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Gloucester, Sale, Worcester and Falcons win

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Gloucester were made to work but eventually got the job done as they beat Zebre while Sale, Worcester and Newcastle also won.

Results

Saturday

Zebre 26-33 Gloucester
Sale Sharks 24-0 Cardiff Blues
Worcester 35-14 Oyonnax
Newcastle 52-24 Bordeaux-Begles
Edinburgh vs London Irish
Brive vs Connacht

Zebre 26-33 Gloucester
Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi

Gloucester consolidated second position in Pool 3 of the Challenge Cup when they claimed a bonus-point win in a thrilling clash in Parma.

Johan Ackermann’s side were made to work, however, and Zebre held a deserved 14-12 lead at the break thanks to tries from Johan Meyer, Renato Giammarioli and Tommaso Boni, with Ruan Ackermann and Ollie Thorley crossing for the visiting outfit during that period.

Gloucester took control of proceedings in the second half and sealed their win courtesy of tries from Thorley, Owen Williams and Richard Hibbard but Zebre added some respectability to the score via Ciaran Gaffney’s try in the 71st minute.

The scorers:

For Zebre:
Tries: 
Meyer, Giammarioli, Boni, Gaffney
Cons: Canna 2, Palazzani

For Gloucester:
Tries: 
Ackermann, Thorley 2, Williams, Hibbard
Cons: Williams 4

 

Referee: Mike Adamson (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Lloyd Linton (Scotland), Dunx McClement (Scotland)

Sale Sharks 24-0 Cardiff Blues
AJ Bell Stadium

Sale picked up their first victory of the Challenge Cup campaign as they saw off Pool 2 pace-setters Cardiff Blues at the AJ Bell Stadium.

The victory moves the Sharks up to third, one point behind Toulouse and two off the Blues, who of course play host to Sale next weekend.

Sale led 9-0 at the break thanks to three AJ MacGinty penalties and scored the fixture’s first try on the hour through scrum-half Will Cliff.

They wrapped up the four points three minutes from time with a try from replacement hooker Marc Jones adding the gloss to the victory.

The scorers:

For Sale Sharks:
Tries:
 Cliff, Jones
Con: MacGinty
Pens: MacGinty 4

 

Worcester 35-14 Oyonnax
Sixways

Worcester were too good for Oyonnax as they ran out comfortable 35-14 winners at Sixways, picking up the bonus point for good measure.

This win keeps them very much in the hunt for pool qualification, with tries from Tom Howe (2), Luke Baldwin and David Denton carded.

In reply, Oyonnax’s try scorer was Hika Elliot as they suffer a third defeat from three and remain on zero points at the bottom of Pool 5.

The scorers:

For Worcester:
Tries:
 Howe 2, Baldwin, Denton
Cons: Olver 3
Pens: Olver 3

For Oyonnax:
Try:
 Elliot
Pens: Ruiz 3

 

Newcastle 52-24 Bordeaux-Begles
Kingston Park

Newcastle Falcons won a thrilling Challenge Cup game against Bordeaux-Begles to move back to the top of Pool 1, above the Dragons.

First-half scores from Calum Green, Adam Radwan (2), Mark Wison, Ben Sowrey and Craig Willis gave them a 38-17 half-time cushion. Yann Lesgourgues and Matthieu Jalibert hit back for the visitors in a high-scoring affair.

Geoffrey Cros scored for UBB on 56 minutes to reduce the gap but Alex Tait’s try soon after kept the Frenchmen at arm’s length before Josh Matavesi took the Falcons up to the 50-point mark to cap an impressive home win.

The scorers:

For Newcastle:
Tries:
 Green, Radwan 2, Wilson, Sowrey, Willis, Tait, Matavesi
Cons: Willis 4, Hodgson 2

For Bordeaux-Begles:
Tries: 
Lesgourgues, Jalibert, Cros
Cons: Jalibert 2, Volavola
Pen: Jalibert

 

Toulon hold of Bath

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Toulon moved three points clear at the top of Pool Five after they claimed a hard-fought 24-20 victory against Bath at Stade Mayol on Saturday.

As the scoreline suggests, this result could have gone either way although Toulon deserve credit for the way they fought back in the second half after Bath had the better of the early exchanges.

Toulon eventually outscored the Premiership side by three tries to two with a 76th minute five-pointer from Anthony Belleau proving to be the match-winning score in the end.

The visitors were fastest out of the blocks and after Rhys Priestland put them in front courtesy of a penalty in the 13th minute, they silenced the Stade Mayol faithful thanks to a fine try from Anthony Watson.

