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Webb Ellis trophy goes on show at Sandy Park

Rugby's World Cup, the Webb Ellis trophy, has been on show at Sandy Park which is going to be hosting part of the tournament in September.

There are still 70 days until it all kicks off but until the action gets underway, fans have been taking advantage of perfect selfie opportunities as the trophy tours our region.

Richard Lawrence reports:

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Webb Ellis Cup inspires West's young rugby players

Credit: ITV News

The Rugby World Cup trophy has been touring the West Country this week as a pre-taste of the tournament, which starts later this year.

Jacquie Bird met some of the young players hoping the trophy brings them luck for their rugby futures - including girls' teams determined to show it's not just a boy's sport.

The cup continues its tour, visiting Exeter tomorrow and Friday.

The tournament itself starts on September 18, with some matches played at Exeter's Sandy Park.

Rugby World Cup arrives in the West Country

The Webb Ellis Trophy visits the West Country as part of the 100 day Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour Credit: Hannah McKay/PA

The Webb Ellis Trophy is in the West Country today as part of the 100 day Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour.

It'll begin its journey at the Eden Project before heading to Perranporth Beach. It then moves east - taking in Haytor on Dartmoor, Sandy Park in Exeter and Weymouth.

Sandy Park is hosting three games during the competition which is due to kick off in September.

Meanwhile the fixtures for next season's premiership campaign have been revealed. Exeter Chiefs open their season away at Bath on October 17th. Their first home match is against London Welsh on October 24th.

Somerset lose at home to Gloucestershire in the T20

Newboy Luke Ronchi hit 49 for Somerset, including five sixes.

Somerset have been beaten by Gloucestershire in the T20.

Hamish Marshall and Michael Klinger produced an opening stand of 156 as the visitors won by eight wickets in Taunton.

Somerset newboy Luke Ronchi hit 49, including five sixes.

Gloucestershire cruised to victory with four balls to spare.

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Plymouth Argyle reach out to Torquay's young players

Torquay United have closed their youth academy. Credit: ITV News

Plymouth Argyle have offered trials to members of Torquay United's youth academy.

The Gulls have closed their academy to save money. Argyle's is run by former Torquay player and manager Kevin Hodges, who said he was delighted to offer the opportunity.

Devon's other club, Exeter City, also offered trials to Torquay's youngsters recently.

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Scientists overturn idea racehorses can't get any faster

Racehorses are reaching faster and faster speeds, scientists have found, overturning research which suggested they had reached their galloping limit.

A team from the University of Exeter studied a total of 616,084 races run by more than 70,000 horses, with a broader focus on sprint races.

Racehorses are reaching ever-faster speeds, the study found Credit: PA

Previous research, which suggested speeds had reached a plateau, had largely concentrated on a small number of middle- to long-distance races.

It is not yet known whether the faster pace is down to breeding, better training, better jockeys, or a combination of these.

Researcher Dr Patrick Sharman said:

There has been a general consensus over the last 30 years that horse speeds appeared to be stagnating.

Our study shows that this is not the case and, by using a much larger dataset than previously analysed, we have revealed that horses have been getting faster. Interestingly, both the historical and current rate of improvement is greatest over sprint distances.

The challenge now is to find out whether this pattern of improvement has a genetic basis.

– Dr Patrick Sharman, University of Exeter

Somerset beat Gloucestershire by five wickets

Johann Myburgh (pictured right) scored 63 Credit: Nigel French/EMPICS Sport

It was the visitor's night as Somerset beat Gloucestershire by five wickets in the T20 Blast.

Johann Myburgh led the impressive display with a top score of 63. The cidermen went on to win by five wickets in front of a sell out crowd of 8,000 at the county ground in Bristol.

But it was only in the final over that Somerset reached Gloucestershire's total - and their bowler sent down two wides in the first three balls, meaning only a couple of singles were needed to seal victory.

Somerset ended the night with 166 for 5 in reply to Gloucestershire's 165 for 8.

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