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Historical Rugby Milestones 2010s

Carl Mullen signs rugby ball for small boy

2010

19th January -The Rugby world is saddened by the news that commentating legend Bill McLaren passed away after a long illness at the age of 86.

Mr McLaren, from Hawick, retired in 2002 and received an OBE, CBE and MBE for services to the sport. He began commentating on BBC radio in 1953 and moved on to television six years later.


6th February - Ronan O'Gara broke the 500 points barrier as he extended his lead as 6 Nations highest points scorer.

This occurred in the game against Italy where he scored 16 points. Little known fact: he was born in San Diego California.


13th February - Chris Patterson gained his 100th cap for Scotland in their 6 Nations game against Wales.

At the time of adding this article he is Scotland's highest points scorer with 372 points in the 6 Nations alone.

All time 6 Nations point scorers as of Feb 17th:

Ronan O'Gara 520
Jonny Wilkinson 506
Stephen Jones 405
Neil Jenkins 396
Chris Paterson 372
David Humphreys 267


March 18th - England Women beat Ireland to clinch Grand Slam

England Women powered to a 31-0 win over Ireland Women in County Meath to clinch a sixth consecutive Six Nations title and the Grand Slam.

Ireland Women: N Briggs (UL Bohemians/Munster); N Kavanagh (UL Bohemians/Munster), L Cantwell (Richmond/Exile), G Rea (Highfield/Munster), M Kelly (UL Bohemians/Munster); N Stapleton (Old Belvedere/Leinster), L Muldoon (UWIC/Exile); F Coghlan (UL Bohemians/Leinster) (capt), G Bourke (Bristol/Munster), A Egan (Old Belvedere/Leinster), H O'Brien (Highfield/Munster), M Louise Reilly (Old Belvedere/Leinster), L Guest (Highfield/Munster), C Molloy (Bristol/Connacht), J Neville (UL Bohemians/Munster).
Replacements: L Day (Waterloo/Ulster) for Egan (half-time), J Shiels (Richmond/Leinster) for Rea (60 mins), C Staunton (Galwegians/Connacht) for Guest (72), S Kennedy (City of Derry/Ulster) for Bourke, A Davis (Blackrock/Leinster) for Muldoon, G Nolan (St. Mary's/Leinster) for Kelly (all 73), D O'Brien (Blackrock/Leinster for H O'Brien (75).

England Women: E Scarratt (Lichfield); K Merchant (Worcester), R Burford (Richmond), K Oliver (Bristol), F Matthews (Richmond); K McLean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks) (capt), LT Mason (Wasps); R Clark (Worcester), E Croker (Richmond), S Hemming (Bristol), R Essex (Richmond), J McGilchrist (Wasps), H Fisher (Worcester), M Alphonsi (Saracens), S Hunter (Lichfield).
Replacements: C Purdy (Wasps) for Clark, C Spencer (Bristol) for Hunter (both 45 mins), G Roberts (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks) for Merchant (61), G Rozario (Lichfield) for Mason (68).


March 20th - England Women's claim fifth straight Six Nations title

England Women's claim fifth straight Six Nations title with a grand slam against France. England's women won the Grand Slam in nail biting fashion as they edged out France 11-10 thanks to Katy McLean's second-half penalty. Amy Turner’s first-half try gave them a 5-3 halftime advantage while the home side had Claire Canal sent off on the half-hour mark.
Despite their numerical advantage, England conceded a second-half try to Céline Allainmat that put France ahead 10-8 before McLean kicked the final points of the game with a 64th minute penalty. The drama did not end there though and, in injury time, French kicker Aurélie Bailon’s 45-metre penalty fell just short of the posts as England held out to record a record-breaking fifth consecutive Championship title. While England had been in imperious form heading into the match in Rennes, conceding just five points in four games, they faced their toughest test against a French side roared on by a partisan home crowd.

Running rugby was never going to be the order of the day in appalling conditions and for once England struggled to turn their superiority into points. McLean missed one drop goal opportunity on eight minutes before they fashioned the game’s opening points with a terrific team try. The forwards drove their way down the pitch before the ball was fed out to scrum-half Turner who scorched her way over in the right-hand touchline. McLean missed a difficult conversion but although Bailon reduced the deficit with a well-struck penalty, the home side’s night would take a turn for the worse when flanker Canal was shown a red card for making contact with the head of an English player.

England coach Gary Street’s nerves may have been settled by a 47th minute penalty from McLean but the game was turned on its head by France’s try nine minutes later. It came from an English error in midfield as the ball was spilt and the French pack immediately picked and drove deep into the visitors’ territory before winger Allainmat supplied the finishing touch. Yet England showed the mark of champions by refusing to panic under pressure with McLean’s penalty almost immediately restoring their slender lead.

Some desperate defence from both sides limited scoring opportunities until the dying moments when France had the opportunity to break England’s Grand Slam dreams. But Bailon just couldn’t summon the extra energy to split the posts and England smuggled the ball out of play to begin wild celebrations.


February 6 to March 20, 2010 - Six Nations

The BBC broadcast every game from the Six Nations Championships in high definition for the first time.

France takes the grand slam.


Barbarians triumph in 84th Mobbs Memorial Match

Bedford Blues 35 Barbarians 43 The Barbarians staged a spectacular second half recovery to deservedly take the honours in the 84th Mobbs Memorial Match at Goldington Road.
The omens had not looked good after a first 40 minutes played largely on the back foot after which the Barbarians went into the interval trailing by nine points. The clouds were even darker within seconds of the restart when a speculative pass deep inside their own 22 was eagerly gobbled up by Blues' centre Henry Staff for his side's fourth converted try. Suddenly the Barbarians were down 12-28.
Down but not out as they played the next 30 minutes or so with almost total ball possession. David Doherty, who had scored the first try of the match as early as the fifth minute after Gareth McCarthy and Tommy Bell broke out of defence with a thrilling 90-metre attack, now pounced for his second after McCarthy caught the defence napping with a quick tap penalty. Three minutes later outstanding Neath lock Euros Evans powered over at the posts and when another outstanding performer, flanker Greg Barden, crossed from a five-metre scrum, the Barbarians were in the lead at 31-28.
The comeback was far from over. Doherty completed his hat-trick in the 61st minute and although the Blues got back to within a point with a try by Steve Smith, the Barbarians finished strongly with wing Jonan Boto credited with their seventh try after a driving maul.
The final whistle brought not only the Barbarians' second April victory within eight days but also continued coach Nick Mallett's unbeaten record with the Club: wins over New Zealand in December 2009 and this season South Africa, Richmond and Bedford Blues.

Barbarians : *J Loxton (Cardiff Blues); C O L Ingall (Tynedale), T W Bell (Sale Sharks), *R P Broadfoot (Richmond), D J Doherty (Sale); *G M McCarthy (Neath), *D J Pascoe (Royal Navy), *N R Fowkes (Nottingham), C B Hawkins (Llanelli), *R P Davies (Neath), *E L Evans (Neath), *A L Powell (Llanelli), B Maidment (Cambridge University), *S S McKeen, capt (Oxford University & Canada), G H Barden (Royal Navy)
Replacements: C C G Ritchie (Rosslyn Park) - Hawkins (40), R J Barrington (Hartpury College) - Fowkes (40), *T P Bason (Blackheath) - Powell (40), *T George (Richmond) - Maidment (33); *K P Campbell (Dungannon & Ireland) - Pascoe (40), A O Erinle (England) - Broadfoot (9), *J P E Boto (Richmond) - Ingall (40)
Tries: Doherty (3), Ingall, Evans, Barden, Boto; Conversions : Broadfoot, Bell (3)

Bedford Blues: B Burke, M Kohler, T Bax, H Staff, J Bassett, T Bedford, N PJ Walshe (capt), P D Carstens, H Allen, A Brown, S Tomes, O Cooper Miller, D Barrell, J Leszczuk, R Long
Replacements: R Boot, L W Ovens, S Flatman, G Messum, H Peck, E Bale, S Smith
Tries: Brown, Barrell, Walshe, Staff, Smith; Conversions: Burke (3), Bedford, Bale

Referee: C White (RFU)
Attendance: 1,850


May 23rd - Cardiff Blues made history as the first Welsh team to win a European trophy after beating Toulon in Marseille to claim the Amlin Challenge Cup.

Cardiff Blues (6) 28
Tries: Roberts, Halfpenny, B Davies Cons: Blair 2 Pens: Blair 2, Halfpenny
Toulon (13) 21
Tries: Williams, Sourice Con: Wilkinson Pens: Wilkinson 2, May

Toulon: Marienval, Lovobalavu, May, Williams, Sinzelle, Wilkinson, Henjak, Taumoepeau, Fitzgerald, Kubriashvili, Lozada, Skeate, van Niekerk, Fernandez Lobbe, Auelua.
Replacements: Umaga for Sinzelle (70), Kefu for Wilkinson (46), Mignoni for Henjak (56), Emmanuelli for Taumoepeau (56), Bruno for Fitzgerald (34), Ryan for Kubriashvili (40), Suta for Lozada (51), Sourice for Auelua (68).

Blues: Blair, Halfpenny, Laulala, Roberts, Czekaj, Sweeney, Rees, Jenkins, Thomas, Filise, Davies, Jones, Molitika, M. Williams, Rush.
Replacements: Hewitt for Laulala (80), Yapp for Jenkins (40), G. Williams for Thomas (46), Andrews for Filise (56), Tito for Jones (51), Warburton for Molitika (62). Not Used: Allinson, Flanagan.

Att: 58,632

Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland).


June 12th, 2010 June 20th, 2010
Argentina 16-24 Scotland Argentina 9-13 Scotland
Argentina (13) 16
Tries: Tiesi, Leguizamon Pens: Contepomi 2
Scotland (12) 24
Pens: Parks 6 Drop-goals: Parks 2
Argentina (6) 9
Pens: Contepomi 2, Rodriguez
Scotland (10) 13
Tries: Hamilton Cons: Parks Pens: Parks 2

Argentina: Rodriguez, Borges, Tiesi, Fernandez, Agulla, Contepomi, Lalanne, Roncero, Ledesma, Scelzo, Carizza, Albacete, Fessia, Leguizamon, Fernandez Lobbe.

Replacements: Amorosino for Borges (47), Figuerola for Lalanne (78), Creevy for Ledesma (68), Ayerza for Scelzo (44).

Not Used: Galarza, Campos, Mieres.

Sin Bin: Leguizamon (40).

Scotland: Southwell, Evans, De Luca, Morrison, Lamont, Parks, R. Lawson, Jacobsen, Ford, Low, Hamilton, Kellock, Brown, Barclay, Beattie.

Replacements: Blair for R. Lawson (60), S. Lawson for Ford (76), Strokosch for Beattie (60).

Not Used: Cross, MacLeod, Godman, Thompson.

Attendance: 31,898

Referee: Dave Pearson (RFU)

Argentina: Rodriguez, Amorosino, Tiesi, Fernandez, Agulla, Contepomi, Figuerola, Roncero, Ledesma, Scelzo, Carizza, Albacete, Fessia, Leguizamon, Fernandez Lobbe.

Replacements: Carballo for Contepomi (63), Creevy for Ledesma (66), Ayerza for Scelzo (69), Guzman for Leguizamon (46).

Not Used: Campos, Vergallo, Borges.

Sin Bin: Roncero (36).

Scotland: Southwell, Lamont, Evans, Morrison, Danielli, Parks, R. Lawson, Jacobsen, Ford, Low, Hamilton, Kellock, Brown, Barclay, Beattie.

Replacements: De Luca for Evans (69), Blair for R. Lawson (67), Dickinson for Jacobsen (60), S. Lawson for Ford (66), MacLeod for Kellock (68), Strokosch for Beattie (60).

Not Used: Godman.

Att: 16,821

Scotland became the first side to beat Argentina at the Estadio Monumental Jose Fierro in Tucuman on June 12th then winning again on June 20th which was Scotland's forth win in 12 encounters with Argentina. Scotland recorded their first southern hemisphere series win with a 13-9 victory over Argentina in Mar del Plata's Estadio Jose Maria Minella.


June 28th, 2010 - Argentina 41 - 13 France
Captain Felipe Contepomi tallied a career-best 31 points in brilliant fashion, scoring two of the Pumas' four tries, converting three, and nailing all five penalty attempts.

Argentina achieved their highest score and biggest margin against France. After the visitors tied the score on penalties at 6-6 after 17 minutes, Contepomi's third penalty in the 26th following turnover ball put Argentina in front for good.

A fourth penalty made it 12-6, then from the restart, livewire No8 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe began and finished an attack from his own half.

Within eight minutes of the second-half, Contepomi crossed for his first try. Minutes later, France finally responded with a Julien Malzieu try, but scores from Martin Rodriguez and Contepomi sealed the record win and their captain's record points tally .

The defeat completed a miserable mini-tour for the Grand Slam champions, who were also hammered 42-17 by South Africa in Cape Town a fortnight ago.

"It's desolation," said a stunned France coach Marc Lievremont. "I don't know how we could sink so badly in these few weeks, to suffer two points records in South Africa and now here in Argentina. "I expected tough matches, but these defeats are ridiculous. It was a nightmare."

France skipper Thierry Dusautoir was equally despondent.

"When you concede 40 points in two successive Tests, there isn't a lot to say," he said. "We can find 50 excuses, but today we came up against a team who were just much stronger than us. We were dominated in all areas and this was our level sadly. "For a team that has ambitions to be world champions next year, it's going to be difficult to pick ourselves up from this."

Scorers: Argentina: Tries: Fernandez Lobbe, Contepomi 2, Amorosino. Cons: Contepomi 3. Pens: Contepomi 5. France: Tries: Malzieu. Cons: Parra. Pens: Porical, Parra.

Argentina: Rodriguez, Amorosino, Tiesi, Fernandez, Carballo, Contepomi, Vergallo; Roncero, Ledesma, Scelzo, Carizza, Albacete, Fessia, Campos, Fernandez Lobbe.
Replacements: Agulla for Fernandez (77), Ayerza for Roncero (62), Creevy for Ledesma (65), Figallo for Scelzo (56), Leguizamon for Campos (55).
Not Used: Galarza, Figuerola.

France: Porical, Clerc, Fritz, Mazars, Malzieu, Trinh-Duc, Parra; Barcella, Szarzewski, Mas, Pape, Nallet, Dusautoir, Picamoles, Bonnaire.
Replacements: Poitrenaud for Mazars (50), Yachvili for Parra (61), Guirado for Szarzewski (61), Poux for Mas (72), Pierre for Nallet (50), Lamboley for Bonnaire (50).
Not Used: Rougerie.

Sin Bin: Fritz (36).

