Goodbye !

“It has been one hell of a journey but even the good things must come to an end”

Dear All,

Newcomers, part-time surfers or long-time fans of this blog,

I knew that this day would come one day.

I am leaving.

Okay, let me just explain my decision.

In March 2016, just after the Super Rugby fixture at Eden Park between the Blues and the Hurricanes, I got the idea of creating a rugby blog. It was a long-time dream of mine to be honest. Something I wanted to do for many years.

I have always been a huge rugby fan. I watched my first rugby games during the Six Nations Championship 2005. I remembered Ronan O’Gara’s kick charged down in Cardiff as Wales were rampant to win the Grand Slam at their home.

Through the next years, I became really interested in that game. I was mainly watching Six Nations Championship, Champions Cup and Challenge Cup, the Top14 Final, the Summer and November Tours, and obviously the World Cup.

It was only in the mid-2010’s that I decided to give my total commitment to this wonderful game. Because I was such a big fan, I think that I watched an average of 15 games per weekend and it lasted during more than four years.

I have never been good at mathematics. However, I can be pretty confident to say that it represents more than 3,000 rugby games. I watched everything, I watched every competitions, I enjoyed some incredible emotions through it.

I remember that my favourite part of the year was from February to March. Because rugby was played all around the world, there were games from the early morning to the middle of the night. I enjoyed those big marathons.

However, I finally realised that, as much as I love this game, there is much more to life than rugby. I did not take this decision lightly but following some deep reflection, I want a new direction in my life and that is the best thing to do.

As much as I love this game, I cannot keep watching games after games, weekends after weekends, while I know that there is so much that you can do. I will still be following rugby but it will not be as accurate. It will be different.

I look back at these four years as a greatful man. I have been blessed with outstanding rugby games, high-level performances, great skills and unbelievable scenarios. It also brought me so much with universal values.

That would be pointless to rank my best rugby games ever. I just covered every rugby competition which was broadcasted. I watched everything because I was a true rugby fan and I just did not want to miss a single game during that time

Premiership, Pro14, Top14, Premiership Rugby Cup, Champions Cup, Challenge Cup, Six Nations, Super Rugby, Rugby Championship, Pacific Nations Cup, Mitre 10 Cup, Currie Cup, World Cup, Junior World Cup, Lions, Tours, …

Nevertheless, if I had to keep just one game, here is the one that I would keep and why : Free State Cheetahs vs. Western Province. Sixth Round of the Currie Cup 2019. Let me explain why I would keep that game and not another one.

The game was taking place at Free State Stadium, in Bloemfontein. The Free State Cheetahs were playing at home and were qualified for the Currie Cup play-offs before the start of the game. The sixth Round was obviously the last Round.

The Free State Cheetahs could not handle the pressure of the Western Province in the first-half, filled by numerous Springboks. The Free State Cheetahs were trailing by 18 points at the interval (10-28) and they were also virtually out.

The beginning of the second-half was even more terrible with the Free State Cheetahs now trailing by 23 points (10-33). With half an hour to go, the Free State Cheetahs were going to stage one of the greatest comebacks in History.

They scored four tries for 28 unanswered points to get a 5-point caution. On the last play of the game, the Western Province put immense pressure on the Free State Cheetahs try line. They did not surrender. They even counter-rucked.

As soon as the ball left the field of play with Marius van der Westhuizen blowing his whistle, the crowd lifted and gave a great cheer to their local heroes. The Free State Cheetahs coach, Franco Smith, was also very emotional in his box.

That was THE moment when the Free State Cheetahs won the Currie Cup. In 30 minutes, they went from out of the Currie Cup to top of the table. Two weeks later, after some great play-offs, the Free State Cheetahs won the Currie Cup.

I chose that game because of the symbol. For me, the symbol is stronger than the result. Had I choose the result, I probably would have gone for the Currie Cup Finals in 2016 or in 2019 when the Free State Cheetahs ruled the league.

These kind of memories will be over now. It is obviously very tough for me but like I said, you have to make the big decisions sometimes in your life. It has been one hell of a journey but even the good things must come to an end.

That is fair to say that it has been an enjoyable four years. That was very fun, every day, to get the news, go into the build-up for the big games. I followed the development of great players from the grassroots to the superstar status.

For example, and I have no evidence to give you, but the first ever Super Rugby game that I watched was in May, 2014. The Hurricanes were hosting the Chiefs at Westpac Stadium, Wellington. There was the heat for the play-offs battle.

That day, for the Hurricanes, was playing at first five-eighth a guy named Beauden Barrett. I did not know him well. I watched him play and I said to myself : “One day, this guy will be crowned World Rugby Player Of The Year”.

In fact, on that blog, you can find three kinds of rugby articles. Rugby reviews which gives you a short summary of most of the games I watched through the years, features on clubs and the game and Beauden Barrett’s career articles.

Like I said, I will keep following rugby and all the competitions, North and South, but it will not be as accurate as what it used to be. I think that I will still watch a few games but it will be more like a few games per year, so a real drop.

There will never ever be more articles published on the blog. That is the last one. The 387th article will be my last. However, I wanted to share with you two drafts that I wrote and that I never published for some various reasons.

The first one was about the Super Rugby re-building in 2017 with the Southern Kings, the Free State Cheetahs and the Western Province dropped for financial reasons. I really was disappointed by that move. That was just unacceptable.

The second one was about the Super Rugby preview for the 2020 season. It was a preview, franchise by franchise. It was about giving informations about the momentum, the coaching staff, the player resources and the expectations.

I am a huge fan of the Southern Hemisphere. Well, I am not here to start an argument, mostly because that is my last article, but I have always thought that the Northern Hemisphere was unfair with their Southern counterparts.

We hear for decades that New Zealand is poaching Pacific Islanders, for example. Meanwhile, all the clubs in the Northern Hemisphere, have at least one player who played Super Rugby in past days. Who has got it right ?

New Zealand strengthened their national side but their federation put the money to raise these players while their clubs are struggling. In North, clubs are stronger and when their federations are poaching talents, they don’t spend.

I will never say that North is weaker than South. I just think that South play the game like it should be played. New Zealand, South Africa and Australia are not as rich as the countries in the North but they have someting that North has not.

That is called extra soul. Since 1987, there were 9 World Cups which took place. South won 8 of them. North won 1. You could clearly witness it during the last World Cup Final, in 2019, in Japan when South Africa defeated England.

Because the Southern Hemisphere countries are poorer and are going through tough times, their players know that and get that extra soul. It may sound rubbish but that is my opinion and you have got the right to disagree.

On another note, I have never understood the lack of respect towards the Haka. You do not boo it, you do not even try to respond to it on the field. Okay, that is the challenge but you can still rise to it standing up, watching and enjoying it.

Anyway, it has been four unforgettable years. I will still be around and I will keep following what happens in the oval world. I will surely be there for the next World Cup as the global showpiece of 2023 will be held in my country.

Rugby will always hold a special place in my life. It made me a greater person. It sometimes was my only refuge. The only place in the world where I was accepted for who I was with no people judging me for the person that I was.

Rugby gives you the values that you want to fight for. That game is all about passion, pride, loyalty, respect, brotherhood and so much more. The guard of honor is probably the greatest symbol of what rugby can bring to the world.

If I am not mistaken, rugby is the only sport in the world with the guard of honor being a code. At the end of each game, there is the guard of honor from both sides paying tribute to each other. That always was my favourite moment.

You are entitled to follow the legacy of that blog. If you are interested, or if that article pleased you, do not hesitate to drop a mail or a comment. I will keep checking and answering, remembering the four incredible years of the past.

Thanks to all the rugby community for these four years.

That was great.

Goodbye !

Max.

The Rugby Wrap : Weekend Review (Friday, 13th, March, 2020 – Saturday, 14th, March, 2020)

Jordie Barrett landed the winning penalty for the Hurricanes against the Chiefs, in Hamilton

That weekend was definitely strange. Almost all the rugby competitions were cancelled following decisions from many countries due to safety reasons. That situation was not really expected.

It meant that the last Round of the Six Nations Championship was postponed. The Premiership Rugby Cup Final, in England, was also called off. More rugby competitions followed in the same time.

