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Category: Rugby union

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Rob Baxter and Exeter’s merry men aim to follow Clough path to European glory

After their thrilling extra-time win against Wasps to win Premiership title, the Chiefs seek to follow the Nottingham Forest side of the late 70s

So much for a mellow bank holiday weekend beside the river Exe. Never before has the West Country played host to a Monday afternoon street parade to salute England’s league champions and the warm and fuzzy feeling from Newlyn to Newton Abbot is equally unprecedented. Even for those locals still crawling back from “the Smoke” or struggling to raise heads off pillows, the thrill will take a lifetime to fade.

Three contrasting post-match snapshots showed what it all meant. Rob Baxter’s genuine fly-in-the-eye emotion on the pitch and the receiving line of supporters waiting to shake the hand of the chairman, Tony Rowe, both summed up the storybook nature of the Chiefs’ crowning achievement but the most telling image was the picture of the entire squad blinking in the Sunday morning light outside Gareth Steenson’s bar-cum-garage, all cheerfully clad as Robin Hood and his Merry Men.

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Owen Farrell rebuffs claims British & Irish Lions will be underprepared

• Farrell insists Lions’ world-class players will be ready for tour start
• ‘We’ll be on the same page. This squad can challenge anyone’

Owen Farrell insists the British & Irish Lions will not arrive in New Zealand underprepared despite taking off just two days after the end of the domestic season as part of a gruelling tour schedule that has come in for fierce criticism of late.

The Lions fly from Heathrow on Monday and land on Wednesday – stopping overnight in Melbourne – leaving only three days to prepare for the tour opener against the New Zealand Barbarians. In all, Warren Gatland’s troops play 10 matches in six weeks – a schedule labelled “suicidal” by Sir Graham Henry, the 2001 Lions coach and 2011 World Cup winner with New Zealand – and gathered together as a whole squad for just the second time on Sunday.

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Tom Curry stands out in pragmatic England’s win over Barbarians | Gerard Meagher

Eddie Jones is looking for young players to force their way into his England team and Tom Curry impressed, as did the abrasive Ellis Genge

Considering that Eddie Jones has admitted to feeling “filthy” for more than a month after England’s defeat by Ireland, this stilted if spirited victory can at least be viewed as the start of the cleansing process.

It was not the grand unveiling to the second phase of his master plan – eight uncapped starters and a feisty Barbarians side made sure it was never going to be – but winning is an addictive habit for Jones and he will care little that there was barely a sparkle in an exhibition match that tends to offer the promise of fireworks.

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Steffon Armitage urges RFU to change tack on English players overseas

• RFU has stood firm on not picking players based outside England
• Armitage: ‘Players need to feel like they’ve got a right to achieve’

Steffon Armitage has called on the Rugby Football Union to stop punishing English players who move abroad by refusing to select them for international duty, claiming Nick Abendanon, David Strettle and Chris Ashton should be rewarded for taking the plunge overseas.

Armitage also said that despite coming close to a move back to Bath before the 2015 World Cup, and Wasps last summer, he has had no contact from Eddie Jones; the England head coach recently admitted he has only ever been turned down by one player, who is based in France.

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Scarlets score six tries to sweep aside Munster and win Pro12 title

• Munster 22-46 Scarlets
• Scarlets claim their second Pro12 title – first since 2004

Six-try Scarlets swept Munster’s meek challenge aside to win a one-sided Pro12 final 46-22 at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

Wayne Pivac’s men captured the Welsh region’s second Pro12 title – and first since 2004 – as their devastatingly potent attack floored an Irish province for the second week running.

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Jamie George: ‘A British Lions tour gives you an increase in energy’

The Saracens hooker is one of three excellent candidates vying for the starting No2 shirt in New Zealand, and he believes the competition will be beneficial

Jamie George has won 17 England caps but has yet to start an international. The finisher may turn starter for the British & Irish Lions in New Zealand this summer with the hooker, for once, not understudying the captain.

George has had Dylan Hartley in his England way with leadership overcoming form, but the Lions, well stocked with captains, took the other route and the Saracen will be competing with Rory Best, the Ireland captain, and Wales’s Ken Owens for the starting position at hooker in the first Test.

