Edinburgh Rugby lock Lewis Carmichael has joined Australian Super Rugby outfit Western Force on a short-term loan as part of his personal player development plan.
Carmichael – a first year pro who also plays for Melrose in the BT Premiership – will be available for the Perth based side until the end of the current Super Rugby campaign.
The agreement was brokered by Scottish Rugby’s Director of Rugby, Scott Johnson, and Edinburgh Rugby’s Managing Director, Jonny Petrie, and is designed to help players gain experience in a different training and cultural environment.
Carmichael, who progressed through the Scotland age-grade system, said: “I’m really excited to get out to Australia and it was an offer that I jumped to take.
A Welsh rugby coach has posted photographs on social media of burns his players received playing on an artificial pitch.
Merthyr RFC coach Lee Jarvis said seven players suffered the friction burns to their legs and arms after their match at Sardis Road, Pontypridd.
Merthyr were playing RGC 1404 in the National Cup semi-final on Sunday.
A spokesman for Pontypridd RFC said the club had no comment to make.
Merthyr RFC posted photos of the injuries on Twitter.
“With the weather being dry, they do say you need to water the pitch.”
He said the players would be assessed later to see if they are fit to play their fixture against Pontypridd on Saturday.
Edinburgh Rugby today announced the re-signing of Scotland international tighthead prop Willem ‘WP’ Nel on a three-year deal.
The highly sought-after front-row’s contract extension will keep him at the capital club until at least May 2020.
Nel joined Edinburgh Rugby in 2012 on a three-year deal, which was subsequently extended, and has made 102 appearances in the black and red since debuting against Munster the same year.
Renowned primarily for his world-class scrummaging, Nel has many strings to his bow and has crossed the whitewash on 15 occasions, scoring 75 points for the capital club.
Nel qualified to play for Scotland through residency in 2015 and went on to make his international debut later that year against Italy in Turin.
He has since been awarded 15 Scotland caps – including appearances in all of the national side’s Rugby World Cup 2015 and 2016 RBS 6 Nations matches – scoring two tries in the process.
Eddie Jones says the British and Irish Lions should name four captains for the tour of New Zealand – one from each of their four national teams.
Lions head coach Warren Gatland has said “half-a-dozen players are in contention” to lead his squad.
England’s Dylan Hartley, Ireland’s Rory Best, Wales’ Alun Wyn Jones and Greig Laidlaw of Scotland are among those.
“I would take those four captains and make that the leadership group,” England coach Jones said.
“Then after the warm-up games, whoever was the leading player I would make captain for the first Test,” added the Australian.
“You look at the last Lions tour and Sam Warburton captained the first two and Alun Wyn Jones captained the third, so I think you can separate it.
“It would be different but I would reckon you would get a great result, with those four captains running the team for you and making sure they set the standards on and off the field.”
Head Coach Vern Cotter has made one change to the starting Scotland side to face England at Twickenham Stadium this Saturday in the RBS 6 Nations (kick-off 4pm UK time, 6pm SA time).
Edinburgh Rugby back-row Hamish Watson returns to the front-line having started the opening two rounds of the Championship. He takes the place of the injured John Hardie (knee), whom he replaced in the 25th minute of the last round’s win over Wales.
Uncapped clubmate Cornell Du Preez takes Watson’s vacated place on the bench and will make his debut if called upon.
The Scots are seeking a first win in English headquarters since 1983 and a first Triple Crown since 1990, while England aim to equal New Zealand’s record of 18-straight Test wins for a tier-one nation.
Owen Farrell should be fit for England’s Calcutta Cup meeting with Scotland at Twickenham on Saturday despite injuring his leg in training.
The 25-year-old centre left training early on Thursday, but is expected to feature in Friday’s captains’ run.
“He ran into someone at training, simple as that,” said head coach Eddie Jones, who initially joked Farrell had collided with the Australian’s dog.
“He’s in doubt but we will see. He should be right.”
Victory for England over Scotland would give the defending Six Nations champions a record-equalling 18th consecutive win and put them one win away from a second straight Grand Slam.
Scrumhalf Grayson Hart currently plies his trade with Glasgow Warriors after starting his rugby life in Scotland in the eastern side of the Central Belt at Edinburgh Rugby. The man born in Kaitai, New Zealand, played for New Zealand U20s back in 2008 and by virtue of heritage has also represented Scotland. He has Super Rugby experience having played for the Blues and Waratahs.
In between his rugby commitments Grayson spends some time working on his blog and doing podcasts. He draws on the many lessons he has learned in his life thus far and aims to provide help and inspiration to others to function better in life through his material.
