Here are the latest rugby headlines on Saturday, April 30.
Webb explains comments to Pivac
Rhys Webb has spoken to Wayne Pivac twice to clarify comments he made that appear to have contributed to his Wales exile.
Webb has only played five times for Wales since returning to Wales from Toulon with the intention of re-igniting his Wales career. He has been completely left out of the past two Six Nations squads, as well as the autumn and summer parties named in between.
Part of the issue appears to have stemmed from an interview he gave to Scrum V after being left out of the 2021 Six Nations amid the pandemic.
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He was asked by former Wales outside-half Nicky Robinson: “As much as you’d love to be in the squad, especially because of how isolated you are and worried about the Covid stuff, is it hard to go in there thinking, ‘I’m third choice and I’m going to be holding a bag for six or seven weeks?’ ” Robinson said.
Webb responded: “Like you said, if I was in the squad as third choice, yeah, I’d much rather be outside of the camp and with the Ospreys and helping my partner and their kids with their schoolwork in the house.
“We’re going through a pandemic and it is slightly unfair on the wives and partners looking after the kids on their own with no help.”
Pivac appeared keen to make a point when he overlooked Webb again shortly afterwards, deciding to call up Lloyd Williams in place of the injured Tomos Williams. He said at the time: “I think Rhys has talked about not wanting to be a No 3 and Lloyd is a perfect No 3 for us.”
Webb has now held talks with the coach, telling the Times: “It was taken out of proportion really and it came across completely the wrong way. I left Toulon to come back to play for the Ospreys and Wales, I am a proud Welshman and would love to represent my country again.”
“This has been maybe one of my best seasons, backing up my performances week in, week out.”
The Dragons’ season arguably reached its nadir as they became the first side to lose to Zebre this season.
The game was decided by the sin-binnings of Jared Rosser and Sam Davies in quick succession in the second-half, with the Welsh team going on to lose 23-18.
Davies’ offence saw a penalty try given, and Simone Gesi then scored the winning try with Dragons short on numbers.
You can read the full report here.
Taulupe Faletau was part of one of the biggest humiliations in Bath rugby history as they were destroyed 64-0 by Gloucester.
Louis Rees-Zammit scored two of the 10 tries as Bath crumbled. It was Gloucester’s biggest ever win against Bath and their biggest ever win against anyone in the Gallagher Premiership.
Faletau looked thoroughly despondent at the end of the match as the inquest began into how his side could produce such an appalling display in a local derby. He is nearing the end of his Bath career, with the Wales international due to join Cardiff next season.
Wales finish third
Wales secured a third-place finish in the TikTok Women’s Six Nations Championship despite being beaten 10-8 by Italy at Cardiff Arms Park.
They suffered a third successive defeat in the tournament following victories over Ireland and Scotland, but a losing bonus point confirmed third spot.
Italy centre Michela Sillari kicked a 79th-minute penalty to thwart Wales after it looked as though the home side had done enough.
They trailed 7-0 at half-time following scrum-half Sara Barattin’s try that Sillari converted, with Wales fly-half Robyn Wilkins and number eight Sioned Harries both yellow-carded for dangerous tackles just two minutes apart.
Wales dug deep, though, and after Wilkins kicked a penalty nine minutes from time, substitute Keira Bevan scored a try to edge her team ahead.
But Sillari came up trumps amid intense pressure, and Italy prevailed.
England completed the Grand Slam, beating France 24-12.
Young feels scoreboard was harsh
Cardiff coach Dai Young was positive about his team despite a 42-21 defeat away to Munster on Friday night.
Cardiff couldn’t hang on against the powerful Irish team, but the performance was a marked improvement from recent matches. The Welsh side have now lost five matches in a row, haven’t won an away game all season and have conceded an average of around 37 points in their last 14 games.
Young said: “The scoreboard was unkind to us. It was a lot closer game than the scoreboard suggests,” explained the Director of Rugby.
“Munster were more clinical than us, when they had opportunities but the effort, commitment and energy was first class tonight.
“We pushed them a lot closer than the scoreboard suggests. A few exits went awry, which put us under pressure. That gave them opportunities to get points, as did the restarts. They got the first three restarts back after we scored.
“So we weren’t able to continue to put pressure on them and build momentum. We played some good stuff and left one or two try-scoring opportunities out there.
“But it was a huge step-up from where we’ve been over the last two weeks, in everything we did.”