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Sale winger Tom Arscott has been sacked after he allegedly leaked confidential team information to Bristol before their Premiership game on 1 January.

The 29-year-old met with brother and Bristol back Luke when he visited their team hotel the night before the match, which the West Country side won 24-23.

Sale suspended Arscott on 4 January and carried out an internal investigation.

 Bristol boss Mark Tainton had said “nothing of any sporting value” had been passed on to his coaches.

However, Sale complained to the Rugby Football Union before suspending Arscott.

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The Rugby Football Union (RFU) may impose a five-year residency rule on England if World Rugby fails to increase the existing eligibility level.

A player currently becomes eligible when they have lived in a country for three years.

But a campaign led by World Rugby vice-chairman Agustin Pichot is seeking to raise the level by a further 24 months.

 RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie says it is “absolutely the route to go down”.

He added: “In an ideal world there would be universality of regulation and there’s a helpful way of dealing with this, and that’s by moving the World Rugby regulation from three to five years.”

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Cornell du Preez gets Scotland call up

Head Coach Vern Cotter today named a 37-man Scotland squad for the forthcoming RBS 6 Nations Championship.

Among the group is 37-times capped Gloucester centre Matt Scott who – after missing out on selection in the autumn – has earned a recall thanks to a number of impressive performances for the Kingsholm club, scoring 12 tries in 18 games this season.

Cotter has also named uncapped Edinburgh Rugby forwards Simon Berghan (prop) and Cornell Du Preez (back-row).

Du Preez (25) is a popular figure in the capital, scoring 14 tries in 71 appearances. He became eligible to represent Scotland last year after completing three years of residency in the country.

Berghan (26) joined Edinburgh Rugby in 2013 and is eligible to represent Scotland through his grandfather, Andrew Davidson, from Stirling. The 20st, 6’3” prop has made 24 appearances for the capital club.

Berghan and returning Newcastle Falcons’ tighthead Jon Welsh are among the seven props named in the squad, with the national team awaiting the results of a scan this evening (Wednesday) that will confirm the availability of Edinburgh Rugby’s Willem Nel, who injured his neck in the club’s European Challenge Cup win over Harlequins on Saturday (14 January).

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WP Nel on the rampage against Harlequins

Tighthead prop WP Nel is among four changes to Edinburgh Rugby’s starting XV to face Harlequins in Saturday’s round five European Challenge Cup clash at Twickenham Stoop (kick-off 1500 GMT, 1700 SA Time).

Scotland cap Nel – who has been out of action with a neck injury since October – comes in to take the number three jersey in one of two changes to the starting pack.

The other amendment comes in the back-row where Hamish Watson – who this week signed a new two-year deal with the club – starts on the openside flank.

In the backline, experienced operator Phil Burleigh returns at inside-centre, with club centurion Tom Brown set to start on the left wing.

Acting Head Coach, Duncan Hodge, said: “There’s a lot at stake for both sides tomorrow, which makes for an exciting tie.  Harlequins’ home record speaks for itself, and we have no doubt about the size of task ahead, but there is a good buzz in camp and a belief that we can go down to London and do what is required of us.”

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From us here at Rugby-Talk.com,

Hope you have had a fabulous Festive Season and have had a very Merry Christmas! Happy New Year for 2017, may it bring wonderful rugby joy and may South African rugby improve dramatically… it has been a dreadful year in 2016, has’nt it!!

 

 

On a personal level, 2016 has been less than kind to me… been through a seperation and divorce, had 2 break-in’s, was wayyyy too busy building and developing properties, worked far too hard, was bitten by a violin spider and had to suffer through a dreadful South African rugby season.

But hey, it can only get better in 2017. As a result of my year, Rugby-Talk.com was on the back-burner much of the time, but after a good recuperative rest in December I have all sorts of plans for 2017 here at Rugby-Talk.com.

Made a SELFIE VIDEO for you guys, but DANG it is not easy to look good on a SELFIE VIDEO!

