Despite dominating territory and possession against Quins, Gloucester didn’t cross the try line last weekend , an aspect of the game that Redpath knows must be improved.“We created plenty of opportunities against Harlequins last weekend but we weren’t clinical enough. We were just a bit off although it’s rare that we don’t take any of our chances.” Starting XV:Olly MorganCharlie SharplesHenry TrinderMike TindallLesley VainikoloFreddie BurnsRory LawsonNick WoodDarren DawidiukRupert HardenWill JamesJim HamiltonAlasdair StrokoschAkapusi QeraLuke Narraway (C)Replacements:Scott LawsonDan MurphyDario ChistoliniPeter BuxtonBrett DeaconDave LewisTim TaylorJonny May Olly Morgan returns after shoulder injuryGloucester Rugby welcome back full back Olly Morgan and number eight Luke Narraway for the visit of the Leicester Tigers to Kingsholm on Saturday afternoon (kick off 2:15pm).Morgan, who signed a new three year contract with the club recently, has sat out the past two fixtures with a shoulder injury but returns in his usual number 15 shirt.The only other change to the side that started against Harlequins last weekend sees club skipper Luke Narraway back at number eight with Alasdair Strokosch moving across to the blind side.Recent clashes between the two sides at Kingsholm have been tight affairs with Gloucester winning 12-9 in 2009-10 and 19-12 in 2010-11. A third win in succession over the visitors will have to be earned the hard way according to Head Coach Bryan Redpath: “Their tenth position in the table doesn’t reflect on the ability of their squad. It just reflects on their injury list and the World Cup period.“They’ll be fighting in every game now because they need to push for that top four and that’s what Leicester always target. It’s not going to be easy and it shouldn’t be easy. We have to earn our wins and we didn’t do that last week.” LEICESTER, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 21: Olly Morgan of Gloucester gestures during the LV Cup match between Leicester Tigers and Gloucester at Welford Road on October 21, 2011 in Leicester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images) LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS
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“Michael Hobbs impressed in the last game and throughout the pre-season. He’s in great nick so he will start at 10,” Lam said. “There was really good competition for the number 10 jersey and Piri showed his class but we feel at this stage as he is just returning to rugby, it is best to bring him off the bench.” LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Michael Hobbs (left) beats Piri Weepu to the #10 shirtBlues coach Pat Lam has named a starting line-up of players who earned their jerseys through solid pre-season performances and are in optimum shape to play the Crusaders in the opening round of the Investec Super Rugby season.Captained by Keven Mealamu, the Blues welcome back winger Rudi Wulf after a stint in Toulon and he is joined by North Harbour speedster David Raikuna who will make his debut this Friday night on the right wing.“In the highly competitive outside backs, David Raikuna has put his hand up. He had a very good game against the Highlanders so he’s earned his spot on the right wing. With Sherwin Stowers getting injured in the Rebels game it has given David the chance to start and take the opportunity in a big game,” says LamMichael Hobbs, also returning to the Blues has secured the No.10 starting position and it is his form to-date that has impressed the coaches. AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – FEBRUARY 17: Michael Hobbs of the Blues talks with Hosea Gear of the Highlanders following the Super Rugby trial match between the Blues and the Highlanders at Unitec on February 17, 2012 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images) Starting XV:1. Tom McCartney2. Keven Mealamu ©3 Charlie Faumuina4. Anthony Boric5. Ali Williams6. Chris Lowrey7. Daniel Braid8. Jerome Kaino9. Alby Mathewson10. Michael Hobbs11. Rudi Wulf12. Benson Stanley13. Rene Ranger14. David Raikuna15. Isaia ToeavaReplacements:16 Pauliasi Manu17 Tevita Mailau18 Brad Mika19 Luke Braid20 Piri Weepu21 Hadleigh Parkes22 Sherwin Stowers
