The Rugby Wrap : Weekend Review (Friday, 29th, March, 2019 – Sunday, 31st, March, 2019)

Peter Betham scored a Hat-Trick for Clermont against Northampton during their 2018-2019 Challenge Cup Quarter-Final win in Clermont

This weekend was going to a great rugby weekend. First of all, in the Northern Hemisphere, the european play-offs were taking place. The Champions Cup and the Challenge Cup Quarter-Finals were going to be a great opportunity for the players.

Meanwhile, in the Southern Hemisphere, the Super Rugby competition was going on. It was becoming more and more complicated to know which franchises would qualify for the play-offs. The race was on and definitely all the sides were targeting that goal.

Also, back in the Northern Hemisphere, there was some ProD2 as well. The rugby second division in France still was entertaining. Many sides could still get a ticket for the play-offs and the Top14 promotion. It really was a big battle to be part of this qualification.

* Sale Sharks vs. Connacht : Challenge Cup (Salford, Sale, England)

The Connacht Rugby side got the better start in this game with Jack Carty landing a penalty. However, the Sale Sharks quickly went through the phases. Winger Byron McGuigan scored from a maul. They played from quick ball and were threatening.

Following another good build-up, the other winger, Denny Solomana, touched down on the right wing. Building with some patience, Sale Sharks got a few penalties and AJ McGinty kicked two penalties. In the second-half, Connacht Rugby showed a reaction.

James Phillips was yellow-carded for the Sale Sharks because of a high tackle. Kyle Godwin got a try for Connacht Rugby while Curtis Langdon was also binned for the home side after a shoulder charge. Though, the Sale Sharks won and qualified (FT : 20-10).

* Blues vs. Stormers : Super Rugby (Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand)

The two franchises battled in a very spectacular fixture. The Stormers played pretty well in the first-half as Jean-Luc du Plessis kicked two penalties. The Blues replied with a superb try scored by Tanielu Tele’a, beating three defenders to get the great score.

Playmaker Otere Black added a penalty before the Half-Time. In the second-half, Jean-Luc du Plessis kicked a penalty to make it a 1-point game. Though, from a set-piece play, Sonny Bill Williams unleashed the offload and Otere Black scored under the sticks.

Tanielu Tele’a was sent off for an aerial challenge on Dillyn Leyds. The Blues managed to defend well and Rieko Ioane got his try for the bonus point win. The Blues sealed that bonus point win with one last turnover in defence as they held their lines (FT : 24-09).

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

The Melbourne Rebels had possession and territory in the first-half but did not quite manage to get points. Quade Cooper for the Melbourne Rebels and Bryce Hegarty for the Queensland Reds both kicked two penalties. The Melbourne Rebels applied the pressure.

Quade Cooper unleashed the cross-field kick and Jack Maddocks gathered it for the try. In the second-half, the Melbourne Rebels set up a good maul and Anaru Rangi touched down. Later, Quade Cooper combined with winger Jack Maddocks who scored his brace.

The Queensland Reds had to come back and replacement prop Taniela Tupou carried over the line. Nevertheless, the Melbourne Rebels got another try with Robert Leota. It was a bonus point win and also some great win for the Melbourne Rebels (FT : 13-32).

* Edinburgh vs. Munster : Champions Cup (Murrayfield, Edinburgh, Scotland)

The scottish province went through the phases early and applied the pressure. The Munster second-rower Tadgh Beirne was yellow-carded for foul play. However, Munster made the turnovers and even scored the first try from a quick-tap thanks to Keith Earls.

Edinburgh replied with a try from centre Chris Dean as fly-half Jaco van der Walt also kicked a penalty. In the second-half, Tyler Bleyendaal got a kick for Munster and it was all square. Edinburgh got the lead back with another penalty from Jaco van der Walt.

Munster had an opportunity to come back when Pierre Schoeman hit Tadgh Beirne off the ball. They worked their play nicely and Keith Earls touched down on the corner for his brace. Munster brought their brillant defence to seal the great away win (FT : 13-17).

* Leinster vs. Ulster : Champions Cup (Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland)

The Leinster side were under pressure as centre Garry Ringrose’s kick was charged down and Kieran Treadwell scored for Ulster. Leinster unleashed a big play and fly-half Ross Byrne touched down. In a very physical game, both provinces were going for it.

Ross Byrne for Leinster and John Cooney for Ulster both kicked two penalties. In the second-half, the Ulster winger Jacob Stockdale was denied a try for a knock-on. Leinster got the ball back and winger Adam Byrne scored a sensational try in the right corner.

However, Ulster were not out of it as centre Luke Marshall got his team on the scoreboard with another try. Leinster set up a maul and got a penalty. Ross Byrne nailed it and Leinster managed the game well to get the win and the qualification (FT : 21-18).

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

The two franchises gave away penalties. Joaquin Diaz Bonilla and Damian McKenzie shared a penalty with the Pumas playmaker kicking another one. The Chiefs still generated some intensity and Damian McKenzie scored and so did Tumua Manu.

Lacking discipline, Marcos Kremer was yellow-carded. Damian McKenzie kicked a penalty in the second-half. Nevertheless, the Jaguares came back thanks to Joaquin Tuculet gathering a cross-field kick and flanker Pablo Matera carrying over the try line.

Damian McKenzie kicked a penalty. The Pumas attacked and Matias Orlando gathered a loose ball for the try. The Chiefs later got a 5-metre scrum and Taleni Seu offloaded for Te Toira Tahuriorangi who scored a stunning try. The Chiefs got a great win (FT : 27-30).

* Stade Rochelais vs. Bristol : Challenge Cup (Marcel Deflandre, La Rochelle, France)

The home side kept the possession and Ihaia West kicked a penalty. Back-rower Gregory Alldritt touched down from a good maul. Bristol Bears replied with a penalty kicked by fly-half Ian Madigan. La Rochelle were powerful and so they got a great penalty try.

They attacked very well and centre Geoffrey Doumayrou scored the try. Steven Luatua hit back for the Bristol Bears with a good score in the first-half. Though, Vincent Rattez found a gap and he unleashed the offload to Wiaan Liebenberg for the stunning try.

Stade Rochelais still applied pressure in second-half. Ihaia West kicked his penalty. They defended well and turned the ball over with Vincent Rattez scoring a superb try. Piers O’Conor scored a consolation try for the Bristol Bears as La Rochelle won (FT : 39-15).

* Brive vs. Mont-de-Marsan : ProD2 (Amédée Domenech, Brive, France)

The Brive players started well as the back-rower Otari Giorgadze carried for the opening try. The Mont-de-Marsan scrum-half Christophe Loustalot was yellow-carded for foul play. Thomas Laranjeira kicked a penalty while Steven Shingler replied with one, too.

However, Otari Giorgadze got a brace for Brive. Steven Singler kicked a second penalty for Mont-de-Marsan as Brive added a third try with Damien Lagrange. In the second-half, Steven Shingler got another penalty while winger Wame Naituvi scored a great try.

Brive needed to react and following some offloads, Thomas Laranjeira finished the build-up for the great try. Mont-de-Marsan still played and Nacani Wakaya got an interception try while Alexandre de Nardi had a try on a counter-attack. Brive still won (FT : 29-27).

