Bristol secure play-off place, anxious wait for Bath after Saracens draw

By Sports Desk October 04, 2020

Bristol Bears sealed a Premiership play-off place with a 36-7 drubbing of London Irish but Bath face an anxious wait to discover if they will feature in the semi-finals following a draw with Saracens. 

The postponement of Sale Sharks' clash with Worcester Warriors until Wednesday due to "a number" of positive coronavirus at the Lancashire club meant the play-off picture could not be finalised on Sunday. 

Bristol started the last round of fixtures outside the top four, but a demolition of the Exiles ensured they remain in the hunt for the title. 

Semi Radradra, Ben Earl, Harry Thacker and Will Capon crossed, while Bristol were also awarded a penalty try as they moved above Bath into third place. 

Bath's season will be over if Sale beat Worcester in midweek, although whether the game goes ahead depends on the results of COVID-19 testing, after relegated Saracens came back from 14 points down in the second half to draw 17-17 at Allianz Park.

Bath looked set to seal a place in the last four when Rhys Priestland put them 17-3 up early in the second half, following on tries from Beno Obano and former Sarries scrum-half Ben Spencer. 

The defending champions stormed back in their last game in the top flight, a penalty try and Tim Swinson's score - both converted by Manu Vunipola - rocking Bath. 

Wasps sealed second place, and a home semi-final, with a 46-5 rout of Exeter Chiefs - already assured of top spot - and Harlequins beat Leicester Tigers 32-26 in Chris Robshaw's farewell match. 

Gloucester were awarded a 20-0 bonus-point win over Northampton Saints, who had insufficient front-rowers to start the match with a number of their players self-isolating after playing against Sale.

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  • Rugby world pays tribute to France great Dominici Rugby world pays tribute to France great Dominici

    Former France internationals Serge Betsen, Vincent Clerc and Dimitri Yachvili have paid tribute to Christophe Dominici following the death of their old team-mate.

    Dominici passed away at the age of 48 on Tuesday, the French Rugby Federation (FFR) and the player's former club Stade Francais confirmed, with the cause of his death not yet revealed.

    Toulon-born Dominici, who played at full-back and on the wing, won 67 caps for his country and scored 25 tries.

    Only Clerc (11) has scored more tries for France at a Rugby World Cup than the eight managed by Dominici, who made his debut for Les Bleus against England in 1998.

    Clerc, who played 67 times for France, posted on Twitter: "Thank you Domi for everything you brought to French rugby and all these good times spent with you."

    Betsen earned many of his 63 caps alongside Dominici, and also tweeted: "Very very touched by this terrible and sad news of my playing brother Christophe Dominici. The inspiration and soul of a warrior. I am very sad."

    Dominici won the French title five times during a long, successful club career with capital club Stade, where he was employed as a coach after retiring.

    Former France scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili wrote: "I'm sad. My heart bleeds. You will forever remain an artist, an endearing and elusive man, a legend of our sport. A thought for your family and loved ones. Rest in peace Domi."

    Ex-England star Jonny Wilkinson also offered his condolences.

    "The death of Christophe Dominici is terribly sad. We think of all his relatives. The world of sport has lost a true legend," the World Cup winner posted on Twitter.

    Wilkinson's former England team-mate Jason Robinson added: "Had the privilege of playing against the France rugby legend Christophe Dominici on many occasions. Such sad news to hear of his passing. Thoughts and prayers with his family and friends. RIP."

  • England centre Lawrence not risked for Wales showdown England centre Lawrence not risked for Wales showdown

    Ollie Lawrence will miss England's final Autumn Nations Cup Group A match against Wales due to a hip injury.

    Lawrence started in the victories over Georgia and Ireland, but will play no part at Parc y Scarlets on Saturday.

    England defence coach John Mitchell said: "Ollie has a little niggle around his abductor and hip area, nothing major but it is a niggle that is concerning him.

    "Ollie has huge potential as a centre. He is very talented in terms of running onto the ball and he has got exceptional ability to line break."

    Jonathan Joseph or captain Owen Farrell could move into midfield in the absence of Lawrence as the Six Nations champions look to seal top spot.

    Jack Willis has been retained by Eddie Jones in a 25-man squad, while Anthony Watson and Joe Marler will be hoping to make their Test returns.

     

    England squad:

    Backs: Elliot Daly, Owen Farrell (captain), George Ford, Jonathan Joseph, Max Malins, Jonny May, Dan Robson, Henry Slade, Anthony Watson, Ben Youngs.

    Forwards: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Tom Curry, Ben Earl, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Jonny Hill, Maro Itoje, Joe Launchbury, Joe Marler, Kyle Sinckler, Will Stuart, Sam Underhill, Billy Vunipola, Mako Vunipola, Jack Willis.

  • Former France international Dominici dies aged 48 Former France international Dominici dies aged 48

    Former France international Christophe Dominici has died at the age of 48.

    The French Rugby Federation (FFR) and Dominici's former club Stade Francais confirmed the Bleus great had passed away on Tuesday, with no cause of death revealed.

    Versatile back Dominici, who operated on the wing or at full-back, won 67 caps for his country and scored 25 tries.

    The Toulon-born Dominici is France's second-highest Rugby World Cup try-scorer with eight, a tally only Vincent Clerc has bettered.

    The FFR tweeted: "The great French rugby family is in mourning after the tragic death of our winger Christophe Dominici, we are thinking especially of his family and loved ones."

    Dominici won the French title five times during a long, successful club career with capital club Stade, where he employed as a coach after retiring.

    The Top 14 club posted on Twitter: "It is with immense sadness and heartbreak that Stade Français Paris learned of the death of Christophe Dominici.

    "Rugby genius and peerless companion, he leaves a great void in our big family. Our thoughts are with his partner and his daughters."

    Governing body World Rugby also paid tribute to Dominici.

    "A legend of @FranceRugby and an all-time great of the game. Rest In Peace, Christophe Dominici," the organisation posted on social media.

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