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May 31, 2012

Tigers close in on South African lock

Posted by tom.hamilton on 05/31/2012

Leicester Tigers are closing in on the signature of South African lock Robert Andrew from French D2 side Pau.

"We're not sure how Ed Slater will be and we hope there will be no issues with Jordan Crane and Louis Deacon, but we are not sure and need cover in that area," Tigers' CEO Simon Cohen told BBC Radio Leicester. "He's played in the rough environment [in Division Two in France] and he and has done pretty well there."

May 29, 2012

Scarlets set to bolster ranks

Posted by tom.hamilton on 05/29/2012

The Scarlets are reportedly lining up former All Blacks lock Jason Eaton in an attempt to bolster their options in the second-row. With Dom Day, Lou Reed and Damian Welch all moving on from the Parc y Scarlets at the end of the season, the Scarlets are in dire need of adding to their options. According to the South Wales Evening Post, Eaton is been lined up alongside fellow ex-All Black front-row Campbell Johnstone.

May 28, 2012

Blair to Brive?

Posted by tom.hamilton on 05/28/2012

Despite their relegation from the Top 14 Orange, Mike Blair is reportedly on the verge of agreeing to join Brive. Blair was linked to Perpignan and to the Western Force but reports from across the Channel suggest that the 80-cap scrum-half will play in France next term.

May 25, 2012

Wasps snare an All Black?

Posted by tom.hamilton on 05/25/2012

Reports on Twitter have suggested that Wasps have signed All Blacks prop Neemia Tialata ahead of next season. Despite uncertainty still surrounding Wasps' financial situation, rumours suggest that they have tied down the tight-head on what's sure to be a lucrative contract. ESPNscrum's take on it? It would be some coup but expect an announcement concerning their finances before any big name signings such as this.

May 24, 2012

Saracens lose two wingers

Posted by tom.hamilton on 05/24/2012

Reports are circulating that Saracens have let two of their wingers go ahead of next season. Fijian flyer Michael Tagacakibau has reportedly been released with London Irish pushing hard for his signature. He is joined in leaving Vicarage Road by Marcus Watson who has failed to make an impact after his switch from London Irish last summer.

May 20, 2012

Nonu set for Crusaders switch?

Posted by Graham Jenkins on 05/20/2012

The Crusaders are reportedly trying to lure All Blacks centre Ma'a Nonu to Christchurch for the 2013 Super Rugby campaign. Nonu, currently playing for the Blues having made an acrimonious departure from the Hurricanes at the end of the 2011 campaign, is apparently keen on the move.

Crusaders boss Hamish Riach refused to be drawn on the proposed move but Riach did confirm they were already looking at contracting players for next season. "You're always planning, thinking ahead and always talking to people," Riach told the Star-Times. "The contracting window is very long, and those conversations are always going on at appropriate times within the campaign. We're continuing to work away, and we're happy where we're at."

May 18, 2012

O'Connor to make emotional return?

Posted by tom.hamilton on 05/18/2012

With Ian Humphreys having departed for London Irish and Connacht recruiting Dan Parkes, reports in Ireland are linking Niall O'Connor with a switch back to Ulster. The fly-half departed from Ravenhill last summer but with Ulster potentially a half-back short, he may decide to return to the Heineken Cup finalists.

May 17, 2012

Davies to Gloucester?

Posted by tom.hamilton on 05/17/2012

Various reports suggest that Scarlets boss Nigel Davies is the man chosen by Gloucester to replace the outgoing Bryan Redpath. Redpath resigned from his post as head coach in April amid rumours that he was set to take up the vacant director of rugby post at the Sale Sharks. Despite rumours linking Gloucester with John Brain, it seems that Davies is the man chosen by board member Ryan Walkinshaw to succeed Redpath.

May 16, 2012

Force line up new coaches

Posted by tom.hamilton on 05/16/2012 claims that the Western Force have whittled down their applicants to a smaller short-list as they look to find a new coach to replace the now departed Richard Graham. The newspaper claims that "names such as All Blacks great John Kirwan, Stade Francais mentor Michael Cheika, former Wallabies assistant Tim Lane, ex-Reds' coach Phil Mooney, Andy Friend and John Mulvihill" are all in the mix.

May 15, 2012

End of the road for Cheika?