The northern domestic leagues (ProD2, Top14, Pro14, Premiership) due to ome back the next weekend were also suspended. In a nutshell, only Super Rugby was going on for that weekend.

* Chiefs vs. Hurricanes : Super Rugby (FMG Stadium, Hamilton, New Zealand)

The Hurricanes spread the ball wide and winger Ben Lam scored the try. The Chiefs replied with a penalty from Damian McKenzie. Lachlan Boshier scored from close range but the Hurricanes hit back.

Playmaker Fletcher Smith got a stunning try. In the second-half, Tumua Manu got the try for the home side as TJ Perenara was binned. Shaun Stevenson added another try for the Chiefs, after that.

The Hurricanes got a penalty with Jordie Barrett while Asafo Aumua got the maul try. They were awarded a penalty after a 36-phase build-up. Jordie Barrett kicked it. The Hurricanes won (FT : 24-27).

* Sunwolves vs. Crusaders : Super Rugby (Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Australia)

The Crusaders scored early in the wide channels with Thomas Christie. The Sunwolves replied with Benn Hyne scoring. The Crusaders got the ball back and winger Sevu Reece had the try.

In the second-half, Luke Romano carried over the line but Garth April scored for the Sunwolves. Sevu Reece got a brace and Sione Havili got a great try for the Crusaders. Though, they lacked discipline.

Forward Hugh Roach was sent off while Sevu Reece was binned. However, the Crusaders held their lines. Centre Braydon Ennor scored and Fregus Burke got the try. The Crusaders got the win (FT : 14-49).

* Reds vs. Bulls : Super Rugby (Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Australia)

The Bulls started brillantly with a try from Embrose Papier. They found space out wide and Rosko Specman scored. The Reds had Chris Feauai-Sautia yellow-carded while Warrick Gelant scored.

The Reds hit back with the maul try from Liam Wright while Isaac Lucas concluded an astonishing build-up. In the second-half, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto touched down. The Reds kept playing.

Winger Bryce Hegarty kicked a penalty. Hooker Alex Mafi carried over the line and Harry Hoopert also scored after confusion. Prop Taniela Tupou also got the try. It was impressive from the Reds (FT : 41-17).

* Sharks vs. Stormers : Super Rugby (Kings Park, Durban, South Africa)

The Sharks had the ball with Louis Schreuder who was tackled in the air by Johan du Toit. The Stormers flanker was binned. The Sharks got the opening try with Aphalele Fassi showing pace.

The Stormers replied from the kick-off with Herschel Jantjies. Curwin Bosch landed a drop-goal for the Sharks. In the second-half, Curwin Bosch landed a penalty for the Sharks.

After that, Paul de Wet got the try for the Stormers. The Sharks got two more penalties with Curwin Bosch while Makazole Mapimpi scored a set-piece try. The Sharks snatched a tough win (FT : 24-14).

Conclusion

That weekend was pretty quiet on the rugby front given all the cancelled games. Super Rugby was carrying on, though, and there were some great games played through the weekend in the South.

The Hurricanes snatched an away win in Hamilton while the Crusaders got an away bonus point win. The Reds got a great comeback win and the Sharks managed to get a tough home win.

It is very difficult to know what could happen in the next few weeks. As it stands, it seems that all the competitions will be suspended. Therefore, there will be no rugby played worldwide.

Max.

The Rugby Wrap : Weekend Review (Thursday, 05th, March, 2020 – Sunday, 08th, March, 2020)

The Bulls winger Rosko Specman scored a Hat-Trick during their win against the Highlanders

That weekend was very important for many teams. In the Northern Hemisphere, the club teams had to manage their players carefully. Some clubs were not playing while others were on the pitch.

Still in the North, only the ProD2 (the French second Tier league) and the Premiership were carrying on. There was a re-scheduled Pro14 game which had to be cancelled due to bad weather.

Meanwhile, in the Southern Hemisphere, there was the Super Rugby campaign going on. Due to the high competitiveness, all the franchises were still in the mix to qualify for the play-offs spots.

* Oyonnax vs. Grenoble : ProD2 (Charles Mathon, Oyonnax, France)

The Grenoble side got two penalties with Gaëtan Germain before Deon Fourie scored. Oyonnax kicked a penalty with Yoann Le Bourhis. Theo Millet touched down and Irakli Mirtskhulava scored.

Though, Oyonnax had Julien Audy binned and Gaëtan Germain landed a kick. Yoann Le Bourhis replied with a penalty. In the second-half, he added two more penalties and Tony Ensor got a stunning try.

After that, Quentin MacDonald got the maul try for the home side. Grenoble scored a late try with Taleta Tupuola. However, Oyonnax got the impressive win under the rain and the wind (FT : 40-21).

* Dragons vs. Treviso : Pro14 (Rodney Parade, Newport, Wales)

The Italian province got the opening try with winger Luca Sperandio with Tomas Baravalle also scoring. The Dragon landed two penalties with Jacob Botica as Treviso got the possession.

Ian Keatley kicked a penalty for Treviso. Rhodri Williams got the try for the home side. In the second-half, Andrea Esposito concluded a build-up for Treviso as Harrison Keddie was binned.

Ian Keatley landed two penalties. William Talbot-Davies got the try for the Dragons. Treviso set up a maul an Hame Faiva touched down. Elliott Dee scored late for the Dragons. Treviso won (FT : 25-37).

* Worcester vs. Northampton : Premiership (Sixway, Worcester, England)

The home side had Ryan Mills yellow-carded for foul play as James Grayson kicked a penalty for Northampton Saints. Though, they had Tom Collins binned and Jono Lance landed a penalty.

Northampton Saints set up a maul and Mikey Haywood got the try. James Grayson added a second penalty. In the second-half, Worcester Warriors hit back with a try from Ollie Lawrence.

After that, James Grayson missed a kick but was on target on his next attempt. Northampton Saints had a second player binned with Sam Matavesi. Though, they held their lines for the win (FT : 10-16).

* Sale vs. London Irish : Premiership (Salford, Sale, England)

In the first-half, Sale Sharks were settled in defence. Centre Sam James intercepted for the opening try. His brother Luke James scored an outstanding counter-attacking try which went coast-to-coast.

In the second-half, Robert du Preez kicked a penalty as Harry Elrington was binned for London Irish. Rob Webber got a maul try while Sam James got a scintillating brace in that game.

Winger Denny Solomona concluded a good try on his right wing. Also, Byron McGuigan collected Faf de Klerk’s cross-field kick to get another stunning try. Sale Sharks got the big win (FT : 39-00).

* Rebels vs. Lions : Super Rugby (AMI Park, Melbourne, Australia)

The Melbourne Rebels kicked a penalty with Matt Toomua while winger Andrew Kellaway scored a stunning try. Marika Koroibete was binned for a high tackle but Richard Hardwick touched down.

The Lions hit back with Jamba Ulengo. The Melbourne Rebels had a second player binned with Tom English. Elton Jantjies kicked a penalty. The Melbourne Rebels got another try with Isireli Naisarani.

Later on, Dane Haylett-Petty got a try and Matt Toomua kicked a penalty. The Lions scored late with Sithembiso Sithole. Andrew Kellaway got a brace. The Melbourne Rebels won (FT : 37-17).

* Sharks vs. Jaguares : Super Rugby (Kings Park, Durban, South Africa)

The Sharks scored the great try with Hyron Andrews. Makazole Mapimpi was denied a try because of a knock-on but Sikhumbuzo Notshe scored a try from a quick-tap. The Jaguares hit back.

Santiago Carreras scored. The Sharks got a kick with Curwin Bosch as André Esterhuizen touched down. The Jaguares scored with Joaquin Tuculet. Curwin Bosch hit the crossbar on a penalty attempt.

He landed two kicks and Kerron van Vuuren scored. The Jaguares had Gonzalo Bertranou binned. The Sharks got Aphalele Fassi binned. Sebastian Cancelliere scored late. The Sharks won (FT : 33-19).

* Wasps vs. Gloucester : Premiership (Ricoh Arena, Coventry, England)

The home side started with a try from Jack Willis as Dan Robson nailed a drop-goal. However, Malakai Fekitoa was binned. The Wasps still managed to score with Josh Bassett and Jacob Umaga.

