Ireland back-row Sean O'Brien has been ruled out of the Rugby World Cup due to surgery on a hip injury that will keep him out for six months.

O'Brien did not feature for Leinster as they defeat Glasgow Warriors on Saturday to clinch the Pro14 title, although he did lift the trophy in his final match for the club.

The 32-year-old has agreed a deal to join newly promoted London Irish in the Premiership following the World Cup.

But O'Brien will not be involved in the tournament in Japan, Leinster revealed on Sunday, as he requires an operation to fix his hip.

A club statement read: "Unfortunately, [coach Leo] Cullen has confirmed that back row Sean O'Brien will undergo surgery in the next few weeks for a hip injury and, as a result, will be ruled out of action for up to six months.

"As a result, he has been ruled out of the Rugby World Cup in Japan."

It added: "Everyone at Leinster Rugby wishes Sean the very best of luck with his recovery and, of course, with his move to London Irish later in the year."

London Irish director of rugby Declan Kidney said: "We are disappointed for Sean that he is not in a position to compete for a place in the Ireland Rugby World Cup squad.

"We wish him a successful operation and a speedy recovery and look forward to welcoming him to London Irish for the next stage of his career."

Stuart Hogg endured a painful Glasgow Warriors farewell as Leinster retained their Pro14 title with an 18-15 victory in the rain at Celtic Park on Saturday.

Hogg was determined to join Exeter Chiefs on the back of a triumphant swansong in the Warriors' home city, but Leinster came from behind to be crowned champions for a sixth time.

Matt Fagerson's try put Glasgow in front, but Garry Ringrose touched down moments later after long-serving Warrior Hogg's kick was charged down from the restart. 

Cian Healy's try and eight points from the boot of Johnny Sexton was enough to seal back-to-back Pro14 titles for Leo Cullen's side a fortnight after they were beaten by Saracens in the European Champions Cup final.

Hogg was replaced 14 minutes from time, having clattered his head into the turf after being taken out by Rob Kearney in the air, and Grant Stewart's late five-pointer proved to be in vain.

The vast majority of a record 47,128 crowd were out of their seats when Fagerson ploughed his way over from close range for a try that Adam Hastings converted after 15 minutes.

Their celebrations were cut short when Luke McGrath charged down Hogg's attempted clearance and the alert Ringrose was on hand to grab a gift of a try, which Sexton was unable to convert.

Glasgow suffered a blow when Fraser Brown was carted off with a knee injury after Hastings was on target from the tee and Healy put the Irish province in front for the first time by steamrolling his way across the line with the Warriors under the pump.

Sexton's penalty gave the holders a 15-10 lead at the break and added another three points with Kyle Steyn in the sin bin.

Glasgow defended magnificently to keep Leinster at bay but they were rocked by another setback when Hogg was withdrawn looking shaken after Kearney collided with him when he took a high ball.

There were boos when Nigel Owens showed a yellow rather than a red and, although Stewart charged over wide on the right flank, Leinster held on to deny Glasgow with Hogg watching on from the sidelines.

The Crusaders continued their winning habit against the Blues with a 19-11 victory at AMI Stadium.

Super Rugby's runaway regular season leaders have now won 10 matches in succession against the Blues after a Christchurch encounter where goalkicking proved the difference.

Richie Mo'unga landed four penalties and converted Bryn Hall's try, set against a pair of three-pointers from Harry Plummer, who failed to add the extras to Rieko Ioane's late score.

Scott Robertson's side have two games of their schedule left and are 13 points ahead of the Hurricanes, who have a match in hand.

There was derby delight for the Sharks, who saw off the Lions 27-17 at Kings Park, with Curwin Bosch, Dan du Preez and Makazole Mapimpi on the scoreboard for the home team.

Lionel Mapoe and Cyle Brink touched down for the Lions but they could not avert a third consecutive loss to the Sharks, who are second in the South African Conference.

Top spot in that section belongs to the Jaguares after the Argentine franchise won 23-15 on the road against the Waratahs thanks to Ramiro Moyano's brace.

Pablo Matera was yellow carded for collapsing a maul in the 55th minute and, after the resulting penalty try, replacement Curtis Rona scored in the corner.

However, Bernard Foley could not add what would have been a game-levelling conversion and Joaquin Diaz Bonilla came off the Jaguares bench to land a pair of penalties and secure victory.

The Rebels demolished the Sunwolves 52-7 – Marika Koroibete running in two of eight tries in a bonus-point triumph – while the Highlanders' 34-22 loss to the Stormers means New Zealand faces the prospect of having only the Hurricanes and the Crusaders in the finals.

Castres' reign as Top 14 champions is over after they were beaten 25-16 by Toulon as La Rochelle and Montpellier sealed play-off places on a dramatic final day of the regular season.

