Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Finals Round Up

The last post covered the end of the season matches, and I decided to go to the ECC Final, Bath Rugby against ASM Clermont-Auvergne at the Twickenham Stoop.

Bath Rugby vs ASM Clermont-Auvergne, ECC Final, 19th May

[Joe Maddock is tackled by Jamie Cudmore]

The game was a close-run thing, with a late kickoff, but it was a lovely summer evening for rugby. The light was really nice, and I was pleased with my photos from the game. Unfortunately, Bath couldn't quite beat the Frenchmen, with Peter Short just losing control of the ball before it was grounded, and Clermont were 22-16 winners to lift the trophy [see below]

See more photos of the team and fans celebrating. It seems that Danny Grewcock couldn't keep his temper in check during the game, and now faces a six week ban for striking an opponent. This rules him out of the World Cup warm-up matches on 4th and 11th August, and the start of the actual World Cup campaign, so I can't really see him figuring very highly in Brian Ashton's plans for the tournament.

Churchill Cup Finals Day, Twickenham, 2nd June

The first game with a morning kickoff, was the Bowl Final, seeing Canada take on the USA. Canada were very much in the driving seat, and ran away with the game, winning 52-10! Nothing much I saw worries me about England meeting the USA in the first RWC pool match in September, I'm afraid!

[Above, Canadian Flanker Adam Kleeberger is tackled by the USA's Chris Wyles]

Next up was the Plate Final, contested by Ireland A vs Scotland A. This was a very entertaining game, much closer than the try-fest of the first one, with the Irish eventually triumphing by a measly point, 22-21.

[Locks Andrew Farley and Mark Rennie engage in a bit of synchronised jumping]

The final proper was between England Saxons vs New Zealand Maori. Of course, this started with the obligatory pre-match Haka:

[The NZ Maori perform their own Haka, which is different to the one the Allblacks perform]

Another entertaining game, again close, but the Saxons managed to retain the upper hand and won 17-13. Good going, lads!

[The two packs prepare to hit in the middle]

So, that's about it for the summer. I'm happy to say I have a ticket for the England vs France World Cup warmup game on 11th August, and will be back at Twickenham a week later for the more traditional start of season Middlesex Sevens Tournamet.

I might find a few things to post in the meantime, but don't be surprised if it all goes a bit quiet for a few weeks!

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