Planetrugby.com http://www.planetrugby.com Sat, 13 Feb 2016 15:10:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Treviso beat Cardiff for first win http://www.planetrugby.com/news/treviso-beat-cardiff-for-first-win/ http://www.planetrugby.com/news/treviso-beat-cardiff-for-first-win/#comments Sat, 13 Feb 2016 14:18:12 +0000 http://www.planetrugby.com/news/treviso-beat-cardiff-for-first-win/ Treviso picked up their first win of the PRO12 season on Saturday as they secured a 13-7 home victory over Cardiff Blues.

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Treviso picked up their first win of the PRO12 season on Saturday as they secured a 13-7 home victory over Cardiff Blues.

A first half try from Blaine Scully had put the visitors narrowly ahead going in to the half-time break. 

A penalty try was the difference between the two sides, but the Welsh side couldn't make the most of a dominant second half performance. 

A dominant start from the hosts saw them take a 6-0 lead in the opening quarter of the game, as Jayden Hayward took advantage of two Cardiff Blues offside calls slotting twice from the tee. 

The Italians continued to dominate, before a rare attack for Cardiff saw the ball shipped out to Scully, who reached for the corner to touch down. 

A fantastic conversion from Rhys Patchell took the visitors in to the lead at half-time. In the opening exchanges of the second half referee Dudley Phillips judged that the Cardiff pack was pulling the scrum down as it pushed towards the try line, and awarded a penalty try. 

Hayward converted with ease to give the hosts a 13-7 lead. 

After a great break from Ethan Lewis, swatting off two Treviso tackles, the ball was shipped out to Manoa Vosawai who went for the line to put his team in front, but he was brilliantly held up. 

The Welsh side continued to dominate the play in to the closing stages, but a strong Treviso defence was able to see out a vital win in Northern Italy.

The scorers:

For Treviso:
Try: Penalty try
Con: Hayward
Pens: Hayward 2

For Cardiff Blues:
Try: Scully
Pen: Patchell

Treviso: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Ludovico Nitoglia, 13 Luca Morisi, 12 Alberto Sgarbi (c), 11 Tommaso Iannone, 10 Sam Christie, 9 Alberto Lucchese, 8 Dean Budd, 7 Marco Lazzaroni, 6 Andrea De Marchi, 5 Tom Palmer, 4 Filo Paulo, 3 Simone Ferrari, 2 Luca Bigi, 1 Alberto De Marchi
Replacements: 16 Federico Zani, 17 Matteo Muccignat, 18 Filippo Filippetto, 19 Jeff Montauriol, 20 Marco Barbini, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 Enrico Bacchin, 23 Angelo Esposito

Cardiff Blues: 15 Rhys Patchell, 14 Blaine Scully, 13 Cory Allen, 12 Rey Lee-Lo, 11 Dan Fish, 10 Jarrod Evans, 9 Tavis Knoyle, 8 Manoa Vosawai, 7 Ellis Jenkins (c), 6 Josh Navidi, 5 James Down, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Salesi Ma'afu, 2 Kristian Dacey, 1 Thomas Davies
Replacements: 16 Ethan Lewis, 17 Bradley Thyer, 18 Taufa'ao Filise, 19 Lou Reed, 20 Macauley Cook, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 Garyn Smith, 23 Aled Summerhill

Referee: Dudley Phillips (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Filippo Bertelli (Italy), Stefano Bolzonella (Italy)
TMO: Stefano Roscini (Italy)

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LIVE: France v Ireland http://www.planetrugby.com/news/live-france-v-ireland/ http://www.planetrugby.com/news/live-france-v-ireland/#comments Sat, 13 Feb 2016 13:53:42 +0000 http://www.planetrugby.com/?post_type=post&p=88278 Round Two of the Six Nations kicks-off with a huge game at the Stade de France as France host Ireland. To get up to date on the team news and our match prediction see our preview. For live coverage, click here.

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Round Two of the Six Nations kicks-off with a huge game at the Stade de France as France host Ireland.

To get up to date on the team news and our match prediction see our preview. For live coverage, click here.

