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.

The Rugby Wrap : Weekend Review (Thursday, 09th, January, 2020 – Sunday, 12th, January, 2020)

Arthur Retière was a key player in La Rochelle’s win against Sale Sharks in the Champions Cup

That weekend was very important for a few teams in the Northern Hemisphere. It was one of the last Rounds of the european competitions : the Champions Cup and obviously, the Challenge Cup.

It was key for all the team still targeting the play-offs to pick up the points. The next two weekens will be defining for the rest of the season. Meanwhile, in France, the ProD2 was back, as well.

Following a break of two weekends, the clubs playing in the France second division, wanted to get momentum. It was all about getting one of the two tockets to play in the Top14, next season.

* Angoulême vs. Perpignan : ProD2 (Chanzy, Angoulême, France)

In the first-half, Perpignan got a kick with Jonathan Bousquet. They had Seilala Lam binned for a high tackle while Jonathan Bousquet missed a penalty. He was successful again on his third attempt.

The home side got a penalty with Dorian Jones. Perpignan built a few phases and Mathieu Acebes got the try. In the second-half, Jonathan Bousquet got a kick but Iban Etcheverry scored for Angoulême.

Dorian Jones landed a kick. Perpignan replied with a try from Shahn Eru. Jonathan Bousquet missed a kick. Angoulême scored late with German Kessler. Perpignan snatched the away win (FT : 20-23).

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

Early, Romuald Seguy got a kick for Carcassonne. Biarritz got a maul try with Romain Ruffenach. Charles Bouldoire scored and Pierre Bernard got a kick. Benoit Jasmin was binned for Carcassonne.

Pierre Bernard added a kick and Jarrod Poï was on the board. Carcassonne got the penalty try as Evan Olmstead was binned for Biarritz. Romain Ruffenach got a brace. Pierre Bernard added a kick.

Carcassonne hit back with Bakary Meïte and Damien Anon. Biarritz set up another maul and Lucas Peyresblanques scored. Winger Yohann Artru got the bonus point try. Biarritz won (FT : 43-22).

* La Rochelle vs. Sale : Champions Cup (Marcel Deflandre, La Rochelle, France)

In that game, Jean-Luc du Preez scored for Sale Sharks. Kevin Gourdon was binned for the home side. AJ McGinty got a kick. La Rochelle scored with Tevita Railevu and Tawera Kerr-Barlow intercepted.

AJ McGinty got a kick and so did Ihaia West for the home side. Jordan Williams landed a kick for Sale Sharks. Geoffrey Doumayrou scored for La Rochelle. Chris Ashton was binned for the Sale Sharks.

Valery Morozov was sent off for Sale Sharks and Lopeti Timani was binned for La Rochelle. The home side built. Gregory Alldritt scored. Curtis Langdon scored for Sale Sharks. La Rochelle won (FT : 30-23).

* Bordeaux vs. Edinburgh : Challenge Cup (Chaban-Delmas, Bordeaux, France)

The Edinburgh province kicked a penalty with Jaco van der Walt. The home side replied in the same way with Matthieu Jalibert. Bordeaux-Bègles had a counter-attack and Semi Radradra touched down.

He made the assist for Santiago Cordero for the try. In second-half, Edinburgh got an intercept and Duhan van der Merwe scored. Matthieu Jalibert kicked a penalty as Yann Lesgourgues concluded a build-up.

The home team kept attacking and Peni Ravai carried over the line. Edinburgh scored a late try with centre Mark Bennett. Bordeaux-Bègles got a very good bonus point home win (FT : 32-17).

* Clermont vs. Ulster : Champions Cup (Marcel Michelin, Clermont, France)

In the first-half, John Cooney got a penalty for Ulster. Camille Lopez replied with a drop-goal for Clermont. Ulster got a try with John Cooney. Morgan Parra got a penalty for Clermont but was binned.

Clermont held their lines and got a second penalty with Morgan Parra. In the second-half, winger Alivereti Raka touched down. John Cooney kicked a penalty for Ulster. Clermont hit back.

Replacement scrum-half Greg Laidlaw was on target on a penalty and centre George Moala scored a stunning try. It was a tough but precious win for Clermont at home (FT : 29-13).

* Connacht vs. Toulouse : Champions Cup (The Sportsground, Galway, Ireland)

The home province started with a penalty try as Joe Tekori was binned for Stade Toulousain. After that, Connacht also had a player binned with Colby Fainga’a. Stade Toulousain hit back with Jerome Kaino.

Hooker Julien Marchand touched down as well. In the second-half, Stade Toulousain built and Pita Ahki scored the try. Stade Toulousain had a second player yellow-carded with Yohann Huget.

Stade Toulousain even had a third player carded as Zack Holmes was sent off for a dangerous tackle. Though, Stade Toulousain held their lines and managed to get a valuable away win (FT : 07-21).

* Scarlets vs. Toulon : Challenge Cup (Parc Y Scarlets, Llanelli, Wales)

The Scarlets started very well with a quick try from Gareth Davies. Leigh Halfpenny also kicked a penalty. Toulon hit back with a maul try from Anthony Etrillard. They kept the momentum.

Winger Masivesi Dakuwaqa was also on the scoreboard. Julian Savea added a third try after some confusion. Replacement hooker Baptiste Soury also got another maul try for the team.

In the second-half, Anthony Belleau added a penalty for Touon. The Scarlets scored a late try with Steffan Evans. Toulon held their lines and clinched a massive away win (FT : 15-27).

* Northampton vs. Treviso : Champions Cup (Franklin’s Gardens, Northampton, England)

The Northampton Saints got a try from Harry Mallinder. Treviso got a kick with Tommaso Allan. Charly Trussardi was yellow-carded but Tommaso Benvenuti intercepted for the try, later on.

Henry Taylor scored for the home side but Hame Faiva replied on a maul for Treviso. Tommaso Allan missed a kick as Northampton Saints built and prop Francois van Wyk touched down.

Northampton Saints were denied a try after a knock-on. Though, they got a set-piece try with Fraser Dingwall and Andy Symons also got the try. Northampton Saints won a tough fixture (FT : 33-20).

* Racing 92 vs. Munster : Champions Cup (Paris La Défense Arena, Nanterre, France)

The Irish province started well with three penalties from JJ Hanrahan. Racing 92 came back with a penalty from Teddy Iribaren and a stunning try from Teddy Thomas. Teddy Iribaren added a penalty.

Munster were not out of it with Andrew Conway scoring an interception try. Teddy Iribaren and JJ Hanrahan added a penalty each. Teddy Iribaren got two more kicks and JJ Hanrahan scored one.

