Glasgow Warriors have confirmed their pre-season schedule, which will see the Guinness PRO12 champions travel to play Clermont Auvergne and the Canadian National Team, ahead of the new season kicking off in September.
The Warriors will begin a week-long training camp in France on Saturday 8 August, which will conclude with a game against Top 14 side Clermont Auvergne on Friday 14 August (kick-off 20:00 local time).
The match with the European Rugby Champions Cup runners-up will be played in Issoire, which is located 25 miles south of Clermont-Ferrand on the Couze River and the game will be the showpiece event at the 2015 Auvergne Challenge.
The latest instalment in the Quade Cooper transfer saga has been an exchange of words between the Toulon boss and the Australian coach.
Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal launched a relatively tasteless tirade against the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) and its prized asset Quade Cooper, whom he threatened would end up as “the 2nd most indebted State after Greece”.
The eccentric Frenchman said that the 150 000 Euros that has been mooted as Cooper’s buyout of his contract was in fact for the promise of a contract – Boudjellal claims that Cooper has actually put pen to paper, which would make that void and has allegedly threatened legal action if Cooper does not show up for his medical soon.
Boudjellal told Midi Olympique: “The moron of the Australian federation who does not understand the case needs to know that the promise of employment is no longer the question.”
The South African Rugby Union (SARU) on Thursday named the SA Schools and SA Schools A squads for the Under 18 International Series against England, France, Wales and Italy in August.
The teams, which consist of 26 players each, were selected by a panel of national and SA Schools selectors following the conclusion of the Under 18 Coca-Cola Craven Week in Stellenbosch.
The SA Schools squad will face Wales on 7 August in Stellenbosch, France on 11 August at Outeniqua Park in George and England on 15 August at City Park Stadium in Cape Town.
The SA Schools A squad, meanwhile, will take on Italy in Stellenbosch, England in George and Wales in Cape Town in their clashes, which will serve as curtain-raisers to the SA Schools matches.
Hein Kriek from Paul Roos Gymnasium has again been appointed the SA Schools coach, while Lance Sendin from Hugenote Hoerskool in Wellington will guide the SA Schools A team.
Following Western Province’s remarkable 95 / 0 victory against Eastern Province in the final match of the Under 18 Coca-Cola Craven Week, 12 players from the Cape side were selected in the SA Schools squad, while the remainder of the squad was made up of players from the Blue Bulls, Golden Lions, Eastern Province, SWD, the Valke and Griquas CD.
Eastern Province flyhalf Curwin Bosch, who was named the Coca-Cola Craven Week player of the year in 2014, was 1 of 4 players who retained their places in the squad, with the others being Blue Bulls scrumhalf Embrose Papier, wing Andell Loubser and Griquas CD looseforward Cobus Wiese.
Joe Schmidt has signed a contract extension that will see the New Zealander remain as head coach of Ireland until at least June 2017, the Irish Rugby Football Union announced on Wednesday.
Schmidt was appointed to the job in 2013 and Ireland have since won back-to-back Six Nations titles, as well as climbing to 3rd place in rugby union’s official world rankings.
The 49-year-old also oversaw wins against South Africa and Australia last season and came within a last-minute score of beating his native New Zealand in 2013 – something no Ireland side has managed in more than a hundred years of trying.
In all, Ireland have won 14 of their 18 Tests under Schmidt and their form has made them 1 of Europe’s standard-bearers at this year’s World Cup in England, which starts in September.
Anything less than a semi-final spot – something Ireland have yet to achieve at a World Cup – would be regarded as a disappointment for an Ireland side whose pool also features France, Italy, Canada and Romania.
Reports suggest that Wallaby star Quade Cooper has pulled out of a big-money move to France.
The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) is set to confirm the Wallabies playmaker has signed a 4-year deal to remain in the country, opting out of his lucrative contract with glamour French club Toulon, Fairfax Media reported.
The media outlet said an announcement was expected to be made on Monday, confirming Cooper’s re-signing with the ARU, after his Reds team severed ties with him last month amid acrimonious contractual negotiations.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika gave nothing away to reporters on Sunday following his team’s last-gasp 24 / 20 win over South Africa in The Rugby Championship opener in Brisbane the previous night.
