Wednesday Afternoon Round Up

Wednesday Afternoon Round Up

John Afoa given one-week ban

John Afoa of Gloucester Rugby was cited for dangerously tackling Tim Sweil of Harlequins in the first half of the Premiership match between Gloucester and Harlequins on Saturday 4 March.

The RFU disciplinary panel said: "The panel accepted the evidence from Harlequins that there was no contact to the head of their player and as such the panel was not mandated to find this a mid-range offence. Given this was a reckless tackle causing no injury, the panel was satisfied that a low-end entry point was appropriate.”

The prop pleaded guilty and was given a one-week suspension.  He is free to play again on Monday 27 March.

Ulster sign Schalk van der Merwe

Ulster have confirmed that South African front rower Schalk van der Merwe will join the Province a two-year deal.

The 26-year-old will make the move from the Southern Kings following the conclusion of the 2017 Super Rugby season.

He earned 25 Super Rugby caps for the Lions in 2014 and 2015, before moving to France to play for Montpellier.

Commenting on the arrival of van der Merwe, Director of Rugby Les Kiss said:

"Schalk is a talented player who I've been really impressed by - he was the cornerstone of the Lions scrum that dominated for a couple of Super Rugby seasons.

"In addition to his excellent scrummaging, he will give us some much-needed physicality in the loose, and this will be a major plus for us in the seasons ahead. He has a hard edge and he's determined to work hard to nail down a starting place here at Ulster.

Josh Poullet signs two-year deal with Nottingham

Nottingham Rugby have announced that back rower Josh Poullet has signed a two-year contract with the club.


The 23-year-old loose forward has signed first, full time, professional contract.  

The Nottingham-born youngster has been on the clubs books since the 2013/14 season, whilst studying for a Sports Science degree at NTU. 

Head Coach Costello said:

"Josh is a really exciting talent, one of the most promising players in the league, so to secure his services for two years is a fantastic statement by the club moving forward. It's particularly pleasing to sign a player who's come through the club, a local boy, who has always wanted to play for Nottingham."

Ultimate Rugby's Pick of the Weekend's Fixtures

Varsity Cup Dream Team vs Junior Boks clash announced

Varsity Cup will once again host the popular exhibition match between the Varsity Cup Dream Team and the Junior Springboks on 25 April 2017 at the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch.


The Dream Team clash follows after the Varsity Cup final on 17 April 2017 and will feature the best players of Varsity Cup against the best of the Junior Springboks.


The match will be played according to the regular laws of SA Rugby and therefore no unique Varsity Cup rules such as white card, scrumming and mauling laws, free catch rule, red card rule and point of origin try will apply.

Read the full article


Four players commit to Bedford Blues

Bedford Blues have confirmed that back rower Ben Adams, lock Will Carrick-Smith, scrum half Jordan Burns and centre Ollie Dodge have all signed new contracts for the 2017/18 season. 

Ben Adams, 26, is a former Australians Sevens star who joined the Blues last season.

Will Carrick-Smith, 24, signed for the Blues from ahead of the 2016/17 season, having agreed a move from London Scottish.

The in-form Jordan Burns, 23, signed from Harlequins in 2015.

Ollie Dodge,29, joined the club on loan in 2006 from Liecester Tigers, a deal that was made permanent in 2008.

Blues Director of Rugby Mike Rayer said: 

"It's great news for the club that these four lads have signed new deals. They all been very consistent and durable in what they've produced this season. Will is getting better and better as the season goes on, Ben has now adjusted to the physicality of the championship, Jordi has once again lit up our attacking play and there is more to come from him. And Dodgey, well what can you say, he just keep delivering exactly what it says on the tin!

Ireland team to face Wales

The Ireland team have announced the match day 23 that will face Wales at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.

Captain Rory Best is once agin joined in the front row by Jack McGrath and Tadhg Furlong with Donnacha Ryan and Devin Toner paired up in the second row. Tommy Bowe comes back into the replacements in place of the injured Andrew Trimble.

The bench also includes Niall Scannell, Cian Healy, John Ryan, Iain Henderson, Peter O'Mahony, Kieran Marmion and Paddy Jackson.

