Rugby Union

Mon
23
Oct

England trio Hartley, Hughes and Marler face bans

Indiscipline at club level from Dylan Hartley, Nathan Hughes and Joe Marler could leave England depleted for the November internationals.

England coach Eddie Jones could be without three regulars for at least part of the November internationals after Dylan Hartley, Nathan Hughes and Joe Marler were all cited by European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR).

Hartley was shown a yellow card in the first half of Northampton Saints' 24-7 Champions Cup loss to Clermont Auvergne at Stade Marcel-Michelin on Saturday.

The hooker, who is no stranger to disciplinary action, is alleged to have struck France prop Rabah Slimani in the 30th minute of the match.

Wasps' forward Nathan Hughes has been accused of dangerously tackling Marcus Smith in the 41-10 victory over Harlequins.

Quins' prop Joe Marler was sent to the sin bin at the Ricoh Arena and is alleged to have struck Wasps' second row Will Rowlands with an elbow.

Mon
23
Oct

Zebo to leave Munster for Europe

Munster will lose Simon Zebo to a European club at the end of the season after being unable to match offers made to the Ireland back.

Ireland international Simon Zebo is set to leave Munster at the end of the season and join a European club.

The Pro14 side released a statement on Monday announcing that, in conjunction with the Ireland Rugby Football Union [IRFU], they had been unable to match the terms on offer to the 27-year-old elsewhere.

Zebo, able to play as a winger and a fullback, has collected 35 Ireland caps since making his debut in 2012 and won the Six Nations two years ago. 

He was called up to the British and Irish Lions squad that toured Australia in 2013 as an injury replacement, but did not make a Test appearance against the Wallabies.

According to Zebo, the difficult decision to leave Munster was motivated by personal reasons.

Mon
23
Oct

Ireland centre Ringrose to remain sidelined for November Tests

Hopes of Garry Ringrose making a speedy return from injury to feature in Ireland's November internationals appear to have faded.

Leinster coach Leo Cullen has confirmed Garry Ringrose is set to miss Ireland's November internationals as he continues his recovery from shoulder surgery.

Ringrose, one of the brightest young talents in Irish rugby, had an operation to repair an ongoing shoulder issue at the beginning of July and was anticipated to be sidelined for four to five months.

That left the centre facing an uphill battle to feature in Ireland's matches against South Africa, Fiji and Argentina – taking place on November 11, 18 and 25 respectively.

And Cullen was quoted by BBC Sport as saying: "Garry is still a bit off so he is probably looking at the end of November."

Ringrose made his international debut last November and has gone on to earn 11 caps.

Mon
23
Oct

Folau: Wallabies united despite same-sex vote differences

David Pocock and Israel Folau have different views on Australia's same-sex marriage referendum, but the Wallabies pair have not fallen out.

Israel Folau insists there are no divisions in the Wallabies squad after he publicly stated his opposition to same-sex marriage being legalised in Australia.

Star full-back Folau sparked a social-media storm this month when he tweeted: "I love and respect all people for who they are and their opinions. But personally, I will not support gay marriage."

Australia is in the midst of a referendum to decide whether same-sex marriage should become legal, with the nation's rugby team firmly coming down on the side of 'Yes'.

High-profile colleague David Pocock tweeted: "When my survey arrives I'll #VoteYes for justice and love. #MarriageEquality" just a few hours after Folau had posted his stance, but the Waratahs man says there has not been a falling out.

"I've spoken to Dave briefly during that week," said Folau.

Sun
22
Oct

All Blacks name four uncapped players for November tour

The All Blacks have included four potential debutants in the squad for their Test matches in Europe next month.

New Zealand named four uncapped players in a 37-man squad for their November Tests in Europe.

Asafo Aumua, Matt Duffie, Tim Perry and Jack Goodhue could make their international debuts after being included by the All Blacks, who face the Barbarians, France, a France XV, Scotland and Wales next month.

Duffie, 27, made the switch from rugby league to union in 2016, having represented New Zealand in the 13-player code six years ago.

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen, whose team were beaten by Australia on Saturday, said in a statement: "The selectors would firstly like to congratulate all players selected for the Vista 2017 All Blacks Northern Tour, especially Asafo, Tim, Matt and Jack who are named in an All Blacks squad for the first time.