Att: 32,460

Referee: Stuart Dickinson (Australia)

Ref. Scotsman/BBC Sport


July, 19th, 2010 - Scottish Rugby Hall Of Fame to be launched in the autumn

A Scottish Rugby Hall Of Fame is to be launched in the autumn - and supporters will have the chance to select one of the first inductees. Hall of fame judges, from left, John Beattie, John Jeffrey, Ian McGeechan, Chris Rea and Norman Mair met at Murrayfield yesterday to discuss potential inductees. Supporters' involvement will begin by their going to the Scottish Rugby Union website, www.scottishrugby.org

Image
Hall of fame judges, from left, John Beattie, John Jeffrey, Ian McGeechan, Chris Rea and Norman Mair met at Murrayfield yesterday to discuss potential inductees. Picture: PA

July 26th - Jason Robinson came out of retirement after a three year absence to play for league two Fylde.

He later retired fully on July 7th 2011 after one season with Flyde where they gained promotion to National league one. In May 2011 he had stated that he hoped to continue playing at Flyde (age 37) but needing a knee operation obviously accelerated his plans for retirement.

"After 541 games of competitive rugby, I think the time is right to stop."

"When I look back and look at the stats, World Cups, Lions tours and Challenge Cups, I can certainly look back with some fantastic memories."

"I have ticked almost every box there is to tick, so it was a pretty easy decision."

"There are other things for me to do now with my business interests, although I will play a few charity games to keep fit."

"When you have played so long you have still got to have something to keep going at."

- Jason Robinson


August 21, 2010 - New Zealand All Blacks fly half Dan Carter broke the record for Test points in Rugby Union when he kicked the third penalty in the sixth round TriNations test in 2010.

The kick which came in the 29th minute at Soccer City/FNB Stadium brought Carter's points tally to 1113 points which at the time this article was added, is two more points than England's world cup winning fly half Jonny Wilkinson. Wilkinson does however still lead the points record internationally overall as he also played for the British and Irish Lions which increases his total international points tally. Carter missed four kicks in the match - penalties and conversions but had the final kick of the match when he converted Aaron Cruden's match winning try.


September 25th

USA Rugby Approved as Olympic Sport Member of USOC

USA Rugby an Olympic Sport member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). 

USA Rugby had been an Affiliated Sport member of the USOC since 1998.  The USOC Board’s actionconfirms USA Rugby as the official National Governing Body (NGB) of rugby in the United States.  CEO Nigel Melville - “This is great news for USA Rugby. Since the announcement that rugby would return to the Olympic Games, we have developed a strong partnership with the USOC and look forward to making a positive contribution to the Olympic family in the future, the game of rugby is growing at an incredible rate as thousands of young Americans are picking up the ball and running with it for the first time and dreaming of Olympic glory in 2016 and 2020.”
The United States men’s sevens rugby team will participate in the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico in October of next year.  Both the men’s and women’s teams will compete to qualify for the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games.


October 7th, 2010 The Springbok is on the move - the logo, not the team, that is.
Having been moved from the left breast to the right to accommodate the Protea last year, it is set to disappear off the chest altogether.
Instead the emblem will be moved to the left sleeve for next year's World Cup after the International Rugby Board announced that rugby's showpiece event's logo must appear on the right hand side of players' jerseys.
The South African Rugby Union said the presence of the Protea badge, the IRB logo and its own sponsors meant there was no place for the Springbok on the front of the jersey and the "cleanest option" was to move it to the left sleeve.
"The decision was very straightforward in the end as our attempts to find a place for the Springbok on the front of the jersey failed to find favour," said SARU Executive Council chairman Dr Jan Marais.
"We were left with no choice and the important point to note is that this application will only be for IRB World Cup events."
The South Africa women's team had the Springbok on their left sleeves at the recent Women's World Cup in England, and Australia's team will also have its Wallaby logo on the sleeve of its World Cup jerseys in 2011.


1st Girls Varsity Rugby team in the US

Sebastian River High School becomes the first girls varsity team in the USA.


Referee Dana Teagarden from the USA has been appointed by the International Rugby Board (iRB) to referee the upcoming international test match between The Netherlands and Hong Kong on December 18, 2010 in Amsterdam. This makes Teagarden the first woman ever to referee a senior men’s international match.

This appointment comes after several successful performances at the recent Women’s Rugby World Cup (WRWC). Teagarden refereed the Australia v. France Bronze medal match in front of 13,200 rugby fans at the Twickenham Stoop. She also refereed critical pool matches at the tournament including New Zealand v. Australia and France v. Canada.

As one of USA Rugby’s most internationally experienced referees, Dana is no stranger to the historic occasion. In 2007 she was the first, and so far only, female to referee at an iRB Sevens World Series Tournament. To date, Dana has refereed fifteen international level 15’s matches, including age-grade boys and girls, senior women, and ‘A’ level senior men.

“We are constantly working to establish and implement new and innovative systems and processes to develop all aspects of refereeing,” said National Panel Referee Manager Richard Every. “Dana has been an integral part of these initiatives over the past three years. Her innate talent and her commitment to our approach have enabled her to perform and be successful at the highest levels. This appointment is indeed a huge honor and achievement for both Dana and USA Rugby Referees.”

“USA Rugby is both happy and proud to publicly acknowledge Dana’s achievement,” said Referee Development Director Ed Todd. “I am confident there will be many more opportunities for me to congratulate Dana on a job well done.”


October 29th - Phil Vikery Retires

World Cup winner Phil Vickery was forced to retire from rugby after suffering another neck injury. The 34-year-old Wasps prop, a former England captain and British and Irish Lions star, had undergone four previous neck operations. He has been capped 73 times, and played in every game of the 2003 campaign in Australia, scoring his first Test try in the 35-22 victory against Samoa. Vickery skippered the side to the 2007 World Cup final, when coach Brian Ashton's England were defeated by South Africa in Paris. He won five caps for the Lions, touring Australia in 2001 and South Africa in 2009. His club Rugby was played with Wasps, Gloucester, Redruth & Bude.


Autumn Internationals

November 2010

6 England 16 - 28
(3 - 17)
New Zealand
6 Ireland 21 - 23
(6 - 13)
South Africa
6 Wales

16 - 25
(6 - 7)

Australia
13 France 34 - 12
(16 - 6)
Fiji
13 Ireland 20 - 10
(13 - 7)
Samoa
13 Italy 16 - 22
(6 - 6)
Argentina
13 Scotland 3 - 49
(3 - 28)
New Zealand
13 Wales 25 - 29
(17 - 9)
South Africa
13 England

35 - 18
(16 - 6)

Australia
19 Scotland A 25 - 0
USA Eagles
19 Wales 16 - 16
(6 - 13)
Fiji
20 England 26 - 13
(6 - 3)
Samoa
20 Ireland 18 - 38
(13 - 19)
New Zealand
20 France 15 - 9
(9 - 3)
Argentina
20 Italy 14 - 32
(9 - 13)
Australia
20 Scotland 21 - 17
(12 - 9)
South Africa
27 Wales 25 - 37
(9 - 13)
New Zealand
27 Scotland 19 - 16
(13 - 10)
Samoa
27 Italy

24 - 16
(9 - 16)

Fiji
27 France 16 - 59
(13 - 13)
Australia
27 England 11 - 21
(6 - 6)
South Africa
28 Ireland 29 - 9
(19 - 3)
Argentina

Chris Ashton's end to end try for England vs. Australia Nov 2010.
Credit Skysport (via YouTube)

28th November

New Zealand completed the grand slam against the home nations (England 28-16, Ireland 38-18, Scotland 49-3, Wales 27-25).

Dan Carter becomes test rugby's leading scorer with 1,188 point after overtaking Jonny Wilkinson (1,178).

James O'Connor scored 29 points to take his tally in his short career to 119 points. The 18-year-old winger is the second youngest player, after Wilkinson, to reach 100 points.

Romania clinched the 20th and final spot at the World Cup with a 39-12 playoff win over visiting Uruguay.


2010 IRB Award winners

IRB Player of the Year: Richie McCaw (New Zealand)
- Announced on 1 December 2010
IRB Team of the Year: New Zealand
- Announced on 1 December 2010
IRB Coach of the Year: Graham Henry (New Zealand)
- Announced on 1 December 2010
IRB Sevens Player of the Year: Mikaele Pesamino (Samoa)
- Presented in Edinburgh on 30 May 2010
IRB Junior Player of the Year: Julian Savea (New Zealand)
- Presented in Rosario, Argentina, on 21 June 2010
IRB Women's Personality of the Year: Carla Hohepa (New Zealand)
- Presented in London on 5 September 2010
IRB Development Award: Brian O'Shea
- Presented at John Eales Medal function in Sydney on 21 October 2010
IRB Referee Award for Distinguished Service: Colin High
- Presented at IRB High Performance Referees Conference on 8 November 2010
Spirit of Rugby Award: Virreyes Rugby Club
- Presented in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on 27 November 2010
Vernon Pugh Award for Distinguished Service: Jean-Claude Baque
- Presented at FIRA-AER General Assembley in Paris on 4 December 2010
IRPA Try of the Year: Chris Ashton (England v Australia)
- Presented at Twickenham on 12 February 2011


2011

12th Febuary, 2011 - Winger Chris Ashton became the first England player to score four tries in a Five/Six Nations match since 1914 as England beat Italy at Twickenham.

ashton
Ashton demonstrating his trademark swan dive. Credit BBC

His swan dive try in the England Wales game the previous week had been criticized by Martin Johnson, but Ashton was undeterred and gave the crowd an another example in the Italy game.

England (31) 59
Tries: Ashton 4, Cueto, Tindall, Care, Haskell Cons: Flood 5, Wilkinson 3
Pen: Flood
Italy (6) 13
Try: Ongaro Con: Mi Bergamasco Pens: Mi Bergamasco 2


26th February, 2011 - Six Nations

England (9) 17
Tries: Foden Pens: Flood 3, Wilkinson
France (9) 9
Pens: Yachvili 3

England: Foden; Ashton, Tindall, Hape, Cueto; Flood, Youngs; Sheridan, Hartley, Cole, Deacon, Palmer, Wood, Haskell, Easter.
Replacements: Wilkinson for Flood (51), Care for Youngs (63), Corbisiero for Sheridan (23), Thompson for Hartley (67), Fourie for Cole (76), Shaw for Deacon (71).

France: Poitrenaud; Huget, Rougerie, Jauzion, Clerc; Trinh-Duc, Yachvili, Domingo, Servat, Mas, Pierre, Nallet, Dusautoir, Harinordoquy, Chabal.
Replacements: Traille for Poitrenaud (51), Palisson for Jauzion (67), Parra for Yachvili (62), Marconnet for Domingo (60), Guirado for Servat (76), Thion for Pierre (62), Bonnaire for Chabal (51).

Att: 82,107

Ref: George Clancy (IRFU).

Jonny Wilkinson regained the world points-scoring record in England's 17-9 victory over France at Twickenham. The Toulon fly-half came into the game on 1,187 Test points for England and the British and Irish Lions, one behind New Zealand's Dan Carter. Wilkinson came on to replace Toby Flood, who was suffering from an ankle injury, after 50 minutes and his first act was to line up a 46-metre penalty. The successful kick took Wilkinson past Carter, who will not have a chance to increase his tally until the Tri-Nations begins in July, and crucially carried England two scores clear of France.

"It is maybe the first time in my career I have been aware of the situation - and that was only because someone told me in the week," Wilkinson said. "They told me Carter had taken the record and I said 'brilliant, awesome for him'. And then someone said: 'Actually, you are quite close to taking it back'. "I did wonder if I would get a penalty today if I came on - and it came up first thing. "The record doesn't mean that much to me, it is just nice to get straight into the game."

Flood was replaced after suffering an ankle injury and he admitted afterwards to feeling guilty at leaving Wilkinson with a tough shot at goal. But Wilkinson relished the chance to get straight into the game and he took over seamlessly, creating two scoring opportunities in the final quarter.

"It was a good way to enter," Wilkinson said. "When you come on you are searching for the feel of the game. It is very difficult to execute things when you haven't got a feel of what is going on so you want anything that gets you involved. "


March 12, 2011 - WRU celebrates its 130th anniversary

Welsh rugby today (Saturday) celebrates the 130th anniversary of a ground breaking meeting at the Castle Hotel in Neath (See March 12, 1881).

To honour the anniversary and the achievements of the founding clubs, the WRU has invited representatives of each one of the eleven clubs to attend the RBS 6 Nations match between Wales and Ireland at the Millennium Stadium. They will enjoy a true Welsh rugby welcome as the players, coaches and administrators of today reflect on where it all began.

WRU Chairman David Pickering, who played for both Neath and then Llanelli of the original 11, said: “I am delighted that representatives of all 11 clubs have been invited to attend the RBS 6 Nations encounter between Wales and Ireland in honour of a great Welsh rugby anniversary.

“By the March of 1881 rugby was already gaining a powerful foothold in Wales but the representatives at that famous meeting could never have foreseen how big the game would become.

“Rugby now thrives at the heart of hundreds of communities in Wales and has become embedded in the culture and fabric of our nation.

“The atmosphere today’s game will inspire in our Millennium Stadium will stand as testimony to just how popular and important rugby remains to the men and women of Wales.

“We can be proud of what our sport represents and it is important to remember important milestones like that day our union was formed.”

This year the WRU is celebrating the 130th anniversary with events such as a celebratory international fixture between Wales and the Barbarians at the Millennium Stadium on June 4. Wales will play host to some of the best players in world rugby today to celebrate the history of the national sport of Wales.


Italy (6) 22
Try: Masi Con: Bergamasco Pens: Bergamasco 5
France (8) 21
Tries: Clerc, Parra Con: Parra Pens: Parra 3

Italy's best performance in the 6 Nations to date with a win over France.

Mirco Bergamasco gave Italy an early lead but a Vincent Clerc try and Morgan Parra penalty made it 8-3 to France. A second Bergamasco penalty cut the gap but Parra added his second penalty and converted his own try to make it 18-6. Italy hit back through an Andrea Masi try and Bergamasco's boot, and although Parra landed a third kick, two more Bergamasco penalties saw Italy home.

When France went 18-6 ahead with 30 minutes remaining it seemed as though Italy were going to slip quietly to defeat.

But they found new reserves of passion to secure only their second win in 32 games against their continental neighbours and their first on home soil, their sole previous triumph coming in 1997 when they defeated France 40-32 in Grenoble.

Former England and Lions legend Jeremy Guscott said the Azzurri were well worth their historic win after near misses against Ireland and Wales in Rome earlier in the tournament.

"I thought it was going to be the same result when Bergamasco missed those two kicks in the second half, but Italy dug deep and deserved their victory. It was absolutely fantastic," said the BBC pundit.

The hosts had made seven changes, possibly with an eye on a potential Wooden Spoon decider against Scotland in their final game, but despite Italy's reputation as fine scrummagers, France soon established dominance up front.

Bergamasco, who landed six kicks out of eight, put the hosts ahead with an early penalty, but Les Bleus did not trail for long. They hit back with a fine try sparked initially by Francois Trinh-Duc's interception, and although Italy managed to clear their lines, Maxime Medard initiated a superb counter-attack.