After that, Tom Marshall hit back for Gloucester with Ollie Thorley also on the scoreboard. Though, Tom Marshall was binned and Nizaam Carr scored the powerful maul try for the Wasps.

Also, Billy Twelvetrees had the try for Gloucester but Malakai Fekitoa replied for the Wasps. Lloyd Evans scored late for Gloucester. Jimmy Gopperth kicked a penalty for the Wasps. They won (FT : 39-22).

* Bulls vs. Highlanders : Super Rugby (Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, South Africa)

The Highlanders began well with Josh Ioane. The Bulls replied with the maul try from Jaco Visagie. Josh Ioane kicked a penalty. He even added a second kick with the Highlanders keeping the possession.

The Bulls unleashed the comeback. Fullback Warrick Gelant got a stunning try. Winger Rosko Specman scored from close range. After that, he got a scintillating brace on his left wing.

The Bulls kept throwing the offloads and Rosko Specman got the Hat-Trick. The other winger, Cornal Hendricks got an interception try. It was an impressive win for the Bulls (FT : 38-13).

* Bristol vs. Harlequins : Premiership (Ashton Gate, Bristol, England)

The Bristol Bears shifted the ball wide and winger Luke Morahan scored quickly. Brett Herron kicked a penalty for the Harlequins. Callum Sheedy replied in the same fashion for the home side.

The Harlequins scored a set-pice try with Aaron Morris. Though, Luke Morahan got a brace. Callum Sheedy landed a penalty and Chris Vui carried over the line. The home side had Henry Purdy binned.

In the second-half, Callum Sheedy kicked a third penalty. The Harlequins scored late with winger Gabriel Ibitoye. Though, the Bristol Bears managed well and got a very good win (FT : 28-15).

Conclusion

That weekend has been just entertaining. In the ProD2, Oyonnax won to keept their Top14 promotion achievable. Meanwhile, in the Pro14, Benetton Treviso got a very good away win, in Wales.

About the Premiership, Northampton got a great away win while Sale Sharks and Bristol Bears impressed. In Super Rugby, the Melbourne Rebels performed well while the Sharks played superbly.

The Bulls also got their campaign back on track. Next weekend, the domestic leagues all across the rugby world would carry on. It should be entertaining as always with all teams involved.

Max.

The Rugby Wrap : Weekend Review (Thursday, 27th, February, 2020 – Sunday, 01st, March, 2020)

The Sharks got a massive away win in Brisbane with Sikhumbuzo Notshe having a great game

That weekend was going to be special. With the Six Nations Championship taking a rest, the domestic leagues had the priority in the North. It was important to keep playing well.

Meanwhile, in the Southern Hemisphere, the Super Rugby competition was carrying on. In a very competitive season, all the franchises had their word to say about the play-offs race.

That weekend for the Northern Hemisphere clubs were about finding the balance. Lots of sides could not rely on their Test players with the Six Nations, so the turnover had to be effective.

* Grenoble vs. Biarritz : ProD2 (Stade des Alpes, Grenoble, France)

The home side kicked a penalty with Enzo Selponi. He missed his second attempt. Grenoble at Davit Kubriashvili binned at scrum time. Biarritz set up a maul and scored with Lucas Peyresblanques.

In the second-half, Grenoble went through the phases and back-rower Deon Fourie touched down. Nicholas Smith kicked two consecutive penalties for Biarritz who was back in front.

Grenoble landed a penalty with Enzo Selponi and it was all square. Nicholas Smith missed a penalty for Biarritz. Grenoble held their lines and managed to get a good home draw (FT : 13-13).

* Edinburgh vs. Cardiff : Pro14 (Murrayfield, Edinburgh, Scotland)

The Cariff Blues opened the scoreboard with a penalty from Jason Tovey. On the re-start, Dan Fish’s kick was charged down and George Taylor touched down. Jason Tovey missed a penalty, later on.

Just before the Half-Time, Simon Hickey, for Edinburgh, and Jason Tovey, for Cardiff Blues, both landed a penalty. In the second-half, it was an arm-wrestle with both defences making turnovers.

Edinburgh defended well and playmaker Simon Hickey nailed two consecutive penalties. The scottish province remained composed and secured a tough home win with some wind and rain (FT : 14-06).

* Colomiers vs. Oyonnax : ProD2 (Pierre Bendichou, Colomiers, France)

First, Lionel Beauxis missed a kick but nailed the next for Oyonnax. Jules Soulan got two kicks for Colomiers. Thomas Dubois, for Colomiers, and Irakli Mirtskhulava, for Oyonnax, were binned.

Lionel Beauxis landed a kick. In the second-half, both kickers added one kick with one more to Jules Soulan. Oyonnax had a second player binned with Rory Grice. Hugo Pirlet scored for Colomiers.

After that, Yohan Le Bourhis got a kick for Oyonnax. Jules Soulan added one and missed another. Colomiers had Romain Bezian binned as Quentin MacDonald scored for Oyonnax. Colomiers won (FT : 22-19).

* Gloucester vs. Sale : Premiership (Kingsholm, Gloucester, England)

The Sale Sharks kicked a penalty with Robert du Preez. Following some confusion in the Gloucester defence, Luke James got the try. Bryn Evans added another one from close range.

After that, Billy Twelvetrees landed a kick for Gloucester as WillGriff John was binned for Sale Sharks. Fraser Balmain scored. Though, Marland Yarde got a stunning try for Sale Sharks.

With tough weather, Gloucester scored with Billy Twelvetrees. Sale Sharks got a penalty with Robert du Preez. They defended very well and held their lines to get a massive away win (FT : 17-23).

* Reds vs. Sharks : Super Rugby (Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Australia)

The Reds kicked a penalty with Jock Campbell. The Sharks replied with Curwin Bosch who landed a kick before Kerron van Vuuren touched down from a maul. The Reds got the try with Henry Speight.

In the second-half, the Sharks scored from close range with Dylan Richardson. The Res came back from a quick-tap wih Tate McDermott. Curwin Bosch landed two 50-metre penalties for the Sharks.

They got an interception try with Lukhanyo Am while Madosh Tambwe got a counter-attacking score. Lwazi Mvovo was binned and Ed Craig scored for the Reds. Though, the Sharks won (FT : 23-33).

* Racing 92 vs. La Rochelle : Top14 (Paris La Défense Arena, Nanterre, France)

The home side set up a maul and Teddy Baubigny touched down. Finn Russell got the interception try while Teddy Iribaren kicked a penalty. Racing 92 scored a second try from a good interception.

Francois Trinh-Duc gave the ball to Dorian Laborde for the try. In the second-half, Olivier Klemenczak added another one for the home side while Fabien Sanconnie carried over the line.

Racing 92 maintained the standards as Maxime Machenaud scored the try and Hassane Kolingar was also on the scoreboard. La Rochelle did not find his game. It was impressive from Racing 92 (49-00).

* Bulls vs. Jaguares : Super Rugby (Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, South Africa)

The Jaguares scored quickly with Emiliano Boffelli. Marco van Staden replied for the Bulls. The Jaguares scored a powerful try with Rodrigo Bruni as Warrick Gelant hit back again for the home side.

The Jaguares built some phases and Guido Petti Pgadizabal touched down and so did Mattias Moroni. The Bulls had a try with Cornal Hendricks but Johnny Kotze was binned. Emiliano Boffelli got a brace.

After that, Morné Steyn got a kick for the Bulls and so did Joaquin Diaz Bonilla for the Jaguares. The Jaguares playmaker was binned but Santiago Socino got a maul try. The Jaguares won (FT : 24-39).

* Pau vs. Montpellier : Top14 (Stade du Hameau, Pau, France)

The home side began well with two penalties from Antoine Hastoy. Montpellier replied and it was all square when Handré Pollard also kicked two penalties. Antoine Hastoy landed a third for Pau.

In the second-half, Handré Pollard added two more kicks for Montpellier. Colin Slade nailed a penalty for the home side and it was all square again. Handré Pollard landed his fifth penalty.

After that, Section Paloise started a huge build-up and prop Nicolas Corato touched down. The home side managed to hold their lines in defence. They clinced a massive win (FT : 19-15).

