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Belleau the hero as Toulon edge La Rochelle

10:27 PM BST

An 80th minute drop goal from Anthony Belleau has ended La Rochelle's remarkable season as Toulon won a thrilling Top 14 semifinal 18-15 in front of over 63,000 fans at the Vélodrome in Marseille.

La Rochelle -- who finished the regular season on top of the standings -- were in control with a 15-6 lead early in the second half until centre Pierre Aguillon was red carded for a tip tackle on Toulon midfielder and former Australian international James O'Connor.

British & Irish Lions fullback Leigh Halfpenny reduced the gap from the proceeding penalty, before kicking his fourth goal of the match to bring the score to 15-12 with 20 minutes to play.

Toulon enjoyed the majority of possession, but failed to turn it into points as dropped passes and resolute defence from La Rochelle frustrated the 2014 champions.

Halfpenny levelled it at 15-15 with a 70th minute penalty to set...


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Read more: Belleau the hero as Toulon edge La Rochelle

Saints haul in Stade for Champions Cup place

Harry Mallinder kicked three penalties and two conversions for Northampton Saints. 

10:06 PM BST

Northampton fought back from being 22-6 down and having Tom Wood sent off to secure a thrilling 23-22 win over Stade Francais and secure European Champions Cup rugby next season.

In a barnstorming play-off at Franklin's Gardens all looked lost for the home side when Wood was red-carded deep in the second half.

With Rory Hutchinson already in the sin-bin Saints were two men down and 22-16 behind with seven minutes left.

But a superb finish from Ahsee Tualau saw him shake off three men to score and then Harry Mallinder landed the touchline conversion to seal a fantastic comeback after conceding three tries in the first half.

Northampton had the worst possible start with Waisea Nayacalevu scoring a try in the third minute. Jules Plisson converted and added a penalty to leave Saints 10-0...


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Read more: Saints haul in Stade for Champions Cup place

It's time for Australian Rugby Union chief executive Bill Pulver to go - The Sydney Morning Herald

That Bill Pulver remains as chief executive of the Australian Rugby Union suggests that he has lost sight of whether the job is a right or a privilege.

It is more than two months since Pulver attended a Sanzaar meeting in London to decide Australia's fate in Super Rugby and here we are today, not only none the wiser but angrier, more confused, or perhaps just more apathetic.

On borrowed time: Australian rugby is floundering and ARU CEO Bill Pulver should be held accountable. On borrowed time: Australian rugby is floundering and ARU CEO Bill Pulver should be held accountable. Photo: Getty Images

In South Africa, emotions are also running high as they ponder cutting two teams from Super Rugby, but the order they have brought to their process makes the ARU look like it is fumbling in the dark at 3am after a lunch that began with good intentions at 1pm.

Indeed, if the South Africans do manage to place the two teams cut from Super Rugby into European competition, it would be an act of...


Read full article on Sports GN Rugby Union News


Read more: It's time for Australian Rugby Union chief executive Bill Pulver to go - The Sydney Morning Herald

Proposed ARU meeting canned as Super Rugby saga rumbles on ... - Fox Sports

THE Australian Rugby Union’s proposed ‘informal’ meeting to outline plans to cut a Super Rugby team won’t happen.

And it paves the way for a possible board challenge in the middle of the June Test window.

The governing body was willing to meet with anxious players and state unions this week to shed light on how it intends to shut down either the Western Force or Melbourne Rebels, amid a drawn-out process and legal battles involving both franchises.

It’s understood that meeting will not go ahead, largely because of scheduling issues.

That means a special general meeting of the ARU, which was triggered last Wednesday by the Victorian Rugby Union and Rugby Union Players’ Association, will proceed next month.


Read full article on Sports GN Rugby Union News


Read more: Proposed ARU meeting canned as Super Rugby saga rumbles on ... - Fox Sports

Dean Mumm to retire from rugby union as Waratahs, Wallabies lock pursues North Pole hike for charity - ABC Online

The Wallabies' Dean Mumm runs the ball against the All Blacks.