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Hartley brimming with confidence http://www.planetrugby.com/news/hartley-brimming-with-confidence/ http://www.planetrugby.com/news/hartley-brimming-with-confidence/#comments Sat, 13 Feb 2016 13:28:43 +0000 http://www.planetrugby.com/news/hartley-brimming-with-confidence/ England captain Dylan Hartley said his team-mates should be confident ahead of their Six Nations clash against Italy in Rome on Sunday.

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England captain Dylan Hartley said his team-mates should be confident ahead of Sunday's Six Nations clash against Italy in Rome.

Hartley led England to victory in their opener against Scotland and is in a positive mood for the encounter with the Azzurri.

"In training I’ve been drilling it into the guys, why shouldn’t we be confident?," Hartley told the RFU website.

"We are the best players in England. We have great resources and coaching and together we are a good team.

"We should always be confident no matter who we play because we have good players.

"It’s about getting everyone on the same page and doing the right things, the basics well and managing situations when they present themselves.

"I’ve always been confident."

Hartley said he was impressed with Italy's performance against France in Paris in which they were narrowly beaten but says England should focus more on themselves rather than their opposition.

"Italy put in a strong performance, the fact they were in it until the last kick of the game is testament to them," he explained.

"They are a side who should be respected but I don’t want to get too caught up in talking about them because we have to be confident, we are a good side with good players and are coached unbelievably well.

"We are well prepared."

Hooker Hartley had a 93% success rate on his own throw in the line out at Murrayfield, with 14 out of 15, but says under the guidance of new forwards coach Steve Borthwick they are aiming for perfection.

"I under threw one and (lock) George Kruis managed to tap back two of my perfect throws, we want perfection," he added.

"We want 100% so even just tapping the ball back is not enough.

"It’s got to be delivered well.

"First weekend we were 90% which is good, same of the scrum we always have something to work on."

Hartley does concede England gave away too many penalties against Scotland and sees that as an area to improve on against Italy.

"We were too slow at the ruck and when you are too slow you are penalised," he said.

"We have to focus on that. We were sloppy at the breakdown."

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Morahan brace sets up Force victory http://www.planetrugby.com/news/morahan-brace-sets-up-force-victory/ http://www.planetrugby.com/news/morahan-brace-sets-up-force-victory/#comments Sat, 13 Feb 2016 13:17:47 +0000 http://www.planetrugby.com/news/morahan-brace-sets-up-force-victory/ Two tries from Luke Morahan helped the Western Force to a 34-26 victory over the Asia Pacific Dragons in Perth on Saturday.

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Western Force ended their pre-season campaign on a high, with a brace of tries from Luke Morahan helping them to a 34-26 victory over the Asia Pacific Dragons at McGillivray Oval in Perth on Saturday. 

In dry conditions, the Force came out in emphatic fashion in the first-half, outscoring the invitational side 24-5 before half-time, and then holding on through three second-half Dragons tries to walk away victors.

Morahan was in fine form, with the 25-year-old winger putting in a strong attacking display in front of the home crowd.

In addition to Morahan’s double, Angus Cottrell, Matt Hodgson, Dane Haylett-Petty and Solomoni (Junior) Rasolea all added five-pointers of their own to secure the Force’s second pre-season victory in as many games.

Western Force head coach Michael Foley said while there were positive aspects in his side’s display, there are still fundamental areas requiring improvement before round one.

“In that game today you could see some of the positives, the way we used the ball at times was good,” he told the Western Force's website.

“Early on today our maul got penalized, and then we adapted but in the end we didn’t get the payout of that, so we’ve got a bit of work to do there.

“In defence we had a lot of control of the game early, and then I thought when we had to defend we didn’t work hard enough in simple terms.

“We certainly kept the ball in hand for large periods and then when the space was on behind we knocked the ball in behind, I think Jono Lance did a very good job there, but we can definitely play a little bit faster than what we played in that first half.”

Looking ahead to their round one clash with Melbourne Rebels, Foley said there would be an increased focus on their defensive game.

“There’s got to be a focus on what we’re doing, and I think critically for me it’s being able to invest a lot of energy in the defence and getting the ball back quickly, so that we can actually attack with it,” he added.

