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April 29, 2013

Championship trio meet 'minimum standards'

Posted by Graham Jenkins on 04/29/2013

The Rugby Football Union has announced that Championship clubs Leeds Carnegie, Newcastle Falcons and Nottingham have all met the 'minimum standards criteria' (MSC) for promotion to the Premiership.

However, Bedford Blues, who complete the line-up for this season's Championship semi-finals, failed to meet the MSC and therefore will not be promoted should they win the title although they do have two weeks to appeal the decision.

Bedford Blues tackle Nottingham in the first leg of their semi-final on Saturday with Leeds set to take on Newcastle next Monday. The return fixtures will take place on Friday, May 10 and Sunday, May 12 respectively with the aggregate winners proceeding to the two-legged final that will be played May 23/29.

February 7, 2013

ARU supports crackdown on drugs cheats

Posted by Graham Jenkins on 02/07/2013

Australian Rugby Union chief executive Bill Pulver has hailed the sport's efforts to stamp out the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the wake of a shocking Australian Crime Commission investigation that uncovered the widespread use of banned substances in professional sport in the country and links to organised crime.

"While being quite proud of our record it would be naive of the ARU to think this is not an issue that spans all Australian sports," said Pulver. "From the perspective of the Australian Rugby Union I think this report that has been released today is a very timely wake-up call for all professional sports in Australia. I think we were aware for some time about issues relating to performance-enhancing drugs but less aware of connections to organised crime and potential match-fixing."

He added: "The report is a wake-up call for all professional sports, and this is a whole of sport approach. There are no investigations on foot in regards to Rugby, but there can be no room for complacency."

Pulver also revealed that four amateur players have tested positive to banned substances over the past two years.

January 16, 2013

Deans eyes 2013 clean sweep

Posted by Tom Hamilton on 01/16/2013

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans is relishing the chance to take on the world's best in 2013 but he will not prioritise the British & Irish Lions tour over the Rugby Championship.

Australia welcome the Lions for a three-Test series in June and July and will then embark on the Rugby Championship in August. And Deans is targeting victory on both fronts rather than focusing on one over the other.

"They will both be great experiences for our players but both are stand-alone competitions," Deans told ESPN. "One is not preparation for the other, nor is the Rugby Championship title any less of an incentive for our players than beating the Lions. What I can say is that we have a massive year ahead for the game in Australia. It is one that our players, and the Australian public, are very excited about.