Wallabies abroad: weekend wrap

by Staff Writer

It was a disrupted weekend for some of the Australian players overseas, with all France-based Champions and Challenge Cup fixtures cancelled due to the Paris terror attacks.

Oyonnax v Ulster, Racing 92 v Glasgow, Bordeaux v Clermont Auvergne, Toulon v Bath and Castres v Pau were all postponed.

There were still a handful of Aussies in action through the weekend, in Europe and Japan.

Winger Peter Betham had an early try disallowed in Leicester’s 33-20 win over Stade Francais on Friday night.

The remaining Champions Cup matches are set to be rescheduled, though Bath chairman Bruce Craig said he wasn’t optimistic that the side’s match with Toulon would be played, with a mid-week match the most likely solution.

Toulon are the defending Champions Cup winners and will face an in-form Wasps team next Sunday, in what is shaping up as an epic match-up.

111-Test Wallabies flanker George Smith started at openside in the Wasps’ 33-6 win over Leinster, kicking off their Champions Cup campaign in style.

The win put them on top of their pool ahead of the Toulon match.

A pair of Aussies had a big win in the opening weekend of Japan’s Top League, with Ben McCalman and Berrick Barnes’ Panasonic Wild Knights beating Suntory Sungoliath 38-5 on Friday night.

Barnes booted two conversions and four penalties and played critical roles in two of the Wild Knights’ tries in the opening victory that put them second in their Top League pool.

Wallabies backrower Scott Higginbotham played his first match for the NEC Green Rockets, who went down in a tight game against Mark Gerrard’s Toyota Industries Shuttles 24-17.

Former Wallabies winger Digby Ioane played 16 minutes in the Honda Heat’s opening 25-12 win over Kintetsu Liners, while lock Hugh McMeniman started in the victory.

Nick Cummins played at inside centre in the Coca Cola Red Sparks’ four-point loss to the NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes.

Bernard Foley’s Ricoh Black Rams had a slow start to the year, with a 39-12 loss to the NTT Shining Arcs.

Foley is yet to suit up for the side but is likely to be named for this weekend’s match against the Honda Heat.

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