* Clermont vs. Northampton : Challenge Cup (Marcel Michelin, Clermont, France)

Morgan Parra and Dan Biggar both kicked a penalty. Clermont attacked and Peter Betham finished. Damian Penaud scored the try from a loose play. Taqele Naiyaravoro was yellow-carded as Clermont got a penalty try. Morgan Parra later kicked a penalty.

Peter Betham got a stunning counter-attacking brace. Northampton Saints got a try with Ahsee Tuala. From the re-start, Damian Penaud scored his brace but Northampton Saints came back with Luther Burrell. He was followed by Alex Mitchell and Rory Hutchinson.

Greg Laidlaw kicked a penalty and Tim Nanai-Williams got back inside for a try. Damian Penaud and Peter Betham both got good Hat-Tricks. Alex Moon scored some consolation try for the Northampton Saints as Clermont won that spectacular game (FT : 61-38).

Conclusion

That weekend was absolutely outstanding on all the pitches. In the Challenge Cup, Sale Sharks qualified for the semi-finals and so did La Rochelle with a convincing win. Clermont won a thriller as they scored some stunning tries in an entertaining game.

About the Champions Cup, Munster got a tough away win in Scotland while Leinster battled in Dublin in a physical contest. In the Super Rugby, the Blues earned a tough win and the Melbourne Rebels delivered in Brisbane with the Chiefs keeping the momentum.

Finally, in the ProD2, Brive got the home win to keep their Top14 promotion on track. Next weekend, the Northern Hemisphere leagues and the Super Rugby will go on. The play-offs races in all these leagues will be very entertaining with some great fixtures.

Max.

The Barrett Review : Super Rugby 2019 (Round 7 – Crusaders)

There was nothing Beauden Barrett could do to stop the Crusaders at Westpac Stadium

As the Hurricanes scrapped through the win against the Stormers, John Plumtree was relying on the returning players for the next game. The Hurricanes were hosting the Crusaders.

I- Background

This fixture against the Crusaders was extremely important. It was an opportunity for the home franchise to compete for the top of the New Zealand conference and so the top of the table.

II- Game Summary

It was a complete nightmare for the Hurricanes. Several individual mistakes led to Crusaders’ tries. The Hurricanes fought back before the Half-Time but were never in a position to win the contest.

III- The Barrett Review

It definitely was a game to forget for Beauden Barrett. One of his passes was intercepted by Whetukamokamo Douglas and resulted in a try. He was unable to drive the Hurricanes XV on the park.

Max.

The Rugby Wrap : Weekend Review (Thursday, 21st, March, 2019 – Sunday, 24th, March, 2019)

The Hurricanes celebrating a try during their Super Rugby win against the Stormers at Westpac Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand, in 2019

This weekend was pivotal as it was the weekend before the european ties with the Champions Cup and the Challenge Cup Quarter-Finals. In the Northern leagues (Top14, Pro14, Premiership), the clubs still involved in both competitions needed management.

In the Southern Hemisphere, the Super Rugby competition was going on with some entertaining games. The standings were very close and all the franchises were playing some good rugby. Play-offs qualification was going to be definitely interesting this year.

Also, there was some ProD2 action in France. The country rugby second division was reaching new heights as well. The battle was on to be part of the play-offs as well with a few clubs targeting that goal. Some fixtures were going to define some clubs’ season.

* Nevers vs. Brive : ProD2 (Stade du Pré Fleuri, Nevers, France)

Thomas Laranjeira kicked two penalties for Brive as Fred Quercy was binned for Nevers. They closed the gap with a penalty from Nicolas Vuillemin. Joris Jurand touched down from a scrum for Brive. Nevers replied when Maxence Barjaud scored from a maul.

Nicolas Vuillemin got a drop-kick. Though, Mathieu Voisin scored for Brive. Skipper Saïd Hireche scored another try but Peet Marais was yellow-carded. Thomas Ceyte scored for Nevers and Brive had another player binned with Matthieu Voisin. Jason Fraser scored.

Nicolas Vuillemin and Thomas Laranjeira both kicked a penalty. Brive and Nevers had other players yellow-carded with Saïd Hireche and Jean-Baptiste Genevois. Stuart Olding kicked a penalty for Brive who remained strong in defence to get a big win (FT : 28-31).

* Bayonne vs. Colomiers : ProD2 (Jean Daugé, Bayonne, France)

The home side started the game pretty well with an expansive play allowing wing Arthur Duhau to get the try. Colomiers had the opportunity to come back but Brandon Fajardo missed the penalty. Bayonne got a counter-attacking play and Aymeric Luc scored.

Colomiers was feeling the pressure and Bayonne got another try with Arthur Duhau getting a brace. In the second-half, it was balanced and Colomiers got a penalty try. Tristan Tedder kicked a penalty for Bayonne but Colomiers were not out of the game.

Youssef Saadia scored a good try for them before Bayonne had the ball back. Playmaker Manuel Ordas was on the scoreboard. The home side tried to get the bonus point at the end but Colomiers defended well on the lineout. Bayonne still got the win (FT : 29-12).

* Connacht vs. Treviso : Pro14 (The Sportsground, Galway, Ireland)

The Connacht players showed some good patience and scrum-half Caolin Blade found the gap to get the score. Going through the phases, they got a second try thanks to winger Matt Healy. Benetton Treviso needed a reaction and they scored their try, later on.

Antonio Rizzi was the try scorer and they carried that intensity through the second-half. Dewaldt Duvenage tied the game up as Benetton Treviso were coming back. Connacht got the lead back thanks to a penalty from Jack Carty. The players threw with offloads.

Spreading the ball wide, winger Matt Healy got the space and touched down for his brace. Later in the second-half, Connacht were searching for the bonus point win. Jack Carty got the ball and found the space to score that try bonus as they won (FT : 29-14).

* Cardiff vs. Scarlets : Pro14 (Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff, Wales)

The Scarlets did not start well as Leigh Halfpenny hit the posts on his penalty attempt. Cardiff Blues did not waste time to get going. Gareth Anscombe scored an early penalty while Owen Lane finished on the corner with Aled Summerhill doing the same, later on.

Finding space on the edges, forward Josh Turnbull touched down after Owen Lane’s offload. Aled Summerhill clinched a brace and the bonus point try from a set-piece play. Owen Lane gathered a cross-field kick to score another try as the Half-Time came.

The Scarlets were denied a try but Rob Evans got it. The Cardiff Blues lacked discipline as Dillan Lewis was binned. Rob Evans had a brace as Gareth Anscombe kicked a penalty. Ioan Nicholas intercepted for the Scarlets as Cardiff Blues secured the win (FT : 41-17).

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

The Stormers brought the intensity and got a few penalties. SP Marais landed two consecutive penalties. The Hurricanes put phases together and prop Ben May touched down. Beauden Barrett kicked a penalty as Jean-Luc du Plessis was yellow-carded.

Richard Judd made a grubber kick and Jordie Barrett scored. Though, the Stormers relied on their maul. Siya Kolisi got the try as Vaea Fifita was binned, allowing Bongi Mbonambi to score another try. In the second-half, the Hurricanes had to come back.

Wes Goosen finished on the corner but Jaco Coetzee had a try too for the Stormers. Still moving the ball wide, the Hurricanes came back and Wes Goosen got a brace. Skipper Beauden Barrett found space and scored. The Hurricanes defended to win it (FT : 34-28).

