After a bit of a hiatus the Ex-Files returns with news from the international arena. Billy Twelvetrees made a dream international debut as he grabbed a try in England’s win over Scotland; Graham Rowntree of course is England’s forwards coach. Benjamin Kayser came off the bench for France as they crashed to a second consecutive loss away to Italy, the week after playing an hour for Clermont as they lost to Perpignan. In the European Nations Cup Cesar Sempere knocked over two drop goals including a monster from 50 metres, as Spain came up short against Russia in Sochi.
Last week’s LV Cup saw Sam Vesty kick 7 points in Bath’s win against Gloucester at Kingsholm, Horacio Agulla played 56 minutes on the wing. Robin Cowling won the battle of the forwards coaches as his Exeter side beat Dorian West’s Northampton side 28-19 at Sandy Park courtesy of 13 points from the boot of Ignacio Mieres who this week announced he was moving to Worcester in the summer where he will be replacing Andy Goode, who slotted a solitary conversion as Worcester lost at home to Paul Gustard’s Saracens, Richard De Carpentier made his 4 start for the Warriors in the match. Ian Humphreys played the final 20 minutes as London Irish lost 10-6 away to Cardiff. Sale ended Tigers interest in the LV Cup as they won 33-30 away to Wasps, there was a clash of former Tigers opensides as Sale’s James Doyle faced up to Wasps’ Matt Everard, the Londoners also started Marco Wentzel and Tom Varndell as they failed to maintain their undefeated record at Adams Park. Further up the M40 Ian Nimmo started for Newport as they beat a London Welsh side containing Joe Ajuwa.
In the RaboDirect Pro 12 Andy Tuilagi grabbed his third try of the season for Newport in their Boxing Day derby lose to Cardiff. Shane Jennings and Leo Cullen both played in Leinster’s bonus point victory against Neil Back’s Edinburgh on January the 4th, whilst in the Heineken Cup Grieg Tonks scored his first try for Edinburgh against Saracens, Tonks also made an impressive debut for Scotland A in their victory over England Saxons last Friday with Tom Ryder starting in the second row for the Scots.
Nottingham stormed into second place in the Championship as they beat Bedford 25-17 at Meadow Lane. Ex-Tigers were in abundance as 10 were involved in the game; Ollie Dodge made his comeback after a broken leg in Blue’s midfield whilst Phil Boulton spent ten minutes in the bin for the away side. Ben Gulliver and Greg Gillanders were also in the Blues 8 who faced up to Matt Parr, Joe Duffy, Michael Holford, Dan Montague, Alex Shaw and captain Brent Wilson in the Notts pack. Newcastle are still out in front with 13 wins out of 13 as Dean Richards and John Wells look for a quick return to the Premiership. Diccon Edwards Leeds side won their rearranged game with Plymouth Albion, if you don’t know why I’d suggest checking it out it’s too long to tell fully here but an indictment of the former Premiership side; Calum Green played for the Yorkshire side with Tom Bowen on the wing for the Devonians. That pushed Leeds into the play offs ahead of Bristol the week after Bristol, with James Grindal starting, had edged ahead with a win against Leeds. Relegation threatened Doncaster lost again at home to London Scottish 14-9, Will Simpson and Jethro Rawling starting for the Knights and Dante Mama coming on for the final moments. Jersey benefitted as they moved further towards safety with a 13-10 win at home to Rotherham; it was a tense end as Jersey were down to thirteen men after a sin binning for Dave Markham, Ross Broadfoot also featured for the Channel Islanders.
In Italy’s Excellenza David Young is still an ever present for Lazio, starting three more games and picking up a yellow card against Mogliano. Lee Robinson has returned from injury for L’Aquilla and grabbed the third try in their thrilling come from behind victory against Crociati; as late as the 74th minute the Parma side were leading 22-10 but a yellow card allowed L’Aquilla to score three tries, gain the bonus point and overturn the deficit for a 29-25 win, their first of the season. In Serie A Mitchell Turner and Will Lawson have both started 2 of 3 games for Romagna since Volume VIII, though they have lost them all to slip to 7th in the league.
In Japan the season is already over and both Ben Herring’s NEC Green Rockets and Alesana Tuilagi’s NTT Shining Arcs missed out on the play offs, finishing 8th and 9th respectively. Tuilagi didn’t have the best season scoring only twice but did outshine Sonny Bill Williams on his debut so it wasn’t all bad.
France and Pro D2 now, Ayoola Erinle has been playing most game for promotion chasing Carcassone, featuring at both wing and centre. In what is news to me but certainly not recent activity it turns out Luke Abraham retired from Lyon in the summer, which is why he’s not played for them this season. For Narbonne Vavae Tuilagi made his first appearance for 4 months when he came off the bench to face La Rochelle and backed it up with another bench appearance against Brive a week later; both Vavae and Henry Tuilagi, still occasionally turning out for Perpignan, are rumoured to be transfer targets of Carcassonne in the summer. Phil Christophers showed that tries are like buses as he waited until his 14th game of the season to bag his first try, against Massy as Aix-en-Provence won 34-22, before getting his second in the very next game to secure the losing bonus point at home to Aurillac 24-30.
Lucas Amorosino has been struggling for game time at Montpellier, starting in a loss away to Perpignan back in December and since then only playing 23 minutes off the bench in two Heineken Cup games. Christophe Laussucq’s Stade Francais side are struggling along in 9th in the Top 14 but secured a vital bonus point victory over play off rivals Grenoble, Julian Dupuy played his part with 3 penalties and 3 conversions; they go to Bath in the Amlin Challenge Cup quarter finals after topping their pool. Ephram Taukafa and Seru Rabeni were both part of the Mont du Marsan side that lost a close a one to Toulon, with Rabeni being yellow carded moments after joining the fray in the 76th minute.
In National League 1 Scott Bemand’s Loughborough Students staged a remarkable comeback from 40-7 down to win 42-40 with Joe Atkinson getting two of the six tries for the Students. Cambridge have announced Craig Newby as their new First Team Coach and his impact was immediate as they lost a hard fought match 7-9 to Richmond, Jon Hale returning after his fractured skull got the games only try as the Cambridge side also featured Rob Conquest and Michael Gillick. Ollie Smith’s Esher side won 34-22 away to Sedgley Park as they aim to keep the pressure on leaders Ealing.
A league lower and since our last update Stourbridge have lost their perfect record in National 2 North, however they are still going strong and recorded their 19th try bonus point out of 21 games. Brothers Rob and Will Hurrell have been in the thick of the action as both started the win against Caldy, Will claimed his 11th try of the season; Utility back Will Hurrell has also been called up for England Counties games this Spring. Leicester Lions picked up another win as they beat Luctonians with Jon Boden collecting a penalty, three conversions and a yellow card; Estonian international Luke Veebel also played for the Lions.
In the Southern section Sam Raven was in Hartpury College’s second row as they lost 31-29 to Canterbury whilst Shelford overcame Luke Beales‘s yellow card to win 30-15 at home to Bournemouth.