Rugby Union

Result: Holders Leinster beat Toulouse to set up Champions Cup final with Saracens

Next month’s Heineken Champions Cup will be an Anglo-Irish affair after defending champions Leinster impressively dispatched Toulouse 30-12 at the Aviva Stadium. Fit-again captain Jonathan Sexton was back in command as Leo Cullen’s men set up an intriguing decider with unbeaten Saracens at St James’ Park on Saturday May 11. James Lowe‘s sixth try in eight European appearances, combined with a Luke McGrath maul effort and Sexton’s assured kicking, had them 17-6 ahead at half-time. FULL-TIME!!!!! WE’RE BACK IN THE FINAL!!!!!! #LEIvTOU #JoinTheRoar pic.twitter.com/BpTaUMHbsd — Leinster Rugby (@leinsterrugby) April 21, 2019 Thomas Ramos’ penalty brace kept Toulouse in the contest, with both sides coping well during first-half sin-binnings for Richie Gr...

Billy Vunipola confronted by fan on pitch after homophobia row

Tournament organisers have condemned a spectator who appeared to confront England star Billy Vunipola following Saracens‘ Heineken Champions Cup semi-final victory over Munster. Vunipola scored Saracens’ second try in an impressive 32-16 semi-final triumph. A picture of the incident showed Vunipola being approached by a man wearing a Munster shirt, gesturing at him with his fingers as Vunipola joined team-mates on a lap of honour. 2️⃣2️⃣ points from @owen_faz and second-half scores from @MikeRhodes7 and @bvunipola put @Saracens in the Final 💪@D93sweets gave @Munsterrugby a glimmer of hope, but it was the English side who triumphed 👊 Match report 📝 https://t.co/jZYmM0sajJ pic.twitter.com/BCs2Rqhytk — Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) April 20, 2019 The number eight had been...

Result: Billy Vunipola brushes off boos to lead Saracens to Champions Cup final

Billy Vunipola was on the score sheet as Saracens reached their third European final in four seasons after beating Heineken Champions Cup opponents Munster 32-16. Saracens’ England number eight delivered an official man-of-the-match display, but he was booed most times he touched the ball at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena. Vunipola received formal warnings from his club and Rugby Football Union in the past week after he posted on social media that “man was made for woman to procreate that was the goal no?” Billy Vunipola helped Saracens to victory over Munster and a place in the Heineken Champions Cup final (David Davies/PA) He also liked a social media post from controversial Australia star Israel Folau that stated “hell awaits” for homosexuals. A few rainbow flags – symbol of the lesbian, gay, b...

Mark McCall: ‘Billy Vunipola has got to deal with the booing’

Mark McCall expects fans to again boo Billy Vunipola following the Saracens and England forward’s official warning from the Rugby Football Union for a homophobic Instagram comment. Rugby director McCall confirmed Vunipola will start Saturday’s Champions Cup semi-final against Munster at the Ricoh Arena, then said the number eight must handle whatever flak comes his way. The 41-cap back-rower has been warned by both club and country after a social media post last week that read “man was made for woman to procreate that was the goal no?” NEWS | Billy Vunipola has been issued with a formal warning and has been reminded of his responsibilities as an England player. More: https://t.co/bg9S3XeM2i pic.twitter.com/weVURIcIYT — England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) April 16, 2019 The England star had liked...

Billy Vunipola escapes ban or fine for endorsing homophobic viewpoint

Billy Vunipola has been issued with a formal warning by the Rugby Football Union for a homophobic comment made on his Instagram account last week. Vunipola was summoned to talks by the RFU to discuss a post that read, ‘Man was made for woman to pro create that was the goal no?’. England’s number eight liked a social media post by Australia full-back and fellow devout Christian Israel Folau, who stated that “hell awaits” for “homosexuals”. NEWS | Billy Vunipola has been issued with a formal warning and has been reminded of his responsibilities as an England player. More: https://t.co/bg9S3XeM2i pic.twitter.com/weVURIcIYT — England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) April 16, 2019 An RFU statement read: “Following a meeting between the RFU and Billy Vunipola, the Saracens forward has been issued with a f...

