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Rugby evening headlines as Samoan star dies after bridge jump and Wales told they need ‘extraordinary’ fly-half

Your rugby evening headlines for Saturday, May 7.

Samoan rugby player dies after jumping from bridge

Samoan rugby player Kelly Meafua has died at the age of 31 after jumping from a bridge on Friday night.

The back-rower had just played for Montauban in their 48-40 win over Narbonne in the French second division and leapt from the bridge into the River Tarn amid the celebrations.

“Everyone at USM is in complete shock, Kelly was so well liked. We haven’t just lost a player but also a friend and brother,” the club said in a statement.

AFP reported receiving ‘several testimonies’ that Meafua was enjoying the win with team-mates when he jumped from the Pont-Vieux, at a height of 22 meters.

Team-mate Christopher Vaotoa entered the water in an attempt to save Meafua but had to be rescued himself by firefighters and is now being treated for hypothermia. Meafua’s body was discovered on Saturday morning.

Meafua represented Samoa at Sevens but has been playing club rugby in France 2015, representing Narbonne and Beziers before joining Montauban.

Stransky says Wales must pick attacking 10

Former South Africa fly-half Joel Stransky believes Wales will need to pick a 10 who can do something “extraordinary” when they face the Springboks this summer.

Wales face the world champions in a three Test series this summer as they look to bounce back from a tough Six Nations that saw just one victory and a first ever home defeat to Italy. With head coach Wayne Pivac under pressure after another blunt display earlier this year, the prospect of a tour of South Africa is a daunting one.

For many, Wales’ chances of winning in South Africa are slim to none – but Stransky, who won a World Cup with the Springboks in 1995, believes that if they are to stand a chance of toppling Jacques Nienaber’s side.

That could mean Gareth Anscombe, who enjoyed his finest game in an Ospreys jersey to date, challenging Dan Biggar for the fly-half jersey.

“The first point to consider is what is the greatest strength of this Boks team and how you combat it,” Stransky told WalesOnline. “There’s no doubt that the fundamental power of the Boks squad is that they put the opposition under so much pressure at first phase and then the breakdown.

“Any half-back pairing going up against South Africa aren’t quite on the back-foot all the time, but will find it challenging. They’ll be under pressure.

“If you’re a normal, controlling fly-half, you’ll find it hard to break down that South African line as the power and pressure that comes from set phase means you’re always a little on the back-foot and it’s very hard to find gaps in a very structured defensive system.

“I would think to beat the Boks, you need a 10 who have great vision, can do something extraordinary. In the same breath, and it might be a bit contradictory, doesn’t make mistakes as the Boks are excellent on capitalizing on errors .

“But I think you have to offer something different. You’re not going to beat South Africa by playing bog-standard Test rugby because they’re masters at squashing you into the ground.”

Munster v Toulouse decided by penalties

Toulouse have secured their passage to the Champions Cup quarter-finals after winning a penalty shootout.

The teams were locked at 24-24 at full time with both scoring three tries each. The game went to extra time but no winner could be found after Munster’s Ben Healy missed two drop-goals and Toulouse’s Thomas Ramos missed one.

In the shootout, Conor Murray missed his second attempt from 40 meters out and Healy missed both of his shots at goal from the right-hand side of the field. Ramos nailed his attempt, Romain Ntamack nailed his el and Antoine Dupont made both of his efforts meaning Toulouse won the six-kick shootout 4-2

Edinburgh stung by Wasps

By Anthony Brown, PA

Alfie Barbeary’s late try helped Wasps secure a dramatic 34-30 victory over Edinburgh in a rip-roaring Challenge Cup quarter-final tie at the DAM Health Stadium.

The match swung both ways throughout and it looked like the hosts – who had led at the break – were about to shade it when they got their noses back in front in the 73rd minute.

But two minutes later, the Premiership side produced the decisive moment of a pulsating encounter as Barbeary forced his way over for the seventh try of the afternoon.

Wasps will face the winners of Saturday evening’s last-eight tie between Lyon and Glasgow in next weekend’s semi-final.


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