But Cheika has reportedly been a significant figure in the ARU’s talks with Cooper and his management and has repeatedly underlined the importance of keeping the skilful flyhalf in Australia.
5 of South Africa’s major stars will join the Barbarians line-up for 2 high-profile games this November.
Flyhalf Pat Lambie, lock Victor Matfield, prop Tendai Mtawarira and centre Jean de Villiers from the current Springbok squad will be joined by veteran forward Bakkies Botha against Gloucester on 17 November and Argentina on 21 November.
The Barbarians, who celebrate their 125th anniversary this year, will name their coach later this month and add further major names to their squad for the games at Kingsholm and Twickenham in due course.
In total, the South Africa quintet will bring 416 caps of international experience to the group. Botha, Matfield and De Villiers were all World Cup winners in France in 2007.
The New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) have revealed a packed 10-match programme for the 2017 British & Irish Lions tour, including 3 Tests between the Lions and All Blacks.
In addition to the internationals, the Lions will play all 5 of New Zealand’s Super Rugby teams, the Maori All Blacks and a composite Provincial XV.
NZRU Chief Executive Steve Tew said the tour was set to generate more demand than the Lions’ last trip in 2005, when 20 000 travelling fans created a boisterous atmosphere and injected an estimated NZ$ 135 million (US$ 90 million) into the economy.
“The series in New Zealand will be a huge occasion, featuring the best players from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales and providing almost 6 weeks of incredible rugby,” he said.
The Lions tour every 4 years, with the event rotated between South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, where last time out they overcame the Wallabies 2 / 1 in 2013.
They lost 0 / 3 when last in New Zealand in 2005, with the defining moment a spear tackle on Brian O’Driscoll early in the 1st Test that forced the Irishman out of the tour.
Overall, New Zealand have won 27 Tests and the Lions 6 since the tours began in 1888, with the visitors achieving their only series win in 1971.
NZRU also revealed it will host Wales in June next year for a 3-Test series against the All Blacks.
England head coach Stuart Lancaster has culled 5 players from his original wider squad for their next training camp in Denver.
The unlucky soles are Elliot Daly, Maro Itoje, Stephen Myler, Nick Easter and Ed Slater.
Daly, Slater, Itoje and Myler will return to their clubs to be on standby, while Easter is suffering from a back injury and will return to Harlequins for treatment, before rejoining the squad on 2 August following their post-Denver break.
Bad boy Danny Cipriani is still in the mix as Lancaster is waiting on the outcome of the drink-driving case before he makes a decision on the flyhalf.
Leinster have confirmed that they have received a request from the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) to release Kane Douglas, under World Rugby Regulation 9.
Leinster team manager Guy Easterby told the club’s website that a formal request had been received last Friday.
“We are delighted for Kane and wish him well as he seeks the form and fitness required for selection for The Rugby Championship and, of course, the World Cup after that,” Easterby said.
Douglas isn’t the only foreign Leinster player affected by a Rugby World Cup call up.
“Zane Kirchner is also in the initial South African squad and likewise we wish him well,” Easterby said.
Hosts England will have a 3D look at the World Cup, following the unveiling of their jersey on Monday.
England put the unveiling of the innovative England jersey in the hands of their most committed supporters, with more than 3 600 fans publishing the exclusive 1st image of the new shirt across their Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr feeds.
England captain Chris Robshaw was then joined by his teammates to officially reveal the team kit to the assembled media at Twickenham Stadium, before meeting with a number of core fans.
The new shirt features a range of innovations that have been developed through more than 220 hours of testing and over 250 000 miles of travel to improve both the look, feel and performance of the kit.
The rose symbolises the connection between the fans and the players and between former internationals who have worn the shirt and those who wear it now. In a striking innovative twist the rose has been 3D injection moulded, developed through rapid prototyping technology to standout in a way that merits the significance of the rose for players and fans alike. The shirt also features contoured ‘ball deadening’ grip placement to complement the players’ physique.
Stade Français have confirmed the signing of Springbok back row Willem Alberts who will join the club after the Rugby World Cup.
The Top 14 champions have not brought in many players this off-season, generally prioritising quality over quantity, as Alberts joins Will Genia in the French capital.
Alberts arrives from the Cell C Sharks on a 3-year deal and will join a back row which already features Sergio Parisse, Raphaël Lakafia and Antoine Burban, while promising youngster Sekou Macalou also arrived over the off-season from Massy.