Here it is…

 

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Eddie Jones has said that Dylan Hartley would continue to captain England if he was fit enough to be selected.

Northampton hooker Hartley is serving a six-week ban for catching Leinster’s Sean O’Brien with a swinging arm in a Champions Cup match in December.

Jones, 56, said last month that the 30-year-old had “let his country down” with the third red card of his career.

But the Australian said on Tuesday that Hartley was “doing everything right” to be England captain for the forthcoming Six Nations.

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Racing 92 are to launch legal proceedings against want-away Springbok utility back Johan Goosen over what they allege is”blatant fraud”.

The Parisian club said the 24-year-old, player of the year last season in France, had not appeared “for the last two days and seems to have vacated his residence,”

Last month the Springboks star said he was quitting rugby to return to South Africa.

“As far as Racing 92 is concerned, Johan Goosen still remains bound to the club by an employment contract lasting four years, while his residence, company car, locker and place in the locker-room all remain at his disposal,” said the club, who play Munster in European action this weekend.

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Stuart Hogg will start at fly-half for Glasgow Warriors for the first time in the Guinness PRO12 match away to Benetton Treviso this afternoon.

Stuart Hogg

Despite having moved to the stand-off position during games and starting there for the British & Irish Lions, it is the first time Hogg will wear the Warriors number 10 shirt.

Rob Harley could make his 150th appearance for the club from the bench and would join an elite group of six other players who have reached that milestone.

With Hogg moving up field, Peter Murchie starts at full-back and will be flanked by Tommy Seymour and Junior Bulumakau, who has scored in both of his appearances for Glasgow so far this season, with the most recent coming in the win over Edinburgh Rugby at BT Murrayfield on Monday.

Nick Grigg starts at outside centre and was named Man of the Match in Glasgow’s previous trip to Italy this season in the win over Zebre. He once again teams up with Sam Johnson in the centres.

Combining with Hogg, Henry Pyrgos will captain the side from scrum-half.

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Reigning 1872 Cup holders Edinburgh Rugby host Glasgow Warriors at Murrayfield in their Guinness PRO12 league match which doubles up as the first leg of this season’s 1872 Cup.

Glasgow Warriors are currently in 6th place on the PRO12 log with 27 points, 10 points off leaders Munster after 10 rounds, while Edinburgh who parted ways with Alan Solomons earlier this season are down in lowly 10th place with a mere 17 points. Both teams are doing fairly well in Europe although Glasgow are playing in the top European Rugby Champions Cup while Edinburgh are playing in the Challenge Cup.

There will be a mouth watering battle of the back rows, especially at number 8 where players who both used to ply their trade in South Africa Josh Strauss and Cornell du Preez have been selected for Glasgow and Edinburgh respectively.

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World Rugby comments on the latest developments in the George North head injury incident.

World Rugby notes the outcomes from the independent Concussion Management Review Group investigating the handling of George North’s head injury incident during the Leicester Tigers v Northampton Saints Aviva Premiership match on 3 December 2016.

World Rugby’s number one priority is player welfare and our primary concern is the welfare of George and all players. It is therefore disappointing that apparent non-compliance with the sport’s elite head injury protocols led to George remaining on the field of play when he should have been immediately and permanently removed.

World Rugby’s recognise and remove protocols state in no uncertain terms that any player displaying clear or suspected signs of loss of consciousness should be permanently and immediately removed from the field of play. In this case, the Head Injury Assessment should not have been undertaken.

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Andrew Coombs

Retired Wales rugby player Andrew Coombs is “disgusted and devastated” his former region Newport Gwent Dragons have ended his insurance policy.

Coombs, 32, injured a knee in April 2015 and had to quit 14 months later.

He says he is left with “thousands of pounds of medical bills for treatment not available on the NHS”.

Dragons chief executive Stuart Davies says the region gave Coombs “financial support over and above our contractual obligations” before his retirement.

Davies added: “Like most employers’ medical insurance schemes, cover ordinarily ceases on termination of employment.