Despite his age Hugh is up for the responsibilityThe RaboDirect Rebel’s are pleased to announce, as part of the clubs leadership succession plan, joint Vice-Captains for the upcoming FxPro Super Rugby season.Hugh Pyle, one of the clubs developing leaders, and Gareth Delve, Vice-Captain in the Rebels’ inaugural year, will share the position in 2012.Prior to joining the Rebels, Delve had previously captained Gloucester in the English Premiership and in 2011 became the first non-Australian to captain an Australian side in Super Rugby (Round 9 v Highlanders).Delve is looking forward to guiding Pyle through the next 12 months: “I am fortunate to have gained some great experience throughout my career and learned off some terrific leaders. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience as Vice-Captain and I am honoured that the club have chosen to retain me in this role.“It is an exciting time to be a part of the Rebels and Hugh Pyle is an impressive young man. I look forward to guiding Hugh, while allowing him to develop his own style of leadership. We are both fortunate to have Stirling Mortlock as our Captain and we look forward to providing him all of the necessary support.” Pyle had no previous Super Rugby experience before joining the Rebels, but after a terrific 2011 season, he was named in the Wallabies post-season training squad. It has been a meteoric rise to date for the young Lock and Pyle admits it has been a little surreal.“Initially, I was just happy to be playing Super Rugby and was focused on securing a spot in the starting 15,” said Pyle. “With the help of the coaching staff and my teammates, I managed to have a solid 2011. The fact the club has been willing to put so much faith in me is very humbling and I am just focused on repaying that faith.“I honestly do not believe I would be in this position without the support of my teammates. We are blessed with a number of strong leaders at the club and it is their guidance that has helped me develop. It is a real privilege to have Gareth and Stirling at my side and I will certainly be turning to both for advice throughout the year.” GEELONG, AUSTRALIA – FEBRUARY 03: Hugh Pyle of the Rebels runs with the ball during the Super Rugby trial match between the Melbourne Rebels and the Chiefs at Simonds Stadium on February 3, 2012 in Geelong, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images) LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS RaboDirect Rebels Head Coach Damien Hill said today he is thrilled with his new look leadership team.“Having such high quality individuals in this position is very encouraging, especially as we prepare to face the many challenges ahead,” said Hill. “I am confident that with Gareth and Stirling’s guidance, Hugh will accelerate his development as a future leader of our club. Both players thoroughly deserve this honour and I am very pleased to see Hugh develop his skills under players of Gareth’s and Stirling’s calibre, he is in very good hands.”
New skipper: Rory Best runs in a try against Wales in Ireland’s opening Six Nations gameUlster hooker Rory Best will captain Ireland in their penultimate RBS 6 Nations fixture against Scotland in Dublin on Saturday.Paul O’Connell was ruled out for the remainder of the championship after picking up a knee injury against France on Sunday so Best will lead Ireland for a third time. Best, whose brother Simon also captained Ireland, has a 100% winning record as captain having worn the armband against Canada and the USA in 2009.“It’s a great honour to be asked to captain the side. It’s something you dream of doing,” Best said. “It’s very unfortunate that Paul’s out but I’m honoured to do the job.“We know we’ll have to be on the money against Scotland. It will be a massive challenge for our defence.” IRELAND TEAM TO PLAY SCOTLAND, SATURDAY 10 MARCH, AVIVA STADIUM15 – Rob Kearney14 – Tommy Bowe13 – Keith Earls12 – Gordon D’Arcy11 – Andrew Trimble10 – Jonathan Sexton9 – Eoin Reddan1 – Cian Healy2 – Rory Best (capt)3 – Mike Ross4 – Donncha O’Callaghan5 – Donnacha Ryan6 – Stephen Ferris7 – Sean O’Brien8 – Jamie HeaslipReplacements:16 – Sean Cronin17 – Tom Court18 – Mike McCarthy19 – Peter O’Mahony20 – Tomas O’Leary21 – Ronan O’Gara22 – Fergus McFadden Donnacha Ryan replaces O’Connell in the second row and will start his first championship game while Eoin Reddan is promoted from the replacements’ bench to fill the No 9 shirt with Conor Murray also ruled out because of injury. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS
Luke Jones, 21 (Melbourne Rebels)Headlines in Melbourne tend to be reserved for Kurtley Beale and James O’Connor, while Wales’ own Gareth Delve is the serious, brooding face of the franchise. Yet there are a few ripples of excited pub-talk about a hard-grafting second-row, with the engine of a blindside and the appetite of a young (or old) Nathan Sharpe.Can the 6ft 6in, 17st Jones fill the old fella’s boots?Hugh McMeniman, 29 (Western Force)Sure, he’s no spring chicken and he returnes to Australia after three years in Japan, but already the hardy McMeniman is being whispered about as a returnee for the national side.Comeback Clyde: Rathbone is up to old tricks as a BrumbieThe lock-cum-flanker is rugged and experienced and is rested for the opener, as is the ‘Honey Badger’ Nick Cummins, but Force head coach Michael Foley has publicly stated that he can rely on the 21-time Wallaby come what may. McMeniman would at least welcome the opportunity to take up Sharpe’s mantle.Clyde Rathbone, 31 (Brumbies)You want a comeback story? Sure you do. Well feast your eyes on the latest incarnation of Clyde Rathbone.He was ravaged by injury and fell into well-documented bouts of depression that almost made a rugby return impossible. He retired. He was shot. In his own words, he spent three years bloated in a ‘dark place’. All eyes on me: Israel Folau is billed as the saviour of the NSW Waratahs and a potential Wallaby this summer By Alan DymockTHIS WEEKEND sees the start of the 2013 Super Rugby season with two all-Australian affairs. The Melbourne Rebels host the Western Force on Friday morning and the Brumbies host the Queensland Reds on Saturday.Lean and mean: Young Rebel Luke JonesThe Aussies are starting earlier than the rest with a week’s extra preparation scheduled before the Lions visit this summer. However, with Warren Gatland watching the whole competition with the intensity of a Where’s Wally world champion, there may be a few surprise performers who catch, and more pertinently worry, his eye.Israel Folau, 23 (NSW Waratahs) Izzy has tried more codes than a hapless safe cracker. Okay, maybe I’m exaggering, but the winger is tall, fast and gifted with the jumping ability of a particularly frightened frog.Many are backing the former league and Aussie rules player to be the saviour of Tahs rugby, and alongside fellow signing Matt Hooper, he is expected to be a Wallaby by the time the Lions land.Two things are for sure: he likes scoring tries and he is more than willing to pluck them out of the air.Matt Toomua, 23 (Brumbies)Billed as the next big thing at fly-half, Toomua is the playmaker for this year’s Brumbies.Fans are aflutter after looking at the makeup of Jake White’s side, with David Pocock signing up to support him and the much-vaunted centre Christian Lealiifano playing outside him at centre.Toomua is a possible answer to a Quade-shaped question. He can kick for goal and will attack the line if the moment presents itself, even though he may seem a bit too gung-ho. Nevertheless, fighting back from a serious knee injury shows that he is willing to keep giving it a lash: a trait the Aussies love. Having worked himself back into shape, though, he is back. He may not be nailed-on for a return to the Australia side, but at least he is in a fine fettle and the game is undoubtedly delighted to have him back.With 26 caps, he has class, too. In fact, it could be dangerous having such a seasoned campaigner smashing lines off of Messrs Toomua and Lealiifano. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA – FEBRUARY 08: Clyde Rathbone of the Brumbies scores a try during the Super Rugby trial match between the Brumbies and the ACT XV at Viking Park on February 8, 2013 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Stefan Postles/Getty Images)
Ireland’s centre Brian O’Driscoll (2-L) shakes the hand of Wales no. 8 Toby Faletau (R) at the end of the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on February 8, 2014. Ireland won 26-3. AFP PHOTO / PETER MUHLY (Photo credit should read PETER MUHLY/AFP/Getty Images) LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS All wrapped up: George North is shackled by Rob Kearney as Wales were suffocated tactically by IrelandBy Paul WilliamsWales. Shutdown.Wales were comprehensively beaten by Ireland in as one sided a victory as we have witnessed under Warren Gatland. Wales were completely shutdown in all aspects of the game. This current Ireland squad already have a reputation for their ‘choke tackle’ but they took their suffocation tactics to a new level on Saturday – these were the sort of choking tactics that a Dickensian serial killer would have been proud of.In truth the 26-3 score line and key statistics don’t truly reflect the level to which Ireland blunted the Welsh game plan. The core statistics say Wales had 51% possession and 50% territory. In reality, they had little quality possession and very few opportunities to attack in the Irish 22. The Welsh lineout was a major issue and its inability