The 31-year-old made his Springbok debut back in 2010 and has scored 7 tries in 32 tests.
The French Rugby Federation (FFR) confirmed their interest and their name in the hat to bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
In a statement issued at the end of their annual congress in the eastern city of Belfort, the FFR said that an official bid should be delivered in 2017.
A final decision on the host nation will be made in May of 2017 by World Rugby. Ireland, Italy, South Africa and the United States have also expressed interest in hosting the 2023 tournament.
Johan Goosen’s kicking coach has confirmed Western Province’s interest in the Springbok pivot and says the player is ‘considering’ all possible options.
Media reports earlier this month indicated that the Capetonians were interested in signing Goosen as a replacement for Demetri Catrakilis, who will join Montpellier in France after this year’s Currie Cup.
Bertus Pretorius, who is Goosen’s kicking coach in Bloemfontein, confirmed the interest in his player.
Goosen though still has 2 seasons left on his contract with Racing Metro in France and WP would have to fork out a lot of money to sign him.
“Any player will always consider possibilities (to move) and it’s not necessarily only WP. But Goose has a 3-year contract with Racing (should WP fail in their quest to lure him) and he’ll honour it, like he did with the Cheetahs,” Pretorius said.
Goosen though appears not to be a happy camper in France, with Racing coach Laurent Labit recently accusing the Springbok pivot of not attending French classes as well as not taking things serious enough at practice.
A potential move by barnstorming Newport-Gwent Dragons No 8 Taulupe Faletau to English Premiership team Bath would not hinder his international chances, Wales head coach Warren Gatland insisted on Thursday.
The so-called “Gatland’s law” was put in place with the theory that home-based players would be favoured over those choosing to ply their trade overseas.
But it has appeared increasingly irrelevant, with a host of current Welsh internationals turning out for the national side despite playing in England or France, although the ‘law’ will reportedly only allow 2 wildcard selections from those playing outside the country after this year’s Rugby World Cup.
Tonga-born Faletau has a year left on his Dragons contract, but it seems increasingly likely he will be bought out of that deal, to the reported value of £ 250 000.00, with Premiership club Bath keen to sign the 24-year-old British and Irish Lions forward.
“We’re discussing it at the moment with the Dragons, the regions and Bath,” Gatland said.
“Toby’s got the biggest choice to make, that’s ongoing and hopefully that gets sorted out in the next week.
“There is potential there for Toby to move, that’s up to him, but he wouldn’t be hampered by that.
The Cell C Sharks have announced the signing of utility back Wandile Mjekevu on a 2-year deal effective from July this year.
After having spent time with the Lions and the Sharks, the former junior Springbok joined French Top 14 club Perpignan in 2013 where he gained some valuable experience at the club and got the opportunity to further develop his game.
Commenting on Mjekevu’s signing, the Sharks Director of Rugby, Gary Gold, said they were delighted to bring the once promising young talent to Durban.
“We are delighted that Wandile has decided to return to the Sharks,” said Gold.
“He had a great stint in France and he is an unbelievable prospect. His strength and agility around the park will most certainly bolster our backline and we look forward to him progressing at the franchise.”
Serge Blanco resigned as Biarritz president on Tuesday following his unsuccessful attempt to merge the club with Basque rivals Bayonne.
Blanco needed a 2-thirds majority in Biarritz’s general meeting to merge the fallen French giants with their regional rivals, but fell short.
Venezuelan-born Blanco, who was at Biarritz during his entire playing career, leaves the club in the 2nd-tier Pro D2 – the same division as Bayonne.
The decision comes as a surprise following the Biarritz board’s approval of the merger last week, but rival fans of Bayonne were among those to share their concerns.
Blanco, a French legend with 93 caps, had been in discussions with Bayonne’s president Manu Merin about the merger, and voiced his disappointment during Tuesday’s meeting, in which he resigned.
Former Springbok coach Jake White has lured another South African player to Montpellier in France.
White has signed former Springbok prop CJ van der Linde from the EP Kings.
34-Year-old Van der Linde, who played 75 Tests for the Springboks, will join his new club at the end of this month.
His departure is a big blow for the EP Kings, as the former Springbok prop was also their scrum coach.
