Reds hooker James Hanson will leave the club at the conclusion of the 2015 Super Rugby season, after signing with the Melbourne Rebels.
Hanson made his Reds debut in 2010 and has played 80 games for the Brisbane based side. He has also played 9 Tests for the Wallabies since making his debut for Australia in 2012.
A product of Brisbane’s St. Joseph’s College Gregory Terrace and Premier Grade club University of Queensland, Hanson progressed through the Queensland pathway after 1st representing the state at Schoolboys level in 2005. He joined the Reds in 2008 as a member of their academy squad and made his Super Rugby debut 2 years later.
Reds head coach Richard Graham said: “James and Saia Fainga’a have jostled for the starting role over the last couple of seasons. ”
Charles Piutau has been told by the New Zealand Rugby Union that he cannot play for the Blues next year.
The 23-year-old, has accepted a deal with Pro12 club Ulster midway through the 2016 year, and he wanted to play for the Blues before he left.
If Piutau was allowed to continue playing in Auckland next year he would be available for more than 10 of the Blues Super Rugby games in the 2016 season before his obligations at Ulster began.
However NZRU has denied the opportunity for the 23-year-old to continue playing for the Blues next year, applying its regulation that Super Rugby players must available for All Blacks Test duty.
The Cell C Sharks appear resigned to the fact that loose forward Willem Alberts will be leaving them after the 2015 Rugby World Cup to play in France, judging by comments coach Gary Gold made when quizzed about their latest signing, Waratahs loose forward Jacques Potgieter.
Potgieter, a similarly abrasive forward to Alberts, will join the Sharks in early 2016 ahead of next year’s expanded Super Rugby tournament.
“We think 1 or 2 of our players are going to move after the World Cup and Jacques is a big character, a strong ball carrier and hard-hitting defender. We hope he has the same impact for us as he has had for the Waratahs. His aspiration is to play more for the Springboks and he’s not going to achieve that if he’s not based in South Africa,” Gold said.
The Cell C Sharks appear to be winning the battle to retain the services of Cape bred Pieter-Steph du Toit, who has told Durban media that he is committed to the union that he says gave him his big break in rugby.
It has been an open secret for a while now that the Springbok lock, currently out injured, was in negotiations with the DHL Stormers. Until quite recently the Western Province union appeared to be winning the battle, with informed sources confirming that Du Toit, who is from Swartland farming stock, was nearly certain to make the move down the coast next season.
However, it is understood that the Sharks then fought quite hard with counter-offers and promises that a concerted effort will be made to get the structures in Durban rugby right, and in an interview with the Natal Mercury on Monday the lock said that while he couldn’t say what would happen in the longer term, he was committed to the Sharks for now.
Du Toit has been out injured for most of the past 2 seasons and appears to feel beholden to the patience and resources that the Sharks have committed to his medical rehabilitation.
It is an unlucky 13 for the Blues, with 13 players on the injury list, including 4 players who are unlikely to play again in the final 4 weeks of the Super Rugby regular season.
Joining captain Jerome Kaino and Luke Braid on the long term injured list are All Blacks Steven Luatua and Patrick Tuipulotu.
Luatua, the stand-in captain for Kaino, dislocated his shoulder in the win over the Bulls on Friday and with the associated nerve damage, will not return for the Blues final 3 games. Tuipulotu has a long-term hip injury that has worsened and he, too, is unlikely to make it back in the next 4 weeks.
Both players require further tests prior to any decisions about their prognosis and management.
Joining them on the unavailable list this week is Tony Woodcock with a shoulder injury sustained in a collapsed scrum in the match against the Bulls and Charlie Faumuina who is on All Blacks leave.
Others not considered for this week’s match include Pita Ahki (hamstring), Dan Bowden (groin) and Bryn Hall (foot).
The Chiefs have announced the re-signing of scrumhalf Brad Weber, loose forward Johan Bardoul and lock Michael Allardice all committing for at least the next 2 Super Rugby seasons.
Head coach Dave Rennie said, “They’re all good men with an excellent work ethic who have made big shifts in their game. We’re rapt these men have committed long term.”
