Exeter awarded Premiership Rugby Cup victory over covid stricken Bath

Exeter have been awarded a 28-0 Premiership Rugby Cup third-round win after opponents Bath were unable to field a team due to coronavirus and injuries.

The scheduled match was meant to take place at The Rec on Wednesday December 29th. However, a depleted Bath squad did not have enough front-row forwards to start the game.

Bath’s Premiership fixture with London Irish on Monday was also postponed due to coronavirus and injuries.

A Premiership Rugby spokesperson said on Monday afternoon: “As the tournament organiser, Premiership Rugby has to rule on all match cancellations. We must determine if the match cancellation is as a result of Covid-19 or due to other factors.

“This match was cancelled due to the combination of positive cases, injuries and unavailabilities leaving Bath Rugby unable to fulfil its fixture obligations under the Premiership Rugby Cup regulations because the club had insufficient front-row forwards.

“Therefore the match is awarded to Exeter Chiefs 28-0, with the Chiefs receiving five match points.”

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England U20s announce 2022 squad

Ahead of the U20 Six Nations, England have selected their 32-man Elite Player Squad (EPS) for 2022.

Head coach Alan Dickens has selected ten players who have previously been capped at U20 level, or have been part of the squad before: Seb Atkinson, Deago Bailey, Finn Baxter, Lucas Brooke, Tom Carr-Smith, Emeka Ilione, Tom Litchfield, Ewan Richards, Fin Smith and John Stewart.

Alan Dickens said: “Selection for the squad has been based on a combination of things: the previous regional camps we’ve held, the work we do with the club academies and coaches, plus our knowledge of the players w…

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Northampton Saints 6 – 30 Saracens: Lozowski scores emphatic 20 points

Alex Lozowski scored 20 points as Saracens earned a hard-fought win over Northampton at Franklin’s Gardens.

At the interval, the sides were locked 6-6 as Dan Biggar and Lozowski traded penalties. Biggar twice cancelled out Lozowski penalties in an attritional and even first half, played in wet, slippery conditions.

Northampton had put Saracens under pressure in the first half but were unable to penetrate Sarries defence.

Alex Goode glided through a small opening and fed Lozowski who slid in for the game’s first try just four minutes after the restart. He added a conversion and a further penalty to extend the lead to 16-6 after an hour.

Woolstencroft was driven over for the second try just a minute after prop Conor Carey was yellow-carded for collapsing a maul.

Maro Itoje rubbed salt in the Northampton wounds after he scored following Eroni Mawi’s breaking from a maul. Lozowski converted to score his 20th point of the game (1 try, 3 penalties and 3 conversions).

NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 02: Alex Lozowski of Saracens lines up a penalty during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Northampton Saints and Saracens at Franklin’s Gardens on January 02, 2022 in Northampton, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Tom Woolstencroft sealed victory with a pushover try before Maro Itoje crossed late on as a tiring Saints side wilted – ending the game with 13 men following injuries.

Saracens matched the win of runaway leaders Leicester and remain second, but slipped back to nine points adrift as the Tigers secured a bonus point in beating Newcastle.

Northampton went into the match on a run of three straight defeats in all competitions – and seven in their past nine – but had only lost once at Franklin’s Gardens this season.

Northampton: Furbank; Sleightholme, Hutchinson, Francis, Skosan; Biggar, Mitchell; Waller, Matavesi, Hill, Coles, Ratuniyarawa, Lawes, Ludlam (capt), Augustus.

Replacements: Fish, Iyogun, Carey, Ribbans, Wood, James, Dingwall, Tuala.

Sin-bin: Connor Carey (71)

Saracens: Malins; Maitland, Lozowski, Tompkins, Daly; Goode, van Zyl; M Vunipola, George (capt), Beaton, Itoje, Isiekwe, McFarland, Earl, B Vunipola.

Replacements: Woolstencroft, Mawi, Milasinovich, Hunter-Hill, Wray, de Haas, Manu Vunipola, Segun.

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Leicester Tigers 31 – 0 Newcastle Falcons: Tigers remain unbeaten

Leicester Tigers maintained their unstoppable start to the season with a bonus-point win over Newcastle Falcons.

Ford kicked Tigers into an early lead before the hosts broke Newcastle with two tries in quick succession.

The first for Kelly came from a driving line-out before Ford chipped ahead, Joel Hodgson fumbled and Scotland centre Scott collected the loose ball to score.

Newcastle then remained pinned in their own half before Martin crashed over from close range.

And, with the last play of the game, a superb cross-field kick from replacement Burns was collected by Potter. He stepped inside full-back Brown to score the bonus-point try and stretch the Tigers’ winning streak in all competitions to 16.

LEICESTER, ENGLAND – JANUARY 02: Matt Scott of Leicester Tigers celebrates after scores a try during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Leicester Tigers and Newcastle Falcons at Mattioli Woods Welford Road Stadium on January 02, 2022 in Leicester, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Sale-bound Ford landed three conversions and a penalty on his 100th start for the club as Tigers made it to the halfway stage of the season nine points clear of second-placed Saracens – and with their 100% record still intact.

Newcastle became the first side to fail to score in a top flight game since Sale beat London Irish 39-0 in March 2020.