Racing 92 unleashed their attacking game and Teddy Thomas had an outstanding brace. Virimi Vakatawa touched down and so did Juan Imhoff. Racing 92 got a stunning win (FT : 39-22).

Conclusion

That weekend was absolutely outstanding. First of all, in the ProD2, Perpignan snatched an away win while Biarritz impressed at home. About the european games, that was incredible fixtures.

In the Champions Cup, Stade Rochelais got a good win while Clermont performed well. Stade Toulousain got the away win. Northampton Saints and Racing 92 had great performances.

Also, in the Challenge Cup, Bordeaux-Bègles and Toulon showed that they are favourites. Next weekend, it will be the ProD2 and the european fixtures again with some entertaining rugby.

Max.

The Rugby Wrap : Weekend Review (Friday, 13th, December, 2019 – Sunday, 15th, December, 2019)

Henry Chavancy played his 300th game for Racing 92 in Champions Cup against the Ospreys

That rugby weekend was another pivotal weekend for all the clubs in the North. Just like the weekend before, all the domestic leagues were taking a rest as other competitions were taking place.

In fact, it was the european competitions with the Champions Cup and the Challenge Cup. The Round 4 fixtures were taking place with some favourites already making their impression.

Meanwhile, it also was the last opportunities for a few clubs to pick up some points and maybe get some momentum. All the fixtures were going to be very interesting as both competitions showed quality.

* Racing 92 vs. Ospreys : Champions Cup (Paris La Défense Arena, Nanterre, France)

The Ospreys were first on the scoreboard with Luke Morgan. Racing 92 hit back with a good try from Luc Dupichot. Racing 92 played expansively and Juan Imhoff got a quick brace in the first-half.

Maxime Machenaud threw the offload and Simon Zebo finished the try. In the second-half, Georges-Henri Colombe and Yoann Tanga got powerful tries. The Ospreys came back with a try from Lesley Klim.

The Ospreys kept the momentum in attack and playmaker Luke Price touched down. Shaun Venter also scored and Lesley Klim got a brace. Though, Racing 92 still got the bonus point win (FT : 40-27).

* Bordeaux vs. Agen : Challenge Cup (Chaban-Delmas, Bordeaux, France)

The Agen side built a few phases and Leo Berdeu kicked a penalty. The home side got possession and Seta Tamanivalu scored from a kick-chase. Santiago Cordero also got a stunning try.

Leo Berdeu kicked a second penalty for Agen. In the second-half, Clement Maynadier carried over the line for Bordeaux-Bègles. Prop Beka Gorgadze also showed his power to get the bonus point try.

The home side kept playing. On a counter-attacking play, replacement scrum-half Baptiste Germain gathered a chip-kick to get another try. It was a bonus point win for Bordeaux-Bègles (FT : 33-06).

* Montpellier vs. Toulouse : Champions Cup (GGL Stadium, Montpellier, France)

In the first-half, Stade Toulousain ran the ball and Romain Ntamack scored a stunning try. Montpellier came back with a try from Fulgence Ouedraogo. Johan Goosen kicked two penalties for the home side.

Stade Toulousain got a try from a lineout with Rory Arnold. In the second-half, the second-rower intercepted a pass from Frans Steyn to get a brace. Montpellier were back with a try from Nemani Nadolo.

Stade Toulousain remained composed to make a few turnovers. On the last play, they spread the ball wide and Lucas Tauzin touched down for the bonus point try. Stade Toulousain won (FT : 18-26).

* Saracens vs. Munster : Champions Cup (Allianz Park, London, England)

The first-half was absolutely physical between the two sides. The Saracens opened the scoreboard with a penalty from Owen Farrell. Munster replied with a penalty from JJ Hanrahan, after that.

In the second-half, JJ Hanrahan kicked a second penalty for Munster before missing a kick. The Saracens came back and after a huge build-up, Sean Maitland touched down froma big scrum.

The Saracens kept the intensity and prop Mako Vunipola carried over the line. The home side remained very strong on defence in the next phases of play. They clinched a massive home win (FT : 15-06).

* Stade Français vs. Bristol : Challenge Cup (Jean Bouin, Paris, France)

In the first-half, Stade Français missed a penalty with Nicolas Sanchez. The Bristol Bears kicked a penalty with Callum Sheedy. The home side scored a try with Waisea but Pablo Matera was binned.

Will Capon scored a maul try for Bristol. Nicolas Sanchez kicked a penalty. He added another one later on and so did Callum Sheedy for Bristol. Nicolas Sanchez missed another kick.

Moreover, Joris Segonds landed a kick for Stade Français. Though, the Bristol Bears scored a huge try with Harry Thacker and Callum Sheedy converted. They made the turnover to win it (FT : 16-18).

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

The Sale Sharks kicked a penalty with AJ McGinty. The Exeter Chiefs were powerful and Sam Simmonds carried over the line. The Sale Sharks lacked discipline and Curtis Langdon was yellow-carded.

It allowed Joe Simmonds to cross over the line for the try while Sam Simmonds got a brace. The Sale Sharks hit back with a try from Sam James before the game was interrupted as it was hailing.

When the game re-started, the Exeter Chiefs built a few phases and prop Ben Moon scored from close range. Winger Jack Nowell scored in the same fashion. It was a big win for the Exeter Chiefs (FT : 35-10).

* Clermont vs. Bath : Champions Cup (Marcel Michelin, Clermont, France)

The home side started with a maul try from John Ulugia. Centre Damian Penaud concluded a try while Alivereti Raka and George Moala got stunning scores. Bath Rugby replied with a try from Jack Walker.

Clermont kept attacking. Alivereti Raka gathered a chip-kick for his brace. George Moala also got a brace. Ruaridh McConnochie got a try for Bath Rugby. Camille Lopez played the quick-tap and scored.

Bath Rugby relied on their maul to get tries from Tom Dunn and Josh Bayliss. However, Sam Nixon was binned and Clermont scored on the counter-attack with Jake McIntyre. It was a big win (FT : 52-26).

Conclusion

That weekend delivered some quality fixtures in the european competitions. In the Champions Cup, Racing 92 and Stade Toulousain secured bonus point wins. The Saracens delivered a great performance, too.

The Exeter Chiefs and Clermont kept the momentum. Meanwhile, in the Challenge Cup, Bordeaux-Bègles remained unbeaten and so did the Bristol Bears who got a tough away win.

