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London Wasps had a mixed bag of performances over the last few days in the domestic and international front. They were heavily defeated by the Northampton Saints with a score line of 74-13 in the Aviva Premiership semi final clash between the two at Franklin’s Gardens. Although the hosts received a minor scare as the Wasps led 13-0 in the very beginning of the game, they managed to come back with a strong reply. After the first few jitters the Saints never looked back and made it a one sided affair with their fierce and strong play. Dai Young the director of rugby for the club admitted that it was an embarrassing result for them as they had experimented with the team by giving chance to a few inexperienced players. But they failed to come to the party at the right time. Moreover sloppy play and the controversial decision of the try awarded against them which involved the captain of the team proved to be a crucial moment in the game.
However the team’s performance in the first leg of the European play-off was impressive. Wasps succeeded in defeating Stade Francais 30-29 in a close encounter between the two which will allow them to tak ea one point lead into the second leg of the play off. The Andy Goode penalty in the last minute helped seal the deal for the Premiership team. Tom Varndell, Ashley Jonson and Joey Simpson were responsible for scoring the tries for their side. The Director of rugby Dai Young was visibly happy with his team’s performance and applauded the spirit shown by his players. The fans shall be hoping much like the Director that the team consolidates on the slender lead that they have got and put up even better performances to seal their berth in the following round.
The Sale Sharks rugby club has witnessed a lot of ups and downs in the previous three seasons of the rugby championship. In 2010 they were up against the likes of Leeds, Newcastle and Leicester whereby they impressed a lot finishing second in the group and securing a position in the knock out stages. This was followed up by another impressive show thanks to their star performer Danny Bibby who went on to play for England. Although they managed to qualify for the finals, they lost both their games and crashed out of the competition. London Welsh, Northampton and Leicester put up some strong fight against Sale Sharks who managed to qualify for the finals again but failed to improve their record. The concluding season proved to be a disappointing one for the Sharks as they failed to qualify for the finals owing to their losses against Newcastle and Tigers which placed them at the bottom of the pool.
The next season will be crucial for the Sharks as they hope to regroup and reunite so that they can put forward an improved show on the field. Although players like Dwayne Peel, Rob Miller and Henry Thomas have left the club due to various reasons, the English International player Danny Cipriani expressed his desire to stay in the club. He hoped that bigger names would join the club and help increase the popularity. This idea received a great impetus with the signing of Biarritz star Magnus Lund. Director of rugby for Sale Sharks, Steve Diamond was quoted saying that he and his club was delighted to welcome back their former star who had been playing in France for the past six years. The team will be up against London Irish, Harlequins and Newcastle as they kick start their campaign for yet another season at the Premiership.
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Rugby Football Union or RFU Championship side the London Welsh have pledged their foreseeable future to the Kassam Stadium in Oxford after signing a new three year deal with the stadium owners.
The Exiles have been playing at the Oxford ground since they got promoted to the top flight last season but with relegation, there were fears that they would leave the ground for pastures anew with revenue expected to drop in the RFU Championship. But that didn’t happen and the club played the RFU Championship with Oxford as their home base and that structure is expected to continue now for the next three seasons at least.
The London side has been planning to redevelop the old football ground at Witney Town and had also been granted planning permission. But with development being very slow, they have now decided to commit to Kassam Stadium, which they share with League Two football club Oxford United.
The club announced in a statement their decision and admitted that the facilities at Kassam Stadium are one of the best in the country. The statement further read that the club is delighted to be able to reaffirm their commitment to Oxfordshire with this new contract extension.
The club’s former home had been the Old Deer Park in Richmond and many people considered that to be the spiritual home of the club and so, fans were taken by surprise when they first announced their decision to move to Kassam.
But with the club currently lying in second place in the RFU Champions and a spot in the playoff sealed, the revenue generated by the club is strong enough to sustain them at the stadium long enough for them to redevelop the Witney Town ground before they move into their new home sometime in the next few seasons.
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