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Premier League SUSPENDED, Cutrone quarantined, Wales vs Scotland and Masters golf OFF – The Sun

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CORONAVIRUS continues to hit sport with the Wales v Scotland Six Nations clash, the Masters golf and Premier League football the latest casualties.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi have also both tested positive for coronavirus.

Follow all the latest news and information on how the outbreak is affecting sport…



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Premiership Rugby

‘We’re building momentum after slow start’ – Les Kiss

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London Irish coach Les Kiss said his team are starting to build momentum following a slow start to the 2020/21 Premiership campaign after seeing them claim a 22-19 triumph against champions Harlequins at Twickenham Stoop.

Although it was only Irish’s second league triumph of the season, it ends off a good stint in November which also saw them snatching a come-from-behind draw against Saracens at StoneX Stadium and they notched two victories in the Premiership Rugby Cup.

Climbing the table

The Exiles are now up in seventh position in the Premiership standings after inflicting a third loss of the campaign on Quins, who were without the services of England internationals Marcus Smith, Alex Dombrandt and Joe Marchant.

Kiss said: “We’re probably in a different sort of stage to what Quins are.

“We’re still trying to find out about this new group London Irish are building, [but after] two wins in the Prem Cup, to get another win just ratifies the work we’re doing.

“The boys are trusting each other and trusting the game that they’re putting together.

“I thought it was a great derby game, to tell you the truth, but to get that game, to get away from a draw, it’s nice.

“I’ve missed the song tonight – it would’ve been nice to have been in there – but I think emotion is a massive part of the game and that came through tonight, as defence is where you see most of your emotion.

“We were under extreme pressure, their scrum was going well, but our defensive line just kept turning up and put the pressure on to turn that ball over.”

Harlequins led 14-10 at half-time as tries from Oscar Beard and Luke Northmore came either side of Agustin Creevy’s pushover score for the visitors.

Tries by Rob Simmons and Ben White before the hour mark helped turn things around for the Exiles, who held on after Beard claimed his second.

Harlequins senior coach Tabai Matson said: “Any time you lose at home, it’s frustrating and I think when we got up in the first half, we definitely had opportunities to keep moving the scoreboard.

“But we didn’t exit well, had a high penalty count and our kick-offs are something we’ll probably be focusing on.

“Every time we scored the points, we let them back in and we seemed to defend for the next five minutes.

“A lot of those players didn’t play in the Prem Cup – maybe a handful – but we’ll just review how those players went, that hadn’t played for three weeks.

“Two [of our England players] were available this week, Joe Marchant tweaked his hamstring during the training week, so we looked after him and we get a couple back next week, so that’s great for us.

“That’s the nature of the beast: case by case, they need different leave after one month of pretty intense autumn rugby.”

Exeter board to make a decision over club’s branding

Meanwhile, Exeter Chiefs have revealed that their board of directors are set to meet “within the next few weeks” to make a decision on the club’s branding.

The Premiership and European champions in 2020 are under great pressure to scrap its Native American branding.

The Chiefs’ critics say that the club’s current imagery disrespects North American indigenous people.

Earlier this year, Exeter decided to retain its Chiefs branding, but opted to “retire” club mascot ‘Big Chief’ following a board review.

An Exeter supporters’ online petition had gathered more than 3,500 signatures, calling for an end to what has been described as the club’s “harmful imagery and branding”.



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European Professional Club Rugby | Bolton scores on Connacht debut

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Outside centre Shayne Bolton scored on his Connacht Rugby debut as the Heineken Champions Cup side thrashed Ospreys 46-18 for a bonus-point win in the United Rugby Championship on Friday. 

The 20-year-old crossed in the first-half to give Andy Friend’s side their second try of the game, before heading into the interval 18-11 up with wing Mack Hansen and full-back Oran McNulty both scoring at The Sportsground.  

Connacht then built on their lead in the second half – as inside centre Sammy Arnold, scrum-half Caolin Blade and fly-half Conor Fitzgerald all crossed – to record the hosts’ third win of the season.  

In the Gallagher Premiership, Heineken Champions Cup hopefuls Exeter Chiefs beat Bath Rugby 23-16 thanks to a late try from No.8 Sam Simmonds at The Recreation Ground.  

With the hosts 16-13 up, Simmonds scored in the 77th minute from a scrum after Bath openside flanker Sam Underhill had given away a penalty for a high tackle on the England forward. 

Joe Simmonds then converted his brother’s try and sealed the win after he kicked a late penalty to inflict Bath’s ninth straight loss in all competitions. 

Elsewhere, in another match-up between Champions Cup sides, Northampton Saints beat Bristol Bears for the first time since 2018 as the visitors scored four tries on their way to an impressive 36-20 win. 

A double from wing Tommy Freeman and scores from tighthead prop Paul Hill and full-back George Furbank alongside 16 points from fly-half Dan Biggar meant Northampton put an end to their five-game losing streak in the Gallagher Premiership. 

 

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Aberdeen Grammar down Glasgow Hawks to finally taste victory

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JACK NIXON @ Rubislaw

THE case for summer rugby was well and truly made on a windswept, freezing day at Rubislaw where both sides attempted to ignore the wild elements and concentrate instead on the job in hand.