* Sunwolves vs. Lions : Super Rugby (Singapore Sports Hub, Singapore, Singapore)

The Sunwolves got the ball in the first-half as the Lions winger Sylvian Mahuza was yellow-carded for a knock-down. It resulted in a penalty try for the home side. The Lions relied on their forwards to come back as Malcolm Marx scored a brace in the first-half.

In the second-half, Hayden Parker kicked a penalty for the Sunwolves. The Lions got another try when Nic Groom scored. The Lions kept attacking and playmaker Elton Jantjies touched down while Lionel Mapoe scored a stunning counter-attacking try.

The Sunwolves had a try with Rhaboni Warren-Vosayaco. Elton Jantjies kicked a penalty and made a chip-kick gathered by back-rower Hajcivah Dayimani for the try. Rhaboni Warren-Vosayaco had a consolation try for his brace as the Lions won (FT : 37-24).

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

The home side started to build a few phases and fullback Dan Evans finished the try on his left wing. Though, the Dragons were good in defence and scrum-half Rhodri Williams intercepted for the try. Jason Tovey kicked a penalty for the Dragons who scored more.

Winger Hallam Amos gathered a loose ball and raced for the try. Luke Price closed the gap for the Ospreys with a penalty. In second-half, Dan Evans got his double. Jason Tovey had a second penalty for Dragons but Dan Evans concluded a build-up for his Hat-Trick.

The Dragons were remaining strong in defence but they were not getting enough front foot ball. The Ospreys kept their intensity and following another attacking play, Dan Evans touched down for his quadruple. It was a good win for the Ospreys (FT : 29-20).

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

The Sharks started well as back-rower Daniel du Preez scored from close range. Playmaker Robert du Preez kicked a penalty after that. The Melbourne Rebels replied with a try from centre Tom English. Robert du Preez got a second penalty for the Sharks.

The Melbourne Rebels had a try thanks to Jack Maddocks. Robert du Preez kicked a third penalty and missed another one. In second-half, the Sharks applied pressure and Robert du Preez scored his try. Showing some skills, they played the counter-attack very well.

Winger Makazole Mapimpi had space on his left wing to get a stunning try. He had a brace denied for foul play from a teammate as Marius Lowe was yellow-carded. The Sharks had to defend but it was still a comfortable win for the franchise (FT : 28-14).

* Stade Français vs. Castres Olympique : Top14 (Jean Bouin, Paris, France)

The Castres Olympique side scored the first points with a penalty from Benjamin Urdapilleta. Though, Thibault Lassalle was binned and the home side played their expansive game. Paul Gabrillagues was on the scoreboard and so was Arthur Coville.

On the counter-attack, centre Jonathan Danty also scored with Benjamin Urdapilleta adding a penalty. Stade Français replied stronger with a penalty from Nicolas Sanchez and Siegfried Fisi’ihoi scoring a try from close range. Castres Olympique had to react.

In the second-half, Wladimir Hounkpatin scored as Benjamin Urdapilleta added another kick. Stade Français got the penalty nailed by Nicolas Sanchez. Paul Alo-Émile was binned for the home side who managed well to get the bonus point win (FT : 32-16).

* Newcastle vs. Sale : Premiership (St. James’ Park, Newcastle, England)

The Sale Sharks were on the move early as winger Denny Solomona scored after that Faf de Klerk found the space. The Springbok scrum-half kicked a penalty. The Newcastle Falcons scored a penalty with Sonatane Takalua but Logovi Mulipola was binned.

However, the Newcastle Falcons held their lines and Sonatane Takalua kicked a second penalty. In the second-half, flanker Ben Curry was binned for an infringement and Toby Flood scored for the Newcastle Falcons. Sonatane Takalua kicked three other penalties.

The Sale Sharks threw everything at the Newcastle Falcons in the last quarter. Byron MacGuigan scored on the corner from a good set-piece play. The Newcastle Falcons defend well and they finally secured a massive win in front of their crowd (FT : 22-17).

* Béziers vs. Biarritz : ProD2 (Stade de la Méditerranée, Béziers, France)

The Biarritz Olympique had the wind in the first-half and they played all the game. Though, they could not convert possession and territory into points. Béziers went on the counter-attack and Pierre Bérard scored the try. Biarritz Olympique replied, later on.

Maxime Lucu kicked a penalty before the Half-Time. In the second-half, Béziers added a second try with Jérôme Porical. Biarritz Olympique came back straight away with winger Yoann Artru touching down in the corner. Maxime Lucu kicked his second penalty.

Béziers lacked discipline. Tyrone Vi’iga was yellow-carded for a trip as Maxime Lucu got a penalty. Remaining strong, Biarritz Olympique played as Joe Ravulovulo Vakacegu sealed the win with a great try. Biarritz Olympique clinched a famous win (FT : 12-23).

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

Brock James landed a kick for Bordeaux-Bègles. Racing 92 attacked well as Bernard Le Roux scored. Bordeaux-Bègles scored a second penalty from Brock James while Yann Lesgourgues and Nans Ducuing touched down. Donnacha Ryan replied for Racing 92.

Lasha Tabidze for Bordeaux Bègles and Vasil Kakovin for Racing 92 were both binned for scrum infringements. In the second-half, Camille Chat carried over the line for the great try. Vasil Kakovin also touched down. Uj Seuteni was yellow-carded after a high tackle.

Maxime Machenaud scored the resulting penalty and Boris Palu finished a try. Teddy Iribaren was sent off for throwing a punch. Simon Zebo scored for Racing 92 while Semi Radradra got a consolation try for Bordeaux-Bègles. Racing 92 won (FT : 45-27).

Conclusion

This weekend was entertaining. In the ProD2, Brive secured a tough away win while Bayonne performed well. Biarritz Olympique also deserved that famous away win. In the Top14, Stade Français got the bonus point win while Racing 92 got another stunning win.

About the Pro14, Cardiff Blues played scintillating rugby while Connacht Rugby also played well. The Ospreys won their welsh derby. In the Premiership, the Newcastle Falcons got a very important win as the relegation battle just have already started.

Finally, in Super Rugby, the Hurricanes got a key home win while the Lions handled the pressure in Singapore. The Sharks got a good win as well. Next weekend, the competition will go on while the european ties will be taking place in the Northern Hemisphere.

Max.

The Barrett Review : Super Rugby 2019 (Round 6 – Stormers)

Beauden Barrett skippered the Hurricanes to the win against the Stormers in Wellington

The Hurricanes were targeting consistency at that stage of Super Rugby, according to their coach John Plumtree. They had some good results but were not playing particularly well, to be honest.

I- Background

Following their away draw in Hamilton, the Hurricanes were back at home. The Stormers were coming to town. Against a forwards-orientated franchise, the Hurricanes had to be prepared.

II- Game Summary

The Super Rugby fixture did not disappoint. The Hurricanes were put under massive pressure. Vaea Fifita was yellow-carded in that game as the Stormers scored two tries from big mauls.

The Hurricanes always had the control of the game thanks to a brace from winger Wes Goosen. Beauden Barrett also scored a pivotal try but the Hurricanes had to defend until the end to win it.

III- The Barrett Review

Beauden Barrett was not perfect in this game as he missed a couple of conversions. However, his 70th-minute try was pivotal and probably was the turning point for the Hurricanes winning it.

Max.