Newcastle’s ex-England international Mike Brown made his 250th Premiership appearance. In doing so, he became only the sixth player in the top flight’s 25-year history to reach that milestone, after Richard Wigglesworth (309), Leicester boss Steve Borthwick (265), George Chuter (262), Phil Dowson (262) and Charlie Hodgson (254).

It was a happy end to a difficult week for Leicester Tigers in which they have been accused of Premiership salary-cap breaches, which are now under investigation.

Leicester: Steward; Potter, Scott, Kelly, Porter; Ford, Youngs; Genge (capt), Montoya, Cole, Snyman, Wells, Reffell, Martin.

Replacements: Clare, Leatigaga, Heyes, Murimurivalu, Dolly, Van Poortvliet, Burns, Moroni.

Newcastle: Brown; Carreras, Orlando, Burrell, Radwan; Hodgson, Schreuder; Cooper, Maddison, Davison, Peterson, Robinson, Van der Walt, Welch (capt), Fearns.

Replacements: Smith, Mulipola, Tampin, Chick, Graham, Stuart, Connon, Penny.

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Gloucester 17 – 20 Harlequins: Quins survive early scare to stay third

Harlequins had to battle for victory at Gloucester as tries from Luke Northmore and Danny Care got them over the line.

The Premiership champions had been 10-0 behind after a Ruan Ackermann try had given the Cherry and Whites the lead. Ackermann powered over the line after a neat line-out move.

Gloucester should have gone further ahead when prop Val Rapava Ruskin knocked on just short of the try-line as he tried to finish what would have been a fantastic end-to-end team score.

However, in an entertaining first half – Quins centre Luke Northmore crossed and Marcus Smith converted and kicked a penalty to level the scores at the interval.

After the break, neither side could forge ahead as Harlequins dominated territory. Smith saw a penalty strike the left upright shortly after the hour.

Care went over after concerted pressure from Quins in the second half and they held on despite Santiago Socino’s late score for the hosts.

GLOUCESTER, ENGLAND – JANUARY 02: Danny Care of Harlequins scores his side’s second try during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Gloucester Rugby and Harlequins at Kingsholm Stadium on January 02, 2022 in Gloucester, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Smith then put them more than a converted score ahead with his second successful penalty and that would ultimately prove to be the difference as replacement hooker Socino’s converted score from a rolling maul was not enough to earn a draw for Gloucester.

Quins stay third after backing up their victory against Northampton, while Gloucester remain fourth despite coming away with a losing bonus point.

Harlequins’ next fixture will see them host Exeter in a repeat of last season’s Premiership final on Saturday while Gloucester travel to Saracens on the same afternoon.

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Yes, there were some good bits in 2021…

COLIN BOAG

Last year was likeno other, with Covid wreaking havoc, and sadly the signs are that 2022 might be no better. That said, a lot happened last year, and much of it was really good.People had respected Exeter Chiefs’ ability to grind out wins – it may not have been the most attractive rugby, but my goodness it was effective.However, at Twickenham at the end of June, Harlequins burst Exeter’s bubble, and I suspect that from all bar the Chiefs’ loyal fans, there was a collective sigh of relief.When a team dominates, irrespective of how they play t…

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Stags still charging

IN LAST week’s Rugby Paper, Alec Jones, who regularly writes in support of lower league rugby lamented the supposed withdrawal of CS Stags from London SE Premier.Alec was wrong. Although they are propping up the table, they are still going strong in what has been a challenging season for them as indeed it has been for many clubs.We wish them all the best for the future and apologise for not picking up on the error.David Emery, editor in chief

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Eddie has failed in his dealings with No.9s

KYRAN BRACKENWORLD CUP-WINNING SCRUM-HALF

FOR the last two years I have been baffled by the decision by Eddie Jones not to give Dan Robson, Danny Care, or Ben Spencer a chance at scrum-half for England when Ben Youngs was not playing well for club or country.I could not understand that when England were 30 points up against someone like Italy, why Jones would not bring on another scrum-half for Youngs in the last 30 minutes.Robson should have had 30 caps by now, Spencer 20, and Care has been so good for the last two seasons that the 2021 Lions should have taken him to South Africa…

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Boxers get month off after KO, why not rugby men?

KYRAN BRACKEN

I FEEL very let down by World Rugby and its approach to concussion. There is a malaise and a scandalous lack of leadership when it comes to taking the necessary preventative action with regards to the shortening of Return to Play protocols.When you look at what players like Steve Thompson and Alix Popham are suffering, it is hard to stomach the lack of action.Professor Willie Stewart, a consultant neuropathologist who advises World Rugby on brain health, has highlighted that the three-week stand down after a concussion – which was introduced in 1977 – w…

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Hero Hogg has final say as Chiefs get back on song

By BRENDAN GALLAGHER

Exeter …………….19ptsTries: O’Flaherty 13, Hill 31, Hogg 75 Conversions: J Simmonds 14, 76 Bristol …………….13ptsTries: Purdy 70 Conversions: Sheedy 71 Penalties: Sheedy 19, 79STUART HOGG, having recommitted to Exeter over the Christmas break, spearheaded a much brighter Exeter display although they still struggled a little to put a resilient Bristol away.Hogg scored one try and made another and was involved in everything good for the Chiefs and for long spells Rob Baxter’s men looked like the double-winning side of two seasons ag…

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