The Daily Telegraph - Business : 2020-09-14

Sport | Rugby Union : 26 : 18

Sport | Rugby Union

18 The Daily Telegraph Monday 14 September 2020 *** Sport Inside line By Charlie Morgan Rugby Union McCall’s fringe men end Exeter perfect return Team of the weekend 15 14 13 12 11 10 Matteo Minozzi Wasps Zach Kibirige Wasps Ollie Lawrence Worcester Jimmy Gopperth Wasps Ruaridh McConnochi­e Bath Zack Henry Leicester deputy rugby correspond­ent at Allianz Park By Daniel Schofield Ben Spencer 40 having lost six of their seven matches post restart. Saracens too have yet to produce a statement performanc­e in the resumption that suggests they can stop the Leinster machine, but McCall is confident that his playing group can rise to the occasion. “We are looking forward to this group and we have a bunch of players who are at their best when they have something meaningful to play for,” McCall said. “We have a playing group that look forward to it.” The selection of Manu Vunipola at fly-half for Saracens is a sure indication that full-back Alex Goode will be bearing the No10 shirt against Leinster in the absence of the suspended Owen Farrell. Vunipola did his best to state his case for a starting berth, brilliantl­y setting up two of Saracens’ five tries. He produced a peach of a mispass to set up wing Rotimi Segun for the opening try and then turned to the boot in the second half with a crossfield kick to Elliott Obatoyinbo who stepped inside Josh Hodge before diving over in the corner. He also kicked 15 points with Dom Morris and Cameron Boon crossing from close range. Still there were a few kinks in his performanc­e. He kicked dead from inside his own half and on another occasion tried to step his way out of trouble only to be hunted down by Phil Dollman, conceding a turnover. Inconseque­ntial mistakes in this encounter could have far more serious ramificati­ons against a Leinster team whose unbeaten run now stretches 25 matches. “Manu played well, very well – with real control and composure,” McCall said. “No question he will be involved in our squad for next weekend.” Instead it was another member of the Vunipola clan, hooker Kapeli Pifeleti, who really stood out. Like his cousins, Billy and Mako, Pifeleti has that ability to consistent­ly break the gainline whether through a litin Saracens Exeter Bath Ben Harris 17 Wasps Kapeli Pifeleti Saracens When the Saracens pack shoved the Exeter scrum back over its own tryline, allowing Janco Venter to score his side’s fourth try, the raucous celebratio­ns that followed belied the meaningles­s nature of the fixture. What should have been the single biggest grudge match in English rugby, forged in four successive meetings in the play-offs and infinitely inflamed by Saracens’ salary cap scandal, was reduced to A League status. Both directors of rugby rested all their leading lights before Champions Cup quarter-finals. Yet even with shadow sides on show, you could tell Saracens took undue pleasure from puncturing Exeter’s perfect record since the league’s resumption. Of those wrapped in cotton wool, Saracens prop Mako Vunipola should be fit to play against Leinster despite having been suffering from back spasms since he last featured against Bristol on August 15. “We are hopeful and expect him to be available,” Mark McCall, the Saracens director of rugby, said. “We have to weigh it up, Richard Barrington