A couple of big announcements start off this week’s ex-files. Graham Rowntree will be forwards coach on this summer’s British Lions tour to Australia. Jim Hamilton has announced that an un-named French club has agreed a transfer fee with Gloucester and he will join them in the summer, it is thought the club is Montpellier but Racing Metro is also a possibility.
Now to the Heineken Cup; in Group 1 not a good week for defence coaches as Neil Back’s Edinburgh defence was yet again too leaky as they fell to another defeat 19-9 to Racing Metro, Greig Tonks continued at full back, and Paul Gustard’s Saracens “wolfpack” lost 15-9 away to Munster.
In Group 4 Tom Ryder came off the bench as Glasgow surrendered at home 9-6 to Castres. Dorian West’s Northampton pack were handed a massive thrashing as Ulster romped to a bonus point 25-6 at Franklin’s Gardens.
In Group 5 Ignacio Mieres came off the bench at centre as Exeter won away at Llanelli Scarlets, in other Exeter news Chris Whithead will be out for 3 months as he under goes neck surgery. Meanwhile Sunday saw the clash of two Heineken Cup titans as Clermont, with Ben Kayser starting at hooker, finished Leinster’s 17 match unbeaten run in the tournament, Leo Cullen started for the back to back European champions whilst Shane Jennings played the final 15 minutes.
Group 6 saw Andy Powell come off the bench as Sale fell to another defeat at home this time at the hands of Toulon 17-6.
A step down the Amlin Challenge Cup saw a pair of ex-Tigers 10s face of in Pool 1. Tim Taylor started for Gloucester as they faced Ian Hunphreys and London Irish. With Jim Hamilton captaining Gloucester came back from 22-9 down to win 29-22.
In Pool 2 a full week ago (sorry for being late) Andy Goode scored all the points for Worcester as they beat Perpignan by a point, 22-21; Henry Tuilagi captained the Catalans.
Pool 3 saw Marco Wentzel and Tom Varndell play for Wasps as they drew 13 all away to Bayonne. Andy Tuilagi grabbed the first try as Newport romped to a 33-0 win away to Mogliano, Ian Nimmo played 46 minutes before being subbed due to an injured knee.
Hoarcio Agulla grabbed a brace as he partnered Sam Vesty in the centres as Bath thrashed Calvisano 67-11 at the Rec in Pool 4.
The British & Irish Cup also returned. In Pool 8 on Friday night Nottingham put 8 tries past Melrose. Rory Lynn bagged 7 conversions, with Matt Parr and Alex Shaw amongst the try scorers. Mike Holford and Dan Montague started whilst Brent Wilson, Finlay Barnham and Joe Cobden were on the bench. Another 4 current Tigers were in the 22 on loan. The other fixture was Doncaster winning in the 85th minute away to Llandovery, Jethro Rawling played the final 15 minutes and loanee Andy Symons was their try scorer whilst Kieran Brookes played the first half.
In Pool 7 Plymouth Albion was another later winner as they scored an 80th minute penalty to win 21-20 at Aberavon, Tom Bowen featured from the bench for Albion. Johne Murphy played the whole game for Munster A as they thrashed Rotherham 36-21 at Clifton Lane, George Oliver came off the bench for the Titans in the 58th minute to make his debut.
In Pool 6 Ben Pienaar was another bench warmer as Moseley lost 18-11 away to Gala, only joining the action in the 50th minute.
In Pool 5 Dave Markham and Fred Silcock started as Jersey lost at home to Leinster A 16-12. Calum Green was rested as Leeds, only playing the last 11 minutes, focused on the Championship and lost 24-30 to Pontypridd at home.
In Pool 4 Dean Richards and John Wells’s Newcastle side continued their strong early season form as they won 26-10 at Rodney Parade home of Newport RFC. The other game saw Jon Gardner line up at lock for Connacht Eagles as they fell to Cross Keys 17-12.
In Pool 2 Ben Gulliver was part of the Bedford side that destroyed Swansea 62-12 at the Gnoll, Greg Gillanders came off the bench late in the game when the match was over as a contest whilst Tom Armes was the only un-used substitute for the Blues.
In Pool 1 Conor Joyce played for Ulster Ravens as they won 40-14 at Ravenhill. James Grindal played the final 20 minutes at Brewery Field as Bristol won handsomely, 32-8, against Bridgend.
National League 1; Mike Gillick dotted down twice as Cambridge beat Sedgley Park 52-17 at Grantchester Road, Rob Conquest was at lock for the Blood and Gold. At the Butts Park Arena Ben Toft played the last 10 minutes as Coventry lost 17-8 to Blaydon. Scott Bemand’s Loughborough Students side pulled further away from the relegation troubles as they won 11-9 at Fylde, Joe Atkinson was on the Students’ blindside. Joe Clowes featured from the bench for Macclefield as they beat Wharfedale 20-17. Ollie Smith’s Esher side were late winners on their long trip to Tynedale as they scored in 2 tries in the last 3 minutes to claim the bonus point victory.
In National League 2 North Marc Howgate was a first half injury as Leicester Lions lost 38-20 away to Hull Ionians. Stourbridge’s remarkable run continues as they claimed their 14th straight bonus point victory, both Rob and Will Hurrell again featured for the Saxons. In the Southern section Sam Raven was lock for Hartpury as they lost 22-20 away to Henley and Luke Beales was at prop for Shelford as they claimed a bonus point win against Dings Crusaders.
Further afield Alesana Tuilagi is back to fitness and started at 12 in NTT Shining Arcs defeat, 29-6, to NEC Green Rockets where Ben Herring coaches.