I thought I would start to post titbits picked up during the week, but probably don’t deserve a full article.
Peter Grant delays a Storming entrance
The Kobe Kobelco Steelers, Peter Grant’s Japanese club have advanced to the All-Japan Championship after going through in the Japan Rugby Top League Wild Card Tournament. This means The Stormers will have to wait a few weeks still for him to join them for the SupeRugby campaign.
If his team continue to win their matches in the 10-team tournament which starts next weekend, this could further delay his arrival in the Stormers camp.
The Lord of the (Americ)rings has arrived
New York – Mike Tolkin has been named the new coach of the US national rugby squad, replacing former Irish national team coach Eddie O’Sullivan, who resigned last November after two years in the post.
The Americans, who lost three of four matches at last year’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, turned to Tolkin, who served as defensive coach for the Eagles at the World Cup.
“I hope to build on our performance from the World Cup, qualify for the next one and to mix in our new and upcoming players,” Tolkin said.
Tolkin, whose appointment was announced on Thursday by USA Rugby, guided New York’s Xavier High School to 17 national semi-finals and three US mational crowns. He also helped establish a US national Under-19 side in 1992.
Tolkin took over US club rugby power New York Athletic Club in 2000 and guided the side to three national crowns and eight playoff appearances.
The Americans’ first match with Tolkin in charge will be June 9 against host Canada followed by home matches against Georgia and Italy on June 16 and 23.
The SKRUM can finally scrum
The Swaziland Rugby Union’s (SRU) SKRUM programme has received a kit from the Sandy Bay Club from Hong Kong, China.
SRU president Michael Collinson announced the latest developments on Thursday, saying the donation of over 100 jerseys, shorts and jerseys was made on the same day. He said it would be used by the development teams.
England Coaching job may one for Saatchi & Saatchi
Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder has joined former New Zealand assistant Wayne Smith in ruling himself out of contention to be the next permanent England head coach.
Mallinder, touted as one of the leading candidates to be Martin Johnson’s long-term successor, has confirmed he did not apply for the job before Wednesday’s deadline.
Smith took up a coaching role with the Chiefs Super 15 franchise after helping the All Blacks win the 2011 Rugby World Cup and said the timing was wrong.
The former Northampton boss was also critical of the Rugby Football Union’s job description, describing it as “waffly” and better suited “for the head of a PR company”.
Stuart Lancaster, who has led England to RBS 6 Nations victories over Scotland and Italy as the interim head coach, is so far the only man to confirm he has applied for the full-time job.
Former South Africa and Italy coach Nick Mallett and John Kirwan, who has World Cup experience coaching Japan and the Azzurri, have previously expressed interest in the position.
The Rebel who wants to swim with the Sharks
Danny Cipriani’s representatives will meet with Sale Sharks chief executive Steve Diamond at the weekend in a bid to thrash out a deal that could see the former England fly-half join the Premiership club next season.
Cipriani, who is about to start his second Super 15 season with Australian franchise the Melbourne Rebels, is eager to return home to rekindle an international career that stalled under former England manager Martin Johnson.
It is understood that talks initially began last November, but they stalled after the Australian franchise blocked an early release from his two-year contract, which expires at the end of the current southern hemisphere season.
A new front will be moving over Cape Town this weekend
The Hurricanes leave this afternoon for the first three weeks of the Investec Super Rugby season on the road to play the Stormers, Lions and Western Force. They return to Wellington for their first home game at Westpac Stadium on Saturday 17th March against the Highlanders.
The 25-man squad travelling to South Africa today is as follows:
FORWARDS: Dane Coles, Motu Matu’u, Ben May, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Michael Bent, Tristan Moran, Jason Eaton, James Broadhurst, Jeremy Thrush, Victor Vito, Jack Lam, Faifili Leave, Brad Shields, Scott Fuglistaller
BACKS: Chris Eaton, TJ Preener, Beauden Barrett, Daniel Kirkpatrick, Tim Bateman, Charlie Ngatai, Conrad Smith (captain), Alapati Leiua, Julian Savea, Andre Taylor, Cory Jane