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Category: Rugby union

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Leinster take Ireland’s assault on European rugby to new heights | Michael Aylwin

Leo Cullen’s side’s dominance over Scarlets was total, and an all-Ireland final against Munster now feels inevitable – and highly appropriateThe grip of the Irish on European rugby tightens ever more mercilessly. Ireland won the grand slam on the back …

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Leinster into European Champions Cup final after Sexton smites Scarlets

• Leinster 38-16 Scarlets• Sexton try completes crushing win to put Leinster into finalIt is not an opportune time to play Irish sides. A contest between league champions and the team they defeated in last season’s Pro12 semi-final across the road from…

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Munster hope to make experience count in clash of styles with Racing | Paul Rees

The Irish are in their 13th European Cup semi-final while the French are in only their second, so the stage is set for another memorable night in BordeauxMunster’s long European love affair started 18 years ago at the Stade Chaban-Delmas and it is to B…

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Gloucester power past Newcastle to make European Challenge Cup final

• Johan Ackermann says Gloucester have ‘a long way to go’• Dean Richards bemoans missed chances in semi-finalJohan Ackermann declared a sense of satisfaction after Gloucester reached their third European Challenge Cup final in four seasons.The Gloucest…

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Leinster’s James Ryan spearheads twin Irish assault on Champions Cup

• Young lock aims to stay unbeaten in Saturday’s Scarlets semi• Keith Earls back from injury for Munster’s game with Racing 92It bears repeating that James Ryan, the Leinster and Ireland lock, is yet to lose a senior first-team match for club or countr…

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Brad Shields asks for New Zealand release in order to play for England

• Hurricanes flanker could join Eddie Jones’s squad in South Africa• New Zealand-born Shields qualifies for England through parentsBrad Shields has made an official request to be released by New Zealand Rugby for England’s tour of South Africa in an at…

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Scarlets’ James Davies: ‘I’d rather have fun than be boring and have more Welsh caps’

The Welsh club hope their openside flanker’s rugby skills will be as sharp as his comic timing when they meet Leinster in Saturday’s European Champions Cup semi-finalNot since Llanelli’s fabled win over the All Blacks in 1972 has west Wales felt so muc…

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England and New Zealand dispute over Brad Shields may end up in court

• New Zealand have threatened to block England picking Shields• Eddie Jones may select player for summer tour of South AfricaEngland and New Zealand will be on a collision course that may end in the courtroom should Eddie Jones seek to select Brad Shie…

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Ruan Ackermann targets European Challenge Cup victory with Gloucester

• ‘We will have to be at our best’ against Newcastle, says flanker• Gloucester sixth in Premiership as season reaches its finaleThe European Challenge Cup has in recent years been Gloucester’s consolation ticket after Premiership campaigns that flicker…

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Welsh regions still playing catch-up with Irish despite Scarlets’ success

The provinces and their exploits in Europe inspired radical restructuring in Wales but finance and player development hold the regions backLeinster meet the Scarlets in the semi-finals of the European Champions Cup at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday. The…

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Israel Folau’s anti-gay comments condemned by All Black, referee and players

TJ Perenara states ‘100%’ opposition to comments on homosexuality by playerNZ Rugby restates commitment to ‘inclusion’, Wallaby echoes criticismSign up to receive the latest Australian sports stories every dayAll Black TJ Perenara has stated his “100%”…

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Eddie Jones allowed to pick Brad Shields for England’s South Africa tour

• New Zealand-born flanker Shields joins Wasps next season• Shields could play for Hurricanes after three-Test seriesEddie Jones will have the green light to select Brad Shields for England’s summer tour of South Africa despite the fact the New Zealand…

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Rugby Australia caught between a rock and a hard place by Israel Folau | Bret Harris

Rugby Australia chose not to sanction their star player but will be holding their breath to see how sponsors respondWhether or not they are religious, Australian rugby officials will be praying major sponsors have been appeased by Israel Folau’s explan…

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Stadium for Cornwall moves step closer with £3m of council funding

• Councillors approve big tranche of cash for £14.3m project• Bristol rebrand serves up dummy pass to local gay clubA new stadium for Cornish Pirates rugby club is a significant step closer to being constructed after Cornwall council agreed to pay £3m …

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Wayne Pivac says Scarlets have no worries about facing Leinster in Dublin

• Coach relaxed Aviva Stadium is venue for Champions Cup semi• ‘One of our supporters makes up for 10 of the opposition’Scarlets’ head coach, Wayne Pivac, says the prospect of facing Leinster in Dublin holds no fears for his players and has questioned …

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Joy Neville: ‘Coping in a male-dominated world? I don’t know anything else’

Former Ireland women’s captain turned referee has had a remarkable rise, culminating in her beating the men to win the World Rugby Referee of the Year AwardJoy Neville never wanted to be a referee. The former Ireland rugby captain had only just retired…

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Wayne Pivac’s thrilling Scarlets put heart and soul back into Welsh rugby

The storming run to a European Champions Cup semi-final against Leinster has reunited a proud rugby town and brought the fans flooding backAfter the Scarlets had beaten La Rochelle last month to reach their first European Cup semi-final for 11 years, P…

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Israel Folau would ‘sooner lose friends, family and rugby’ than his religion

Wallabies player offered to walk away from gameFolau says his position and comments were ‘misrepresented’ Israel Folau has revealed he offered to walk away from his Rugby Australia contract in the wake of his controversial comments on homosexuality and…

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Cornwall braced for defining moment in its sporting history | Robert Kitson

Council funding of £3m needs to be approved on Tuesday so the wheels can turn on a multi-purpose Stadium for CornwallAmid the onrushing tide of worrying world news stories, the outcome of a 123-person vote in Truro’s county hall might seem relatively t…

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

A clean-up job awaits John Kingston’s heir, Gary Graham shines again and Kitchener’s tumble leaves Gopperth the fall-guyHarlequins have been linked with so many coaches since the announcement last week that John Kingston will leave at the end of the se…