Oval Talk

  • England savour sweet revenge for Cardiff mauling

    A year ago, huddled on the Millennium Stadium pitch as Wales loudly celebrated their title-clinching thrashing of his England team, captain Chris Robshaw told his players to "bank that feeling" and make sure they never had to suffer it again.

    On Sunday, after a dominating 29-18 revenge victory that kept England in the hunt for the championship and ended Welsh hopes of a third successive title, the flanker made sure he enjoyed the moment.

    "It's a massive scalp - we all know what happened last year," Robshaw told reporters. "We'd lost the last two times we'd played them and we needed some

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  • Dublin bids emotional farewell to local legend O’Driscoll

    Dublin's Aviva Stadium bade an emotional farewell to local hero Brian O'Driscoll on Saturday as the man widely regarded as Ireland's greatest-ever player became the game's most capped international in his final home appearance.

    The 35-year old centre did not add to his tally of 46 tries in Ireland's 46-7 demolition of Italy, but decisive passes in three of the seven tries was enough to win him man of the match and three standing ovations from an ecstatic crowd.

    The crowd roared every time the Leinster man touched the ball or appeared on screen, chanting "one more year" as they refused to

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  • Why England have turned to flashing disco lights

    Coaches will try just about anything to gain that extra 0.01% for their team. So therefore it should come as no surprise that something new and bizarre is being implemented.

    England head coach Stuart Lancaster is going through a particularly inspired spell when it comes to new innovations and incorporating different strategies in an attempt to grab an edge in the Six Nations.

    First he had recorded messages from families played back to his players for motivation, then he made his troops walk through Twickenham's West Car Park in order to 'mingle' with fans - all to help his stars realise what

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  • Time for Ireland to give Johnny Sexton a rest?

    Kieran Beckles of Yahoo Contributor Network ponders whether it is time Ireland took Johnny Sexton out of the firing line for the Six Nations match against Italy.

    Read the post here.

  • Brian O'Driscoll's last appearance for Ireland in the familiar surroundings of Twickenham on Saturday did not end the way the record-equalling centre would have hoped.

    The 35-year-old, known simply as BOD to his legions of fans who believe he does indeed walk on water, equalled Australian George Gregan's world record of international caps in Ireland's 13-10 defeat by the oldest of enemies.

    O'Driscoll has now played 139 tests and nothing short of injury will stop him moving past scrumhalf Gregan's mark in two weeks' time against Italy in Dublin.

    The loss to England, however, will rankle with

    Read More »from England loss ends O’Driscoll’s chances of retiring on perfect high
  • Six Nations: Grading the teams so far

    Kieran Beckles of Yahoo! Contributor Network grades each of the Six Nations teams on their performance so far as we approach the third round of games.

    1. Ireland - A

    Joe Schmidt could hardly have envisaged a better start to his first Six Nations campaign as Ireland head coach. There were positives signs coming into the championship after coming close to beating unbeaten New Zealand at the Aviva Stadium. And Ireland have built on that performance instead of wallowing in self-pity. Admittedly, Schmidt's men were expected to beat Scotland in their opener but the Irish still did so with aplomb.

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  • Australian rugby hires monitor to fight fraud

    The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) has inked a deal with global monitor Sportradar to track betting patterns involving Super Rugby and international Test matches within Australia.

    Sportradar, who helped uncover an international match-fixing ring involving a second-tier soccer team based in Melbourne last year, would help the ARU's anti-corruption efforts in a three-year deal.

    "Integrity is one of rugby's core values and we want to ensure our sport operates in a way that aligns with our values," ARU CEO Bill Pulver said in a statement on the ARU's website (rugby.com.au) on Friday.

    Sports-related

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  • Neil Francis in his playing days

    Former Ireland rugby star Neil Francis has sparked controversy in his homeland by saying that gay people have little interest in sport.

    Francis, who played 36 times for Ireland between 1987 and 1996, has established himself as a well-respected journalist and broadcaster in Ireland since his retirement from rugby but sparked a barrage of complaints when talking about American football player Michael Sam's decision to publically come out as a gay before entering the NFL draft on Newstalk radio's 'Off The Ball' show.

    If Sam does play in the NFL he will be the first openly gay player to play in

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  • London Wasps talk food for Sport Relief

    The first ever Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Games take place from Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd March 2014. The public can join in with the fun and games by running, swimming or cycling their way to raising cash at over a thousand venues around the country, including the landmark events at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

    Taking part in the festivities are numerous sports stars, including London Wasps players James Haskell, Sam Jones and Tom Varndell.

    And as quintessential British pottery maker Emma Bridgewater has created two limited edition aprons for Sport Relief 2014 available to buy exclusively

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  • Watch out Niall! This huge, angry Welshman is after you…

    Wales scrum half Mike Phillips got into a bizarre Twitter spat with One Direction singer Niall Horan after his Six Nations humiliation against Ireland.

    Phillips saw the red mist as defending champions Wales crashed to a 26-3 defeat in Ireland, getting involved in a heated scuffle at full-time.

    Proud Irishman Horan took to Twitter to register his disapproval as Phillips lost his cool.

    Not impressed at having his attitude

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