“Then when we attack with the ball make sure we maintain that good focus we had on going forward and keeping the tempo of the game up, I think we can definitely work on a couple of those areas.”

In what was an impressive first-half performance, the Force got on the board early with Cottrell powering his way over the top of a breakdown, after a series of successful phases put his side in a strong attacking position. 

The floodgates soon opened for the West-Australian side, producing their best attacking foray of the match when skipper Hodgson scored off the back of a maul with the help of his forward pack, followed by Morahan who scored his first of the day when he broke a tackle in his own half, creating space for him to cruise over for the home sides third try.  

Jono Lance converted both tries, putting the score at 19-0. 

Soon after, the Force’s backline were again rewarded for their dominance when an Alby Mathewson pass into the right hand corner allowed Haylett-Petty to dive over and add on another five points. Lance’s missed conversion attempt put the Force at 24-0, their biggest deficit of the contest.

The Dragons ended the half with their first try of the day, working their way through the Force’s 22 allowing Hadleigh May to cross over and narrow the score to 24-5 going into half-time.

The home side opened up the second-half scoring, after Ammon Matuauto pushed a grubber kick cross field to Morahan who crossed for his second of the day.

With the Force looking certain to close the game out strongly, the Dragons looked for one last surge with a try coming from thunderous second-rower Ben Nee-Nee, followed by another try from Roy Kinikinilau in the corner to narrow the gap down to 29-19 after one out of two successful conversions. 

Rasolea closed out the scoring for the Force, collecting a pass from Peter Grant in the corner, followed by an emphatic dive to place the ball across the line and put the score at 34-19.

The game closed out with an intercepted pass turning into a try when Cardiff Vaega picked the ball out of the air, easily strolling over the line to end the game 34-26 in favour of the Force.

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England were fitter in 2003 – Woodward http://www.planetrugby.com/news/england-were-fitter-in-2003-woodward/ http://www.planetrugby.com/news/england-were-fitter-in-2003-woodward/#comments Sat, 13 Feb 2016 12:23:10 +0000 http://www.planetrugby.com/news/england-were-fitter-in-2003-woodward/ Sir Clive Woodward believes England players are lacking the required fitness, saying "they've been going backwards for the last 13 years".

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Sir Clive Woodward believes England players are lacking the required level of fitness for Test rugby, saying "they've been going backwards for the last 13 years".

Woodward, who led the English to World Cup glory in 2003, is shocked by their current conditioning and can't understand the reasons why.

In his column for the Daily Mail, the former England head coach agreed with current defence coach Paul Gustard that work needs to be done.

"I did not know whether to laugh or cry when England coach Eddie Jones and his defence man Paul Gustard both insisted this week that England weren't fit enough," he said.

"This was nothing new to me. My 2003 team were coached and selected on the basis of being 'the fastest and fittest team in world rugby', which we became.

"In recent years there has been a total misunderstanding of what is physically required to be the No 1 team in the world. This is a power sport but at the highest level that isn't enough. If a team don't have the ability to relentlessly attack and play at speed for 80 minutes you're a sitting duck and you'll be blown away by those who can."

Woodward added: "Looking man for man between my England team in 2003 and the England team at last year's World Cup, I would still rate my team as being fitter and better equipped physically to beat the speed of the southern hemisphere teams, which is a staggering statement to make.

"How can that be, given all the advances in sports science we read about? And who has been responsible for that decline?

"England haven't just been standing still, they've been going backwards for the last 13 years."

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Black delighted with try on his 100th http://www.planetrugby.com/news/black-delighted-with-try-on-his-100th/ http://www.planetrugby.com/news/black-delighted-with-try-on-his-100th/#comments Sat, 13 Feb 2016 11:28:11 +0000 http://www.planetrugby.com/news/black-delighted-with-try-on-his-100th/ Ulster loosehead prop Callum Black spoke of his delight after scoring on his 100th appearance for the province against Glasgow on Friday.

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Ulster loosehead prop Callum Black spoke of his delight after scoring on his 100th appearance for the province against Glasgow on Friday.

