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Home > Blogs > Rupert Bates - A weekly blog from the world of rugby
Your NewsRupert Bates - A weekly blog from the world of rugby

Friday 27th May 2011
AVIVA PREMIERSHIP FINAL - TEAMS

LEICESTER

15 Scott Hamilton

14 Horacio Agulla
13 Matt Smith
12 Anthony Allen
11 Alesana Tuilagi
10 Toby Flood
9 Ben Youngs
1 Marcos Ayerza
2 George Chuter
3 Martin Castrogiovanni
4 Steve Mafi
5 George Skivington
6 Tom Croft
7 Craig Newby (c)
8 Jordan Crane

Replacements

16 Rob Hawkins
17 Boris Stankovich
18 Dan Cole
19 Ed Slater
20 Thomas Waldrom
21 James Grindal
22 Jeremy Staunton
23 Billy Twelvetrees

 

SARACENS

15 Alex Goode
14 David Strettle
13 Chris Wyles
12 Brad Barritt
11 James Short
10 Owen Farrell
9 Neil de Kock
1 Matt Stevens
2 Schalk Brits
3 Carlos Nieto
4 Steve Borthwick ©
5 Mouritz Botha
6 Kelly Brown
7 Jacques Burger
8 Ernst Joubert

16 Jamie George
17 Rhys Gill
18 Petrus du Plessis
19 Hugh Vyvyan
20 Andy Saull
21 Richard Wigglesworth
22 Nils Mordt
23 Noah Cato 

 

 

Posted by: , on May 27th 2011 on 11:34am0 Comments
Friday 27th May 2011
England XV to play Barbarians

 

Five newcomers will pull on a senior England shirt for the first time against the Barbarians on Sunday (2.30pm).

Centre Henry Trinder (Gloucester Rugby), prop Joe Marler (Harlequins), lock Graham Kitchener (Worcester Warriors), and flankers Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs) and Carl Fearns (Sale Sharks) were all named in the starting line-up for the non-cap game at Twickenham Stadium.

Trinder, 22, is in midfield alongside Matt Banahan (Bath Rugby) and Charlie Hodgson (Sale Sharks) in an experienced back line that also includes British and Irish Lions wing Ugo Monye (Harlequins).

Number eight Luke Narraway leads the side and is one of four full internationals in a young pack with hooker David Paice (London Irish), prop Paul Doran-Jones and lock David Attwood (both Gloucester Rugby).

The replacements include Newcastle Falcons scrum half Micky Young and London Irish flanker Jamie Gibson, drafted into the squad this week following injuries to the Northampton Saints pair of Lee Dickson (shoulder) and Calum Clark (back).

The side is coached by Stuart Lancaster, assisted by Jon Callard and Simon Hardy, and will form the core of the England Saxons squad defending the Churchill Cup next month.

Head coach Lancaster said: “It’s a very exciting line-up with a good blend of experience and youth and we have the opportunity to measure ourselves against a very experienced Barbarians side including some of the very best players in the world on Sunday.

“It is a young England side and the match day squad has an average age of 23, but these are players who’ve been in terrific form for their clubs and many of them have played a major part in big games at the end of the season in the Aviva Premiership and in Europe.”

England XV
15 Mike Brown (Harlequins)
14 James Simpson-Daniel (Gloucester Rugby)
13 Henry Trinder (Gloucester Rugby)
12 Matt Banahan (Bath Rugby)
11 Ugo Monye (Harlequins)
10 Charlie Hodgson (Sale Sharks)
9 Paul Hodgson (London Irish)
1 Joe Marler (Harlequins) 
2 David Paice (London Irish)
3 Paul Doran-Jones (Gloucester Rugby)
4 Graham Kitchener (Worcester Warriors)
5 David Attwood (Gloucester Rugby)
6 Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs)
7 Carl Fearns (Sale Sharks)
8 Luke Narraway (Gloucester Rugby, captain) 

Replacements
16 Joe Gray (Harlequins)
17 Kieran Brookes (Newcastle Falcons)
18 James Gaskell (Sale Sharks)
19 Jamie Gibson (London Irish)
20 Micky Young (Newcastle Falcons)
21 Stephen Myler (Northampton Saints)
22 Jordan Turner-Hall (Harlequins)

 

Posted by: , on May 27th 2011 on 09:04am0 Comments
Saturday 21st May 2011
HEINEKEN CUP FINAL

 

LEINSTER 33 NORTHAMPTON 22

Rupert Bates 

Quite simply one of the greatest games ever and that from the confines of a Sussex pub, not the rugby theatre of the Millennium Stadium.

It had absolutely everything. Thank god I did have a pint or two to hand, for taking gulps of ale reminded me I needed to breathe. The collisions were monstrous; the commitment extraordinary.

It could lazily be summed up as a game of two halves, but this was a game and a half – and then some.

Now when you have beaten by one of the most astonishing comebacks in the history of sport and it happened in the final of the European Cup, you are going to look gutted and shell-shocked come the final whistle.

But watching the Northampton players at the end was one of the most brutally compelling, evocative sights I have ever seen on a sporting field. It was beyond desolation. It was savage in its portrayal of emptiness and incomprehension.

Those pictures of the Saints players should be shown over and over again in England football dressing rooms.  This is what it truly means to lose when you have given every fibre of your being for the jersey and as for Ben Foden’s monumental effort in defeat, the England full-back should be allowed to kick as many Cardiff cabs as he damn well likes.

Northampton, sensational in the first half opening up a 22-6 lead, did not fall apart. They did not give it away, or assume the Heineken Cup was on its way to Franklin’s Gardens. No, they were beaten by the most sensational 40 minutes in Irish rugby history and utter exhaustion.

The joke was about what went in Leinster’s half-time tea. One assumed a grandee like Brian O’Driscoll or Jamie Heaslip had stoked the fury. But then we heard from O’Driscoll that the rousing orator was a boy who looks like a reject from a Dublin boy band, who makes it to the semi-finals of X Factor.

Take a bow Ireland outside-half Jonathan Sexton, 25, who ended the game with 28 points, including two tries. You may as well throw him the Lions no 10 jersey for the first Test in Australia. As the X Factor judges would say: ‘You owned that stage Jonny.’ This Sexton did not just dig the Saints’ grave; he built a cathedral on it.

“There were some inspirational words from Jonathan at half-time which picked us up. He was a man possessed. He said this game would be remembered if we came back and we will remember this for a long time,” said O’Driscoll.

The Leinster forwards were too busy speed-eating spinach at half-time to say anything. Sean O’Brien, the Leinster flanker, was a beast in the second-half, with Heaslip not far behind, while hooker Richardt Strauss did anything but waltz as he, front-row cohort Cian Healy, and the rest of the pack tore up trees and through tackles, whilst having the wit and composure to offload subtly or run intelligent support lines with pace and power.

The biggest significance of this display: The World Cup. Ireland were an embarrassment in France four years ago. The New Zealand tournament may still be four months away, but with days like these to draw on, coupled with the way Ireland beat up England at the end of the Six Nations, who knows what they might achieve.

 

 

 


Posted by: , on May 21st 2011 on 09:56pm0 Comments
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