The full-back beat several men on a mazy run up to the Italian 10m line, France then swept the ball across field to Clerc and the veteran French flyer chipped over Gonzalo Canale and won the race to touch down.

Parra could not convert from wide out and minutes later the French were denied a second try after they won a scrum against the head for the second time in quick succession.

Aurelien Rougerie tried to burst over under the posts but the Clermont Auvergne captain lost the ball as he tried to stretch over. Parra stretched the visitors' lead with a simple penalty after another powerful scrum but Bergamasco cut the gap to 8-6 at the break as he replied in kind.

Italy started the second half brightly with fly-half Luciano Orquera springing Masi through the midfield to spark a threatening attack, but it came to an end when Orquera kicked possession away with a poor grubber 10m from the visitors' line. It seemed emblematic of an inability to take their chances which looked like costing Italy dear, and the visitors soon made them pay as Parra, who had hit the post shortly before the break, slotted his second penalty after the hosts played themselves into trouble in their own 22 rather than clear their lines.

Despite their less than dazzling form France were looking the more dangerous team with ball in hand and they secured their second try with half an hour to play. Trinh-Duc stepped through a crowded Italy midfield before feeding Parra to cross under the posts for his first international try. With the number nine adding the conversion to make it 18-6 it looked as though France were on their way, and Italy's cause was not helped when Bergamasco failed to hit the target with two kickable penalties.

But just before the hour mark blind-side flanker Alessandro Zanni and winger Tommaso Benvenuti opened France up down the left and although the 20-year-old Benvenuti was brought down five metres out, Italy recycled and Masi scored down the blind-side. Bergamasco rediscovered his kicking boots to convert from the touchline and when he added a penalty four minutes later the hosts were suddenly back within two points.

It was an extraordinary turnaround and although Parra extended France's lead to five points with his third penalty, Bergamasco replied in kind to keep the hosts right in the hunt as the game entered the last 10 minutes. The decisive moment came with five minutes left on the clock when Italy were awarded a penalty wide out on the left. Bergamasco stepped up to drill the ball between the posts but there was still time for France to hit back.

They maneuvered the chance for a drop-goal but failed to take it, before being awarded the put-in at three consecutive scrums. Twice the front rows stood up with Italy on the retreat but referee Bryce Lawrence declined to award the visitors a penalty. When the French were forced to pick up from the third scrum Imanol Harinordoquy was collared, the ball would not emerge from the ruck and Lawrence blew the final whistle.

It sparked a roar from the crowd worthy of the Colosseum as the Azzurri and their delirious fans prepared to celebrate a famous victory long into the Roman night.

Italy: Masi; Benvenuti, Canale, Garcia, Bergamasco; Orquera, Semenzato; Lo Cicero, Festuccia, Castrogiovanni, Dellape, Del Fava, Zanni, Barbieri, Parisse.

Replacements: Burton for Orquera (57), Perugini for Lo Cicero (47), Ghiraldini for Festuccia (47), Geldenhuys for Dellape (53), Derbyshire for Barbieri (57).

Not Used: Canavosio, McLean.

France: Medard; Huget, Rougerie, Jauzion, Clerc; Trinh-Duc, Parra; Marconnet, Servat, Mas, Pierre, Nallet, Dusautoir, Bonnaire, Chabal.

Replacements: Traille for Jauzion (70), Guirado for Servat (61), Ducalcon for Mas (40), Thion for Nallet (56), Harinordoquy for Chabal (56).

Not Used: Tomas, Poitrenaud.

Att: 28,000

Ref: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand).

Source: BBC James Standley


March 19th, 2011 - Ireland destroys England's Grand Slam hopes

Ireland (14) 24
Tries: Bowe, O'Driscoll Con: Sexton Pens: Sexton 4
England (3) 8
Tries: Thomson Pens: Flood

Three Jonathan Sexton penalties gave Ireland an early 9-0 lead which they extended as Tommy Bowe scythed over. Toby Flood finally got England on the board with a penalty but Sexton made it 17-3 at the break. O'Driscoll crossed for the record 25th try before Steve Thompson collected a consolation score for England.

The result was a crushing disappointment for the visitors who were chasing a first Grand Slam since 2003 when England manager Martin Johnson captained them to a thumping 42-6 win in Dublin. But the youthful visitors - 10 of the side were 25 or under - were on the back foot from the first whistle and Ireland never looked like losing as they secured a seventh win in eight attempts against England. The hosts looked far more fired up than the visitors, were the better side at the breakdown for much of the match and looked much more threatening with ball in hand as they ended a disappointing championship on a vibrant note.

Ireland butchered England at the first scrum and soon took the lead as Sexton - back in place of Ronan O'Gara at fly-half - popped over a penalty after the visitors were off-side at a line-out. The hosts dominated early territory and possession and doubled their advantage when Chris Ashton was penalised for a high tackle on Sexton and the fly-half landed his second penalty.

Ireland were doing a great job of turning over possession as they prevented the England ball carrier from getting to ground, and Declan Kidney's side were also playing with pace and width in attack. They looked to have pulled further clear with a marvellous try, but Bowe's final pass to O'Driscoll was correctly ruled forward. It was a disappointment for the captain as it would have taken O'Driscoll clear as the all-time leading try scorer in the history of the Five and Six Nations, but his side had been awarded an advantage and Sexton duly made it 9-0 with just over a quarter of the match played.

England, who had been forced to bring on Simon Shaw in the second row for the injured Tom Palmer, had barely registered as an attacking force. And when they finally earned a very kickable penalty, Flood's kicking boots deserted him and he pulled it badly to the left of the posts. The mistake was immediately compounded as Ben Foden was forced into a desperate defensive kick and Jamie Heaslip carried the ball back with menace.

The entire England defence was caught off-side and Sexton tapped the resulting penalty and committed the defence before sending Bowe striding over. Sexton missed the conversion but with less than half an hour on the clock England's dreams of the Grand Slam were as good as over.

They finally managed to get on the board through a Flood penalty but a bad half continued for the visitors as they lost Ben Youngs to the sin-bin. The 21-year-old England scrum-half had endured a difficult time, not helped by conceding a silly penalty at a scrum. And when England just managed to halt a David Wallace charge for the line Youngs took the ball into touch and then threw it into the crowd. Sexton made no mistake with the penalty and England were 17-3 down at the break, a margin which got worse as O'Driscoll crossed for his record-breaking 25th try seven minutes after the re-start.

The iconic Ireland captain finished off another sweeping move by rounding Louis Deacon and diving over in the corner. The resounding chorus of the Fields of Athenry was hushed only as long as it took Sexton to drill over the conversion and make it 24-3.

England gave themselves some hope as replacement hooker Steve Thompson intercepted an Eoin Reddan pass and scampered over from 40m, but the normally reliable Wilkinson could not convert.

As the game wore on the visitors enjoyed increasing possession but they rarely threatened to score and their Grand Slam hopes had disappeared long before the final whistle sounded to spark a party in Dublin.

Ireland: 15-Keith Earls, 14-Tommy Bowe, 13-Brian O'Driscoll (captain), 12-Gordon D'Arcy, 11-Andrew Trimble, 21-Jonathan Sexton, 9-Eoin Reddan; 1-Cian Healy, 2-Rory Best, 3-Mike Ross, 4-Donncha O'Callaghan, 5-Paul O'Connell, 6-Sean O'Brien, 7-David Wallace, 8-Jamie Heaslip.

Replacements: 16-Sean Cronin, 17-Tom Court, 18-Leo Cullen, 19-Denis Leamy, 20-Peter Stringer, 21-Ronan O'Gara, 22-Paddy Wallace.

England: 15-Ben Foden, 14-Chris Ashton, 13-Matt Banahan, 12-Shontayne Hape, 11-Mark Cueto, 10-Toby Flood, 9-Ben Youngs; 1-Alex Corbisiero, 2-Dylan Hartley, 3-Dan Cole, 4-Louis Deacon, 5-Tom Palmer, 6-Tom Wood, 7-James Haskell, 8-Nick Easter (captain)

Replacements: 16-Steve Thompson, 17-Paul Doran-Jones, 18-Simon Shaw, 19-Tom Croft, 20-Danny Care, 21-Jonny Wilkinson, 22-David Strettle

Source: BBC James Standley


March 19th, 2011 - Brian O'Driscoll becomes the all-time leading try scorer in the history of the Four/Five/Six Nations Championship

Brian O'Driscoll scores his 25th and record breaking try.

O'Driscoll's 47th-minute touch down saw him become the championship's all-time leading try scorer with 25, surpassing a record that has stood for 78 years. "It's a nice thing to think about, but I've never been one for individual accolades," he said. "You win and lose as a team and we'll very much enjoy this win as a team.

"Individual accolades are what you think about when your career is finished, but I hope I have a bit left me in so I won't dwell on it."

O'Driscoll, winning his 112th cap for his country, scored his first Six Nations try against Scotland on February 19, 2000.

The 78-year-old record had been set by Scotland's Ian Smith, who scored his for the 'Immortals' as that Scottish team was known between 1924-33 which included the 1925 Grand Slam when it was the Five Nations.


June 4th - Wales vs Barbarians

 

 


Wales (14) 28

  • Tries: North, Stoddart, Phillips, Brew
  • Cons: S Jones 4

Barbarians (19) 31

  • Tries: Tekori, Nacewa 2, Parisse, Bastareaud
  • Cons: James 3

Wales: Morgan Stoddart (Scarlets); George North (Scarlets), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Gavin Henson (Unattached), Aled Brew (Newport Gwent Dragons); Stephen Jones (Scarlets), Michael Phillips (Ospreys); Ryan Bevington (Ospreys), Huw Bennett (Ospreys), Paul James (Ospreys), Ryan Jones (Ospreys), Luke Charteris (Newport Gwent Dragons), Danny Lydiate (Newport Gwent Dragons), Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues, capt), Toby Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).

Replacements: Lloyd Burns (Newport Gwent Dragons), Scott Andrews (Cardiff Blues), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Josh Turnbull (Scarlets), Tavis Knoyle (Scarlets), Rhys Priestland (Scarlets), Scott Williams (Scarlets).

Sin Bin: Brew (44).

Barbarians: Isa Nacewa (Leinster and Fiji); Paul Sackey (Toulon and England), Seru Rabeni (La Rochelle and Fiji), Mathieu Bastareaud (Stade Francais Paris and France), Doug Howlett (Munster and New Zealand); Brock James (Clermont Auvergne), Sebastien Tillous-Borde (Castres Olympique and France); Iestyn Thomas (Scarlets and Wales), Sebastien Bruno (Toulon and France), Carl Hayman (Toulon and New Zealand), Iosefa Tekori (Castres Olympique and Samoa), Paul Tito (Cardiff Blues), Joe van Niekerk (Toulon and South Africa), Martyn Williams (Cardiff Blues and Wales), Sergio Parisse (captain, Stade Francais Paris and Italy).

Replacements: Leonardo Ghiraldini (Benetton Treviso and Italy), Davit Kubriashvili (Toulon and Georgia), Erik Lund (Biarritz Olympique and Norway), George Smith (Toulon and Australia), Lloyd Williams (Cardiff Blues), Willie Mason (Toulon), Benoit Baby (Clermont Auvergne and France).

Sin Bin: Tekori (45).

Referee: Alain Rolland (IRL)

Att: 31,232


June 18th - England Saxons clinched the final Churchill Cup title 

England Saxons 37 - 6 Canada (Half-time: 15 - 6).

England Saxons: Tries: Benjamin 2, Gaskell, Gibson, Sharples Cons: Clegg 3 Pens: Clegg 2
Canada: Pens: Pritchard Drops: Monro

England Saxons clinched the final Churchill Cup title with a dominant 37-6 victory over Canada at Sixways.

england Saxons
England Saxons celebrate winning the final Churchill Cup (Credit Getty)

Two tries from winger Miles Benjamin and further scores from fellow speedster Charlie Sharples, flanker James Gaskell and replacement flanker Jamie Gibson propelled the Saxons to their sixth Churchill Cup crown in the last ever staging of the development competition. And the Saxons never seriously found themselves threatened by a spirited Canadian outfit who notched a drop goal through fly-half Ander Monro and a penalty from winger James Pritchard.

The Saxons wasted little time in running the ball but the well-organised Canucks answered every question that was asked of them in an early onslaught. The pressure continued to build and Clegg orchestrated a couple of openings but it was the Saxons' forward muscle that drew the first blood with a powerful drive drawing a penalty that gave the hosts the lead. But Canada struck back straight away with Monro slotting a drop goal after a moment of confusion in the Saxons' ranks at the re-start.

Saxons flanker James Gaskell ghosted over for a score a few moments later after a clever lineout move but his score was ruled out for obstruction by hooker David Paice. Canada's back division continued to go toe to toe with the expansive-minded Saxons but the home side would inevitably find a way through. Sharples cut a good line up the middle for fullback Mike Brown and Gaskell combined superbly down the shortside with the flanker showing a good turn of speed to cross in the corner for the first try of the game.

Clegg failed with the conversion but his miss was soon forgotten. Gaskell was again involved and it was his pressure in midfield that forced a crucial turnover with Benjamin pouncing on the loose ball before accelerating away for a try that was converted by Clegg. No.8 Aaron Carpenter led the Canada fight back and found support in scrum-half Sean White and it eventually took some desperate defence and some composure from Clegg to snuff out the danger. But there was some reward for their endeavour with a Pritchard penalty after Saxons lock Graham Kitchener was penalised at a lineout.

An unlucky bounce inside the Saxons' 22 and a tug from centre Henry Trinder denied Canada fullback Matt Evans a near-certain try a couple of minutes later but the visitors continued to press and were eventually rewarded with another penalty - but this time Pritchard's effort fell the wrong side of the upright. The Canucks continued to enjoy the majority of possession as the half wore on as the Saxons failed to maintain their high tempo but there would be no further scores before the break.

Both sides looked to steal the initiative in the early stages of the second half with a smart cross-kick from Clegg to Sharples the highlight. Canada's defence held firm with the Saxons guilty of over-complicating their approach but they did notch the first points of the half through another Clegg penalty.

Clegg's kicking from hand soon had Canada in trouble again with a wild pass from Canucks winger Ciaran Hearn almost gifting a try to Gaskell with Evans doing just enough to avert the danger in the shadow of his own posts. The ever-impressive Canada flanker Chauncey O'Toole was another to almost conjure something from nothing a couple of minutes later with a strong run down the line and it took a number of white shirts dragging him down inside the 22.

The Saxons weathered a brief storm before taking a firm grip on the contest with the try of the game. Another stable scrum laid the foundation but Clegg's vision and skill with the boot were once again the key with a perfectly-weighted chip ahead collected by Benjamin at pace who then slid over the line to score.

Clegg added the extras to take the Saxons out to a 19-point lead on the hour mark and Sharples put the result beyond doubt with his side's fourth try soon after - shrugging off the cover defence after errors had gifted him the opportunity.

But the Saxons were not finished with a host of replacements adding fresh impetus. Trinder provided the cutting edge on an elusive on a run up the middle and Gibson loomed up on his shoulder at the right time before powering away for a try that was converted by Clegg.

