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Worcester claim their first European Challenge Cup win

By PA
Ted Hill /PA

Worcester claimed their first win of the European Challenge Cup by beating Zebre Parma 36-26 in Italy in their final pool fixture.

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The Warriors were beaten by Newcastle and Toulon either side of a cancelled clash with Biarritz in Pool A but are still in with a shot of reaching the knockout stages after running in five tries against Zebre.

Billy Searle kicked 11 points and scored his side’s second try, while Niall Annett touched down twice and Tom Howe and Ted Hill also crossed.

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Zebre, who trailed 19-14 at half-time, were under the leadership of new head coach Emiliano Bergamaschi for the first time and scored four tries of their own, but it was not enough to earn a first win of the season in any competition.

Erich Cronje, Giovanni D’Onofrio, Jacopo Trulla and Enrico Lucchin went over for the Italians, with Tim O’Malley kicking two conversions.

Worcester now sit second in their pool, level on points with third-placed Newcastle and one ahead of fourth-placed Biarritz, who will be at home to Zebre and Toulon respectively in their final matches in April. Only the top three are guaranteed a place in the next round.

In Pool B, Gloucester ran in 10 tries to claim an emphatic 68-19 bonus point victory over Perpignan at Kingsholm.

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Captain Lewis Ludlow, Kyle Moyle, Jordy Reid, Santi Socino and Mark Atkinson all crossed in the first half, with Adam Hastings adding conversions for each try, to leave the Cherry and Whites 35-15 in front at the interval.

Reid’s second try of the match early in the second half further extended Gloucester’s lead before Nino Seguela’s superb reply for Perpignan provided a rare moment of joy for the French side.

However, further scores from Stephen Varney, Jack Singleton, Chris Harris and Louis Rees-Zammit wrapped up a resounding win which allowed Gloucester to close the gap on pool leaders Lyon.

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Shaylen 2 hours ago
Jack Willis' Champions Cup masterclass proves English eligibility rules need a rethink

If France, Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland got together and all changed their eligibility laws in the same way SA has it would be absolutely bonkers. All players from all nations involved in Europe would be fair game as would their coaches. The investment in rugby would be supercharged as teams would rush to create dream teams. Transfer markets would be super charged, salary caps may change, private investment would grow as rich backers first buy clubs and then put money into their clubs in an effort to land the best players. The richest clubs and franchises would benefit most but money and players would move across borders at a steady flow. Suddenly countries like Wales and Scotland would have a much larger pool of players to select from who would be developed and improved in systems belonging to their rivals within superstar squads while their clubs receive large sums in the transfer market. The Six Nations would experience a big boost as the best players become available all the time. The Champions cup would become even more fiercely contested as the dream teams clash. Fan engagement would grow as fans would follow their favourite players creating interest in the game across the continent. Transfer markets and windows would become interesting events in themselves, speculation would drive it and rumours of big transfers and interest in players would spread. All of this is speculation and much of it would not eventuate straight away but just like in football the spread of players and talent would create these conditions over time. The transfer markets in European football is proof of this. Football had the same club vs country debate eons ago and favoured an open system. This has made it the largest game in the world with global interest and big money. Rugby needs to embrace this approach in the long run as well

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Jon 8 hours ago
Waratahs 'counter-culture' limits Wallaby options for Joe Schmidt

This is a bit dramatic for me, I think the Rebels and Force cultures would be very strong, and if a player is chosen from either, you can be confident they are in a good head space and ready. Whether they quite have the technical or tactical foundations of the other two states is where one would way their risk of selection. I see no need for Schmidt to worry about that risk in this squad. The main reason I could see a predominance of players from Brumbies and Reds, is simple cohesion. What might the coaching group make of what’s lacking in the Tahs, and to a lesser extent Rebels and Force’s, franchise? Certainly sides (players) that are running irish plays like we saw from that lovely McDermott long ball with have a head start. I hope the players can continue it at International level. Really liked what I saw of Wright (don’t know player focus and just hadn’t seen a lot of him anyway) in that game, can see him being a glue in a Wallaby side too. A with the similar worry of selecting players like Ryan, I think it unfounded to worry so much about forward balance at the moment. Including both Wright and Skelton in the same lineout is not going to lose you games gainst Wales. Nor will any unknown weakenss Wales might find in Ryan be exploited to any great extent. It is the perfect time to introduce such a young player. What other shortcuts might Schmidt want to make now, just a year out from hosting BIL? When Gamble came on the scene I thought he had a Pocock ability to break game apart along with performing the role of a openside well. I would be very keen to drop Leota/Hooper for Gamble, and in your squad make up, include Uru as a lock. Did you forget to remove Vunivalu from your team? Would you have Meafou in your squad if you could?

114 Go to comments
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