Van der Linde joins a large South African contingent at the ambitious Top 14 club.
The Wallabies will play England in a blockbuster 3-Test series in Australia in June 2016, the Australian Rugby Union announced on Friday.
It will be 1st time in the century-old rivalry between Australia and England that the 2 nations will meet in a 3-Test series. The teams last met on 3 occasions in the same year in 2010, although just 2 matches were played on Aussie soil as part of England’s inbound tour.
Michael Cheika’s men will play their old rivals for the Cook Cup in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.
Australian Rugby Union CEO, Bill Pulver said: “With a rivalry that dates back to 1909, it is remarkable that Australia and England have never before played a 3-match series and the history of this occasion is sure to add to the anticipation for the tour.
DHL Stormers captain Duane Vermeulen met with Director of Rugby Gert Smal on Monday morning, to sort out the events that transpired in France last week.
Vermeulen visited French Top 14 club Toulon late last week and was unveiled to the local media as their new signing – a move which certainly caught Western Province Rugby by surprise.
The departure shortly from the Stormers of superstar No 8 Duane Vermeulen on a three-year deal to Toulon arguably confirms for the first time a grim reality: an overseas-based group of players would now make up the bulk of a full-strength Springbok team.
Vermeulen is the cherry on top, in many ways, of a fresh wave of once staunchly SA-based players quitting the domestic landscape either following this season’s Super Rugby competition – only the Stormers retain an interest in it – or later in the year after the Currie Cup and RWC 2015 have run their courses.
He is one of the most precious elements of the current Bok mix, and if you consider him foreign-based henceforth – along with several other seasoned internationals on their bikes imminently – then it is quite feasible to argue that the cream of coach Heyneke Meyer’s intended first-choice Test XV will suddenly be drawn from foreign climes.
Before, it was just a sprinkling, with men like France-based Bryan Habana, English-stationed Francois Louw and JP Pietersen from Japan bolstering a Bok side still made up very strongly of “home” elements.
But that trend is set for a pretty violent change.
World Cup winning coach Jake White has formally welcomed the Du Plessis brothers, Jannie and Bismarck, to his French club Montpellier.
The Top 14 outfit on Wednesday confirmed the signing of the Du Plessis brothers, Bismarck and Jannie, from the Cell C Sharks.
In a brief statement on the club website Montpellier said the 2 Du Plessis brother had signed for 3 years.
The 2, who won the World Cup with White as coach in 2007, will head to France after this year’s edition of the World Cup – in England in September and October.
White welcomed the signing of the Springbok duo.
Italy’s World Cup preparations are back on track after players and the national federation (FIR) reached an agreement over bonuses.
A training camp scheduled to start on Monday 15 June had been called off as the row over World Cup bonuses and other issues escalated.
Both sides accused the other of cancelling the training camp, although Italy’s players refused to leave their base in the northern town of Villabassa, where they were due to remain in camp until 3 July.
“The agreement will be sealed quickly in order to swiftly reconvene the World Cup preparation camp,” the FIR said in a statement.
A meeting at the Calvisano base of FIR president Alfredo Gavazzi allowed the “basis for a collective agreement to participate at the World Cup while respecting the meritocratic principles proposed by the federation and the requests, not just those economic, put forward by the players,” the statement said.
The Welsh Rugby Union have acquired the services of highly respected and experienced fitness expert Paul Stridgeon as consultant Head of Physical Performance.
Stridgeon linked up with the national squad on Monday 15 June as Wales’ World Cup preparations commenced with initial conditioning training.
The 34 year-old will oversee the WRU’s Physical Performance department on a tournament-by-tournament basis combining that role with his Head of Strength and Conditioning position at European Champions Toulon.
Stridgeon, a former freestyle wrestler who represented England at the 2002 Commonwealth Games, joined Toulon in 2014 after 6 years as England Rugby National Fitness Coach.
He already has a close working relationship with a number of the Wales management team and players having toured with the British and Irish Lions as fitness coach in 2009 and 2013. His relationship with head coach Warren Gatland stretches further back to their time together at Wasps where they won both European and domestic titles.
Western Force flyhalf Zack Holmes has signed a 2-year deal with La Rochelle, the Top 14 club announced on Tuesday.
