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Rugby News

Thursday 23rd January 2020

Six Nations: Scotland's Finn Russell will not face Ireland after 'protocol breach'

Influential fly-half Finn Russell will not play in Scotland's Six Nations opener against Ireland next Saturday after "a breach of team protocol", Scottish Rugby have confirmed.

However, it is understood the Racing 92 playmaker left the team's training camp in Edinburgh of his own accord.

It remains unclear whether the 27-year-old will play at all in the campaign.


Dylan Hartley retires because of injury

Northampton and England hooker Dylan Hartley has retired from professional rugby after failing to recover from a long-standing knee injury.

The former England captain has not played since December, missing his country's run to the World Cup final.

Hartley won 97 Test caps and played 251 times for Northampton over 14 seasons.

Only Jason Leonard has played more times for England than Hartley, who skippered them to a Six Nations Grand Slam in 2016, while they also won the Six Nations title the following year.

In addition, Hartley guided the Red Rose to series victories in Australia and Argentina in 2016 and 2018 respectively.

He was never capped by the British & Irish Lions, with a red card in Northampton's 2013 Premiership final defeat by Leicester costing him a place on the summer tour of Australia.

Hartley was a controversial choice as England captain, having been banned for a total of 54 weeks for offences such as gouging, biting and striking when he took the armband from Harlequins flanker Chris Robshaw before the 2016 Six Nations.

England boss Eddie Jones stood by him despite criticism of Hartley's leadership during Northampton's dismal run in 2017-18.


Springboks win World Cup for record-equalling third time
England 12-32 South Africa

South Africa broke English hearts with a ruthless display of power rugby to seize their third Rugby World Cup in devastating fashion.

Twenty two points from the boot of nerveless fly-half Handre Pollard and second-half tries from wingers Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe ground England into the Yokohama dirt on a horrible night for Eddie Jones's men.

England had trailed 12-6 at the interval after taking a hammering in the scrum and making a series of handling errors.

And despite four penalties from captain Owen Farrell they never looked like closing that gap as the Springboks produced an outstanding display to match those of 1995 in Johannesburg and 2007 in Paris.

Those were iconic moments for a nation besotted with rugby and when Siya Kolisi lifted the William Webb Ellis trophy aloft as the first black man to captain the Springboks they will have the final part of a triptych that will endure forever in the country's collective memory.

For England it was a chastening end to a campaign that had promised to end the 16-year wait for the World Cup glory.

They were out-muscled, out-run and out-thought by a team transformed by the leadership of skipper Kolisi and the coaching of Rassie Erasmus.

Never before has a team beaten in the group stages gone on to win the trophy, but this is a triumph to match that of the teams of Francois Pienaar and John Smit with a wider story that perhaps surpasses both.


Wales win Six Nations Grand Slam

Wales 25-7 Ireland

Wales are celebrating a third Grand Slam in 11 years after they put Ireland to the sword in ruthless fashion to storm to the Six Nations title.

After Hadleigh Parkes' early try, Gareth Anscombe added a conversion and three penalties for a 16-0 half-lead as Ireland's indiscipline cost them dear.

And the fly-half added three more in an equally one-sided second period, Ireland looking nothing like the second-ranked team in world rugby, Jordan Larmour's late try no sort of consolation.

Seldom in this championship have Wales been spectacular in attack but their defence has been remorseless and their fortitude under pressure remarkable, and the celebrations will go long into a sodden Cardiff night.

It means Warren Gatland, in his 50th and final Six Nations match in charge, becomes the first coach in Five or Six Nations history to win three Slams, his team's record-breaking winning run now stretching to 14 games.

For Ireland the tournament ended as it began, with a chastening defeat that leaves significant questions hanging over their World Cup ambitions.


2023 Rugby World Cup: South Africa recommended to host tournament

South Africa has been recommended to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup ahead of Ireland and France, the tournament's organising board has announced.

The World Rugby Council will meet on 15 November in London for a final vote.

South Africa, who won the 1995 cup as hosts after returning to international sport, were endorsed after reviews of each host candidate evaluation.