The experienced front-row, who led out his team at Kingspan Stadium with his daughter, Orla, crossed the line in the 13-10 PRO12 victory.

And now he has the taste for scoring, Black joked that there is more to come.

"It was a nice little bonus as I hadn't scored in the previous 99 games. I was just happy to get the win and the try and hopefully I won't get any more stick as I'd been getting a bit over the last few weeks," he told Ulster's website.

"People are saying that I'm now going to have to wait another 100 games for my second try, but this could be the start of it now – I could have got my mojo back and I could be scoring every week from now on."

The 29-year-old is battling with Kyle McCall for the number one jersey at Ulster and he believes the competition is driving both players on.

"Kyle has done a great job. He hasn't much experience but he has been around the squad ever since I've been here for five odd years. He's a great guy and a very skilful player, with a huge work rate and some of the shifts he has put in for the side is great credit to him," he said.

"We're all a tight group. If he is playing I'll back him and I'm sure it's the same the other way and it's great to see young guys coming through. It's great to have that competition because it makes you improve your own game and you can't afford to get comfortable.

"With Les in charge, if you're not performing one week, then someone else will come in and take your jersey so you have to be on your money."

On the come-from-behind win over Glasgow on Friday, Black said the mental strength of the group played an important role in the result.

"We said in the changing room at the end that things aren't going our way but it shows the character of the side if we can win ugly at times. But obviously there is a lot to work on and try and nail a few things, we are missing out on a few bonus points here and there which could be vital but the win comes first," he added.

"It's all about momentum and we have this run of games at home and we have to put that to our advantage because we feel as a side and I'm sure the supporters think we should be beating everyone at home and we should be on that.

"This block of games leading up to the break is really where we have to get some distance between the other teams and get a solid place at the top of the table.

"We looked at the standing at the start of this block of games and saw where we are and with a run of six games the kind of points we're looking to get out of this and if we can achieve at the end of this block."

He concluded: "Every game is massive at the moment and we need to keep this winning run going. Scarlets are a very tough side and on their day they are one of the top sides in the league so we have to go up a notch or two from Glasgow and I think it will be a step up."

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Pack earns praise from Richards http://www.planetrugby.com/news/pack-earns-praise-from-richards/ http://www.planetrugby.com/news/pack-earns-praise-from-richards/#comments Sat, 13 Feb 2016 09:57:24 +0000 http://www.planetrugby.com/news/pack-earns-praise-from-richards/ Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards hailed his forward pack for their instrumental role in his side's 26-14 win over Leicester Tigers.

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Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards hailed his forward pack for their instrumental role in his side's 26-14 victory over Leicester.

Despite both of Friday's tries coming from the backs in a fifth successive home win for the Falcons, it was the men up front who enabled the first-half double through their set-piece and broken-field exertions, which delighted Richards.

"Our pack were outstanding. At half-time Andy Goode said we wouldn't be in this position if it wasn't for the boys up front and it continued in the second-half, even with the disappointment of letting them in for a try. In the end, we got the result we wanted," he told Newcastle's website.

"I was pleased with the guys. We came in at half-time (20-9 in front) and said we had to just lay our bodies on the line again for another 40 minutes, but still be as constructive and disciplined.

"In fairness I actually thought we lost that a little bit. Our discipline went at times in the second-half, we lost a couple of line-outs at critical points, but we still made that physical commitment which was probably what saw us through."

Tonga captain Nili Latu was named Man of the Match at Kingston Park after another huge personal contribution.

"Nili adds a huge amount to the side. One of the things he does do is bring a huge degree of belief, and when you couple that with what Andy Goode brings, the side is in a good place at this moment in time," said Richards.

With Sean Robinson and Mark Wilson again catching the eye in the second row, Richards added: "You have got boys in that Leicester squad who are probably spoken about as being higher up in the pecking order than our guys, but I don't really see it."

"Sean and Mark were both outstanding in the second-row. They were way above what Leicester were."