The Du Plessis brothers, Bismarck and Jannie, are set to sign a deal with French club Montpellier, a report in French media indicates.
Reports surfaced earlier this year that the Springbok brothers would join Montpellier on a 2-year deal after the conclusion of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, but Montpellier denied it at the time.
However, according to RMC Sport, the double signing of the Sharks duo is expected to be announced in the coming days.
The Du Plessis brothers are believed to have respected their earlier commitment despite having some contact with Toulon.
Montpellier are coached by former Springbok coach Jake White, who was quoted as saying after their weekend defeat at Stade Francais: “Big names will be announced in the coming days. To win the Top 14, you need the best players in the world.”
The SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Robert Stelzner SC has accepted a guilty plea from Reggie Goodes of the Hurricanes for contravening 10.4 (h) Dangerous Charging, after he was cited following a Super Rugby match at the weekend.
Goodes has been suspended from all forms of the game for 1 week up to and including Saturday 23 May 2015.
The incident occurred in the 36th minute of the Super Rugby match between the Hurricanes and Chiefs at Westpac Stadium in Wellington on 16 May 2015.
SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Robert Stelzner SC assessed the case.
Out of favour Waratahs’ utility back Jono Lance will join the Western Force for 2016, after signing with the franchise for 2 seasons.
Lance, who can play flyhalf, centre and fullback, hasn’t been featuring at the ‘Tahs playing behind Wallabies such as Bernard Foley, Kurtley Beale, Israel Folouu and Adam Ashley-Cooper, and is ready to play a starting role in Super Rugby.
He was a starting member of the Queensland Reds’ 2011 Super Rugby championship-winning team, before joining the Waratahs ahead of the 2014 season.
The 24-year-old son of former Canberra Raiders rugby league captain, Dean Lance, has represented the Australian Under 20 (2010) and Sevens squads (2010 / 2011).
Lance says he’s excited to have the opportunity to represent the Force from next season.
Springbok scrumhalf Jano Vermaak has signed a 2-and-a-half-year deal with Western Province Rugby and will be available for selection from 1 July, once he has completed his current club commitments in France.
The 30-year-old will make the move back to South Africa from French giants, Toulouse; joining Nic Groom, Louis Schreuder and Godlen Masimla as the senior scrumhalf options for the DHL Stormers and DHL Western Province.
The quicksilver Vermaak has won 3 Test caps for the Springboks, making his debut against Italy on 8 June 2013, before also featuring against the Wallabies and the All Blacks later that season.
Star DHL Stormers prop Vincent Koch will not be available for Western Province in this year’s Currie Cup.
According to reports, Koch’s contract with the Pumas lasts until the end of 2016 and his home union has no intention of letting him go.
“He will play (Currie Cup rugby) for me in 2015 and 2016,” said Pumas president Hein Mentz.
“Our viewpoint is that we give players opportunities to improve. Therefore, we made Vincent available to the Stormers and Renaldo Bothma and Giant Mtyanda to the Sharks.
“Vincent was loaned to the Stormers because the Lions, our franchise partner, didn’t regard him as good enough.”
The Waratahs’ Fijian-born wing Taqele Naiyaravoro’s is finally cleared to travel outside Australia.
It was confirmed on Thursday that the Australian Department of Immigration finally approved a temporary work (long stay activity) visa (subclass 401).
It ended a diabolical state of affairs that effectively forced the defending champions to use separate home and away wings in pursuit of their title defence this year.
The Waratahs confirmed in a statement that Naiyaravoro will be available to travel with the team to South Africa later this month – where they will play the Emirates Lions and Toyota Cheetahs – pending approval of an entry visa by South African government.
Despite signing a contract to join Clermont next season, New Zealand Rugby is reportedly hopeful of retaining Super Rugby’s top try-scorer, Waisake Naholo.
Quotes attributed to the club’s Sporting Director, Jean-Marc Lhermet, suggest the move is not a foregone conclusion given the form of the Highlanders’ winger, who has a competition-leading 8 tries in his 11 appearances.