has been playing really well, but we will make that decision as the week goes on.” Exeter too have been handed a boost by full-back Stuart Hogg’s return to running at the weekend having limped off with a hip injury against Gloucester last Wednesday. He should be available for full training tomorrow. Clearly Saracens face the more daunting task against Leinster, who claimed the Pro14 title on Saturday, than Exeter who are facing a Northampto­n team bereft of confidence Josh Ibuanokpe Saracens Will Rowlands Wasps Charlie Ewels Bath Tom Ellis Bath Sam Underhill Bath Tom Curry Sale Player of the weekend Charlie Ewels (Bath). Tom Curry was phenomenal in defeat for Sale but Bath’s captain led his side to a potentiall­y season-defining win in Salford, marrying line-out nous with athleticis­m in the loose. Moment of the weekend Cameron Redpath’s jackal turnover in the 76th minute, his second of the game, extinguish­ed the hopes of his old club, Sale, and set up Bath’s bonus-point try. tle sidestep or more commonly by pumping his log-like legs through contact. With considerab­le gains to be made in terms of physical conditioni­ng, he could be poised for a breakout year in the Championsh­ip next season. For Exeter, their half-backs impressed in flashes behind a pack that was pummelled for large parts. Harvey Skinner was involved in the try of the game, shoving the ball on at speed to Dollman who transferre­d the ball from right to left hand for Facundo Cordero to score the corner. Second-row forwards Will Witty and Dave Dennis crossed in more prosaic pick-and-go efforts. It would appear Rob Baxter’s main task now will be to keep his squad focused for a match that the bookmakers have listed Exeter as 1-10 favourites. “Whatever anyone thinks of Northampto­n’s form, they can throw everything at it and have nothing to lose,” the Exeter director of rugby said. “We have never progressed past the quarter-finals and that in itself, to achieve something, can’t motivate us highly enough.” Try of the weekend Piers O’Conor (Bristol Bears). Although his team lost to Wasps, Max Malins made sure Bristol left Coventry with some beautiful tries. He went over twice and set up O’Conor in a 60-metre counter. Gallagher Premiershi­p London Irish 25 Worcester 40 London Irish: 25-35 25-40 12-17 15-20 15-17 15-23 8-5 15-5 18-10 26-10 33-10 40-10 40-17 13-5 18-5 21-10 31-10 Scores: 5-0 12-0 19-0 26-0 26-7 26-14 36-14 38-19 43-21 50-21 52-26 10-0 17-0 24-0 26-5 26-12 31-14 38-14 38-21 45-21 52-21 52-28 Meehan try (74); Howe try (80). 8-7. Homer try (79); (31); du Preez try (52); pen (57); Priestland pen (61); Priestland pen (62); B. Spencer try (68); Priestland con (69); D. Du Preez try MacGinty con (72); Joseph try Priestland con (80). Matthew Carley. MacGinty (12); M. Vunipola pen (37); (39); M. Vunipola con (40); pen (44); Witty try (46); pen (52); Obatoyinbo try (54); Venter try (62); M. Vunipola con (63); Boon try (76); M. Vunipola con (77); Dennis try (79); H. Skinner con (80). 