Monday, September 22, 2014

World Rugby Weekend Review


Aviva Premiership

Not many folks predicted Bath to win the Premiership this season but they look every part like contenders after earning their third straight win. Only they and Saracens have won all three of their matches. Bath's latest victory was a 45-0 drubbing of Leicester. The Tigers looked completely out matched as Bath, led by five different try scorers, dominated the match. For their part Saracens did their best to try and keep pace with a 36-32 win over London Irish. Saracens got things started very early before Alex Lewington had a ha trick for the Exiles. However, that effort was undone by a late Billy Vunipola try to give Saracens the win.

Northampton rebounded from their defeat last week to Wasps with a 35-10 win over Newcastle. The Saints sit third in the table just a point above Exeter. The Chiefs added to Gloucester's poor start to the season with a 25-22 win. Lastly, Harlequins beat Wasps 26-23 and Sale crushed London Welsh 46-8.

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Top 14

Promoted Lyon had enjoyed a good start to the Top 14 season until Saturday when they were taken down by a very strong Clermont side 43-12. That win was enough to push Clermont to the top of the standings with 23 points, four more than Toulon. Not be be left out, Toulon earned their own big win, 53-13 over Brive. Stade Francais, who had been one of the surprise teams of the season, limped to a 23-3 disappointing loss to Montpellier, who now sit third. Bordeaux are enjoying fourth place. They beat La Rochelle 29-26. Elsewhere, Racing Metro continued their yo-yo season with a 27-16 win over Toulouse, Castres beat Oyonnax 27-18, and Grenoble beat Bayonne 24-15.

Guinness Pro12

With the exception of one match it wasn't a close weekend in the Pro12. The Ospreys are now the table-toppers thanks to their 62-13 win over Edinburgh. Glasgow, who are second, beat the Dragons 33-13. Connacht and Leinster played to the tightest game of the season with Connacht winning 10-9. Connacht are tied with Ulster for third in the standings. Ulster beat Cardiff 26-9. Other winners include Scarlets 43-0 over Benetton Treviso and Munster 31-5 over Zebre.

ITM Cup

With only four matches left in the their season the question is quickly becoming whether or not Canterbury will lose. They picked up their sixth straight win with a 28-20 result over Counties Manukau. Despite being perfect both Tasman and Taranaki trail by only a point in the standings but have played one more match. Tasman beat Southland 38-14 and Wellington 42-20 while Taranaki beat Northland 31-20. In the Championship, Manawatu lead by a point over Hawke's Bay. The Turbos beat Southland 41-20 and Hawke's Bay beat Bay of Plenty 36-17. Around the competition Otago beat Waikato 38-7 and Auckland beat North Harbour 32-7.

Currie Cup

Only three weeks remain in the Currie Cup and right now it's looking like Western Province are the team in control. They beat the Griquas 36-12. The Golden Lions are second after beating the Pumas 29-15 and are four points behind Western Province. The Sharks are the next closest team nine points behind Western Province. They beat the Blue Bulls 26-15. Lastly, Free State beat the Eastern Province Kings 37-22.

National Rugby Championship

The Sydney Stars were the last team to not pick up a point in the NRC but that changed over the weekend as they drew with the Canberra vikings 37-37. Melbourne Rising are still the best team in the competition and have yet to lose. They beat the second place NSW Country Eagles 37-16. In other scores, the North Harbour Rays beat the Perth Spirit 32-29 and Queensland Country beat the Greater Sydney Rams 24-13.

Top League

The Kobelco Steelers have maintained their surprise lead over Suntory in Group 2. They did that by beating Suntory 29-22 last Friday. Suntory are now five points back. The Canon Eagles and Toyota Verblitz are close behind. The Eagles beat the NTT-Docomo Red Hurricanes 24-10 while Verblitz lost to the Kintetsu Liners 38-31. Also, the Ricoh Black Rams beat the Coca-Cola West Red Sparks 53-5. In Group 1, leaders Toshiba Fuchu Brave Lupus beat Toyota Shokki Shuttle 35-10, the NTT Shining Arcs beat the NEC Green Rockets 32-31, the Panasonic Wildnights beat the Fukuoka Sanix Blues 8-7, and the Kubota Spears and Yamaha Jubilo played to a 28-28 draw.

RFU Championship

London Scottish and Bristol are still unbeaten on the season. The Exiles beat Bedford 36-30 while Bristol beat the Cornish Pirates 45-7.  The only other team with double digit points is Worcester, who beat Doncaster 32-16. Elsewhere in the competition Leeds beat Moseley 32-28, Rotherham beat Plymouth 30-25, and Jersey beat Nottingham 39-12.

Pro D2

Only Pau have won all five of their Pro D2 matches so far this season. They beat Dax 22-15. Behind Pau are several teams with claims. Leagues scores include Aurillac 15-10 over Carcassonne, Beziers 12-9 over Colomiers, Massy 27-25 over Bourgoin, Mont-de-Marsan 30-20 over Montauban, Narbonne 38-22 over Albi, Perpignan 32-16 over Agen, and Biarritz 52-10 over Tarbes. 

All Ireland League

In the All-Ireland League Division 1A co-leaders Landsdowne and Clontarf emerged with 16-13 and 22-16 wins over Cork Constitution and Dolphin respectively. Terenure College beat St. Mary's 20-14, Ballynahinch beat Old Belvedere 13-8, and Young Munster beat UCD 24-19.

Currie Cup First Division

Things are pretty much settled in the Currie Cup First Division with all but the Cavaliers and the Bulldogs making the playoffs. Last week the Leopards beat the Bulldogs 34-19, the Cavaliers beat the Eagles 35-24, and the Falcons beating the Griffons 36-27.

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