Next weekend, there will be the domestic leagues again with the traditional Christmas derbies in the Pro14. The last two Rounds of the european competitions would take place in the new year.

Max.

The Rugby Wrap : Weekend Review (Thursday, 05th, December, 2019 – Sunday, 08th, December, 2019)

Fullback Tom Marshall scored a brace of tries against Connacht during the Champions Cup

That weekend was another very important weekend for the Northern Hemisphere. It was the Round 3 of the european competitions with all the sides targeting the play-offs qualification.

Also, other competitions were taking place at the same time. For example, in France, the second tier competition, the ProD2, was back for another run of three games before a resting weekend.

With the league showing huge competition, the clubs could not afford a bad performance. It was all about playing well and getting some momentum for the rest of the long season in that league.

* Perpignan vs. Biarritz : ProD2 (Aimé Giral, Perpignan, France)

The home side started well with a penalty from Jonathan Bousquet and a try from Damien Chouly. Biarritz hit back with two penalties from Pierre Bernard and a try scored by the winger Gavin Stark.

After that, Pierre Bernard added a penalty. He got a fourth. Jonathan Bousquet got a kick and Genesis Mamea Lemalu scored while Gavin Stark was binned. Jonathan Bousquet landed a kick but missed one.

Biarritz had a second player binned with Evan Olmstead. Jonathan Bousquet got a kick and Adrea Cocagi touched down. Pierre Bernard got a kick. Perpignan mande one last turnover to win it (FT : 29-25).

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

In the first-half, Rouen kicked a penalty with Matthew James. Enzo Selponi did the same for Grenoble. Marika Vunibaka was binned for Rouen as Nathanael Hulleu and Lucas Dupont scored for Grenoble.

Grenoble had Fabien Alexandre binned but Steven Setephano scored from a maul and Lucas Rey carried over the line. In the second-half, Ange Capuozzo concluded a good build-up for the home side.

Also, Steeve Blanc-Mappaz got the try and Lucas Rey had a brace after a strong carry. Andreï Ostrikov was the second player binned for Grenoble. It was for foul play. Though, Grenoble got the big win (FT : 46-03).

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

The home side showed some attacking rugby from the start. Jean-Marcelin Buttin scored a good individual try. Centre Charlie Ngatai also concluded a very good attacking build-up for his team.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Wisniewski kicked a penalty and winger Xavier Mignot got a super counter-attacking try. In the second-half, Lyon kept attacking but Benetton Treviso defended their lines well.

They lacked discipline and Marco Barbini was binned. Patricio Fernandez kicked a penalty for Lyon and Liam Gill touched down from a maul. Lyon managed to get the bonus point win (FT : 28-00).

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

The home team scored early with Baptiste Serin and Anthony Belleau landed a penalty. London Irish replied with a try from Steve Mafi but Pat Cilliers was sent to the bin. Bapstiste Serin got a brace.

Stephen Myler got a kick. Ramiro Moyano gathered a chip-kick to score and Masivesi Dakuwaqa got a great tries. Theo Dachary, for Toulon, and TJ Ioane, for London Irish, were both sent off for high tackles.

Anthony Belleau landed a kick while Tom Fowlie scored a late try for London Irish. Toulon sealed the win with a brace from Ramiro Moyano after a very good cross-field kick on the left wing (FT : 37-17).

* Ospreys vs. Racing 92 : Chapions Cup (Liberty Stadium, Swansea, Wales)

The Ospreys fullback was sent off after less than a minute for foul play. Racing 92 had Juan Imhoff binned after many penalties. The Ospreys scored the first try with the winger Hanno Dirksen.

Though, the Ospreys had Scott Williams yellow-carded. Teddy Baubigny and Teddy Thomas scored tries for Racing 92. They had a penalty try awarded as Aled Davies was binned for the Ospreys.

Teddy Thomas got a brace. Yoann Tanga scored. Ma’afu Fia and Aled Davies scored tries for the Ospreys. Henry Chavancy scored for Racing 92. Maxime Machenaud was binned. Racing 92 won (FT : 19-40).

* Gloucester vs. Connacht : Champions Cup (Kingsholm, Gloucester, England)

The Gloucester team attacked early and Tom Marshall scored a stunning try. Connacht replied with a try from John Porch and a penalty from Jack Carty. Gloucester had a try denied after a knock-on.

In the second-half, Louis Rees-Zamit got the try for the home side after an intercept from Danny Cipriani. Kyle Godwin was binned for Connacht. Tom Marshall got a brace and Jake Polledri touched down.

Gloucester were under pressure and Billy Twelvetrees was yellow-carded. Connacht was also denied a try after a knock-on but Quinn Roux later scored. Gloucester got the bonus point win (FT : 26-17).

* Oyonnax vs. Mont-de-Marsan : ProD2 (Charles Mathon, Oyonnax, France)

First, Yoann Laousse-Azpiazu got a kick for Stade Montois and so did Yohan Le Bourhis for Oyonnax. Christophe David scored for Stade Montois. Yohan Le Bourhis and Yoann Laousse-Azpiazu got a kick.

Yohan Le Bourhis got a kick and a drop-goal but Quentin MacDonald was binned. Leo Coly landed a kick for Stade Montois but Thomas Laclayat was binned. Jeremy Gondrand got a kick for Oyonnax.

Leandro Cedaro was binned for Stade Montois. Quentin MacDonald scored and Jeremy Gondrand added a kick. Stade Montois got a penalty try as Sacha Zegueur was binned for Oyonnax who won (FT : 23-21).

* Toulouse vs. Montpellier : Champions Cup (Ernest Wallon, Toulouse, France)

The home side were on the front foot early and Thomas Ramos kicked two consecutive penalties. Stade Toulousain built a few phases and Romain Ntamack scored but Montpellier replied.

Benoit Paillaugue kicked a penalty before Half-Time. In the second-half, Frans Steyn got a penalty but Romain Ntamack intercepted for his brace. Benoit Paillaugue landed another penalty.

However, Louis Picamoles was sent to the bin for Montpellier. Stade Toulousain kicked another penalty with Thomas Ramos. Stade Toulousain clinched the home win under terrible weather (FT : 23-09).

* Sale vs. Exeter : Champions Cup (Salford, Sale, England)

The Sale Sharks kicked a penalty with Robert du Preez. Though, Tom Curry was yellow-carded as the Exeter Chiefs were awarded a penalty try. Stuart Hogg re-gathered his chip-kick to get a second try.

