Rugby night grabs headlines as Andy Powell issues statement hitting back at Alex Cuthbert
These are the rugby titles for Saturday June 11.
Powell replies to Cuthbert
Andy Powell has hit back at former international team-mate Alex Cuthbert, accusing him of being a ‘hypocrite’ as their war of words escalates. Wales and Lions winger Cuthbert has claimed Powell gave him ‘a lot of shit’ after the 2015 World Cup, so he wiped his hands off the former No.8. you can read his comments in full here.
Now Powell has responded by posting a lengthy message on social media. Speaking of Cuthbert, he said: “I always thought he was a good boy and not that hypocritical. But making an accusation that I would say anything about him or anyone just to say something “stupid” and get paid is defamatory.
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“During this period I thought Alex was playing badly (probably the worst he’s ever done) and it was blatant. Some of the comments were criticism, jokes and my opinions. I thought Alex had a sense of humor and I’m sorry he took the comments so personally.
“But during that period I thought there were better players who would have done a better job. And I certainly wasn’t the only one who thought so.
“I’ve made some amazing friends throughout my career and after. If anyone asks my opinion, I’ll give it. Those who ask my opinion tend to ask me because I’m going to be honest and upfront .
“As a professional sportsperson, you can either let negative feedback defeat you or take it constructively, laugh, gain wisdom, improve and move on. It’s sad that Alex didn’t do the latter. I wish him the best.”
Springboks training team name
There are eight uncapped players in the Springboks’ 43-man training squad for next month’s three-Test series against Wales and the rest of their international program this year.
The new faces are prop Ntuthuko Mchunu, locks Ruan Nortje and Salmaan Moerat, loose forwards Evan Roos and Elrigh Louw, utility forward Deon Fourie, scrum-half Grant Williams and fullback Kurt-Lee Arendse. The squad also includes Harlequins center Andre Esterhuizen, Stormers full-back Warrick Gelant and loose Bulls striker Marcell Coetzee who last played for South Africa in 2019.
Among the big names selected are Eben Etzebeth, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Damian de Allende, Faf de Klerk, Handre Pollard, Cheslin Kolbe and Willie le Roux. A group of 17 players gathered in Pretoria for the opening week of the team’s preparation camp last week, featuring a number of Sharks and Japan-based players. The remaining players are expected to join the squad after fulfilling their club commitments.
Wales internationals help Saracens reach the final
Wales internationals Nick Tompkins and Aled Davies both crossed for tries as Saracens beat defending champions Harlequins 34-17 to book a place in the Gallagher Premiership final. Center Tompkins, part of the Wales squad for the South Africa tour, landed just before half-time through an offload from Owen Farrell to give Sarries a 15-12 lead at Allianz Park. Then scrum-half Davies ran after the break following a flurry of bulls from Springbok prop Vincent Koch.
But it was Premiership Player of the Year Ben Earl who really had a memorable day, with the flanker claiming a Treble of tries as the hosts emerged victorious, despite being twice reduced to 13 men after second-half yellow cards for England internationals Elliot Daly, Billy Vunipola and Alex Lozowski for high tackles.
A bloodied Farrell netted four penalty kicks midway through his fly-half battle with Marcus Smith, with former Cardiff Met striker Alex Dombrandt, scrum-half Danny Care and winger Cadan Murley moving on for Quins. Smith came inside Farrell to put Care over the top as the visitors built an early lead that gave hope, which was eventually dashed. Saracens will meet winners Leicester against Northampton in next Saturday’s final at Twickenham.
The URC final will take place in South Africa
The United Rugby Championship final will be played in Cape Town with the Stormers beating Ulster 17-15 amid a dramatic end to set up an all-South African showpiece against the Bulls. Stormers fly-half Manie Libbok netted an 85th-minute conversion winner after full-back Warrick Gelant hit the ground breaking Ulster’s heart.
The hosts claimed the spoils despite being reduced to 14 men following a 70th-minute red card to replace lock Adre Smith for eye gouging. You can read all about this incident here.
Ulster led 15-10 at half-time with winger Robert Baloucoune and full-back Stewart Moore in response to early tries from Stormers hooker JJ Kotze and No 8 Evan Roos. The second half was scoreless until the dramatic conclusion. The Bulls beat defending champions Leinster 27-26 in the first semi-final in Dublin on Friday night.
All-Kiwi Final in Super Rugby
It will be an all-kiwi final in the Super Rugby Pacific, with the Blues having snuck in to join the Crusaders in next weekend’s showpiece. The Auckland Blues beat the Canberra Brumbies 20-19 in the second semi-final at Eden Park.
They led 20-7 at half-time thanks to tries from number 8 Hoskins Sotutu and winger Mark Telea, but the Aussies fought back after the break to set up a stand finish. Replacement hooker Lachie Lonergan crossed twice to add to an earlier score from center Irae Simone as two Blues players were booked. But, despite having a one-man advantage in the final minutes, the Brumbies were unable to claim the winning scoreline as Noah Lolesio’s late goal attempt went off target.
In the other semi-final, the Crusaders beat Warren Gatland’s Chiefs 20-7 in Christchurch, with No 8 Cullen Grace hitting twice. The final will take place at Eden Park in Auckland next Saturday (June 18).