* Brive vs. Lyon : Top14 (Amédée Domenech, Brive, France)

The home side kicked a penalty with Thomas Laranjeira while winger Joris Jurand got a great try on his wing. Lyon replied with a penalty from Patricio Fernandez but Brive had the possession.

Winger Joris Jurand got a stunning individual brace. He even got a Hat-Trick before the Half-Time after winning the kick-chase. In the second-half, Lyon got the try with Thibaut Regard.

After that, Brive were awarded a penalty and Thomas Laranjeira was on target. Lyon made too many mistakes as Brive defended well. It was a huge home win for Brive who played well (FT : 30-11).

* Bordeaux vs. Castres : Top14 (Chaban-Delmas, Bordeaux, France)

The home side kicked a penalty with Maxim Lucu. Castres hit back with a try from Julien Caminati. Maxime Lucu landed a second penalty but Rodrigo Capo Ortega scored the try for Castres.

Bordeaux went through the phases and Blair Connor concluded a nice move. Back-rower Mahamadou Diaby also scored. In the second-half, Castres got the try out wide with Filippo Nakosi.

The home side kicked two more penalties with Ben Botica. He was off target on his next attempt. Castres got a try with Anthony Jelonch. Though, Bordeaux held their lines and won (FT : 26-24).

* Toulon vs. Stade Francais : Top14 (Felix Mayol, Toulon, France)

The Stade Francais got a kick with Joris Segonds. Toulon kicked tw penalties with Anthony Belleau. Stade Francais had Tala Gray binned and Anthony Belleau kicked a third penalty.

Stade Francais had a second player binned with Sami Mavinga but Nicolas Sanchez landed a kick. Toulon got the try with Swan Rebbadj. Stade Francais replied with a try from Lester Etien.

They added another try with Kylan Hamdaoui as Toulon had Brian Alainu’uese binned. Though, Toulon were awarded a penalty. Louis Carbonel kicked it. Toulon snatched the win (FT : 19-18).

Conclusion

That weekend was entertaining. About Pro14, Edinburgh got a home win. In the ProD2, Grenoble got the draw and Colomiers played very well. In Premiership, Sale Sharks got a massive away win.

In the Super Rugby, the Sharks and the Jaguares performed very well. Meanwhile, in the Top14, Racing 92 impressed. Section Paloise snatched the win and Brive played very well.

Also, Bordeaux and Toulon got a good win. Next season, the Six Nations Championship would come back. The domestic leagues and the Super Rugby will carry on as well. It should be good.

Max.

The Rugby Wrap : Weekend Review (Friday, 21st, February, 2020 – Sunday, 23rd, February, 2020)

The Blues snatched a last-minute away win against the Bulls thanks to an Otere Black penalty

That weekend was going to be great given all the rugby available. First of all, in the Northern Hemisphere, the Six Nations Championship was going on with the Round 3 of the competition.

There also were the domestic leagues going on with the Top14, the Pro14 and the Premiership. Moreover, there was also some rugby played in the Southern Hemisphere with more fixtures.

In fact, the Super Rugby was taking place with another Round. All the franchises were still involved in the play-offs race. There were a few key games with a lot at stake for many franchises.

* Edinburgh vs. Connacht : Pro14 (Murrayfield, Edinburgh, Scotland)

The home side got two kick with Simon Hickey. Jack Carty was binned as a penalty try was awarded to Edinburgh and Simon Berghan scored. Tiernan O’Halloran got the try for Connacht.

He got a brace in the second-half. Pierre Schoeman replied for Edinburgh and Duhane van der Merwe also touched down. Eroni Sau was binned for Edinburgh after a tip tackle and a brawl started.

Eoghan Masterson, for Connacht, and Nick Haining, for Edinburgh, were binned. Connacht had a third player binned with Connor Fitzgerald. Edinburgh won that tough game (FT : 41-14).

* Sale vs. Leicester : Premiership (Salford, Sale, England)

The Leicester Tigers opened the scoreboard with a penalty from Noel Reid but Dan Cole was yellow-carded because of too many infringements. Bryn Evans charged a kick down and scored the try.

Sale Sharks spread the ball and Marland Yarde got a stunning try. Prop Coenie Oosthuizen also scored from close range. In the second-half, Leicester Tigers had a second player binned with Noel Reid.

Robert du Preez kicked a penalty for Sale Sharks. Marland Yarde got a brace out wide and gathered a chip-kick for his Hat-Trick try. It was a stunning performance from Sale Sharks (FT : 36-03).

* Reds vs. Sunwolves : Super Rugby (Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Australia)

The Reds opened the scoreboard with Liam Wright. Prop Taniela Tupou carried over the line while Hunter Pasami got a stunning try. Scrum-half Tate McDermott also concluded a build-up.

The Sunwolves had Ben Te’o binned after a high tackle as Lukhan Salakaia-Loto got the try. In the second-half, Tate McDermott got a brace and Hamish Stewart got an interception try for the team.

The Sunwolves scored a late try with Sosaia Fifita. The Reds added another great try with Joshua Nasser and Isaac Lucas touched down. It was an impressive win for the Reds (FT : 64-05).

* Stormers vs. Jaguares : Super Rugby (Newlands, Cape Town, South Africa)

The Stormers opened the scoreboard with a penalty from Damian Willemse. However, Frans Malherbe was yellow-carded for a high tackle. The Stormers kept their structures in the first-half.

In the second-half, Herschel Jantjies gathered a loose ball and scored the try. Centre Ruhan Nel touched down after a good move. The Jaguares hit back with back-rower Rodrigo Bruni scoring.

After that, the Jaguares had a try ruled out because of an off-side position. The Stormers held their lines with a very strong set-piece play. They clinched the win in a very physical game (FT : 17-07).

* La Rochelle vs. Toulon : Top14 (Marcel Deflandre, La Rochelle, France)

The home side got a kick with Tawera Kerr-Barlow as Jules Plisson also landed a penalty for La Rochelle. Toulon had Raphael Lakafia binned. After that, the kickers from both sides added penalty.

Jules Plisson, for La Rochelle, and Anthony Belleau, for Toulon, both added two penalties. Anthony Belleau even scored a third penalty. Toulon had a second player binned with Facundo Isa.

La Rochelle spread the ball wide and Arthur Retiere touched down. Anthony Belleau landed a penalty for Toulon. La Rochell had Arthur Joly binned at scrum time. Though, they held on to win (FT : 17-12).

* Bulls vs. Blues : Super Rugby (Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, South Africa)

The Bulls got a kick with Morné Steyn. Otere Black replied in the same fashion for the Blues. The Bulls had Andries Ferreira and Burger Odendaal binned. The Blues scored with Mark Telea.

Though, Jonathan Ruru was binned and Morné Steyn scored for the Bulls. Morné Steyn got a kick but Tom Robinson touched down for the Blues. They added a stunning try with Stephen Perofeta.

The Blues had a second player binned with Hoskins Sotutu. The Bulls got the try with Jeandré Rudolph. The Blues got a penalty on the last play. Otere Black kicked it. The Blues won (FT : 21-23).

* Wales vs. France : Six Nations (Principality Stadium, Cardiff, France)

The home side kicked a penalty with Dan Biggar. France got the first try with Anthony Bouthier and Romain Ntamack kicked a penalty. Dan Biggar got a kick for Wales but France were settled.

From a lineout, Paul Willemse scored for France. Dan Biggar landed a third penalty and Gregory Alldritt was binned. France held on before Half-Time. In the second-half, Dillon Lewis scored for Wales.

However, Romain Ntamack got an interception try for France and landed a kick. France had a second player binned with Mohamed Haouas. Dan Biggar got the try. France held on for the big win (FT : 23-27).

* Wales vs. France : Women Six Nations (Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff, Wales)

The French team started well with a try from Cyrielle Banet out wide. Scrum-half Laure Sansus scored from close range while Cyrielle Banet got a brace from a cross-field kick. It was impressive.

In the second-half, France kept the momentum. Back-rower Safi N’Diaye carried over the line. Laure Sansus also got a brace from a set-piece play while Marine Menager also touched down.

