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Watkins Funeral to be Streamed Online

Former Welsh ace Matthew J Watkins’ funeral will be streamed online due to fears over the coronavirus it has been confirmed

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(Photo by John Gichigi/Getty Images)

The funeral of former Welsh international centre Matthew J Watkins will be streamed online due to the coronavirus outbreak it has been announced.

Blackwood’s Woodfield Park Funeral Director’s have released a statement asking for only those closest to him to attend the ceremony, with others able to watch online on March 31st. 

“During these uncertain times we ask that only family and close friends attend Matthew’s funeral service. This may be subject to change and further restrictions pending government advice. This is simply to help protect the family and staff that will be in attendance. The funeral service will be streamed online for anyone wishing to see from the safety of their own home – details of how to view the service will be posted. Please check this notice again closer to the time of the funeral. We please ask you to respect this decision and thank you for your cooperation at what we appreciate is a very hard time for the family,” the statement read. 

Watkins passed away earlier this month at 41, after being diagnosed with a rare form of pelvic cancer in 2013. 

He managed to pick up 18-caps for Wales, as well as making over 300 appearances between stints at the Dragons, Gloucester and the Scarlets in his 14-year-career. 

He retired in 2011 after a successful career in which he gained a huge following and will be remembered fondly by all those involved in the sport.

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England v Barbarians: CANCELLED

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(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

The RFU has today cancelled the Quilter Cup England v Barbarians fixture scheduled for Sunday 25 October.
 
As part of its ongoing investigation into a breach of the Covid code of conduct that took place on 21 October, the RFU has today discovered there was an earlier undisclosed breach that took place on 20 October when a number of Barbarians players left the hotel bubble without permission and without informing organisers about their whereabouts.
 
The RFU has concluded that the players leaving their Covid-secure environment on 20 October without then isolating from the rest of the group on their return has resulted in the bubble environment being compromised, with the potential risk of Covid transmission from individuals outside the bubble to everyone in the Barbarians team and management.
 

The RFU is therefore left with no alternative but to cancel the game.

Bill Sweeney, RFU CEO said: “We are incredibly disappointed to be calling a halt to this fixture, we know how much fans were looking forward to seeing the teams play.  However, our priority is to protect the health and safety of the England squad and the other international teams they will go up against this Autumn.  There has been a great deal of effort put into Covid codes of conduct and planning for games, including cooperation with Premiership Clubs to release additional players to fulfil the fixture safely, and we are all incredibly frustrated and disappointed that the actions of a number of Barbarians players mean we no longer feel it is safe for the game to go ahead.”

The RFU investigation is ongoing and no details on individuals or numbers of players involved will be confirmed until the investigation is concluded.

STATEMENT FROM RFU ENDS

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Ireland name 4 debutants in squad for Italy Test

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Image from IRFU

The Ireland Coaching Team have named the matchday squad for the rescheduled 2020 Guinness Six Nations Championships fixture against Italy which will take place at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday 24th October.

There are four uncapped players included in the squad with Will Connors and Hugo Keenan named in the starting XV. Ed Byrne and Jamison Gibson-Park are in line for their international debuts off the bench.

Captain, Johnny Sexton is joined in the half backs by Conor Murray with Bundee Aki and Garry Ringrose paired in the midfield.

Jacob Stockdale is named at fullback with Andrew Conway and the uncapped Keenan, who has been capped at Ireland 7s level, on the wings.

In the front row Cian Healy edges closer to a century of caps as he makes his 99th appearance. He is joined by Rob Herring and Andrew Porter  while James Ryan and Tadgh Beirne fill the second row berths

In the back row Caelan Doris is named at blindside, Will Connors makes his debut at openside and CJ Stander is at No.8.

In the replacement forwards Byrne is joined by Dave Heffernan, who will be hoping to add the cap he won against the USA in 2017, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane and Peter O’Mahony.

Ross Byrne and Robbie Henshaw are the replacement backs alongside the uncapped Gibson-Park
Kick-off at the Aviva Stadium is 3.30pm on Saturday 24th October and the game is being televised by Virgin Media and ITV and is live in RTÉ radio.

Press Release from IRFU

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Scotland name team to face Georgia

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(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Scotland’s opening game of the autumn campaign will mark a series of firsts as Head Coach Gregor Townsend’s side play Georgia at BT Murrayfield on Friday 23 October (kick-off 7:30pm)

Scotland’s opening game of the autumn campaign will mark a series of firsts as Head Coach Gregor Townsend’s side play Georgia at BT Murrayfield on Friday 23 October (kick-off 7:30pm).

Glasgow Warriors hooker Fraser Brown will captain his country for the first time, winning his 51st cap, while Edinburgh winger Duhan van der Merwe starts and will make his debut for Scotland, as will Glasgow Warriors prop Oli Kebble, who is among the replacements.Townsend has also named scrum-half, Ali Price and back-row, Jamie Ritchie as vice-captains.

The team features some returning faces with Glasgow Warrior Matt Fagerson making his first start since facing the Georgian’s at home in Tblisi in August 2019 and Harlequins’ James Lang lining up at inside centre to win his 3rd cap, having last featured in the 2018 summer tour, playing against Canada and Argentina.Captain Fraser Brown packs down in the front row with Zander Fagerson and Rory Sutherland, with Ben Toolis and Scott Cummings pairing at lock.

Matt Fagerson starts at number 8 with Edinburgh backrows Jamie Ritchie and Hamish Watson on the flanks.Glasgow Warriors provide the half-back pairing of Ali Price and Adam Hastings who partnered during the 2020 Guinness Six Nations, with Racing 92 fly-half Finn Russell poised to win his 50th Scotland cap as a replacement, following his Heineken Champions Cup Final appearance last Saturday.

James Lang lines up alongside Gloucester’s Chris Harris in the centres and the starting XV is completed with an all Edinburgh back three of Darcy Graham and Duhan van der Merwe on the wings and Blair Kinghorn at full back.

“It’s been great to have the players back in camp and as coaches, we’ve really enjoyed working with them again after the enforced break due to Covid-19.
Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend.

“As we start our autumn series the game against Georgia provides a real test as a first up match and we have taken the opportunity to select a side that reflects where our players are in terms of their game time this season, their current form, as well as the contributions they made during the Six Nations at the start of the year.”

“It is a testament to the professionalism and hard work Fraser has given to Scotland in recent years that we have selected him as the captain and he will be well supported by Jamie and Ali, who have grown as leaders over the past couple of seasons.”“Georgia have a new coaching group in place and will want to put down a marker for their own campaign so we have picked as strong a squad as possible to go up against what will be a very physical and motivated opponent.”

Scotland team to play Georgia at BT Murrayfield

Friday 23 October (kick-off 7:30pm) – live on ITV4

Edinburgh players Grant Gilchrist and Damien Hoyland left the Autumn Series squad this week due to injury, with Sale hooker Ewan Ashman being added to the training squad.

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