to function forced Wales into an attritional carrying game which bore little yardage but many a turnover and handling error – not a single Welsh player carried the ball over 45m. There have been many great performances from this Welsh side and there will be many more to come. But this wasn’t one of them, far from it.Penalty count: Wales were punishedToo many penaltiesYou simply can’t concede 16 penalties in a game of test rugby and expect to win – Ireland conceded just nine. Wales had actually conceded six penalties in the first 18 minutes which gifted Ireland a simple six point lead after 16 minutes. Six points may not seem like a big margin but in test rugby – it is. It means that you need a converted try just to take a one point lead. And when you consider that Wales have only scored two or more tries on just two occasions in the last 12 months – gifting six easy points is a luxury that can be ill-afforded at this level.There will be many aspects of the Welsh performance that will leave Gatland seething – but the penalty count will be top of the hate list. It’s worth noting that whilst many of the Welsh penalties were uncontestable, conceding a penalty for a double movement is possibly the most unfair rule in rugby. Tries are hard enough to come by in test rugby. Penalising a player for trying is harsh. Surely a scrum to the opposition is a more equitable solution?No territory The statistics say that Wales, over 80 minutes, actually had 50% of the territory. But that stat belies the regularity with which Wales were pinned in their own half by the exemplary kicking of Jonathan Sexton. In fact Wales were pinned in their half so often that you could at times have cut the Aviva Stadium in half and just played on one side of the pitch. Sexton took great pleasure in rolling accurate kicks behind the Welsh back three. It was an immensely successful tactic. George North, Leigh Halfpenny, Alex Cuthbert and Liam Williams spent considerable periods of the game turning and running back into their own 22.Sexton’s kicks often rolled painfully near to the touchline leaving the Welsh defence narrow clearance angles or no option but to run into touch. But perhaps the most significant territorial stat is Wales’ goal kicking percentage. Wales only had one shot at goal in 80 minutes – which came after 56 minutes. Wales’ inability to gain meaningful territory essentially took Leigh Halfpenny’s goal kicking out of the game. And when Leigh Halfpenny’s goal kicking was out of the game, so were Wales.Misfiring: The lineout didn’t function as a collectiveLineout reliabilityWales’ inability to gain territory certainly wasn’t helped by the fragility of their lineout. Kicking a penalty to touch and winning the lineout is the simplest way to gain 40 yards in test rugby. Without it you’re forced to make hard carries and ten phase sets just to gain half that distance. This, as Wales found out to their cost, increases the likelihood of turnovers and handling errors – Wales turned the ball over 18 times against Ireland.It would be easy to blame the weather for the failings of the Welsh lineout – but that would be disingenuous. Ireland played in the same conditions and their lineout work was impeccable – as was their rolling maul which led directly to two tries. It would also be naive to blame the inadequacies of the Welsh lineout on the hookers alone. A lineout is an eight man job and all eight must take responsibility.Well beaten: O’Driscoll offers Faletau a hand of condolenceTactical ‘dead end’ When the Welsh game plan works it is very effective – but when it doesn’t there is seemingly no Plan B. Wales’ inability to change the game plan in the face of overwhelming pressure was perhaps the most worrying aspect of the game on Saturday. Faced with limited quality possession and territory Wales still stuck to Plan A – using big ball carriers running straight lines into contact. As the points margin widened and the clock ticked the Welsh carriers became ever more desperate – regularly spilling the ball in contact and coughing up uncharacteristic turnovers.Contrast this with Joe Schmidt’s tactics. He has the ability to change them with the flip of a coin. This is a coach who, at Leinster, developed one of the most attractive brands of rugby in the world – a fusion of Super Rugby back play and Northern Hemisphere forward play. Yet against Wales he took that playbook, doused it in Irish whiskey and torched it, choosing instead to execute one of the most claustrophobically accurate kicking strategies that you will see. Hat tip to Mr Schmidt – a masterstroke.
LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Mike Brown was at Twickenham on Wednesday morning, but not for the announcement of England’s Six Nations squad. He was fulfilling his ambassadorial duties for GB Wheelchair Rugby, who were launching their partnership with BT.“I love wheelchair rugby for all the same reasons I love rugby,” says Brown. “It’s fast-paced, physical and there’s lots of drama, just like in the able-bodied game.”As well as some general chit chat about the sport (he’s getting better in the wheelchair himself), we asked Brown who his top five full-backs in world rugby are. Here’s what he had to say…1. Israel Dagg“These aren’t in any particular order, but one name that springs to mind is Dagg. He’s shown over a number of years what an all-round game he’s got; he’s got all the skills. He was very good against us in the autumn, and he brings a high level of consistency to the game. He’s one that we’ll keep a close eye on in the planning stage before a match.On par: Dagg enjoys a round of golf during his down time2. Willie le Roux“He’s got a massive box of tricks. He’s very influential and involved in most of the good things that South Africa do. He stood out straight away when I saw him play, he’s classy all over the field and has a lot of infuence in the way South Africa attack.Out of reach: le Roux helps the Springboks to victory in November3. Israel Folau “Just for the athlete that he is, he’s unbelievable, and another one who played brilliantly well against us in November. I also admire him for the variety of things he’s done in different sports. I’m a big rugby fan as well as playing the game, and I love watching the Super XV, as well as some rugby league and State of Origin. Like I said, Folau is a natural athlete – it’s very frustrating! We caught up with Mike Brown to talk about the World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge, and who makes his top five full-backs list… High jinks: Folau doing what he does best during a State of Origin game4. Ben Smith“When he switches to full-back, he produces things that other players can’t. On our tour to New Zealand I realised how fortunate the All Blacks are to have two brilliant players in that position. He’s good at counter-attack and his running game is fantastic. Like Dagg, he’s an allrounder.Stateside: Smith (left) enjoys the Chicago sites with the ABs5. Rob Kearney“He’s played well for Ireland and the Lions, and I really enjoy the way he plays. He’s great under the high ball and in the way he works around the rucks. I think he plays a similar game to me in the way he runs off people.”Try guy: Kearney has scored 11 Test tries for Ireland & the LionsAnd here’s who he missed out…“I haven’t mentioned Leigh Halfpenny… he’d definitely be number six. It’s so hard to condense that lot into five, and he does bring something that the others don’t have with his goal-kicking. He’s also one of the best, if not the best, defensive full-back in the world. But he’s had a quieter season this year, and my top five have really stood out when I’ve played against them.” On a roll: Brown hones his wheelchair rugby skills with members of Team GB Check out these counter-attacking tips from Chris Pennell! The World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge involves the top teams in the world, including Australia, Canada and the USA. It will take place alongside the Rugby World Cup later this year, at the Copper Box Arena. Check out the schedule here!