“As it stands we have a contract of 2 years with an option that has been signed by the player,” Lhermet told La Montagne – a newspaper based in Clermont.
“It’s true that his agent reassured us initially when there were noises about the NZRU wanting to keep him. Now, his performances in Super Rugby are remarkable and we are under an increasing amount of pressure from the NZRU. And when the All Black machine gets going, it becomes complicated.
Queensland Super Rugby side the Reds have signed powerful winger Chris Kuridrani and emerging scrumhalf James Tuttle for the 2016 season and beyond.
Kuridrani has signed for a further 2 seasons, while Tuttle has committed for 3 years.
Kuridrani, the younger brother of Crusaders winger Nemani Nadolo and son of former Reds winger Isei Siganiyavi, was one of the star backs for Brisbane City in the inaugural season of the National Rugby Championship.
He has started for the Reds in 6 of his 8 appearances this season, after making his Super Rugby debut in 2014 in the Reds’ final game of the season against the Waratahs.
He also starred for Brisbane City in the 2014 NRC, scoring 6 tries and starting in all of the side’s matches during its championship-winning season. Kuridrani said he was looking forward to continuing to develop over the next 2 years.
South Africa’s Gio Aplon and Australia’s George Smith are among the new additions to the Barbarians squad for this month’s matches against Ireland and England.
Smith, the Lyon flank, is one of 5 players from 5 different countries named as the famous invitation club continues its 125th anniversary celebrations.
Head coach Robbie Deans has also added Springbok Aplon (Grenoble), Tonga prop Soane Tonga’uiha (Oyonnax), Uruguay lock Rodrigo Capo Ortega (Castres) and Japan No 8 Ryu Koliniasi Holani (Panasonic Wild Knights) to his squad.
They join up with the likes of Joe Rokocoko, Adam Jones, Alex Cuthbert and Berrick Barnes for the matches against Ireland at Thomond Park on 28 May and an England XV at Twickenham on 31 May.
Jake McIntyre becomes the latest inductee to the Reds’ flyhalf club, when he makes his Super Rugby debut against the Melbourne Rebels in Brisbane on Friday.
A member of the Reds elite development squad and the starting flyhalf for the majority of Brisbane City’s title run in the inaugural National Rugby Championship, McIntyre’s inclusion is 1 of 2 changes and a number of positional shakeups – following last week’s Super Rugby loss to the Crusaders.
McIntyre, who has been unavailable for the majority of the 2015 season due to off-season knee surgery, will follow other Reds flyhalf selections like Quade Cooper (still injured), Karmichael Hunt (back from injury) and Nick Frisby (struggling with concussion).
Hunt returns to the starting line-up, after overcoming an adductor strain, to feature in the centres for the 1st time this season.
He will start at outside centre, with Samu Kerevi shifting to inside centre.
Coach Richard Graham has also shuffled the outside backs, with James O’Connor shifting to fullback and Lachie Turner moving to the wing.
There appears to be an outside chance that Springbok Sevens flyer Seabelo Senatla may feature for the DHL Stormers in the closing stages of Vodacom Super Rugby.
The Blitzbokke finish off their 2014 / 2015 campaign in London later this week and Stormers coach Allister Coetzee says that he will investigate the option of having the speedy winger available for the last games of the round robin phase.
Senatla will have to play a couple of games to be eligible for the Finals Series that starts late in June, with the Stormers in a 3-way fight at the moment with the Vodacom Bulls and Emirates Lions to get that far.
The product of Welkom was a revelation on the wing for Western Province in last year’s ABSA Currie Cup and with the Stormers struggling to score tries this season – they have just one 4-try bonus point from their 12 matches so far – it would make sense for Coetzee to look at Senatla.
Toyota Cheetahs loose forward Willie Britz has confirmed that he will join the Shining Arcs in Japan after this year’s Super Rugby competition.
The good news for Cheetahs fans though is that Britz will only be unavailable during the Currie Cup, before returning to play Super Rugby next season.
He is contracted to the Cheetahs until the end of the 2016 season.