“In fact, Andrew remained covered at our expense for some months after his retirement. Andrew’s cover under the policy came to an end as we moved towards self-funding the cost of treatment for players in our employment, due to the escalating costs of insurance.”

Davies also said the Dragons offered Coombs “full and ongoing access to our medical staff and facilities” and that the offer “remains in place”.

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George Earle

Cardiff Blues lock George Earle has been banned for eight weeks after being sent off in their European Challenge Cup defeat by Bath.

South African Earle made contact with the eye area of Bath flanker Tom Ellis in the second half of the 38-3 loss.

The first game the 29-year-old will miss is the Pro12 home derby with Newport Gwent Dragons on 26 December.

 Blues head coach Danny Wilson had stated he believed the contact was accidental.

Earle pleaded not guilty to the charge, but a disciplinary panel ruled he had committed the offence.

He – and tournament organisers – can appeal against the decision.

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George North

Northampton Saints will face no sanction following the investigation into their treatment of Wales wing George North’s latest head injury.

However, the concussion review panel concluded that the 24-year-old should not have returned to the field of play after he fell in a mid-air tackle against Leicester on 3 December.

The panel’s 17-page report stated that head injury assessment (HIA) protocol was followed correctly, but the Saints medical team have accepted that North may have lost consciousness.

 “The Concussion Management Review Group’s (CMRG) view is that there was sufficient evidence to conclude not only from the video evidence but also George North’s history and risk stratification that he should not have returned to the field of play,” said the report.

“The CMRG considered the welfare of North was always at the centre of Northampton’s actions, and does not consider that the medical team (or the club) failed to complete the HIA protocol nor intentionally ignored the player’s best interests.”

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Josh Strauss

Josh Strauss will make his 100th appearance for Glasgow Warriors in Friday night’s European Rugby Champions Cup match against Racing 92 at Scotstoun.

The Warriors won 23-14 against the French side in Paris last Saturday.

All 7,351 tickets have been sold for the Pool 1 encounter.

Stuart Hogg continues at full-back and Tommy Seymour and Lee Jones complete the back-three.

Alex Dunbar, who scored one of the tries last weekend, links up with Sam Johnson in midfield.

Last week’s Man of the Match Finn Russell is at fly-half and Ali Price, who scored Glasgow’s second try in Paris, starts at scrum-half.

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Edinburgh Rugby Acting Head Coach Duncan Hodge has made eight changes to his starting side to face Stade Francais in the second of back-to-back European Challenge cup fixture against the Parisian outfit tonight (Thursday) at Stade Jean Bouin (kick-off 8.45pm local).

The majority of changes come in the pack where five players come in to start following Saturday’s round four 28-23 defeat of the French side.

In the front-row Simon Berghan and Ross Ford – who will captain the side – are promoted from the bench to start, while Fraser McKenzie is named in the pack in place of Grant Gilchrist.

Nasi Manu is set to don the number eight shirt while Cornell Du Preez packs down on the blindside flank.

Tom Brown returns from a groin injury to start on the wing in the only change to the back-three, with Chris Dean coming in at inside centre and Jason Tovey given the nod at stand-off.

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Dylan Hartley

England captain Dylan Hartley will be available for their opening fixture of the Six Nations against France after receiving a six-week ban for striking.

The 30-year-old caught flanker Sean O’Brien with a swinging arm during Northampton Saints’ Champions Cup loss to Leinster on Friday and received the third red card of his career.

He has now been suspended for a total of 60 weeks.

England start their Six Nations title defence at Twickenham on 4 February.

Hartley, who pleaded guilty to the charge at an independent disciplinary hearing in London on Wednesday, is able to play again from 23 January.

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George North

Northampton will be “frustrated” that an investigation into the management of wing George North’s latest head injury has still to reach a conclusion, says ex-Saints team manager Lennie Newman.

A concussion panel was set up after North, 24, played on after landing on his head in the loss to Leicester.

The review, which is said to be “rigorous”, will now go into next week.

