June 7, 2013
Plans for the London Irish to meet a USA side in Boston in early August have been shelved, dealing a blow to an ambitious scheme to unveil a professional franchise-based competition in the States.
The match between London Irish and a US Barbarians side in Boston was to have been televised by the NFL Network television channel with a return match in London a week later.
Organisers said that it was hoped that a successful event would be used as a springboard to attract sponsors and investors to support an East Coast league of up to six franchises. But the venture has fallen not so much at the first hurdle but shortly after the starting line.
June 6, 2013
South Africa's Seabelo Senatla bursts through a gap during his side's crushing victory over the USA © Getty Images
Ireland scored the biggest upset on the opening day of action at the IRB Junior World Championship with a 19-15 victory over Australia thanks to a try from winger Rory Scholes and the boot of centre Tom Daly.
England opened their account with a 30-6 victory over tournament hosts France with captain and No.8 Jack Clifford grabbing two of his side's tries. Wales eased to a six-try 42-3 win against Samoa while Scotland were crushed 44-13 by Argentina.
Defending champions South Africa laid down the most impressive marker with a record 97-0 annihilation of the USA. The Baby Boks also notched a record-equalling 16 tries with winger Seabelo Senatla grabbing four scores. Last year's defeat finalists New Zealand also made a strong start to the competition with a 59-6 thrashing of Fiji who had two players sent off during the clash.
Wales have named four uncapped players in the side to face Japan in Osaka on Saturday.
Eighteen-year-old Ospreys winger Dafydd Howells and flanker James King, Blues and Wales sevens centre Owen Williams and Scarlets hooker Emyr Phillips all make the starting line-up. Wales Under-20 wing Harry Robinson will earn his second cap and Jonathan Spratt gets his first since 2009, while international experience is provided by the likes of captain Bradley Davies, Dan Biggar and Lloyd Williams.
Robin McBryde, head coach for the tour in the absence of Warren Gatland and Rob Howley, said: "The squad have really worked hard over the last couple of weeks and they are ready to get out and play...They are eager to get out there now, pull on the jersey and show what they can do."
Wales: Liam Williams (Scarlets), Harry Robinson (Blues), Owen Williams (Blues), Jonathan Spratt (Ospreys), Dafydd Howells (Ospreys), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Lloyd Williams (Blues), Ryan Bevington (Ospreys), Emyr Phillips (Scarlets), Scott Andrews (Blues), Bradley Davies (captain, Blues), Lou Reed (Blues), Andrew Coombs (Dragons), James King (Ospreys), Rob McCusker (Scarlets).
Replacements: Scott Baldwin (Ospreys), Rhys Gill (Saracens), Rhodri Jones (Scarlets), Andries Pretorius (Blues), Dan Baker (Ospreys), Tavis Knoyle (Scarlets), Rhys Patchell (Blues), Tom Prydie (Dragons).
June 4, 2013
Newly promoted Newcastle have signed 23-year-old Munster centre Danny Barnes on a two-year contract.
"I am really excited at the prospect of joining Newcastle Falcons, a club that has serious ambitions of going all the way to the top," Barnes said.
He is Newcastle's seventh new signing after Mike Blair, Rory Clegg, Phil Godman, Scott Lawson, Fraser McKenzie and Andy Saull.
Interim head coach Scott Johnson has named three new caps for Scotland's opening tour match against Samoa in Durban on Saturday. Edinburgh's Greig Tonks and Glasgow pair Alex Dunbar and Pat MacArthur will all make their debuts while Tom Heathcote and Grant Gilchrist will win second caps.
Johnson said the quadrangular tournament in South Africa, which also features the hosts and Italy, was a good chance to test out new players.
"We want to broaden the base and it gives us the perfect opportunity to see how these guys stand up," he said. "We have 25 Test matches available to us prior to the World Cup. I've said regularly that we're not going to give Test jerseys away, but we cannot be exposed to injury issues come the World Cup and the best way to prevent that is to give players opportunities."
