The Toulonnais sealed an historic domestic/European double in the Stade de France on Saturday night as they defeated Castres 18-10. Jonny Wilkinson kicked fifteen points in his last ever rugby game. The Bouclier de Brennus trophy will be heading back to the Stade Felix Mayol for the first time since 1992. Toulon is only the fourth club in history to win the double after Toulouse, Leicester Tigers and London Wasps achieved the feat. Félicitations Toulon!
Matt O’Connor’s men secured back-to-back Pro 12 titles at a scorching RDS. A brace of tries from Zane Kirchner and a try each from Shane Jennings and Gordon D’Arcy helped the Blues to a 34-12 win over a brave Glasgow side.
Leinster suffered an early onslaught from the Scots but their magnificent defence held firm and once they took the lead when Jennings scored, they never relinquished it. The game signalled the end of Brian O’Driscoll’s and Leo Cullen’s careers and the attaining of more silverware was a fitting way to go for the Leinster legends. Comhghairdeas le achan duine a bhaineann le Cúige Laighin!
Last year was heartbreak for the Saints as they lost the Premiership final to close rivals Leicester Tigers. However, it was ecstasy for the Franklins Gardens’ outfit on Saturday as they scored a try in added on time in extra time to rip the trophy out of Saracens’ grasp.
Northampton suffered the blow of conceding a try five minutes from full time as Marcelo Bosch dived in at the corner for Sarries to send the game into extra time. The Saints were trailing by three points when the clock went into the red. A drop goal would have been enough for Northampton as the scores would have been tied meaning Jim Mallinder’s men would have won on tries scored. But the Saints decided they wanted the outright win and replacement prop, Alex Waller, crashed over from a yard out to send their fans into delirium. Congratulations to the Northampton Saints!
Michael Cheika’s men continued their impressive year with another fine performance over champions, the Chiefs, in Hamilton. Tries from Israel Folau, Dave Dennis and Bernard Foley were enough to give the Sydney siders a 33-17 victory. The ‘tahs are now in second spot, trailing the Sharks by only two points with a game in hand. Is this the year the Waratahs win the Super Rugby title?
Two weeks ago the Fez Boys were on course for a glorious double. Two defeats later and Saracens have absolutely zilch to show for their year long effort.
Replacement fly half, Charlie Hodgson, hit the post with his conversion five minutes from time which would have handed the Barnet based side the win. With the clock in the red in extra time and three points clear, Saracens probably felt they were home and hosed, but the reach of Alex Waller snatched victory from their clutches.
The defeat will be all the harder to take as Saracens finished nine points clear of their opponents in the regular season with 19 wins out of 22. Better luck next year, Saracens!
The West Country men went into their first leg promotion play off with London Welsh as overwhelming favourites. But their dreams quickly turned to nightmares as Welsh tore into Andy Robinson’s men. Bristol were beaten up front and clearly not up for the fight at a wet Kassam Stadium. Bristol now must overturn a 19 point deficit if they wished to be promoted to the big time.
The defending Super Rugby champions’ stumbling title defence continues as they were defeated at home by the in-form Waratahs. It was another heavy defeat for the Chiefs as they were smashed the previous week by the Hurricanes. They currently sit eighth in the table with only six wins from thirteen games. The Chiefs’ dreams of three in-a-row are looking exactly like that; dreams!
The Natal based side suffered a shock defeat as they lost to their improving South African rivals, the Stormers. Francois Steyn missed an opportunity with ten minutes to go to extend the home team’s lead to four. And this was to prove costly as Stormers’ fly half, Jaco Taute, kicked a last minute drop goal to win 21-19. The Sharks’ substantial lead at the top of table has been cut to two points.
Matt Cassiidy, Pundit Arena.