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Category: Ospreys

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Saracens’ title defence out of their hands after Biggar earns Ospreys draw

• Ospreys 15-15 Saracens• Welsh side can take group with win at Clermont but holders need helpSaracens’ defence of the Champions Cup lies in the hands of others after they lost the lead three times in the second half of a match that was a shoot-out bet…

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Ospreys flying in Europe but wary of Saracens’ revitalised big guns

• Ospreys hope Dan Biggar will be inspired by locking horns with Owen Farrell • ‘It’s a bit David against Goliath,’ says Ospreys coach, Steve TandyFew gave Ospreys a chance of finishing above the bottom of their group, never mind making it through to t…

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European Champions Cup: pool-by-pool guide to the weekend games

• Leinster’s Seán O’Brien to miss start of Six Nations after hip operation• Liam Williams starts for Saracens in make-or-break trip to OspreysChris Robshaw is absent from the Harlequins team to face Wasps after picking up what the club have described a…

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Liam Williams’s return from injury gives Saracens and Wales a lift

• Saracens to field Liam Williams in key European tie against Ospreys• Williams out of action since injury against Georgia in NovemberLiam Williams is set to make his return from injury in Saracens’ pivotal Champions Cup match against the Ospreys on Sa…

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Rugby union: talking points from the weekend’s European action

Of the five Champions Cup groups, Pool 5 looks like going down to the final weekend – with one point separating the top three: Bath, Toulon and ScarletsTake nothing away from Wasps’ hugely impressive victory against La Rochelle but the absence of Victo…

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Rhys Webb strikes twice as Ospreys prove too strong for Northampton

• Ospreys 32-15 Northampton Saints• Second bonus point victory over Saints puts Ospreys second in the tableThere was no new coach bounce for Northampton after the sacking of Jim Mallinder as they slipped to their ninth straight defeat in the Premiershi…

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Rugby union: talking points from the weekend’s European action

La Rochelle shine on the biggest stage, England’s finest freeze and the Welsh dragon roars as crunch time approaches in Champions CupHave a side ever taken to Europe as well as La Rochelle? It is supposed to require years of failure and frustration – o…

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Dan Evans scores twice as Ospreys hold off Saints in Champions Cup thriller

• Northampton 32-43 Ospreys• Ospreys win despite flurry of Northampton tries late onIf Northampton were in a hole before this defeat – as their captain and chairman had said – they had all but dug their own graves, and perhaps even that of their direct…

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Nick Tompkins helps Saracens sink Ospreys despite Dan Evans double

• Saracens 36-34 Ospreys• Home side’s fifth try leaves Ospreys with too much to doThey still look the team to beat in Europe, but how Saracens here flirted with the indignity of defeat themselves – and in their own backyard. The champions were forced t…

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Bitter-sweet return for Leigh Halfpenny as Scarlets lose at Toulon

• Toulon 21-20 Scarlets• Halfpenny registers 15 points but late penalty miss proves costlyLeigh Halfpenny scored 15 points on his return to Toulon, but his penalty miss 10 minutes from the end cost the Welsh region, who had lost their previous nine awa…

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Wales international Scott Baldwin is bitten by a lion in South Africa

• Hooker sits out Pro14 mauling by Cheetahs with hand injury
• Steve Tandy: It’s pretty stupid on Scott’s behalf

The Wales international Scott Baldwin missed the Ospreys’ 44-25 Pro14 mauling by the Cheetahs after being bitten by a lion in Bloemfontein.

The hooker’s late withdrawal from the match was described as hand problem before kick off but the whispers around the ground began to suggest this was not your usual injury.

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Manu Tuilagi to undergo knee surgery in further blow to England prospects

• Leicester centre will be out for at least a month after damaging ligaments
• Dan Biggar agrees to join Northampton from Ospreys in 2018

Manu Tuilagi’s prospects of an England comeback this autumn have suffered another blow after it emerged he is set to undergo knee surgery this week. It is understood the Leicester centre tore knee ligaments in the defeat by Bath on Sunday and needs a minor operation which will sideline him for at least the next month.

Tuilagi’s career has been increasingly dogged by injury, with a more serious knee injury in January forcing him to spend seven months out. Despite scoring a try on his return against Bath, he is now facing a further three or four weeks out, leaving him precious little time to impress England’s head coach Eddie Jones before this autumn’s internationals.

