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Halfpenny wins European Champions Cup with Toulon

Wales star Leigh Halfpenny celebrated winning the European Rugby Champions Cup with his club side Toulon.

Full-back Halfpenny kicked 14 points in Saturday's final, and became the tenth Welsh winner of the European Cup.

Wales teammate Jonathan Davies was on the losing side though, as Toulon beat Clermont Auvergne 24-18 at Twickenham.

Leigh Halfpenny became the tenth Welsh player to lift rugby's European Cup. Credit: PA

Toulon came out on top in the all-French final, to claim a hat-trick of successive European titles.

Wesley Fofana and Nick Abendanon scored Clermont's tries, while Mathieu Bastareaud and Drew Mitchell crossed for Toulon.

Halfpenny kicked a conversion and four penalties to seal victory.

Hook hoping for Wales 'bonus'

Hook moved to Gloucester from Perpignan. Credit: David Davies/PA Archive/PA Images

James Hook claims it will be "a bonus" if Wales come calling for his services ahead of this year's World Cup.

The Gloucester fly-half has a golden opportunity to showcase his undisputed ability in Friday night's European Challenge Cup final against Edinburgh.

But although 29-year-old Hook has won 77 Test caps, he can reflect on just two starts for Wales - against the Barbarians and Tonga - since the last World Cup in 2011.

I always hope, but it is out of my hands. I have not had any contact or anything. It has probably helped me because I have focused on Gloucester and not thought about Wales. I do hope I get a shout from Wales at some point, but it has not happened for a while and I am not expecting it. If it does happen, great, if not ....

– James Hook

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Cardiff Blues centre Hewitt retires due to neck injury

Cardiff Blues centre Dafydd Hewitt has been forced to retire from rugby immediately due to a neck injury.

The 29-year-old has only been able to make two appearances this season due to injury, and says being forced to retire is "the worst feeling".

The former Blues vice-captain has played 122 times for the region, scoring 13 tries, since 2006. He previously played for Llantwit Major and Cardiff RFC.

Dafydd Hewitt is among a small group of players to have played over 100 times for Cardiff Blues. Credit: PA

Hewitt was part of the Wales Under 21 Grand Slam-winning team in 2005, and captained the Under 21s at the World Cup in 2006. He was part of the Wales squad that won the Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2009.

It is hard to put into words how I am feeling at the reality of never wearing my Blues jersey again.

No rugby player expects to be told that they can never again play the game they love - it's the worst feeling. It was my childhood dream to play rugby for the Cardiff Blues, the team I followed as a boy and dreamt of representing. I have loved every moment of being a 'Cardiff Blue' and knew early on that it was a club I never wanted to leave.

I'd like to thank everyone at the Blues; the coaching staff, the management, and the medical team for their invaluable support, especially during the past few months.

I feel privileged to have played with so many great players and have forged friendships for life. I will miss everything about playing rugby and will always be a Cardiff Blue.

– Dafydd Hewitt

Cardiff Blues Chief Executive Richard Holland described Hewitt as "an outstanding servant, a true role model for young aspiring players, a hugely popular and much-admired professional."

Dragons in to last four of European Cup after Blues win

The Dragons are through to the final four of the European Challenge Cup after beating the Cardiff Blues at Rodney Parade.

Nic Cudd opened the scoring in the second half for the home side. Shortly after Jonathan Evans earned the Dragons a penalty try as Lloyd Williams was sin-binned for tugging his shirt.

Josh Navidi went over the line for the Blues five minutes before the final whistle, but it wasn't enough.

Final score Dragons 25-21 Blues.

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HT: Dragons 10-14 Blues

It's half time at Rodney Parade and the Blues are in the lead in their European Challenge Cup derby clash against the Dragons.

Lloyd Williams got the first points of the match going over the line before the try was converted by Gareth Anscombe. Tom Prydie gave the Dragons a leg up with a penalty. Anscombe then added a further seven points to the Blues tally converting his own try.

Hallam Amos came back for the Dragons, with Prydie adding the conversion.

Half time score: Dragons 10-14 Blues.

Hughes hit with three week ban

Credit: David Davies/PA Archive/PA Images

Wasps' Nathan Hughes has been hit with a three-week ban after being found guilty of striking Wales winger George North in an Aviva Premiership clash with Northampton Saints.

North was forced off on a stretcher after the collision for which Hughes was sent off - although both player and team denied the charge.

The RFU have now confirmed Hughes will miss three weeks following a hearing yesterday evening.

Nathan Hughes (Wasps Rugby) appeared before an RFU Disciplinary panel this evening, charged with striking with the knee and/or shin, contrary to Law 10.4(a), during Northampton Saints v Wasps RFC on Friday March 27 in the Aviva Premiership.

Hughes was found guilty of the charge and given a three-week ban starting today (March 31). He is free to play again on April 28.

– RFU Statement

This was a three week ban on the basis that no intention was found. However, there was recklessness meaning that, notwithstanding the harm, it was a low entry point of four weeks with mitigation of one week to reflect his previous clean playing record.

– Sir James Dingemans
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