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Rugby

Exeter Chiefs lift first Champions Cup with thrilling victory over Racing 92

Racing were right back in the contest and Exeter needed to reassert themselves. Unsurprisingly, their forwards again came up trumps. The French side were once more powerless to stop drive after drive and this time it was Williams who prospered, with Joe Simmonds’ conversion making it 21-12 at half-time.

But Racing struck first in the second period, taking less than three minutes before Zebo arrowed over for another score and became only the fourth player to score two tries in a Heineken final.

It was a wake-up call for Exeter, yet they replied rapidly after wing Jack Nowell intercepted Russell’s ambitious pass 20 metres from his own line and found a supporting Slade, who scored and Joe Simmonds converted.

Back came Racing with a close-range score by Chat – Machenaud converted – and the game entered its final quarter with 52 points and eight tries scored.

A Machenaud penalty made it a one-point game with 15 minutes left, then Francis was yellow-carded, Joe Simmonds struck his clinching penalty and Exeter prevailed following an anxious wait before the whistle.

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Rugby

Top class Chiefs too hot for Bath, while Wasps to nick nailbiter

Top class Exeter Chiefs too hot for Bath and Wasps to nick nailbiter with Bristol in battle to reach Gallagher Premiership final at Twickenham

  • Exeter have had the look of champions and enjoyed luxury of resting key players
  • Stuart Hooper’s Bath will be on a high with nothing to lose in Saturday’s clash
  • Wasps have two absolutely brilliant operators in Jack Willis and Thomas Young

Exeter Chiefs, Bath, Wasps and Bristol Bears battle it out on Saturday for a place in the Gallagher Premiership final at Twickenham.

The Chiefs and Wasps have home advantage for their semi-finals after finishing first and second in the table respectively.

The final takes place on October 24.

Exeter have had the look of champions for a while and enjoyed the luxury of resting key players ahead of what they rightly assumed would be a busy end of the season that also includes next week’s European Champions Cup final against Racing. 

Stuart Hogg has brought some X-Factor but I have been just as impressed by Chiefs’ young captain Joe Simmonds, who is a maturing fly-half knocking loudly on the England door. His brother Sam is also having a stormer, using his strength going forward behind a Chiefs pack that tends to dominate. 

Exeter have had the look of champions and enjoyed luxury of resting key players

I expect Bath to go well. Having thought they might have blown their chances last week at Sarries when they only drew after leading 17-3, Stuart Hooper’s team will be on a high with nothing to lose. 

Bath can blow very hot during games with the likes of Ben Spencer, Rhys Priestland, Anthony Watson and Joe Cokanasiga while Sam Underhill has been in top form and Talaupe Faletau is returning to his best. They need to cash in when they enjoy those periods and put the Chiefs under a little scoreboard pressure.

Verdict: I can’t look beyond Exeter’s consistency and coolness under fire in the big games.

Wasps v Bristol

This could be entertaining. Both teams look to attack whenever possible, keep the tempo high and have dynamic game-breakers who can produce a moment of genius.

Wasps don’t have the biggest or most intimidating of packs, but they win their share of possession and have two absolutely brilliant operators in the backrow in Jack Willis and Thomas Young.

The Tongan-born All Black Malakai Fekitoa (above) is back to his very best for Bristol

Their skills and hunger for the ball at the breakdown are virtually unmatched.

Behind the scrum Wasps are always good to watch. Dan Robson, the ‘young’ Jacob Umaga, the ‘old’ Jimmy Gopperth, Matteo Minozzi, the under-rated Josh Bassett and Zach Kibirige — but above all others the Tongan-born All Black Malakai Fekitoa who is back to his very best.

Bristol have their star men as well, not least Semi Radradra although the loss of Charles Piutau is a blow. I also love watching their young halfbacks — that livewire Harry Randall whose clash with Dan Robson will be a cracker — and Callum Sheedy a cool composed 10 who has thrown his hat in with Wales this week.

It’s up front though that semi-finals tend to be won and Bristol will be looking for definitive match-winning performances from the likes of Kyle Sinckler, John Afoa and Nathan Hughes.

I wonder if out-and-out attack is the way to beat Wasps and if that’s a game Lee Blackett’s men are very happy to play themselves. I can see Bristol play it a little tighter than usual before going wide.

Verdict: My gut feeling is that Wasps are on a roll and might just nick a nailbiter.

Callum Sheedy has become a classy operator pulling the strings at No 10 for Bristol 




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MLB

When will Patriots vs. Chiefs be played? Cam Newton’s positive COVID-19 test reportedly postpones Week 4 game

Patriots quarterback Cam Newton has tested positive for COVID-19, according to multiple reports.

The Patriots did not mention Newton by name, but did confirm a positive test in one player during a team statement on Saturday. The Patriots will place Newton on the COVID/reserve list, meaning he’ll be in isolation from the team until he starts to feel better and tests negative for the virus.

Starting in his place will be Jarrett Stidham or Brian Hoyer, but that’s only if the game is able to be played as scheduled. In their team statement, the Patriots said they were in contact with the NFL regarding their game with the Chiefs.

“We are in close consultation with the NFL, as well as our team of independent doctors and specialists, and will follow their guidance regarding our scheduled trip to Kansas City and game against the Chiefs,” the Patriots said in a statement. “The health and safety of our team, as well as our opponent, are of highest priority.”

NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport added in a tweet, “Plenty of things needs to be figured out before the game is officially on.”

When will Patriots vs. Chiefs be played?

The NFL’s Week 4 game between the Patriots and Chiefs has been postponed.

The game was scheduled to take place on Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET, but the league wants to ensure this is an isolated incident on the Patriots. As we’ve seen with the Titans this week, some positive tests can take longer to reveal themselves, so playing on Sunday could risk a bigger outbreak among not only Patriots players, but Chiefs players, too.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the game is now expected to take place on Tuesday night.

However, based on previous reports by Schefter and Rapoport, that Tuesday date should be written in pencil, not Sharpie. Moving the game to Tuesday just allows the league a few extra days to make sure no one else on the Patriots tests positive. If everything is fine from now until Tuesday, then we can likely expect the game to take place on Tuesday.

If there is another bump in the road, then we can likely expect this game to be postponed until later, like what we saw with the Titans and Steelers.

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