Playing with huge attacking threats, France added another try with Julie Annery. Pauline Bourdon offloaded for Camille Boudaud who got the try. It was a big win for France (FT : 00-50).

* Exeter vs. Northampton : Premiership (Sandy Park, Exeter, England)

The home side began with a penalty from Joe Simmonds as Jonny Hill scored from close range. Tom Collins was binned for Northampton Saints. Elvis Taione touched down after a good carry.

Forward Jannes Kirsten was also on the scoreboard. In the second-half, Tom Hendrickson scored from a set-piece play. Prop Ben Moon concluded a build-up while Tom Hendrickson got a brace.

Northampton Saints replied with a try from James Grayson. The Exeter Chiefs kept playing and Tom O’Flaherty had a try. Sam Simmonds also scored from a maul. It was a big win for Exeter (FT : 57-07).

* England vs. Ireland : Six Nations (Twickenham, London, England)

The England team started well with a try from George Ford after a big mistake in the Ireland defence. Fullback Elliot Daly added another try after the exact same mistake in the Ireland defence.

Playmaker Owen Farrell kicked a penalty for the home side. In the second-half, Ireland got a try with Robbie Henshaw. Though, England set up a maul and Luke Cowan-Dickie was the try scorer.

It was another good try for England. After that, Ireland scored late with a try from Andre Porter. It was an impressive display from England who played some really good rugby in that game (FT : 24-12).

Conclusion

That weekend was very entertaining. In the Pro14, Edinburgh got the bonus point win. In the Premiership, the Sale Sharks impressed and the Exeter Chiefs had a very big win at home.

In the Top14, Stade Rochelais won. In the Six Nations, the France senior and women teams clinched massive away wins. England played well, too. In the Super Rugby, the Reds played very well.

Meanwhile, the Stormers remiained unbeaten and the Blues snatched a massive away win. Next weekend, the Six Nations would take a rest again while all the domestic leagues will carry on.

Max.

The Rugby Wrap : Weekend Review (Thursday, 13th, February, 2020 – Sunday, 16th, February, 2020)

The Stormers remain unbeaten in Super Rugby following the away win in Johannesburg

That rugby weekend was going to be promising. In the Northern Hemisphere, the Six Nations Championship was taking a rest. Meanwhile, the domestic leagues were taking place with huge games.

There was going to be some Premiership. Also, the Top14 and the Pro14 were there. In France, the ProD2, the second Tier league, was also taking place. There was a lot at stakes for the sides.

Moreover, there was also some rugby in the Southern Hemisphere. The Super Rugby competition was going on. All the franchises were obviously pushing for the play-offs qualification.

* Grenoble vs. Perpignan : ProD2 (Stade des Alpes, Grenoble, France)

The home side was under pressure as Dylan Jacquot was binned at scrum time. Perpignan got the penalty try. Dan Brown, for Perpignan, and Lucas Rey, for Grenoble, were also yellow-carded.

There were scrums infringements from both sides. Grenoble kicked a penalty with Enzo Selponi. The home side also got a set-piece try with Leva Fifita. Jonathan Bousquet got a kick for Perpignan.

Grenoble replied with Enzo Selponi before Deon Fourie carried over the line. They went for the bonus point try but there was not much time left. Grenoble got a massive home win (FT : 20-10).

* Gloucester vs. Exeter : Premiership (Kingsholm, Gloucester, England)

The Exeter Chiefs started well with a try from Jacques Vermeulen after a big maul. Gloucester kicked a penalty with Billy Twelvetrees. Gareth Steenson organised well the Exeter Chiefs.

In the second-half, he landed four consecutive penalties. Meanwhile, fullback Stuart Hogg got a stunning counter-attacking try. Gloucester needed a big reaction and Jake Polledri scored.

After that, winger Louis Rees-Zammit was also on the board. However, it was a tough task for the home side. The Exeter Chiefs clinched an away win in a game played among the rain (FT : 15-26).

* Hurricanes vs. Sharks : Super Rugby (Westpac Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand)

The Hurricanes kicked a penalty with Jordie Barrett. The Sharks were denied a try after a forward pass but got it later with Madosh Tambwe. The Hurricanes spread the ball wide as Wes Goosen scored.

The Sharks hit back again with a try from Tyler Paul. Though, the Hurricanes got an outstading try with Ngani Laumape. Sanele Nohamba got the penalty for the Sharks. It was all square at Half-Time.

In the second-half, Ben Lam got a quick brace for the Hurricanes as Dane Coles added another one. The Sharks scored late with Mzamo Majola. The Hurricanes won that great game (FT : 38-22).

* Lions vs. Stormers : Super Rugby (Ellis Park, Johannesburg, South Africa)

The home side kicked a penalty with Elton Jantjies. The Stormers replied with a try from Juarno Augustus and Godlen Masimla also scored. The Lions hit back with a try from fullback Andries Coetzee.

They added another one with Courtnall Skosan. Damian Willemse kicked two penalties for the Stormers. Winger Sergeal Petersen got a stunning score and Damian Willemse added another kick.

The Lions came back again. Elton Jantjies and Dan Kriel scored. Elton Janjies nailed a kick. Though, the Stormers got a stunning set-piece try with Ruhan Nel to get a massive away win (FT : 30-33).

* Bordeaux vs. Lyon : Top14 (Chaban Delmas, Bordeaux, France)

The home side got a kick with Ben Botica. Lyon got the try with Mickael Ivaldi. Semi Radradra was binned for Bordeaux as Charlie Ngatai got a kick. However, Semi Radradra came back and scored the try.

He later got a stunning brace. Jonathan Wisniewski and Charlie Ngatai both got one penalty for Lyon. Maxime Lucu got a kick for Bordeaux Bègles and so did Jonathan Wisniewski for Lyon.

Bordeaux Bègles built the phases and Seta Tamanivalu got the try. Winger Santiago Cordero also touched down after a superb move. Maxime Lucu got a penalty. Bordeaux Bègles won (FT : 37-19).

* Leicester vs. Wasps : Premiership (Welford Road, Leicester, England)

The Wasps started the game well with two penalties from Jimmy Gopperth. Leicester Tigers replied with a penalty from Tom Hardwick. He missed his second attempt in a tough game.

In the second-half, Tomas Lavanini was yellow-carded for the home side. Jimmy Gopperth landed a third penalty for the Wasps. Leicester Tigers replied in the same fashion with Noel Reid.

They set up a big maul and Greg Bateman touched down. After that, fullback Telusa Veainu picked up a loose ball and got the try. Leicester Tigers managed the game well to get the win (FT : 18-09).

* Ospreys vs. Ulster : Pro14 (Liberty Stadium, Swansea, Wales)

The Ospreys kicked a penalty with Luke Price. Ulster scored the try with Robert Baloucoune. The home side replied with centre Owen Watkin and forward Scott Otten also touched down after good phases.

Luke Price kicked a second penalty for the Ospreys. Billy Burns landed a kick for Ulster. In the second-half, Scott Otten got a brace from a big maul. Ulster scored with Matt Faddes and Stuart McCloskey.

The Ospreys got the lead back with a penalty from Luke Price. The Welsh region held their lines and made the massive turnover. It was a huge win for the Ospreys among wind and rain (FT : 26-24).

* Jaguares vs. Reds : Super Rugby (José Amalfitani, Buenos Aires, Argentina)

The Reds started with tries from Tate McDermott and Liam Wright also scored. The Jaguares hit back with a maul try from Julian Montoya. Chris Feauai-Sautia got a quick brace for the Reds.

Fullback Emiliano Boffelli scored from a high kick for the home side. Julian Montoya got a brace and Domingo Miotti got a kick. Jock Campbell replied for the Reds but they had Liam Wright binned.

The Jaguares set up a maul again and Julian Montoya got the Hat-Trick. Santiago Socino also got the try from the bench with Tomas Cubelli adding another one. The Jaguares won (FT : 43-27).

Conclusion

That weekend was entertaining. First of all, in the ProD2, Grenoble got some momentum with the home win. In the Premiership, the Exeter Chiefs and Leicester Tigers played very well.

In Super Rugby, the Hurricanes got the home win while the Stormers snatched a massive away win. The Jaguares also got their campaign back on track. In the Top14, Bordeaux Bègles impressed.

