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May 20, 2013

O’Connell relishing unexpected Lions return

MAYNOOTH, Ireland (Reuters) – When Paul O’Connell played his first 80 minutes of rugby for five months in an amateur game in Limerick in March, he did not allow himself to even dream of making one last British and Irish Lions tour.

Yet within a month, O’Connell had inspired Munster to a Heineken Cup win over Harlequins and made such a compelling case for inclusion that bookmakers made him odds-on favourite to captain the touring side for the second time in a row.

May 20, 2013

Rugby-O’Connell relishing unexpected Lions return

MAYNOOTH, Ireland, May 20 (Reuters) – When Paul O’Connell played his first 80 minutes of rugby for five months in an amateur game in Limerick in March, he did not allow himself to even dream of making one last British and Irish Lions tour.

Yet within a month, O’Connell had inspired Munster to a Heineken Cup win over Harlequins and made such a compelling case for inclusion that bookmakers made him odds-on favourite to captain the touring side for the second time in a row.

May 20, 2013

Royalty raises Elan bid, issues ultimatum to shareholders

DUBLIN/NEW YORK, May 20 (Reuters) – Royalty Pharma
raised its hostile bid for Elan to $12.50 per
share and threatened to withdraw the bid if Elan shareholders
approve a series of defensive transactions announced by the
Irish drug firm.

Royalty Pharma, which buys royalty streams of patented
drugs, said Elan’s efforts to reinvent itself through a series
of acquisitions and debt deals were hasty and ill-conceived.

May 20, 2013

Gatland says Aussie squad predictable, no Wilkinson u-turn

MAYNOOTH, Ireland (Reuters) – Warren Gatland called Australia’s selection for next month’s series predictable, but just as predictable was the barrage of questions the British and Irish Lions coach faced on Monday over Heineken Cup winner Jonny Wilkinson.

Newly crowned European player of the year Wilkinson, who turned down the chance to tour with the Lions to focus on his club side Toulon, was flawless yet again in the French team’s 16-15 win over Clermont Auvergne on Saturday.

May 20, 2013

Rugby-Gatland says Aussie squad predictable, no Wilkinson u-turn

MAYNOOTH, Ireland, May 20 (Reuters) – Warren Gatland called Australia’s selection for next month’s series predictable, but just as predictable was the barrage of questions the British and Irish Lions coach faced on Monday over Heineken Cup winner Jonny Wilkinson.

Newly crowned European player of the year Wilkinson, who turned down the chance to tour with the Lions to focus on his club side Toulon, was flawless yet again in the French team’s 16-15 win over Clermont Auvergne on Saturday.

May 20, 2013

Elan strikes more deals, agrees second share buyback

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Irish drug firm Elan agreed on Monday to buy two private drug firms, spin-off its one experimental drug and buy back more shares to give a firmer idea of how the company will be reconfigured as shareholders weigh up a takeover bid.

The Irish company has rejected a $5.7 billion bid from U.S. investment firm Royalty Pharma and is trying to convince shareholders to do the same by returning cash and going on a spending spree that began with a $1 billion royalties deal just a week ago.

May 20, 2013

Elan eyes more deals this year with $1 bln warchest

DUBLIN, May 20 (Reuters) – Elan will still have $1.2 billion
of cash left to spend if shareholders approve its first package
of acquisitions, and plans to announce more deals in the second
half of the year, chief executive Kelly Martin said on Monday.

Elan agreed on Monday to buy Austrian rare drug specialist
AOP Orphan for 263.5 million euros ($337 million) and pay $40
million for a 48 percent stake in Dubai-based sales and
marketing firm Newbridge pharmaceuticals.

May 18, 2013

Rugby-Toulon, Wilkinson delight in dismissing detractors

DUBLIN, May 18 (Reuters) – Toulon delighted in dismissing detractors who have accused them of buying success on Saturday when they were crowned European champions in a victory flyhalf Jonny Wilkinson said was as good as winning the World Cup.

Plying their trade in the second tier of French rugby just five years ago, the team from the Mediterranean capped their rapid rise in Dublin when they came from behind to beat Clermont Auvergne 16-15 for their first European title.

May 18, 2013

Rugby-Toulon are kings of Europe for first time

DUBLIN, May 18 (Reuters) – Toulon were crowned champions of Europe for the first time on Saturday when, aided by the boot of Jonny Wilkinson, they came from behind to beat Clermont Auvergne 16-15 in an all-French Heineken Cup final.

Outplayed for 60 minutes and seemingly out of the game after Clermont scored two tries in five blistering second-half minutes, big-spending Toulon stunned their rivals with a Delon Armitage try and a conversion by Wilkinson, playing in his first European final.

May 17, 2013

Leinster ease past Stade to clinch Europe’s second trophy

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Leinster won the Amlin Challenge Cup on Friday, twelve months after being crowned Heineken Cup champions, to deny Stade Francais a first piece of European silverware with an easy 34-13 victory.

Leinster, champions of Europe for three of the last four seasons, had to settle for a place in the second-tier of European rugby after failing to make it through the group stages of the Heineken Cup for just the second time in nine years.