The Rugby Wrap : Weekend Review (Thursday, 14th, March, 2019 – Sunday, 17th, March, 2019)

Wales won the Grand Slam during the 2019 Six Nations Championship

This weekend was going to be one of the great rugby stories. The Six Nations Championship for the Year 2019 was going to end and Wales were going for the Grand Slam. It was another opportunity for Northern nations to warm up for the World Cup.

If the Pro14 was taking a rest this weekend, the Top14 was taking place. The competition for places in the French first division was even stronger and so was it in the ProD2. In the Gallagher Premiership, there was the Premiership Rugby Final taking place, as well.

Meanwhile, the Southern Hemisphere was also playing with another Round of Super Rugby. It was still the beginning of the season but already a few franchises were performing well. It was too early to know which franchises would qualify, though.

* Mont-de-Marsan vs. Bayonne : ProD2 (Guy Boniface, Mont-de-Marsan, France)

The home side did not enjoy a great start as Bayonne opened the scoreboard with a penalty from Tristan Tedder. Stade Montois tied the game up with a penalty from Yoann Laousse-Azpiazu. However, winger Wame Naituvi made a dangerous tackle, later on.

He was binned as Bayonne nearly scored with Sean Robinson. Though, Tristan Tedder kicked a penalty and he even got a try in the second-half. Mont-de-Marsan had to come back and Yoann Laousse-Azpiazu kicked two consecutive penalties to get confidence.

Stade Montois were in better control and Bodisa Ndlovu was binned for foul play. Bayonne conceded the penalty kicked by Yoann Laousse-Azpiazu before Timoci Matanavou touched down in the corner. Stade Montois secured the win (FT : 17-13).

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

The Jaguares did not waste time as winger Bautista Delguy concluded a build-up and scored. The Stormers kept their composure and SP Marais kicked a penalty. Then, Jean-Luc du Plessis made the chip-kick and Dan du Plessis re-gathered for the good try.

Joaquin Diaz Bonilla had a penalty for the Jaguares but the Stormers created better opportunities. SP Marais landed two more penalties. In the second-half, the Stormers defended well and back on the attack, skipper Siya Kolisi got a great try from a maul.

Keeping the possession, the Stormers were threatening and scrum-half Herschel Jantjies scored from close range. Pushing for the bonus point try, replacement scrum-half Justin Phillips got it after carrying over the line. It was a good win for the Stormers (FT : 35-08).

* Italy vs. France : Six Nations U20s (Stadio Pozzi, Biella, Italy)

The Italy players started well with Jacopo Trulla who finished a good build-up. France started to go through the phases and Kevin Viallard concluded a counter-attacking try. Later on, Maxence Lemardelet also had his try after some good work around the fringes.

The second-half was very good for France who played with intensity. Back Vincent Pinto had his try while Ethan Dumortier managed to get the bonus point try. Nevertheless, Italy were not out of it as Andrej Marinello got a brace in a few minutes to get back.

France used the width and it brought rewards as Yoram Moefana scored a counter-attacking try. In a good finish, Michael Mba also had a brace in a few minutes as he got consolation tries. France still retained the win in a tough performance (FT : 31-35).

* Brive vs. Provence Rugby : ProD2 (Amédée Domenech, Brive, France)

Fullback Thomas Laranjeira got an early try for Brive. They gained the metres and skipper Saïd Hireche scored after carrying over the line. The home side got a big maul and James Johnston touched down. On the re-start, Samuel Marques got the offload.

He raced forward and had the bonus point try. Provence Rugby reacted with a good try scored by Nicolas Bézy. Simon-Pierre Chauvac for Brive and Teva Make for Provence Rugby were both yellow-carded for scrum infringements. Samuel Marques had a brace.

He got an assist to Sevanaia Galala. Lachie Munro replied with a try but Thomas Laranjeira made the chip-kick for Frank Romanet. Provence Rugby had another player binned with Adrien Bau after a knock-down as Brive won that home game (FT : 45-14).

* England vs. Scotland : Six Nations U20s (Franklin’s Gardens, Northampton, England)

The English side tried to play from the start but an interception meant the try from Scotland thanks to Cameron Anderson. Though, England replied with fullback Tom de Glanville touching down. In a scrappy first-half, England finally got a good possession.

Going with the maul, forward Tom Willis scored the try. In the second-half, Scotland were still asking a lot to England. The home side finally found the key when flanker Aaron Hinkley scored on the wing. Cameron Redpatch later scored a stunning try.

Playing with intensity, the England bench was defining. Alfie Petch got the try after a big carry. Then, Alfie Barbeary concluded the great try following Cameron Redpath’s sublime offload. Arron Reed sealed the win with a good interception try (FT : 45-07).

* Italy vs. France : Six Nations (Stadio Olimpico, Roma, Italy)

The Italy side began the game with some good intensity as Tommaso Allan kicked two penalties. France had to play with some pressure but a counter-attacking play allowed Antoine Dupont to get the try. Romain Ntamack landed a penalty to get a 4-point lead.

Italy had the possession but could not score to come back. In the second-half, Tommaso Allan was on target with another penalty. After that, France spread the ball wide and Yoann Huget got the try. Italy were not out of it as Tito Tebaldi took the gap and scored.

Romain Ntamack got a drop-goal but France had to defend. Camille Chat was binned after many infringements. Damian Penaud made a try-saving tackle before taking Romain Ntamack’s offload to get a great try. France won that tough game (FT : 14-25).

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

The Lions got an early try from a lineout combination with Malcolm Marx. The Melbourne Rebels relied on the scrum to send Reece Hodge to the try line. Quade Cooper also had a stunning try while Bill Meakes and Isireli Naisarani got some good tries.

The home side did not begin the second-half well either when Tom English finished a good build-up. However, Bill Meakes was yellow-carded and the Lions staged a comeback. Marnus Schoeman touched down while Andries Coetzee scored, later on.

Lionel Mapoe got a try after a kick chase while Courtnall Skosan got a counter-attacking try. Angus Cottrell was binned for Melbourne Rebels. The Lions won one last scrum penalty. Gianni Lombard got the kick and the Lions got an outstanding win (FT : 36-33).

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

The Welsh team started the game well with Gareth Anscombe’s chip-kick finding Hadleigh Parkes for the opening try. Wales were playing a very tactical game and Gareth Anscombe converted their opportunities into points when they were awarded penalties.

The Wales playmaker nailed three consecutive penalties before the Half-Time. In the second-half, Wales were still strong on defence and Gareth Anscombe kicked three more penalties. The home side were comfortable but started to give away a few penalties.

Ireland scored a consolation try with utility back Jordan Larmour. Wales won the game and also the Grand Slam. It was their 14th consecutive Test win. They managed to control the game well and won it as it was a very impressive performance (FT : 25-07).

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

The home side did not waste time in the first-half as winger Jack Nowell scored on the England’s first attacking play. On a big maul, flanker Tom Curry got the second try. England were rampant as second-rower Joe Launchbury touched down for the third try.

Owen Farrell nailed a penalty before winger Jonny May also got a try. Scotland scored as Stuart McInally charged Owen Farrell’s kick down for a 60-metre try. In the second-half, Darcy Graham finished on the corner and Magnus Bradbury concluded for the try.

Darcy Graham got a brace later on and Finn Russell intercepted for the try. Scotland attacked again and centre Sam Johnson touched down. England needed a score and George Ford got the great try. He converted to get the draw for England (FT : 38-38).