Australia lock Dean Mumm, who enjoyed a 'second coming' for the Wallabies that took him to the 2015 World Cup final, will retire from professional rugby at the end of the season, the Australian Rugby Union said on Wednesday.

The New Zealand-born veteran of 57 Tests will bow out to focus on his philanthropic interests and other career paths, the ARU said in a statement.

External Link: Dean Mumm on Instagram: Morning family shot @sarah_mumm #alfiemumm

Mumm will hike to the North Pole next year to raise funds for Borne, a premature birth research charity, a cause close to he and his family after his son Alfie was born a month premature during the World Cup in Britain.

"I've had a great career in rugby and it's given me so much but now I see it as an opportunity...


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Read more: Dean Mumm to retire from rugby union as Waratahs, Wallabies lock pursues North Pole hike for...

Super Rugby 2017: Sean McMahon and hard truth about pricing players in Australia - The Sydney Morning Herald

Everyone agrees that Sean McMahon is an excellent player but the debates start when you try and put a value on him.

There are two ways of looking at it.

Force leapfrog Reds in Australian Conference

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 26: Quade Cooper of the Reds passes the ball during the round 14 Super Rugby match between the ...
Video duration
01:31


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Read more: Super Rugby 2017: Sean McMahon and hard truth about pricing players in Australia - The Sydney...
Tags: australia,players,sydney,herald,morning,pricing,truth,2017,rugby,sean,mcmahon,hard,super

Waitohi Rugby Football Club player Bevan Moody dies after on-field cardiac arrest in New Zealand - The Sydney Morning Herald

Bevan Moody's family and friends are mourning the loss of a young family man after the Waitohi rugby player died in Nelson hospital in New Zealand on Thursday.

The 22-year-old Marlborough prop forward had been in an induced coma since suffering a cardiac arrest on the field last Saturday. On Thursday morning he died, surrounded by family and friends.

Much loved star: Bevan Moody. Much loved star: Bevan Moody. Photo: Waitohi Rugby Football Club

Moody was running back to halfway for a restart when he collapsed in a Tasman Trophy division one match between the Nelson and Waitohi clubs at Neale Park.

Team management worked quickly to try to revive Moody, including administering CPR. An ambulance was called, followed by further medical attention at the ground, before he was taken to Nelson Hospital and placed in an induced coma.

Moody's death was the second in New Zealand club rugby in May after Wellington player...


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Read more: Waitohi Rugby Football Club player Bevan Moody dies after on-field cardiac arrest in New Zealand...
Tags: zealand,arrest,cardiac,sydney,herald,morning,on-field,dies,football,rugby,club,player,moody,bevan,waitohi

Western Force shatter Queensland Reds' hopes with Super Rugby win - The Sydney Morning Herald

The Western Force have ended Queensland's Super Rugby finals hopes with a 40-26 victory on Friday night at Suncorp Stadium.

The Reds needed a win to stay alive in the race for the Australian conference, but the Force overran them with 17 unanswered points in the second half.

Blues and Chiefs can't be separated

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - MAY 26: Tawera Kerr-Barlow of the Chiefs passes the ball out during the round 14 Super Rugby ...
Video duration
01:30

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - MAY 26: Tawera Kerr-Barlow of the Chiefs passes the ball out during the round 14 Super Rugby ...
Video duration
01:30

Blues and Chiefs can't be separated

Blues and Chiefs can't be separated

The Blues and the Chiefs fought...


Read full article on Sports GN Rugby Union News


Read more: Western Force shatter Queensland Reds' hopes with Super Rugby win - The Sydney Morning Herald
Tags: win,sydney,morning,herald,rugby,super,shatter,force,queensland,reds,hopes,western

Anonymous Super Rugby footballer slams ARU and speaks out on player uncertainty - The Sydney Morning Herald

The ongoing uncertainty around which Super Rugby club will be cut from the competition next year has gone on too long and players are fed up.

While some have spoken out, others have yearned for the opportunity to say how things really are within the inner sanctum of a club being brought to their knees because of the ARU's inability to pull the trigger or at least provide some clarity on their decision-making process.

