Exeter triumph deserved end to challenging season
Exeter beat Wasps 19-13 in the rain to complete double
Exeter Chiefs completed a momentous double when they beat Wasps 19-13 in a rain-lashed arm-wrestle of a Premiership final in a near-empty Twickenham on Saturday a week after winning the European Champions Cup. In appalling conditions of relentless rain and swirling wind where the only noise in the 82,000-capacity ground came from the hyper-vocal squad members of both teams, the match featured two first-half tries but was eventually decided by the goalkicking of ice-cool 23-year-old Chiefs captain Joe Simmonds. Exeter join Saracens, Wasps and Leicester as the fourth English team to complete the double. It was their fifth successive appearance in the English club final and their second victory, after three defeats by Saracens and another win over Wasps in 2017. All in all, an amazing achievement for a club playing in the Championship 10 years ago. After the craziest season in the history of the sport, its final English club game - taking place 56 weeks after the first - was suitably bizarre, played in horrendous conditions that made handling almost impossible and the opposite of the usual sunny May finale of a normal season. Wasps came into the game on a remarkable run of 12 wins in 13 games but also without three probable starters due to COVID-19 issues, as well as injured star centre Malakai Fekitoa. They scored first with a Jimmy Gopperth penalty after 13 minutes but Exeter then struck out of nowhere as centre Henry Slade dummied his way through the line after 18 minutes. Wasps hit back with a similar flash of individual brilliance as flyhalf Jacob Umaga stepped past two defenders to score under the posts. Exeter took the initiative again though, aware of the risk of losing lineouts in the rain and twice opting for rare kicks at goal, both slotted by Simmonds to give them a 13-10 halftime lead. Exeter looked set to trundle over for a try early in the second half, only for the turnover king Jack Willis to nick the ball on the line. Lima Sopoaga then came off the Wasps bench as replacement fullback and immediately produced a moment of magic, catching a ball in mid-air from off the pitch and launching a kick 60 metres upfield, leading to a penalty that Gopperth landed to make it 13-13 going into the last 20 minutes. Exeter's vastly experienced replacement front row then started to make an impact and another penalty from the reliable boot of Simmonds edged them three points clear. Wasps continued to defend valiantly then gave Exeter a dose of their own medicine by marching a maul to within three metres of the line, only to be hauled down illegally. They couldn't make it pay, though, and Exeter gradually took control and settled it with the captain's fourth penalty in the final minute.
How the Wallabies plan to get back on track in Sydney
The Wallabies are confident they can turn around their performance in Auckland with a few small improvement in Sydney. At the top of the list, make their tackles and maybe don't kick so poorly to Caleb Clarke.
Ireland's Ringrose out of 6N decider with broken jaw
Ireland centre Garry Ringrose will be out for the rest of the year after suffering a broken jaw in the Six Nations win over Italy at the weekend, the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) said on Monday.
Jones names uncapped Umaga in 6N squad
Wasps' uncapped fly-half Jacob Umaga has earned a call up to England men's Six Nations squad ahead of Saturday's match against Italy in Rome.
England win women's Six Nations title after France fall short
England won a record-extending 16th women's Six Nations title, with a game to spare, after they took an unassailable lead in the standings when France failed to beat Scotland on Sunday.
Savea, Laulala miss Bledisloe on paternity leave
All Blacks number eight Ardie Savea and prop Nepo Laulala are on paternity leave and will miss the Rugby Championship opener against Australia next weekend, coach Ian Foster said on Sunday.
Inspired France gear up for Six Nations finale with Wales win
France geared up for the Six Nations Super Saturday in style as Antoine Dupont scored a couple of tries in a 38-21 home victory over Wales in a friendly international on Saturday.
Nicolas Chauvin's death altered the laws of rugby, but father Philippe cannot rest. "The final thing at my door today is that Nicolas did not die for nothing."
On the eve of the Rugby World Cup, Tom Hamilton assesses how far the game has come and how far it still has to go in its understanding of the most prevalent -- and damaging -- injury in rugby.
Watch the very best in U.S. sport LIVE and on-demand with ESPN Player. Available across Europe, subscribe today.
Get the latest scores from the Lions Tour of New Zealand
Keep up to date with all the latest fixtures from around the rugby world.
Every single player who's ever played Test rugby features in our unrivalled database of the stats behind our great sport.