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

The two clubs were going into this game with some structure. They were careful and did not develop much in attack. In the first-half, Matthieu Jalibert and Morné Steyn both traded two penalties. Morné Steyn later missed a kick as Bordeaux-Bègles were settled.

On a confusing lineout, flanker Cameron Woki gathered the ball and raced to score the try for Bordeaux-Bègles. In the second-half, once again, the two sides took the points which were on offer. Matthieu Jalibert and Morné Steyn nailed their respective kicks.

They both scored two more penalties. Bordeaux-Bègles managed to defend well on their lines. Centre Semi Radradra found the space and he gave the try to scrum-half Yann Lesgourgues. It was a very tough but valuable win for Bordeaux-Bègles (FT : 26-12).

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

The home side did not begin well as Section Paloise got an early penalty kicked by Antoine Hastoy. Clermont had a player sent off when Flip Van der Merwe threw his elbow to an opponent’s face. Antoine Hastoy nailed his second penalty, later in the game.

Clermont managed to score a counter-attacking try with back-rower Fritz Lee. Morgan Parra missed a penalty before Half-Time. In second-half, the Clermont scrum-half kicked one and so did Antoine Hastoy. On the re-start, Remy Grosso got the ball and scored.

Section Paloise replied with a try from Watisoni Votu but Antoine Hastoy missed a penalty. Clermont made turnovers and Morgan Parra landed two penalties. Keeping composure, Patricio Fernandez also got two kicks. Clermont won tough game (FT : 27-14).

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

The Vannes side played their expansive game from the start as Branden Holder finished an attacking build-up. Biarritz replied with Uwa Tawalo following a charge down. Though, Vannes kept playing and hooker Patrick Leafa touched down for the second try.

However, the try scorer was yellow-carded for a high tackle. Maxime Lucu and Christophe Hilsenbeck traded penalties with one more for Biarritz. In the second-half, Maxime Lucu nailed two more kicks. Vannes kept playing and Patrick Leafa had a brace.

Christophe Hilsenbeck scored a stunning try. Uwa Tawalo carried for a brace. Anthony Bouthier found the space and Kitione Kamicakamica scored some try for Vannes. Charles Gimenez had a try for Biarritz but Vannes brought the defence to win it (FT : 31-32).

* Northampton vs. Saracens : Premiership Rugby Cup (Franklin’s Gardens, Northampton, England)

The Northampton Saints brought the intensity from the beginning with Teimana Harrison touching down on the left wing. The Saracens came back into the Final with Max Malins kicking two penalties. However, Northampton Saints kept attacking.

Flanker Tom Wood got the ball on the other wing and he scored the try. Max Malins kicked his third penalty for the Saracens before missing one as Ahsee Tuala concluded another Northampton Saints build-up. In the second-half, the home side still played well.

James Grayson missed a penalty but he made amends later with a good kick. Centre Piers Francis also nailed a penalty as the Northampton Saints relied on their forwards. Northampton Saints won the Premiership Rugby Cup at home and in style (FT : 23-09).

* Toulouse vs. Lyon : Top14 (Ernest Wallon, Toulouse, France)

Stade Toulousain opened the scoreboard as Zack Holmes kicked a penalty. Lyon got the first try with Xavier Mignot. The home side replied straight away with Sofiane Guitoune taking Cheslin Kolbe’s offload. Zack Holmes got a second penalty but Lyon came back.

Winger Noa Nakaitaci finished the build-up. Stade Toulousain reacted with Sofiane Guitoune having a brace. Sébastien Bézy scored from close range while Sofiane Guitoune later got a Hat-Trick. Pita Ahki concluded a move while Lucas Tauzin got a stunning try.

In the second-half, Lyon scored the try with Jonathan Wisniewski. However, Stade Toulousain scored one more try with Louis-Benoit Madaule after Pita Ahki’s offload. It was another great win for Stade Toulousain as they also got the bonus point (FT : 53-21).

Conclusion

This weekend was outstanding. First, in the ProD2, Mont-de-Marsan clinched a valuable win while Brive were outstanding with Vannes taking the great win. In the Top14, Bordeaux and Clermont earned tough wins while Stade Toulousain were scintillating.

About the Premiership Rugby Cup Final, it was a great win for the Northampton Saints. In Super Rugby, the Stormers played well while the Lions unleashed a 31-point comeback win. In the Six Nations Championship, France got a tough win in Italy.

England snatched such an incredible draw against Scotland while Wales won the Grand Slam. The France U20s and the England U20s sides finished their respective campaign well. Next weekend, the leagues will take place with european ties, not so far away.

Max.

The Barrett Review : Super Rugby 2019 (Round 5 – Chiefs)

The Hurricanes and the Chiefs shared the points during the Super Rugby game in Hamilton

The Hurricanes had only dropped a game after four Rounds of Super Rugby in 2019. They surely had the best track record in the competition with the Crusaders. The Hurricanes wanted it to continue.

I- Background

The Wellington-based franchise was travelling to the FMG Stadium, in Waikato, to face the Chiefs. In a ground where they had not win for ages, the Hurricanes knew how tough the task was going to be.

II- Game Summary

The Hurricanes were outplayed by the Chiefs in the first-half. Anton Lienert-Brown and Damian McKenzie both scored tries. The Hurricanes could not find any form of momentum.

They finally made a stunning comeback in the second-half. Matt Proctor and Wes Goosen came to the rescue and Beauden Barrett gave them a 3-point lead. The Chiefs tied the game up at the end.

III- The Barrett Review

It was very difficult to say something about Beauden Barrett’s performance in that game. He was not particularly good but he was not bad either. His goalkicking was pretty accurate, though.

Max.

The Rugby Wrap : Weekend Review (Friday, 08th, March, 2019 – Saturday, 09th, March, 2019)

ht1_1531_20190308100355241.jpg

This weekend was going to be another significant weekend. The rugby season was going on in both Hemispheres. There was a lot at stake for many sides in the different competitions taking place. First of all, there was the leagues in the Northern Hemisphere.

While the Pro14 and the Top14 were taking a rest, the Gallagher Premiership was going on despite the Six Nations Championship. About that competition, Wales were the only nation who could still win the Grand Slam. There were two Rounds left for that year.

Meanwhile, in the Southern Hemisphere, the Super Rugby was still taking place with Round 4. Given the first three Rounds, it was very difficult to know which franchises would qualify for the play-offs. It was very competitive in the Southern Hemisphere.

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

The Hurricanes attacked early. Though, the Highlanders put pressure at the breakdown and Aaron Smith scored. Josh Ioane missed a kick as the Hurricanes got their attacking games going. Liam Mitchell offloaded to centre Ngani Laumape who scored a great try.

Josh Ioane kicked a penalty for the Highlanders but gave the ball away. Beauden Barrett made a cross-field kick for Ngani Laumape who had a brace. Beauden Barrett later missed a penalty and gave an interception to centre Sio Tomkinson in the second-half.

Liam Coltman scored after a maul but Beauden Barrett kicked a penalty and winger Ben Lam touched down on the corner. Ardie Savea made two huge turnovers and Beauden Barrett just kicked the winning penalty at the 82nd minute in Wellington (FT : 25-22).

* England vs. Italy : Six Nations U20s (Goldington Road, Bedford, England)

In Bedford, the weather conditions were very tough with rain and wind. England went for the territory game and Tom Seabrook concluded the build-up. Italy reacted well as Federico Mori and Michele Peruzzo both scored counter-attacking tries for the team.