The Sale Sharks hit back with a try from Akker van der Merwe. Though, Luke Cowan-Dickie carried over the line for the Exeter Chiefs. Akker van der Merwe got his brace for the Sale Sharks.

In the second-half, the Sale Sharks pushed for the try. Ben Moon was yellow-carded for the Exeter Chiefs as Jono Ross touched down. The Exeter Chiefs made one last turnover to win it (FT : 20-22).

Conclusion

That weekend was another entertaining weekend. First of all, in the ProD2, Perpignan gathered a hard-fought win. Grenoble and Oyonnax also clinched home wins to get some momentum.

Besides, in the Challenge Cup, Toulon remain unbeaten after their home win. Alos, in the Champions Cup, Lyon picked up the win while Racing 92 got the bonus point win and so did Gloucester.

Stade Toulousain and the Exeter Chiefs also picked up some key wins. Next weekend, the same competitions would carry on. The ProD2 and the european competitions as well would take place.

Max.

The Rugby Wrap : Weekend Review (Friday, 22nd, November, 2019 – Saturday, 23rd, November, 2019)

Toulon got a late win against the Scarlets with a converted try as the conversion hit the post

That weekend was the second Round of the european competitions, the Champions Cup and the Challenge Cup. A few teams already had to win to keep their chances to qualify for the play-offs.

With the World Cup having finished in November, the european competitions started later than the other seasons. It means that the third and the fourth Round would come very quickly, as well.

Actually, these two Rounds would be played in December so there was only one league game for the clubs. The respective coaches will have to manage their squad carefully to go as far as possible.

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

The home side started well as Anthony Belleau made a cross-field kick to Gervais Cordin who scored. Though, Johnny McNicholl intercepted for the Scarlets for the try and it was all square.

After that, Anthony Belleau added a penalty and Tevita Ratuva was red-carded for the Scarlets after an illegal tackle. In the second-half, the Scarlets kept the ball. Ryan Lamb kicked a penalty.

Also, Dan Jones added another and got a drop-goal. Toulon set-up a driving maul on the last play as Liam Messam touched down. Anthony Belleau kicked the winning conversion which hit the post (FT : 17-16).

* Toulouse vs. Connacht : Champions Cup (Ernest Wallon, Toulouse, France)

The home side could not defend well and Connacht scored the first try with Tom Farrell. Stade Toulousain hit back with Sebastien Bezy finishing a good build-up. Thomas Ramos kicked a penalty.

Though, Connacht kept attacking and Caolin Blade scored but Colby Fainga’a was yellow-carded for a dangerous tackle. Stade Toulousain spread the ball wide and Yoann Huget touched down.

Connacht got a penalty with Conor Fitzgerald. Though, Thomas Ramos landed aanother kick. Jerome Kaino scored from close range and centre Pita Ahki touched down for the bonus point win (FT : 32-17).

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

The Glasgow Warriors were on attack early and centre Nick Grigg scored. The Exeter Chiefs came back with a penalty from Joe Simmonds and a try from second-rower Johnny Hill who carried over the line.

Meanwhile, Adam Hastings kicked two penalties. Jack Nowell offloaded to send Henry Slade to the try line and Sam Simmonds touched down from a maul. Tom O’Flaherty gethered a chip-kick for a stunning try.

Kieran McDonald was binned for Glasgow Warriors. Joe Simmonds got a kick as Sam Simmonds was binned. George Turner scored a late try for the Glasgow Warriors as the Exeter Chiefs won (FT : 34-18).

* Munster vs. Racing 92 : Champions Cup (Thomond Park, Limerick, Ireland)

The home side kicked a penalty with JJ Hanrahan. Racing 92 started to play and Finn Russell scored a stunning individual try. JJ Hanrahan added a second penalty for Munster but Racing 92 attacked.

Finding space out wide, winger Teddy Thomas touched down on the right wing. Munster replied before the Half-Time with a try from Keith Earls. In the second-half, JJ Hanrahan kicked a penalty.

On the re-start, Racing 92 scored a great try with Juan Imhoff. It was all square when Andrew Conway scored for Munster. JJ Hanrahan missed a drop-goal as Racing 92 clinched a massive away draw (FT : 21-21).

Conclusion

That weekend has been pretty good with many thrilling games. First of all, in the Challenge Cup, Toulon snatched the home win thanks to a late converted try with the conversion hitting the post.

About the Champions Cup, Stade Toulousain got the bonus point win and so did the Exeter Chiefs who delivered a good performance. Also, Racing 92 clinched a massive away draw in Limerick.

Next weekend, the league games would come back in the Northern Hemisphere. There would be some big games in the Top14, in the Pro14 and in the Premiership. It should be entertaining.

Max.

The Rugby Wrap : Weekend Review (Friday, 15th, November, 2019 – Sunday, 17th, November, 2019)

Cameron Woki set up a great try for Seta Tamanivalu as Bordeaux Bègles defeated the Wasps

That weekend was very expected in the Northern Hemisphere because it was the start of the european competitions. The Champions Cup and the Challenge Cup were back for another thrilling season.

The two opening Rounds took place a little bit later than the previous seasons with the World Cup finishing in early November. It meant that all the clubs were not having their full-strength squad.

That is why the respective managers had to manage their players well. It was all about finding the good balance in their squad. These two opening Rounds were key for each side involved in european ties.

* Gloucester vs. Toulouse : Champions Cup (Kingsholm, Gloucester, England)

The French team scored first with a drop-goal from Zack Holmes. Joe Simpson got a quick brace for Gloucester. Thomas Ramos, for Toulouse, and Danny Cipriani, for Gloucester, both kicked two penalties.

Before the Half-Time, Danny Cipriani missed a penalty, In the second-half, Stade Toulousain got the possession. Romain Ntamack and Thomas Ramos both added a penalty for their side.

They later unleashed a massive build-up concluded by Sebastien Bezy. Thomas Ramos landed another kick while Yoann Huget was denied a try for a knock-on. Stade Toulousain held their lines and won (FT : 20-25).

* Bayonne vs. Toulon : Challenge Cup (Jean Daugé, Bayonne, France)

The home side started well with two penalties from Manuel Ordas. Toulon set up a driving maul and Marcel van der Merwe touched down. He got a brace in a same fashion just before the Half-Time.

In the second-half, Peyo Muscarditz scored for Bayonne. However, Maile Mamao was yellow-carded for a high tackle. Winger Julian Savea got try on the left wing but Toulon also had a player binned.

It was Raphael Lakafia after a dangerous tackle. Toulon defended well and got another maul try with Anthony Etrillard. Toulon remained strong in defence and clinched an away bonus point win (FT : 13-20).