Christophe Urios' side had their fate in their own hands, but the holders were left shell-shocked at Stade Pierre-Fabre on Saturday.

Wing Daniel Ikpefan scored a try in each half and Anthony Belleau also crossed five minutes before the break after a five-pointer and a penalty from Benjamin Urdapilleta had eased Castres' nerves.

Jody Jenneker touched down three minutes from time but the damage had already been done, Belleau finishing with 15 points as Castres suffered a defeat that ended their campaign.

La Rochelle capitalised by putting Bordeaux-Begles to the sword, Vincent Rattez scoring a hat-trick in an 81-12 rout.

Kini Murimurivalu and Wiaan Liebenberg helped themselves to doubles as La Rochelle racked up 12 tries to finish fifth.

Last year's runners-up Montpellier prolonged their season with a tense 28-27 win at Clermont Auvergne, Youri Delhommel grabbing a brace of tries and Nemani Nadolo scoring to seal sixth place.

Racing 92 clinched fourth by thumping Agen 35-3, while Toulouse took their tally to an astonishing 98 points for the regular campaign, thrashing relegated Perpignan 47-7.

There were also victories for Lyon and Stade Francais over Grenoble and Pau respectively.


The Rebels remain on course to make the Super Rugby finals for the first time in their history, though a resounding victory over the Sunwolves may have come at a cost.

Marika Koroibete and Jack Maddocks both crossed twice as the red-hot Rebels trounced their opponents 52-7 in Tokyo, their biggest ever away win moving them to within a point of Australian Conference leaders the Brumbies.

They next face the Waratahs – who lost to the Jaguares on Saturday – but may be without Will Genia for that contest, the Australia scrum-half forced off early in the second half with a head injury.

Unlike their upcoming opponents, Waratahs' push to make the play-offs is in serious danger of falling short after they were beaten at home.

A try in each half from Ramiro Moyano helped Jaguares come out on top 23-15 in Sydney, as they claimed a second successive away victory to move up to second in the overall standings.

The Crusaders remain the runaway leaders, however, after they made it 10 wins for the season by beating the Blues 19-11 in Christchurch.

Richie Mo'unga starred in the hard-fought victory, the fly-half kicking four penalties and also converting Bryn Hall's try after producing a deft kick to set up his team-mate in the 20th minute.

Blues barely threatened outside of two Harry Plummer penalties until grabbing a late consolation try through Rieko Ioane.

The Reds' hopes of reaching the Super Rugby finals were ended as they were beaten 19-13 by the Chiefs in Hamilton on Friday.

Despite a dominant performance without captain Samu Kerevi, who was rested as part of Rugby Australia's workload management policy, Reds were caught open on the counter and failed to make the most of their opportunities at the other end.

Angus Scott-Young and Alex Mafi were both denied by tries by the television match official and the ruthless Chiefs took full advantage, Pita Sowakula, Atunaisa Moli and Etene Nanai-Seturo crossing to put them 13 points ahead by the break.

Taniela Tupou's try offered hope, but relentless Reds pressure failed to crack a dogged Chiefs defence.

Elsewhere, a Tevita Kuridrani hat-trick ensured that the Brumbies claimed a 22-10 victory over the Bulls to strengthen their lead at the top of the Australian Conference.

Having scored a double by half-time, touching down either side of Hanro Liebenberg's try for the visitors, Kuridrani capped off his performance by crossing for a third time in the 57th minute.

Brumbies’ victory extends their lead over the Rebels – who face the Sunwolves on Saturday - at the top of the table.


Gloucester star Danny Cipriani has been named the Premiership Rugby Player of the Season for 2018-19.

The fly-half has enjoyed an outstanding debut campaign at Kingsholm and was rewarded with a new three-year contract last month.

Cipriani's form has not been enough to force his way into the England XV, having last featured for his country in June 2018, but he has caught the eye domestically. 

He was named the league's best player this season and Gloucester head coach Johan Ackermann hailed the high-profile 31-year-old's ability to perform under pressure.

"I'm very pleased and so happy for Danny," said Ackermann. "I'm so proud of him – it's always a big thing when a player joins a club and there's a bit of pressure on you to perform.

"You have to adapt to the style of the team and the coaches involved, and I can only speak highly of Danny's commitment to the team."

Meanwhile, the Director of Rugby of the Season award went to Saracens' Mark McCall, with the club having won the European Champions Cup. 

Pat Lam has agreed a long-term contract with Bristol Bears until 2023.

Lam took over as head coach in 2017 and led Bristol to promotion to the Premiership in his first season in charge.

Bristol won a club-record 16 successive fixtures in that campaign and then comfortably survived in the top flight, finishing ninth.

The Bears' 51 points are the most earned by a promoted club since 2007.