Posted by tom.hamilton on 05/15/2012

Reports in France suggest that Michael Cheika will not be in charge of Stade Francais next term. The French giants finished in seventh this term in the Top 14 and it looks likely that his coaching duo Mario Ledesma and Christophe Laussucq will keep their jobs. Cheika has been linked with the Western Force job so it remains to be seen where his next port of call will be.

Kirwan linked with Force move

Posted by tom.hamilton on 05/15/2012

Reports in Australia suggest that former Japan coach John Kirwan is keen on replacing Richard Graham at the Western Force. Kirwan has also been linked with fellow Super Rugby franchise the Blues who look set to remove Pat Lam as head coach at the end of the current campaign.

Higginbotham to become a Rebel?

Posted by tom.hamilton on 05/15/2012

With the Melbourne Rebels' No.8 Gareth Delve reportedly playing for Toulon next term, the Sydney Morning Herald claims that they have earmarked the Reds' back-row Scott Higginbotham as the ideal man to replace the Welsh international. The newspaper claims, however, that the Rebels are yet to make an official approach for the Wallabies back-row.

May 11, 2012

SBW off to Japan?

Posted by tom.hamilton on 05/11/2012

It's that man Sonny Bill Williams again. The All Blacks centre is never far from the headlines and is still strongly linked with a switch back to the NRL. But reports in Australia claim that Japanese rugby union side the Panasonic Wild Knights have tabled a huge offer for the maverick back. The offer is believed to be worth $1.5m (£930k) a year - surpassing the $1.1m that Jaque Fourie is currently earning in the Far East.

Brumbies close in on Hewat

Posted by tom.hamilton on 05/11/2012

The Sydney Morning Herald claims that former London Irish fly-half-come-fullback Peter Hewat is to step into the void left by the injured Christian Lealiifano at the Brumbies. Hewat is currently turning out for Suntory and has vast Super Rugby experience after playing for numerous years at the Waratahs.

Macleod back in the mix?

Posted by tom.hamilton on 05/11/2012

Reports in the Scotsman suggest that former Edinburgh lock Scott Macleod is going to leave his club in Japan and bolster the Newcastle Falcons' second-row resources. Macleod is falling foul of the restrictions on foreigners in the Japanese top flight so he has reportedly agreed to sign off the last year of his contract to take up a new deal at Newcastle.

The newspaper also claims that Gloucester scrum-half Rory Lawson may join Macleod at the Falcons.

May 9, 2012

Lipman ready to take flight with Falcons?

Posted by tom.hamilton on 05/09/2012

Michael Lipman on the charge for the Rebels © Getty Images

Reports are circling that former Bath flanker Michael Lipman could be set for a return to England with the Newcastle Falcons. Lipman left Bath back in the summer of 2009 and is currently plying his trade for the Melbourne Rebels. But with former Bath team-mates Alex Crockett and Andrew Higgins also reportedly on the Falcons' radar, the trio could be set for a reunion at Kingston Park. ESPNscrum's take on this? A good fit for both parties.

Agulla to France or England?

Posted by tom.hamilton on 05/09/2012

Leicester Tigers' star winger Horacio Agulla has agreed terms with a club in either England or France, according to the Leicester Mercury. The Argentinian winger has been one of the Tigers' star players this season as he formed a lethal partnership with Alesana Tuilagi on the flanks. But due to the newly coined Rugby Championship coming to the fore this summer, Agulla's availability is vastly restricted.

"I have another club but I have not signed yet," Agulla told the Leicester Mercury. "I could be in England or I could be in France. I always wanted to stay in Leicester. I don't care about other clubs or money and I always put my rugby first. But I have spoken to Leicester and I understand it is hard for them to sign a player who is going to be away for a long time."

Blues on the lookout for a new coach

Posted by tom.hamilton on 05/09/2012

The Blues will appoint a new coach at the end of the season after a disastrous campaign under Pat Lam. They have openly declared that they are advertising for a new supremo, a declaration that prompted skipper Keven Mealamu to apologise on behalf of current boss Pat Lam for their woeful season.

Early names in the frame? Wayne Smith will find himself linked along with the likes of Clermont's Vern Cotter, Leinster's Joe Schmidt and the unemployed John Kirwan.