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European Rugby

Jerry Yanuyanutawa

Glasgow Warriors prop Jerry Yanuyanutawa was coached by Jake White at the Brumbies

Jerry Yanuyanutawa says the Warriors will face a highly motivated Montpellier team in Sunday’s European Rugby Champions Cup match at Scotstoun.

The French side have lost all four of their Cup matches so far, but those defeats were sustained while Fabien Galthie was in charge. Galthie was replaced by Jake White at the end of last month, and the South African put down his marker by guiding them to a 16-12 victory over European champions Toulon in his very first game.

Jerry’s knowledge of the coach is based on their season together with the ACT Brumbies in Australia and he is convinced that White is a formidable and inspirational character.

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Morné Steyn & Mosese Ratuvou

Morné Steyn & Mosese Ratuvou

South African international flyhalf Morné Steyn is free to play for his French club, Stade Francais, in their European Challenge Cup game.

Steyn was handed a 1-match ban on Wednesday, by the National Rugby League – the body controlling the French leagues.

The 30-year-old Steyn, who had asked for his disciplinary hearing to be moved forward from next week to Wednesday, had already missed the Top 14 clash with Castres this past weekend – an encounter that Stade won 49-13 at home.

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Jarrad Hoeata

Jarrad Hoeata

Cardiff Blues lock Jarrad Hoeata will miss the remainder of his club’s European commitments, after he was banned for six weeks for his high tackle on Rob Kearney last weekend.

The All Black lock was sent off for the tackle on Kearney, as he caught the fullback round the neck.

A disciplinary committee – chaired by Achille Reali (Italy), along with Rhian Williams (Wales) and Barry O’Driscoll (Ireland) – viewed footage of the incident and listened to representations made by and on behalf of the player.

They found that the incident was at the mid-range of the World Rugby sanctions for this type of offence, carrying a six-week sanction.

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Tom Coventry

Tom Coventry

New Zealander Tom Coventry has been appointed as the new head coach of London Irish for the 2015 / 2016 season, the English Premiership strugglers announced on Wednesday.

The 48-year-old, who is currently assistant coach of New Zealand team the Chiefs, will succeed former director of rugby Brian Smith, who has been released early from his contract on compassionate grounds.

“The owners have a clear vision of where they want to take the club,” Coventry told the London Irish website.

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Jake White at Montpellier

Jake White at Montpellier

Former Springbok coach Jake White’s second week in the Top 14 was the polar opposite to his winning debut.

A week after beating defending French and Europeans champions Toulon on home soil, White’s star-studded Montpellier team were brought back down to earth with a bump as they lost to 20 / 13 to minnows Oyonnax, who only avoided relegation last season on point difference.

Just a few days into his stint in France, White was forced to issue an official apology after saying he was happy to play against heavyweights Toulon because “playing in Montauban, in a field in front of five people and a dog… does not interest me.”

Following Saturday’s result, Oyonnax winger Silvère Tian – who scored two tries in the win at the Stade Charles Mathon – didn’t mince his words when celebrating, suggesting that White will be a little humbler with his comments in the future.

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Ben Morgan

Ben Morgan

England No 8 Ben Morgan is likely to miss the entire SIX Nations campaign after fracturing his left leg in Gloucester’s 24-23 win over Saracens in the Premiership last Friday.

The 25-year-old Morgan, who was carried off in the second half and given oxygen, had surgery on Saturday with Gloucester confirming the player had fractured his lower left leg.

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Fabien GalthieMontpellier on Friday extended the suspension of coach Fabien Galthie, the former French rugby captain, with the club president saying Galthie’s management had been a “failure”.

Galthie was relieved of his duties on 29 December after a string of defeats, with South Africa’s 2007 Rugby World Cup winning coach Jake White brought in as a consultant to take over the reins.

“The suspension is extended. I’m giving myself time to reflect,” said club president Mohed Altrad, after prolonging the initial suspension which ran until 9 January.

“I let him know my grievances,” Altrad continued.

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Duncan Weir

Duncan Weir

Duncan Weir has been ruled out of this year’s Six Nations tournament with the 23-year-old set to undergo surgery on his arm.

The Glasgow Warriors flyhalf, who gave Scotland a last-gasp victory over Italy in last year’s competition, took a knock on his arm during the 1872 Cup clash with Edinburgh at Scotstoun last month, with subsequent examination showing that he had severely damaged his bicep.

Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend said that the injury suggested that Weir would be out of international action for the next three months.

Townsend added: “I would like to think it won’t be the end of his season, but I think it rules out the Six Nations.

“With a bicep injury you are talking months rather than weeks.”

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Plymouth AlbionPlymouth Albion’s chairman Graham Stirling claims the Championship is unsustainable unless the Rugby Football Union increases its funding to clubs.

Albion will go into administration next week unless they can find £250,000 to see them through until the summer.

Championship clubs currently receive £380,000 a year from the RFU.

“We do get central funding from the RFU, but it’s inadequate to support a fully professional side in the second tier,” Stirling told BBC Sport.

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Morné Steyn & Mosese Ratuvou

Morné Steyn & Mosese Ratuvou

Veteran Springbok Morné Steyn claims he was ‘eye-gouged’, which is why he kicked out at Fijian wing Mosese Ratuvou.

The 30-year-old flyhalf was red-carded for the kick in the first half of the Stade Français’ 9-12 loss to Lyon in a French Top 14 match last Friday.

Steyn, the top-scorer at the 2011 World Cup and a holder of numerous international records, had confidently kicked Stade into a 6-0 lead – courtesy of a 40-metre penalty and a quick-thinking drop-goal.

But after Ratuvou had cut the deficit with the game’s opening try, Steyn saw red in the 31st minute for kicking the Fijian wing as the two tussled on the ground.

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Rhys Priestland

Rhys Priestland

Aviva Premiership Rugby club Bath have signed Welsh international flyhalf Rhys Priestland from the 2015 / 2016 Premiership season from Welsh side the Scarlets.

Twenty-seven-year-old Priestland is closing in on 150 appearances for the Scarlets for whom he has scored over 1000 points.

Priestland, who has 32 caps for his country, burst onto the international scene in the 2011 Rugby World Cup, where he steered Wales to their first semi-final since 1987.

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Manu Tuilagi

Manu Tuilagi

England centre Manu Tuilagi could miss the Six Nations opener against Wales next month as he continues his recovery from a groin injury, his Leicester Tigers club boss said on Sunday.

The powerful 23-year-old, widely regarded as key to England’s hopes in the annual European tournament and September’s home World Cup, has not played since last October.

“It may well come too soon, we’ll see,” Leiceister’s Richard Cockerill told reporters when asked about the 6 February date in Cardiff.

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Montpellier’s new coach, Jake White, arrested a nine-match slide for his French club by using his tried and tested method – going back to basics.

The South African, a former World Cup-winning Springbok coach, got off to a winning start as the Top 14 strugglers beat European and French champions Toulon 16-12 at the weekend.

White was brought in as a consultant to replace the suspended Fabien Galthie in an aim to stem the tide of losses in European and domestic action.

Club President Mohed Altrad, who caused so much controversy when he called Galthie a failure, was full of praise for White.

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Concussion Gadget

Owen Farrell wearing the impact sensors

Saracens players wore impact sensors during the match against London Irish on Saturday, launching the first element of the club’s ground-breaking programme to determine the effects of concussion on rugby players. The gadgets measure the force and direction of impact to the head, and are taped behind the ear lobe.

Edward Griffiths, chief executive, said: “We’re collecting data because we want answers. In simple terms, we don’t want to meet our players in 20 or 25 years’ time, to find them suffering from dementia or any similar condition, and to reflect we suspected something was going on but we didn’t really know. We want to know.”

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1872 CupThe festive season continues with derby matches in Round 12 of the Guinness PRO12. Some of the matches are the return leg of derbies played around the Boxing Day period. The attention in Scotland will be focussed on BT Murrayfield on Friday night where Edinburgh will host their rivals from the west, Glasgow Warriors, in a PRO12 fixture that doubles up as the second leg of the 1872 Cup.

Glasgow Warriors go into the game with a 10-point advantage following their win over Edinburgh on Boxing Day and will be looking to retain what is said to be the oldest cup in club rugby, yet again. There was only 1 try scored in the first leg of the 1872 Cup last week and with blustery conditions likely for Friday night the game may be a low scoring battle of attrition that could go the way of the team that makes the least errors.