* Glasgow vs. Sale : Champions Cup (The Scotstoun, Glasgow, Scotland)

Th Glasgow Warriors had plenty of possession in the first-half. Adam Hastings kicked a penalty. Ha was off-target on his second attempt but he nailed his next to kick his second penalty of the game.

Just before the Half-Time, winger DTH van der Merwe found some space and he got a very good try. Sale Sharks were not out of it and came back in the second-half with a try from Coenie Osthuizen.

The Glasgow Warriors managed the last quarter of the game well with some field position. Sale Sharks had an opportunity ot win it but the home side held their lines for a very good win (FT : 13-07).

* La Rochelle vs. Exeter : Champions Cup (Marcel Deflandre, La Rochelle, France)

The Exeter Chiefs were clinical as second-rower Dave Dennis scored from close range. La Rochelle were denied a try because of a forward pass. Tom O’Flaherty who got a stunning try for the Exeter Chiefs.

In the second-half, it was much better for the home side and Geoffrey Doumayrou got the try. The Exeter Chiefs were composed and Henry Slade got the intercept try as Sam Simmonds carried over the line.

The Exeter Chiefs even added a penalty with Joe Simmonds. Stade Rochelais got a consolation try with Kirikiri Murimurivalu, set-up by a cross-field kick. It was a great win for the Exeter Chiefs (FT : 12-31).

* Clermont vs. Harlequins : Champions Cup (Marcel Michelin, Clermont, France)

The home side kicked a penalty with Morgan Parra. They put pressure and Alivereti Raka scored the try from a loose ball. Flanker Peceli Yato got a brace and was denied a Hat-Trick for a knock-on.

The Harlequins had to react and Tom Lawday scored. Morgan Parra kicked his second penalty for Clermont. Centre Isaia Toeava finished some move as Elia Elia got a maul try for the Harlequins.

Clermont kpet attacking. Alivereti Raka got a double while George Moala gathered a chip-kick for the try. James Lang had a try for the Harlequins but Mike Tadjer sealed the win for Clermont (FT : 53-21).

* Bordeaux vs. Wasps : Challenge Cup (Chaban-Delmas, Bordeaux, France)

The home side kicked two penalties with Matthieu Jalibert. Billy Searle did the same for the Wasps. Though, Matthieu Jalibert kicked a third penalty and Seta Tamanivalu touched down before Half-Time.

Jack Willis scored and Billy Searle added a penalty for the Wasps. Matthieu Jalibert landed a kick. Tom Cruse got the maul try. Bordeaux Bègles reacted with a stunning try concluded by Yann Lesgourgues.

The home side kept attacking and Scott Higginbotham touched down. The Wasps came back with Dan Robson. Matthieu Jalibert set up the try for Romain Buros and it was a bonus point win (FT : 40-30).

* Northampton vs. Lyon : Champions Cup (Franklin’s Gardens, Northampton, England)

The home side started very strongly with two penalties from Dan Biggar. Centre Rory Hutchinson scored a superb individual try. Dan Biggar kicked two more penalties for the home side in the first-half.

In the second-half, Dan Biggar landed his fifth penalty but Teimana Harrison was yellow-carded following too many infringements. Lyon had space and Thibault Regard scored the try.

Later on, Lyon had a try denied after a knock-on. Dan Biggar kicked another penalty. Thibault Regard got a brace for Lyon from a scrum. Though, Northampton Saints secured the win (FT : 25-14).

Conclusion

There were some entertaining games for the opening Round of the Champions Cup and the Challenge Cup. First of all, in the Challenge Cup, Toulon got the away win while Bordeaux clinched the result.

Meanwhile, in the Champions Cup, Stade Toulousain began well with an away win. Glasgow Warriors performed at home while the Exeter Chiefs also started brillantly with an away win in France.

Clermont were in scintillating form and Northampton Saints also did the job. Next weekend, there will be another Round of Champions Cup and Challenge Cup. It should be another good weekend.

Max.

The Rugby Wrap : Weekend Review (Friday, 10th, May, 2019 – Sunday, 12th, May, 2019)

The All Blacks centre Ryan Crotty running with ball in hand for the Crusaders during the 2019 Super Rugby game against the Bulls in Pretoria

This weekend was going to be really great. There were defining fixtures in both Hemispheres with a lot at stake. In the Northern Hemisphere, it was the european Finals with the Challenge Cup taking place in Newcastle. It was going to be some great battles.

Also, in the Southern Hemisphere, it still was the regular season in the Super Rugby competition. However, there were not many games left so the franchises needed the big performances. The play-offs race was heavily contested with many franchises involved.

Back in the Northern Hemisphere, the regular season in the respective leagues would go on. In the ProD2, it already was the qualifiers. It would determine the two clubs which would reach the semi-finals to face the two other clubs already qualified for that stage.

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

The Blues applied the pressure early and second-rower Patrick Tuipulotu offloaded for Sam Nock for the opening try. The Hurricanes turned the ball over with Ngani Laumape. Winger Ben Lam got the ball and he beat four defenders to score some stunning try.

The Hurricanes had another opportunity and fullback Jordie Barrett touched down after a nice-build-up. The Hurricanes had to defend a lot. In the second-half, they lacked discipline and prop Jefferey To’omanga-Allen was binned after scrum infringements.

The Blues had the ball and Dalton Papali’i scored on the wing. The Hurricanes remained composed and Beauden Barrett intercepted from a Blues set-piece play to get the try. Jordie Barrett kicked a penalty. The Hurricanes sealed a massive away win (FT : 12-22).

* Rebels vs. Reds : Super Rugby (AAMI Park, Melbourne, Australia)

The Queensland Reds started with a penalty from Bryce Hegarty. Samu Kerevi was binned. The Melbourne Rebels found space and Marika Koroibete scored. Bryce Hegarty kicked a second penalty. The home side attacked and Anaru Rangi scored from a maul.

The Melbourne Rebels had to defend. The Queensland Reds hit back with Isaac Lucas but Scott Higginbotham was binned. In second-half, Tetera Faulkner and Dane Haylett-Petty both scored tries for the Melbourne Rebels. Harry Hoppert scored for Queensland Reds.

Reece Hodge kicked a penalty for the Melbourne Rebels with Bryce Hegarty replying with one for Queensland Reds. Reece Hodge kicked another penalty. Bryce Hegarty also got a final penalty to get a losing bonus point as the Melbourne Rebels won (FT : 30-24).

