‘Ridiculous in the best way’ – Fans rave about Owen Farrell’s incredible piece of skill against Cardiff Blues

15 Dec

Owen Farrell showed just why he is considered one of the best fly-halfs in world rugby with an utterly sublime piece of skill against Cardiff Blues.

Saracens were forced to work for their Champions Cup win in the Welsh capital, but ultimately prevailed 14-26.

Farrell was as composed and clinical as ever from the tee

In tricky conditions and with a partisan crowd, the reigning Premiership champions needed their big performers to step up and deliver away from home.

Never one to shirk a challenge, Farrell showcased his outstanding kicking game from varying distances and produced a moment of magic which effectively turned the game.

With the scores at 14-16 and the Blues putting the visitors under increasing pressure, the England international collected a wonderfully weighted grubber kick on his own touchline.

Aware of the attackers closing in on him, the 27-year-old showed great footwork to step away from the tacklers before producing an outrageous off-load out the back to the waiting Andy Goode.

From that moment on, Sarries began to take control of the game and effectively dominate their beleaguered opponents, with Farrell ensuring the scoreboard kept ticking over with his penalty kicking.

Jamie George also went over for the visitors late on, but it was his international colleague who took the plaudits for his moment of magic. Check out the best Tweets below!

Gethin Jenkins: Wales’ all-time appearance maker will retire from the sport after Cardiff Blues’ PRO14 match against Zebre this weekend

31 Oct

Gethin Jenkins is “very proud of everything” he has achieved in his career as he prepares to retire from rugby.

The 37-year-old prop, who is also Wales’ record cap holder will call time on his career after Cardiff Blues’ Guiness PRO14 match against Zebre on Sunday.

Jenkins has been described as a “legend of Welsh rugby” by Cardiff Blues head coach John Mulvihill

He made 129 appearances for Wales during a Test career that spanned 14 years, and toured three times with the British and Irish Lions, playing in five Tests.

Announcing his retirement, the Blues said that Jenkins, who made his Wales debut in 2002, has been battling to overcome a chronic knee injury.

He will now take up a coaching role within the Cardiff Blues academy.

Jenkins was part of three Six Nations Grand Slam campaigns with Wales – in 2005, 2008 and 2012 – and is regarded as one of his country’s all-time great players, combining powerful set-piece ability with prolific tackling and breakdown work, in addition to outstanding handling skills.

Jenkins has 129 caps for Wales – more than any other player

“I have been working hard rehabbing over the last three months and I was confident I was going to be back playing, so it’s disappointing to be retiring after Sunday’s game against Zebre,” he said.

“It’s obviously a big decision, but I’ve had a good innings, it’s time to finish and I am looking forward to one more run-out on the weekend and hopefully finishing on a high.

“The pain I have been experiencing from rugby, in my daily life, simply isn’t tolerable, but it is important to me that after all the work I have put in, I run out with my team one last time and finish on my own terms.

“I’m very proud of everything I have achieved in my career.

“I have so many memories from over the years and could stay here all day listing them, but the biggest thing I will miss is that camaraderie with the boys, the buzz of running out and playing, and the feeling in the changing rooms after a win.”

Jenkins has played almost 200 games in two stints with the Blues, while he also spent a season with French club Toulon, and Blues head coach John Mulvihill added: “Gethin Jenkins is a legend of Welsh rugby, a great servant for both club and country.

“After early discussions, it was always my intention to have Gethin decide when he would like to call an end to this playing career.

“He will be a massive loss to us in a playing sense, but his presence as a coach will be a great asset to us going forward.

“After 13 seasons at Cardiff Blues, at the top of his game, this weekend marks the end of an era at the club.”

Jenkins’ 134 Tests for Wales and the Lions sees him lie fourth on international rugby union’a all-time appearance list behind Richie McCaw, Brian O’Driscoll and George Gregan.

Jenkins celebrates winning the European Rugby Challenge Cup with Cardiff Blues in May

His last game for Wales was a win against South Africa at the Principality Stadium two years ago, when Jenkins captained the team.

Blues chairman Peter Thomas said: “Gethin is a player of immense quality and a brilliant leader who sets the standards both on and off the field.

“While it is disappointing that his playing career is coming to an end, we are very pleased that all of his experience and expertise will be retained in the Cardiff Blues family.

“I cannot thank Gethin enough for the enormous contribution he has made, not only to ourselves at Cardiff Blues, but Welsh and world rugby generally.”

European Rugby Champions Cup round-up: Newcastle claim brilliant victory over Montpellier, Leinster suffer agonising defeat at Toulouse

21 Oct

It’s been an eventful day in the European Champions Cup. Here is the best of Sunday’s action.

Newcastle 23-20 Montpellier

Newcastle snatched a dramatic 23-20 victory over star-studded Montpellier to go top of their pool in the Champions Cup.

With England head coach Eddie Jones in the stand, Newcastle led 16-6 at half-time and after last weekend’s heroics against Toulouse, the Falcons looked to be heading for another win against a side boasting a dozen internationals led by France number eight Louis Picamoles.

But Ruan Pienaar kicked two crucial penalties and lock Paul Willemse rumbled over for a try to give the visitors a 20-16 lead. But with the clock showing full time, the Falcons mounted one last attack following a penalty to the corner and after a staggering 39 phases, lock Callum Chick was driven over and Joel Hodgson converted for a last-gasp victory which takes Newcastle top of pool five.

Callum Chick and Gary Graham celebrate the brilliant win for Falcons

Toulouse 28-27 Leinster

Leinster’s impressive unbeaten run in the Heineken Champions Cup shuddered to a dramatic halt as the reigning champions fell to a 28-27 defeat at Pool 1 rivals Toulouse.

After last weekend’s bonus-point victory over Wasps, Leinster – who won all their games on their march to the title last season – started the match at Stade Ernest Wallon as favourites against their fellow four-time European champions.

But an end-to-end game turned on a raking length-of-the-field interception try in the dying minutes.

Replacement Louis-Benoit Madaule picked up a loose pass and released Toulouse’s flying backs division. Moments later, Maxime Medard scored his second try of the afternoon to wrest back a lead the hosts had held until midway through the second half.

Leinster was so close to claiming the win

Cardiff Blues 12-29 Glasgow

Glasgow opened their Heineken Champions Cup account with a 29-12 bonus point victory over Cardiff Blues at the Arms Park.

But the real beneficiaries were Pool Three leaders Saracens, who are four points clear of their rivals heading into December home and away fixtures against the Blues.

Glasgow, beaten at home by Saracens last weekend, did not look back after fly-half Adam Hastings and wing DTH van der Merwe scored tries in the first five minutes.

Hastings also added a conversion and penalty before half-time, and when scrum-half Ali Price rounded off a crisp move early in the second period, the only serious debate was whether or not Glasgow would claim a five-point maximum.

Early tries from Adam Hastings (pictured) and DTH van der Merwe set Glasgow on their way to victory

Glasgow got there when lock Jonny Gray added a fourth try 12 minutes from time – again converted by Hastings – and there was no doubting their supremacy over a Blues side that fell way short of repeating last Sunday’s performance when they beat Lyon in France.

Wing Aled Summerhill claimed two consolation tries for the Blues, with Gareth Anscombe adding a conversion, but they were also chasing a game that, in truth, was beyond reach following Glasgow’s early onslaught.