Tighthead prop Jacobie Adriaanse is the latest South African set to join Jake White at French club Montpellier.
Adriaanse, 29, will be available for Montpellier from June after ending his stint with Welsh club, Llanelli Scarlets.
Adriaanse has represented the Scarlets 51 times since joining them in November 2012.
His contract with Montpellier is only until after the Rugby World Cup (October 31).
Adriaanse said that he could consider staying longer should things fall in place.
Brumbies flyhalf Matt Toomua joined the Canberra-based outfit ahead of their Super Rugby clash against the Emirates Lions in Johannesburg this Saturday.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Toomua arrived in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
Toomua has missed the past 4 weeks with an ankle injury but is set to be injected straight into the starting side to play the Lions.
Despite an agonising 25 / 24 loss to the DHL Stormers at Newlands last weekend, the Brumbies (33 points) still hold a 1-point lead in the Australian conference ahead of the Waratahs (32 points) and the Melbourne Rebels (29 points).
Japan may be the newest kid on the block in Vodacom Super Rugby when the tournament gets a revamp at the end of this season, but they could also be South African rugby’s best friend in the fight to keep players at home.
South African Super Rugby franchises are actively seeking partnerships with Japanese clubs at the moment to “twin” and allow players to head abroad in the Absa Currie Cup season to play in Japan, then return home for Super Rugby.
This masterstroke is seen as one of the bigger ways of countering the threat from European clubs poaching players from South Africa and could also mean closing the gap between the salaries offered in Europe and those earned at home.
The 1st franchise to implement such an agreement have been the Toyota Cheetahs, who have twinning agreements now with 2 clubs in Japan, both through their sponsors Toyota to try and keep their players in South Africa for Super Rugby.
The Cheetahs already have 2 players – flanker Heinrich Brüssow and midfielder Johann Sadie – who play for Japanese club Docomo Red Hurricanes and will continue to motivate for their players to pursue a dual season in both Japanese rugby and South Africa.
Free-scoring Fiji rugby Sevens powerhouse Semi Kunatani has joined French Top 14 club Toulouse on a 2-year deal, the club said on Tuesday.
The rampaging 24-year-old can play as a lock, flank or wing and with 37 international tries since his debut in 2013 he is seen as one of the best sevens players in the world.
The Scottish Rugby Union is set to spend a 6-figure fee to sign powerhouse Fijian-born wing Taqele Naiyaravoro, with the aim of making him eligible to play for Scotland after a 3-year residency period.
Naiyaravoro, who has been compared to All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu, declined to comment on reports he had signed with Edinburgh, but Waratahs CEO Greg Harris said the Fijian-born powerhouse had a contractual obligation to the Scottish team.
This clause in the contract states that if the Australians call him up for international duty, he will remain in the Southern Hemisphere.
According to reports in Australia, New South Wales Waratahs wing Naiyaravoro has been allocated to Edinburgh as part of a 3-year deal worth AUS $ 1 million to the 23-year-old.
It has emerged that a contractual dispute with the South African Rugby Union (SARU) is the reason behind Vodacom Bulls lock Flip van der Merwe making himself unavailable for Springbok selection.
Bok coach Heyneke Meyer earlier this week said Van der Merwe was “unavailable for international rugby at the moment”.
The reasons behind Van der Merwe’s unavailability were described as “personal”.
However, Van der Merwe and SARU are at loggerheads because the player feels he was done an injustice when Springbok contacts were awarded.
Unlike lock partners Eben Etzebeth, Victor Matfield and Pieter-Steph du Toit, Van der Merwe apparently did not receive a similar national contract.
The Cell C Sharks, often in the news in recent times for the wrong reasons as well as for their dismal Super Rugby form in 2015, have confirmed the signing of Jacques Potgieter, from the Waratahs for the 2016 season onwards.
In addition local media report that the Toyota Cheetahs pivot, Joe Pietersen will also move to the Cell C Sharks and will start playing there in the 2015 ABSA Currie Cup campaign already.
