Monday 18 December 2017

Rolland's yellow card gets Welsh boo-boys on-side

David Kelly

David Kelly

Despite expressions to the contrary emanating from west Wales during the week, Llanelli Scarlets clearly discovered that it was prudent to have some pre-cautionary measures in place for the visit of Dublin whistler Alain Rolland.

It was Rolland's first appearance in Wales since his controversial decision to send off Welsh captain Sam Warburton in the World Cup semi-final against France.

The referee had been subjected to alleged death threats in the aftermath of that game, so for Saturday's Heineken Cup clash between Scarlets and Northampton at Parc y Scarlets, two policemen were assigned to protect him.

Rolland was mildly booed when he appeared out of the tunnel but the Irishman won approval from the fanatical home supporters when he sin-binned Northampton's Tom May in the second minute.

Sadly, Scarlets, like Wales, saw their competition hopes end dismally as Welsh rugby continues its decline since that storied World Cup quarter-final victory against Ireland.

The enduring duel between Dimitri Yachvili and Peter Stringer continued apace in Watford yesterday -- and despite a terrible gaffe, the Corkman had the last laugh again.

Stringer's famous try helped down the French star's Biarritz side in the 2006 Heineken Cup final and, despite warm words of encouragement for the exiled Munster man this week, Yachvili delighted in profiting from Stringer's charged-down kick yesterday.

Saracens were stuttering at that stage but ultimately Europe's great under-achievers would exit the competition prematurely once more and Stringer (above) took great delight in kicking the ball out of play at the final whistle.

Who's hot?

Donnacha Ryan

Who's not?

Keith Earls

A French reader got in touch via Twitter to share this particular nugget. Apparently, the pronunciation of "Connacht" in French sounds something very similar to that of "a***hole" ie. connard.

"The rise of (Republican presidential hopeful) Ron Paul in the US has to be the most inspiring story in western politics. He doesn't work for wall street like that whore Obama."

Glasgow's Rory Lamont making a political point. What point that is seems rather unclear. Scottish rugby bosses weren't impressed and publicly reprimanded him. Lamont still hadn't deleted it at the weekend.

38 Clermont's winning streak at the intimidating Stade Marcel-Michelin puts Ulster's task in context, albeit a losing bonus point on Saturday may suffice were Ulster to receive favours elsewhere, chiefly from London Irish and Edinburgh. It will be the highlight of Round Six.

Medard (Toulouse); Sivivatu (Clermont), Laulala (Cardiff), Beck (Ospreys), Malzieu (Clermont); Myler (Northampton), Pienaar (Ulster); Du Preez (Munster), Cronin (Leinster), Johnston (Harlequins), Ryan (Munster), Caldwell (Bath), Denton (Edinburgh), Henry (Ulster), Talei (Edinburgh).

Irish Independent

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