Scotland: Greig Tonks (Edinburgh), Sean Lamont (Glasgow), Alex Dunbar (Glasgow), Matt Scott (Edinburgh), Tim Visser (Edinburgh), Tom Heathcote (Bath), Greig Laidlaw (Edinburgh), Ryan Grant (Glasgow), Pat MacArthur (Glasgow), Euan Murray (Worcester), Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh), Alastair Kellock (Glasgow), Alasdair Strokosch (Perpignan), Kelly Brown (Saracens, capt), Johnnie Beattie (Montpellier)
Replacements: Stevie Lawrie (Edinburgh), Alasdair Dickinson (Sale), Geoff Cross (Edinburgh), Jim Hamilton (Gloucester), Ryan Wilson (Glasgow), Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow), Peter Horne (Glasgow), Duncan Taylor (Saracens)
Exeter Chiefs prop Craig Mitchell will miss Wales' first Test against Japan in Osaka on Saturday because of an ankle injury.
"It's an old injury that's flared up again," defence coach Shaun Edwards said. "Hopefully he will be right for the second Test. I think it's more of an injury that he carried over here because he hasn't trained since he's been here."
England coach Stuart Lancaster will finalise his team for the first Test against Argentina after a double training session in Salta.
"There are decisions to be made in the make-up of the back row and the bench," Lancaster said. "As you can see from the game, the breakdown will be fiercely contested on Saturday and there were times when we didn't deliver as good ball as we wanted.
"I have some decisions to make as to how we go about the game. The most important thing for me is it makes it clear how difficult it will be next Saturday. The sessions will be fiercely contested. We need to prepare well on Tuesday in order to get our mindset right for Saturday."
June 2, 2013
New Zealand 7s coach Gordon Tietjens has been honoured with a knighthood for his services to the sport.
Tietjens, who has steered his side to four Commonwealth Games gold medals and 11 IRB Sevens World Series titles, insists he is still coming to terms with the news. "[I'm] still a bit humbled by it, it's a real shock... I'm still getting over that shock of being knighted," he said.
Reflecting on his contribution to New Zealand rugby, he added: "I get more satisfaction out of someone making a Super Rugby team and going on to be an All Black than actually winning tournaments. Every time someone makes one of those sides and you see them progress, that's really pleasing from my perspective."
Tietjens remains passionate about the sport he loves and has hit eyes on another major honour when rugby returns to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. "Seeing a player being presented with a gold medal, hearing the anthem and the raising of the flag and the emotion that's involved, it's second to none. I can't separate any of them. It's so satisfying. When I look ahead to the Olympics that will be the pinnacle of my career as a coach."
Munster centre James Downey has been added to Ireland's squad for their tour of North America.
Downey was drafted into the training squad as cover for Ulster’s Stuart Olding who suffered an ankle injury in his side's the RaboPRO12 final defeat to Leinster. Olding has since recovered by interim head coach has opted to retain Downey for the clashes with the USA on June 8 and Canada in June 15.
Ireland squad: Props – Tom Court (Ulster), Jamie Hagan (London Irish), Declan Fitzpatrick (Ulster), Mike Ross (Leinster), David Kilcoyne (Munster).
Hookers – Sean Cronin (Leinster), Richardt Strauss (Leinster), Mike Sherry (Munster).
Secondrows – Mike McCarthy (Leinster), Devin Toner (Leinster), Dan Tuohy (Ulster).
Backrows — Peter O’Mahony (Munster, capt), Iain Henderson (Ulster), Kevin McLaughlin (Leinster), Chris Henry (Ulster), Tommy O’Donnell (Munster).
Scrum-halves – Isaac Boss (Leinster), Paul Marshall (Ulster), Kieran Marmion (Connacht).
Fly-halves – Paddy Jackson (Ulster), Ian Madigan (Leinster).
Centres – Darren Cave (Ulster), Stuart Olding (Ulster), James Downey (Munster).
Fullback/Wingers – Robbie Henshaw (Connacht), Felix Jones (Munster), Fergus McFadden (Leinster), Andrew Trimble (Ulster), Simon Zebo (Munster).
May 31, 2013
Samoa international Logovi'i Mulipola has become the latest player to re-sign with Premiership champions Leicester.
The 26-year-old prop joined the Tigers after the 2011 World Cup, and has helped the club reach two Aviva Premiership finals, including last Saturday's victory over Northampton.
Director of rugby Richard Cockerill said: "Logovi'i made a big impact when he first came here and he has continued to work on his game and improve in a very strong group of props. Having the likes of Marcos Ayerza, Dan Cole, Martin Castrogiovanni and Boris Stankovich around him has helped him enormously and now he is firmly established in our senior squad. With Jerome Schuster coming into the group for the new season too, there is a good pool of players working together and getting better."