French rugby powerbrokers have confirmed no decision will be taken on the Florian Fritz concussion saga until the LNR Executive Committee meets in early September – some four months after the Toulouse centre was led bloodied and reeling from the Stade Ernest Wallon pitch.
In the wake of the incident during the club’s Top 14 barrage against Racing Mètro on May 9, the player’s ill-advised return to the game and the apparent misconduct of head coach Guy Novès are the subject of an investigation from a panel of doctors assembled by the LNR.
Repeated attempts from the IRB – who requested the French bodies launch the investigation – to press both the FFR and LNR for answers proved fruitless until Tuesday (yesterday), when a spokeswoman for the professional league administrators confirmed no action will be taken until after the September meeting.
It appears Cheetahs hooker Adriaan Strauss will make a U-turn and decide not to move from the Cheetahs to the Bulls.
It was reported earlier that Strauss’s move to Pretoria was a done deal, but business interests in Bloemfontein now look likely to keep Strauss at the Cheetahs.
According to reports, the Cheetahs also significantly upped their offer for Strauss and he said that he’ll make a final decision on his future this week.
Reds prop Ben Daley and flyhalf Ben Lucas face lengthy rehabilitation periods after both suffered injuries in their team’s loss to the Waratahs.
Daley dislocated his shoulder in a scrum collapse in the late stages of the game, with scans yesterday revealing damage to his rotator cuff. He will have exploratory surgery next week to determine the full extent of the damage.
Lucas suffered an articular defect in his right knee joint during the opening stages of the match and had surgery today. He will be out of action for eight weeks.
The Super Rugby table topping Waratahs will travel to Suncorp Stadium without their talisman Israel Folau.
The Wallabies try-machine is suffering from a corked thigh and will be replaced by Cam Crawford, who makes his fourth start for the season.
The remainder of the backline is unchanged.
In the pack, Will Skelton has been recalled to the starting lineup at lock ahead of Jacques Potgieter, alongside Kane Douglas, while has held his spot at blindside flanker.
The Blues will be without veteran All Blacks prop Tony Woodcock and captain Luke Braid for their crunch Super Rugby match against the Chiefs at Eden Park on Friday.
Woodcock suffered a shoulder injury during last week’s loss to the Crusaders and with a six day turnaround coach John Kirwan felt he would not be fully fit and it was not worth risking him.
“Woody’s had a great season for us so it’s a big loss. He’s been quite outstanding really and one of our best players since he’s been back,” Kirwan said.
Tiaan Liebenberg will start at hooker for the Stormers at Newlands this Saturday in the absence of injured incumbent Deon Fourie.
Fourie sustained a hamstring injury in last week’s win against the Bulls. He has been ruled out of the Stormers’ last league match against the Sharks, which is also the Cape side’s last of the season.
Coach Allister Coetzee has made no further changes to the starting XV. A victory against the Sharks this Saturday would allow the Stormers to finish the season with eight wins, and two against the South African conference champions.
Any hopes of a dramatic return for Heinrich Brüssow have been squashed, meaning the Cheetahs will retain their winning formula for the last match of the season.
The men from Bloemfontein head to Johannesburg on Saturday to take on the resurgent Lions – a team looking to end their season with a three-match winning streak.
However, the Cheetahs will be without star the Springbok flank, Brüssow, who also missed last weekend’s 27-20 win over the Sharks due a groin injury.
“Heins will undergo groin surgery and will not play,” Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské said, ahead of his team’s trip to Ellis Park.
Cell C Sharks director of rugby Jake White will know later on Tuesday whether he will have the services of the injured trio of Tendai Mtawarira, Patrick Lambie and Paul Jordaan for Saturday’s all important final Vodacom Super Rugby league match against the DHL Stormers at Newlands.
All three players are heading back from injury and are said to now be recovered and rehabilitated, White just has to find out whether they are ready yet to take the field in a big match like the clash with the Stormers is shaping up to be. The status of flyhalf Lambie in particular will be eagerly awaited by not only White but also fans of the Durban franchise, for pivot has been problematic for the Sharks since the Springbok was injured playing against the Bulls in Pretoria in March.
As it is, Lambie has made an excellent recovery, as the initial prognosis was that his torn bicep would keep him out of the rest of the Super Rugby season. However, regardless of whether he is ready for the Newlands clash, it appears he may be ready to play a part in the knock-out games that follow.