The 25-year-old Perth-born Holmes, an Australian Sevens international who previously played with Force’s Super Rugby rivals Brumbies, will replace South African playmaker Peter Grant who was released with a season to run on his contract for family reasons.
Scottish Rugby Referee Commissioner Tappe Henning has recently signed a permanent deal to continue the work he started at the tail end of 2013. Spending 5 minutes in his company is more than enough to suggest that the personable South African is really making a difference to a facet of rugby that he harbours a clear passion for.
Having brought through the likes of Craig Joubert, who officiated in the 2011 World Cup final, Tappe’s reputation for spotting refereeing talent precedes him and now he wants to put Scotland back on the arbitrary map.
Tappe Henning said: “The real purpose of me coming to Scotland was to implement a high performance structure for referees so that we can train, educate and coach Scottish referees to Tier 1 Test level.
“The concerns were raised when there were no Scottish match officials at the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand and the situation has repeated itself now in 2015, which is worrying coming from a country which has always traditionally had a lot of them.
“In short, we needed a professional structure with support for referees in all aspects of it and getting pathways introduced to identify future referees to deliver top quality match officials for international rugby.”
DHL Stormers captain Duane Vermeulen has not improved significantly enough to feature in the 1st Round of Super Rugby playoffs.
The Stormers host the Brumbies at DHL Newlands on Saturday and the burly Springbok will not be considered.
Should the Stormers beat the Brumbies at Newlands, they would travel to Sydney to face the Waratahs in the semifinals.
Vermeulen, who has missed the Stormers’ last 2 games with a bulging neck disc that at one stage threatened his World Cup prospects, is making “good progress” on the road to recovery.
However, coach Allister Coetzee said that the improvement is “not enough” for this week.
“Hopefully, going forward, there is still an opportunity for him,” Coetzee told a media scrum at the team’s training base.
An ambitious plan to stage a match between New Zealand’s Crusaders Knights and English Premiership club Saracens in New Orleans has been cancelled.
The planned fixture on 1 August at New Orleans’ 70 000-capacity SuperDome was designed to capitalise on growing US interest in Rugby Union.
However, the fixture – just like the Independence Cup match, an encounter between the newly formed NRFL Rough Riders and English Premiership giants Leicester Tigers – has become a victim of the ongoing battle between USA Rugby and RugbyLaw.
USA Rugby is the recognised national controlling body registered with World Rugby, while RugbyLaw is planning to launch a new professional league, the NRFL, in the United States.
However, USA Rugby declined to sanction the encounter between Tigers and the Rough Riders – because the Rough Riders are not registered with USA Rugby.
Now the dispute between USA Rugby and RugbyLaw have claimed another victim.
French club Clermont Auvergne have signed All Black wing Hosea Gear on a 2-year deal from the Chiefs.
The 31-year-old Gear, who played 14 Tests and scored 6 tries for the All Blacks from 2008 – 2012, completes Clermont’s recruitment campaign for next season – following the arrivals of Springbok Flip van der Merwe, French international Scott Spedding, Waisake Naholo (Highlanders), David Strettle (England), Adrien Plante and Camille Gerondeau.
Gear is returning to France, where he already played 1 season for Toulouse in 2013 and 2014.
Italy’s World Cup preparations got off on the wrong foot on Monday, when players refused to take part in the 1st training session in a row over pay.
The Italian Rugby Federation said it had “taken note” of the players’ decision “to neither take part in training nor wear federation kit before a financial agreement is found over participation in training and the World Cup”.
40 Players had gathered at Niederdorf / Villabassa, close to the northern town of Bolzano, for the 14 June to 3 July training camp.
However, captain Sergio Parisse and veteran prop Martin Castrogiovanni were both absent after their Top 14 efforts with Stade Francais and Toulon respectively.
The Italian internationals want a match-by-match bonus for the 18 September to 31 October World Cup in England instead of a once-off payment linked to their performances, as desired by the federation.
Newly-promoted French Top 14 team, Agen, have signed South African centre Johann Sadie as they continue to build ahead of next season.
The 26-year-old arrives from Super Rugby side the Toyota Cheetahs and has signed a 2-year deal, the club confirmed.