End of the Churchill Cup

With Canada and the United States, who have played in every Churchill Cup, now included in the International Rugby Board's tournaments and tour schedule, it means they will play home Tests during June against top Test-playing nations from next summer. The USA scooped the Bowl in the 2011 tournament, while Canada reached the final against England Saxons.

The decision to end a Churchill Cup agreement that began with the inaugural competition in 2003 was taken jointly by the Rugby Football Union, USA Rugby and Rugby Canada, in consultation with the IRB.

"The Churchill Cup has provided what we had all hoped for - regular international competition for USA and Canada in a showpiece event, which has been hosted in 17 venues and included 13 participating nations since 2003"

"It has also given refereeing and coaching opportunities for all three unions and ultimately strengthened the relationship between us. The initial period of the alliance agreement was five years (2002-2007) and it was subsequently renewed on a two-year rolling basis. The latest agreement will expire at the end of the current tournament, and it was felt by all parties that Canada and USA should be fully integrated into the existing portfolio of international strategic investment tournaments."

"In addition, the success of playing additional fixtures in Australia and New Zealand in 2010 and the need to support three Test Series, has led to the conclusion that the development and performance of England's elite and potential elite players is best delivered in the future with midweek matches alongside the Test matches. We will continue to support USA Rugby and Canada as we much as we can, and wish their teams all the best at Rugby World Cup 2011."

- Paul Vaughan, the RFU's business operations director and a Churchill Cup executive member

 

"I would like to thank all those who have supported the Churchill Cup over the last decade, especially the Rugby Football Union for their unerring commitment to the alliance between them, ourselves and Rugby Canada. We cannot underestimate the benefit the tournament has given to our players." - Nigel Melville, Chief Executive of USA Rugby

 

"It has been a real journey from that first tournament in Vancouver back in 2003 and credit should go to all those who have made the Churchill Cup happen, from the participating unions through to sponsors and the IRB. It gave us regular international competition when there wasn't any and we can now look forward to being integrated into the match schedules built on a foundation of having had those June Tests for the last nine years." - Rugby Canada Chief Executive Graham Brown

Credit for text : espnscrum.com


July 9th - Queensland Reds win Superrugby final

Twenty-one weeks, 124 games, 5,726 points scored, the creation of national Conferences and the inclusion of a fifteenth team culminated with the Queensland Reds (otherwise referred to as the St. George Reds) winning the inaugural Vodacom Super Rugby championship.

Reds 18 - 13 Crusaders.

Scorers:
Reds - Tries: Digby Ioane, Will Genia. Conversion: Quade Cooper. Penalties: Cooper (2).
Crusaders - Try: Dan Carter. Conversion: Carter. Penalties: Carter (2).


July 17th - Samoa beat Australia 23 - 32

Samoa went ahead after three minutes with a penalty and stayed in front throughout the game. Alesana Tuilagithen sped 70 metres down the wing and then beat Pat McCabe, swan diving over for the first try. Tusi Pisi added the conversion and including his earlier penalty goal the visitors had a 10-0 lead. Paul Williams then scored a try in the 29th minute from a charged down kick to make it 17 - 0.

Samoan lock Daniel Leo was then yellow carded for hands in the ruck and Asutralia came back to make it 17 - 10 at the half by scoring a converted try and a Giteau penalty.

In the second half Gitaeu kicked another penalty but then Somoa scord another try, this time from Kane Thompson to make it 22 - 13. Another Soman try came from a fumbled kick and a subsequent scramble which was ended by George Psi grounding the ball over the try line. Brother Tusi then converted to make it 29 - 13.

The remaining scores in the final quarter were another Somoan penalty and an Australianconverted try by Giteau.

"I'm lost for words, we kept at them for the whole 80 minutes and never gave them a chance. It's something special for us and to help create a future for Samoan rugby."

- Samoa skipper Mahonri Schwalger

Referee: Marius Jonker - South Africa

Final Score Australia 23 Samoa 32 (Australia scored 13 of their points while Somoa were down to 14 men, Matt Giteau scored 18 of them)

Scorers

Australia
Tries: Ioane, Giteau
Con: Giteau 2
Pen: Giteau 3

Samoa
Tries: Tuilagi, Williams, Thompson, G Pisi
Con: T Pisi 3
Pen: T Pisi 2

Teams

Wallabies:15. Mark Gerrard , 14. Rod Davies, 13. Adam Ashley Cooper , 12. Pat McCabe , 11. Digby Ioane , 10. Matt Giteau , 9. Nick Phipps , 8. Ben McCalman , 7. Matt Hodgson , 6. Rocky Elsom (captain) , 5. Nathan Sharpe , 4. Sitaleki Timani , 3. Ben Alexander , 2. Stephen Moore , 1. Sekope Kepu

Replacements: 16. James Hanson , 17. TBA , 18. Dan Vickerman , 19. Scott Higginbotham , 20. Beau Robinson , 21. Will Genia , 22. Kurtley Beale

Samoa: Paul Williams, Sailosi Tagicakibau, George Pisi, Seilala Mapusua, Alesana Tuilagi, Tusi Pisi, Kahn Fotuali'i, George Stowers, Maurie Fa'asavalu, Taisina Tuifu'a, Daniel Leo, Kane Thompson, Anthony Perenise, Mahonri Schwalger (captain), Sakaria Taulafo.

Reserves: Tii Paulo, Census Johnston, Filipo Lavea Levi, Manaia Salavea, Brenton Helleur, Eliota Fuimaono Sapolu, James So'oialo.


Dan Carter takes over the top test points scorer slot with 1,204 points after scoring 10 points against South Africa in New Zealand's 40 - 7 Tri-nations win.


August 13th - The Womens's Nations Cup

The Nations Cup tournaments are organized jointly by USA Rugby, the RFUW (England) and Rugby Canada. Two tournaments are held every other year, one for the senior women's national teams and one for the women's Under-20 national teams, with rotating host locations. The 2011 Nations Cup was held in Ontario, Canada, from August 2nd through 14th and consisted of Canada, England, South Africa and USA.

Senior Team GP W L T BP TP
England 3 3 0 0 1 7
Canada 3 2 1 0 2 6
South Africa 3 1 2 0 1 3
USA 3 0 3 0 2 2

The final of the Nations Cup 2011 saw England and Canada battle it out at Appleby College in Oakville, Ontario.

Canada’s Laura Russell dashed through England’s defence early on and entered the opposing team’s territory only to be pulled up short and despite the early threats of Canada to score a try, the first points were taken by England’s Emily Scarratt through a penalty kick.

Replying in kind, Canada delivered their own penalty kick through the posts to even the score to 3-3, cheered on by the large crowd that gathered to watch.

England pushed hard with a solid offense that had the hosting country scrambling. A scrum to Canada was broken down twice before England was given the reign. Margaret Alphonsi, placed in an open position, ran through the Canadian defences to get the first try. Scarratt converted to give England a 10-3 lead.

Canada, in red, delivered a kick deep into England’s zone, but a breakaway from Kelsey Willoughby was halted midstride, as were several other attempts from the hosting team.

Then a second try was quickly taken by England’s Kat Merchant, along with the conversion by Scarratt to pull away at 17-3. Canada returned the fire with some brilliant footwork, as Jen Kish bypassed several defenders to score a try to make it 17-8.

A penalty kick to Canada at halftime closed the gap further to within one score at 17-11.

The second half of the game proved to be difficult for the Canadian team, as England’s continued strength in offense and defense seemed to overwhelm the hosting nation.

Quick to attack, England’s winger Kay Wilson scored the first try, shortly followed by a penalty kick to Canada’s Cheryl Phillips that placed the score at 22-14. The game was a show of strength and agility, where England kept adding to the score and Canada tried to play catch-up.

Another two tries by Sarah Hunter and Claire Allen, and the conversion by Scarratt gave England a comfortable 20 point margin with the scores at 34-14, yet neither team let up.A valiant effort from Canada’s backs allowed inside centre Mandy Marchak a last minute try against England’s formerly impenetrable defence.

Canada’s Head Coach John Tait stated "the team fell off their game plan".

“We lost out on a lot of one-on-one tackles and let it get to us. We have to work on our tackles because our top players are lacking it right now. We have three years now to work towards the World Cup that we now need to address.”

It was England who had the last say of the game, as a quick surge by Alphonsi gave England another try, and her second, before the end of the game. The conversion kick by Scarratt was put smoothly through the posts and resulted in the final score of 41-19 to England.

For England, Head Coach Gary Street said, “It was a fantastic experience we’ve had and it was a chance to test our players out, as well as see the other teams.”

England placed first, Canada second, U.S.A. third in the 2011 Nations Cup

Final Score: England 41 – Canada 19

Canada Women
1. Laura Russell (Toronto Nomads)
2. Kim Donaldson (Burnaby Lake RFC)
3. Brandi van Eeuwen (Lethbridge RFC)
4. Danielle Rowlands (Calgary Hornets)
5. Maria Jaworski (Calgary Hornets)
6. Kelsey Willoughby (Lethbridge RFC)
7. Jen Kish ( Lep Tigers)
8. Kelly Russell (Capt) (Toronto Nomads)
9. Laura Stoughton (Calgary Hornets)
10. Ghislaine Landry (Toronto Scottish)
11. Julianne Zussman (Town of Mount Royal RFC)
12. Mandy Marchak (Capilano)
13. Andrea Burk (Capilano)
14. Cheryl Phillips (Toronto Scottish)
15. Brittany Waters (Meralomas)

Replacements:
16. Marie-Pier Pinault-Reid (Club de Rugby de Québec)
17. Ashley MacDonald (Lethbridge RFC)
18. Megan Gibbs (Markham Irish)
19. Kayla Mack (Wild Oats)
20. Julia Sugawara (Burnaby Lake RFC)
21. Jessica Dovanne (Velox Valkyries)
22. Arielle Dubissette-Borrice (Toronto Scottish)

England Women
15. Emily Scarratt (Lichfield)
14. Katherine Merchant (Worcester)
13. Claire Allan (Richmond)
12. Alice Richardson (Richmond)
11. Kay Wilson (Richmond)
10. Katy McLean (C) (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
9. La Toya Mason (Wasps)
1. Claire Purdy (Wasps)
2. Amy Garnett Saracens
3. Sophie Hemming (Bristol)
4. Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
5. Rowena Burnfield (Richmond)
6. Rebecca Essex (Richmond)
7. Margaret Alphonsi (VC) (Saracens)
8. Sarah Hunter (Lichfield)

Replacements:
16. Vicky Fleetwood (Lichfield)
17. Rochelle Clark (Worcester)
18. Jenny Brightmore (Worcester)
19. Marlie Packer (Bristol)
20. Natasha Hunt (Lichfield)
21. Sarah McKenna (Old Albanians Saints)
22. Michaela Staniford (Wasps)


August 27th - 2011 TriNations won by Australia after winning the decider against New Zealand.

 

 


Australia (20) 25

  • Tries: Genia, Samo, Beale
  • Cons: Cooper 2
  • Pens: Cooper 2

New Zealand (3) 20

  • Tries: Smith, Nonu
  • Cons: Carter 2
  • Pens: Carter 2

Australia put on an inspirational display in Brisbane to beat New Zealand and secure their first Tri-Nations title since 2001 and only third ever. The victory also ends a nine match TriNations losing streak for the Wallabies against the All Blacks.

Australia outscored the All Blacks by three tries to two but Dan Carter finished the tournament as the leading point scorer on 36 points.

The All Blacks almost staged one of the great TriNations comebacks as they trailed 20-3 at half time but scored 17 points in 19 minutes to level the scores with 21 minutes left on the clock. However shortly after the All Blacks had levelled the scores Will Genia broke and took Digby Ioane and Kurtley Beale with him and Ioane sent Beale in for a match and tournament winning try.

Whilst Beale's try won the match one of the most memorable and sublime moments of the match came in the first half as Radike Samo ran 50m to score a sensational try for the Wallabies.

The loss may have come at an extra cost for the All Blacks as they lost Kieran Read and Adam Thomson in the first half.

In a seesawing second-half, New Zealand rallied with 17 unanswered points via tries to centres Conrad Smith and Ma'a Nonu to level it at 20-all on the hour before Australia rebounded again a minute later when fullback Kurtley Beale crossed out wide for the deciding try.

Quade Cooper missed the sideline conversion and another penalty in the 72nd minute, allowing New Zealand to stay in contention and keep tension high in the crowd of 51,858, but the Australians held on for their first win over the All Blacks in Brisbane since 1992 and claim their first Tri-Nations title since 2001.

The defeat means the All Blacks go into the World Cup opener against Tonga on 9 September on the back of consecutive losses to Australia and defending world champions South Africa, who finished bottom of the Tri-Nations table.

It was the last match in the Tr-Nations format before Argentina join to make it a four-team tournament next year.

Match Officials:
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: Craig Joubert (South Africa), Cobus Wessels (South Africa)
Television match official: Matt Goddard (Australia)

Teams :

Australia: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Anthony Fainga'a, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Radike Samo, 7 David Pocock, 6 Rocky Elsom, 5 James Horwill, 4 Dan Vickerman, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Sekope Kepu.

Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 Salesi Ma'afu, 18 Rob Simmons, 19 Ben McCalman, 20 Scott Higginbotham, 21 Luke Burgess, 22 Rob Horne.

All Blacks: Mils Muliaina, Cory Jane, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Zac Guildford, Daniel Carter, Piri Weepu, Kieran Read, Richie McCaw, Adam Thomson, Sam Whitelock, Brad Thorn, Owen Franks, Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock.

Reserves: Andrew Hore, John Afoa, Ali Williams, Victor Vito, Andy Ellis, Colin Slade, Isaia Toeava.


The 2011 Rugby World cup held in New Zealand.


Re-enactment Game Celebrates first Rugby game in New Zealand

On September 20th, 2011, Nelson celebrated a game which took place 141 years ago, on May 14, 1870, at 2pm, when 36 enthusiastic young Kiwis played the first game of Rugby in New Zealand between a Nelson College side and the Nelson Football Club. History records that a crowd of around 200 "including a fair sprinkling of ladies" gathered at The Botanics to watch the new version of football.

2011 reenactment Nelson
Re-enactment Game in Nelson September 20th, 2011

The re-enactment took place on the very same patch of turf, at the Botanical Reserve, a picturesque spot that’s become known as the “Birthplace of New Zealand Rugby”, with the players dressed in clothing of the time and this time watched by thousands.

Off the field the 19th Century Band Rotunda made a comeback as the stage for local brass bands, quartets and ensembles. Food stalls served Devonshire teas, cucumber sandwiches and high teas.

The re-enactment was part of the REAL New Zealand Festival and was followed by a procession through Nelson to Trafalgar Park. The event was also part of the build-up to the Rugby World Cup 2011 match between Italy v Russia at Trafalgar Park and a fitting tribute to the birth of New Zealand Rugby.