"I'm proud to commit my future to Bristol and it was an easy decision to make," said Lam, whose title has been changed to director of rugby.

"We've set out a plan to bring a Premiership trophy to Ashton Gate and we're at the start of that journey."


Wallabies and Brumbies star Scott Sio has signed a new three-year deal with Rugby Australia (RA).

Sio, 27, has made 55 Test appearances for Australia since his debut in 2013, a year after he played his first game for the Brumbies.

He will remain in Australia and with the Brumbies until at least the end of 2022 after his new deal was announced on Wednesday.

"I'm super excited to re-sign. I've obviously been at the club for a long time and I've seen a lot of what we're trying to grow," Sio said in a statement.

"It's really cool to be part of the youth's next progression as well. I've seen that Noah Lolesio and Len Ikitau have re-signed too so it's great to be part of their journey as well.

"It's a special town. I've spent eight years of my life in Canberra and you get pretty close with the fans, and I really appreciate that so I'm looking forward to a couple more years.

"Winning the World Cup with the Wallabies is the goal this year so we need to recognise the steps to get there. We just had a camp in Brisbane and it was great to get the vibe and what we want to do moving forward."

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika was thrilled with Sio's decision to re-sign.

"I'm really pleased for Scott and for Australian rugby that he's committed long term. He's already given so much to each of the teams he plays in but he's still got plenty left to give," he said.

"One thing that stands out with Scott is his commitment to the cause. He's always committed to being a better person, a better player and contributing to a better team."

Leinster and Ireland prop Cian Healy has signed a new two-year deal with the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU).

The 31-year-old forward has agreed to remain with the Pro14 champions and European Champions Cup runners-up until the end of the 2021 season.

Healy, capped 88 times by Ireland, is excited by what the future holds for club and country after putting pen to paper on an extension four days before Leinster face Glasgow Warriors in the Pro14 final.

"Pulling on a Leinster or an Ireland jersey is something that I have always taken a huge amount of pride in and I am thankful for every opportunity I get. I am delighted therefore to have extended my IRFU contract and to continue to line up for Leinster." said Healy.

"I believe that we have built something special at Leinster and with the national team and I want to contribute as best I can to both teams in what will be a hugely exciting few months and years ahead. 

"There has been some difficult times over the last few years for me personally with injury but the support within the Leinster and the Irish rugby family was very humbling and it's something that I won't forget.

"It made this decision all the easier knowing that I was part of something bigger than just a rugby team. I hope to play my part in helping Leinster and Ireland achieve further success over the next few years and I'm looking forward to the next chapter in that journey."

George Smith said he "lived the dream" in 20 years as a professional after the Australia legend announced his retirement.

The 38-year-old, who won 111 caps for the Wallabies, called time on his career after a short spell with Premiership side Bristol Bears.

Smith also featured for the likes of Toulon, Lyon, Stade Francais and Wasps after beginning his career with Super Rugby club the Brumbies.

The flanker, fifth on the list of Australia's most-capped players, stressed he will end his playing days with no regrets.

"Finally the day has come where I officially announce my retirement from professional rugby," Smith said.

"It's been an absolute privilege to play professionally for the past 20 years. Rugby has provided and given me so much.

"The dreams that I had of playing rugby professionally as a young bloke, I'm fortunate to say that I've lived them and experienced so much more during my time."

Smith, the first John Eales Medallist in 2002, added: "The day my father registered me with the Warringah Roos at four years of age in Manly, I found myself returning to the game every year thereafter,

"I was extremely lucky in my career to have landed myself in Canberra as a young 19-year-old kid, having the luxury of being tutored by the finest peers and coaches in the game at the Brumbies."

Israel Folau has declined the option to appeal against his Rugby Australia (RA) ban, but is still considering his options after his contract was terminated last week.

The 30-year-old was sacked by RA on Friday following a hearing over his anti-homosexual social media post last month, in which Folau, a devout Christian, uploaded an image on Instagram that said "hell awaits drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolators".

Folau, who had been warned by RA for similar comments last year, was found guilty of a "high-level breach" of the governing body's code of conduct and RA confirmed on Monday that the former Wallabies and Waratahs star had not appealed.

"The 72-hour window for Israel Folau to appeal his high-level code of conduct breach and sanction has expired," RA said in a statement.

"As Folau has not notified the panel of his intention to appeal, the code of conduct process has now formally concluded.

"With the code of conduct matter complete, Folau's employment contract will be terminated."

However, Folau issued a statement of his own that was widely circulated in the Australian media on Monday in which it was noted that he was "considering all potential avenues" with regards to further action against RA's decision.

"The last few weeks and, in particular, the last 72 hours have given me considerable opportunity to reflect and think about my future," he said.