Aled Brew deserves plenty of credit as he did well with a barnstorming run down the left-hand touchline before shrugging off a tackle from Josua Tuisova. Brew was hauled in by Chris Ashton deep inside Toulon’s 22 but managed to free his arms and offloaded to Watson, who had an easy run-in for the opening try.

Priestland added the extras which meant Bath led 10-0 but Toulon struck back in the 34th minute when Ma’a Nonu rounded off a superb team effort which was initiated by Semi Radradra. The ball went through several pairs of hands before Nonu found himself in the clear and he cantered in for a deserved try which Francois Trinh-Duc converted.

On the stroke of half-time, Toulon were blown up for illegal scrummaging and Priestland slotted the resulting penalty which meant the visitors held a 13-7 lead as the teams changed sides at the interval.

10 minutes into the second half, Bath were reduced to 14 men when Chris Cook was sent to the sin bin for a cynical defensive indiscretion close to his try-line.

Shortly afterwards, Alby Mathewson gathered from the back of a scrum on Bath’s five-metre line before barging over for his side’s second try.

Trinh-Duc converted which gave Toulon the lead for the first time but on the hour-mark Bath regained the lead in bizarre fashion. This, after Tuisova took a quick throw-in at a lineout close to his try-line. Ashton gathered behind his posts and attempted a clearance kick which sliced off his boot and didn’t come close to going into touch. This meant that Jonathan Joseph gathered close to the touchline before crossing the whitewash for an easy try.

Priestland converted and with the score at 20-14 in their favour, Bath were on course for a deserved triumph. But Toulon fought back via a penalty from Trinh-Duc in the 66th minute which set up a thrilling finish.

And 10 minutes later, replacement fly-half Belleau caught Bath’s defence by surprise when he stabbed a grubber kick through deep inside his opponents’ 22 before regathering and dotting down.

That meant Toulon led 22-20 but Belleau sealed the win when he slotted the resulting conversion, with Toulon repelling Bath late on.

The scorers:

For Toulon:
Tries:
 Nonu, Mathewson, Belleau
Cons: Trinh-Duc 2, Belleau
Pen: Trinh-Duc

For Bath:
Tries: 
Watson, Joseph
Cons: Priestland 2
Pens: Priestland 2
Yellow Card: Cook

Senatla reach milestone as Blitzboks reach Cup quarter finals

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South Africa has yet again qualified for the quarter finals of the Cape Town Sevens after winning all their matches on Day 1.

It was not always easy going but at the end won all three at the end with ease.

Fiji, New Zealand, France are also all through to the Cup quarter finals on Sunday which will be quite an exciting day of Sevens rugby yet again in the Mother City.

South Africa, England, Canada and the USA top their respective pools with the USA the surprise package of the day causing a few upsets

Sunday’s fixtures will see the following teams going at it for the Challenge Trophy and the Cup trophy 
All times local (GMT +2)

CHALLENGE TROPHY QUARTER FINALS
Kenya v Samoa at 10:36
Scotland v Spain at 10:58
Wales v Russia at 11:20
Australia v Uganda at 11:42

CUP QUARTER FINALS
South Africa v Fiji at 12:04
England v New Zealand at 12:26
Canada v France at 12:48
USA v Argentina at 13:10

Day 1 Results 

Day One results

Samoa 19-17 Canada
Fiji 28-14 Wales
Scotland 14-19 Argentina
England 36-0 Uganda
Australia 36-12 Spain
New Zealand 0-22 USA
Kenya 14-21 France
South Africa 40-5 Russia
Samoa 12-17 Wales
Fiji 14-22 Canada
Scotland 45-0 Uganda
England 24-7 Argentina
Australia 14-31 USA
New Zealand 50-0 Spain
Kenya 34-0 Russia
South Africa 31-5 France
Canada 31-14 Wales
Fiji 38-7 Samoa
Argentina 43-7 Uganda
England 12-7 Scotland
Spain 5-26 USA
New Zealand 35-12 Australia
France 21-5 Russia
South Africa 26-7 Kenya

Seabelo Senatla was the talk of the town when he got to his 200th Sevens try. It was great for the South African speedster to get to this milestone in his home tournament and at home in Cape Town.

We looking forward to day two of the Cape Town Sevens

Montpellier prevail against Glasgow

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Kelian Galletier touched down twice as Montpellier kept their European Champions Cup hopes alive following an impressive 29-22 victory over the Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun.

The Warriors have a perfect record in the Guinness PRO14 but they have been far less assured in Europe’s top-tier competition and this defeat continued their disappointing run.

Vern Cotter’s team came to move the ball and they delivered, scoring four tries in all via Galletier, Jacques du Plessis and a penalty try.

Although Leonardo Sarto (twice) and George Turner crossed the whitewash for Glasgow, the French outfit ultimately had too much quality for the hosts.

