Today's rugby news as Welsh coach 'very depressed' after collapse and All Blacks legend dies

Dragons RFC head coach Dai Flanagan (L) was left deflated after losing to the Ospreys -Credit:Huw Evans Picture Agency
Dragons RFC head coach Dai Flanagan (L) was left deflated after losing to the Ospreys -Credit:Huw Evans Picture Agency

These are your rugby headlines on Sunday, May 19.

Flanagan 'very depressed' after collapse

Dragons coach Dai Flanagan said he was "very depressed" after his side's indiscipline cost them dearly in their defeat to Ospreys.

Toby Booth's side kept their play-off hopes alive with a hard-fought 26-13 win in Swansea, as they dominated at set-pieces and Morgan Morris delivered another outstanding performance at number eight. But while the visitors started strong with a physical showing in defence, they were let down by a lack of discipline.

Aaron Wainwright was sent to the sin bin at the end of the first half as the Dragons' penalty count racked up, while scrum-half Dane Blacker joined him moments later for slapping the ball out of Justin Tipuric's hands. While Flanagan's side were reduced to 13 men, the Ospreys pounced and scored three of their four tries before Wainwright and Blacker returned to the action.

After the full-time whistle, the coach couldn't hide his frustration as the defeat confirmed that they would finish bottom of all the Welsh sides in this year's URC.

“There were two areas of the game that we were completely dominated in but what doesn’t help is when that frustration spills into phase-play defence and attacking the ball,” he said. “Sometimes you have to take your medicine and say ‘we are not in the game there, because there is a clearly dominant team, let’s be cleaner everywhere else’.

“We weren’t and that fed them, we went down to 13 men and there was a massive momentum swing. For 26 minutes we were good, we were disciplined and they were frustrated. It got to a pinch-point where they realised they had us in areas and they went to them.

"That’s where the rest of our game has to be clean," Flanagan added. "The critical moment, let’s not hide, was the tap-down yellow card. We were getting Aaron Wainwright back within seconds and were getting back to 15 versus 15 at 7-6. Then for an unknown reason we decided to collapse.

“I can’t believe the scoreline because I am very depressed after a 26-13 defeat when we could have had Sean Lonsdale, Sio Tomkinson over the line, but it wasn’t a great performance from us.”

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All Blacks legend dies

New Zealand rugby legend Sid Going has died at the age of 80.

Nicknamed 'Super Sid', the scrum-half played 86 matches for the All Blacks, including 29 Tests. Regarded as one of the finest of his generation to wear the nine jersey, he also captained the side on five occasions and scored 10 Test tries, including a famous brace against France in 1968.

He passed away on Friday, with New Zealand rugby left in mourning when his death was announced on Saturday morning.

During his career, Going enjoyed many famous tussles with Welsh legend Gareth Edwards as the All Blacks faced Wales and the British & Irish Lions. Edwards has previously admitted that the All Black was “without doubt the finest scrumhalf I played against," adding that he was a "great competitor, so dangerous, a match-winner”.

In a statement, New Zealand Rugby CEO Mark Robinson said: “It’s incredibly sad to hear of Sid’s passing. He was a dynamic player and one of the greatest halfbacks in All Blacks history.

"He had an immense pride in wearing the All Blacks jersey and representing New Zealand Māori, something which greatly endeared him to fans. We send our condolences and aroha to his family and loved ones.”

All Blacks coach Scott Robertson added: “Sid was a special player and man in our game. He lit up the field with his ability and energy. He lit up people’s hearts up off it – that was his trademark.”

Hathaway shines again

Gloucester star Josh Hathaway put in another impressive performance as his side thumped Newcastle Falcons 54-14 in their Premiership finale.

The full-back, who has represented both England and Wales at U20s level, has emerged as a potential bolter for the Welsh squad that will tour Australia this summer courtesy of several classy displays for the Cherry & Whites.

Hathaway was in fine form again at Kingsholm on Saturday afternoon, setting up Chris Harris for a stunning try before getting on the scoresheet himself later on.

After suffering a 90-0 humiliation at the hands of Northampton last weekend, Gloucester put that result firmly behind them, with Zach Mercer, Charlie Atkinson, Ollie Thorley, Seb Blake, Jonny May and Alex Hearle all also scoring tries.

It was not enough, however, for George Skivington's side to avoid statistically their worst-ever Premiership season, but they finished better off than Newcastle, who ended the campaign without a single win to their name.

Fears over Tuilagi injury

By PA Sport Staff

Alex Sanderson says Sale will give Manu Tuilagi every opportunity to prove his fitness for their Gallagher Premiership play-off trip to Bath, despite an ominous hamstring injury in their 20-10 win at Saracens.

The powerful centre limped off after just 17 minutes and there are fears it may be severe enough to rule him out of the rest of the season. That would also end Tuilagi's Sale career, with a move to French club Bayonne on the cards, but Sanderson is determined to give the former England centre a chance to line up at the Rec on June 1.

Tuilagi's injury was the only blemish on an otherwise excellent afternoon for Sale, who jumped to third on the final day of the season thanks to a fifth-straight win inspired by Tom Roebuck and Rob Du Preez tries.

"Reaching the play-offs has not really dawned on me. From where we were post Six Nations to getting to the top four is a Herculean effort from the lads. They have taken hold of it," boss Sanderson said. "We have definitely got to get Manu checked out. He has definitely pulled his hamstring, we just don't know how badly.

"He is a quick healer, we know that and we have got two weeks to put Humpty Dumpty back together again and we will give him as long as we can."