"I will not be exercising my right to appeal Rugby Australia's decision to terminate my employment contract."

He added: "My decision not to commence Rugby Australia's appeal process is in no way an acceptance of the judicial panel's findings.

"I simply do not have confidence in Rugby Australia's ability to treat me fairly or lawfully throughout this process."

Folau, who has made 73 appearances for Australia, had previously said he would be willing to walk away from the sport but added in his statement: "I believe I still have a lot of rugby left in me."

Bordeaux Begles' hopes of securing a Champions Cup place and a spot in the Top 14 play-offs evaporated in dramatic fashion as they threw away a 29-point lead to lose 43-36 to Toulouse, who are now certain to finish first in the regular season.

George Tilsley scored a hat-trick as the hosts dominated the opening 40 at Stade Chaban-Delmas, outscoring their opponents five tries to one.

However, Toulouse came roaring back in the second half, with Guillaume Marchand's try kicking off a comeback that saw Arthur Bonneval and Thomas Ramos both go over twice. Ramos also landed four conversions and a penalty to finish with 21 points.

Bordeaux can no longer make the top six, while Toulouse cannot be caught at the summit.

In-form Montpellier sneaked up to sixth, above La Rochelle on points difference, with a 42-25 triumph over Stade Francais that eliminated the latter from play-off contention.

The game was fascinatingly poised at 21-20 with 10 minutes remaining when Stade's Laurent Sempere became the third player to be yellow carded.

Montpellier took full advantage, running in three tries to secure victory and a valuable bonus point.

Sunday's other game saw second-placed Clermont Auvergne beaten 32-11 by Toulon in an ill-tempered fixture. Toulon's Romain Taofifenua was red-carded in the 54th minute, while there were also an astonishing five yellows shown in the second half, four of them significantly hampering Clermont, who were briefly reduced to 12 men.


Racing 92 boosted their hopes of qualifying for the European Champions Cup by thrashing bottom side Perpignan 52-14, while Lyon's win over La Rochelle confirmed they will have a home quarter-final in the Top 14 play-offs.

Perpignan were already relegated and they were heavily beaten in their final home fixture as Racing ran in eight tries to move up to fourth in the table on Saturday.

Six of those scores were shared equally between two men – Louis Dupichot and Simon Zebo each grabbing hat-tricks – while Dominic Bird and Finn Russell also touched down.

Jonathan Wisniewski's 19 points with the boot helped Lyon to a 29-19 victory that saw La Rochelle slip out of the top four.

Charlie Ngatai's try saw Lyon move ahead in the 51st minute, with Wisniewski slotting over two conversions, four penalties and a drop goal in a fine individual performance.

Castres also moved above La Rochelle into fifth as Wilfrid Hounkpatin and Loic Jacquet crossed either side of half-time in a 17-10 success over Agen.

Pau ensured their safety with a 22-0 triumph over Grenoble, who will contest a relegation play-off.

Exeter Chiefs wrapped up top spot in the Premiership by beating Northampton Saints, who sealed a top-four berth regardless due to Harlequins' narrow loss at Wasps.

The Chiefs could have been pipped at the summit by Saracens, but their surprising defeat at Worcester Warriors in the last round of regular-season fixtures rendered Exeter's result immaterial.

But an impressive campaign continued at a pace for the Chiefs in a 40-21 defeat of the Saints, who they will now host again in the play-off semi-finals at Sandy Park.

It was 21-21 at the end of a frenetic six-try first half that saw Cobus Reinach touch down with a 95-metre effort shortly before the whistle despite Courtney Lawes and Alex Waller being in the sin bin.

But Matt Kvesic, Dave Dennis and Luke-Cowan Dickie scored as the Chiefs ran in 19 unanswered second-half points.

Quins agonisingly missed out on fourth due to a 27-25 loss at the Ricoh Arena, with Saints' one extra win proving crucial as the teams each finished on 56 points.

A Joe Simpson double had seemingly put Wasps out of sight in the second half but Danny Care's score and five points from James Lang's boot brought Quins back into it.

Lima Sopoaga's penalty edged Wasps nine points clear, but Elia Elia's late try set up a grandstand finish.

Lang had the chance to steal it with a last-gasp long-range penalty, only for his strike to fall short

Much-changed European champions Sarries were beaten 31-29 at the Warriors, who were grateful to Josh Adams' score and Duncan Weir's penalty with the clock winding down, while relegated Newcastle Falcons went down with a whimper in a 19-12 loss at home to Bristol.

Bath snatched sixth and the final European Rugby Champions Cup berth after a dramatic 32-31 win at Leicester Tigers.

Jacques van Rooyen's close-range try and Rhys Priestland's extras meant Bath edged out Sale Sharks, despite their impressive 46-41 win over Gloucester in a match that had 13 tries.

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