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The Road to Bilbao and Beyond: Rugby 2018

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    Wigglesworth with a late shoulder on Sexton, penalty only when it should have been a cumulative team yellow.

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      Leinster 13 Saracens 12 at half time. An intriguing match so far

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        Originally posted by Ray de Galles View Post
        Would rather Saracens win this meaning Scarlets play them in Coventry in the semi rather than Leinster getting effectively another home tie at Lansdowne Road.
        Leinster win, it was tough but they looked relatively comfortable.

        Can't believe Leinster can play in the Aviva as a neutral venue.

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          I’m not quite sure of the process for choosing semi-final venues. It’s clearly not quite “neutral” venues at random, certain quarter-finalists seem to be allotted a venue if they get through to the semi but I am not sure on what criteria.

          Leinster playing in Dublin seems absurd.

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            After the group stage, the five group winners are ranked 1-5 with the three best runners up ranked 6-8.
            The quarter final draw is 1v8, 2v7, 3v6, 4v5 with higher ranked teams at home.

            The semi final draw is 1/8 v 4/5 and 2/7 v 3/6. However this time the "home" team is not necessarily the higher ranked - sides winning an away quarter final are rewarded for this achievement and given a home tie, unless their opponents have also won away. In that case the higher ranked team plays at home. Similarity if both teams in a semi final won home quarter finals, the higher ranked team plays the semi at home.

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              So the semis are meant to be home ties for one side not a “neutral” venue? Which means Saracens chose Coventry as their home option had they gone through?

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                The semi finals are played in the country of the designated home team. Rules say venues are designated by the competition organisers.

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                  Ah, cheers. It’s been so long since a Welsh side troubled the semis I’m not up to speed with all the minutiae.

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                    Originally posted by Southport Zeb View Post
                    The semi finals are played in the country of the designated home team. Rules say venues are designated by the competition organisers.
                    And apart from Croke Park there's no other venue available of a suitable size.

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                      What’s the minimum capacity? Ravenhill can now accomdate over 18,000.

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                        It was 15k for the quarters, iirc it's 30k for a semi but don't quote me on that.

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                          https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/n...-like-14501453

                          A dignified response from Nigel Owens to Israel Folau and his homophobia.

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                            75 minutes in, Ulster 3 Ospreys 0 and Dan Biggar has made 24 tackles. 24 for an out half. 24.

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                              Stockdale intercepts and Ospreys go home with nothing. How familiar.

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                                Scarlets have made 13 changes for their trip to Edinburgh tomorrow (with the trip to Leinster in the European Cup a week later), they still need one win from that game or away to Dragons to secure a home quarter-final in the league.

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                                  Originally posted by Ray de Galles View Post
                                  Scarlets have made 13 changes for their trip to Edinburgh tomorrow (with the trip to Leinster in the European Cup a week later), they still need one win from that game or away to Dragons to secure a home quarter-final in the league.
                                  Here's the team: Scarlets: Rhys Jones; Tom Varndell, Ioan Nicholas, Steff Hughes (capt), Ryan Conbeer; Dan Jones, Aled Davies; Dylan Evans, Ryan Elias, Werner Kruger, Steve Cummins, David Bulbring, Lewis Rawlins, Josh Macleod, Will Boyde.

                                  Replacements: Taylor Davies, Phil Price, Simon Gardiner, Josh Helps, Shaun Evans, Jonathan Evans, Corey Baldwin, Tom Rogers.

                                  Only David Bulbring is likely to start against Leinster, Jake Ball might be fit but I'd be surprised if he started. After beating Glasgow last week they've given themselves a chance to rest all of their players. The bad news is that Pivac and his team are now favourites for the Wales job.

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                                    Dear oh fucking dear!

                                    Bristol adopt Bears name and change club crest for Premiership return

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                                      They've also added a significant amount of red (as covered previously, the rugby club's owner also owns Bristol City) to the traditional blue & white kit:

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                                        "Bristol, the city itself, has no history of being home to any bears."

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                                          Awful. They should rescind the promotion - for the name more than the kit, but it's a compound error.

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                                            Bristol Bear Club is also the name of the "only purpose built bear bar in the UK"

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                                              Originally posted by Ray de Galles View Post
                                              Bristol Bear Club is also the name of the "only purpose built bear bar in the UK"
                                              That is fucking awesome. Do you think they know?

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                                                A fucking disgrace. Probably gives the clue that the premiership is about to become ring fenced hence the perceived need for a rebrand.

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                                                  There's only one "rugby" story down under, and that's Israel Folau. Daily updates in sports news, and news news (at least in NZ). Stick his name in Google and you'll find more op-eds than Syria. Players past and present lining up on either side. And it's obviously not going anywhere, until it's resolved one way or the other, perhaps by him leaving so he can become rugby league's problem instead.

                                                  Here's a moving and very personal story by a TV/radio reporter. It's not about rugby, but it is worth reading.

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                                                    Here are the teams for the first semi. Halfpenny is on the wing due to injuries and the Scarlets have gone with a 6-2 bench spilt, again due to injuries. Leinster are firm favourites but I'm hoping for something.

                                                    Leinster: R Kearney; McFadden, Ringrose, Henshaw, Nacewa; Sexton (capt), Gibson-Park; Healy, Cronin, Furlong, Toner, Ryan, Fardy, Leavy, J Murphy.

                                                    Replacements: Tracy, J McGrath, Porter, Molony, Conan, McCarthy, Carbery, Larmour.

                                                    Scarlets: Patchell; Halfpenny, S Williams, H Parkes, S Evans; D Jones, G Davies, R Evans, Owens (capt), Lee, Beirne, Bulbring, Shingler, J Davies, Barclay.

                                                    Replacements: Elias, D Evans, Kruger, Rawlins, Cummins, A Davies, Hughes, Boyde.

                                                    Referee: Romain Poite (Fra)

                                                    Assistant referees: Mathieu Raynal (Fra), Pierre Brousset (Fra)

                                                    TMO: Philippe Bonhoure (Fra)

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