Finally, in the Pro14, the Ospreys got a great home win. Next weekend, all the clubs competitions would carry on. The Six Nations Championship will be back, as well. There should be some great games.

Max.

The Rugby Wrap : Weekend Review (Friday, 07th, February, 2020 – Sunday, 09th, February, 2020)

The Blues got their Super Rugby campaign going thanks to a Hat-Trick from Mark Telea

That weekend was going to be key for many sides in both Hemispheres. First of all, in the North, there was the second Round of the Six Nations Championship with all sides targeting good performances.

Still in the Northern Hemipshere, there was the other semi-final of the Premiership Rugby Cup. That is a second-tier competition taking place in England involving Premiership clubs.

Finally, in the Southern Hemipshere, Super Rugby was going on. The franchises wanted to make a few statements early in the season. It was only Round 2 so there were going to be plenty of opportunities.

* Sale vs. Saracens : Premiership Rugby Cup (Salford, Sale, England)

The Sale Sharks ran the ball early and Denny Solomona touched down on his right wing. The home counter-attacked and Will Cliff scored. Flanker Ben Curry scored a stunning set-piece try.

In the second-half, the Saracens needed a reaction and Rotimi Segun picked up a loose ball to score. Though, Alex Goode was binned for Saracens and Akker van der Merwe got the try for the home side.

After that, the Saracens had a second player yellow-carded with Alex Day following a dangerous tackle. The Sale Sharks held their lines and qualified for the Premiership Rugby Cup Final (FT : 28-07).

* France vs. Italy : Six Nations U20 (Maurice David, Aix-en-Provence, France)

The Italy side started brillantly with an opening try from winger Cristian Lai. Prop Ion Neculai carried over the line. France hit back with a good try from Cheick Tiberghen who found the space.

However, Italy got the possession back and scrum-half Stephen Varney added the try. France built a few phases and Nathan Farissier touched down. Thibaut Debaes kicked a penalty for France.

He missed another one but delivered a cross-field kick for Ethan Dumortier who touched down. France defended well before Yann Peysson got a powerful try. France got the win (FT : 31-19).

* Waratahs vs. Blues : Super Rugby (McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle, Australia)

The Blues moved the ball early and flnaker Blake Gibson scored. Stephen Perofeta added a penalty. The Waratahs came back with a try out wide scored by centre Lalakai Foketi before Half-Time.

In the second-half, the Blues attacked. Joe Merchant concluded a nice build-up while Mark Telea won a kick-chase to score. However, the Blues had Hoskins Sotutu binned for a high tackle.

The Waratahs got the try with Mark Nawaqanitawase. However, the Blues kept their structures. Winger Mark Telea found space and got his brace and a Hat-Trick. The Blues got the win (FT : 12-32).

* Lions vs. Reds : Super Rugby (Ellis Park, Johannesburg, South Africa)

The Reds started with a penalty from Bryce Hegarty. The Lions replied with a try from Tyrone Green. The Reds scored a try on the counter-attack with Jock Campbell. Tyrone Green got a brace.

After that, Bryce Hegarty kicked a second penalty for the Reds but Taniela Tupou was yellow-carded. The Lions set-up a maul and Marnus Schoeman scored. The Reds had another player binned.

It was Josh Nasser who left the field. Though, Tate McDermott scored. The Lions built a few phases and Courtnall Skosan got the try and Elton Jantjies landed a penalty. The Lions won (FT : 27-20).

* Stormers vs. Bulls : Super Rugby (Newlands, Cape Town, South Africa)

The Stormers opened the scoreboard with a penalty from Damian Willemse. He was off target on his second attempt. Though, the Stormers set up a driving maul and Scarra Ntubeni touched down.

In the second-half, Damian Willemse missed his second penalty. However, the home side kept the momentum. Following a great attacking move, winger Seabelo Senatla concluded for the try.

The Bulls were desperate to get something quickly. The Stormers made turnovers. They kept their opponents scoreless again. It was a magnificient game from the Stormers (FT : 13-00).

* France vs. Italy : Women Six Nations (Stade Beaublanc, Limoges, France)

The France team built a few phases and Audrey Forlani scored the try. Jessy Tremouliere kicked a penalty while Cyrielle Banet touched down on the right wing. The home side were impressive.

Italy got a penalty with Michela Sillari. France got the ball back and Cyrielle Banet got a great brace. Sara Barratin intercepted and Italy had the try. France set up a maul and Juie Annery scored.

Italy lacked discipline and Francesca Sgorbini was binned as France were awarded a penalty try. France got one last try with scrum-half Laure Sansus. That was a great win for France (FT : 45-10).

* Jaguares vs. Hurricanes : Super Rugby (José Amalfitani, Buenos Aires, Argentina)

The Hurricanes kicked a 63-metre penalty with Jordie Barrett. Domingo Miotti replied for the Jaguares who also got the try with Marcos Kremer. Jordie Barrett landed two more penalties for the Hurricanes.

In the second-half, Domingo Miotti and Jordie Barrett both added one more penalty. Domingo Miotti was on target again and Agustin Creevy scored from a maul. The Hurricanes unleashed the comeback.

First of all, prop Alex Fidow scored from close range. After that, the Hurricanes built again and Jamie Booth concluded a stunning try. The Hurricanes held on and snatched a massive away win (FT : 23-26).

* France vs. Italy : Six Nations (Stade de France, Paris, France)

The home side started with a penalty from Romain Ntamack. France built a few phases and winger Teddy Thomas gathered a chip-kick for the try. Skipper Charles Ollivon added a try, as well.

Italy came back with a great try from winger Matteo Minozzi as Tommaso Allan kicked a penalty. France had a penalty with Romain Ntamack before Gregory Alldritt got the try. That was a good game.

Romain Ntamack got a scintillating try. Frederico Zani replied with a try for Italy. France got another one with Baptise Serin. Italy scored late with Mattia Bellini. France won (FT : 35-22).

Conclusion

That weekend was really entertaining. In the Premiership Rugby Cup, Sale Sharks qualified for the Final. In the Six Nations, the France U20 snatched the win while the France senior team did well.

Besides, the France Women also played well. About the Super Rugby, the Blues got a good away win. Moreover, the Lions clinched a very important win while the Stormers kept impressing in Cape Town.

Next weekend, the Six Nations Championship would be taking a rest. The domestic leagues in the Northern Hemisphere would be bacl. Also, there will be the Super Rugby. It should be some great rugby.

Max.

The Rugby Wrap : Weekend Review (Thursday, 30th, January, 2020 – Sunday, 02nd, February, 2020)

The Sharks began well their Super Rugby campaign with a derby win against Bulls in Durban

That weekend was much-awaited as there were plenty going on in the rugby world. If the domestic leagues in the North were taking a rest, two other mighty competitions were back that weekend.

First of all, in the Northern Hemisphere, it was the opening of the 2020 Six Nations Championship. Meanwhile, in the Southern Hemisphere, the Super Rugby competition was kicking off again.

However, there still was some club rugby played in the North. The ProD2 clubs were still fighting for promotion. Besides, there was the second Pro14 derby between the two south-african franchises.

* Biarritz vs. Angoulême : ProD2 (Aguiléra, Biarrotz, France)

The home side relied on the maul and Lucas Peyresblanques scored. Pierre Bernard added a penalty with Mathieu Ugalde missed his attempt for Angoulême. Biarritz kept the momentum.

Pierre Bernard landed his second penalty for the home side and got a third, later on. Erwan Nicolas kicked a penalty for Angoulême. Pierre Bernard got another kick but Elvis Levi was yellow-carded.

From a scrum, Angoulême scored with Sebastien Laulhé. Biarritz scored another penalty with Pierre Bernard. Biarritz secured the win in a very physical game with many phases of play (FT : 20-08).

* Brumbies vs. Reds : Super Rugby (GIO Stadium, Canberra, Australia)

The Brumbies worked a combination and centre Irae Simone scored the try. The Reds hit back in same fashion with Henry Speight. Bryce Hegarty kicked a penalty and got a try for the Reds.