For a beleaguered Aberdeen side, it was a case of saving their season as they faced the unacceptable possibility of going a whole campaign without a win, while for the Glasgow side it was an opportunity to keep their prospects of a play-off place alive.

In the event, Grammar turned the tables on an out of sorts Hawks side, handing them a five try to two try beating, giving their supporters an early Christmas present with a much welcome first win of the campaign, begging the question why has it taken 11 games to find such fine form?


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Hawks, on the other hand, were never at the races, committing a series of early errors. They handed the home side the initiative which they grabbed with alacrity, going on the establish a two try lead in the first 20 minutes, which they never looked like surrendering as the afternoon wore on in the near Baltic conditions.

Ironically, it was the Glasgow side who eased into a 3-0 lead in only three minutes when centre Matthew Stewart kicked the easiest of penalties, only for Grammar to hit back with a phase of pressure which led to the first try of the day, touched down by draft prop George Breese, after they raced through a hesitant Hawks defence. Centre Tom Aplin kicked the conversion, going on to end the afternoon with a 100 percent record of place kicking, adding four more and one penalty to keep the scoreboard ticking over, gaining a psychological advantage in the process.

Try number two came on 19 minutes after more sustained home pressure, aided by some misfielding in the visiting back-line. This time it was fellow prop Callum Reddish who did the damage, bursting over from close range, with Aplin’s conversion making it 14-3.

Hawks then enjoyed a spell of domination, culminating in a fine try, touched down out wide by centre Brendan McGroarty, opening up the game with the visitors only 14-8 in arrears.

Grammar were not to be denied, ending the half well on top, although unable to get a third try thanks to some excellent cover defending by Hawks.

 

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The Rubislaw side started the second half with a flurry of activity, resulting in No8 Corey Buchan capping a great personal day for him and his pack with a pushover try, inevitably converted by Aplin, giving the small but vocal home crowd hope of an overdue win at 21-8, only for Hawks winger Thomas Glendinning to pop up in the corner for Hawks after an exquisite cross-kick from stand-off Joe Strain. That set alarm bells ringing among the Rubislaw faithful, even if the conversion was missed.

They need not have fretted, as their favourites were well up to the task, surging back with two killer tries, attributed to their irrepressible No7 Ben Inglis, who had just returned to the field of play after injury. and Cammy Scott.

In between those touchdowns, Aplin added a penalty and also kicked the extras, making it a perfect day him and his tireless team-mates.

It’s probably too early to say whether or not Grammar have saved their skins, but Aplin was in no doubt his side had turned the corner. “It was one of those days when everything clicked,” he said. “We now have Jed-Forest firmly in our sights. It was a great all-round performance from the guys.”

His head coach, Ali O’Connor, agreed, adding: ”It has been a long time coming but nonetheless very welcome. We can build on this.”

His opposite number Andy Hill was disappointed but said: “We made too many mistakes early on and let Grammar get a foothold in the game. They took full advantage and were worth their win but we’re not out of it, and a top four place in the play offs is still our target.”

 

Teams –

Aberdeen: C Shepherd; R Cameron, D Russell, T Aplin, B Renton; C Scott, S Knudson; C Reddish, M Schosser, G Breese, C Walker, A Robertson, B Inglis, N. Coe, C Buchan. Subs: G Robertson, C Robertson, P Mullholland, A Andrade P Ritchie.

Glasgow Hawks: H Lee; H Hughes, B McRoarty, M Strain, T Glendining; J Strain, F Burgess; A Rogers, I Totic, G Strain, A Syme, E Bulger, L  Stewart, T Brown, L McNamara. Subs: I Carmichael, M Downer, J Porter, F Gosse, J Thompson.

Referee: Iain Kenny

 

Scorers –

Aberdeen Grammar: Tries: Breese, Reddish, Buchan, Inglis, Scott; Cons: Aplin 5; Pens: Aplin.

Glasgow Hawks: Tries: McCroarty, Glendinning; Pens: Stewart.

Scoring sequence (Aberdeen first): 0-3; 5-3; 7-3; 12-3; 14-3; 14-8 (h-t) 19-8; 21-8; 21-13; 26-13; 28-13; 31-13; 36-13; 38-13.

 

Yellow Cards –

Glasgow Hawks: Strain, Downer.

 

Man-of-the-Match: All the contenders came from the home team, including draft players George Breese and Cammy Scott, hooker Matthias Schosser, No 8 Corey Buchan, and all-action flanker Ben Inglis, who in the end of the day was the afternoon’s stand out, turning in a lion-hearted performance.

Talking Point: Referee Iain Kenny was the perfect man for the occasion, demonstrating the sensitivity the elements demanded, and letting the players get on with it. And, finally, many in the small but vociferous crowd owed much to the three coffee ladies who helped them forget the chill borth wind and the occasional flurry of snow with the endless supply of piping hot drinks.


Premiership: Selkirk on receiving end of Musselburgh’s ‘mega-Watt’ blast

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