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Exeter Chiefs champions after epic win over Wasps completes fairytale rise

• Wasps 20-23 Exeter (aet; score at 80min 20-20)
• Exeter’s Gareth Steenson stays cool after Wasps fumble their way to defeat

A final between the two most prolific teams in the Premiership was decided by a kick rather than a try. Gareth Steenson’s penalty three minutes from the end of extra time after Wasps, who by then had lost both their tight-head props to injury, had infringed at a scrum for the seventh time, settled a full-blooded but scrappy encounter that saw Exeter crowned champions seven years and one day after they won promotion to the Premiership.

Related: Wasps 20-23 Exeter – Chiefs crowned Premiership champions – as it happened

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Exeter Chiefs champions after epic win over Wasps completes fairytale rise

• Wasps 20-23 Exeter (aet; score at 80min 20-20)
• Exeter’s Gareth Steenson stays cool after Wasps fumble their way to defeat

A final between the two most prolific teams in the Premiership was decided by a kick rather than a try. Gareth Steenson’s penalty three minutes from the end of extra time after Wasps, who by then had lost both their tight-head props to injury, had infringed at a scrum for the seventh time, settled a full-blooded but scrappy encounter that saw Exeter crowned champions seven years and one day after they won promotion to the Premiership.

Related: Wasps 20-23 Exeter – Chiefs crowned Premiership champions – as it happened

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Harry Mallinder kicks Northampton back into Champions Cup

• Northampton 23-22 Stade Français
• Harry Mallinder kicks match-winning conversion

Northampton have done next to nothing the easy way all season so perhaps their circuitous route into next season’s Champions Cup should not come as a surprise. But they can take enormous credit for the resilience shown to cap an exhilarating victory over Stade Français thanks to Ahsee Tuala’s dramatic late try and Harry Mallinder’s nerveless conversion.

When Tuala went over, Northampton were down to 13 – the captain Tom Wood had been sent off for a stamp to the head of Djibril Camara that may well rule him out of England’s tour to Argentina – while Rory Hutchinson was in the sin-bin. Northampton, 16 points down at one pointin the first half, did not know when they were beaten. “I don’t think anybody can see Tom actually putting his foot on the opponent. It’s an unfortunate one,” said Northampton’s director of rugby, Jim Mallinder. “There’s certainly nothing deliberate in there but we’ll see what happens with the disciplinary.”

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Wasps’ Danny Cipriani takes ‘better brain’ into Premiership final | Michael Aylwin

The fly-half has matured and curbed his more rebellious instincts with the club looking for their first Premiership title since 2008 as they face Exeter

It is a common storyline in sport, and it is common in life, legend and literature. The brilliant youth; the effortless, vertiginous rise; the prosaic, enraging restrictions; the exile and fall.

And then – well, it depends on our hero. Icarus fell straight into the sea, but Danny Cipriani came again. As he prepares to step out at Twickenham for Wasps’ first tilt at the Premiership title since the final days of the Lawrence Dallaglio era in 2008, he is better than ever, more measured, more in tune with those around him, more of a fly-half.

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Wasps’ Danny Cipriani takes ‘better brain’ into Premiership final | Michael Aylwin

The fly-half has matured and curbed his more rebellious instincts with the club looking for their first Premiership title since 2008 as they face Exeter

It is a common storyline in sport, and it is common in life, legend and literature. The brilliant youth; the effortless, vertiginous rise; the prosaic, enraging restrictions; the exile and fall.

And then – well, it depends on our hero. Icarus fell straight into the sea, but Danny Cipriani came again. As he prepares to step out at Twickenham for Wasps’ first tilt at the Premiership title since the final days of the Lawrence Dallaglio era in 2008, he is better than ever, more measured, more in tune with those around him, more of a fly-half.

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Wasps’ Danny Cipriani takes ‘better brain’ into Premiership final | Michael Aylwin

The fly-half has matured and curbed his more rebellious instincts with the club looking for their first Premiership title since 2008 as they face Exeter

It is a common storyline in sport, and it is common in life, legend and literature. The brilliant youth; the effortless, vertiginous rise; the prosaic, enraging restrictions; the exile and fall.