Australian Rugby Union chairman Cameron Clyne and CEO Bill Pulver. The ARU have not addressed the players since ... Australian Rugby Union chairman Cameron Clyne and CEO Bill Pulver. The ARU have not addressed the players since announcing either the Rebels or Force would be cut from Super Rugby. Photo: AP

Fairfax Media rugby reporter Tom Decent spoke to a player from one of the clubs affected by the saga – either the Western Force or Melbourne Rebels – on the condition of anonymity, who has labelled the ARU "selfish" and believes they are "playing with our livelihoods".

On players'...


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Read more: Anonymous Super Rugby footballer slams ARU and speaks out on player uncertainty - The Sydney...
Tags: uncertainty,sydney,morning,herald,player,speaks,rugby,super,footballer,slams,aru,anonymous

Maitland signs new Saracens deal

At home with Anthony Watson (4:49)

Akin Solanke-Caulker sat down with Anthony Watson to discuss Lions selection, Eddie Jones and haircuts. (4:49)

11:36 AM BST

Saracens wing Sean Maitland has signed a two-year contract extension that will keep at the club until 2020.

The Scotland international arrived at Allianz Park from London Irish last summer and scored eight tries in an impressive debut campaign.

"We're all delighted to have extended Sean's deal," Saracens director of rugby, Mark McCall, said.

"He has fitted into our environment seamlessly and his performances on the field have been a testament to his hard-work and professionalism off the pitch. He's in the prime of his career and we're very happy to keep Sean at Allianz Park until 2020."

Maitland, who has won 28...


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Read more: Maitland signs new Saracens deal
Tags: deal,saracens,signs,maitland

Munster, Scarlets unchanged for PRO12 final

Munster's Simon Zebo celebrates with teammates after scoring his side's second try against Ospreys. 

1:30 PM BST

Munster and Scarlets will both line up for the PRO12 final in Dublin unchanged.

Neither Munster director of rugby Rassie Erasmus nor his Scarlets counterpart Wayne Pivac felt the need to tinker with teams that produced impressive semifinal wins, over the Ospreys and Leinster respectively.

That means that Donnacha Ryan, Francis Saili and replacement Jean Deysel are set to make their final Munster appearances in the showpiece game.

Scrum-half Conor Murray, meanwhile, will clock up his 100th appearance for the province.

In the absence of Ken Owens, Scarlets will again be led by John Barclay and they have Steff Evans available after his semifinal red card was rescinded earlier this week.

Munster:

Zebo; Conway, Saili, Scannell, Earls; Bleyendaal, Murray; Kilcoyne, Scannell,...


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Read more: Munster, Scarlets unchanged for PRO12 final
Tags: final,pro12,unchanged,scarlets,munster

Premiership final: A tale of two clubs

5:13 PM BST

It is nine years since Lawrence Dallaglio hoisted the Aviva Premiership trophy at Twickenham to bring to an end not only his illustrious career but ultimately, Wasps' era of dominance too.

Many of the 81,600 fans in attendance would have expected the champions to return to English rugby's showpiece game much sooner than they have done.

Wasps won four league titles between 2003 and 2008, and although the likes of Dallaglio and Raphael Ibanez were coming to the end of their playing days, there was enough young talent to suggest the club had a bright future.

It was a slightly different story back then for Exeter. The idea of competing with the likes of Wasps for silverware at English rugby's HQ would have seemed like a distant dream in the summer of 2008.

The Chiefs had just finished second in the Championship, 27 points adrift of runaway champions Northampton. The club had...


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Read more: Premiership final: A tale of two clubs
Tags: clubs,tale,final,premiership

Wasps hope to reward those who saved the club

Gatland: Vunipola a big loss (0:48)

British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland comments on England No. 8 Billy Vunipola's decision to pull out of the tour due to a shoulder injury. (0:48)

12:00 PM BST
  • Tom HamiltonRugby Editor

    Close

    • Joined ESPN in 2011
    • Grew up in Bath but has New Zealand roots
    • Covered England's tour of New Zealand in 2014 and Australia in 2016
    • Was ESPN's man on the ground for the 2013 British & Irish Lions series and Rugby World Cup 2015

If Wasps win the Aviva Premiership title on Saturday, then there will be more than just a pang of nostalgia in the air. Those who were there in the dark days of 2012 will remember the financial uncertainty, the club scrapping for Premiership existence and the feeling of being haunted by their successful past.

