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Category: Wasps

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Danny Cipriani’s hopes of England recall ended by knee ligament tear

• Cipriani out for eight to 12 weeks with injury suffered against Harlequins
• Wasps playmaker at best fifth in Eddie Jones’s fly-half pecking order

 Danny Cipriani may be out of action until December after sustaining a medial knee ligament tear in Wasps’ Premiership defeat by Harlequins. He is not expected to resume playing for between eight and 12 weeks, ending the fly-half’s already remote hopes of a recall to England’s preliminary autumn training squad.

Related: Joe Marler reprimanded but not suspended over James Haskell fight

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Joe Marler reprimanded but not suspended over James Haskell fight

• Harlequins prop escapes censure for antics against Wasps at Ricoh Arena
• England and Lions team-mates had to be pulled apart

Joe Marler has been reprimanded for his spat with James Haskell during Harlequins’ victory against Wasps but the England prop is not facing a suspension.

Marler has been given a citing commissioner’s warning for his role in the incident – pulling at Haskell’s scrum cap and squirting his England and Lions team‑mate with water – in an acknowledgement that the 27-year-old was deserving of a yellow card at the time. Marler’s actions were considered to be contrary to good sportsmanship.

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Wasps call for crackdown after England team-mates Marler and Haskell fight

• James Haskell sent off for grabbing Marler by the throat
• Wasps’ Dai Young incensed by Joe Marler behaviour

Wasps have called for rugby’s authorities to take further action following Sunday’s angry flare-up between the Lions and England team-mates James Haskell and Joe Marler. Haskell was sent to the sin-bin for grabbing Marler by the throat with both hands but Wasps’ director of rugby, Dai Young, believes the sport needs to crack down on the players who spark such incidents.

Quins subsequently went on to win a niggly Premiership game 24-21, inflicting Wasps’ first defeat of the season, but Young’s sympathies lay with Haskell after Marler, following a prolonged tussle between the pair on the ground, apparently squirted water at his England colleague’s face. “If someone rips your hat off and squirts water in your face, what do you expect?” said Young.

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

Bath’s poor away form could be a thing of the past, Gloucester broke their habit of poor starts as they upset Exeter and London Irish returned in style

Todd Blackadder was in little doubt over where Bath needed to improve this season. Poor away form was not a problem limited to his side last season but there can be little doubting it ultimately cost them a place in the last four. Blackadder believes the issue was mental; that for no reason other than different surroundings his team did not play with the authority they did at The Rec in front of their own supporters. So in pre-season Blackadder took his squad on the road to Cardiff and London Irish to jolt them out of their comfort zone. Judging by their resilience at Welford Road it has worked a treat and, considering he can welcome Sam Underhill, Charlie Ewels and Dave Attwood back to bolster his pack, there is genuine reason for early-season optimism at Bath. Gerard Meagher

Match report: Leicester 23-27 Bath
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Dan Robson masterclass helps Wasps to helter-skelter win over Sale

• Wasps 50-35 Sale
• Scrum-half helps himself to four tries and tees up a fifth

As responses go, Dan Robson’s could hardly have been more emphatic. Snubbed by England this summer he helped himself to four tries – becoming the second scrum-half in Premiership history to do so – as Wasps outclassed Sale seven tries to five.

Robson was taken off with almost half an hour remaining having scored a first-half hat-trick, teed up Christian Wade and added another of his own after the break. After his departure, two quickfire Sale tries made life uncomfortable for the home side until a late flurry ensured last season’s runners-up opened the new campaign with a half-century. It will not be their last before the season is out.

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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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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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Wasps v Exeter Chiefs: Premiership final – live!

1.50pm BST

So, a few quick-fire stats and facts to get us started then.

All four of Wasps’ past Premiership triumphs (2003, 2004, 2005 and 2008) have come after finishing second in the league. This season, they finished first. Exeter have not won at Twickenham in six previous visits. But victory for the Chiefs would equal Leicester’s Premiership record of 17 matches unbeaten. And the man in the middle this afternoon, JP Doyle, the 37-year-old Dubliner, trained to be a secondary school teacher down the road at St Mary’s University.

1.41pm BST

Wasps: Le Roux; Wade, Daly, Gopperth, Bassett; Cipriani, Robson; Mullan, Taylor, Swainston, Launchbury (capt), Symons, Haskell, Young, Hughes

Replacements: Johnson, McIntyre, Moore, Myall, Thompson, Simpson, Leiua, Halai

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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.

Continue reading…

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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.

Continue reading…

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Thrilling Premiership semi-finals hint at a Twickenham treat yet to come | Robert Kitson

If the forthcoming final comes anywhere close to matching the level of entertainment in these matches then supporters are guaranteed a cracking game

Assuming both teams can still walk after two truly epic Premiership semi-finals, the English club season is set for a ripper of a Twickenham finale. If the showdown between Exeter Chiefs and Wasps is even half as thrilling as Saturday’s twin peaks it will be a rare treat, even if the significant shoulder injury that has ruled Billy Vunipola out of the Lions tour has now cast a cloud over the latter stages of the domestic season.