“Northampton will just want it out of the way – it’s not great PR for the club,” Newman told BBC Sport.

“And, first and foremost, they want to get one of their star signings on the pitch. They’re struggling at the minute and want to be able to select him.”

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Players making contact with an opponent’s head in “reckless tackles” will receive a yellow card at least in changes to rules over high tackles.

Players will be punished even if the tackle starts below the shoulders.

If head contact is accidental – for example, if a ball-carrier slips into a tackle – a penalty will be awarded.

World Rugby says the new rules, which come into effect on 3 January, “aim to change culture in the sport to ensure that the head is a no-go area”.

A reckless tackle occurs when a player “knew or should have known that there was a risk of making contact with the head of an opponent, but did so anyway”.

In September 2015, World Rugby’s chief medical officer Martin Raftery said that the game’s rules may have to change to reduce concussions.

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CJ Stander starred for Munster against Leicester Tigers

When you consider the calibre of opposition, it is perhaps the Guinness PRO12 clubs’ most successful weekend in Europe.

Leicester, two-time European champions and the most successful club in English Premiership history were dismantled by Munster, held to nil for the first time in Europe for 13 years.

Clermont Auvergne lead the Top 14, are packed full of French internationals and have been one of the Champions Cup’s most consistent teams in years gone by, while Ulster put five sterling tries past them.

Glasgow Warriors claimed just their eighth away win in Europe’s top flight against last year’s finalists and Top 14 champions, while Edinburgh turned over French giants Stade Francais from 17 points back.

Here is all you need to know about a stunning weekend of Champions Cup and Challenge Cup action across the continent:

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Munster maintained their winning start to the European Champions Cup as they handed Leicester Tigers a record defeat in the competition. Final score: Munster 38/0 Leicester Tigers

The Pool One game was over by half-time after fly-half Tyler Bleyendaal’s 14 points and a Simon Zebo try.

Jaco Taute added two second-half tries and also created the late penalty try as he was hauled down by George Worth.

Two-time winners Leicester’s previous worst European defeat was a 41-7 drubbing by Ulster in 2012.

Saturday’s result also brought back memories of the only other time the Tigers were held scoreless in a European Cup game, when they were beaten 33-0 by Ulster in January 2004.

Munster’s win keeps them on top of Pool One as they move to 10 points despite having played a game less than Glasgow and Leicester, with the Tigers now six points behind the leaders.

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The curtain has come down on the Autumn Internationals and there can now be little doubt that the gap has closed between the north and south. However, the prevailing question is: Have the Northern Hemisphere teams strengthened or have the Southern sides weakened?

In my book, it’s a 60:40 split. Forty per cent is owing to much better cohesion from Northern Hemisphere teams and continuity in terms of selection under the guidance of astute coaches. However, 60 per cent is due to the fact that Southern Hemisphere rugby has waned. Harsh questions have to be asked around competition structures in the south, as well as eligibility of foreign-based players.

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EnglandAustraliaEngland (13) 37 / 21 (16) Wallabies (Final Score)

England and the Australian Wallabies did battle in the End Of Year Tours 2016 Internationals at

Twickenham Stadium, London, England, at 16:30 SA Time (14:30 UK Time & GMT, Sunday 01:30 AEDT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 2 & CSN on TV in SA.

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World Rugby Sevens SeriesThe 1st HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series tournament for the 2016 – 2017 season is taking place in Dubai on 2 and 3 December 2016.

On Day 1 (2 December 2016) the usual results followed for the big nations, with the expected top 8 qualifying for the Quarters.

On Day 2 (3 December 2016) Fiji, England, Wales and South Africa (Blitzbokke) advanced to the Semi-Finals for the overall title.

South Africa’s Blitzbokke struck a massive blow by beating New Zealand in the Quarters by a mighty 40 / 0, to advance into the Semis were they will face Wales, whereas Fiji and England square up in the remaining Semi-final.

In the 1st Semi-final, Fiji beat England by 31 / 12.