The pictures of Lawrence Dallaglio and Co. on the walls of their Twyford Avenue training base served as...


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Read more: Wasps hope to reward those who saved the club
Tags: club,saved,reward,hope,wasps

Beale to miss Premiership final

Beale scored his side's first try against Leicester but was later forced off through injury. 

4:03 PM BST

Wasps fullback Kurtley Beale has been ruled out of Saturday's Aviva Premiership final against Exeter Chiefs.

The Australia international -- who returns home this summer -- has failed to recover from a hamstring injury picked up in the semifinal win over Leicester.

Wasps boss Dai Young has drafted Josh Bassett into his starting line-up with Willie Le Roux switching to fullback.

Dan Robson has been given the nod ahead of Joe Simpson at scrum-half, while Tommy Taylor starts at hooker in place of Ashley Johnson.

Meanwhile, Henry Slade's sensational semifinal kick, that helped propel Exeter to a second successive final, has not been rewarded with a starting spot at Twickenham.

Chiefs boss Rob Baxter has made just one change to the team that beat Saracens last Saturday, as Olly...


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Read more: Beale to miss Premiership final
Tags: final,premiership,beale

It's time for Australian Rugby Union chief executive Bill Pulver to go - The Sydney Morning Herald

That Bill Pulver remains as chief executive of the Australian Rugby Union suggests that he has lost sight of whether the job is a right or a privilege.

It is more than two months since Pulver attended a Sanzaar meeting in London to decide Australia's fate in Super Rugby and here we are today, not only none the wiser but angrier, more confused, or perhaps just more apathetic.

On borrowed time: Australian rugby is floundering and ARU CEO Bill Pulver should be held accountable. On borrowed time: Australian rugby is floundering and ARU CEO Bill Pulver should be held accountable. Photo: Getty Images

In South Africa, emotions are also running high as they ponder cutting two teams from Super Rugby, but the order they have brought to their process makes the ARU look like it is fumbling in the dark at 3am after a lunch that began with good intentions at 1pm.

Indeed, if the South Africans do manage to place the two teams cut from Super Rugby into European competition, it would be an act of...


Read full article on Sports GN Rugby Union News


Read more: It's time for Australian Rugby Union chief executive Bill Pulver to go - The Sydney Morning Herald
Tags: pulver,sydney,morning,herald,bill,executive,australian,rugby,union,chief,time

Proposed ARU meeting canned as Super Rugby saga rumbles on ... - Fox Sports

THE Australian Rugby Union’s proposed ‘informal’ meeting to outline plans to cut a Super Rugby team won’t happen.

And it paves the way for a possible board challenge in the middle of the June Test window.

The governing body was willing to meet with anxious players and state unions this week to shed light on how it intends to shut down either the Western Force or Melbourne Rebels, amid a drawn-out process and legal battles involving both franchises.

It’s understood that meeting will not go ahead, largely because of scheduling issues.

That means a special general meeting of the ARU, which was triggered last Wednesday by the Victorian Rugby Union and Rugby Union Players’ Association, will proceed next month.


Read full article on Sports GN Rugby Union News


Read more: Proposed ARU meeting canned as Super Rugby saga rumbles on ... - Fox Sports
Tags: rumbles,fox,sports,saga,rugby,aru,meeting,canned,super,proposed

Dean Mumm to retire from rugby union as Waratahs, Wallabies lock pursues North Pole hike for charity - ABC Online

The Wallabies' Dean Mumm runs the ball against the All Blacks.

Australia lock Dean Mumm, who enjoyed a 'second coming' for the Wallabies that took him to the 2015 World Cup final, will retire from professional rugby at the end of the season, the Australian Rugby Union said on Wednesday.