Highlanders and All Blacks fullback Ben Smith remains in a Sydney hospital while recovering from a leg infection.
A statement released by the team on Tuesdays said they believed the infection was caused by a “supercicial graze” sustained by the player in Sunday’s loss to the Waratahs at Allianz Stadium.
Highlanders doctor Greg Macleod has remained in Sydney with Smith and says he is responding well to treatment.
Melbourne Rebels outside back Tom Kingston has been ruled out of his team’s final regular Super Rugby season match against the Bulls in Pretoria afetr succumbing to an ongoing chronic knee injury.
Kingston, who has flown home from South Africa and has been battling Patella Tendinopathy throughout the duration of the season, started on the wing against the Lions on the weekend however will now head back to Melbourne to undergo further assessment before the Club are able to decide what course of action to take to repair his knee.
Young flyhalf Bryce Hegarty remains in South Africa undergoing further assessment to a shoulder injury sustained against the Lions, and remains in doubt for the season-ending clash against the Bulls.
Scott Higginbotham meanwhile was suspended for a week after receiving his 3rd Yellow Card of the season.
Reds scrumhalf Nick Frisby will miss his team’s final match of the 2014 Super Rugby season against the Waratahs after he suffered a broken jaw in his team’s loss to the Force.
Frisby will be out for six weeks after copping a knock to the jaw early in the second half during Saturday’s game in Perth.
Initial hopes were that he would be able to take the field this weekend, but scans late Monday revealed the fracture, which will require surgery.
Reds head coach Richard Graham said, “It is disappointing to lose Pickle (Nick Frisby).
“He has played some good rugby for us recently and it would have been beneficial to continue his partnership with Benny Lucas this weekend. Following surgery tonight he’ll be out for at approximately six weeks.”
Frisby’s injury adds to a long list of squad members currently unavailable for selection, along with Quade Cooper (shoulder/hip), Blake Enever (bicep), Anthony Fainga’a (calf), Chris Feauai-Sautia (shoulder), Will Genia (ankle), Liam Gill (Australian Sevens duties), Eddie Quirk (knee), Dom Shipperley (ankle) and Aidan Toua (pectoral).
With just four weeks left before the Currie Cup starts, Carlos Spencer has announced an expanded team of 26 players to tackle the SWD Eagles in George on Friday evening.
Spencer, who has yet to decide on the captaincy of the squad following Luke Watson’s absence due to a slight rib injury, has made eight changes to his starting line-up in comparison to the game against the Sharks XV last week.
Up front Edgar Marutlulle will start at hooker in place of Albé de Swardt, who moves to the bench. Lizo Gqoboka and Charl du Plessis stay on at loosehead and tighthead respectively.
David Bullbring and Steven Cummins swap places, but stay in the starting line-up. Paul Schoeman comes in at No 6 in place of Thembelani Bholi, and will be accompanied at flank by Stefan Willemse in place of Devin Oosthuizen.
Aidon Davis will start at No 8, in place of Watson, who left the field after 20 minutes against the Sharks XV at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium last week with a rib injury.
DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has conceded that there is an outside chance that his team may be without kingpin No 8 Duane Vermeulen in Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby derby against the Vodacom Bulls at Newlands.
Vermeulen normally sits out Monday training session as part of Coetzee’s way of managing the hard working Springbok, who has played every game he has been available for at both Super Rugby and international level this year. However when he was also absent from training when the team ran at Newlands on Wednesday, it did prompt speculation that perhaps it wasn’t quite business as usual with Vermeulen this time around.
Springbok scrumhalf Fourie du Preez’s ankle injury is worse than expected and it has now ruled him out for the rest of the year.
According to SARU, Du Preez will miss the remainder of the South African season following an ankle injury sustained by the Springbok scrumhalf in last Saturday’s 55-6 Test victory over Scotland in Port Elizabeth.
Du Preez left the field in the first half of the Test. He was sent for x-rays immediately afterwards and went for an MRI scan in Pretoria on Monday, which confirmed earlier suspicions of an anterior syndesmotic injury. He will be sidelined for approximately six months.
Fourie du Preez will miss the Castle Lager Rugby Championship following an ankle injury sustained by the Springbok scrumhalf in last Saturday’s 55-6 Test victory over Scotland in Port Elizabeth.
Du Preez left the field in the first half of the Test. He was sent for x-rays immediately afterwards and went for an MRI scan in Pretoria on Monday, which confirmed earlier suspicions of an anterior syndesmotic injury. He will be sidelined for at least three months.