Gareth Anscombe agrees Ospreys switch

Gareth Anscombe will leave Cardiff Blues at the end of the season to join their Guinness PRO14 rivals Ospreys. The Wales fly-half, 27, had been offered a new contract by Blues and also been linked with English clubs Harlequins, Bath and Bristol. “I’m delighted to have secured my future to play professional rugby in Wales and to be joining the Ospreys. I am very happy to finally be able to put pen to paper during what’s been an unsettling time and commit to staying in Wales,” Anscombe told Ospreys’ official website. Here’s the story everyone’s talking about… Welcome to the Ospreys @Gareth_Anscombe #HisBloodIsBlackhttps://t.co/J3baAhCpl2 — Ospreys (@ospreys) April 15, 2019 “I know a lot of the boys from my time with the Wales team and the...

‘Evangelical Alliance’ defends Vunipola’s endorsement of homophobic viewpoint

Billy Vunipola has received support from the Evangelical Alliance in the wake of the storm created by his defence of a homophobic Instagram post by Israel Folau. Vunipola has been summoned to talks with the Rugby Football Union to discuss a post on his own account that includes the line “Man was made for woman to pro create that was the goal no?”. England‘s number eight was acting in support of Australia full-back and fellow devout Christian Folau, who stated on social media that “hell awaits” for “homosexuals”. Billy Vunipola was booed during Saracens‘ clash with Bristol (Simon Galloway/PA) Peter Lynas, a spokesperson for the Evangelical Alliance – the oldest and largest evangelical unity movement in the UK – defends Vunipola’s positio...

McCall refuses to get “dragged into” Vunipola homophobia row

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall admitted his England number eight Billy Vunipola had “stuff in his head” over the 24 hours before the Gallagher Premiership high-flyers suffered a surprise 23-21 defeat to Bristol at Ashton Gate. Tongan-born Vunipola was booed every time he touched the ball after entering the fray as a replacement after 51 minutes of the game. Vunipola faces a grilling by RFU bosses over his stated support for Australian Israel Folau who has been criticised over homophobic posts on social media, with his national union stating they intended to terminate his contract. Ian Madigan kicked the winning penallty as Bristol beat Saracens (Simon Galloway/PA) The match was tight throughout and came down to a penalty, conceded at a ruck 30 metres out, which Bristol ...

Result: Under-fire Billy Vunipola booed in Saracens defeat

Billy Vunipola was booed as champions Saracens suffered a 23-21 Gallagher Premiership defeat at struggling Bristol. England number eight Vunipola, to be questioned by the Rugby Football Union after showing support to a homophobic Instagram post published by Israel Folau, was not given a warm reception by the Ashton Gate crowd when he was introduced to the contest in the second half. And a bad day for the visitors was capped when another replacement, fly-half Ian Madigan, kicked a penalty seconds before the final whistle to give Bristol a desperately-needed victory over their second-placed opponents. It was close throughout, with Saracens getting tries from scrum-half Tom Whitley, centre Marcelo Bosch and replacement prop Ralph Adams Hale – all of which were converted by Alex Goode. Bristol...

Rugby Australia ‘still planning to sack Israel Folau’

Israel Folau has been told by Rugby Australia that it still intends terminating his contract despite meeting with the Wallabies full-back to discuss his latest homophobic remarks. Folau said on his Instagram account on Wednesday that “hell awaits” for “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, idolators.” The post has not been deleted. The 30-year-old, a Christian who holds deeply religious views, was warned last year for making homophobic comments on social media but escaped disciplinary action. View this post on Instagram Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him. _______________ Now the works of the flesh are manifest, w...

Rugby Australia investigating Folau for homophobic tweets

Israel Folau faces a showdown with Australian rugby chiefs after posting anti-gay views on social media. In a statement, Rugby Australia described content within the post as “unacceptable” and said its integrity unit was looking into Folau’s conduct. The Wallabies star was warned last year, but avoided any disciplinary action, for making homophobic comments on his social media channels. View this post on Instagram Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him. _______________ Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these , adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, h...

Leicester Tigers captain Tom Youngs facing 10-week ban?

Youngs was shown a red card in the second-half of the Tigers’ 52-20 Premiership rout by Exeter. Leicester captain Tom Youngs will learn if he is to play any further part in the Tigers’ battle against relegation when he appears before an independent disciplinary hearing on Wednesday evening. Youngs was shown a red card in the second half of the Tigers’ 52-20 Gallagher Premiership rout by Exeter on Saturday for making contact with the head of lock Ollie Atkins at a ruck. The shoulder-led contact resulted in his dismissal by referee Tom Foley, triggering an automatic disciplinary hearing that will see the former England hooker charged with dangerous play in a ruck or maul. DISCIPLINE | @LeicesterTigers‘ Tom Youngs to appear before an independent disciplinary panel foll...

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