Two men charged after Just Stop Oil protest at Gallagher Premiership final

By Sports Desk May 28, 2023

Two men have been charged in connection with protest activity during the Gallagher Premiership final at Twickenham on Saturday.

The Metropolitan Police said that Samuel Johnson, 40, of Reydon, Suffolk, and Patrick Hart, 37, of Brislington, Bristol, were charged with aggravated trespass.

The Just Stop Oil protesters invaded the pitch midway through the first half of the match between Saracens and Sale, throwing orange paint powder on to the field.

The duo were escorted out of the stadium by stewards and the game continued, with Saracens going on to win 35-25.

A statement from Commander Kyle Gordon, of the Met, read: “To date we have seen 102 slow marches across London by Just Stop Oil that has caused serious disruption and frustration to those going about their business in the city leading to 51 arrests to date.

“Similarly, yesterday’s incident at the rugby final will have caused frustration to both the players and spectators alike.

“With many other events taking place, and visitors in our capital this weekend, we will continue to monitor and respond to such incidents quickly.

“Where protest moves into criminality or serious disruption, we will take robust action to ensure Londoners and visitors alike can continue to enjoy their Bank Holiday weekend.”

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  • Josh Adams wants Wales to wrap up quarter-final place with time to spare Josh Adams wants Wales to wrap up quarter-final place with time to spare

    Josh Adams says the chance to clinch a Rugby World Cup quarter-final place on Sunday has been a motivational force behind Wales’ preparations to face Australia.

    Wales will guarantee a last-eight place if they topple the Wallabies in Lyon.

    And they would do it with a game to spare, with their final Pool C fixture against Georgia a fortnight away.

    Bonus-point victories over Fiji and Portugal have given Wales a maximum return of 10 points, and they will face an Australian side reeling from losing to Fiji six days ago.

    That 22-15 defeat has left Eddie Jones’ team on the brink of elimination, facing a serious prospect of making a pool-stage exit for the first time in World Cup history.

    “It is in our hands now, which is a nice feeling,” Wales wing Adams said. “It is all depending on us and how we perform.

    “We are quite aware of the carrot at the end, if you like, and it has motivated us a lot this week, if I am honest.

    “It is the best week we’ve had in my opinion. We are pretty highly motivated for this game, as will Australia be of course. It’s a massive game for them as well.

    “The past couple of games against Australia have been very tight. Sunday will be no different. Improving on our first two performances will be really important for us.

    “Once we had put the Portugal game to bed, all the focus turned to Australia. I have felt the energy build as the week has gone on, which has been a good thing.

    “We’ve talked about different aspects of the game, what it means for us as a squad going forward. Sunday will be a great contest, with both teams going after each other.”

    Wales have never failed to reach the World Cup quarter-finals with Warren Gatland in charge, having got there in 2011, 2015 and 2019.

    And their current status is a far cry from results in last season’s Six Nations, when Wales finished fifth after losing four of their five games.

    Four months of intense preparation, though, has moulded a fiercely-competitive squad that has every chance of going deep in the tournament.

    Adams added: “We have shown aspects of that brotherhood, how much we are willing to work hard for each other.

    “We have had three months of it prior to coming here, and that work we have done has put us in good stead.

    “We understand what we expect from each other. I expect the best of everybody else, and they should not expect anything less from me.

    “As a squad we make a promise to each other before we play that no matter what happens out there we will constantly keep fighting for everything, every ball in the air, every ball on the floor, as a squad we will continually scrap for everything.

    “We want to be a difficult team to beat and break down, and we have shown passages of that. We can get better and push it further.

    “That is our aim, to impose ourselves defensively in a more aggressive way, but we need to be disciplined.

    “Some of our discipline has been poor, and we have addressed it across the squad. I have no doubt everybody will scrap for 80, 90 or 100 minutes on Sunday.”

  • Sione Tuipulotu has ‘lot of love’ for Tonga but focus is on getting Scotland win Sione Tuipulotu has ‘lot of love’ for Tonga but focus is on getting Scotland win

    Sione Tuipulotu insisted he will cast aside any emotional attachment to Tonga as he bids to help Scotland get their World Cup campaign off the ground in Nice on Sunday.

    The Australia-born centre’s father Fohe is Tongan and the 26-year-old admits he has a “lot of love” for a nation that represents part of his heritage.

    However, Tuipulotu is hell-bent on ensuring the Scots put the Pacific islanders to the sword as they look to keep alive their hopes of progressing to the quarter-finals.

    “It’s probably a tricky one,” he smiled when asked on Saturday about how he feels going up against his dad’s country. “No matter how much you try not to think about it, it’s always kind of there in the back of your mind.

    “But I’m fully focused on getting the victory for Scotland tomorrow. I’m sure it’ll be emotional during the anthems and stuff.

    “Of course, I’ve got a lot of love for Tonga, and that side of my heritage. But tomorrow I’m fully focused on doing my best to get a win for Scotland, and get our World Cup back on the road.”

    Fohe will be watching on television from Australia as his son bids to get the better of his home country at the biggest tournament in rugby.

