Easter Sunday rugby headlines as Wales captain Dan Biggar faces in after red card shock involving Lions team-mate

These are the stories making the rugby news on Easter Sunday, April 17.

Biggar facing in

Wales Six Nations skipper Dan Biggar is facing a potential ban after being sent off in Northampton’s European clash with Gloucester at Kingsholm.

Biggar was red carded early in the second half of the Challenge Cup after making contact with his shoulder to the head of the Lions team-mate and Scotland center Chris Harris.

With Biggar off the field, Northampton went on to lose 31-21 and bow out of Europe. Gloucester will go on to meet the winners of the Saracens versus Cardiff tie in the quarter-finals.

Read more: WRU finally break silence on Six Nations catastrophe and the way forward

Northampton boss Chris Boyd insisted it was a case of wait and it over his star fly-half, who could face further punishment with a ban. That would involve missing Northampton’s English Premiership clash with Bath next weekend.

But Boyd responded to worries over losing Biggar further by saying, “Where’s he going next week? Innocent until proven guilty, isn’t it?”

The Challenge Cup quarter-final draw is as follows: Lyon v Glasgow, Edinburgh v Wasps, Toulon v London Irish, Gloucester v Saracens or Cardiff.

French dominate top tournament

Four French sides will play in the last eight of the Heineken Champions Cup, with two English and Irish teams completing the quarter-final line-up.

The final spots were being decided after a hectic weekend of action which saw Leicester overcome Clermont to stop a fifth French team getting in.

However, English champions Harlequins were knocked out by a single point after just failing to overturn the first leg deficit at the hands of Montpellier. They had enlisted the help of England football boss Gareth Southgate to try to turn the tie around, but it was to be avail in the end.

Champions Cup quarter-final draw: Racing 92 / Stade Francais v Sale, Montpellier v La Rochelle, Toulouse v Munster, Leicester v Leinster.

Cardiff aim for Sarries upset

Cardiff are looking to spring a major European shock and bounce back from their recent woes by beating star-studded Saracens this afternoon.

Cardiff boss David Young has ripped up his team again, making 11 changes after the thrashing last time out at the hands of Saracens. They include the much-needed return of Josh Navidi, who skippers the side.

Cardiff have been slammed by their Supporters’ Trust for recent performances and know a significant test awaits. But Young but insists his players are determined to restore pride to the jersey.

He said: “We’re really looking forward to it. It’s a great opportunity to go somewhere, put our hand up and show we’re not as bad as some people suggest at the minute. It’s a great opportunity for us to go out there, play against one of the best teams and hopefully do ourselves proud. ”

Saracens are led by Owen Farrell, with Maro Itoje also selected for the game.

Dean delight as Dragons stun Scarlets

Dragons boss Dean Ryan talked up his players after their shock 38-27 victory over the Scarlets in Llanelli, only the Gwent team’s second win of the entire campaign. You can read full details of the derby clash here.

Ryan and his side have come under fire during what has been a dismal season, so they could be forgiven for having a smile as the Dragons ran in five tries to triumph over a Scarlets side who had thrashed Cardiff in another Welsh derby only seven days earlier .

“The players have had moments like that and not been able to close it out, so they deserve their time in the sun enjoying that,” said Ryan, who name-checked some of the stars on the day.

“Some of our big players stood up. Will Rowlands was outstanding along with Ben Carter, who is still a young man let’s not forget. Derbies are about internationals standing up and about those who work on the fringes being noticed, and we did that.

“I’ve been saying for weeks to take notice of Jack Dixon but for some reason you have to play well against the Scarlets to get noticed. Harrison Keddie the same.”

The Dragons’ only other victory this season was over Connacht way back in October.

South Africa wary of wounded Wales

South Africa boss Jacques Nienaber is warning his players against taking Wales too lightly during their three-test showdown this summer.

Wayne Pivac’s team has been roundly written off by the South African media after their Six Nations flop, which included an embarrassing home loss to Italy.

However, Nienaber says he met up with Pivac when the Welsh management went for a visit to prepare for the tour and knows Wales want to shock the world.

“We had dinner and Wayne made no secret of the fact that they haven’t won a series in South Africa yet and that it is one of the big goals they have set for themselves,” Nienaber said.

“On our UK tour last year, it was the first time in eight years that we beat them at home and we only took control in the last 10 minutes. History has shown us that it is going to be an arm wrestle.

“To zone into two of Wales’ Six Nations games, they were 0-12 down against England at Twickenham and they went on to score three tries in the last 20 minutes.

“Wales are one of those teams that don’t go away and keep putting you under pressure. Against France, who won the Grand Slam and who are one of the in-form teams in the world, they were 9-10 behind at half-time, and France went on to win 13-9.

“To me, that amplifies the spirit of the Welsh team. They are a tough team and it will be a grind. We must make sure that we get our ducks in a row for them.”


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