Dylan Hartley

Dylan Hartley

England hooker Dylan Hartley has rejected a mega offer from Top 14 club Montpellier to sign a new deal with Northampton.

The 28-year-old has revealed that he was given a ‘very generous offer’ by the club to move to France.

However, Hartley has opted to remain with Premiership champions Saints and outlined his reasons today.

Hartley stated that the move would have had no impact on his England career ahead of next year’s World Cup, while turning down the possibility of ‘300 days of sunshine’ was not easy.

“It’s no secret I was offered a deal to join one of the leading French sides, Montpellier, which would have been worth significantly more. But money isn’t everything,” Hartley wrote in his column in a newspaper.

“I don’t want to come across all ‘holier than thou’ over this, but I do believe the world loyalty has gone out of fashion a bit – and for me that really means something.”

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JP du Plessis

JP du Plessis

CheetahsThe Toyota Cheetahs have made another signing, luring former Melbourne Rebels and Stormers midfielder JP du Plessis back to South Africa from Montpellier.

Du Plessis, one of the most promising midfielders to emerge from Paul Roos, had a stint in rugby league with the Sydney Roosters after school before returning to Rugby Union with the Melbourne Rebels.

He made his Vodacom Super Rugby debut against the Hurricanes in the same year but returned to South Africa in 2012 and signed with the DHL Stormers.

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Patrick Cilliers

Patrick Cilliers

Brok Harris

Brok Harris

Western Province and the Stormers look likely to lose the services of props Pat Cilliers and Brok Harris.

According to reports, Cilliers is heading to French club Montpellier, while Welsh club Newport are believed to be hunting the signature of Harris.

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Andrew Nuzum

The late Kenny Nuzum’s son – Andrew


Shontayne Hape

While rugby spent the past week looking back on the glorious careers of two of its departing heroes, Jonny Wilkinson and Brian O’Driscoll, there was forensic analysis of a very different kind going on elsewhere close to the game.

Last Tuesday morning, at the Coroners Court in Dublin, it was found that a former amateur rugby player, whose family had donated his brain for research, had died prematurely because of repeated blows to the head on the field during his rugby years.

The coroner, Dr Brian Farrell, accepted evidence from two neuropathology experts, one of whom was Dr Willie Stewart, a consultant neuropathologist at Glasgow’s Southern General Hospital and a world leader in the examination of head trauma of sport.

The findings were that Kenny Nuzum, a prop forward with the Lansdowne club in Dublin and a former team-mate of the legendary Moss Keane, passed away in March last year because of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). In layman’s terms, punch-drunk syndrome.

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heinekencupUndefeated Harlequins and Clermont can book European Cup quarterfinals this weekend with Toulon also close to securing their spot in the last eight. English champions Harlequins, bidding to make the knock-out stages for just the fifth time, already have 19 points from four Pool Three wins and on Saturday tackle Connacht where just a losing bonus point will be enough to see them through.

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The Lions have finally announced their proposed fixtures to be played in lieu of Super Rugby participation in 2013.

The fixtures include matches from the “Lions Challenge”, as well as some friendlies against Super Rugby opposition as well as a number of international, American and European club sides.

The full media release from the Lions follows:

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