TAGS: Highlight England have won the Six Nations Championship with a game to spare. They have claimed the Calcutta Cup after blasting Scotland 61-21. And they are now the joint-record holders for the most consecutive Tier One Tests won in a row, with their 18th victory on the spin. And while you get to grips with the fact that England have matched the All Blacks’ record, it is worth noting that in this win England put more points past Scotland than they ever have before at Twickenham and in the process won with their biggest ever margin over the Scots.There were handbags, there were histrionics and there were disjointed passages, but in the end there was a clear winner in this particular fight – and it became pretty obvious pretty early.England utilised fine set-piece attack and up-front dominance to rack up a score that had the Scots dizzied before half an hour had passed. The Gray brothers dug in and Hamish Watson got on with it, but while two Huw Jones tries and a Gordon Reid score sounds okay, they were so far away from their hosts who scored seven.England were very good for their hefty win with hat-trick-scoring Jonathan Joseph standing out for his try heroics but his back-five forwards laid the groundwork for a memorable day. Saving grace: Huw Jones gets one of his two triesWHAT’S HOTEngland’s lineout attack – Forget sixes and sevens, England’s passing from off-the-top lineout ball sliced Scotland into decimal points. Three first-half tries came from first-phase lineout attack. Joseph’s second try was a prime example of this. Courtney Lawes plopped the ball off the top, the ball was passed out so it slid behind a dummy runner, Ford hit his Bath team-mate and he was at the races again. England’s third was just as silky, with slight of hand by Ford and Farrell again unleashing Joseph who then handed off to a scoring Watson.Farrell’s boot – Why was anyone worried about his match fitness? He flew threw this game looking like his body was totally fine and as for kicking there was nothing too far out for him to take on. He finished with 26 points to his name.Cutting edge: Jonathan Joseph had a very day at the office against Scotland’s centresAtmosphere – It could feel oppressive at times when Scotland were under the hammer, but it roared the other way when Scotland staged a mini mutiny. The Scots will be particularly disappointed in their defence, but there were a few moments of delight for those hearty travelling fans.WHAT’S NOTThe Twickenham jitters – From the start it was clear Scotland were so fired up they could have melted steel. But have you ever tried to hold your hand steady with that much adrenaline swilling around your body? Well two minutes in Fraser Brown had a rush of blood, trying to obliterate Elliot Daly, and lifted him above the horizontal. Yellow. Then shortly after, Joseph scored by scything past Alex Dunbar. There was a lot of joy between those blue centres. The visitors took a long, long time to settle.Shirt-grabbing and shoving – Between the tries being scored, we may have had some rugby. But with every break in play there was some minor tussles. And if you think that sounds exciting, it most certainly wasn’t. It just ate up athletes’ energy. Energy that could have best been put to use elsewhere… Handbags at dawn: There was a lot of needless needle in this contestScottish injury woes – Scotland lost Stuart Hogg, Mark Bennett, Ryan Wilson, and Tommy Seymour to injury. That is incredibly tough to deal with and Scotland did well to hold it together as they did with a remarkably makeshift backline. They’ll need to pull together for their game against Italy. Three tournament wins are still attainable and, remember, it’s Vern Cotter’s last match as head coach.STATISTICS5 – The number of line breaks Jonathan Joseph made in the first half alone. He finished the first 40 with 104m run.11 – The number of penalties Scotland conceded, compared to Scotland’s five.15 – Joe Launchbury completed more tackles than anyone else, with 15. James Haskell and Dylan Hartley were just behind with 14.England: M Brown; J Nowell, J Joseph (B Te’o 58), O Farrell, E Daly (A Watson 2); G Ford, B Youngs (D Care, 60); J Marler (M Vunipola 58), D Hartley (capt, J George, 51), D Cole (K Sinckler, 58), J Launchbury, C Lawes (T Wood, 66), M Itoje, J Haskell, N Hughes (B Vunipola, 51).Tries: Joseph 3, Watson, Vunipola, Care 2. Cons: Farrell 7. Pens: Farrell 4.Scotland: S Hogg (M Bennett 17, H Pyrgos 21); T Seymour (D Weir 53), H Jones, A Dunbar, T Visser; F Russell, A Price; G Reid (A Dell, 43), F Brown (R Ford, 43), Z Fagerson (A Berghan, 60), R Gray, J Gray (T Swinson, 75), J Barclay (capt), H Watson, R Wilson (C du Preez, 61). LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Tries: Reid, Jones 2. Cons: Russell 3.Yellow card: Brown (2min).