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

The Crusaders were defending well from the beginning and they played the counter-attacks. Richie Mo’unga gathered a chip-kick to score the try. Handré Pollard kicked a penalty for the Bulls. Though, Richie Mo’unga found space in midfield to get a brace.

Handré Pollard landed another penalty for the Bulls but the Crusaders kept the intensity. Second-rower Mitchell Dunshea finished a stunning build-up on the left wing while Sevu Reece also touched down. In the second-half, he got a brace after some great footwork.

The Bulls hit back with a try from Burger Odendaal. However, the Crusaders were still threatening. Richie Mo’unga unleashed a cross-field kick for Sevu Reece who got a Hat-Trick. Scott Barrett also touched down from a lineout. The Crusaders won (FT : 13-45).

* Clermont vs. La Rochelle : Challenge Cup Final (St James’ Park, Newcastle, England)

In that Challenge Cup Final, Clermont started well with two penalties from Morgan Parra and Greg Laidlaw who replaced him. Ihaia West kicked a penalty for Stade Rochelais. Clermont went through the phases and winger Damian Penaud scored the good try.

Ihaia West got another kick for Stade Rochelais. He kicked his third penalty in the second-half. Nevertheless, Clermont got penalties and Greg Laidlaw landed two kicks. They set up a driving maul and the back-rower Fritz Lee touched down for his team.

Uini Atonio scored for Stade Rochelais but Camille Lopez made the grubber kick. Wesley Fofana gathered it for the try. Alivereti Raka was binned for a deliberate knock-down. Greg Laidlaw kicked one more penalty as Clermont won the Challenge Cup (FT : 36-16).

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

The Chiefs got the first points with a penalty from Damian McKenzie. They were settled in defence and from a counter-attacking play, scrum-half Brad Weber touched down. The Sharks hit back with a penalty from Curwin Bosch and a try from Hyron Andrews.

However, the Chiefs got a lineout and flanker Mitch Karpik scored. Curwin Bosch kicked a penalty. In second-half, Marty McKenzie missed a penalty and hooker Nathan Harris was yellow-carded for the Chiefs. Ruan Botha scored from a big maul for the Sharks.

Curwin Bosch later kicked another penalty. The Chiefs threw everything in attack. Anton Lienert-Brown got a try. From the re-start, the Chiefs went coast to coast with Brad Weber scoring an astonishing brace. The Chiefs held their lines to win it (FT : 29-23).

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

The Waratahs built phases and Nick Phipps dotted down. The Lions replied with Aphiwe Dyantyi scoring. The Waratahs got the lead again when Michael Hooper sold the dummy to get another try. The Lions hit back with Stephan Lewies carrying over the whitewash.

Second-rower Rob Simmons found the space in midfield and the Waratahs had another score. The Lions got on the attack and Kwagga Smith touched down after a grubber kick from Courtnall Skosan. In the second-half, the Lions kept the possession to use it wisely.

Winger Courtnall Skosan concluded a counter-attacking play for the try. The Waratahs were not out of it with Tom Staniforth on the scoreboard from close range. The Lions came back as Shaun Reynolds kicked a penalty. The Lions secured the win (FT : 29-28).

* Bayonne vs. Nevers : ProD2 Qualifier (Jean Dauger, Bayonne, France)

The home side started well with Pieter-Jan Van Lill scoring as Manuel Ordas kicked a penalty. Nevers had Fred Quercy sent off for foul play while Adam Jaulhac was yellow-carded for Bayonne. Nevers got their game going with centre Nasoni Naqiri scoring.

Bayonne went through the phases and Peyo Muscarditz got the try. Hugo Fabrègue was binned for Nevers after a high tackle while Pieter-Jan Van Lill got a brace for Bayonne. Josaia Raisuqe scored for Nevers and Peyo Muscarditz was denied his brace for Bayonne.

Romain Barthélémy was binned for Bayonne but Sean Robinson touched down on the right wing. Julien Berger got a try for Nevers but Tristan Tedder kicked a penalty for Bayonne. Nevers had another try with David Lolohea but Bayonne won (FT : 32-26).

* Vannes vs. Mont-de-Marsan : ProD2 (Stade de la Rabine, Vannes, France)

The home side shifted the ball wide and winger Ambrose Curtis touched down. Mont-de-Marsan replied with Dorian Laborde. However, Vannes kept attacking and Gwenaël Duplenne concluded a superb move. Jules Le Bail later kicked a penalty for Vannes.

Steve Shingler for Mont-de-Marsan kicked a penalty. Christopher Hilsenbeck landed two penalties for Vannes while missing one. Vannes got the try from a set-piece play with Brandon Holder. In the second-half, Maselino Paulino was sent off for Mont-de-Marsan.

It was a shoulder charge. Christopher Hilsenbeck kicked a penalty. Ambrose Curtis had space on the left wing to get a brace. He gathered a grubber kick for his Hat-Trick. Anthony Bouthier sealed the win for Vannes with one last stunning try (FT : 50-10).

Conclusion

This weekend was another brillant weekend. First of all, in Super Rugby, the Hurricanes snatched an away draw in Auckland. The Rebels performed well at home while the Crusaders got the away bonus point win in Pretoria with some stunning tries as well.

The Chiefs got a massive comeback win and the Lions got a key win in Johannesburg. In the Challenge Cup, Clermont delivered a composed and solid performance to win the Cup in Newcastle. About the ProD2 qualifiers, Bayonne qualified in the big semi-finals.

Besides, Vannes also won their ProD2 qualifier. Next weekend, the regular season in the Top14 and in the Premiership will go on. The Pro14 semi-finals will take place as well and the Super Rugby competition will be played in the South. It should be great.

Max.

 

The Rugby Wrap : Weekend Review (Friday, 19th, April, 2019 – Saturday, 20th, April, 2019)

Winger Alivereti Raka is tackled by the Harlequins defence during the Clermont 2018-2019 Challenge Cup semi-final win in Clermont, France

This weekend was going to be interesting because it was the european play-offs again with the semi-finals taking place. The Champions Cup and the Challenge Cup were the two coveted trophies in the Northern Hemisphere. Teams involved were not far away.

Meanwhile, in the Southern Hemisphere, Super Rugby was reaching the second-half of the season. The competition was always going to be unpredictable with almost all the franchises involved for the play-offs. It was going to be a great battle in all the fixtures.

With the World Cup coming even closer, the players were trying to perform well. They wanted to be in contention to be included in their respective country’s squad. Each World Cup, there are always surprises in the team’s naming so they were fighting.

