Tonight's rugby news as Wales' 'beacon of hope' revealed and star's mum 'goes crazy' over call-up

-Credit: (Image: Huw Evans Picture Agency Ltd)
-Credit: (Image: Huw Evans Picture Agency Ltd)


Your rugby evening headlines on Thursday, June 6.

Ospreys have been 'beacon of hope'

Former Scotland captain and Scarlets star John Barclay says Ospreys have been "a beacon of hope in Welsh rugby".

The Welsh region face Munster in the quarter-finals of the United Rugby Championship play-offs on Friday night, after a successful season under Toby Booth.

Speaking to Premier Sports, who will be broadcasting the game on Friday, June 7, Barclay spoke of Ospreys' achievements so far, providing Welsh rugby with a welcome shot in the arm amid a bleak backdrop. He said: “I think it’s massive. We kind of resigned ourselves to the fact that they wouldn’t make the play-offs and now they have.

“There’s quite a lot of negativity around Welsh rugby at times. You need a beacon of hope and I think the Ospreys have provided that. They have been in and around most games they have played this year, whereas you couldn’t say the same for the other Welsh teams.

“They have been competitive, they are playing a good brand of rugby. They’ve got a great scrum, they have got a great set-piece, they don’t get bullied up front by the bigger teams.

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“I think they have been fantastic. I am really looking forward to seeing how they go in Munster because they have got nothing to lose. Maybe the season isn’t done for them yet.

“I think it will be close enough, but I think Munster will have too much in the tank. I expect them to win.”

Wales star's mum goes 'crazy' after call-up

Mackenzie Martin has revealed that his mum "went crazy" after he got called up to play for Wales.

The 6ft 5in No.8 has earned three caps for Wales so far, all in the 2024 Six Nations. And it all came after impressing in the colours of his club side Cardiff.

Speaking with the BBC, Martin described that very moment he got the call.

"I got an email," Martin explained. "It must have been 8-9 o'clock in the morning. I rung her and I was like - 'Mum, listen. I've got in.'

"She was like - 'What do you mean you've got in?'

"I was like - I've got into the Wales squad.' She was like - 'What?!' She started beeping the horn in the car, going crazy!"

Martin has been named in the 37-man Wales squad for the upcoming summer tour, where Wales will play South Africa once, Australia twice and then Queensland Reds once to finish off the summer.

Munster name team to face Ospreys

Munster have named their team to face Ospreys.

The Irish province have made three changes to the team that defeated rivals Ulster last weekend, and former Scarlets lock Tadhg Beirne has been named as captain.

Antoine Frisch is the first change and is in line to make his 40th appearance for the club. The other two alterations are in the pack and see John Hodnett and Gavin Coombes slot in.

Ireland stars Craig Casey and Jack Crowley are the half-backs for the match, with talismanic flanker Peter O'Mahony named on the blind side.

Simon Zebo, who will retire from rugby at the end of the season, starts at full-back.

Munster: Simon Zebo; Calvin Nash, Antoine Frisch, Seán O’Brien, Shane Daly; Jack Crowley, Craig Casey; Jeremy Loughman, Niall Scannell, Stephen Archer; RG Snyman, Tadhg Beirne (C); Peter O’Mahony, John Hodnett, Gavin Coombes.

Replacements: Diarmuid Barron, John Ryan, Oli Jager, Jack O’Donoghue, Alex Kendellen, Conor Murray, Tony Butler, Mike Haley.

Welsh players leaving Exeter Chiefs

Multiple Welshmen have been named amongst the players leaving Exeter Chiefs ahead of the new season.

Twenty-five-year-old Welshman Iestyn Harris was unfortunately one of the players forced to retire through injury, with team-mates Rory O’Loughlin, Matt Postlethwaite forced to do the same.

Wales Under-20s man Oli Burrows is heading to Dragons, while Welsh-qualified Danny Southworth has signed for Cardiff Rugby.

Alec Hepburn, Ollie Devoto, Jonny Gray, Tom Hendrickson have called time on memorable stays with the club. Aidon Davis heads back to Toyota Cheetahs, while Georgia star Nika Abuladze leaves the club too.

Matt Richardson and Patrick Schickerling are heading to Glasgow Warriors, with Corey Teague, Harry Hocking and James Kenny dropping down to the English Championship. Frankie Nowell and Joe Snow are taking up playing opportunities in Australia.

Director of rugby Rob Baxter had a farewell message for those leaving, saying: "I’d like to thank all the players for being a part of the journey with our squad and for being in the Chiefs family. They were all good team-mates to have in our environment and we wish them all the very best in the future.”