After a disappointing start to the game, where there were far more spills than thrills, the encounter burst into life. Finn Russell opened the scoring from the tee before Aaron Cruden showed his class, scything through a hole and throwing a perfectly weighted pass to Galletier.

The flanker still had plenty of work to do but he finished with aplomb, holding off two attempted tackles and touching down out wide.

Sarto responded for the Scottish team, taking a nice line off the shoulder of scrum-half Ali Price, before Turner increased their buffer by benefiting from Russell’s good work to score.

Dave Rennie’s side were in control but then came the turning point in the contest. With the hosts under no pressure, Turner needlessly took Louis Picamoles off the ball and he was yellow carded as a result.

With their opponents down to 14 men, the visitors profited. Firstly, Galletier spotted a gap in the Warriors’ defence to reduce the arrears before their maul surged towards the line. Jonny Gray, who felt that he had little option, took down the drive and referee Matthew Carley duly sin-binned the lock and awarded a penalty try.

Montpellier took that momentum into the second period and within seven minutes of the restart they had gained the bonus-point.

Cotter’s men are a difficult team to stop when they are on the front foot and du Plessis rewarded their physicality by going over from close range.

It was now a long way back for the Warriors, particularly with the Top 14 club hitting their stride, but they displayed commendable resilience to fight back.

They constructed a wonderful try, which ended in Sarto touching down after Russell, Ruaridh Jackson and Huw Jones had combined.

However, Montpellier always seemed to have the edge after the opening quarter and Frans Steyn’s penalty meant that they secured the win and moved level on points with Exeter Chiefs in Pool 3.

The scorers:

For Glasgow Warriors:
Tries: Sarto 2, Turner
Cons: Russell 2
Pen: Russell
Yellow Cards: Turner, Gray

For Montpellier:
Tries: Galletier 2, penalty try, J. du Plessis
Cons: Steyn 2
Pen: Steyn

Challenge Cup Wrap

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Pau maintained their perfect record in this season’s Challenge Cup while there were also wins for the Dragons and Stade Français.

Results

Friday
Agen 21-40 Pau
Dragons 15-0 Enisei-STM
Stade Français 39-24 Krasny Yar

Agen 21-40 Pau
Stade Armandie

Pau secured a third successive victory in the European Challenge Cup to put themselves in control of Pool 3 following a 40-21 triumph over Agen.

Simon Mannix’s men have enjoyed an excellent start in Europe’s second-tier competition and they dominated early on against the Top 14 strugglers.

Three tries in the first quarter from Adrien Planté, Malik Hamadache and Giovanni Habel Kuffner moved the visitors into a 21-0 lead.

It was initially all too easy for the away side but they began to make mistakes, seeing Thibault Daubagna sin-binned, and Valentin Saurs responded for the hosts.

Fabrice Metz then became the second Pau player to be yellow carded and Akapusi Qera reduced the arrears at the interval.

Mannix’s team regained their composure during the break and secured the bonus-point a minute into the half through Planté.

Although Sean Dougall received a yellow card, his team’s third of the contest, and Qera scored once again, Jérémy Hurou and Dougall completed the win for the visitors.

The scorers:

For Agen:
Tries: Saurs, Qera 2
Cons: Verdu 3

For Pau:
Tries: Planté 2, Hamadache, Habel Kuffner, Hurou, Dougall
Cons: Daubagna 4, Hastoy
Yellow Cards: Daubagna, Metz, Dougall

 

Dragons 15-0 Enisei-STM
Rodney Parade

Dragons moved to the top of Pool 1 in the Challenge Cup after overcoming a stubborn Enisei-STM side 15-0 at Rodney Parade.

In an atrocious first half, which saw the Russians put the hosts under plenty of pressure for little reward, it was Adam Warren’s try that separated the sides at the break.

The second period was not much better as conditions worsened, but Aaron Wainwright did increase the hosts’ advantage 13 minutes into the half.

Warren then crossed the whitewash for his second but the Newport-based outfit failed to gain a potentially crucial try bonus-point.

The scorers:

For Dragons:
Tries: Warren 2, Wainwright

 

Stade Francais 39-24 Krasny Yar
Stade Jean-Bouin

Defending champions Stade Francais gained a semblance of revenge by producing a better second half display to defeat Krasny Yar 39-24.

The Russian outfit shocked Greg Cooper’s men in round one of the Challenge Cup and they were very competitive in the first half on Friday night.

Just like in the reverse fixture, Lasha Malaguradze kept the scoreboard ticking over and, after Shane Geraghty had given the Parisians the lead, two penalties and a drop-goal from the Krasny centre took them 9-3 up.

Jimmy Yobo’s converted try put the hosts back in front but Malaguradze continued to be accurate from the tee, kicking his fourth three-pointer of the evening.