* Sunwolves vs. Hurricanes : Super Rugby (Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo, Japan)

The Sunwolves started pretty well with an opening try from Semisi Masirewa and a penalty from Hayden Parker. The Hurricanes hit back with a superb individual try from TJ Perenara. However, the Sunwolves added two more penalties with Hayden Parker.

Semisi Masirewa got a brace after that and the Hurricanes needed a reaction. Fletcher Smith kicked a penalty before the Half-Time. In the second-half, winger Ben Lam concluded a nice move. Fullback Chase Tiatia charged a kick down and got the try.

Moving the ball wide, winger Wes Goosen made a chip-kick. He re-gathered it and touched down. The Hurricanes remained strong in defence in the last quarter of the game. They managed to get a good away win in a very tough game in Tokyo (FT : 23-29).

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

The Melbourne Rebels began the game well with a penalty from Quade Cooper. Though, the Waratahs spread the ball and Adam Ashley-Cooper touched down. The Melbourne Rebels shifted the ball as well and Bill Meakes got his try after a godd attacking build-up.

The Melbourne Rebels got a second try with Reece Hodge as Quade Cooper kicked a penalty. In second-half, the Waratahs were composed and Bernard Foley kicked two penalties. On a missed lineout from the Melbourne Rebels, Bernard Foley was there.

He took the ball and raced to the try line for the score. He got the Waratahs back in front with a penalty. Sam Talakai was yellow-carded for the Melbourne Rebels after too many infringements. The Waratahs made the turnover in defence to get a big win (FT : 23-20).

* La Rochelle vs. Sale : Challenge Cup (Marcel Deflandre, La Rochelle, France)

The two kickers, Ihaia West for La Rochelle and AJ McGinty for Sale Sharks, both missed their first penalty. Sale Sharks got a penalty try as Victor Vito was yellow-carded for a maul infringement. After that, Ihaia West and AJ McGinty both kicked a penalty.

Stade Rochelais came back with a penalty try as Denny Solomona was binned for Sale Sharks after a high tackle. Fullback Kiriki Murimurivalu touched down as well for the home side. Though, Sale Sharks came back with Chris Ashton who picked up a loose ball.

Stade Rochelais got one more try with Gregory Alldritt. AJ McGinty kicked another penalty while Ihaia West missed his kick. Julien Favre was binned for Stade Rochelais for foul play. The home side made one last turnover at scrum time to win it (FT : 24-20).

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

First of all, Camille Lopez scored a drop-goal for Clermont as Marcus Smith replied with a penalty for the Harlequins. Camille Lopez added a second drop-goal and Morgan Parra kicked a penalty before Fritz Lee carried powerfully over the line for the first try.

He was followed by winger Damian Penaud who got a stunning try. The Harlequins replied with a try from Mike Brown but Morgan Parra kicked a penalty. In the second-half, Morgan Parra scored two more penalties but the Harlequins still came back.

They had a try denied for a foot in touch but flanker Chris Robshaw scored. James Lang got another try after a mistake in defence from Clermont. Also, Alex Dombrandt scored from a maul. Clermont won the re-start and kicked the ball out to win (FT : 32-27).

Conclusion

This weekend was great and entertaining. To start with, in Super Rugby, the Hurricanes managed to snatch the win in Tokyo. Besides, the Waratahs got back to winning ways. In the Challenge Cup, there were some great fixtures as well with the French clubs.

Stade Rochelais got the scrappy home win on a last scrum. Clermont secured the semi-final win as well. It means that the Challenge Cup will come to France as two French clubs will face each other in Final. It will take place in May, in Newcastle, England.

Next weekend, the league games will come back again. It will be the final Round in the Pro14 with the qualifiers to take place as well. In the other leagues such as Top14, Premiership and Super Rugby, the regular season will go on with play-offs coming.

Max.

 

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 Rugby Wrap : Weekend Review (Thursday, 17th, January, 2019 – Sunday, 20th, January, 2019)

the cheetahs centre rabz maxwane scored a try in the win against the southern kings during the 2018-2019 pro14 season in port elizabeth

This weekend was all about the last Round in the two main competitions in Europe : the Champions Cup and the Challenge Cup. The results in these last fixtures would determine the teams qualified in the Quarter-Finals playing for silverware this season.

Before the last Rounds took place, many teams could not reach these play-offs. However, they were not going to give that last game easily. It was all about playing for the jersey and the players still wanted to do well to get a chance in the Six Nations Championship.

Meanwhile, in the Pro14, the south-african franchises, the Cheetahs and the Southern Kings, were playing. They did not play league games during Christmas and New Year’s Eve. That was an opportunity to pick up some points during these interesting derbies.

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

The two ProD2 clubs engaged themselves in a great battle on the pitch. Nevers scored the first after a penalty from Nicolas Vuillemin. Bayonne replied with fly-half Willie du Plessis. The playmaker kicked a penalty and later scored an individual try for his team.

Toma Taufa was binned for repeated infringements at scrum time. Nevers put a big pressure at scrum time. Toma Taufa came back but Bayonne had another player binned as Aretz Iguiniz left the field. The home side was awarded a penalty try before Half-Time.

In the second-half, Nevers got a second try with Hugo Fabrègue from close range. Nicolas Vuillemin kicked a penalty. Bayonne came back with Evrard Oulai carrying over the line. Nevers secured the win with one more penalty from Nicolas Vuillemin (FT : 23-17).

* Kings vs. Cheetahs : Pro14 (Madibaz Stadium, Port Elizabeth, South Africa)

The Cheetahs got the ball early and their first attacking plays were rewarded. Winger Sibhale Maxwane got the try after a good offload. Though, scrum-half Tian Meyer was binned for foul play. The Cheetahs could not convert their opportunities into points.

The second-half came and the Southern Kings got the try with Ntabeni Dukisa. The Cheetahs replied straight away with Junior Pokomela carrying over the line. Maxizole Banda kicked a penalty with Benhard Jansé Van Rensburg kicking one for the Cheetahs.

The Southern Kings got a penalty try with Luan de Bruin binned as the game was tied up. The Cheetahs unleashed one last play after a scrum penalty. Prop Luan de Bruin, back on the field, scored the match-winning try for the Cheetahs who got the win (FT : 17-24).

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

The home side brought a huge intensity from the beginning. Following some good phases of play, scrum-half Jérémy Gondrand scored the good try. Béziers got first points with a penalty from Thibault Suchier. Oyonnax had to play with 14 players in the first-half.