15-5. Adam Leal. Morris try M. Vunipola M. Vunipola J. Willis try (1 mins); Gopperth con (6); Gopperth con (12); Gopperth con (18); Malins con (34); Malins con (37); Robson try (47); Malins try (59); T. Willis try (69); Oghre try (78); McCabe try (80); Bassett Cruse try Rowlands try Malins try O’Connor try Kibirige try Gopperth con Malins con Gopperth Gopperth Malins T Homer, B Loader, M Williams (T Brophy-Clews 3), T Hepetema, J Stokes (O HassellCol­lins 59), P Jackson, N Phipps (B Meehan 59), H Elrington (W Goodrick-Clarke 56), A Creevy (B Atkins 43), L Chawatama (O Hoskins 43), G Nott, S de Chaves (C Munga 59), M Rogerson, I CurtisHarr­is (B Donnell 55), A Tuisue. M Nanai, T Howe, F Venter, A Beck (O Lawrence 26), N Heward, D Weir (T Dodd 71), F Hougaard (G Simpson 77), E Waller (C Black 71), N Annett (B Cutting 63), N Schonert (R Palframan 71), A Bresler (B Searle 71), G Kitchener (S Lewis 68), T Hill, M Kvesic, C du Preez. Loader try (6 mins); Hougaard try (28); Weir con (28); Jackson pen (40); Hougaard try (42); Weir con (43); Nanai try (50); Weir con (50); Lawrence try (57); Weir con (57); Tuisue try (62); Jackson con (63); Lawrence try (68); Weir con (69); try (5); (11); (17); (33); (36); (39); (48); (60); con (70); con (79); con (80). 31-14. Leicester 28 Northampto­n 24 Leicester: HT: Referee: Sale 22 Bath 37 Sale: 15-28 20-30 22-35 Craig Maxwell-Keys. 15-30 22-30 22-37 HT: Referee: Saracens 40 Exeter 17 Saracens: (72); (79); 7-17. L James, D Solomona, M Tuilagi, R van Rensburg (S James 55), M Yarde (A Reed 70), A MacGinty, F de Klerk (W Cliff 70), V Morozov (R Webber 51), A van der Merwe, W John (J CooperWool­ley 51), M Postlewait­e (C Wiese 66), J du Preez, J Ross, B Curry, T Curry (D Du Preez 49). T de Glanville, G Hamer- Webb, J Joseph (W Chudley 80), J Matavesi (C Redpath 59), R McConnochi­e, R Priestland, B Spencer, B Obano (J Schoeman 68), T Dunn (R Batty 68), W Stuart (H Thomas 72), J McNally (W Spencer 57), C Ewels, J Bayliss (T Ellis 13), S Underhill (M Reid 66), T Faletau. 38-10 40-15 HT: Referee: Wasps 59 Bristol 35 Wasps: Northampto­n: Worcester: W Hooley, R Segun, D Morris (J Hallett 69), H Sloan, E Obatoyinbo, M Vunipola, T Whiteley (A Day 45), S Crean (R Hislop 63), K Pifeleti (T Woolstencr­oft 55), A Clarey (J Ibuanokpe 41), J Kpoku, C Hunter-Hill (C Boon 69), C Clark (A Christie 55), S Reffell, J Venter. P Dollman, J Hodge (J Walsh 70), C Baldwin, T Wyatt (L Mehson 63), F Cordero, H Skinner, J Snow (W Yarnell 75), B Keast (J Kenny 63), J Innard (J Poole 52), A Petch (M Johnson 69), W Witty (D Dennis 63), T Price, S Lonsdale (A Hinkley 56), R Capstick, D Armand. Segun try (5 mins); M Minozzi (M Watson 66), Z Kibirige, M Fekitoa, J Gopperth, J Bassett, J Umaga (R Mills 57), D Robson (B Vellacott 54), B Harris (T West 57), T Cruse (G Oghre 44), K Brookes, J Launchbury, W Rowlands, B Shields (J Gaskell 73), J Willis (T Young 57), T Willis. I Lloyd (C Powell 71), N Adeolokun, P O’Connor, A Leiua (H Ascherl 66), J Bates, M Malins, C Cook (T Kessell 50), Y Thomas (J Afoa 71), W Capon (B Byrne 53), K Assiratti, E Holmes, J Hawkins (J Joyce 54), J Dun (M Eadie 54), D Thomas, J Heenan. Bath: HT: Tonight Referee: Ian Tempest. Scores: 0-3 7-3 5-3 Scores: 5-0 5-7 8-12 8-19 5-5 10-3 16-3 22-3 Exeter: Gloucester v Harlequins (7.45). 8-7 8-14 8-21 8-28 15-28 15-35 13-3 19-3 22-8 Bristol: Guinness Pro14 Grand final Leinster 27 Ulster 5 Leinster—T: P: 8-26 13-28 15-33 20-35 22-10 28-10 28-17 Referee: 25-10 28-15 Scores: 5-0 7-0 van Rensburg try (4 mins); MacGinty con (5); McConnochi­e try (21); Priestland con (21); Priestland pen (24); B. Spencer try (31); Priestland con C: Lowe, Henshaw, Doris. (2), Sexton. R. Byrne (2). Hume. 10-5. R. Byrne 7-5 7-10 7-17 7-7 HT: 7-15 Scores: 5-0 5-5 Ulster—T: HT: Cordero try