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Cubelli awareness impresses Larkham http://www.planetrugby.com/news/cubelli-awareness-impresses-larkham/ http://www.planetrugby.com/news/cubelli-awareness-impresses-larkham/#comments Sat, 13 Feb 2016 09:30:46 +0000 http://www.planetrugby.com/news/cubelli-awareness-impresses-larkham/ Brumbies head coach Stephen Larkham praised the performance of new signing Tomás Cubelli after they beat the Reds in Ballymore.

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Brumbies head coach Stephen Larkham praised the performance of new signing Tomás Cubelli after they beat the Reds in a pre-season fixture.

Argentina international scrum-half Cubelli was brought in to replace the outgoing Nic White after the Wallaby number nine signed for Montpellier.

And it's clear Larkham likes what he sees from Cubelli as the Brumbies crushed their rivals on Friday, running out 31-18 winners in Ballymore.

"He's just got a very good awareness around the rucks," he told The Roar.

"He scored a try and made another couple of breaks and managed to get the ball out there under a lot of pressure.

"It was a good combination tonight, a very comprehensive (performance)."

The Brumbies are favourites with the bookmakers from the Australian sides and host the Hurricanes on February 26 in their Super Rugby opener.

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‘It’s time for neutral officials’ – Solomons http://www.planetrugby.com/news/its-time-for-neutral-officials-solomons/ http://www.planetrugby.com/news/its-time-for-neutral-officials-solomons/#comments Sat, 13 Feb 2016 09:08:57 +0000 http://www.planetrugby.com/news/its-time-for-neutral-officials-solomons/ Edinburgh head coach Alan Solomons was fuming after his side's 22-21 defeat to Scarlets, saying PRO12 games need "three neutral officials".

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Edinburgh head coach Alan Solomons was fuming after his side's 22-21 loss to Scarlets, saying PRO12 games need "three neutral officials".

A late three points from the boot of Scarlets replacement Aled Thomas denied the Scottish side a come-from-behind victory at Parc y Scarlets.

That decision arose when the officials penalised an Edinburgh player for being offside, something which Solomons strongly disagrees with.

"The last penalty, when I looked on the television there was no offside and I think it is time in this competition we have three neutral officials," he told BBC Wales, with Irishman Andy Brace the referee and two Welshman, Leighton Hodges and Craig Evans, his assistants on Friday.

Solomons added: "I thought we did enough in that second-half to win. We made too many errors in the first-half. All of their points came from our errors.

"In the second-half we improved on that and I thought it was a really good effort to get back into the game."

Asked what his next step would be on the late penalty decision, Solomons said he would go through the correct channels to make his feelings heard.

"I'll work through the referee manager Ed Morrison," he said. "We're really disappointed not to get the win there at 21-19 we thought that game was ours and deservedly so."

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Blues run six tries past ‘Canes http://www.planetrugby.com/news/blues-run-six-tries-past-canes/ http://www.planetrugby.com/news/blues-run-six-tries-past-canes/#comments Sat, 13 Feb 2016 08:26:21 +0000 http://www.planetrugby.com/news/blues-run-six-tries-past-canes/ The Blues put in an impressive performance as they beat last year's Super Rugby finalists the Hurricanes 40-12 in Eketahuna on Saturday.

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The Blues put in an impressive performance as they overcame last year's Super Rugby finalists the Hurricanes 40-12 in Eketahuna on Saturday.

Scorching heat was no detriment to the Blues who streaked away in the second period with a total of six tries scored in the pre-season fixture.

James Parsons, Steven Luatua, Nic Mayhew, Charlie Faumuina, Rene Ranger and Lolagi Visinia all crossed the whitewash, but new head coach Tana Umaga remained grounded despite the big win against their local rivals.

"I'd say the score was more down to freshness than anything, the Hurricanes didn't have the numbers to field two fresh teams," he told the Blues website.

"In the first-half and during the first 20 minutes, I think the boys got a bit of a shock (by the heat). But every player performed well, it was a good all-round effort and the guys stuck to their plan.

"We got the result we needed and we didn't get any injuries, which was really important to us.

"I think the players will get a lot of confidence from it, but when it comes to numbers and the scoreline, we need to remember that it's just pre-season and we still have a couple of weeks before the Highlanders," he added. "So we won’t get carried away with it."

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