Hooker Benjamin Geledan was binned for foul play. Nevertheless, Thibault Suchier and Ben Botica both traded a penalty. Meanwhile, Béziers finished the first-half with 14 players as well with Marco Pena binned. In the second-half, the intensity was still there.

Playmaker Ben Botica scored a stunning try for Oyonnax and kicked a second penalty. Béziers replied with Tomas Munilla. Oyonnax were under pressure but their scrum was strong. Quentin Étienne sealed the win with one last penalty for Oyonnax (FT : 23-13).

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

The scottish province Edinburgh kept the possession in the first-half and were attacking mostly with their forwards. They were awarded penalties and fly-half Jaco Van der Walt landed three kicks with one missed kick. Montpellier were not out of the contest, though.

Before the Half-Time, Jacques du Plessis carried over the line and Ruan Pienaar added a penalty in the second-half. However, Edinburgh kept their composure. Jaco Van der Walt landed his fourth penalty before winger Darcy Graham touched down in the corner.

Montpellier had to react very quickly but they could not find the key. Edinburgh managed to make the turnovers thanks to Viliame Mata, in particular. The scottish province managed the last quarter very well and got a defining home win (FT : 19-10).

* Newcastle vs. Toulon : Champions Cup (Kingston Park, Newcastle, England)

The Newcastle Falcons began the game very well with Josh Matavesi scoring the try. The home side could not hold on to the scoreline as Toulon replied with Daniel Ikpefan. Toby Flood kicked a penalty but Filipo Nakosi managed to get another try for the Toulon team.

Louis Carbonel also kicked a penalty as Toulon had a try disallowed after a knock-on. In the second-half, Louis Carbonel landed another penalty as Newcastle Falcons came back with the two quick tries. Nemani Nagusa and Michael Young crossed the whitewash.

Toulon needed a response and they found it thanks to prop Baptiste Soury who scored the try. Toulon had to defend very well in the last moments of the game. They managed to get the great away win and some confidence with a very good display (FT : 24-27).

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

In Wales, Clermont played their usual gameplan. Defence brought them a turnover that Patricio Fernandez converted in a try. The Dragons back-rower Aaron Wainwright was binned after an infringement. Forward Alexandre Fischer scored the good second try.

Paul Jedrasiak concluded a stunning counter-attacking play. Rémy Grosso showed his power in the midfield to get the bonus point try and got a brace before the Half-Time following an interception. Paul Jedrasiak was also yellow-carded in the second-half.

Clermont were lacking discipline a bit. They still defended well and Peter Betham touched down after a scrum move. Paul Jedrasiak got a brace after some offload. The Dragons scored a late try with Jordan Williams as Clermont got the big win (FT : 07-49).

* Cardiff vs. Lyon : Champions Cup (Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff, Wales)

In a physical game, Lyon got the better start with a penalty try early in the game. However, Cardiff Blues went through the phases and winger Aled Summerhill scored. He got a brace a few moments later when Jarrod Evans found the space and gave the pass.

Lyon reacted well just before the Half-Time when Xavier Mignot scored after an offload. In the second-half, Cardiff Blues got the lead again when Owen Lane got the try. He was followed by scrum-half Tomos Williams who touched down after an outstanding offload.

Cardiff Blues added another try thanks to Lewis Jones after a TMO (Television Match Official) review. Flanker Ollie Robinson was yellow-carded in the last moments of the game for foul play. Though, Cardiff Blues got the home bonus point win (FT : 33-14).

* Racing 92 vs. Scarlets : Champions Cup (Paris La Défense Arena, Nanterre, France)

The Scarlets opened the scoreboard with a penalty from Dan Jones. Racing 92 replied with Juan Imhoff scoring after a good kick-chase. Dan Jones landed his second penalty before Steffan Evans scored a try. Henry Chavancy had a try for Racing 92 after a maul.

Maxime Machenaud and Dan Jones both scored one penalty. In second-half, the Scarlets kept the intensity and Johnny McNicholl concluded a counter-attacking play. Racing 92 moved the ball wide and Simon Zebo scored as Dan Jones kicked another penalty.

Racing 92 went through the phases and Virimi Vakatawa, along with Teddy Iribaren, scored from close range. Simon Zebo got a brace after Finn Russell’s cross-field kick. Johnny McNicholl also got a brace as Teddy Iribaren kicked one penalty (FT : 46-33).

* Munster vs. Exeter : Champions Cup (Thomond Park, Limerick, Ireland)

The two sides brought the physicality and the defences were well settled in the first-half. Munster opened the scoreboard with a penalty from Joey Carbery. However, the Exeter Chiefs got a penalty and decided to set up the maul in the Munster’s 22-metre zone.

The Exeter Chiefs worked very well and the back-rower Don Armand carried the ball over the line. Munster needed a strong reaction and they got another penalty. Joey Carbery was successful and the second-half was just played on the same intensity.

The Exeter Chiefs threw everything at Munster but Tadgh Beirne made some defining turnovers. In the last moments of the game, Joey Carbery kicked a penalty to get the lead back. Munster defended very well and managed to earn a good home win (FT : 09-07).

* Angoulême vs. Brive : ProD2 (Stade Chanzy, Angoulême, France)

Soyaux Angoulême began the game well when scrum-half Erwan Nicolas landed two penalties. Though, Brive came back well and centre Stuart Olding also scored two penalties with the game tied up. Brive showed some composure and got the first try.

So’otala Fa’aso’o carried over the line for that try. In the second-half, Brive managed to keep the momentum and second-rower Dominiko Waqaniburotu concluded a nice build-up. Stuart Olding kicked his third penalty and hit the posts later on his fourth attempt.

Soyaux Angoulême replied with a try from Ledua Mau. Lacking discipline with too many high tackles, Brive had a player yellow-carded with Félix Le Bourhis leaving the field. However, Brive remained in control and managed to get a good away win (FT : 11-23).

Conclusion

This weekend, there were some entertaining games on the rugby pitches. In the Pro14, the Cheetahs earned a massive away win. In the Challenge Cup, Clermont got an impressive bonus point win in Wales. The Champions Cup also brought great games.

Edinburgh qualified for the play-offs while Toulon got some confidence with a good win. Cardiff Blues finished well their campaign while Racing 92 scored some stunning tries during their win. Munster managed to win as well with a very entertaining home match.

Finally, in the ProD2, Nevers reclaimed the win at home in a tough game while Oyonnax also got a good win. Brive maintained their standards. Next weekend, Premiership Rugby Cup and the Top14 will be back as the Six Nations Championship will come quickly.

Max.