Here are your rugby headlines for Saturday, May 28.
Crusaders coach defends Matera tackle amid outrage
Crusaders coach Scott Robertson has defended Pablo Matera’s approach after the blindside flanker was booked Friday night for a dangerous tackle on Queensland Reds midfielder Jordan Petaia.
Matera was thrown from the track 55 minutes into the Crusaders’ victory over the Reds in Christchurch after lifting Petaia and dropping him on his shoulder during a cleanup at a ruck, with many feeling the Argentine international got off lightly with only a yellow card from referee Ben O’Keeffe. If cited, he could be banned from part, if not all, of the Super Rugby Pacific play-offs.
The Crusaders will face the Reds again next weekend in the quarterfinals in Christchurch. And while Matera waits to see if he will take any more action, his coach comes to defend him.
“He [Matera] tried to stop and you knew when he got to that point he wasn’t going through which was probably a save for him,” said Robertson. “It’s taken off his hands in a lot of ways now. At that point he’s in such rich form and he’s been so good to us. Hopefully that’s just it, it just happened on the pitch.”
The son of the former Wales coach signs a new contract with the English club
Billy McBryde, son of former Wales coach Robin, has signed a new deal with Doncaster Knights for the 2022/2023 season. The English Championship finished second in the table this season, just three points behind winners Ealing.
The fullback first joined the club in June 2020 from RGC 1404, having made 22 appearances for the Knights this season. “It was an easy decision to re-sign with the Knights,” he said.
“Over the past two seasons we have built something special as a group and it is really exciting to be a part of it. The coaching staff have been amazing from the moment I arrived and I am grateful for the opportunity to stay and be with them Working together It’s exciting to see so many other teammates re-signing and allows us to take it one step further next season.”
Lyon wins first silverware in 89 years
Lyon rightly won their first major trophy in 89 years when they overpowered Toulon 30-12 in an all-French Challenge Cup final in Marseille on Friday night.
Lyon appeared in their first major final since being crowned French champions in 1933 and led for most of the game as Toulon fell to their fourth defeat in four finals in Europe’s second-tier league. The crowd of 51,431 at the Stade Veledrome was a league record.
Attempts from Baptiste Couilloud, Pierre-Louis Barassi and a penalty try brought Lyon into control and while Springbok winger Cheslin Kolbe claimed late consolation during a frenetic last quarter that saw Lyon at one point come back to 13 men it was enough to safely to set. victory for Lyon.
We get stuck in Sexton: O’Gara
Ronan O’Gara has promised his team from La Rochelle will “get stuck” with Johnny Sexton when they face Leinster in the Champions Cup final on Saturday.
Being the target of opponents is not new territory for the Irish captain, but former team-mate O’Gara took it as a mark of respect. He even added that he had tried to meet Sexton for coffee earlier this week, only because their schedule didn’t allow it.
“I really don’t have an hour to explain what he’s good at,” O’Gara said when asked about Sexton. “When you come out of your playing days, you see the game a little bit differently, you see the importance of relationships, you see the importance of enjoying the journey.
“A lot of people I used to enjoy are gone, they have sadly passed away, so you need to be reminded that we are in a great place, you need to be able to enjoy [the final]† I’ve been through every emotion with Johnny and I have a lot of respect for him. I enjoy his way of thinking and I enjoy how he handles his business.
“I think he’s happier that his hotel wasn’t near mine because he wasn’t fond of the coffee… They have to prepare mentally, and yes, I have to prepare mentally as a coach, that is sure but he’s turning 37 in july and that’s an achievement to play the way he is now we have to get stuck in him that’s the biggest compliment i can give him because i think they play differently if he is on the field.”