However, Stade managed to get themselves ahead by the interval when wing Yobo crossed the whitewash for the second time.

From that moment, the hosts should have stepped on the accelerator but it was Krasny that upped the intensity in the early stages of the second period when Giorgi Pruidze touched down.

Another successful effort off the tee by Geraghty regained Stade’s advantage and they then finally started to find their rhythm.

Siegfried Fisiihoi, Romain Martial and Julien Arias duly secured their first win of this year’s competition, despite Sunia Latu’s consolation for the Russian team.

The scorers:

For Stade:
Tries: Yobo 2, Fisiihoi, Martial, Arias
Cons: Geraghty 4
Pens: Geraghty 2

For Krasny Yar:
Tries: Pruidze, Latu
Con: Malaguradze
Pens: Malaguradze 3
Drop-goal: Malaguradze

 

Cape Town Sevens Day 1

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victory The best of on the circuit by far, event sold out in minutes and the Blitzbokke the favorites to take it at the end of the weekend.

It has become the one event on the seven circuit that everyone wants to see and this weekend we can expect again the best you can get in Sevens rugby.

Blitzboks: Chris Dry, Philip Snyman, Tim Agaba, Kwagga Smith, Werner Kok, Kyle Brown, Branco du Preez, Rosko Specman, Justin Geduld, Cecil Afrika, Seabelo Senatla, Ruhan Nel, Siviwe Soyizwapi (reserve).

South Africa’s schedule for Saturday: Russia (12:49), France (16:10), Kenya (19:56)

Pools for Cape Town 7s:

Pool A: South Africa, Kenya, France, Russia
Pool B: New Zealand, Australia, Spain, USA
Pool C: England, Scotland, Argentina, Uganda
Pool D: Fiji, Samoa, Canada, Wales

Day One, schedule – Saturday, December 9
(Kick-off is local time – GMT plus two hours)

Score Update:

9 South Africa 26 – 7 Kenya
9 France 21 – 5 Russia
9 New Zealand 35 – 12 Australia
9 Spain 5 – 26 USA
9 England 12 – 7 Scotland
9 Argentina 43 – 7 Uganda
9 Fiji 38 – 7 Samoa
9 Canada 31 – 14 Wales
9 South Africa 31 – 5 France
9 Kenya 34 – 0 Russia
9 New Zealand 50 – 0 Spain
9 Australia 14 – 31 USA
9 England 24 – 7 Argentina
9 Scotland 45 – 0 Uganda
9 Fiji 14 – 22 Canada
9 Samoa 12 – 17 Wales
9 South Africa 40 – 5 Russia
9 Kenya 14 – 21 France
9 New Zealand 0 – 22 USA
9 Australia 36 – 12 Spain
9 England 36 – 0 Uganda
9 Scotland 14 – 19 Argentina
9 Fiji 28 – 14 Wales
9 Samoa 19 – 17 Canada

Pumas & Griquas get Franchise status

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The Pumas and Griquas have lauded SA Rugby’s decision to identify them as the preferred candidates to assume places in inter-continental competitions.

The two unions were selected from a list of four bidders in a process assessed and determined by independent consultants.

The unsuccessful bidders were combinations of the Leopards, Valke and Griffons Rugby Unions and of the Boland, Border and SWD unions.

SA Rugby did not state which international competitions the two would enter, but earlier reports indicated that it could be in the Anglo-Welsh Cup.

The Anglo-Welsh Cup is a knock-out competition featuring the 12 English Premiership clubs and the four Welsh regions.

Pumas president Hein Mentz told Netwerk24 that international provincial tournaments are important for the development of rugby in South Africa.

“It now gives us that platform. It’s not the end of our aspirations, but a very big milestone in the province’s history. It’s the realisation of a goal we’ve worked very hard at. We accept it with great humility and we believe we’ll meet the expectations to represent South Africa.”

Griquas president Jannie Louw said their new status as a franchise will create more opportunities for rugby players in South Africa.

He also hinted at the possibility of entering a tournament in America.

“We should know by the end of January in which competitions we’ll play. It could be in a competition in America or Europe, or both.”

It is expected that the two new SA franchises will start competing in the competitions by November next year.

The appearance of the Pumas and Griquas in any new competitions would also be dependent on their agreement to licensing terms and conditions, SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux stressed.

“This is an important first step to further expanding the international reach of South African rugby and gives us time to have them properly prepared should future opportunities become available,” Roux said via a press statement on Friday.

“There are discussions taking place but we are some way from confirming any new opportunities. That process is likely to continue well into 2018 before we have any finality.”

The outcome of the assessment was announced to the SA Rugby General Meeting in Cape Town on Friday.