Sadie started his career with Western Province before spells with the DHL Stormers, Vodacom Bulls and then the Toyota Cheetahs. In 2014, he started playing for the NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes in Japan but was allowed to return to Bloemfontein during the Super Rugby season.
Stade Français ensured Clermont’s dire record continued as the Paris club handed the side from central France their 11th defeat in 12 French finals.
South African flyhalf Morné Steyn kicked Stade Français into a 6 / 0 lead, while Morgan Parra missed 2 chances to reduce the lead for Clermont.
Steyn added a 3rd penalty before Camille Lopez made it 9 / 3 at the break.
Brock James cut the gap to 3 but missed a chance to level the scores and Steyn added a 4th penalty late on.
England players have been dangled a large financial carrot ahead of the Rugby World Cup later this year.
The home side’s players have been offered a performance bonus of just over £ 100 000.00 (R 1.9m) each if they win the title, according to the Daily Mail website.
The financial incentive is believed to be more than 6 times greater than the £ 16 000.00 (R 300 000.00) reward that was on offer for winning this year’s Six Nations tournament – which they missed out on in dramatic fashion as Ireland triumphed.
With the current DHL Stormers coach, Allister Coetzee already having confirmed his departure to Japan at the end of 2015 and with Demetri Catrakilis already having signed for Jake White’s Montpellier, the rumour mill is starting to get into full gear regarding replacements for these vital Stormers positions.
Current Hurricanes forwards coach and former Sharks head coach, John Plumtree is touted to be a favourite for the Stormers head coach position.
Johan Goosen, 2nd choice flyhalf at Racing Metro, has also been linked to a move to Cape Town, to join DHL Western Province.
Former Sharks coach John Plumtree is being linked with a move to coach the DHL Stormers in next year’s Super Rugby competition.
Plumtree is currently the assistant coach of Super Rugby log-leaders, the Hurricanes, but the New Zealander has been in connection with Western Province Director of Rugby, Gert Smal, about a possible move to Cape Town.
Allister Coetzee, the current Stormers coach, will leave the team after this year’s competition to take charge of the Kobe Kobelco Steelers in Japan.
Springbok lock Bakkies Botha, who announced his retirement from international rugby late last year, will head up a strong group of Test icons for the match between South Africa and a World XV at DHL Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday 11 July 2015.
Botha is 1 of 9 Toulon players who will line up against the Springboks. The giants from the south of France recently won their 3rd consecutive European club title.
Toulon coach Bernard Laporte, who was previously in charge of the French national team, will assist former Wallaby and Crusaders coach Robbie Deans with the World XV.
Botha’s Toulon team-mates who have been confirmed for the World XV are Delon Armitage (fullback), David Smith (wing), Rudi Wulf (centre), Maxime Mermoz (centre), Steffon Armitage (loose forward), Ali Williams (lock), Craig Burden (hooker) and Alexandre Menini (prop).
Added to this list are Springbok and Vodacom Bulls centre JJ Engelbrecht, Wallaby scrumhalf Luke Burgess and France scrumhalf Maxime Machenaud. The World XV will be captained by Louis-Benoit Madaule, who plays on the flank for French club Bordeaux Begles.
Even with the Top 14 Final looming, the French media rumour mill has gone into overdrive about Southern Hemisphere players heading north for the next season.
Waratahs superstar Israel Folau is the latest Wallaby linked to a move to cash-flush French club Toulon.
Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal, who has never been scared to wield his substantial cheque book to lure big names to Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, has already made substantial acquisitions for the 2015 / 2016 season.
According to the French sporting newspaper Midi Olympique Boudjellal and his people are already speaking to Folau.
If the 2-time European champions convince the Wallaby fullback to head to France after the World Cup, in England in September and October, he will join a long list of high-profile recruits.
Already said to be heading to Toulon for the new season are Ma’a Nonu (from the Hurricanes), Jonathan Pélissié (from Montpellier), France Thibault (from Oyonnax), Salesi Ma’afu (from Northampton Saints), Samu Manoa (from Northampton Saints), Mohamed Boughanmi (from Béziers), Julien Caminati (from France Grenoble), Quade Cooper (or so they claim, from the Reds), James O’Connor (another unconfirmed arrival – from the Reds), Charles Ollivon (from Bayonne), Anthony Etrillard (from Bayonne) and Paul O’Connell (from Munster).