Who first brought Rugby to New Zealand? Charles Monro


September 26th - Stephan Jones becomes the most capped Welshman after he wins his 101st cap for Wales in the 20111 RWC to overtake the previous record holder Gareth Thomas (on 100 caps).

The setting for his first cap was Pretoria's Loftus Versfeld on the darkest day in Welsh rugby's history, a record 96‑13 defeat with only a Naka Drotske fumble preventing the Springboks from reaching three figures.


October 9th, 2011

After almost four years as South Africa head coach Peter de Villiers has confirmed that his team's 11-9 defeat by Australia in their Rugby World Cup 2011 quarter-final on Sunday will be his last match in charge.

"It was a brilliant journey, something that none of you guys (the media) can take away from me," he said. "There's a time to come and a time to go. So I think the journey for me is over." - De Villiers.

For such a polarising figure his record as South Africa coach reads well. Since taking over on 1 January, 2008 he has been in charge for 48 matches, recording 30 wins and 18 losses, making him the fourth most successful coach in Springboks history by win percentage.

His biggest triumph was the 2-1 series victory over the touring British and Irish Lions team in 2009 and he also led the team to the Tri Nations title that year.

Outgoing South Africa captain John Smit said that despite his unique leadership style the team had an enormous amount of respect for de Villiers.

"As much as the pain flows through the heart right now, the other thing that was said in the changing room by many a guy was that we have had a great four years together and that had been pioneered by Peter. Not the usual mould of coach that any of us have been used to, but one that we have thoroughly enjoyed over the four years. He's been a great man and he's helped us enjoy these four years and it's disappointing to end it like this." - South Africa captain John Smit

October 9th, 2011 - Victor Matfield Retires from International Rugby

Victor Matfield

Matfield won everything there was to win. He retired with 110 international caps for South Africa (the most capped Springbok lock at the time of his retirement), with a World Cup (2007), a Lions series and two Tri-Nations titles (2004 & 2009) to his name. With the Bulls, he won three Currie Cups (2002, 2004 & 2009) and three Super Rugby titles (2007, 2009 & 2010).

It was Harry Viljoen who first got Matfield into the Springbok set-up and the greatest Bok lock of the 1990s, Mark Andrews, played several Tests alongside the then young Matfield.

He made his debut on 30 June 2001 vs Italy in Port Elizabeth, aged 24 and his last test 9 October 2011 vs Australia in Wellington, aged 34.


November 7th, 2011 - League/Union Club Cooperation

The Rugby League club Wigan Warriors and Rugby Union's Saracens have announced a historic partnership between the two clubs, incorporating co-operation between the respective coaching teams and academies, player loans and a cross-code match. The association between the most successful club in English Rugby League and the current Premiership Rugby Union champions is founded on a shared desire to innovate, to grow and push boundaries on and off the field.

Joel Tomkins, 24, Wigan and England, will join Saracens with immediate effect.

"I will always be a proud Wiganer, but everybody in Rugby Union and Rugby League can see there is something very special happening at Saracens, and I can't wait to be part of it." - Joel Tomkins

 

"Joel wished to move to the South of England and take his chance at Rugby Union. Wigan would not step in the way of a player with such clear ideas to leave. He is joining an excellent club in Saracens."
"Wigan has grown close with Saracens through these and previous discussions and we are delighted and excited by the partnership between Wigan and Saracens we are announcing today. Both games have their own place separately but the synergy available from these two leading clubs working together is exceptional." - Ian Lenagan, Chairman of Wigan Warriors

 

"Wigan are a fantastic rugby club with a fantastic worldwide reputation, and we are really excited by the potential of this partnership as we share resources and knowledge to ensure each club is able to maximise its potential on and off the field." - Nigel Wray, chairman of Saracens

26 November, 2011 - Australia beat Barbarians

 

Barbarians (3) 11

  • Tries: Tomkins
  • Pens: Cipriani 2

Australia (18) 60

  • Tries: Ioane 2, Horwill 2, Turner 2, Horne, Samo
  • Cons: O'Connor 7
  • Pens: O'Connor
  • Drop-goal: O'Connor

Barbarians: Toeava, Tomkins, Fruean, Mortlock, Habana, Cipriani, Stringer, Guinazu, Mealamu, Marconnet, Shaw, Matfield, Kaino, Bergamasco, Thomson.

Replacements: Rabeni for Habana (41), Kenatale for Stringer (41), Perugini for Guinazu (41), Strauss for Mealamu (41), Bortolami for Shaw (41), White for Kaino (41). Not Used: Kahui.

Australia: Ashley-Cooper, Turner, Horne, Barnes, Ioane, O'Connor, Genia, Slipper, Polota-Nau, Ma'afu, Simmons, Sharpe, Higginbotham, Pocock, Dennis.

Replacements: Tapuai for Barnes (37), Phipps for Genia (53), Moore for Polota-Nau (50), Alexander for Ma'afu (50), Horwill for Sharpe (50), Hodgson for Pocock (51), Samo for Dennis (50).

Sin Bin: Ashley-Cooper (14), Slipper (29).

Att: 51,212

Ref: Romain Poite (France).


December 3rd - Shane Williams Retires

60,000 fans packed the Millennium stadium to say goodbye to one of Wales all time greats. Wales lost to Australia 18 - 24 but the crowd didn't seem to mind after Shane scored in the final seconds of the game. It was his 58th Welsh try, which improves his position as Wales's leading try-scorer and the third highest from any country in Test rugby, and his sixth against the Wallabies which, again, makes him Wales's top try-scorer against Australia. The winger ran first outside Berrick Barnes and then eluded Anthony Fainga'a to dive over in the corner, finishing the move with a somersault, a punch of both fists and a scream directed skywards.

Willliams has much to celebrate in his career with two Grand Slams, two Lions tours and three World Cups.

"The point about today was to beat Australia and that didn't happen but I couldn't have finished off my Test career any better than to score. I couldn't have scripted the last few seconds any better." - Shane Williams

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/article-2069539/Wales-18-Australia-24-Shane-Williams-scores-final-game.html#ixzz1fuSisWe8


December 5th - England Women take series against the world champions New Zealand

England take he series with two wins and a draw (10 - 0, 21 - 7 & 8 - 8).

“We have learned so much about ourselves since the world cup final 15 months ago but really this is just the starting point of where this England team can go. Having 12 players in Dubai for the IRB 7s where the team got to the final and six of our first choice players out injured, means that we are starting to show the real strength in depth we have got. We have been able to give massive opportunities to some youngsters in this series who have come through with flying colours and with two months to go before the Six Nations starts we are in good shape." - England Head Coach Gary Street

December 7th - First IRB Women’s Sevens Challenge Cup

Canada has made history in women’s rugby, claiming the first IRB Women’s Sevens Challenge Cup.

The Canadians produced a display of pace and power to beat England 26-7 and capture the title at the eight-team tournament on the weekend, propelling Canada to the top of the world women’s sevens rankings.

“I love captaining these girls, I have played with most of these girls for seven or eight years now. We all could not be happier. One of the most exciting things, though, for us is that we all feel we have so much more to give. We have improved, but we know that we can all get a lot better from here.” - Canada’s captain Mandy Marchak

The Canadians went a perfect 5-0 through the tournament that was the first IRB-sanctioned women’s sevens event. It was played alongside the men’s event of the HSBC Sevens World Series.

England scored first in Saturday’s final before Edmonton’s Jenn Kiss and Ghislaine Landry of Toronto replied with a try apiece to give Canada a 14-7 halftime lead.

Marchak, a Vancouver native, powered past multiple England defenders to put Canada up 19-7, then Ashley Steacy of Lethbridge, Alta., gathered up her own kick to sprint across the line for the game’s final try.

The title was the fifth this season for Canada’s women’s sevens team.

Canada had proved far too strong for rival United States in the semi-finals earlier in the day, crushing the Americans 36-0.

Cheryl Phillips of Toronto led Canada with two tries, while Landry, Marchak, Brittany Waters of Vancouver and Kayla Moleschi of Williams Lake, B.C., added one apiece.

Men’s and women’s rugby sevens will be on the Olympic program at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


December 12th - Jonny Wilkinson OBE Retires from International Rugby

Jonny played in 91 England and 6 Lions tests and scored 1,246 test points (108 drop goals, 338 conversions, 35 tries, 765 penalties) after becoming the first player to reach 1,000 test points.

Jonny leaving the field after winning the RWC (Photo: Tom Jenkins for the Guardian)

He first represented England at the age of 18 years and 314 days against Ireland, captained the side against Italy in 2003 and has since set national records for most conversions (162) and penalty goals (239), as well as dropped goals (36) and points.

His 150th conversion was of Danny Care’s try against Italy in February 2011 and he was the Investec Man of the Match when England beat Wales 23-19 at Twickenham six months later. In that game, he became England’s most capped back, overtaking Rory Underwood’s 85 appearances, and second most capped player.

Jonny’s England Test appearances have yielded 65 victories and he would have won many more caps except for the intervention of 13 different injuries, including a dislocated left knee cap in October 2008 that ruled him out for eight months. A shoulder injury prompted his absence from the 2010 Internationals.

Stoicism, together with the belief that he would return mentally stronger every time, has run parallel with his enduring skills. He was voted the International Player of the Year for 2002 and the RPA Players’ Player the following year when he also became BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

Other honours include becoming only the third player to win the Golden Boot award by reaching 1,000 Premiership points. He expanded that total to 1,489 before switching to Toulon on a two-year contract for 2009-10 from Newcastle Falcons, the club he had joined from Lord Wandsworth College in 1997. December 2010, he signed an extended contract with French club that will keep him there until 2013.

Born in Frimley, Surrey, he began his playing days when four at Farnham RFC and later appeared for Hampshire, London and England Schools before being chosen for the national under 21s and enjoying captivating success on the world stage.

International Record:

  • England: 1,179 points – 6T, 162C, 239PG, 36DG Lions: 67 points – 1T, 7C, 16PG
  • England: 1998 I(R), A, NZ(1) 1999 S, I, F, W, A, USA, C World Cup - It, NZ, Fj, SA(R) 2000 I, F, W, It, S, SA(2), A, Arg, SA 2001 W, It, S, F, I, A, SA 2002 S, I, F, W, It, NZ, A, SA 2003 F, W, It, S, I, NZ, A, F World Cup - G, SA, Sam, W, F, A 2007 S, It, I, SA(1,2), W, F(R), F World Cup - Sam, Tg, A, F, SA 2008 W, It, F, S, I(R) 2009 A, Arg, NZ 2010 W, It, I, S, F(R), A(1R,2R) 2011 W(R), It(R), F(R), S(R), I (R), W, I World Cup - Arg, R, S, F
  • Lions: 2001 A(1,2,3) 2005 Arg, NZ (1,2)


“I would like to take this opportunity to announce my retirement from international rugby. To do so fills me with great sadness, but I know that I have been blessed in so many ways to have experienced what I have with the England rugby team."

“I never ever believed that I would be able to give up on this dream which has driven me to live, breathe, love and embrace the game of rugby from the earliest days that I can remember."

“I certainly have no intention of letting this decision change the way that I approach my training and preparation for games. In fact, early indication shows me that I’m actually getting more intense about it."

“Playing the game, representing the team, giving my all and never letting go has meant everything to me. I do, have done and always will believe that I am very capable of performing and thriving at any level of the sport. “The time has come, however, for me to realise that I have gone as far as I can go with this England team and that the time is right for others to enjoy the same honour and pride that I have felt over the past 15 seasons and beyond."

“I have far too many people to thank for what I have been able to achieve, but as always, it starts with my mum and dad, my brother Mark, my girlfriend Shelley, Steve Black, Tim Buttimore and Dave Alred as well as the rest of my family and friends."

“I can never give enough credit to all my team-mates from over the years, and my physios, surgeons, doctors and coaches, too, who have unconditionally helped me through all kinds of thick and thin."

“Finally, I would like to show my enormous appreciation and gratitude to all the true followers of the game who have given me way, way more time and support than it has ever been reasonable for one person to ask for. You will never truly understand the effect you have all had on me and my career."

“To say I have played through four World Cups, two Lions tours, 91 international games and a ridiculous number of injuries and other setbacks gives me an incredibly special feeling of fulfilment. But by now I know myself well enough to know that I will never truly be satisfied! "

“It goes without saying that I would like to wish Stuart Lancaster, his coaches and the England squad every bit of success available to them. I would also very much like to extend those wishes to Martin Johnson, Brian Smith, Mike Ford, John Wells, Graham Rowntree and the rest of the England 2011 World Cup management team, who have been fantastic, and deserve people to know that."

“For me now, I will continue to focus ever harder on my goal of being the very best I can be with Toulon Rugby Club, and continue to embrace and enjoy wherever that path takes me. Thank you once again.” - Jonny Wilkinson


December 17th - First 3D Rugby Programme

The world's first 3D rugby match programme was produced for Leinster's Heineken Cup showdown with Bath. The novel creation, designed by O Publishing, included all the usual articles and features but throughout the programme images were enhanced and certain pages were given the 3D treatment.

3D programme
Special 3D glasses were also provided and the cost was €5.

December 21st - Chris Paterson retires from International Rugby

Scotland's record cap holder and points scorer Chris Paterson has announced his international retirement having amassed 809 points from 109 appearances, 12 of which as captain and 15 appearances in four RWC tournaments. Paterson scored 22 tries, kicked 90 conversions, landed three drop-goals and kicked 170 penalties in a long and distinguished Scotland career. Paterson has been deployed at full-back, wing and stand-off by a succession of managers and his last match was against England at the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.

Paterson was a product of the Galashiels Academy and Gala RFC and made his Scotland debut against Spain at the 1999 World Cup and became the youngest Scot to earn 50 caps, against South Africa in 2004 and became the only Scotland player to win 100 caps in the Six Nations match against Wales in 2010. He also became only the fifth player to score more than 400 points in the history of the Five/Six Nations duringthe 2011 competition.

Chris Patterson after winning 100 caps for Scotland (Photo credit SNS)

December 27th, 2011 - World-record attendance for a regular-season rugby club fixture

The premiership match between London rivals Harlequins and Saracens attracted a world-record attendance for a regular-season rugby club fixture. The crowd, confirmed by the Rugby Football Union, surpassed the 79,842 spectators who watched Paris-based Stade Francais play Clermont Auvergne in the French Top 14 on April 4, 2009.

The match, won 19-11 by reigning champions Saracens, is also a record for any premiership fixture. The crowd topped the 81,601 fans who attended the 2009 premiership final between Leicester Tigers and London Irish at Twickenham. This record was surpassed on Saturday 31 March 2012.

Harlequins (6) 11

  • Tries: Marler
  • Pens: Evans 2

Saracens (19) 19

  • Try: Strettle
  • Con: Farrell
  • Pens: Farrell 4

Harlequins: Brown; Stegman, Hooper, Turner-Hall, Monye; Evans, Care; Marler, Brooker, Johnston; Vallejos, Robson; Fa'asavalu, Robshaw, Easter.