“It’s a massive blow to lose yet another world-class player and a key player due to an injury,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer. “Fourie is also a dynamic leader and one of the vice-captains in our team and his injury is a huge setback.”
Waratahs coach Michael Cheika named experienced loose forward Stephen Hoiles in the place of injured flank Dave Dennis for this Sunday’s Super Rugby crunch encounter with the Highlanders.
It is the Waratahs’ final home match of the season and they head into home stretch without their regular captain, Dennis, who was ruled out for the rest of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Michael Hooper takes over the captaincy armband.
After the Waratahs dominated the set piece against the Brumbies, there are no other changes up front.
Stormers lock Eben Etzebeth will not feature in this year’s Super Rugby tournament after suffering another injury.
The Springbok lock has been sidelined with an ankle injury since late last year, but was looking forward to returning to action during the latter rounds of Super Rugby.
However, an official injury report released by the Stormers on Monday revealed another injury to Etzebeth.
He has a broken toe, which will keep him out of action for another 2-3 weeks.
The Hurricanes will continue to sweat on their long list of injured players, with just two rounds of Super Rugby league action remaining.
Their 16-9 Round 17 win over the Crusaders at the weekend took a heavy toll.
All Black hooker Dane Coles heads a casualty list that includes fellow All Black Victor Vito, Alapati Leiua and Motu Matu’u.
All four players are have scans on their respective injuries on Monday.
The Waratahs may have moved to the top of the Super Rugby standings, but they will be withoout the services of captain Dave Dennis for the rest of their campaign.
The hard-working Dennis injured his knee in their emphatic 39-8 bonus-point win over the Brumbies in Sydney on Saturday and has been ruled out with an ACL injury.
Despite triumphing at the Rebels, the Reds won’t be celebrating too much on Friday as Dom Shipperley suffered a fracture dislocation of his ankle.
The 23-year-old, who left AAMI Park in agony early into their solid 36-20 win, was taken to hospital and is set to meet with an orthopedic surgeon.
We run through some key players that went down in action during the June Internationals for Southern Hemisphere nations, that might impact some team’s Super Rugby chances.
South Africa and Australia are severely hit but things look a lot better for the New Zealand Franchises.
It is fast heading to crunch time in Super Rugby, with Round 17 on this weekend. The South African sides are of course excluded from Round 17 due to the fact that they started a week earlier than their Antipodian counterparts.
Including Round 17, there are only 3 weeks of the open Rounds left, before the weekend of Play-Off games ensue for the Top 6 Super Rugby sides and the margins for error is so small, specially for those Franchises still on the fringes of making the Play-Off’s.
After the 2 Play-Off games, featuring No 3 against No 6 and No 4 against No 5, there is one weekend of Semi-Finals (2 games) and a week later the Final.
Flip van der Merwe’s season ended with a whimper rather than a bang as the big lock was ruled out for the rest of the year with a knee injury.
Van der Merwe, who hurt himself in the closing minutes of the one-point victory over Wales in Nelspruit this past weekend, underwent a scan and was sent for a specialist opinion by the Springbok management on Monday.
And the news was not good.
The specialist ruled that Van der Merwe had to undergo surgery on his posterior cruciate ligament, and will therefore be out for six months.
Wales centre Owen Williams suffered a potential career-ending injury at the weekend.
The player’s club, the Cardiff Blues have confirmed, and the Welsh Rugby Union confirmed that Williams has “significant” neck and spinal injuries – sustained during the inaugural World Club 10s in Singapore.
Williams was hurt on Sunday, while playing for the Blues in a third-place play-off match, but the club waited until Wednesday to confirm his injuries.
Blues openside flanker Luke Braid will have shoulder surgery during Super Rugby’s off-season, which rules him out of Auckland’s ITM Cup campaign.
The 25-year-old has been superb for his team this season but has been feeling pain during his showings, leading to him making the decision.
“It had got to the point where it was hurting more frequently,” Braid said.
The Crusaders have confirmed that an x-ray revealed that Richie McCaw has a broken rib.
It is believed the rib injury was sustained in the second All Blacks test against England and is likely to keep McCaw out of contention for the next 3-4 weeks; a bitter blow for the Cantabrians who are pushing for top spot on the Super Rugby table.
Crusaders head coach Todd Blackadder said that while McCaw’s presence will clearly be missed over the next few weeks, the team is fully focussed on the task at hand.