Scotland watched their chances of a last-16 tie dissipate last night after they threw away a three goal lead to draw with Argentina, as VAR controversy took centre stage again at the World Cup. That goalkeeper Lee Alexander will not be remembered as a Scottish heroine came down to small margins last night in Paris, specifically her goal-line and the rule which stipulates she must have at least one foot on it when a penalty is struck. Her stoppage time save of Florencia Bonsegundo's penalty was thus wiped from the history books on account of an allegedly misplaced toe, gifting the Argentina player another opportunity to equalise. Afterwards, head coach Shelley Kerr blamed what she believed were poor refereeing decisions beyond the penalty for ruining Scotland's chances. "We were 3-0 up and looking really comfortable and the first [Argentina] goal changed the whole complexion. It was a free kick in the build up but we should defend better and manage the game. "We gave it … [Read more...] about Scotland blow three goal lead to suffer calamitous World Cup exit in extraordinary late VAR drama
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We are in Sydney, it is a November day and an unusually large number of overseas visitors are behaving like Christmas has come early. The year is 2003 and it is the morning after a rugby match played at the Olympic Stadium. Rather a big one. Which went to extra-time. And came down to a last-gasp drop goal. Around the Manly Pacific Hotel, a ferry ride away from the opera house, the harbour bridge and downtown Sydney, one question is being asked. How did England stay so impossibly cool as the World Cup final drew its dying breath? Inside their beachfront hotel the answer comes from Will Greenwood, a player still coming to terms with the magnitude of victory over the host nation. It encapsulates why World Cup warm-up matches are staged and why England need to use wisely the four they have coming up. “People asked whether those warm-up games were the best thing for us,” said the midfield ace, referring to fixtures against Wales in Cardiff and France, twice, in Marseille and at … [Read more...] about Why England’s Rugby World Cup warm-up matches could hold key to victory this summer
If England can win a second Rugby World Cup on Saturday, the current crop of players will become household names overnight Companies will no doubt be queuing up to offer the winners a string of endorsements, while there are sure to be a host of requests from TV shows to boot. It’s something the Red Roses’ victorious 2003 side had to get used to after that famous night in Sydney 16 years ago . And what has happened to them in the intervening years may offer an insight into what the current England team can expect should they lift the Webb Ellis Cup this weekend. Starting XV Trevor Woodman: Part of a fearsome front row, but moved into coaching after his playing days were curtailed. Currently involved in the set-up at Gallagher Premiership side Gloucester. Steve Thompson: Initially retired in 2007 because of a neck injury, but capped a remarkable comeback by appearing at the 2011 World Cup. Now a rugby analyst and business development executive in the UAE. Phil … [Read more...] about England’s 2003 Rugby World Cup-winning squad – where are they now?
Scotland are still reeling from their disastrous World Cup exit which culminated in chaotic VAR-induced controversy on Wednesday night in Paris. They squandered a 3-0 lead against Argentina to end their chances of progressing to the knock-out stage, conceding three goals in 20 minutes including a stoppage-time penalty which was retaken on account of goalkeeper Lee Alexander stepping off her line. Argentina became the first team to ever overcome a three-goal deficit to draw at a World Cup, in this their latest surprise result this tournament following their draw with Japan in their opener. Defender Jenny Beattie, who scored Scotland's second goal, has admitted that Scotland were already envisioning their last-16 tie when it all fell apart. "This will take a very long time to get over. We all feel pretty hard done by and it really hurts," she said. “Being honest, we had one foot in the next round, to see that slip away is very tough." Instead Alexander's foot … [Read more...] about Jenny Beattie admits Scotland had one foot in the next round: ‘This will take a long time to get over’
Champions Cup Pool 4 undoubtedly earns the 'group of death' tag for 2019/20, comprising of defending champions Saracens, two-time winners Munster, French powerhouses Racing 92 and Welsh region Ospreys. Indeed, at least two of Saracens, Munster and Racing have made up European Cup semi-finalists in six of the last seven seasons: 2018/19 (Saracens & Munster), 2017/18 (Racing 92 & Munster), 2016/17 (Munster & Saracens), 2015/16 (Saracens & Racing 92), 2014/15 (Saracens), 2013/14 (Saracens & Munster), 2012/13 (Saracens & Munster).These are sides used to the business end of the pinnacle of club rugby, but at least one - if not two - will exit before the quarter-finals this season. Have a read of our club-by-club previews below ahead of the return of the Champions Cup this weekend...SaracensBest finish: Saracens have been crowned 'Kings of Europe' three times in the last four seasons. They captured their first title in 2016 when they beat Racing 92 in Lyon and then … [Read more...] about Champions Cup preview: Pool 4 – Munster, Ospreys, Racing 92, Saracens