South Africa comfortably beat Wales in the 2nd Semi-final, by 36 / 5.

The South African Blitzbokke won the title in fine style, beating Fiji in the Final by 26 / 14.

All games were televised LIVE in South Africa on SuperSport 1 and M-Net.

 

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FranceNew ZealandFrance (6) 19 / 24 (10) All Blacks (Final Score)

France and the New Zealand All Blacks did battle in the End Of Year Tours 2016 Internationals at

Stade de France, Paris, France, at 22:00 SA Time (21:00 French Time, 20:00 GMT, Sunday 09:00 NZ Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & CSN on TV in SA.

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WalesSouth AfricaWales (12) 27 / 13 (6) Springboks (Final Score)

Wales and the South African Springboks did battle in the End Of Year Tours 2016 Internationals at

Principality Stadium (Millennium Stadium), Cardiff, Wales, at 19:30 SA Time (17:30 UK Time & GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & M-Net on TV in SA.

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EnglandArgentinaEngland (16) 27 / 14 (7) Los Pumas (Final Score)

England and the Argentinian Los Pumas did battle in the End Of Year Tours 2016 Internationals at

Twickenham Stadium, London, England, at 16:30 SA Time (14:30 UK Time & GMT, 11:30 ARG Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & CSN on TV in SA.

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IrelandNew ZealandIreland (6) 9 / 21 (14) All Blacks (Final Score)

Ireland and the New Zealand All Blacks did battle in the End Of Year Tours 2016 Internationals at

Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland, at 19:30 SA Time (17:30 GMT & UK Time, Sunday 06:30 NZ Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 on TV in SA.

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ItalySouth AfricaItaly (10) 20 / 18 (12) Springboks (Final Score)

The Italian Azzurri and South African Springboks did battle in the End Of Year Tours 2016 Internationals at

Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence, Italy, at 16:00 SA Time (14:00 GMT, 15:00 Italian Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & M-Net on TV in SA.

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GlasgowWarriorsbFive years ago on Tuesday Glasgow Warriors made a signing that might not have had the immediate impact in the fans’ consciousness of a Simone Favaro or a Taqele Naiyaravoro but who has surely had more influence over the club’s fortunes than any single player. Nathan Bombrys has successfully managed the Warriors’ budget and commercial and matchday operations during a period in which the club has grown almost beyond recognition.

He may have been born (and raised) in the USA but Nathan has been immersed in rugby for many years. He first discovered the game at Syracuse University (go Hammerheads!) and played for 17 years. He also qualified as a referee – a fact possibly best kept secret given the Scotstoun crowd’s sometimes fractious relationship with match officials! He wasn’t at SU simply for the rugby though, graduating with a BFA in Film Drama of all subjects. Is Nathan’s influence the real reason for all the dramatic slow-mo shots that are a regular feature of Warriors’ HQ?

The best thing to come out of Michigan since the Ford Mustang, Nathan has been the driving force behind the club’s off-field transformation.

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Nemani Nadolo

Nemani Nadolo

Nemani Nadolo has become one of rugby’s biggest cult stars, possibly because he is one of the biggest men in the game. This weekend he will play for Fiji against England at Twickenham in a match reportedly set to net the RFU approximately £10,000,000. Fijian players will receive £400 each, and the Fiji Rugby Union will receive a £75,000 ‘goodwill gesture’. Most fans of the game think this stinks.

However, in a heartfelt letter, Nemani Nadolo says it is not the players complaining about payments:

Over the last 48 hours a number of news reports have suggested the players in the Fijian team have made complaints about the allowance we receive to play for our country and to honour our people this weekend when we face England at Twickenham. I want to tell you all that this is simply not true.

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WalesArgentinaWales (6) 24 / 20 (3) Los Pumas (Final Score)

Wales and the Argentinian Los Pumas did battle in the End Of Year Tours 2016 Internationals at

Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales, at 19:30 SA Time (17:30 UK Time & GMT, 14:30 ARG Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 on TV in SA.

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