Replacements: Williams for Stegman (34), Gray for Brooker (58), Fairbrother for Johnston (58).

Not Used: Lambert, Matthews, Wallace, Bolt, Clegg.

Saracens: Goode; Strettle, Farrell, B Barritt, Short; Hodgson, Stringer; Gill, Brits, Nieto; Borthwick, Kruis; Brown, Saull, Joubert.

Replacements: Wyles for Strettle (42), Stevens for Nieto (46), Botha for Kruis (50), Spencer for Stringer (60), Smit for Gill (60), Powell for Farrell (73), Wray for Brown (73), George for Brits (77).

Attendance: 82,000.

Referee: Wayne Barnes (RFU).


2012

February 25th, 2012 - Ronan O'Gara overtook O'Driscoll's appearance record when he came on for his 118th cap 10 minutes from time in the Ireland vs. Italy 6 nations game.

 

 

IRELAND (17) 42

  • Tries: Earls, Bowe 2, Court, Trimble
  •  
  • Cons: Sexton 4
  •  
  • Pens: Sexton 3

ITALY (10) 10

  • Try: Parisse
  •  
  • Con: Botes
  •  
  • Pen: Botes

Saturday 31 March 2012 - New World Record Crowd for a club match

Aviva Premiership game between Saracens and Harlequins at Wembley
sets a new world record attendance for a club rugby match (83,671)

The Aviva Premiership Rugby clash between Saracens and Harlequins at Wembley set a new world record attendance for a club rugby match of 83,671.

The bumper crowd beats the previous world record of 82,208 fans that watched the Leinster versus Munster Heineken Cup semi-final in May 2009 as well as topping the recent Aviva Premiership record attendance of 82,000 at the Harlequins vs Saracens league fixture in December 2011.

Commenting on the new world record, Nigel Wray, Saracens' chairman, said: "Everyone at the club is delighted with this record-breaking crowd and I'd like to pay tribute to the huge team who brought this wonderful day together.

"Seeing so many rugby supporters at Wembley, enjoying a great family occasion, certainly made me feel very proud."

The innovative London club has worked closely with sponsors on the fixture including Premiership Rugby's title sponsor's Aviva, to promote the top-of-the-table clash that also saw a host of additional entertainment, including performances by chart topping band McFly, who played both before kick-off and at half-time.

"These Wembley games have proven to be a great success with supporters," said Kevin Peake, Director of Brand, Sponsorship & CR at league title sponsors' Aviva.

"As well as being able to watch the most exciting and competitive club rugby anywhere in the world, the high profile venue, music acts and other entertainment have clearly helped to attract a much broader audience than simply rugby fans."

Credit: http://www.rugbyweek.com


April 5th, 2012 - England Women's 25th anniversary

Twenty-five year anniversary of England Women's first international rugby match. On a spring day at Pontypool RFC in Wales, England’s first ever 22 female rugby players ran out against a Welsh team who were also enjoying their first ever taste of international rugby. Only a handful of spectators were there to witness this significant day in the history of the women’s game, but for England their first tentative footsteps into the international arena ended in success with a 22-4 victory.

The stars of that victory included names such as Nicola Ponsford, MBE, who is the current Acting Managing Director of the Rugby Football Union for Women (RFUW) and England Women’s Head of Performance, as well as Carol Isherwood, OBE, who is a RFUW Board Member and also holds a seat on the International Rugby Board (IRB) Committee.

“My abiding memory of that first ever international match was that it was an amazing experience but one where we were finding our feet,” said Ponsford, who started at hooker in that match. “We stayed in a youth hostel, and our match preparation included taking our walk and stretch on the swings in the park!

“The game itself was all a bit of a blur. It was much faster than we had played before. There was a lot of mauling and I seemed to be stuck in the middle of all of them. There were a few people watching, but mainly family and friends and a few interested spectators who seemed baffled that women were actually playing rugby. We also played in big, baggy white cotton shirts that we had to pay for.”

Since then England and the Women’s Game has come a long way. England have played 186 international test matches, including playing Wales 29 times and losing just one match against them in that 25 year period. That phenomenal record has continued for England who have since gone on to win 165 matches, draw two, and lose just 23 games. England have also won the Six Nations a record breaking eight times, including seven Grand Slams, since the tournament first began in 2003.

Despite England’s impressive record they have surprisingly only won the Women’s Rugby World Cup once and that was in 1994, although England have come close on four occasions, making the final in 1991, 2002, 2006 and 2010. Ponsford, who went on to win 50 caps for England, was part of that historic 1994 winning side. England took the title by beating the USA 38-23 in the final in Edinburgh.

“Since being involved in the first ever game there have been many highlights but certainly winning the Rugby World Cup in 1994 ranks as one of my best memories, alongside helping to organise the first Women’s Rugby World Cup in 1991 and England hosting the 2010 Rugby World Cup which proved to be the most successful Women’s Rugby World Cup ever.”

 

The 2010 Rugby World Cup, hosted by the RFU, in London was certainly a landmark tournament for Women’s Rugby globally. The tournament broke new ground with record breaking broadcasting and media exposure, whilst pool matches were sold out and the final, at the Twickenham Stoop, witnessed the biggest ever crowd at a women’s XVs match of over 13,000 people.

Since then it has been non-stop for England, the RFUW and the RFU who are at the forefront of growing and developing the Women’s Game. England now regularly play their home games on the hallowed turf of Twickenham Stadium, whilst live television coverage is becoming a regular occurrence.

And the enthusiasm is growing at the grass roots level of the game too with currently 13,645 women and girls playing rugby in England –that’s an increase of 87 percent since records began in 2004/05. Worldwide, Women's Rugby is one of the fastest-growing forms of the Game with over 200,000 registered women actively competing in XVs and Sevens and 800,000 women and girls participating in leisure rugby in all its forms.

With Rugby Sevens also now on the Olympic agenda, which the game making its debut in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, the game is set to reach new heights. This season has seen the introduction of the IRB Women’s Sevens Challenge Cup with the worlds’ best Sevens teams competing over three tournaments, in Dubai, Hong Kong and London, alongside the men’s HSBC World Sevens Series, whilst next season the IRB are looking to introduce a new Women’s World Sevens Series.

Ponsford added: “The game has developed so much since I first became involved and it has developed only for the better. I was the first ever paid employee but now we have a wonderful, extremely talented team at Twickenham with massive support from the RFU, as well as the likes of Sport England, the English Institute of Sport and our various sponsors. Club level, there is now over 300 teams playing rugby in England and we hope that one day soon girls’ rugby will become a first choice sport in schools across the country.

“At the top level we have around 400 players in the England system. Although we have not won a world cup in 18 years I am confident that soon our time will come. We are also experiencing exciting times in Sevens Rugby too and I hope that in 2016 both the men and women’s Great Britain teams will be in fighting contention to win two gold medals.”

 

 

In recognition of this historic day the World Rugby Museum at Twickenham Stadium is hosting a special exhibition entitled England Women’s Rugby – A Continuing Success. The new display shows a range of objects that highlight the increasing success of both English and international Women’s Rugby. The display is located at the entrance to the museum exhibition area, and will run until July 2012.

Credit: RFU.com


May 19th, 2012 Final: Leinster 42-14 Ulster

 

 

 

LEINSTER (14) 42

  • Tries: O'Brien, Healy, Penalty, Van der Merwe, Cronin

  • Cons: Sexton (3), McFadden

  • Pens: Sexton (3)

ULSTER (6) 14

  • Try: Tuohy

  • Pens: Pienaar (3)

Leinster crushed a spirited Ulster, in front of a record final crowd of 81,744, by a record Heineken Cup final-winning margin to become the first side to win three titles in four years.

Leinster: R Kearney, F McFadden, B O'Driscoll, G D'Arcy, I Nacewa, J Sexton, E Reddan; C Healy, R Strauss, M Ross, L Cullen (capt), B Thorn, K McLaughlin, S O'Brien, J Heaslip.

Replacements: S Cronin (for Strauss, 67), H Van der Merwe (for Healy, 62), N White (for Ross, 69), D Toner (for Cullen, 58), S Jennings (for McLaughlin, 62), I Boss (for Reddan, 74), I Madigan (for Sexton,74), D Kearney (blood for O'Driscoll, 67-73).

Ulster: S Terblanche, A Trimble, D Cave, P Wallace, C Gilroy, P Jackson, R Pienaar; T Court, R Best, J Afoa, J Muller (capt), D Tuohy, S Ferris, C Henry, P Wannenburg.

Replacements: N Brady (for Brady, 77), P McAllister (for Court, 75), D Fitzpatrick (for Afoa, 74), L Stevenson (for Tuohy, 77), W Faloon (for Henry, 67), P Marshall (for Humphreys, 70), I Humphreys (for Jackson, 46), A D'Arcy (for Cave, 77.

Yellow card: Terblanche (73)

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)


May 26, 2012 Aviva Premiership Final Harlequins 30-23 Leicester Tigers

Attendance: 81779  Half-time: 14 - 13

 

HARLEQUINS (14) 30

  • Tries: Williams, Robshaw
  •  
  • Cons: Evans
  •  
  • Pens: Evans 6

LEICESTER (13) 23

  • Tries: Mafi, Allen
  •  
  • Cons: Ford 2
  •  
  • Pens: Ford 3

 

Harlequins skipper Chris Robshaw shows his delight with the Premiership trophy Credit - Getty Images

Harlequins won their first ever English title with a thrilling Premiership final victory over Leicester Tigers.

Three Nick Evans penalties and a try from Tom Williams gave Quins a one-point half-time lead as Steve Mafi's try and eight points from teenager George Ford kept Tigers close.

Evans then kicked three penalties and converted Chris Robshaw's try.

Anthony Allen crossed for Tigers and Ford converted and landed a late penalty, but Harlequins held on.

Harlequins: 
Brown; Williams, Lowe, Turner-Hall, Monye; Evans, Care; Marler, Gray, Johnston, Kohn, Robson, Fa'asavalu, Robshaw, Easter.

Replacements: Buchanan, Lambert, Collier, Vallejos, Guest, Dickson, Clegg, Hopper.

Leicester: 
Murphy; Agulla, M Tuilagi, Allen, A Tuilagi; Ford, B Youngs; Ayerza, Chuter, Cole, Skivington, Parling, Mafi, Salvi, Waldrom.

Replacements: T Youngs, Mulipola, Castrogiovanni, Kitchener, Newby, Harrison, Hamilton, Twelvetrees.

Referee: Wayne Barnes (RFU).


May 31st, 2012

Ospreys' Paul James and Shane Williams, right, celebrate victory against Leinster in the Pro 12 final. Photograph credit: Niall Carson/PA

Shane Williams scored a sensational late double in his final club game and Dan Biggar added a touchline conversion to hand the Ospreys the RaboDirect PRO12 title with a 31-30 win over Leinster at the RDS.

Isa Nacewa's opportunistic double had looked set to deny Williams on his final appearance as Leinster attempted to become the first team to complete the domestic and European double since Wasps in 2004.

And having been denied in similar circumstances a year ago against Munster, Leinster were desperate to back up their European win over Ulster last weekend.

After a good start from the Ospreys, the Irish side settled into their groove with tries from Sean Cronin and Nacewa giving them an eight-point lead at the break at the RDS.

However the Ospreys were showing the form that saw them cruise past reigning champions Munster in the semi-final and fought back thanks to a try from Ashley Beck.

Two penalties from Jonathan Sexton appeared to be taking the game away from the Ospreys only for Williams to score his first of the game in the corner.

But again Leinster stepped it up when they had to as Nacewa grabbed his second but when Nathan White was sent to the sin bin, Williams popped up to score his second try and Biggar held his nerve to win the game.

The Ospreys made the quicker start and Biggar made no mistake with his first effort from wide on the left to give the Ospreys the first points of the game, but Sexton responded immediately to level things up.

Biggar added another penalty to make it 6-3 but Leinster had looked the stronger side up to then and eventually the pressure told as they took advantage of poor control at the back of a strong Ospreys scrum to set up Cronin.

Leinster mounted a series of attacks before Brian O'Driscoll showed some great footwork and handed the ball on to Cronin who went through a gap in the Ospreys' defensive line to score the opening try. Sexton's conversion made it 10-6.

With seven minutes remaining in the first half the Ospreys scrum, which proved the stronger all game, got the better of their Leinster counterparts and Biggar carried on his perfect kicking display to make it 10-9.

But the Ospreys then switched off completely from the restart and Nacewa claimed Sexton's kick to sprint over unchallenged for Leinster's second try. Sexton found the target to put Leinster 17-9 up with four minutes left in the half.

The Ospreys responded with a couple of powerful scrums on the Leinster line and loosehead Heinke van der Merwe was sent to the sin bin. But despite two more scrum penalties the Irish side held out to lead 17-9 at half-time.

The visitors were clearly frustrated but came out flying in the second half and Beck collected a great offload from Joe Bearman to sprint in from the 22 despite the attentions of Sexton. Biggar added the simple conversion to bring the Ospreys back to within a point.

However again the Ospreys failed to deal with the restart and conceded a penalty straightaway which Sexton slotted to stretch the lead back to four.

With Leinster restored to a full complement they earned another penalty which Sexton knocked over from 30 metres out as the Irish side led 23-16 with half an hour remaining.

Just before the hour the Ospreys used the ball off the back of a lineout and sent it wide where Williams showed his finishing ability to race over in the corner despite the attentions of Eoin Reddan. But Biggar missed the conversion to tie it.

That stung Leinster into action and after a loose pass from Jonathan Sexton deep inside the Ospreys 22, Nacewa reacted quickest to grab his second try.

But when the Ospreys scrum again got on top, White was sent to the bin, and with the Ospreys on the attack Williams slipped between two tackles to dot down in the right corner.

Biggar's conversion attempt could not have been more difficult but the fly-half showed nerves of steel to split the uprights.

And despite some late drama as the Ospreys failed to kick the ball out with the 80 minutes up, the Welsh side got the ball back to win the title for the second time in three years.

See Pro12 past season results here

Credit: RaboDirectPRO12.com


June 3rd, 2012 - Martyn Williams & Shane Williams confirm retirements

 

 

Martyn Williams (100 caps) and Shane Williams confirm their retirements in the wake of Wales' 30-21 win over the Barbarians.

WALES (13) 30

  • Tries: Robinson, Hook, Brew
  •  
  • Cons: Hook 3
  •  
  • Pens: Hook 3

BARBARIANS (14) 21

  • Tries: Donald 2, Rees
  •  
  • Cons: Donald 3

Wales: Liam Williams (Scarlets); Harry Robinson (Blues), Andrew Bishop (Ospreys), James Hook (Perpignan), Aled Brew (Dragons); Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Lloyd Williams (Blues); Rhys Gill (Saracens), Matthew Rees (Scarlets, capt), Rhodri Jones (Scarlets), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Ian Evans (Ospreys), Josh Turnbull (Scarlets), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Ryan Jones (Ospreys).