Sun
22
Oct

Armand double leads Exeter past Montpellier as La Rochelle win big

Montpellier gave up the lead at home as Don Armand crossed twice to secure an important Champions Cup victory for Exeter.

A strong second half saw Exeter Chiefs come from behind to beat Montpellier 27-24 away from home in the Champions Cup, while La Rochelle crushed Ulster 41-17.

The hosts had led 17-10 at half-time at the Altrad Stadium, where Joseph Tomane, Benoit Paillaugue and Nemani Nadolo all crossed in the first 40 minutes for the Top 14 side.

That was despite Jesse Mogg being sent to the sin bin for a deliberate knock on to break up an attack by Exeter, who kept in touch thanks to Don Armand's converted try and a Gareth Steenson penalty. 

Mogg also collided with Ruan Pienaar, forcing the star scrum half, a recent arrival from Ulster, to be taken from the field in a neck brace.  

Sun
22
Oct

Folau won't play until 2018 after Barbarians clash

Israel Folau will play no part in Australia's November Internationals as Michael Cheika attempts to keep his star full-back fresh.

Wallabies full-back Israel Folau will face the Barbarians among a host of new faces, but Michael Cheika has revealed his star 15 will not play again in 2017.

Cheika has picked an experimental squad for the clash with the Baa-Baas – when plenty of attention will be on the invitational side's captain, former Test Wallaby Quade Cooper.

Folau was on the scoresheet as the Wallabies beat New Zealand 23-18 on Saturday to snap a seven-game losing streak to the All Blacks and Cheika is mindful of burning out one of his best players by taking him on a tour of the Northern Hemisphere next month.

"With Israel, I've decided to play him because I've decided that he won't be going on the tour at the end of the year," Cheika said.

"He's played a lot of footy and he's been doing so well.

Sat
21
Oct

Newcastle overcome Bordeaux as Edinburgh make history in Moscow

Bordeaux-Begles gave up a commanding lead to lose at home to Newcastle Falcons in the Challenge Cup on Saturday.

Newcastle fought back to beat Bordeaux-Begles on the road while Edinburgh entered the record books in the second round of fixtures in this season's European Challenge Cup.

The Falcons trailed 17-7 at the break but rallied in the second half, grabbing a rare win on French soil thanks mainly to Toby Flood's 11-point haul.

The fly-half scored a try and kicked three conversions to secure a 21-20 triumph that puts Newcastle ahead of their opponents.

The Dragons meanwhile defeated Enisei-STM 28-21 in Moscow to sit third in Pool 1.

Pau are the new leaders in Pool 3 after recovering from 30-7 down at half-time to defeat Zebre 38-33 in a thriller at the Stadio Lanfranchi, where the hosts had Eduardo Bello sent to the sin bin in the second half.

Sat
21
Oct

Saracens survive Ospreys scare, Clermont win marred by Lopez injury

A rousing fightback from Saracens saw the defending Champions Cup winners survive a scare to beat Ospreys in Pool 2.

Saracens made it two wins from two in the European Champions Cup on Saturday as they overcame a spirited Ospreys side 36-34 in a thriller at Allianz Park.

The Premiership leaders and defending champions found themselves 10 points behind at the half-hour mark as the Welsh province – who were forced into late changes after back injuries to Justin Tipuric and Dan Lydiate – made a roaring start.

Sarries showed their class in the final minutes of the half, though, Schalk Brits' converted try making it 17-17 at the break.

Second-half scores from Liam Williams and Nick Tompkins completed Saracens' comeback, securing a bonus point to top Pool 2 despite a late fightback from Ospreys.

Sat
21
Oct

All Blacks squad safe despite Wallabies defeat - Hansen

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen refused to panic after his side saw their winning run over Australia go up in smoke.

Steve Hansen remains content in his New Zealand squad despite Saturday's 23-18 defeat to arch-rivals Australia at Suncorp Stadium.

The All Blacks lost to the Wallabies for the first time in eight games in Brisbane as the hosts made the most of sodden conditions to give Stephen Moore a winning send-off in his final Test on home soil.

Beauden Barrett was a sorely felt loss for New Zealand, with replacement fly-half Lima Sopoaga failing to bring the same verve in the playmaker position.

But Hansen will not be looking for fresh options when his side tour the northern hemisphere next month, insisting the defeat does nothing to alter his plans.

"I probably could have told you the touring squad before tonight, and it hasn't changed," Hansen told reporters.

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