Considering the relative positions of the 2 teams on the PRO12 table and the fact that Glasgow go into the game with that 10- point cushion one should expect at the very least that they maintain their grip on the 1872 Cup.

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Jake White at Montpellier

Jake White at Montpellier

He has fought the behemoths at the South African Rugby Union, he won a World Cup, lifted the Brumbies from no-hopers to Super Rugby finalists and even stuck his head into the hornets’ nest that was the Golden Lions Rugby Union a few years ago.

Yet, Jake White believes his six-month consultancy stint with struggling French club Montpellier Hérault may just be the biggest and toughest challenge of his career.

Having arrived on the shores of the Mediterranean at the weekend, White and fellow South African Shaun Sowerby were unveiled on Tuesday as the men who would have to lift the club from the doldrums.

White will just be in a consultancy role – with head coach Fabien Galthie still in the picture, despite being ‘suspended’ for a couple of weeks – Sowerby was appointed as the club’s new forwards coach.

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Johan Goosen

Johan Goosen

Racing Metro’s South African flyhalf Johan Goosen is set to be out of action for up to three weeks, after injuring his knee while coming down the stairs of the team bus, his club said Sunday.

The 22-year-old, was set to be in the starting line-up to face Toulouse on Sunday, but missed the 9-15 defeat, after his mishap on arrival in the south of the country.

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Mathieu Bastareaud

Mathieu Bastareaud

French centre Mathieu Bastareaud broke down in tears at the weekend and said he has had enough of his poor form.

The tearful 26-year-old opened his heart in an interview, following his side’s 6-30 humbling defeat to Stade Francais, that saw them knocked off top spot in the French league by their opponents.

“You have to know how to face up to things. Since the beginning of the season, I haven’t been able to find my form,” the bulky back, who has been capped 28 times by France, said.

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Guinness PRO12Round 11 of the Guinness PRO12 kicked off on Friday night and ended with the final fixture on Sunday, with big derby matches being played between the teams from all four countries who have teams in the competition. South African players made a big impact during the Round, earning Player Of The Match accolades in 3 out of the 6 fixtures.

Rynard ‘Ligtoring’ Landman started it off with a Man Of The Match performance for Newport Gwent Dragons against Cardiff Blues at Cardiff Arms Park on Friday afternoon. CJ Stander added a Man Of The Match accolade in a comfortably victorious Munster effort against Leinster, while Rob Herring completed the trio of South African Man Of The Match performances on Friday for Ulster who scraped home against Connacht. Josh Strauss was pipped to the award by skipper Alastair Kellock for Glasgow Warriors against Edinburgh, but Strauss put in a fine performance for the Scotstoun-based outfit outshining his opposite number David Denton and scored the only try of the match, late in the first half.

Head coach Marius Goosen’s Benetton Treviso picked up their first win of the season in the competition in their Italian derby match away to Zebre.

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Commonwealth Games 2014The rugby year has not pegged out just yet but, even before the first of the thunderous 1872 Cup clashes between Glasgow and Edinburgh, the sport seems to have lapsed into reflective mode.

So, too, your correspondent, croaking towards 2014’s finishing line in a clapped-out but generally contented frame of mind. So when the stockings have been hung, I shall allow myself a few moments of rheumy-eyed and entirely random reflection on what made this twelve-month memorable .

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Jack Wilson

Jack Wilson

The Cell C Sharks have lured a New Zealand Sevens player to Durban as they continue to bolster their own ranks.

New Zealand-born wing Jack Wilson has signed for the Sharks from English Premiership club Saracens and will immediately join the Super Rugby squad.

The talented wing, 25, arrived in London in December 2012 and has scored 6 tries in 19 appearances for Saracens.

His arrival follows shortly after confirmation that Saracens’ England lock Mouritz Botha will also make Durban his home next year. Botha, unlike Wilson, will only join the coastal franchise in January.

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Ulster's Ruan Pienaar injured on the weekend... again

Ulster’s Ruan Pienaar injured on the weekend… again

Ulster scrum half, Ruan Pienaar, suffered a twisted knee in the defeat to Ospreys in Wales on Saturday evening.

There were fears that Ruan had re-injured the same knee ligaments which kept him out of the Springboks End Of Year Tour in November, but luckily the injury is not as serious as initially thought.