And then – well, it depends on our hero. Icarus fell straight into the sea, but Danny Cipriani came again. As he prepares to step out at Twickenham for Wasps’ first tilt at the Premiership title since the final days of the Lawrence Dallaglio era in 2008, he is better than ever, more measured, more in tune with those around him, more of a fly-half.

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Eddie Jones will return Chris Robshaw to England captaincy against Barbarians

• Robshaw will share armband with George Ford at Twickenham
• Eddie Jones says Robshaw has been ‘terrific’ in mentoring younger players

After restoring Chris Robshaw to the England captaincy for Sunday’s match against the Barbarians, albeit on a temporary, shared basis, Eddie Jones reeled off another of his motoring metaphors. “I don’t think he is the best bloke at being at the front of the bus but he is a very good bloke at being in the middle part of the bus ensuring the front works with the back.”

If that appears to be faint praise, make no mistake of the regard in which Jones now holds Robshaw. He calls him his “glue player” and while he stops short of admitting he has been proved wrong after describing Robshaw as “not outstanding in any area” in a newspaper column during the 2015 World Cup, he has long since been convinced of the flanker’s qualities.

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Eddie Jones will return Chris Robshaw to England captaincy against Barbarians

• Robshaw will share armband with George Ford at Twickenham
• Eddie Jones says Robshaw has been ‘terrific’ in mentoring younger players

After restoring Chris Robshaw to the England captaincy for Sunday’s match against the Barbarians, albeit on a temporary, shared basis, Eddie Jones reeled off another of his motoring metaphors. “I don’t think he is the best bloke at being at the front of the bus but he is a very good bloke at being in the middle part of the bus ensuring the front works with the back.”

If that appears to be faint praise, make no mistake of the regard in which Jones now holds Robshaw. He calls him his “glue player” and while he stops short of admitting he has been proved wrong after describing Robshaw as “not outstanding in any area” in a newspaper column during the 2015 World Cup, he has long since been convinced of the flanker’s qualities.

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Former England rugby sevens international Alex Gray joins Atlanta Falcons

  • Sevens players is one of three British players to join NFC South teams
  • Players are part of practice squads and will use season to improve skills

Three British players have been given the chance to carve out careers in the NFL as the league extends its plans to make move into new markets.

The move is part of the NFL’s International Player Pathway scheme. Under the program, the players will be added to practice squads in the NFC South to develop their skills but will not be eligible to be activated to the main roster during the 2017 season.

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New Zealand club rugby player dies following on-pitch collapse

Bevan Moody, 22, suffered cardiac arrest during a game on Saturday and had been in an induced coma in Nelson Hospital sinceFive days after collapsing following a cardiac arrest during a rugby game, Nelson club rugby player Bevan Moody has died.The 22-y…

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New Zealand club rugby player dies following on-pitch collapse

Bevan Moody, 22, suffered cardiac arrest during a game on Saturday and had been in an induced coma in Nelson Hospital sinceFive days after collapsing following a cardiac arrest during a rugby game, Nelson club rugby player Bevan Moody has died.The 22-y…

0

New Zealand club rugby player dies following on-pitch collapse

Bevan Moody, 22, suffered cardiac arrest during a game on Saturday and had been in an induced coma in Nelson Hospital sinceFive days after collapsing following a cardiac arrest during a rugby game, Nelson club rugby player Bevan Moody has died.The 22-y…

0

New Zealand club rugby player dies following on-pitch collapse

Bevan Moody, 22, suffered cardiac arrest during a game on Saturday and had been in an induced coma in Nelson Hospital sinceFive days after collapsing following a cardiac arrest during a rugby game, Nelson club rugby player Bevan Moody has died.The 22-y…

0

New Zealand club rugby player dies following on-pitch collapse

Bevan Moody, 22, suffered cardiac arrest during a game on Saturday and had been in an induced coma in Nelson Hospital sinceFive days after collapsing following a cardiac arrest during a rugby game, Nelson club rugby player Bevan Moody has died.The 22-y…