England finished the first-half with a stunning try from Kieran Wilkinson. Meanwhile, the referee had to left the field after a collision before coming back. In the second-half, Josh Hodge kicked a penalty while Ollie Fox scored from close range after a ruck.

Josh Hodge later nailed his second penalty. Back player Ollie Sleightholme was denied a try for a forward pass but finally scored a few moments after. Manu Vunipola sealed the win for England with one last penalty in a very tough game in Bedford (FT : 35-10).

* Bath vs. Saracens : Premiership (The Recreation Ground, Bath, England)

Bath Rugby began well as Rhys Priestland nailed the opening penalty. Alex Lozowski missed his first attempt at goal for Saracens before kicking well the second penalty. Rhys Priestland landed another kick and hit the post later but he scored another penalty after.

Alex Lozowski scored his second penalty in the second-half and managed, among a missed kick, to nail another one. Saracens lacked discipline and Ben Earl was binned. Rhys Priestland kicked the resulting penalty while Alex Lozowski missed his penalty.

Bath Rugby were penalised and Ross Batty was binned. Alex Lozowski’s kick went wide again. Rhys Priestland kicked a good penalty. Later, he was on target with another kick to get a 9-point lead. Bath Rugby defended well to seal a massive home win (FT : 18-09).

* Blues vs. Sunwolves : Super Rugby (QBE Stadium, Albany, New Zealand)

The Sunwolves started the game with two penalties kicked by Rikiya Matsuda. Harry Plummer replied with one. The Blues went through the phases and winger Rieko Ioane had space out wide to get the try for the franchise. However, the Sunwolves found space.

Fly-half Rikiya Matsuda scored the try. The Blues relied on their scrum and Rieko Ioane had a double on the left wing. In the second-half, the Blues still spread the ball wide and Rieko Ioane grabbed a Hat-Trick. Winger Semisi Masirewa was binned for a knock-down.

After, Rieko Ioane got his quadruple. Uwe Helu scored for the Sunwolves. Otere Black missed a penalty but Nathan Vella was yellow-carded for another deliberate knock-down. Otere Black was successful with his second attempt to secure the win (FT : 28-20).

* Waratahs vs. Reds : Super Rugby (Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney, Australia)

The Reds got a first opportunity but Bryce Hegarty missed the penalty. The Waratahs built some good phases and Bernard Foley nailed two consecutive penalties. On the charge, the home side scored the first try after a good carry from back-row Ned Hanigan.

Nevertheless, the Reds came back with a great try from centre Samu Kerevi. Bernard Foley kicked another penalty but the Reds had another try with Chris Feauai-Sautia in the corner. In the second-half, the Waratahs did not waste time to score more points.

Winger Curtis Rona managed to score a stunning counter-attacking try. Once again, the Reds replied with Sefanai Naivalu gathering a grubber kick. The Waratahs re-gathered and Alex Newsome touched down. They managed the game well and won (FT : 28-17).

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

The home side was on the attack early and Rhyno Herbst touched down after a nice-build-up. Joaquin Diaz Bonilla replied with a penalty for the Jaguares. The Lions kept the intensity and Elton Jantjies had the space for a try and so had back-rower Kwagga Smith.

The Jaguares replied with Ramiro Moyano who got a cross-field kick. Wandisile Simelane had a try for the Lions on a counter-attack as Julian Montoya scored from a maul for the Jaguares. In second-half, flanker Marnus Schoeman carried over the line for the Lions.

Winger Courtnall Skosan was trusted and he got a brace in a few minutes. Julian Montoya also had a brace for the Jaguares. Gaspar Baldunciel had a try while Matias Moroni and Joaquin Tuculet also got tries but the Lions won the game (FT : 47-39).

* Scotland vs. Wales : Six Nations (Murrayfield, Edinburgh, Scotland)

In Murrayfield, the Scotland team put much intensity into the start and they were rewarded with a penalty from Finn Russell. Though, Wales came back with a superb try from Josh Adams on the left wing. Finn Russell nailed another penalty for Scotland.

Later on, playmaker Gareth Anscombe kicked a penalty. Keeping the possession, Wales went through the phases and Jonathan Davies concluded for a good try. In the second-half, Wales remained in defence as Scotland were trying to find the key to score tries.

Wales made a few turnovers but Scotland finally found the try line with Darcy Graham. Wales still remained strong in defence and made a few massive turnovers. Gareth Anscombe landed one last penalty to secure a win in tough conditions (FT : 11-18).

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

The Bulls threw everything at the Sharks from the beginning. Handré Pollard kicked two consecutive penalties before Jesse Kriel got a counter-attacking try. The Sharks gave away too many penalties. Handré Pollard nailed two more penalties for the Bulls.

In the second-half, the contest was much more balanced. The Sharks replied with a good try from Jeremy Ward. However, the Bulls still played some great rugby and Warren Gelant offloaded for Rosko Specman who got the try. Handré Pollard landed a penalty.

The Sharks had another try with Dan du Preez and played better but the Bulls were too strong in defence. Handré Pollard scored a drop-goal and Rosko Specman managed to get a brace. It was a very comfortable home win for the Bulls, in Pretoria (FT : 37-14).

* Worcester vs. Exeter : Premiership (Sixways, Worcester, England)

The Worcester Warriors scored the first points with Duncan Weir kicking a penalty. The Exeter Chiefs got the first try thanks to Santiago Cordero while Duncan Weir had another penalty. Playing with speed, Santiago Cordero found the space and got a very good brace.

Winger Olly Woodburn also had a try. In the second-half, Greg Holmes was binned for a high tackle. Worcester Warriors replied with a Bryce Heem try. The Exeter Chiefs re-gathered and Tom O’Flaherty got a stunning try while Ted Hill scored for the home side.

The Exeter Chiefs had power and prop Harry Williams carried over the line. Worcester Warriors still attacked and Tom Howe scored on the wing while Chris Pennell had a try from the midfield. Though, the Exeter Chiefs controlled and got the win (FT : 30-33).

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

The England side relied on the big maul to score the first try with Jamie George. Italy came back with Tommaso Allan scoring a great individual try. England got the ball back and Jonny May finished the build-up for the try while Manu Tuilagi also got one.

Owen Farrell kicked a penalty before Manu Tuilagi gave a great assist to flanker Brad Shields. In the second-half, England still played with intensity and Manu Tuilagi touched down for his brace. Italy attacked as well and centre Luca Morisi scored on the wing.

However, Italy had to relieve the pressure from their 22-metre zone and they could not quite do that. George Kruis scored after charging a clearing kick down. He did it again later as Brad Shields picked the ball up to get a brace. England won it (FT : 57-14).

* Ireland vs. France : Women Six Nations (Energia Stadium, Donybrook, Ireland)

The French players were on the front foot early. Ireland had to play with 14 players when Nichola Fryday tackled a player without the ball. Hooker Caroline Thomas scored from a driving maul for France but Ciara Griffin replied with a try for the Ireland team.

France kept playing and winger Ian Jason got an offload to score. Once again, Ireland replied with Claire Molloy carrying over the line. France played better and Lise Arricastre showed his power to score while Caroline Boujard got some stunning try.