Replacements: Richard Hibbard (Ospreys, for Rees, 68), Paul James (Ospreys, for Gill, ), Aaron Shingler (Scarlets, for Ryan Jones, 51), Martyn Williams (Blues, for Alun Wyn Jones, 46), Rhys Webb (Ospreys, for Lloyd Williams, 51), Adam Warren (Scarlets, for Biggar, 64), Will Harries (Dragons, for Robinson, 68).

Not used: Paul James.

Barbarians: Mils Muliaina; Isa Nacewa, Casey Laulala, Mike Tindall, Shane Williams; Stephen Donald, Richie Rees; Duncan Jones, Benoit August, John Smit (capt), Mick O'Driscoll, Matt Chisholm, Francois Louw, Johnnie Beattie, Mamuka Gorgodze.

Replacements: Cedric Heymans for Muliaina (66), Sailosi Tagicakibau for Laulala (46), Aled de Malmanche for August (40), Neemia Tialata for Smit (46), Anton van Zyl for O'Driscoll (40).

Not Used: Qera, Lawson.

Referee: Alain Rolland (Irish RFU)

TMO: Nigel Whitehouse (WRU)


June 5th Australia 6 Scotland 9

AUSTRALIA (3) 6

  • Pens: Harris 2

SCOTLAND (6) 9

  • Pens: Laidlaw 3

Greig Laidlaw held his nerve to knock over a penalty in time added on as Scotland secured their first win in Australia since 1982.

Australia: Morahan, Tomane, A. Faingaa, Harris, Ioane, Barnes, Genia, Slipper, Moore, Palmer, Timani, Sharpe, Dennis, Pocock, Higginbotham.Replacements: Alexander for Palmer (70), Simmons for Timani (55), Hooper for Dennis (65). Not Used: S. Faingaa, Phipps, McCabe, Ashley-Cooper.

Scotland: Hogg, Ansbro, De Luca, Scott, Lamont, Laidlaw, Blair, Grant, Ford, Murray, Kellock, Gray, Strokosch, Rennie, Barclay.Replacements: Brown for Lamont (39), Cusiter for Blair (64). Not Used: Lawson, Welsh, Ryder, Vernon, Weir.

Att: 20,000

Ref: Jaco Peyper (South Africa).


June 25th USA Eagles record crowd for a home international

USA Eagles 10, Italy 30.

The USA Eagles broke new ground with a record crowd of 17,241 attending the teams home match vs Italy in Houston, Texas. It set a record for the highest ever crowd in the United States of America for test rugby. It was a groundbreaking match all for the simple reason that it saw the USA, a Tier Two country, hosting Italy, a Tier One country. Such fixtures have been very rare since the advent of professionalism. The success of the occassion is a further indication of everything that can be gained from Argentina hosting Rugby World Cup 2023.  While Japan will be the first Tier Two host, in 2019 the Americas will be the only region to never have hosted a Rugby World Cup. 

USA
15 Chris Wyles
14 James Paterson
13 Paul Emerick
12 Andrew Suniula 
11 Luke Hume
10 Roland Suniula
9 Mike Petri
8 Todd Clever
7 Scott LaValla
6 Taylor Mokate
5 Brian Doyle
4 Lou Stanfill
3 Eric Fry
2 Chris Biller
1 Shawn Pittman

Reserves: 16 Derek Asbun, 17 Mike MacDonald, 18 Andre Liufau, 19 Andrew Durutalo, 20 Mose Timoteo, 21 Will Holder, 22 Colin Hawley

Italy 
15 Luke McLean
14 Giovambattista Venditi
13 Roberto Quartaroli
12 Luca Morisi
11 Tommaso Benvenuti
10 Riccardo Bocchino
9 Edoardo Gori
8 Robert Barbieri
7 Mauro Bergamasco
6 Alessandro Zanni
5 Joshua Furno
4 Antonio Pavanello
3 Martín Castrogiovanni
2 Carlo Festuccia
1 Alberto De Marchi
2 Carlo Festuccia

Reserves: 16 Davide Giazzon, 17 Michele Rizzo, 18 Tommaso D’Apice, 19 Simone Favaro, 20 Tito Tebaldi, 21 Kris Burton, 22 Alberto Sgarbi

 


August 18th, 2012 - Argentina play their first game in the Rugby Championship

Zane Kirchner, Marcell Coetzee and Bryan Habana grabbed tries as South Africa brushed Argentina aside 27-6 at Newlands on Saturday in their opening match in the inaugural Rugby Championship.

Flyhalf Morne Steyn steered South Africa to victory, booting three conversions and two penalties and also helping to set up two of the three tries.

Argentina's points came from two penalties by flyhalf Juan Martin Hernandez.

South Africa Argentina
Tries Kirchner (16), Coetzee (27), Habana (56) Tries none
Cons M Steyn (17, 28, 57) Cons none
Pens M Steyn (3, 24) Pens Hernandez (13, 30)

Read more about the Rugby Championship


Sept 1st, 2012 - Television match official (TMO) rules changed for the opening of the English premiorship in the first game at Twickenham where Harlequins staged a superb fightback to open the defence of their title with a 42-40 win over Wasps.

Introduction of new rules expanding the influence of the television match official (TMO) in the English Premiorship.

During the game Wasps thought they had scored through Varndell on the stroke of half-time but the try was chalked off after the TMO confirmed a forward pass early in the move. Had this game been last season - or not broadcast live on ESPN - Varndell's try would have stood.

One of the key questions includes h ow far back before an incident should the TMO go to review the play?

The debate over the TMO's influence rages on.


October - Andes survivivors play Rugby 40 years after disaster (credit www.bbc.co.uk)

Survivors of a plane crash in the Andes who were kept alive by eating the bodies of the victims have played a rugby match in Chile to mark the 40th anniversary of the accident.

The Uruguayan team was travelling from Montevideo to Santiago to play against against a local team when their plane crashed in 1972. Sixteen of the 45 passengers survived in sub-zero temperatures for 72 days.

Twelve members of the Uruguayan team travelled to Chile to play the match.

Former members of the Uruguayan rugby club honour their friends who died in the 1972 plane crash

"I think the sadness of eating a dead human body was the greatest sadness of my entire life," crash survivor Roberto Canessa told the Associated Press news agency. But he said preserving a human life justified eating human flesh: "I would want the same thing done if it had been my body dead on the ground."
 

Now in their 60s, the former members of Uruguayan amateur rugby club Christian Brothers held a minute of silence and unveiled a plaque with the photos of those who died in the crash on 13 October 1972.

The same Chilean helicopter that was used to rescue them re-enacted the operation before the match in Santiago.

They were located after two passengers took a chance and left on a 10-day trek. The farmer who first spotted them and called the emergency services also attended the event.

On Friday, they were received at the presidential palace by Chilean President Sebastian Pinera.

Crash survivor Daniel Fernandez said the experience taught him how adaptable and resilient human beings can be.

"If somebody had told me that 'You're going to be put on a mountain, at an altitude of 4,000m (13,000ft), at 20C below zero, wearing short sleeves,' I would have said 'I'd survive 10 minutes' but I survived 72 days."

November 21st - RFU Championship select XV plays Maoris

Championship XV

History was made when a select RFU Championship XV, coached by Bedford Blues director of Rugby Mike Rayer, took on the touring Maori All Blacks at Doncaster’s Castle Park.

Blues winger Josh Bassett was handed a start while fellow Bedford stars Luke Baldwin, Jake Sharp and Mark Atkinson played a part as they came off the bench in the second half.

Unfortunately for the men from the second tier of English rugby, the visitors found their form after being beaten by Leicester Tigers, to run in eight tries during the 52-21 victory.

That said, The Championship XV left with their heads held high having played some fantastic rugby in huge chunks of the game and many will be left hoping that the league can continue to put forward a Barbarian-esque squad to face touring teams in the future.

The Maori side certainly showed the flair that makes them so popular to watch and difficult to play against in front of the Sky cameras and Waikato winger Declan O’Donnell was named man of the match.

Following an impressive Haka which delighted the Castle Park crowd, the Maori’s looked sluggish as the game began and the Championship XV certainly enjoyed the best of the opening 20 minutes and will have been disappointed to only score two Tristan Roberts penalties.

The visitors sparked into life soon afterwards with O’Donnell scoring their opening try but the Championship XV fired back with a try from home full-back Dante Mama who benefitted from some huge work by the forwards.

The Maori team had a bit too much cohesion for the scratch English side though with winger Kurt Baker and hooker Hika Elliot both scoring tries as the Maori side led 21-14 at half time – Roberts adding a penalty.

But the Maori team hit their straps in the second half. Full-back Trent Renata finished a good attack to score between the posts. Locks Elliot Dixon and Romana Graham got on the score sheet too as the Maori forwards powered up after the Championship XV made changes to their front row which had been massively impressive before the interval.

Half-back Frae Wilson capped a good game with his second try of the tour and the Maori scoring was completed by centre Jackson Willison crashing through.

The Championship XV had the final say though and it was Blues fly-half Sharp who had the vision to send a sweet chip over the Maori defence with Nottingham winger Rhys Crane latching on to the ball to score and Sharp dispatched the extras.

Maori All Blacks: T: Declan O’Donnell, Kurt Baker, Hika Elliot, Trent Renata, Elliot Dixon, Frae Wilson, Romana Graham, Jackson Willison. C:Willie Ripia 5, Renata..

Championship XV: T: Dante Mama, Rhys Crane. C: Tristan Roberts, Jake Sharp. P: Tristan Roberts 3.

Credit: Bedford Times & Citizen


December 1st - England Women seal a three match series win over New Zealand the reigning world champions

  • 23 Nov: England 16-13 New Zealand

England team: Danielle Waterman (Worcester), Katherine Merchant (Worcester), Emily Scarratt (Lichfield), Alice Richardson (Richmond), Michaela Staniford (Wasps); Katy McLean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks - capt), Natasha Hunt (Lichfield); Rochelle Clark (Worcester), Victoria Fleetwood (Lichfield), Laura Keates (Worcester), Tamara Taylor (Lichfield), Rowena Burnfield (Richmond), Heather Fisher (Worcester), Marlie Packer (Bristol), Sarah Hunter (Lichfield - vice-captain).

Replacements: Emma Croker (Richmond, for Fleetwood, 54), Rosemarie Crowley (Lichfield, for Keates, 52), Sophie Hemming (Bristol, for Clark, 52), Emily Braund (Lichfield, for Merchant, 74)), Alexandra Matthews (Richmond- for Packer, 52)), Georgina Gulliver (Lichfield, for Hunt, 40), Francesca Matthews (Richmond, for Hunt, 52), Joanne Watmore (Worcester, for Waterman, 8).

New Zealand: Selica Winiata, Halie Hurring, Claire Richardson, Kelly Brazier, Shakira Baker, Kendra Cocksedge, Emma Jensen; Ruth McKay, Fiao'o Faamausili (capt), Kathleen Wilton, Eloise Blackwell, Rawinia Everitt, Aroha Savage, Justine Lavea, Casey Robertson.

Replacements: Karina Stowers, Stephanie TeOhaere-Fox, Aleisha Nelson, Jackie Patea, Lydia Crossman, Zoey Berry, Victoria Nafatali, Hazel Tubic.

  • 27 Nov: England 17-8 New Zealand

England team: Emily Scarratt (Lichfield), Francesca Matthews (Richmond), Joanne Watmore (Worcester), Amber Reed (Bristol), Michaela Staniford (Wasps); Alice Richardson (Richmond); Natasha Hunt (Lichfield); Rosemarie Crowley (Lichfield), Emma Croker (Richmond), Sophie Hemming (Bristol), Tamara Taylor (Lichfield), Emily Braund (Lichfield), Alexandra Matthews (Richmond), Hannah Gallagher (Saracens), Sarah Hunter (capt - Lichfield).

Replacements: Victoria Fleetwood (Lichfield), Rochelle Clark (Worcester), Laura Keates (Worcester), Rowena Burnfield (Richmond), Marlie Packer (Bristol), La Toya Mason (Wasps), Ceri Large (Bristol), Katy McLean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks),

New Zealand: Selica Winiata, Hazel Tubic, Claire Richardson, Kelly Brazier, Shakira Baker, Kendra Cocksedge, Emma Jensen; Karina Stowers, Fiao'o Faamausili (capt), Kathleen Wilton, Eloise Blackwell, Rawinia Everitt, Aroha Savage, Justine Lavea, Casey Robertson.

Replacements: Ruth McKay, Stephanie TeOhaere-Fox, Aleisha Nelson, Jackie Patea, Lydia Crossman, Zoey Berry, Teresa Te Tamaki, Halie Hurring.

  • 1 Dec: England 32-23 New Zealand

England: Emily Scarratt; Katherine Merchant, Joanne Watmore, Alice Richardson, Michaela Staniford, Katy McLean, (capt), Natasha Hunt, Roz Crowley, Victoria Fleetwood, Laura Keates, Tamara Taylor, Rowena Burnfield, Heather Fisher, Marlie Packer, Sarah Hunter.

Replacements: Emma Croker (for Victoria Fleetwood 40 mins), Sophie Hemming (for Roz Crowley 49 mins ), Rochelle Clark (for Laura Keates 49 mins), Emily Braund (for Sarah Hunter 67 mins), Hannah Gallagher (for Marlie Packer 56 mins), La Toya Mason (for 9 Natasha Hunt 69 mins), Amber Reed (for Alice Richardson 76 mins), Francesca Matthews (for Michaela Staniford 56 mins).

New Zealand: Kelly Brazier; Selica Winiata, Shakira Baker, Claire Richardson, 11 Hazel Tubic; Kendra Cocksedge, Emma Jensen; Ruth McKay, Fiao'o Fa'amausili (capt), Stephanie TeOhaere-Fox, Eloise Blackwell, Rawina Everitt, Aroha Savage, Justine Lavea, Casey Robertson.

Replacements: 16 Karina Stowers (Auckland), 17 Kathleen Wilton (for 3 Stephanie TeOhaere-Fox 53 mins), 18 Aleisha Nelson (for Kathleen Wilton 76 mins), 19 Jackie Patea (for Eloise Blackwell 58 mins), 20 Lydia Crossman (for Casey Robertson 49 mins) Teresa Te Tamaki (for Emma Jensen 64 mins), 22 Anika Tiplady (Otago), 23 Halie Hurring (for Hazel Tubic 40 mins).

Referee: Sherry Trumball (Canada)

New Zealand have previously beaten England in three world cup finals:

  • 2010: New Zealand 13-10 England
  • 2006: New Zealand 25-17 England
  • 2002: New Zealand 19-9 England

  • 1st December - England Men beat the reigning world champions New Zealand

    The All Blacks were previously unbeaten in 20 matches stretching back to August 2011. Only once in 498 Tests have New Zealand been beaten by a bigger margin.

    England had been beaten 16-15 by South Africa and 20-14 by Australia in games immediately preceding the game.

