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Six Nations Rugby | Guinness Six Nations Fantasy Rugby: team of Round 1

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The Cardiff Blues winger notched a stunning hat-trick of tries as the defending Grand Slam champions swept aside the Azzurri 42-0 in Cardiff, and besides topping the try-scoring ranks he also equalled the most try assists on the Championship’s opening weekend, with two.

His impressive performance was suitably rewarded with a massive 108.8 points, ahead of fellow countrymen Leigh Halfpenny (79.2) and George North (91.5) who also made the top Fantasy Rugby XV backline.

Justin Tipuric was named the official Guinness Player of the Match in Cardiff for a typically battling display at flanker, and having made 17 successful tackles is named as Wales’ fourth representative in the Fantasy Rugby XV with 70.6 points.

Joining the Ospreys stalwart in the back row are Ireland’s CJ Stander (75.1 points) and France skipper Charles Ollivon (85.6) after both of their teams got off to winning starts against Scotland and England respectively.

Ireland were far from their best and were somewhat fortunate to edge past last year’s fifth-place side, but Stander rose to the occasion after young debutant Caelan Doris was forced off in the game’s early stages.

The Munster star made the most carries of the round (17), while his two turnovers – including one that saved the game late on – made him a valuable Fantasy Rugby pick with 75.1 points.

Elsewhere in the pack, there is further room for Irish representation with James Ryan’s workmanlike effort gaining him 52.7 points, while Bundee Aki claims a spot in midfield with 57.2 points.

New Irish skipper Johnny Sexton was Ireland’s sole scorer in Dublin with a try and 14 points from his boot, and having inspired his team to victory is named at fly-half in the Fantasy Rugby XV with 63.8 points.

Despite having left the Aviva Stadium with only a losing bonus point, Scotland’s determined defensive display sees three of their men earn places in the XV, with Jonny Gray (33.8 points) named in the second row, and Rory Sutherland (23.6) and Zander Fagerson (19.1) as props.

Completing the front row is France’s Julien Marchand (25.1 points), while compatriots Antoine Dupont (44.4) and Gael Fickou (43.6) complete the XV for their part in a stunning win over 2019 Rugby World Cup runners-up England.

 

15. L. Halfpenny (Wales) – 79.2 pts

14. G. North (Wales) – 91.5 pts

13. B. Aki (Ireland) – 57.2 pts

12. G. Fickou (France) – 43.6 pts

11. J. Adams (Wales) – 108.8 pts

10. J. Sexton (Ireland) – 63.8 pts

9. A. Dupont (France) – 44.4 pts

1. Z. Fagerson (Scotland) – 19.1 pts

2. J. Marchand (France) – 25.1 pts

3. R. Sutherland (Scotland) – 23.6 pts

4. J. Gray (Scotland) – 33.8 pts

5. J. Ryan (Ireland) – 52.7 pts

6. J. Tipuric (Wales) – 70.6 pts

7. C. Stander (Ireland) – 75.1 pts

8. C. Ollivon (France) – 85.6 pts

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Six Nations Rugby

France prop Haouas’s burglary trial delayed until 2022

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France prop Haouas’s burglary trial delayed until 2022 | SuperSport – Africa’s source of sports video, fixtures, results and news






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Ireland captain Griffin relieved after ‘tough’ week

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Ireland captain Ciara Griffin has praised the resolve of her teammates, after Ireland got back into Rugby World Cup qualifying contention with a 15-7 win against Italy yesterday.

Adam Griggs’s side put last week’s shock defeat to Spain behind them as they deservedly saw off their Six Nations rivals by eight points, denying them a crucial losing bonus point.

It was a positive end to what had been an otherwise awful week for Irish women’s rugby.

On top of the national team’s defeat to Spain, there was controversy back home as the IRFU dealt with the fallout from the final weekend of the Interpro series, after Connacht’s players called out the changing conditions that had been provided to them at Energia Park before their game with Ulster.

Ireland’s players put that controversy behind them to grind out a vital win in Parma, where tries for Beibhinn Parsons and Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, as well as five points off the boot of Stacey Flood game Ireland an eight point victory.

Griffin says their performance against the Italians was a truer reflection of them as a team.

“Happy that we got the result, happy that we put in the performance that we know we can do,” she told reporters after the game at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi.

#ShoulderToShoulder

𝙏𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙬𝙞𝙣𝙣𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙛𝙚𝙚𝙡𝙞𝙣𝙜! 💚

Thanks for all your support today. We go again next week. 👊#NothingLikeIt #IrishRugby #RWC2021Qualifier #ITAvIRE pic.twitter.com/SYPkNUmyBE

— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) September 19, 2021

“It was a tough week, we were tough on ourselves, we’d a lot of hard work on the pitch, a lot of hard work off the pitch to make sure we were ready to go and thankfully that came to the fore today.

