Third placed La Rochelle head to leaders Clermont on Sunday looking for their first ever win at Stade Marcel Michelin in more than 60 years of matches in the pick of this weekend's Top 14 action. Jonno Gibbes' team have never tasted victory at Clermont in 16 attempts dating back to 1956 and the hosts' impressive recent form suggests the record is set to contiune. Despite a long injury list including former All Black Isaia Toeava and France prop Rabah Slimiani Franck Azema's side are unbeaten in 10 matches across all competitions this season. The league's most potent attack with 419 points in 13 games can count on the free-flowing New Zealander in Peter Betham who has dotted down on seven occasions and the pinpoint boot of Scotland scrum-half Greig Laidlaw who is three points from crossing the century benchmark for the campaign. However, the visitors are six points from top spot for a reason having only lost once since September in a period where New Zealander Gibbes has taken over the … [Read more...] about Gibbes’ La Rochelle look to break 62-year Clermont duck
New look grenoble
The Dragons have changed tack after being rebuffed by Shaun Edwards and will seek a permanent head coach rather than a caretaker. They had hoped to appoint Wales defence organiser Edwards for the remainder of the season following the departure of Bernard Jackman. But the rugby league great turned it down after careful consideration because of the demands on him with the Six Nations and World Cup coming up. Forwards coach Ceri Jones was in charge during last weekend’s improved showing at French top team Clermont Auvergne. And the former Wales prop will be at the helm for the festive derbies at Cardiff Blues, home to the Ospreys and away to the Scarlets. Dragons chairman David Buttress said the country’s worst-performing region had decided to instead search for a permanent successor to former Ireland hooker Jackman. Their record during the ex-Grenoble coach's 18-month reign read 31 defeats, two draws and just 11 wins in tournament rugby. They had won just four fixtures this … [Read more...] about Dragons steer different course in search for new coach
France's ice dance world champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron floated to gold at the Internationaux de France in Grenoble on Saturday, with American teenager Nathan Chen taking the men's title. The 19-year-old Chen was lying 10 points off the lead after Friday's short routine, but a free programme that scored him 184.64 points saw him take gold. Chen included a quadruple flip, quadruple toe and a quad toe-triple toe combination in his programme to 'Land Of All' by Woodkid to total 271.58 points, beating US compatriot Jason Brown and Russia's Alexander Samarin. Chen also struggled in the short programme at the Pyeongchang Olympics, before a stunning free skate saw him finish fifth overall. He will next turn out in the Grand Prix Finals in Vancouver later this month where he will face double Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu as long as the Japanese star recovers from an injury he suffered in Moscow. "I’m pretty happy with my performance of the long program, definitely … [Read more...] about Chen, French ice dance stars take gold in Grenoble
When Parisians talk about leaving their beloved city to find more peace and space elsewhere in France or foreigners talk of the best French cities to live in, Grenoble rarely gets a mention. Bordeaux yes, Nantes more and more, Rennes and Lyon always, but rarely does Grenoble, the picturesque city that stands at the foot of the French Alps in south eastern France get a look in. But two new surveys in France plus some that are a little older suggest that the city surrounded by snow-capped peaks that boasts the world's first urban cable car could be the best city to live in France - if you are looking for a job or to set up business and, importantly, if you want to buy an affordable flat. Grenoble was ranked behind Nantes and Rennes but the ranking, based on talent available, innovation, accessibility and being open to international markets, was positive news for the south east city. It was the second consecutive year it was … [Read more...] about Grenoble: Is the ‘capital of the Alps’ the best French city to live in?
The Black Ferns can cap off a dream week for New Zealand women's rugby with a win against France tomorrow. Last weekend they claimed the first test which was trumped by news the 2021 Women's Rugby World Cup would be staged in New Zealand. The Stade des Alpes, nestled in the French Alps is where Linda Itunu will play her last ever Black Ferns match: "I'm putting it all out there, if you see me tired, I've left it all on the field," Itunu told Newshub. She'll miss playing at New Zealand's first-ever home-hosted World Cup in 2021 "I'm at peace about it and I'm hoping to finish with a bang this weekend." Her 15 years in the team is nearly as long as veteran Captain Fiao'o Fa'amausili who's hinting at retirement too. "I keep playing it like it's my last, so yea I'll probably leave a toenail or a fingernail on the field tomorrow," she told Newshub. Both are legends of the game - at home as well as in the Southeast of France. "There's a lot of people out there that recognise the girls and … [Read more...] about Rugby: Black Ferns veteran looking to sign off in style after historic week for women’s rugby