In the second-half, Romane Ménager had a great try but she was sent off for a high tackle. Ireland had a try with Sene Naoupou but France re-gathered. Audrey Forlani got a good try and Marine Ménager sealed the win with a try in the corner (FT : 17-47).

Conclusion

This weekend was very entertaining. In the Six Nations, Wales remained in the hunt for a Grand Slam while England got the bonus point win. The England U20s team and the France Women side got bonus point wins. In the Premiership, there were some games.

Bath Rugby made a statement at home while the Exeter Chiefs kept the momentum. In Super Rugby, the Hurricanes and the Blues got good home wins. The Waratahs also won while the Lions and the Bulls both delivered with stunning tries in their performances.

Next weekend, there will be the last 2019 Six Nations Championship Round. Besides, the Premiership Rugby Cup Final will take place. The Top14 will be back as well with some great games in store. Super Rugby will be there as the leagues games will be important.

Max.

The Barrett Review : Super Rugby 2019 (Round 4 – Highlanders)

Beauden Barrett was the hero for the Hurricanes in the Highlanders game in March, 2019

The Hurricanes started pretty well their 2019 Super Rugby campaign. For Round 4, they were back at Westpac Stadium, in Wellington. They were going to face the Highlanders, a very tough side to beat.

I- Background

The Hurricanes coach, John Plumtree, had made many turnovers since the beginning of the campaign. He finally decided to start a full-strength side for a New Zealand derby that the Hurricanes had to win.

II- Game Summary

It was a tough game, as expected. Centre Ngani Laumape got a brace but the Hurricanes never managed to get comfortable at the scoreboard. The Highlanders always came back and scored tries.

In a nervy contest, the fixture was drawn when the clock entered the red. However, on the last play, Luke Whitelock was penalised at the ruck. Beauden Barrett landed the winning penalty.

III- The Barrett Review

This game was definitely a mixed bag for Beauden Barrett. He gave a try to Sio Tomkinson but landed the winning penalty. It surely was in front of the posts, on the 22-metre line but easier said than done.

Max.

The Rugby Wrap : Weekend Review (Thursday, 28th, February, 2019 – Sunday, 03rd, March, 2019)

The Bristol Bears players celebrate at the final whistle following their home win against Gloucester during the 2018-2019 Premiership season

This weekend was a pivotal weekend in the rugby world. First of all, it was the last resting weekend for the Six Nations Championship. The remaining two Rounds would be played in the next two weekends. Only Wales were targeting a potential Grand Slam.

Meanwhile, the Top14 and the Pro14 were taking place before a rest the next weekend while the Premiership would carry on. It meant that coaches were not going to manage their squads the same way. There were not many games left in the regular season.

On top of that, the ProD2 was also taking place this weekend before a rest. Finally, it was the third Round of Super Rugby. The league was as competitive as ever with all the franchises definitely in the challenge to qualify for the play-offs. It was interesting.

* Montauban vs. Oyonnax : ProD2 (Maurice Sapiac, Montauban, France)

The home side began the game very well with a lot of intensity. Scrum-half Jérémy Chaput scored the try from close range as Oyonnax had all the pressure. Fly-half Jérôme Bosviel kicked a drop-goal later and Oyonnax were on the attacking front, after that.

They could not score and had to wait the second-half. Going for the big phase of play, forward Bilel Taieb got the try after a good carry. Oyonnax spread the ball wide and after another good play, winger Tim Giresse got a good try scored on the left wing.

Montauban had the lead with a penalty from Jérôme Bosviel. Oyonnax came back and Ben Botica scored a great try. Montauban relied on scrum and Jérôme Bosviel kicked two penalties to tie the game up. Oyonnax went for the win but got a good draw (FT : 19-19).

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

The Bristol Bears scored an outstanding try quickly with Dan Thomas. Gloucester had a try with Jason Woodward. The Bristol Bears had the lead again with a penalty from Callum Sheedy after a scrum. He even landed another penalty before the Half-Time.

In the second-half, Luke Morahan found the space in the midfield and Andy Uren concluded what was a stunning try. Nevertheless, Gloucester hit back with Tom Marshall on the corner and Ollie Thorley. Despite these two tries, the Bristol Bears attacked again.

Jason Woddward was binned for a knock-down. From a lineout, the home side got a penalty try as Ed Slater was also yellow-carded. Billy Twelvetrees had a penalty but he missed it. Ian Madigan kicked his and the Bristol Bears defended to win it (FT : 28-24).

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

The Crusaders played their expansive game from the beginning. Winger Braydon Ennor gathered a good cross-field kick for the opening try. On the re-start, the Crusaders went from their 22-metre zone and fullback Will Jordan scored the stunning 90-metre try.

The Crusaders had much possession but the Queensland Reds held on and even scored a try from centre Samu Kerevi. In the second-half, the Crusaders relied on their pack and number 8 Whetu Douglas touched down. The Queensland Reds lacked discipline.

Forward Lukhan Lealaiauloto-Tui was yellow-carded as Jordan Taufua scored from a maul. Liam Wright was denied a try for foul play on Bryn Hall. Though, the Queensland Reds scored a consolation try with Scott Higginbotham. The Crusaders won (FT : 12-22).

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

The home side did not waste time as second-rower Dominic Bird carried over the line for the first try. Racing 92 kept attacking and winger Teddy Thomas scored two consecutive tries for a brace following two stunning plays. Jordan Joseph also scored another try.

Stade Rochelais were completely lost but managed to get a try thanks to Jérémy Sinzelle. However, Finn Russell scored after selling the dummy. In the second-half, Stade Rochelais got their second try as Jérémy Sinzelle got a brace but Racing 92 still attacked.

Beating a defender, Teddy Thomas got a Hat-Trick. Playing on the counter-attack, winger Juan Imhoff gathered a chip-kick for a brillant score. Centre Henry Chavancy sealed the win with a powerful carry over the line. It was impressive from Racing 92 (FT : 50-14).

* Connacht vs. Ospreys : Pro14 (The Sportsground, Galway, Ireland)

The irish province started brillantly with centre Tom Farrell concluding a build-up. Playmaker Kyle Godwin was denied a try for a forward pass but still kicked two penalties. The Ospreys managed to come back with Matthew Aubrey getting a try.

Connacht were working on the pitch and winger Matt Healy had the space to score. Finding gaps in the midfield, Kieran Marmion got another try. It became worse for the Ospreys when Kielan Giles was binned for foul play as a penalty try was awarded.

James Lay was also yellow-carded for the Ospreys following too many infringements. Kieran Marmion managed to get a deserved brace. Bradley Davies was also binned in the game as forward Tom McCartney scored one last try for Connacht at home (FT : 46-05).

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

It was a scrappy game in Salford as the Exeter Chiefs opened the scoreboard with a penalty from Gareth Steenson. Sale Sharks were making many handling mistakes while the Exeter Chiefs had a little more control. Gareth Steenson was playing very well.

On a counter-attacking play, Santiago Cordero offloaded to Ollie Devoto who scored. The try was checked and awarded. Towards the end of the first-half, Don Armand scored a try from close range. Sale Sharks reacted in the second-half when Sam James scored.

However, the Exeter Chiefs remained composed and Sean Lonsdale was on the scoreboard. Sale Sharks were not out of it though with Will Cliff concluding a build-up. The Exeter Chiefs defended well at the end to earn a tough away win (FT : 14-20).

