discipline has never been Du Plessis' strongpoint, and he actually did something similar against the Hurricanes in 2012, with an open-hand slap that started a brawl.
SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Adam Casselden accepted a guilty please from Weeks, and he has been suspended from all forms of the game for three weeks up to and including 20 June 2015.
"I found the incident to have a mid-range entry point which stipulates a five-week suspension. This was then reduced by two weeks due to Weeks' prompt admission of guilt, remorse for his actions and excellent disciplinary record.
"The applicable entry point for determining the seriousness of the offence was determined by the excessive overreaction of multiple strikes by the player when compared to the act that initially provoked him to commit the offence," Casselden added.
Rebels skipper Scott Higginbotham scored a brace of tries, but the tourists went down 25-21.
*NOTE: This post went live before the ruling, so has since been updated
Sunday, May 31, 2015
The Barbarians edged Ireland 22-21 in a non-cap international at Thomond Park on Thursday evening, with Wales winger Alex Cuthbert grabbing a brace as the invitational side claimed a win over Ireland by one point for the third time in succession.
Leinster's South African fullback Zane Kirchner scored an excellent try for the Barbarians, while Craig Gilroy, Chris Henry and Paddy Jackson scored for Ireland.
While it wasn't a full strength Ireland XV, they have only beaten the Barbarians once in six occasions since 1996, with the victory coming at Kingsholm in 2008. They lost 29-28 three years back, and 31-30 in 2000.
Today the Barbarians played England at Twickenham, but were pumped 73-11, as flyhalf Danny Cipriani scored two tries and kicked 11 from 11, while Christian Wade scored a hat-trick. More from that match soon.