The News Review:
- Long season takes its toll on Leicester
- Catt leads PRA award list
- Ashton prepares to examine 32-man squad
- Brennan appeal set for June
- Wilson set to celebrate his Ulster century
Long season takes its toll on Leicester
Telegraph.co.uk – Apr 24, 2007
Leicester’s task will not be made any the easier at Ashton Gate as Bristol need a win from their last two games to stand a chance of qualifying. Richard Hill keeps faith with the starting XV which defeated Worcester with fly-half David Hillon the bench after more than two months out with a hand injury. The remaining 19000 tickets for the Heineken Cup final go on sale this week with Leicester and Wasps allocated 9500 each. Over 56000 tickets were sold ahead of the semi-finals and 7000 to ERC stakeholders. Northampton confirmed that they have signed Springbok No 8 Joe van Niekerk but that the South African has an escape clause if the Saints are relegated. Bath’s European Challenge Cup final against Clermont Auvergne will be played at Harlequins’s Stoop Memorial Game on May 19 on the eve of the Heineken Cup final at Twickenham.
Catt leads PRA award list
Telegraph.co.uk – Apr 24, 2007
Plans for the two Tests have been hit by the unavailability of leading players from Leicester and Wasps who are contesting the Heineken Cup final on May 20 six days before the first encounter with the Springboks in Bloemfontein. Bath also have players engaged in the Challenge Cup final against Clermont-Auvergne on May 19. Ashton said: “Now that the finalists for the Heineken Cup and European Challenge Cup have been confirmed I have a clearer idea of the players available to me who I can consider for the summer tour to South Africa. “I will spend the next few days considering all my options before making any final selection decisions after the forthcoming Guinness Premiership matches this weekend. ” Ashton’s selection problems are acute especially in the forwards. The England pack which started against Wales in last month’s final Six Nations game was made up entirely of players from Leicester and Wasps. Prop Phil Vickery who was part of the Wasps team that reached the Heineken final by defeating Northampton on Sunday said after the game: “If Brian Ashton had any hair left he would be pulling it out.
Ashton prepares to examine 32-man squad
Planet Rugby – Apr 24, 2007
Such chronic fixture congestion rules out the likes of Phil Vickery Martin Corry Harry Ellis Joe Worsley Josh Lewsey and Steve Borthwick. Ashton has not yet indicated whether any of that sizeable group will fly to South Africa in time for the June 2 second Test in Pretoria. “Now that the finalists for the Heineken Cup and European Challenge Cup have been confirmed I have a clearer idea of the players available to me who I can consider for the summer tour to South Africa” said Ashton. “I will spend the next few days considering all my options before making any final selection decisions after the forthcoming Guinness Premiership matches this weekend. “I am absolutely delighted that Leicester Tigers and London Wasps have reached the Heineken Cup final and that Bath Rugby are in the European Challenge Cup final. “It is a tribute to all those involved at the clubs they have achieved that feat. “Ashton’s selection problems are acute in the front row where props Vickery Julian White and Matt Stevens are ruled out of Bloemfontein while Wasps loosehead Tim Payne is sidelined through injury and Sale Sharks’ Andrew Sheridan is racing against time to be fit.
Brennan appeal set for June
RTE.ie – Apr 24, 2007
The ex-Ireland forward 33 was suspended last month after being found guilty of misconduct under Heineken Cup disciplinary rules. Brennan entered a seating area during Toulouse’s Heineken Cup pool game against Ulster at Stade Ernest Wallon on January 21 and repeatedly struck Ulster supporter Patrick Bamford. The Toulouse player was banned for life from playing rugby although he had already announced his intention to retire at the end of this season. He was also prohibited from participating in any capacity in tournaments organised by European Rugby Cup Limited although this does not prevent him from coaching or managing outside ERC events. Brennan additionally received a fine of E25000 and was ordered to pay E5000 in compensation to Bamford.
Wilson set to celebrate his Ulster century
Belfast Telegraph – Apr 24, 2007
Menwhile six Ospreys players face late fitness tests ahead of tonight’s Magners League Welsh derby against Llanelli at Stradey Park. Justin Marshall Brent Cockbain Jon Thomas Mike Powell Ryan Jones and Alun-Wyn Jones will all be assessed while Adam Jones (ankle) is out. Llanelli Scarlets director of rugby Phil Davies says the Ospreys game is ideal to get over their Heineken Cup semi-final defeat to Leicester. "We’re both disappointed after two losses to Leicester" said Davies. "But the Ospreys are playing well they’re coming to Stradey Park in the Magners League and it’s a sell-out. " The Ospreys who trail leaders Leinster by nine points but have two games in hand can put the pressure on Michael Chieka’s side with a win both the two sides meet at the Liberty Stadium on Friday night. "It will take a huge effort for us to get in contention to win the league" said Ospreys coach Lyn Jones.