    “My dad’s with my little brother at home, he can’t leave him by himself,” said Tuipulotu. “Mum’s over here. But my Dad will wake up and watch it, so I’ll wait for his message after the game.

    “I know he’s got both (Scotland and Tonga) jerseys in the house. I’ll have to ask my little brother which one he’s got on (on Sunday). I’m sure he’ll be going for (supporting) us though.”

    Tuipulotu was overwhelmed with emotion when he spoke a fortnight ago about his mother Angelina travelling from Australia to watch him play for Scotland for the first time against South Africa in Marseille.

    He explained on the eve of the Tonga game how she helped lift his spirits after the 18-3 defeat by the Boks.

    “It was actually quite good because my mum doesn’t know anything about rugby so she thought we all played really well,” he laughed.

    “I kind of knew we didn’t but when I saw her after the game and she said ‘Oh, you guys all played so well’, it was refreshing and picked me up for that 20 minutes but then I was back to ground zero when we got on the bus.

    “It was nice to see my mum after that. That’s the best thing about mums, they pick you up when you are feeling down.

    “To be honest, I was really disappointed after the South Africa game. It took me a couple of days, probably took me a week to get over.

    “But we’re over that now. We’ve done our reviews and we’re fully focused now on getting back into Tonga. It’s the perfect game for us to try and enforce our game on to them.”

    The Scots must win all three of their remaining matches if they are to have a chance of qualifying for the knockout phase, but Tuipulotu is adamant there is no additional pressure on the players as a result of having no margin for error.

    “I think all the games just kind of pose their own bits of pressure,” he said. “It’s a World Cup, every game poses that bit of pressure.

    “There are no easy games in the World Cup, so this game’s the same for us as it was for South Africa.

    “We’ve prepared the same as we did for South Africa and we’re all hoping we can put out a better performance.”

    Tuipulotu has forged a formidable centre pairing with club-mate Huw Jones for both Scotland and Glasgow. Their partnership will be broken up this weekend, however, as Jones drops to the bench and Gloucester’s Chris Harris takes over the number 13 jersey.

    “I’ve played a lot of rugby with Chris,” said Tuipulotu. “In the early days when I was getting my first couple of caps for Scotland I was playing under his wing, and I’ve learned a lot from Chris both sides of the ball, but particularly defensively.

    “When I first came to Scotland, I was a bit of a rogue defender but I learned a lot from Chris.

    “He’s always put his arm around me and helped me, and I feel very comfortable with him alongside me. We’re going to out there and have a great performance together.”

  • No margin for error in Tonga clash – Scotland talking points No margin for error in Tonga clash – Scotland talking points

    A fortnight on from their defeat by South Africa, Scotland play their second match of the World Cup against Tonga in Nice on Sunday.

    Here, the PA news agency assesses some of the key talking points ahead of a crucial Pool B fixture for Gregor Townsend’s side.

    No margin for error

    After losing the opener to the Springboks, Scotland will almost certainly have to win all three of their remaining pool fixtures against Tonga, Romania and Ireland if they are to progress to the quarter-finals. Depending on results elsewhere in the section, bonus-point victories are also likely to be required. Scotland are red-hot favourites to get the result they need on Sunday, and have generally been very good at dealing with lower-ranked opponents, but there is an extra degree of pressure attached.

    Return of the two Lions

    Of the eight Scotland players who toured South Africa with the British and Irish Lions in 2021, only Zander Fagerson, Finn Russell and Duhan van der Merwe can still be considered regular starters for the national team. Stuart Hogg retired earlier this summer while Rory Sutherland, Chris Harris, Ali Price and Hamish Watson – although still in the squad – have become less prominent. Prop Sutherland and centre Harris, however, have been given a rare chance to start this weekend and remind everyone of their qualities.

    Scots’ attack must spark

    The defeat by South Africa was the first time Scotland had failed to score a try for almost three years and their lowest-scoring outing since the first game of the 2019 World Cup. Townsend’s team have become renowned for their swashbuckling attacking play so it was unusual to see them look so blunt. With softer opposition this weekend, they should get themselves back over the try-line but, with tougher tests ahead and the need to atone for falling flat against the Springboks, there is a sense that the Scots – with Kyle Steyn replacing Darcy Graham on the wing – could do with delivering an exuberant attacking performance.

    Have the Boks dented Scots’ morale?

    Scotland came into the tournament with genuine belief they could win their opener against South Africa so there was an air of deflation among the squad in the immediate aftermath. The fact they had no game last weekend means there is unlikely to be any physical or mental hangover. The players had three days of downtime with their families to get the Boks defeat out of their systems, and have been in good spirits when facing the media, seeming desperate to get back on the horse and show their opening-day flop was a mere blip.

    Scots relishing base city outing

    Scotland’s World Cup base is just west of Nice and they have been training at Stade Nicois’ ground, which is a short hop from Stade de Nice. The squad’s capping ceremony the day after they arrived at the tournament was held just off the Promenade des Anglais, where they were given a warm welcome by the Mayor of Nice, and there are posters and billboards dotted around the city referring to their presence. The team have become acclimatised to life on the Cote d’Azur and with a huge number of Scottish supporters having descended on Nice, the players are relishing their only opportunity at the tournament to play in their base city.

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