Ireland Team & Replacements (v Wales, RBS 6 Nations, Principality Stadium
15. Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster) 75 caps
14. Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster) 57 caps
13. Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster) 6 caps
12. Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Leinster) 27 caps
11. Simon Zebo (Cork Constitution/Munster) 31 caps
10. Jonathan Sexton (St Mary's College/Leinster) 64 caps
9. Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 56 caps

1. Jack McGrath (St. Mary's College/Leinster) 39 caps
2. Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster) 102 caps captain
3. Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster) 14 caps
4. Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster) 45 caps
5. Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster) 45 caps
6. CJ Stander (Shannon/Munster) 13 caps
7. Sean O'Brien (UCD/Leinster) 47 caps
8. Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster) 94 caps vc

16. Niall Scannell (Dolphin/Munster) 2 cap
17. Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 65 caps
18. John Ryan (Cork Constitution/Munster) 4 cap
19. Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 30 caps
20. Peter O'Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster) 38 caps
21. Kieran Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht) 10 caps
22. Paddy Jackson (Dungannon/Ulster) 22 caps
23. Tommy Bowe (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster) 68 caps

Check out our Wales v Ireland Key Match-Ups here

Wales name squad for Round 4 of the 6 Nations

Wales have named an unchanged match day squad to face Ireland for Round 4 of the 6 Nations as Justin Tipuric is set to win his 50th cap




Leigh Halfpenny

George North

Jonathan Davies

Scott Williams

Liam Williams

Dan Biggar

Rhys Webb


Rob Evans

Ken Owens

Tomas Francis

Jake Ball

Alun Wyn Jones

Sam Warburton

Justin Tipuric

Ross Moriarty

Subs: Scott Baldwin, Nicky Smith, Samson Lee, Luke Charteris, Taulupe Faletau, Gareth Davies, Sam Davies, Jamie Roberts.

Check out our Wales v Ireland Key Match-Ups here

England Rugby retain 24 players for Round 4 against Scotland

24 players have been retained by England to prepare for Saturday's RBS 6 Nations game against Scotland at Twickenham Stadium.

Forwards (13)

Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)
Jamie George (Saracens)
Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)
James Haskell (Wasps)
Nathan Hughes (Wasps)
Maro Itoje (Saracens)
Joe Launchbury (Wasps)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)
Joe Marler (Harlequins)
Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins)
Billy Vunipola (Saracens)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens)
Tom Wood (Northampton Saints)

Backs (11)

Mike Brown (Harlequins)
Danny Care (Harlequins)
Elliot Daly (Wasps)
Owen Farrell (Saracens)
George Ford (Bath Rugby)
Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby)
Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby)
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs)
Ben Te'o (Worcester Warriors)
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

The Biggest players in World Sevens 

Chiefs and Hurricanes line-ups

Predict the winner, follow the match and more here

Brumbies and Western Force line-ups

Predict the winner, follow the match and more here

Scotland Women side reshuffled for England clash

Head Coach Shade Munro has made four changes to the Scotland Women side that overcame Wales for this Saturday’s match against England.

Lichfield forward Sarah Bonar is set to make her first start following five caps off the bench in the second-row since her debut against Spain last November.

She will shift to the back-row alongside Louise McMillan. The new pairing will flank Jemma Forsyth, who has been handed the No.8 jersey as Jade Konkel is unavailable due to injury.

Scotland Women team to play England Women at Twickenham Stoop

Saturday 11 March


15. Chloe Rollie* (Murrayfield Wanderers) – 15 caps


14. Megan Gaffney (Edinburgh University) – 23 caps

13. Lisa Thomson* (Edinburgh University) – 10 caps

12. Lisa Martin* CAPTAIN (Murrayfield Wanderers) – 35 caps

11. Rhona Lloyd* (Edinburgh University) – 10 caps

10. Helen Nelson* (Murrayfield Wanderers) – 7 caps

9.  Sarah Law* (Murrayfield Wanderers/Edinburgh University) – 28 caps


1. Tracy Balmer (Worcester) – 41 caps

2. Lana Skeldon (Hillhead Jordanhill) – 19 caps

3. Lindsey Smith (Hillhead Jordanhill) – 35 caps

4. Emma Wassell* (Murrayfield Wanderers) – 21 caps

5. Deborah McCormack (Aylesford Bulls) – 21 caps

6. Sarah Bonar (Lichfield) - 5 caps

7. Louise McMillan* (Hillhead Jordanhill) – 5 caps

8. Jemma Forsyth (Hillhead Jordanhill) – 19 caps



16. Lucy Park* (Murrayfield Wanderers) – 3 caps

17. Heather Lockhart (Hillhead Jordanhill) – 87 caps

18. Katie Dougan (Edinburgh University) – 7 caps

19. Rachael Cook* (Murrayfield Wanderers) – 10 caps

20. Lyndsay O’Donnell (Worcester) – 12 caps

21. Jenny Maxwell (Lichfield) – 13 caps

22. Eilidh Sinclair* (Murrayfield Wanderers) – 14 caps

23. Abi Evans (Hillhead Jordanhill) - 6 caps

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