“Look, there was pressure on us, but we had a very good talk in terms of pressure and how we use it and how you can use pressure for your advantage, and take the pressure as pleasure at times in those high stakes games. I think we met that pressure well this week.

“Obviously the job is definitely not done, we’re one step close, so big push and massive focus this week, starting tomorrow,” she added.

Griffin was seen limping from the pitch midway through the second half when she was replaced by Brittany Hogan, but the Tralee has eased any concerns over her fitness for next Saturday’s next must-win game against Scotland.

“No, I’m fine. Just a tiny bit of cramp.

“The joy of this squad is there’s people chomping at the bit to come on and put in their open performance their own name on a shirt. So I’m fine. It was a massive squad effort in there today.”



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‘I can’t see them getting close’: Laurie Mains slams Springboks before All Blacks test

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Lauri Mains says the Springboks don’t have the players to match the likes of Rieko Ioane and Jordie Barrett.

Tertius Pickard/AP

Lauri Mains says the Springboks don’t have the players to match the likes of Rieko Ioane and Jordie Barrett.

Former All Blacks coach Laurie Maurie has delivered a scathing critique of the current Springboks side, predicting New Zealand’s outside backs will have a field day against the world champions on Saturday, while questioning whether “four or five” of the Springboks are good enough to play at the highest level.

Mains, who once coached Springboks director of rugby Rassie Erasmus at the Cats in Super Rugby, also said the Springboks’ losses to Australia will have started some hard conversations in South Africa about the wisdom of potentially joining the Six Nations, as has repeatedly been speculated in recent years.

Wallabies midfielder Len Ikitau scores his second try against the Springboks on Saturday.

Albert Perez/Getty Images

Wallabies midfielder Len Ikitau scores his second try against the Springboks on Saturday.

“I think there’s four or five players in that team that simply are not up to test level, and I think you’ll see that the All Blacks’ three-quarters will run riot against them,” Mains told Stuff on Monday.

“The centre and the two wings look simply just not good enough to be playing at that level.

READ MORE:
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* All Blacks great Ben Smith hopes Super Rugby split with South Africa isn’t final
* Why the Springboks should ditch the Rugby Championship and join the Six Nations

“And, I’d have some questions over one or two of their forwards too. It’s all very well they have big strong props, but boy, they’ve got to be mobile.”

The two proud test nations will face each other for the 100th time in Townsville on Saturday, and appear to have very different form lines heading into the test.

Mains said it was clear that the All Blacks had made progress since last year, citing Rieko Ioane as one player who has taken his performances to new heights.

By contrast, the Springboks were well beaten 30-17 by the Wallabies in Brisbane on Saturday, and their 2-1 series victory against the British and Irish Lions in July and August already looks like a distant memory.

“I think above all the teams in the southern hemisphere the look to me like they have struggled the most … by not having Super Rugby,” Mains said. I think Australia and New Zealand had enough Super Rugby to keep them on track and lift them up a level.

“South Africa, sure they had the tests against the Lions but they didn’t have that really tough Super Rugby program that brings players up to a level where you either make it or you don’t.

“It’s a bit of a war of attrition Super Rugby, but it certainly leaves the players in really good condition.”

South Africa’s players are dotted throughout Europe and Japan, but a significant part of their squad has effectively been playing against local opposition for the best part of two years, either in the South African-only Super Rugby competition or the Currie Cup.

Laurie Mains says South Africa have suffered from the absence of Super Rugby, and has questioned the mobility of their big men.

Stephen Barker/Photosport

Laurie Mains says South Africa have suffered from the absence of Super Rugby, and has questioned the mobility of their big men.

South Africa’s franchises will join the United Rugby Competition, which starts next weekend, while there has been persistent talk about the Springboks following suit and joining the Six Nations.

However, Mains sounded a major note of caution about that approach, and had no doubt that “traditional South African rugby folk” would already be talking about the ramifications of such a move.

“That discussion will be happening in South Africa,” Mains said. “They looked like a team that was just off the pace compared to Australia.

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Ian Foster’s charges had to fight hard in the second half against a plucky Argentinian side.

“They will come back harder and faster against New Zealand, but they can’t lift that much [in a week]. They won’t be able to lift it enough to give the All Blacks…assuming the All Blacks are as good as they have been, you know, I can’t see South Africa getting close to them with that team.

“I just come back to what I said. They just don’t have the cattle the moment, the world class players there to actually do a lot about it.

“I mean, in rugby today with the high skill levels and variation of tactics, and everything that goes with it, it is extremely hard for a team that is lacking in ability to compete with a team that’s got a lot of ability.

“Fifteen or 20 years ago you could, but not now. The way the laws are and the tactics that are used…if you can’t keep up physically, you’re going to take a bit of a towelling.”

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