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Diego Dominguez

Diego Dominguez

Former Italy and Stade Francais flyhalf Diego Dominguez will be head coach of European and French champions Toulon when Bernard Laporte steps down after the 2015/16 season, owner Mourad Boujellal told Canal Plus on Saturday.

Dominguez, who has no experience of coaching at the top level, will join Toulon in January 2016 so as to gain experience of the inner workings of the club before replacing Laporte.

“I can say that Diego Dominguez will be Bernard Laporte’s successor,” Boudjellal said.

“He will arrive on 2 January 2016 and will work for six months with the staff to get to know the team and the club to make it a smooth transition.”

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Sam Burgess

Sam Burgess

Sam Burgess scored his first try in rugby union as he played at blindside flanker in Bath academy’s win over London Irish A.

Burgess, 26, had featured at centre in each of his four first-team appearances since switching codes in October.

He played 63 minutes and scored in the first half of the 44-5 A League victory at the Rec.

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LeithWith the festive season in full swing we bring you a tale about a rugby club – Leith RFC- who are standing up for what they believe is right and doing their bit for their community. Leith RFC are from a coastal village in the east of Scotland, just north of Edinburgh, who play in the BT East Regional League Division 2. In a statement released by the players on Friday they confirm they are going ahead and honouring a commitment they have made even if it will cost them from a rugby point of view, as they face a points deduction in their league.

Leith Rugby club are supporting Bethany Christian Trust’s Caring Christmas Tree Project, which raises money for Edinburgh’s Winter Care Shelter, giving homeless people in our community an opportunity to come in from the cold this Christmas. As well as promoting the project, we the playing squad volunteered to sell Christmas trees pre-ordered from the Caring Christmas tree website, at Ocean Terminal this Saturday 20th December, the last shopping Saturday before Christmas.

Unfortunately due to inclement weather, our fixture with Forrester RFC was postponed last weekend (13th), and rescheduled for this coming Saturday (20th), one of the standby dates in East League 2. It was, and is our error as a club that we did not initiate a dispensation request at the point of arranging to volunteer on the 20th, it being an published standby date for postponed fixtures. Our request for dispensation, made on Monday was rejected by the East Region Championship Committee, and we have been instructed to fulfil the fixture against possible sanction, normally a 2-point deduction, should we refuse.

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Dan Carter & Steve Tew

Dan Carter & Steve Tew

New Zealand and their All Blacks will lose a large number of experienced campaigners and key players after the 2015 Rugby World Cup, next year.

This was highlited due to the announcement this week by Dan Carter that he’ll be joining French Top 14 club Racing Metro after the Rugby World Cup next year, in England and Wales.

Carter, 32, signed a three-year deal with the Paris-based club which will basically mean the end of his All Black career.

However, Carter may not be the only one to leave New Zealand shores.

It appears that captain Richie McCaw, midfielders Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith, veteran front-rowers Tony Woodcock and Keven Mealamu, loose forwards Jerome Kaino and Liam Messam and even Ben Franks, Cory Jane and Charlie Faumuina could also be considering high-paying, late-career stints overseas.

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TrevisoEdinburghSam Hidalgo-Clyne showed his promise in an Edinburgh shirt from minute one as he scored his first Guinness PRO12 try for the club in a thumping 48-0 victory over Treviso.

The 21-year-old, who has featured predominantly off the bench for Edinburgh this season, went over inside a minute, with Mike Coman, WP Nel, Grayson Hart, Roddy Grant and Dave Denton also touching down in the bonus-point win.

Treviso finished the game with 14 men after Romulo Acosta was shown a straight Red Card for punching, while the result means they are still without a win in this season’s competition.

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Zane Kirchner

Zane Kirchner

Zane Kirchener’s late try at the RDS Arena made sure Leinster got revenge for their early season defeat to Connacht with a 21/11 win in the Guinness PRO12 last night.

Leinster – who were beaten 10-9 at the Sportsground on the opening day of the season – were in control from the off but struggled to kill off a spirited Connacht side who made the home team sweat.

The hosts went into the final stages ahead but a late try from George Naoupu moved the visitors to within three points, setting up a nervy finish.

But Kirchner showed quick thinking to steal in and dot down with moments left to ensure Leinster picked up their sixth win of the season.