In the second-half, the Brumbies threw the ball wide and Tom Wright touched down. They set up a maul and Folau Fainga’a got the try. Fullback Tom Banks later scored a stunning try for the team.

Also, Noah Lolesio kicked a penalty for the Brumbies. The Reds were back again with a try from Harry Wilson. The Brumbies held their lines and clinched a valuable home win (FT : 27-24).

* Sharks vs. Bulls : Super Rugby (Kings Park, Durban, South Africa)

In the first-half, Curwin Bosch, for the Sharks, and Morne Steyn, for the Bulls, traded penalties. They both scored two penalties. Just before the Half-Time, Morne Steyn landed a drop-goal.

In the second-half, the Sharks set up an attacking display. Winger S’busiso Nkosi scored from a cross-field kick from Curwin Bosch. The Sharks playmaker later added a third penalty for the team.

After that, Morne Steyn got a kick. He missed his next attempt before scoring another kick. The Sharks got a stunning try from a set-piece move with Sanele Nohamba. They secured the win (FT : 23-15).

* Crusaders vs. Waratahs : Super Rugby (Trafalgar Park, Nelson, New Zealand)

The Crusaders landed a penalty with David Havili. The Waratahs did the same with Will Harrison. The home side got the try out wide with Will Jordan. Will Harrison got a penalty for the Waratahs.

The Crusaders turned the ball over as Brayden Ennor and Leicester Fainga’anu’uku scored tries. In the second-half, Mark Nawaqanitawase got a quick brace for the Waratahs.

After that, Braydon Ennor also got a brace with Luke Romano scoring from a lineout. The Waratahs got a late try with Alex Newsome. The Crusaders got the bonus point win at home (FT : 43-25).

* Wales vs. Italy : Six Nations (Principality Stadium, Cardiff, Wales)

The Wales team built a lead with three penalties from Dan Biggar. Wales threw the ball out wide and Josh Adams scored on the wing. He even got a brace after a very good attacking build-up.

In the second-half, Wales kept the momentum. Replacement centre Nick Thompkins got a try on debut after finding space in the midfield. George North had a try disallowed after a knock-on.

Though, the Welsh winger concluded a build-up, later on. The other winger, Josh Adams got a Hat-Trick. It was a bonus point win for Wales who impressed during that opening game (FT : 42-00).

* Cheetahs vs. Kings : Pro14 (Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein, South Africa)

The Cheetahs set up a maul and Joseph Dweba scored the try. Back-rower Chris Massyn carried over the whitewash as well with Joseph Dweba getting a brace. Though, Walt Steenkamp was binned.

In the second-half, the Cheetahs defended well before counter-attacking as Jasper Wiese scored. The Kings had Elrigh Louw binned. Clayton Blommetjies played the quick-tap and touched down.

He later made the chip-kick resulting in a stunning try for Rhyno Smith. Replacement fly-half Louis Fouché also scored from a big scrum. It was a big win for the Cheetahs (FT : 45-00).

* France vs. England : Six Nations (Stade de France, Paris, France)

The France team built a few phases early and Vincent Rattez concluded for a great try. Romain Ntamack kicked a penalty. Skipper Charles Ollivon later got a counter-attacking try for the home team.

In the second-half, France kept the momentum and skipper Charles Ollivon got a brace. England hit back with a try from winger Jonny May after winning the chase from his chip-kick in the defence.

The winger got a brace, later on. England pushed for more tries but France held their lines in defence. Owen Farrell kicked a penalty for England. France clinched a massive home win (FT : 24-17).

Conclusion

That was a very entertaining weekend with some great games. In the ProD2, Biarritz maintained the standards and could push for Top14 promotion. About the Super Rugby, there were good games.

The Brumbies performed well while the Sharks clinched the home win. Meanwhile, the Crusaders opened with the win, as well. In the Six Nations, Wales and France got some huge wins.

Finally, in the Pro14, the Cheetahs won their derby to get back on track. Next weekend, the domestic leagues would get a rest again. There will be some Six Nations and Super Rugby, as well.

Max.

The Rugby Wrap : Weekend Review (Thursday, 23rd, January, 2020 – Saturday, 25th, January, 2020)

Centre Henry Purdy scored a great try for the Bristol Bears against Gloucester, his former club

That weekend was all about the management for the coaches in the Northern Hemisphere. With the Six Nations Championship starting the week after, many teams were missing key players.

It meant that many coaches had to re-shuffle their team. The ProD2 clubs, playing in the French second division, were not in the same situation. They were all targeting the Top14 promotion.

Finally, it also was the last weekend for preparation in the Southern Hemisphere. Super Rugby would come back quickly for another entertaining season and incredible fixtures, obviously.

* Oyonnax vs. Biarritz : ProD2 (Charles Mathon, Oyonnax, France)

The Biarritz team started well with a counter-attacking try from Ximun Lucu. Pierre Bernard kicked a penalty and Yohann Artru got the try on the turnover. Oyonnax unleashed the huge comeback.

Playmaker Yohan Le Bourhis got a penalty while Tony Ensor and Rory Grice both got set-piece tries. Oyonnax built the phases and Gabiriele Lovobalavu scored and Aurelien Callandret intercepted.

Oyonnax had Josh Tyrell yellow-carded for foul play. They even had a second player binned with Jeremy Gondrand. Biarritz scored a late try with Steffon Armitage. Oyonnax won (FT : 31-22).

* Beziers vs. Grenoble : ProD2 (Raoul Barrière, Beziers, France)

The home team landed a penalty with Jerome Porical. Grenoble scored the try with Enzo Selponi. Jerome Porical got a second penalty while Gaëtan Germain also got one for the Grenoble team.

He added two more penalties. In the second-half, Gaëtan Germain landed his fourth penalty and hit the posts on his next attempt. Jerome Porical got a kick for Beziers but Jean-Baptiste Barrere was binned.

Gaëtan Germain got a kick but Thibault Rey was binned for Grenoble. Beziers got a try with Vitolio Manukula. However, Gaëtan Germain landed a sixth penalty. Grenoble got the win (FT : 16-25).

* Kings vs. Cheetahs : Pro14 (Nelson Mandela Bay Syadium, Port Elizabeth, South Africa)

The Kings got a penalty with Baden Pretorius. He got the try and added a kick. The Cheetahs had Tian Schoeman binned but Sintu Manjezi got the try. Stefan Ungerer got an interception try for the Kings.

However, they had Thembelani Bholi binned. Sintu Manjezi got a brace for the Cheetahs. The Kings got another try with JT Jackson. The Cheetahs came back with a maul try from Wilmar Arnoldi.

After that, Baden Pretorius landed a kick. The Cheetahs spread the ball wide and Rhyno Smith touched down. On the last play, he got a brace. Ruan Pienaar landed the winning conversion (FT : 30-31).

* Bristol vs. Gloucester : Premiership (Ashton Gate, Bristol, England)

The first-half was a high contest. Callum Sheedy, for the Bristol Bears, and Owen Williams, for Gloucester, both kicked three penalties. Callum Sheedy added two more kicks before the Half-Time.

In the second-half, the Bristol Bears built a few phases and Henry Purdy concluded the build-up. The home side spread the ball wide again and winger Luke Morahan touched down for a great try.

Still attacking, theY scored a stunning try with Mat Protheroe. Gloucester scored a late try with Freddie Clarke. Henry Purdy was binned for the home side but the Bristol Bears still won (FT : 34-16).

* Bath vs. Leicester : Premiership (The Rec, Bath, England)

In difficult conditions, the first-half was a territory battle between the two sides. Bath Rugby ran the ball and Tom Homer touched down. Tom Hardwick kicked a penalty for Leicester Tigers.

In the second-half, Bath Rugby landed a penalty with Rhys Priestland. However, the home side lacked discipline and Josh Bayliss was yellow-carded. Ben White got the try for Leicester Tigers.

Bath Rugby remained composed and unleashed another build-up. The ball came on the wing and Tom Homer got a stunning brace. Bath Rugby held their lines for a valuable win (FT : 13-10).

* Castres vs. Racing 92 : Top14 (Pierre Antoine, Castres, France)

The Racing 92 side started brillantly. Maxime Machenaud kicked a penalty while fullback Brice Dulin got a stunning try after an inside ball. Racing 92 kept attacking and Henry Chavancy touched down.