The New Zealand-born veteran of 57 Tests will bow out to focus on his philanthropic interests and other career paths, the ARU said in a statement.

External Link: Dean Mumm on Instagram: Morning family shot @sarah_mumm #alfiemumm

Mumm will hike to the North Pole next year to raise funds for Borne, a premature birth research charity, a cause close to he and his family after his son Alfie was born a month premature during the World Cup in Britain.

"I've had a great career in rugby and it's given me so much but now I see it as an opportunity...


Read full article on Sports GN Rugby Union News


Read more: Dean Mumm to retire from rugby union as Waratahs, Wallabies lock pursues North Pole hike for...
Tags: hike,pole,north,charity,online,abc,pursues,lock,retire,mumm,rugby,union,wallabies,waratahs,dean

Waitohi Rugby Football Club player Bevan Moody dies after on-field cardiac arrest in New Zealand - The Sydney Morning Herald

Bevan Moody's family and friends are mourning the loss of a young family man after the Waitohi rugby player died in Nelson hospital in New Zealand on Thursday.

The 22-year-old Marlborough prop forward had been in an induced coma since suffering a cardiac arrest on the field last Saturday. On Thursday morning he died, surrounded by family and friends.

Much loved star: Bevan Moody. Much loved star: Bevan Moody. Photo: Waitohi Rugby Football Club

Moody was running back to halfway for a restart when he collapsed in a Tasman Trophy division one match between the Nelson and Waitohi clubs at Neale Park.

Team management worked quickly to try to revive Moody, including administering CPR. An ambulance was called, followed by further medical attention at the ground, before he was taken to Nelson Hospital and placed in an induced coma.

Moody's death was the second in New Zealand club rugby in May after Wellington player...


Read full article on Sports GN Rugby Union News


Read more: Waitohi Rugby Football Club player Bevan Moody dies after on-field cardiac arrest in New Zealand...
Tags: zealand,arrest,cardiac,sydney,herald,morning,on-field,dies,football,rugby,club,player,moody,bevan,waitohi

Super Rugby 2017: Sean McMahon and hard truth about pricing players in Australia - The Sydney Morning Herald

Everyone agrees that Sean McMahon is an excellent player but the debates start when you try and put a value on him.

There are two ways of looking at it.

Force leapfrog Reds in Australian Conference

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 26: Quade Cooper of the Reds passes the ball during the round 14 Super Rugby match between the ...
Video duration
01:31

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 26: Quade Cooper of the Reds passes the ball during the round 14 Super Rugby match between the ...
Video duration
01:31

Force leapfrog Reds in Australian ...

Force leapfrog Reds in Australian Conference

The Western Force have gone past the Queensland Reds into third place in the Australian Conference following a...


Read full article on Sports GN Rugby Union News


Read more: Super Rugby 2017: Sean McMahon and hard truth about pricing players in Australia - The Sydney...
Tags: australia,players,sydney,herald,morning,pricing,truth,2017,rugby,sean,mcmahon,hard,super

Western Force shatter Queensland Reds' hopes with Super Rugby win - The Sydney Morning Herald

The Western Force have ended Queensland's Super Rugby finals hopes with a 40-26 victory on Friday night at Suncorp Stadium.

The Reds needed a win to stay alive in the race for the Australian conference, but the Force overran them with 17 unanswered points in the second half.

Blues and Chiefs can't be separated

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - MAY 26: Tawera Kerr-Barlow of the Chiefs passes the ball out during the round 14 Super Rugby ...
Video duration
01:30

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - MAY 26: Tawera Kerr-Barlow of the Chiefs passes the ball out during the round 14 Super Rugby ...
Video duration
01:30

Blues and Chiefs can't be separated

Blues and Chiefs can't be separated

The Blues and the Chiefs fought...


Read full article on Sports GN Rugby Union News


Read more: Western Force shatter Queensland Reds' hopes with Super Rugby win - The Sydney Morning Herald
Tags: win,sydney,morning,herald,rugby,super,shatter,force,queensland,reds,hopes,western

 

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