In our first ever rugby round-up we take a look at the big stories in rugby that have been hitting the headlines in the last week.

Phillips shines as The Lions put the BaaBaas to the sword…

lions barbarians hong kongThe Lions cruised to a comfortable 8 – 59 victory in their opening game of the tour despite sweltering conditions. The heat and humidity in Hong Kong made for a scrappy affair with dropped balls and tired legs but the Lions will feel happy for having come through it in relatively convincing fashion.

The Barbarians looked a much better side than the one that failed to ignite against England a week earlier but the strength of Welsh backs Mike Phillips, Jamie Roberts and Alex Cuthbert was too much for the BaaBaas to cope with as their scrum once again failed to develop a platform for the team.

Farrell and Brits scrap it out in Hong Kong heat…

schalk brits owen farrell punchIn the same game Saracens team mates Farrell and Brits started the game in poor form with Brits lamping his Sarries team mate for holding on to him at a ruck. Farrell reacted by throwing Brits to the ground, but was spared ten minutes in the bin unlike Brits. The two have since apologised although Brits has been handed a 3 week ban for his conduct.

The most disappointing facet of the encounter was the failure of a front-row forward to make a fly-half see stars as quipped by England legend Brian Moore.

Castres upset the odds in the Top 14 final…

toulon castres top 14 finalJonny Wilkinson’s Toulon succumbed to a 19 – 14 loss to little fancied Catres in the Top 14 final just a week after having upset the odds themselves in the Heineken Cup final against Cleremont.

Toulon failed to cope with the power of the Castres scrum and despite a try from Delon Armitage and 9 points from the boot of Wilkinson the favourites fell victim of two successful drop goal attempts from Castres fly-half Remi Tales.

Cotter confirmed as new Scotland head coach…..but not for another year?

vern cotter scotland coachThe Scottish RFU have confirmed Vern Cotter will be the new Scotland head coach although internal wrangling at current employers Cleremont means he might not be available until the end of his contract in 2014.

The issue is set to be resolved this week although it has been confirmed Director of Rugby Scott Johnson will retain temporary control of the team until the issue has been resolved.

Wallaby injuries already mounting…

Digby+Ioane+Australia+v+Samoa+19DQsu3jkc8lWallaby flyer Digby Ioane looks set to miss at least the first test of the 2013 Lions tour after undergoing an operation to repair cartilage in his knee. Meanwhile lock Sitaleki Timani and backrower Scott Higginbotham look set to miss the tour with a broken thumb and dislocated shoulder respectively.

They have been replaced by Melbourne Rebels scrumhalf Nick Phipps, Waratahs lock Kane Douglas and Western Force loose forward Ben McCalman with a further six names set to be added to the squad by the end of the week.

Kearney looks set to be the first Lions drop-out…

RobKearney_2201010Lions full-back Rob Kearney has suffered a serious hamstring injury that coach Warren Gatland is keeping a close eye on. Although not confirmed initial suggestions indicate that Kearney could be replaced in the squad sooner rather than later.

Gatland said: “He is a little bit of a concern for us at the moment, to be honest. He’s got a grade one tear and we are going to see how he responds, so we’ve got to be potentially prepared that that hamstring might not heal as quickly as we would like.”

England battle to victory in Uruguay…

england consur xv uruguayEngland overcame a spirited Consur XV in Uruguay last night 44 – 21 in a game that was somewhat under the radar for most fans. The game was a scrappy affair with the referee making more of a mark on the game than most of the players.

Billy Vunipola was a shining light recording a hat-trick within just six minutes, although Stuart Lancaster will be hoping to see much more from his men against Argentina despite seemingly scoring at will as several key players failed to live up to pre-match expectations.

London Welsh face further misconduct charges…

london welshLondon Welsh may face further sanctions from the ERC for the fielding of the intelligible Tyson Keats. The team have already been docked Premiership points and fined but could face further misconduct charges from European rugby’s governing body.

The club have however confirmed that they will remain in Oxford next season despite their relegation to the Championship.

Cooper shines as Reds quash the Rebels…

quade cooper reds rebelsWallaby fly-half Quade Cooper will have hoped to have grabbed the attention of head coach Robbie Deans as he helped guide his Reds side to a 33 – 20 victory over Aussie rivals the Melbourne Rebels. Despite a nightmare start of having two kicks charged down for Rebels tries Cooper redeemed himself scoring the decisive points in the Reds victory.

The Super XV results were as follows; Crusaders 23 v 22 Waratahs; Brumbies 30 v 23 Hurricanes; Highlanders 38 v 28 Blues; Reds 33 v 20 Melbourne Rebels; Stormers 19 v  11 S.Kings; Cheetahs 25 v 30 Bulls; Byes – Chiefs,Western Force , Sharks.

 Under 7s rugby ref head-butted…


A referee at an under-7s game in New Zealand when one of the teams coaches Bryce Reynolds decided to make a point to the referee by head-butting him. The pair had got into an argument

The referee Roman Hallahan whose son was playing at the time explained “we had a difference of views about the way I was refereeing and the way he was coaching,”. “Reynolds was right in my face and I was telling him to go away, when ‘bang’ – he suddenly just nutted me. To do something like that in front of his son and mine was despicable and cowardly. I just asked him ‘what the hell did you do that for?”