On paper it will look pretty routine to anyone who missed the games in favour of, say, attending a society wedding: the top two regular season sides made home advantage count and will now meet in the final. That simplistic summary does not reflect the intensely dramatic reality: the aggregate margins at Sandy Park and the Ricoh Arena amounted to just three points and neither victory was sealed until the closing seconds.

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Leicester’s Freddie Burns prepares for end to ‘rollercoaster’ ride

The Tigers face Wasps in their Premiership play-off semi-final which could be the fly-half’s last game for them before returning to Bath

Freddie Burns is the first to admit his three years at Leicester have not gone to script. The plan was that a dose of Tigers pragmatism under Richard Cockerill would harness his mercurial talents and catapult the fly-half to sustained England recognition. But the reality has been somewhat different.

It is easy to forget Burns arrived at Leicester having started two of England’s matches on the 2014 tour to New Zealand. A preoccupation with nailing down a World Cup spot precipitated a drastic loss in form, however, and illness – he was diagnosed with Bell’s palsy in the summer of 2015 – injuries and the inertia that kicked in at Welford Road under Cockerill ensued. But the irony is that he has found his best form in a Leicester shirt in the most turbulent of seasons, all the more so after it was announced he would be the makeweight of George Ford’s return to the Tigers at the end of the season.

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Rugby’s generation game sees Young and Maunder Jr make names for themselves | Robert Kitson

Family ties are rife in the game with former players Dai Young and Jim Mallinder coaching their sons and Jack Maunder following in his father’s footsteps

Even as small boys Thomas Young and his two brothers knew instinctively what to do whenever they saw their Wales international father Dai’s packed bag in the front hall. “Apparently the three of us used to have a fight to get into his kit bag before he went away,” recalls Young Jr. “The three of us would jump in and say: ‘We’re going with him.’” Like father, like son? Let’s just say the chances of the Wasps flanker pursuing a career in classical dance were never great.

Related: Dylan Hartley in line for surprise Lions call-up for tour to New Zealand

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Rugby’s generation game sees Young and Maunder Jr make names for themselves | Robert Kitson

Family ties are rife in the game with former players Dai Young and Jim Mallinder coaching their sons and Jack Maunder following in his father’s footsteps

Even as small boys Thomas Young and his two brothers knew instinctively what to do whenever they saw their Wales international father Dai’s packed bag in the front hall. “Apparently the three of us used to have a fight to get into his kit bag before he went away,” recalls Young Jr. “The three of us would jump in and say: ‘We’re going with him.’” Like father, like son? Let’s just say the chances of the Wasps flanker pursuing a career in classical dance were never great.

Related: Dylan Hartley in line for surprise Lions call-up for tour to New Zealand

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Wasps and Exeter lead way as dizzying season reaches thrilling finale | Robert Kitson

Aviva Premiership campaign, which has seen try-scoring records tumble, reaches play-off stage with Wasps hosting Leicester and Saracens travelling to Exeter

A record-breaking 2016-17 Aviva Premiership season is looking set for an equally fast and furious finish as the four title rivals enter the final stretch. Already the two leading sides, Wasps and Exeter, have surged past the longstanding record for team tries scored in a season, previously held by Newcastle in 1997-98, and the play-offs this month are a good bet to produce more high-speed entertainment.

Only once before, in 1999-2000 when defences were much less organised, have more tries been scored overall during a 22-match regular season than the tally of 725 this year and more thrills and spills appear certain in the semi-finals on Saturday week. There will be sellout crowds, too: Wasps versus Leicester is increasingly a “must-see” Midlands derby while there will be a stampede in Devon for tickets to watch Exeter against Saracens at Sandy Park.

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Thomas Young hat-trick helps Wasps beat Saracens to gain home semi-final

• Wasps 35-15 Saracens
• Home semi-final against Leicester reward after topping table

Wasps used to win the Premiership play-offs despite not finishing top, but three tries in the final quarter kept them at the head of the table at the end of the regular season to set up a semi-final with Leicester, who finished a distant fourth, rather than a return bout with Saracens. Thomas Young scored three tries, but it was the home side’s two major close-season’s signings, Kurtley Beale and Willie le Roux, who had the means to puncture the meanest of defences.

Related: Exeter’s Will Chudley sets record in hard-fought win against Gloucester

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Saracens and Gloucester to field weakened teams for Premiership finale | Robert Kitson

Several top players will sit out the regular-season close on Saturday as clubs elect to keep key men fresh for Europe next weekEven those officials who long ago opted to end the Premiership campaign with a grand sudden-death Twickenham finale will have…

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Saracens and Gloucester to field weakened teams for Premiership finale | Robert Kitson

Several top players will sit out the regular-season close on Saturday as clubs elect to keep key men fresh for Europe next weekEven those officials who long ago opted to end the Premiership campaign with a grand sudden-death Twickenham finale will have…