The home side lacked discipline. Christophe Samson was yellow-carded. In the second-half, Castres Olympique had Marc-Antoine Rallier sent off for foul play. Racing 92 maintained their standards.

Back-rower Fabien Sanconnie touched down from close range. Castres olympique could not come back. It was a very convincing win from Racing 92 away from home as well (FT : 00-27).

* La Rochelle vs. Montpellier : Top14 (Marcel Deflandre, La Rochelle, France)

The Montpellier side landed two kicks with Handré Pollard and Francois Steyn. Stade Rochelais got a kick with Jules Plisson. Montpellier got a try with Yvan Reilhac. La Rochelle hit back with two tries.

Pierre Bougarit scored and Arthur Retiere got a set-piece try. Nicolas Jansé van Rensburg was binned for Montpellier as Arthur Retiere got a brace with a similar try. He even got a Hat-Trick.

Jules Plisson got a kick. Montpellier replied with a try from Johan Goosen. Jules Plisson got a kick but Geoffrey Doumayrou was sent off. Nemani Nadolo scored late for Montpellier. La Rochelle won (FT : 35-30).

* Brive vs. Pau : Top14 (Amédée Domenech, Brive, France)

The home side scored a quick try with So’otala Fa’aso’o. Antoine Hastoy got a penalty for Pau and so did Thomas Laranjeira for Brive. Antoine Hastoy scored two more penalties and Jale Vatubua scored.

Attila Septar also scored. Thomas Laranjeira got a penalty. Antoine Hastoy also got a kick with Thomas Laranjeira adding one. Pau had Jale Vatubua binned with Thomas Laranjeira kicking a penalty.

He got a try after a big defensive mistake from Pau. As it was all square, Brive went for the win. Thomas Laranjeira got a brace as Pau did the exact same mistake. Brive snatched the win (FT : 33-26).

* Clermont vs. Stade Français : Top14 (Marcel Michelin, Clermont, France)

The home side were under pressure early as John Ulugia was yellow-carded. Stade Français scored the try with Waisea and Nicolas Sanchez kicked two penalties. Clermont came back.

Morgan Parra landed three penalties. Nicolas Sanchez got two kicks. Jonathan Danty was binned for Stade Français. Greg Laidlaw got a penalty and Jake McIntyre got a stunning try for Clermont.

Greg Laidlaw landed another kick an Peceli Yato carried over the line. Stade Français had a second player binned with Yoann Maestri. Clermont secured the home win in a tough game (FT : 29-19).

Conclusion

That weekend was definitely entertaining. First of all, in the ProD2, Oyonnax performed well and Grenoble made a statement away from home. In the Premiership, the Bristol Bears delivered.

Bath Rugby clinched the win. Back in France, in Top14, Racing 92 played well. Stade Rochelais and Brive also won. Clermont impressed. In the Pro14, the Cheetahs snatched an away comeback win.

Next weekend, there will be a Pro14 derby again. Other domestic leagues will take a rest as the Six Nations Championship will start. Super Rugby will be back as well. It should be outstanding.

Max.

The Rugby Wrap : Weekend Review (Friday, 17th, January, 2020 – Saturday, 18th, January, 2020)

Peter Betham scored the opening try for Clermont against Harlequins in the Champions Cup

That weekend was the final Round in the two european competitions played in the Northern Hemisphere. All the clubs did not have the same target given the results that they picked earlier.

Few clubs were still targeting silverware in the Champions Cup and the Challenge Cup. For most of the other clubs, it was all about salvaging something from a disappointing campaign.

Meanwhile, the ProD2, the French second division, was going on. In the Southern Hemisphere, the franchises were warming up as Super Rugby would come back in only a few weekends.

* Biarritz vs. Montauban : ProD2 (Aguiléra, Biarritz, France)

The home side got a kick with Willie du Plessis and got a great try with Ilian Perreaux. Nicolas Agnesi was binned for Montauban as Romain Ruffenach touched down. Montauban replied with Kimami Sitauti.

Also, Aviata Silago was the second player binned for Montauban. Willie du Plessis landed a kick. They had Gavin Stark binned for a high tackle. Montauban had a third player binned with Dimitri Vaotoa.

Then, Pierre Sayerse scored. Pierre Bernard added a kick for Biarritz as Steeve Barry won the kick-chase for the try. Montauban scored late tries with Jeremy Chaput and Jerome Bosviel. Biarritz won (FT : 30-27).

* Dragons vs. Enisey : Challenge Cup (Rodney Parade, Newport, Wales)

The Dragons began very well with a try from Ross Moriarty. The home side threw the ball wide and Jared Rosser scored from a set-piece play. Enisey hit back with a great try from Bjorn Basson.

In the second-half, Harrison Keddie intercepted to get the try. Dmitry Gerasimov was yellow-carded for Enisey as they lacked discipline. Centre Tyler Morgan concluded a good build-up.

From a lineout, Adam Warren also scored. Back-rower Aaron Wainwright found space on the wing to touch down while Adam Warren clinched his brace. It was a great win for the Dragons (FT : 47-05).

* Lyon vs. Northampton : Champions Cup (Gerland, Lyon, France)

The home side had Francisco Gomez Kodela binned for many penalties. Northampton Saints got the maul try with Mikey Haywood. Lyon hit back with tries from Felix Lambey and Liam Gill.

After that, Jonathan Wisniewski added a kick. In the second-half, Teimana Harrison carried over the line for Northampton Saints. Dan Biggar landed a kick and Cobus Reinach got a stunning try.

On the re-start, Charlie Ngatai got the try for Lyon. Dan Biggar threw the inside pass and George Furbank touched down. The fly-half missed a penalty but James Fish scored. Northampton won (FT : 24-36).

* Harlequins vs. Clermont : Champions Cup (Twickenham Stoop, London, England)

The Clermont side did not waste time as Peter Betham touched down from a cross-field kick. The home side replied with a set-piece try from Luke Northmore. Clermont hit back.

Morgan Parra kicked a penalty while Apisai Naqalevu carried over the line. The Harlequins scored with Alex Dombrandt. In the second-half, Morgan Parra kicked three consecutive penalties.

In a tough game, the Harlequins came back with a try from Brett Herron. Clermont held their lines during the last quarter. They finally clinched a valuable away win in London (FT : 19-26).

* Exeter vs. La Rochelle : Champions Cup (Sandy Park, Exeter, England)

The Exeter Chiefs started with a maul try from Luke Cowan-Dickie. Stade Rochelais hit back with a try from Kirikiri Murimurivalu. The Exeter Chiefs built phases and flanker Dave Ewers touched down.

Though, Stuart Hogg was yellow-carded for foul play and La Rochelle was awarded a penalty try. In the second-half, the Exeter Chiefs showed composure and Sam Simmonds scored from a maul.

The number 8 got a brace after a good attacking play. Replacement scrum-half Stu Townsend got a counter-attacking try as well. It was a bonus point win at home for the Exeter Chiefs (FT : 33-14).

* Toulon vs. Bayonne : Challenge Cup (Felix Mayol, Toulon, France)

The home side threw the ball wide early and Gervais Cordin scored the try. Bryce Heem also touched down. Bayonne replied with two penalties from Manu Saubusse who missed his third attempt.

In the second-half, Toulon set up a maul and Julien Ory was on the scoreboard. Toulon showed physicality. Beka Gigashvili and Facundo Isa also got tries. Replacement forward Bruce Devaux got the try.

Toulon were rampant as Beka Gigashvili got his brace. Besides, winger Gabin Villiere concluded a great build-up with another try. It was an outstanding win for Toulon with great tries (FT : 50-06).

Conclusion

That weekend was interesting. First of all, in the ProD2, Biarrotz kept the momentum with another brillant win. About the european competitions, there were some great games, as well.

In the Challenge Cup, the Dragons qualified after a bonus point win while Toulon impressed once again. About the Champions Cup, Northampton Saints snatched the away win to qualify.

Clermont secured the away win as well to get a home Quarter-Final with the Exeter Chiefs qualifying, too. Next weekend, the domestic leagues would come back with Super Rugby coming quickly.

Max.