In the second Champions Cup semi-final French side Racing 92 go up against Munster in Bordeaux. Racing are a talented side with players like Nakarawa, Yannick Nyanga and Maxime Machenaud running the side, however who will be playing at ten will be a key storyline going into the game. Surely with someone like Carter in your side, you have to start him, but time will tell who the Racing coaches go for.MunsterMunster on the other hand looked rock solid during the group stages with the only blemish being the loss to Racing in the round five. They came back in the next round though with a 48-3 thumping of Castres to top the group.Their quarter-final opponent was Toulon who dominated the contest in the early stages taking a 6-0 lead after a penalty and drop goal by Anthony Belleau.But then Conor Murray got the Irish back in the match scoring an improbable try on the Toulon line – after Guilhem Guirardo knocked on at the bese of the ruck, the scrum-half darted around, picked the ball up and dotted down.Eventually Toulon managed to get themselves a 19-13 lead but an incredible, never-give-up Andrew Conway try , which was converted, gave Munster the 20-19 victory.The experience of players like Murray, Peter O’Mahoney and CJ Stander had a key role to play here, and they will again be pivotal against Racing. All three are big name players and will surely play well this weekend but the question is whether the rest of the side can step up.Andrew Conway scores the winning try against Toulon (Getty Images)ResultMunster are very good, but we think Racing will shock them and emerge victorious, 23-19. Racing 92 vs Munster Semi-Final PreviewThe second semi-final is a familiar affair with Racing 92 and Munster meeting for the third time in the competition.During the group stages they played twice and won one each. Munster won the first contest 14-7, and Racing won 34-30 in the return leg.If those results are anything to go by, then we are in for another tight one on Sunday at 16.15 on BT Sport.Racing 92 The only side to win on their travels during the quarter-finals, Racing have had a rollercoaster of a tournament to get this far.During the group stages, losses to Munster and Castres threatened to boot them out of the competition shockingly early. But they came back to win three in a row to get a runners-up spot in the group.This meant they had to travel to Group 2 winners Clermont. Tries by Leone Nakarawa, Man of the Match Marc Andreu and Boris Palu helped Racing come out 28-17 winners in a contest where substitutions changed the outcome of the game.Palu was one of them, Dan Carter was the other. Pat Lambie had started the game at ten for Racing, however Carter showed his class by setting up Andreu for the try that put his side ahead. They were able to stay there and Carter later tweeted how much of a test Clermont were after the match. Dan Carter helped Racing win against Clermont, but will he start against Munster? (Getty Images) Very happy to progress through to the @ChampionsCup semi final. A tough match against a strong @ASMOfficiel team #RacingFamily pic.twitter.com/TY8vj2lfh1— Dan Carter (@DanCarter) April 1, 2018 LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Who do you think will emerge victorious on Sunday?Also don’t forget to follow Rugby World on Facebook and Twitter. TAGS: Munster
The crusaders are reigning Super Rugby champions and are hunting for their third title in a row. You can read our piece on the stars to keep an eye on in this year’s tournament here – Super Rugby Players To Watch.Did you know that former All Blacks wing and ex-Crusaders flyer Seta Tamanivalu is Mataele’s uncle? Both men were born in Fiji and actually joined up at the ‘Saders. Tamanivalu now plays for Bordeaux Bègles in France’s Top 14.The 22-year-old Mataele is currently uncapped, though he did star for Fiji U18s. It was his performances for them against age-grade sides from Australia and New Zealand that got him spotted by Kiwi sides. He first moved to Taranaki from Suva to join their academy and from there earned a Super Rugby spot with the Crusaders.Mataele and Tamanivalu have played a fair bit together, but when they first did it for Taranaki, the younger man said: “When we played together against Bay of Plenty, that was just awesome because it was something that I always wanted to do, to play with a family member in the same team. The fact that he was also an All Black, that just made it even more special.” Moment of magic: Manasa Mataele of the Crusaders (Getty Images) As you can imagine, after the initial shock of seeing this out-the-back flip to set up Richie Mo’unga for a try, some took to social media to voice their delight and admiration for the piece of skill.Here are a few of the comments made. Cusaders wing Manasa Mataele’s incredible pass had many waxing lyrical Forget relatives or any Test future – let’s just enjoy that offload for now. Wow, it was good!Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Twitter reacts to ridiculous Mataele offload in Super RugbyThe Crusaders had a field day against the Hurricanes in Super Rugby on Saturday, winning 38-22, but there was one moment that stood out among the rest. Check out this superhuman offload form Fiji-born wing Manasa Mataele. How on earth did he do that?