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Michael Cheika

Michael Cheika

Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika is unfazed about a possible mass exodus of players after next year’s World Cup, following the departures of veterans James Horwill and Adam Ashley-Cooper.

Lock James Horwill, captain at the 2011 World Cup, agreed to a three-year contract with English club Harlequins as he prepares for his first spell in English rugby.

On the same day, French Top 14 side Bordeaux announced they had agreed a two-year deal with wing Ashley-Cooper.

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Toulon boss, Mourad Boudjellal

Toulon boss, Mourad Boudjellal

Toulon’s abrasive and controversial boss Mourad Boudjellal is once again threatened to go to court, because a decision did not go his way.

According to reports in the French media Toulon are considering legal action against the two Leicester Tigers supporters involved in a row with their England loose forward Delon Armitage.

Armitage was suspended for 12 weeks as a result of a misconduct complaint lodged against him, following his club’s European Champions Cup defeat against Leicester Tigers.

The 31-year-old Englishman – whose teammate, Italian prop Martin Castrogiovanni, received a suspended four match ban and a fine for a post match rant – was found to have used offensive language towards spectators at Leicester’s Welford Road ground.

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James Horwill

James Horwill

Queensland Rugby has announced James Horwill has signed a three-year contract with English Premiership giant Harlequins.

Horwill will make the move to the famous London club following the 2015 Rugby World Cup, which concludes in October next year.

He is currently the most-capped Queensland captain, having led the Reds on 69 occasions.

A modern-day champion of the Reds who led Queensland to the 2011 Super Rugby title, Horwill will make the 2015 Super Rugby season his 10th and his last and is determined to achieve success when he pulls on the Reds jersey for the final time next year.

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Dan Carter

Dan Carter

Daniel Carter, world rugby’s leading points scorer and one of the greatest players to ever don the All Blacks jersey, is to leave New Zealand rugby at the end of the 2015 season.

The All Blacks and Crusaders flyhalf has announced he has signed a three-year deal with French Top 14 club Racing Metro. It will be Carter’s second stint in France after he played five games for Perpignan in 2008-09 during his sabbatical from New Zealand rugby.

32-year-old Carter said it was exciting to confirm his future post 2015.

“It’s going to be an awesome adventure for me and my family. Having visited France many times, including my time with Perpignan, I know what the French culture and their rugby culture is like and it’s something I really love.

“Having said that, it’s the immediate future that is exciting me at the moment. 2015 is going to be a big year and I’m looking forward to getting into it, firstly with the Crusaders and then hopefully with the All Blacks.

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Adam Ashley-Cooper

Adam Ashley-Cooper

French Top-14 side Bordeaux-Begles have announced on Wednesday that they had agreed a two-year contract with Australian international Adam Ashley-Cooper to join them after next year’s Rugby World Cup.

“Apart from being the great player he is, Adam Ashley-Cooper particularly impressed us with his extraordinary competitive spirit and his willingness to embrace our ambitious plans,” Bordeaux club president Laurent Marti said.

The 30-year-old Wallabies centre or wing has won 104 caps for Australia and is expected to play a leading role in their World Cup campaign in England next October.

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George North

Wales and Northampton’s George North

George North has insisted he is not planning to return to regional rugby any time soon but backed the new dual-contract system which has attracted Dan Lydiate to return from France.

The Northampton wing hailed Welsh union and regional bosses for finally agreeing a “feasible option” that will boost chances of top stars remaining in the domestic game.

Lydiate capitalised on the new contracts by return from Racing Metro to the Ospreys and will make his debut against Ulster this Saturday.

North believes more top stars could follow suit but stressed his current situation at Northampton suits him “down to the ground”.

The Saints release North for all his Wales commitments, a situation he admits allows him to gain the best of both worlds.

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Charlie Matthews

Charlie Matthews

Harlequins lock Charlie Matthews could face a ban of up to one year after he was cited for allegedly making contact with the eye area of Leinster flanker Dominic Ryan in last Saturday’s European Champions Cup match.

The 23-year-old – who was sin-binned by French referee Romain Poite for the altercation – will face a disciplinary panel in London on Wednesday.

The panel could impose anything from a low end sanction lasting 12 weeks, mid-range 24 weeks, while in the worst case scenario he could be banned for a year for a more serious offence.

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