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Rugby News

Saturday 27th March 2021

Six Nations: Wales win title as Scotland beat France in Paris

Wales clinched the Six Nations as 14-man Scotland snatched their first victory in Paris since 1999 to wreck France's title hopes.

The hosts, needing a bonus point and a winning margin of 21 points, had only one try and a 13-10 lead at the break.

Damian Penaud's second-half score showed France's danger, but they could never stretch clear of their visitors.

Scotland's Finn Russell was shown a late red but Duhan van der Merwe swooped for a decisive late try.

It was fitting that a Championship that has been packed with tight games and show-stopping finales should finish with another match-deciding score and the clock deep in the red.

As Scotland's players leapt skywards to celebrate Van der Merwe's step and finish, France's slumped to the sodden Stade de France turf.

However, their hopes of swiping the trophy from Wales had long since gone.

It is the sixth title of the Six Nations era for a Wales side that came into the campaign as distinct underdogs after an underwhelming autumn.


Autumn Nations Cup: England beat France in sudden death

Owen Farrell finally found his kicking boots to land a sudden-death penalty and subdue a stand-in France to win the Autumn Nations Cup at Twickenham.

Pre-match favourites England needed a last-minute try from Luke-Cowan Dickie to take the contest to sudden death.

In a helter-skelter extra-time period, Farrell missed a straightforward penalty shot to win the game.

But the captain stepped up once more to nail a kick from a tricky angle to clinch the title.

England's players raced over to mob their skipper as the ball split the posts to finally put an extraordinary, see-sawing contest to rest.

The bookmakers had predicted a 17-point winning margin before kick-off. Alex Corbisiero and Abbie Brown, England players past and present, forecast even more emphatic victories when interviewed by the stadium announcer before the start.

Instead the 2,000 fans, back at Twickenham for the first time since March, were treated to a cliff-hanger ending quite out of keeping with the rest of the Autumn Nations Cup.

It nearly veered wildly off script to deliver a win for a France side deprived off more than 20 first-choice stars by an availability agreement with their top clubs.

Louis Carbonel, the young fly-half who steered France's junior side to an Under-20 World Championship final victory over England in 2018, saw a kick creep over to leave the hosts needing a converted try to force extra-time with four minutes to go.

It was a task that England met. Just. Cowan-Dickie burrowed over from the back of a rolling maul in the final play of the game to set up a shoot-out.

With fatigue biting and minds scrambled by the new format, the game finally opened up as both sides searched for the knockout punch.

It was England and Farrell who finally landed it to avenge February's defeat in Paris at the start of the Six Nations.


Eddie Jones signs new deal through to 2023 World Cup

Eddie Jones has agreed a contract extension to coach England through to the Rugby World Cup in France in 2023.

The 60-year-old's current contract was due to expire in August 2021, but he had been set for a new deal since leading England to the World Cup final last year.

Jones has a 78% win ratio since taking the role at the end of 2015.

Jones was appointed in December 2015, replacing Stuart Lancaster after a disappointing home World Cup that autumn.

He led England to a record-equalling unbeaten run, which included a Grand Slam in 2016 and a Six Nations title the year after.

The team's form slumped in 2018, but Jones arrested the slide before the World Cup in Japan.

There, superb victories over Australia in the quarter-finals and New Zealand in the semi-finals established Jones' men as favourites to beat South Africa in the final, but an inspired Springboks performance condemned an under-par England to a 32-12 defeat.

Concerns over the impact of that loss in the final were exacerbated when England were beaten by France in Paris in their 2020 Six Nations opener, but they rallied with victories against Scotland, Ireland and Wales to seal the Triple Crown before the Championship was curtailed because of the coronavirus pandemic.


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.


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.