    ENGLAND (12) 38

    • Try: Barritt, Ashton, Tuilagi
    •  
    • Cons: Farrell
    •  
    • Pens: Farrell 4, Burns 2 
    • Drop-goal:Farrell

    NEW ZEALAND (0) 21

    • Tries: Savea 2, Read
    •  
    • Cons: Carter 2, Cruden

    England: Goode; Ashton, Tuilagi, Barritt, Brown; Farrell, B Youngs; Corbisiero, T Youngs, Cole, Launchbury, Parling, Wood, Robshaw, Morgan.

    Replacements: Joseph for Tuilagi (66), Burns for Farrell (64), Care for B Youngs (68), Vunipola for Corbisiero (66), Paice for T Youngs (72), Wilson for Cole (72), Lawes for Launchbury (66), Haskell for Morgan (57).

    Sin Bin: Vunipola (74).

    New Zealand: Dagg; Jane, C Smith, Nonu, Savea; Carter, A Smith; Woodcock, Mealamu, O Franks, Retallick, S Whitelock, Messam, McCaw, Read.

    Replacements: B Smith for Dagg (71), Cruden for Carter (64), Weepu for A Smith (64), Crockett for Woodcock (66), Coles for Mealamu (62), Faumuina for O Franks (52), Romano for Retallick (48), Vito for Messam (63).

    Att: 82,000

    Ref: George Clancey (RFU).


    2013

    Six Nations Penalty Fest - March 9th 2013

    More penalty kicks awarded than in any other international.

    There were an incredible 19 kicks at goal, 18 of them from penalties. Leigh Halfpenny missed three penalties in a row but still finished with 23 points, courtesy of seven penalty successes and a conversion. Greig Laidlaw kicked six out of eight for the Scots.

    Final score: Scotland 18 Wales 28

    Scotland: 15-Stuart Hogg, 14-Sean Maitland, 13-Sean Lamont, 12-Matt Scott, 11-Tim Visser, 10-Duncan Weir, 9-Greig Laidlaw; 1-Ryan Grant, 2-Ross Ford, 3-Euan Murray, 4-Richie Gray, 5-Jim Hamilton, 6-Robert Harley, 7-Kelly Brown, 8-Johnnie Beattie.

    Replacements: 16-Dougie Hall, 17-Moray Low, 18-Geoff Cross, 19-Alastair Kellock, 20-Ryan Wilson, 21-Henry Pyrgos, 22-Ruaridh Jackson, 23-Max Evans

    Wales: 15-Leigh Halfpenny, 14-Alex Cuthbert, 13-Jonathan Davies, 12-Jamie Roberts, 11-George North, 10-Dan Biggar, 9-Mike Phillips; 1-Paul James, 2-Richard Hibbard, 3-Adam Jones, 4-Alun Wyn Jones, 5-Ian Evans, 6-Ryan Jones (captain), 7-Sam Warburton, 8- Toby Faletau.

    Replacements: 16-Ken Owens, 17-Scott Andrews, 18-Ryan Bevington, 19-Andrew Coombs, 20-Justin Tipuric, 21-Lloyd Williams, 22-James Hook, 23-Scott Williams.

    Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)

    Assistant referees: Glen Jackson (New Zealand) and Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa)

    TMO: Giulio De Santis (Italy)


    June 2013 South Africa's Habana enters record books

    The South African Rugby Union (SARU) called winger Bryan Habana an iconic player on Monday after he became the first Springbok and just the sixth man in history to score 50 Test tries.

    Habana's second try against Samoa in South Africa's 56-23 win on Saturday took him level with former England winger Rory Underwood and tied for fifth on the all-time list.

    Only Japanese wingers Hirotoki Onozawa (55 tries) and all-time leader Daisuke Ohata (69), Wales' Shane Williams (60) and Australia's David Campese (64) have scored more Test tries.

    Habana's 50 came in 86 Tests and SARU President Oregan Hoskins said the 2007 World Cup winner had "set a mark that will take a very special player to eclipse".

    Five-eighth Morne Steyn became the second South African to pass 500 Test points in the match against Samoa.


    June 2013 Japan 23 Wales 8

    Wales wilted in the searing heat of Tokyo as they suffered a first ever loss against Japan, who thoroughly deserved their historic win.

    Wales had a difficult task in fielding a strong side, depleted by 15 call-ups to the British & Irish Lions squad and injuries to the likes of Ashley Beck, Scott Williams and Ken Owens.

    But even with an entire matchday squad missing, the reigning Six Nations champions will still have been expected to beat a team against whom they had scored 463 points in their seven meetings prior to this tour — at an average of 66 points per game.


    2013 Lions win Tour to Australia 2 - 1

    The British and Irish Lions ended a 16-year wait for a series win with a stunning second-half demolition of Australia in a pulsating decider in Sydney.

    Leading 19-10 at half-time via an early Alex Corbisiero try and four Leigh Halfpenny penalties, the Lions roared to victory with three scores inside 12 minutes.

    First series win in 16 years {picture credit - Getty}

    Third test

    AUSTRALIA (10) 16

    • Tries: O'Connor
    • Conversions: Leali'ifano 
    • Penalties: Leali'ifano (3)

    BRITISH AND IRISH LIONS (19) 41

    • Tries: Corbisiero, Sexton, North, Roberts
    • Conversions: Halfpenny (3)
    • Penalties: Halfpenny (5)

    Australia: Kurtley Beale, Israel Folau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Christian Leali'ifano, Joe Tomane, James O'Connor, Will Genia; Benn Robinson, Stephen Moore, Ben Alexander, James Horwill (capt), Kane Douglas, Ben Mowen, George Smith, Wycliff Palu.

    Replacements: Saia Fainga'a (for Moore, blood, 55-62, then 72), James Slipper (for Robinson, 66), Sekope Kepu (for Smith, 26-36, for Alexander, 36), Rob Simmons (for Douglas 62), Ben McCalman, Michael Hooper (for Smith, 5-10, then 66), Nick Phipps (for Genia, 69), Jesse Mogg (for Folau, 27).

    Yellow card: Alexander (24)

    Lions: Leigh Halfpenny; Tommy Bowe, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, George North; Jonathan Sexton, Mike Phillips; Alex Corbisiero, Richard Hibbard, Adam Jones, Alun Wyn Jones (capt), Geoff Parling, Dan Lydiate, Sean O'Brien, Toby Faletau.

    Replacements: Tom Youngs (for Hibbard 48), Mako Vunipola (for Corbisiero, 67), Dan Cole (for A Jones, 55), Richie Gray (for Parling, 68), Justin Tipuric (for Faletau, blood, 55, for O'Brien, 60), Conor Murray (for Phillips, 51), Owen Farrell (for Sexton, 64), Manu Tuilagi (for Roberts, 69).

    Referee: Romain Poite (France)

    Attendance: 83,702


    European rugby unions agree to Heineken Cup changes (Source: BBC.co.uk & ERCrugby.com)

    The English, French, Scottish, Welsh, Irish and Italian governing bodies agreed to change the structure of European club rugby.

    After meetings in Dublin, they agreed on the formation of two tweaked competitions of 20 teams each as well as a change in revenue distribution.

    Meeting attendees:

    Graeme Mew (Mediator)
    Stephen Drymer (Mediator)
    Ian Ritchie (RFU)
    Rob Andrew (RFU)
    Bill Beaumont (RFU)
    Pierre Camou (FFR)
    Michel Palmié (FFR)
    Olivier Keraudren (FFR)
    Philip Browne (IRFU)
    Peter Boyle (IRFU)
    Fabrizio Gaetaniello (FIR)
    Andrea Rinaldo (FIR)
    Nino Sacca (FIR)
    Mark Dodson (SRU)
    Ian McLauchlan (SRU)
    Roger Lewis (WRU)
    Jean-Pierre Lux (ERC)
    Derek McGrath (ERC)

    (FFR: Federation Francaise de Rugby; FIR: Federazione Italiana Rugby; IRFU: Irish Rugby Football Union; LNR: Ligue Nationale de Rugby; RFU: Rugby Football Union; SRU: Scottish Rugby Union; WRU: Welsh Rugby Union; ERC: European Rugby Cup)

    Competitions Format

    There was consensus that there should continue to be two professional European club rugby tournaments, with each tournament consisting of 20 clubs. A third tier European tournament should also be considered.

    The Primary Competition would be made up of 20 clubs, with six each from PRL and the LNR, and seven from the Pro12 tournament. The clubs would come through meritocratic qualification from their respective leagues. In the case of the Pro12, there will be at least one club guaranteed from each country.

    In year one, the 20th place would be allocated through a play-off match between the 7th placed PRL and LNR clubs. For the following years, the 20th club would qualify through play-offs between the 7th placed PRL and LNR clubs and the two next non-qualified Pro12 clubs. The winner of the secondary competition would qualify to participate in the play-offs, if not already qualified by right.

    The English and French clubs would have home advantage in the play-offs against the Pro12 clubs.

    The Secondary Competition would consist of up to 20 clubs made up of the remaining 18 PRL, LNR and Pro12 clubs. Two places could be allocated to clubs qualifying from a third competition.

    Distribution of Revenues

    There is also consensus that distributable revenues generated through the competitions would be divided one third, one third, one third per league with the stipulation that monies to be received by the Pro12 countries would not be less than the current levels. This was proposed by English and French clubs in June of last year.

    2013-14 Heineken Cup structure:

    • France: 7 teams (Castres, Toulon, Toulouse, Clermont-Auvergne, Racing Metro, Montpellier, Perpignan)
    • England: 6 (Northampton, Exeter, Saracens, Harlequins, Leicester, Gloucester)
    • Ireland: 4 (Leinster, Connacht, Ulster, Munster)
    • Wales: 3 (Ospreys, Cardiff Blues, Scarlets)
    • Scotland: 2 (Glasgow, Edinburgh)
    • Italy: 2 (Zebre, Treviso)

    But top English and French clubs, who have proposed a breakaway competition from next season, were not present.

    Premiership Rugby (PRL) in England and Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR) in France say they will have no involvement in the Heineken Cup or Amlin Challenge Cup from next season. Instead of competing in European Rugby Cup (ERC) competitions, the PRL and LNR plan to form an alternative Rugby Champions Cup. Details of this competition could be rolled out next month.

    PRL and LNR are unhappy at how teams qualify for the Heineken Cup, especially from the RaboDirect Pro12 league, and how proceeds are shared. Currently, only the top six clubs in England and France are guaranteed a place in the Heineken Cup, whereas at least 10 Pro12 outfits - including both Scottish teams (Edinburgh and Glasgow), both Italian teams (Treviso and Zebre) and a minimum of three sides each from Wales and Ireland - have automatic entry into the competition.

    PRL said these developments offer "no more than half a solution" to the crisis.

    "It seems that the proposals we have made on competition formats and on financial distribution have been accepted," said its chief executive Mark McCafferty. "Hopefully, it is a sign that in due course the whole approach we've been proposing is bought into. I guess time will tell.

    "It is far from complete, but the pieces they have commented on are in line with what we've proposed.

    "We have always said that there is no way we are going into any competitions that are run by ERC after the end of this season. That hasn't changed.

    "We feel a fresh start has got to be made."

    Remaining stumbling blocks are the rival television broadcasting deals between Sky and BT and the insistence of English and French outfits that clubs should run European competitions, rather than the unions.

    Representatives from the Rugby Football Union, French Rugby Federation, Scottish Rugby Union, Welsh Rugby Union, Irish Rugby Union and Italian Rugby Federation were all present in Dublin.

    They issued a statement which read: "Progress has been made on a number of issues relating to the future of European club rugby competition.

    "The primary competition would be made up of 20 clubs, with six each from PRL and the LNR, and seven from the Pro12 tournament.

    "The clubs would come through meritocratic qualification from their respective leagues and, in the case of the Pro12, there will be at least one club guaranteed from each country.

    "In year one, the 20th place would be allocated through a play-off match between the seventh-placed PRL and LNR clubs.

    "The secondary competition would consist of up to 20 clubs made up of the remaining 18 PRL, LNR and Pro12 clubs. Two places could be allocated to clubs qualifying from a third competition.

    "There is also consensus that distributable revenues generated through the competitions would be divided one third, one third, one third per league with the stipulation that monies to be received by the Pro12 countries would not be less than the current levels."

    The PRL, the LNR and the four Welsh regions have not yet been consulted on the proposals and it is unclear who will run the these proposed European club competitions from next year.


    November 24th, 2013

    World champions New Zealand became the first international team in the professional era to go all season unbeaten after beating Ireland at Lansdowne Road. Aaron Cruden converted with the last kick of the game to beat Ireland 24-22.

    "You've got to be prepared to defend until the final seconds and we didn't," said a disconsolate Ireland coach Joe Schmidt. "We have to live with that now."

     

    Steve Hansen, who has lost just once in 28 Tests as New Zealand coach, admitted his side had been "rattled" by Ireland's initial onslaught.

    "It wasn't the script, that's for sure, [But] I'm extremely proud of the 23 guys we had in our group today. To come from where we had to come from and claw our way across the line, it's a pretty special effort and it says why they are a special team."

    IRELAND (22) 22

    • Tries: Murray, Best, R Kearney
    • Cons: Sexton 2
    • Pen: Sexton

    NEW ZEALAND (7) 24

    • Tries: Savea, B Franks, Crotty
    • Cons: Cruden 3
    • Pen: Cruden

    Ireland: R Kearney; Bowe, O'Driscoll, D'Arcy, D Kearney; Sexton, Murray; Healy, Best, Ross, Toner, O'Connell, O'Mahony, O'Brien, Heaslip.

    Replacements: Cronin for Best (14), Fitzgerald for O'Driscoll (53), McLaughlin for O'Mahony (56), Fitzpatrick for Ross (65), McCarthy for Toner (65), McGrath for Healy (69), Madigan for Sexton (76).

    Not Used: Boss.

    New Zealand: Dagg; Jane, B Smith, Nonu, Savea; Cruden, A Smith; Crockett, Hore, Faumuina, Romano, L Whitelock, Luatua, McCaw, Read.

    Replacements: Coles for Hore (42), Crotty for Dagg (52), O Franks for Faumuina (56), Messam for Luatua (56), B Franks for Crockett (60), Barrett(66).

    Not Used: Cane, Perenara.

    Att: 51,000

    Ref: Nigel Owens (Wales)


    2014 RBS Six Nations

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    2014 Women's Rugby World Cup (Aug 1-17)

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    FUTURE

    2015/2019

    The awarding of Rugby World Cup 2015 to England and the 2019 tournament to Japan heralds a new era for the sport around the globe according to International Rugby Board and Rugby World Cup Chairman Bernard Lapasset.

    Lapasset, who announced the IRB Council’s decision to accept the RWCL Board’s recommendation in Dublin on Tuesday 28th July 2009, believes that the combination will ensure two key objectives are met across the two tournaments.

    “I think it is a good combination between two objectives that we need, with England in 2015 a strong financial result and for 2019 we need to grow the Game in another part of the world,” said Lapasset.

    Back

     

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