Grayon’s most recent piece of work follows the tragic events surrounding the passing of Daniel Vickerman and while it may be a sombre read at times it also provides motivation and a very insightful look into life for some as professional sports people. One that I thought well worth sharing on our platform.
Sale Sharks are delighted to announce the signing of Scottish International Back Row Forward Josh Strauss on a three year deal.
Josh is currently playing for Glasgow Warriors who he joined in 2012 from The Lions and Golden Lions where he was captain.
He made his Currie Cup debut in 2010 and became a cult figure with his style of play and distinctive full length beard.
Josh has been capped eleven times by Scotland after making his international debut against Japan in the 2015 World Cup at Kingsholm.
Director of Rugby Steve Diamond said: ” Josh is a world class ball carrying forward. He has been performing well for both Glasgow and Scotland over the past five years and will compliment the squad in the ball carrying department. He is a leader and a very powerful athlete.
“The new owners Simon Orange and Ged Mason are keen to help Sale Sharks to become one of the leading clubs and signings like Josh will help our cause.”
A first win over Wales in 11 years has seen Scotland climb to their highest ever position of fifth in the World Rugby Rankings.
Vern Cotter has achieved what none of his predecessors as head coach could do by steering Scotland to an all-time high of fifth place in the World Rugby Rankings.
Following their first win over Wales since 2006 Scotland have moved above Saturday’s vanquished opponents and South Africa in the rankings, which were first introduced in October 2003, after gaining 1.28 rating points.
England coach Eddie Jones said an unexpected Italy tactic “wasn’t rugby” as they frustrated the Six Nations champions before finally losing 36-15.
Italy led 10-5 at half-time as they chose not to compete at the breakdown, allowing them to step into the England line without going offside.
But the hosts found a way through with five tries in the second period.
“But it wasn’t rugby. We haven’t played a game of rugby yet.
“I’m not critical of Italy, they did what they needed to do to stay in the game.”
Italy coach Conor O’Shea defended the tactic, saying: “Everything we did was completely legal; I was incredibly proud of what the players put out there.”
At one stage, England captain Dylan Hartley and team-mate James Haskell asked referee Romain Poite to clarify the law, but the Frenchman replied: “I am a referee, not a coach.”
Richard Cockerill has been appointed Head Coach of Edinburgh Rugby with effect from the start of next season.
The three-time Premiership winning coach has signed a two-year deal and will relocate to Scotland for the new role after his recent spell with Toulon.
Edinburgh Acting Head Coach Duncan Hodge will remain in his current role until the end of the season and then return to his previous position as backs coach with the club.
Edinburgh Rugby’s assistant coaches Stevie Scott and Pete Wilkins remain in post.
After two spells playing for Leicester and two years at Montferrand Cockerill spent 12 years in coaching roles at Leicester Tigers, rising through the ranks to become Head Coach in 2009 and then Director of Rugby in 2010.
He led the team to Premiership semi-finals every season he was in charge and won back to back titles in 2009, 2010 and a subsequent title in 2013.
During his time with the club he also reached the Heineken Cup Final in Edinburgh in 2009 and won the LV Cup in 2012.
Glasgow Warriors have signed fly-half Brandon Thomson on a short-term deal from the Stormers in South Africa.
He has started training with his new teammates at Scotstoun, after arriving in Glasgow from Cape Town.
The 21-year-old will be at the club for the next two months, with Finn Russell away with Scotland and Peter Horne currently sidelined with an ankle injury.
Thomson has played six times in Super Rugby for the Stormers and has scored 26 points.
He has also represented South Africa U20s at the World Rugby Under 20 Championship and has played for Western Province in the Provincial Cup and Currie Cup.
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.
However, Sale complained to the Rugby Football Union before suspending Arscott.
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.
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.”
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).
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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”.
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.
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.
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 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.”
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.
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.
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.
Hartley, who pleaded guilty to the charge at an independent disciplinary hearing in London on Wednesday, is able to play again from 23 January.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Five 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.
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.
Holders England will face the USA, Italy and either Scotland or Spain in their opening pool at next year’s Women’s Rugby World Cup in Ireland.
Scotland will book their spot at next August’s tournament if they beat Spain in this month’s play-off over two legs.
Ireland are joined in Pool C by fellow 2014 semi-finalists France, Australia and either Fiji, Hong Kong or Japan.
New Zealand won four successive World Cups between 1998 and 2010 but were knocked out in the pool stage in France two years ago after suffering a surprise defeat by Ireland.
The winners of the Asia/Oceania qualifier between Fiji, Hong Kong and Japan will join 2013 and 2015 Six Nations champions Ireland, plus top seeds France and Australia in Pool C.
The Asia/Oceania runners-up will play in Pool A alongside Canada, New Zealand and Wales.