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Alun Wyn Jones: ‘Wales are an experienced team but not an old one’

He has taken over the captaincy from Sam Warburton and there is talk he may also lead the Lions in New Zealand in the summer but Alun Wyn Jones is only focused on the Six Nations for now

Alun Wyn Jones has mellowed, so much so that when he is asked about his prospects of leading the Lions in New Zealand in the summer he says after a moment’s reflection: “Going back a few years, I would probably have ignored you.

“I would like to think I am well aware of what the Lions are about and what they represent, but out of respect for your body and the players who are putting up their hands to be selected, you keep it at arm’s length. The second row is a hotly contested position, probably more than any other. If you do not measure up there, you do not join the queue; the buck stops with me. It is a simple answer,” said Jones in an interview conducted before Tuesday’sannouncement that the 105-cap second-row will lead Wales in the Six Nations instead of Sam Warburton.

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Torch-bearer James Hook looks to light up again in instinctive style

His career for Wales stalled but the skills of the Gloucester player are in demand and he is optimistic there is more to come

Such is the contrary way in which sport sometimes works that at the time Wales are trying to replace the power game that brought them success in Europe with something more refined, their most naturally talented back languishes in international isolation just over the border in Gloucester. James Hook won the last of his 81 caps during the 2015 World Cup when, despite a three-quarter line depleted by injuries, he played the role of an extra, there but not noticed.

If that marked the end of his Test career, and at the age of 31 the three-year contract he signed with Ospreys from next summer will probably be his last as a player, it will be an anticlimactic way for one of the few players in the game’s dark age of a few years ago, when the ball spent far more time chasing clouds than it did through hands, who carried a torch, an instinctive individual who resisted attempts to programme him.

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James Hook to leave Gloucester and return ‘home’ to Ospreys next season

• Fly-half has signed a three-year contract with Welsh regional side
• ‘I’m coming home to a team that’s going places. Six years is a long time’

James Hook will return “home” to Ospreys next season after six years away.

The 31-year-old Gloucester fly-half has signed a three-year contract with the Welsh regional side that will take effect once the current campaign ends.

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James Hook to leave Gloucester and return ‘home’ to Ospreys next season

• Fly-half has signed a three-year contract with Welsh regional side
• ‘I’m coming home to a team that’s going places. Six years is a long time’

James Hook will return “home” to Ospreys next season after six years away.

The 31-year-old Gloucester fly-half has signed a three-year contract with the Welsh regional side that will take effect once the current campaign ends.

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Eddie Jones ready to pick Sam Underhill for England despite RFU policy

• Jones says resolution close over Ospreys flanker despite clubs’ disquiet
• Steffon Armitage and Ben Te’o also in head coach’s thoughts

Eddie Jones is ready to push forward with plans to call up the Ospreys flanker Sam Underhill in the “next few months”, despite potential disquiet from Premiership clubs.

Related: Wales tour squad puts Warren Gatland on collision course with French clubs

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Eddie Jones ready to pick Sam Underhill for England despite RFU policy

• Jones says resolution close over Ospreys flanker despite clubs’ disquiet
• Steffon Armitage and Ben Te’o also in head coach’s thoughts

Eddie Jones is ready to push forward with plans to call up the Ospreys flanker Sam Underhill in the “next few months”, despite potential disquiet from Premiership clubs.

Related: Wales tour squad puts Warren Gatland on collision course with French clubs

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Judgement Day offers glimmer of light for struggling Welsh regions

• Crowd of 70,000 expected for Pro12 Millennium Stadium double-header
• Scarlets, Ospreys and Cardiff Blues chase Champions Cup qualification

This decade has been a struggle for the four Welsh regions, hit finally by the recession and then by a long running dispute with their union that at one point led to them talking with the Premiership clubs about joining the English system.

They are at last looking up and relations with the Welsh Rugby Union have improved to the extent that both sides now have a mutual benefit approach. The collaboration has helped swell ticket sales for Saturday’s Judgement Day at the Millennium Stadium, where Cardiff Blues will take on Ospreys before Newport Gwent Dragons face the Scarlets, the only region with a realistic chance of finishing in the play-off positions in the Pro12.

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Wales regions delighted with take-up for Judgement Day double-header

• WRU database helps sell more than 62,000 for Principality Stadium
• Cardiff take on Ospreys before Newport Gwent Dragons face Scarlets

Wales’s four regions are expecting a crowd of 70,000 for the Judgement Day double-header at the Principality Stadium on Saturday as the co-operation between the quartet and the Welsh Rugby Union takes root after wasted years of confrontation.

The regions have been given access to the WRU’s 700,000-name database to help sell tickets not just for the double-header, which sees Cardiff Blues take on Ospreys before Newport Gwent Dragons face the Scarlets, but all home matches.

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