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

The Wasps came to Leicester with some attacking talent and it was on show early in the first-half. Moving the ball wide, winger Marcus Watson scored and Leicester Tigers were facing a tough game. Playmaker Joe Ford landed two consecutive penalties, later on.

Nevertheless, winger Marcus Watson had some pace and he managed to score a great 50-metre try. Leicester Tigers closed the gap on Half-Time with another penalty from Joe Ford. The playmaker got more control when Tommy Taylor was binned for the Wasps.

Joe Ford found the gap and touched down. He also kicked a third penalty. The Wasps got the ball back and went for the win at the end with a try. The officials asked to the TMO (Television Match Official) but it was held up. Leicester Tigers got the win (FT : 19-14).

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

The Stormers brought the intensity in the first-half and playmaker Damian Willemse got the opening try. The Sharks closed the gap with a penalty from Robert du Preez but they lacked discipline. Centre Lukhanyo Am was yellow-carded after too many infringements.

The Stormers fullback SP Marais kicked a penalty while Akker van der Merwe was the second Sharks player binned after another mistake. SP Marais got his second penalty. In the second-half, the Sharks scored early with Lukhanyo Am, back on the rugby field.

Forward Dan du Plessis was binned for the Stormers after a high tackle as Robert du Preez landed a penalty. Though, the Stormers held their lines and SP Marais scored another penalty. They defended very well and got that massive away win (FT : 11-16).

* Zebre vs. Glasgow : Pro14 (Sergio Lanfranchi, Parma, Italy)

The home side started the game well with a penalty kicked by Carlo Canna. Glasgow Warriors played their expansive brand of rugby and back-rower Matt Fagerson scored the good try. Flanker Chris Fusaro gathered a ball out of a ruck and raced to get the try.

Centre Stafford MacDowell scored from a lineout combination while Ruaridh Jackson got a chip-kick for the bonus point try. Matt Fagerson got the great offload and had a brace. In the second-half, Carlo Canna was binned for foul play as Tim Swinson touched down.

Zebre scored a try with Francois Brummer as the game became scrappy. Carlo Canna got a second yellow-card and so a red card for kicking an opponent. Glasgow Warriors managed the second-half very well and earned an away bonus point win (FT : 10-42).

* Cardiff vs. Kings : Pro14 (Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff, Wales)

In incredibly tough weather conditions, among rain and wind, the Cardiff Blues scored the first try with Owen Lane after a turnover. The game was very scrappy and the home side lacked discipline. Number 8 Nick Williams was sent to the bin after infringements.

The Southern Kings tied the game up when Dries van Schallwyk had the try from close range. In the second-half, they got the advantage when Michael Willemse scored from a maul. The Cardiff Blues bounced back with Nick Williams carrying over the whitewash.

Olly Robinson also scored while Tertius Kruger was binned for a dangerous tackle. Jason Harries scored on his wing for the bonus point try. Maxisole Banda scored a consolation try for the Southern Kings. The Cardiff Blues earned a valuable home win (FT : 26-19).

* Perpignan vs. Toulon : Top14 (Aimé Giral, Perpignan, France)

The home side began the game well with fly-half Enzo Selponi kicking a penalty. Perpignan went through the phases and winger Jonathan Bousquet got the try. Toulon replied with a penalty from François Trinh-Duc before Liam Messam touched down.

Just before the Half-Time, Toulon added another try with Josua Tuisova on a counter-attacking play. In the second-half, Enzo Selponi kicked his second penalty. Toulon turned the ball over and prop Bruce Devaux finished a good build-up to get the team’s third try.

Toulon made many high tackles and Komiti Junior Alainu’uese was yellow-carded. However, Toulon defended their lines very well while turning the ball over. They tried to get the bonus point try but is was enough. It still was a great win for Toulon (FT : 11-24).

* Newcastle vs. Worcester : Premiership (Kingston Park, Newcaste, England)

The Newcastle Falcons brought a huge intensity from the beginning and Zach Kibirige picked up a loose ball to get a stunning try. Worcester Warriors closed the gap with a penalty from Duncan Weir. Though, Toby Flood also got a penalty, later in the game.

Duncan Weir scored a second penalty for Worcester Warriors. Pushing for more tries, Newcastle Falcons attacked with Toby Flood finding the gap and touching down. It was a great score and the home side was even denied another try because of a knock-on.

Toby Flood missed a penalty before the Half-Time. In the second-half, it remained scrappy as both sides could not really generate momentum. The Newcastle Falcons got the win and will try to get more points not to be relegated in a few weeks (FT : 17-06).

* Stade Français vs. Stade Toulousain : Top14 (Jean Bouin, Paris, France)

Stade Français opened the scoreboard with a penalty from Nicolas Sanchez but Alexandre Flanquart was binned for too many infringements. Stade Toulousain replied with Gillian Galan who got a try after a big scrum while Lucas Tauzin also got a try.

Nevertheless, Stade Toulousain also lacked discipline and Rynhardt Elstadt was yellow-carded. Nicolas Sanchez kicked two consecutive penalties. In the second-half, Stade Toulousain were managing the game well and Zack Holmes also kicked two penalties.

Going for more territory, Stade Toulousain got the ball back and Piula Fa’asalele scored on the corner. Later, going through the phases, Matthis Lebel concluding a stunning build-up. It was an outstanding away bonus point win for Stade Toulousain (FT : 09-28).

Conclusion

This weekend was very entertaining, as usual. First of all, in the ProD2, there was a good away draw for Oyonnax. Still in France, in the Top14, Racing 92 scored a few stunning tries during their win. Toulon got a good win as well while Stade Toulousain impressed.

About the Pro14, Connacht got a great home performance while Glasgow Warriors scored many tries in Parma. Cardiff Blues managed the weather to get the home win. In the Premiership, the Exeter Chiefs kept winning while Newcastle Falcons delivered.

Besides, Bristol Bears and Leicester Tigers both clinched defining wins. In Super Rugby, the Crusaders showed a great display while the Stormers earned a tough away win. Next weekend, the Six Nations Championship will be back and some leagues will take place.

Max.

The Barrett Review : Super Rugby 2019 (Round 3 – Brumbies)

Beauden Barrett all smiles as he celebrates a Hurricanes try with his teammate TJ Perenara

The Super Rugby 2019 season did not start immediately for Beauden Barrett. He was granted an extended leave at the start of this season, meaning that he could sit the first Rounds.

With the NZRU (New Zealand Rugby Union) keen to have the rotation policy in a World Cup year, many thoughts that these two Rounds would have been these two mandatory weekends required.

I- Background

Finally, it was not. In fact, a mandatory week is valid only if the player has not trained during the week and only if it is not already part of an extended leave. It meant a Super Rugby with more rest weeks.

The Hurricanes won their opening game of the season against the Waratahs by a single point. However, for their second fixture, they lost against the Crusaders but key players were back for the Brumbies.

II- Game Summary

The Hurricanes were brillant from the beginning to the end in that fixture. Playing at the Central Energy Trust Arena in Palmerston North, there was some brillant running rugby from the franchise.

In that game, Dane Coles got a brace and was, as usual, more often on the wing that at his position of hooker. Centre Ngani Laumape got a deserved Hat-Trick as some of his tries were outstanding.

III- The Barrett Review

For a first Super Rugby game following an extended leave, Beauden Barrett did pretty well. He ran the backline, gained a few metres and created a few tries. His goalkicking was Okay all game long.

Max.