The Cell C Sharks Media release reads as follows:
We are pleased to announce the signing of Waratahs loose-forward Jacques Potgieter on a two-year contract with the Cell C Sharks.
Potgieter is no stranger to the Cell C Sharks, having played his junior rugby in Durban. Over the last few years he has made steady progress up the ranks with his sheer physical presence and explosiveness, which resulted in a Springbok call-up in 2012. In 2014, he was instrumental in the Waratahs victorious Super Rugby campaign.
The Hurricanes have confirmed Beauden Barrett will sit out the next month of Super Rugby.
Barrett’s scans revealed a grade 2 tear of his medial collateral ligament (MCL) which he suffered during the Hurricanes’ match against the Crusaders on Saturday 2 May.
“Obviously I’m gutted with the injury, but fortunately it’s not season-ending for me,” said Barrett.
The Emirates Lions could well have lost 1 of their brightest stars as former Springbok coach Jake White snapped up prop Schalk van der Merwe to join him at Montpellier.
Van der Merwe – who is affectionately known as “hond” to his peers and is known for his strong scrumming abilities, has according to French sources signed a 2 year deal with the club and will join them after the end of the season.
It has emerged that Montpellier actually announced the deal 2 months ago, but ironically named Marcel van der Merwe as the player they signed, something the Springbok namesake vehemently denied at the time.
It seemed that somehow the French club announced the wrong prop, but considering both played for the Toyota Cheetahs, it is understandable.
All Black wing Zac Guildford has ended his contract with Clermont a year early to return home for personal reasons as soon as possible.
The wing has faced personal problems before under the All Blacks and Crusaders.
Guildford is looking to be closer to his family and could depart as early as this weekend.
“Faced with personal problems, Zac could not stand the distance between here and New Zealand and he expressed his wish to join relatives,” a statement read.
The Cell C Sharks’ task of rescuing their Vodacom Super Rugby tour of Australasia from disaster became more difficult on Monday when it was confirmed that Jaco Reinach had flown home after sustaining an arm fracture against the Highlanders last Friday.
Reinach was replaced at halftime in that game in what was explained to the television commentators as a tactical substitution. However, it has been subsequently learned that Reinach broke his arm and is on his way back to South Africa.
The Sharks took 3 scrumhalves on tour, so Director Of Rugby, Gary Gold, is likely to continue with Conrad Hoffmann, who finished the Highlanders game as Reinach’s replacement, with Stefan Ungerer coming into the match day squad to provide cover off the bench.
The DHL Stormers’ injury woes continue as lock Ruan Botha is the next casualty on the list of sidelined players.
Botha has been ruled out of this weekend’s Super Rugby meeting with the Brumbies at Newlands, whilst centre and vice-captain Juan de Jongh is an injury doubt.
Botha suffered an ankle ligament injury against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein last Saturday, as the Stormers went down 17 / 25.
Botha is in a moon boot and could be ruled out from 3 to 6 weeks. The team doctor is still to make a call on the length of his lay-off, but he has been ruled out for this week.
De Jongh is suffering from a hip pointer injury which saw him leave the field in the 23rd minute, and it is usually a 10-day injury.
Utility back Jaco Taute is available but the initial plan is for him to play 40 minutes for Western Province in the Vodacom Cup.
“Giving him (Taute) 40 minutes in the Vodacom Cup is the initial plan, but with our injuries at present we could slot him into the team against a quality Brumbies outfit,” said Stormers coach Allister Coetzee.
Reports of a mass exodus from the Vodacom Bulls at the end of the season have been rubbished by the franchise.
According to weekend reports a host of Bulls – which include Pierre Spies, Francois Hougaard, Deon Stegmann, Akona Ndungane and JJ Engelbrecht – will head to Japan after the conclusion of the Super Rugby season.
It was billed as the “biggest exodus” since 2013 – when the Bulls lost 20-odd frontline players, including the likes of Juandré Kruger, Wynand Olivier, Morné Steyn, Jano Vermaak, Zane Kirchner, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Dewald Potgieter and Jacques Potgieter.
However, Xander Janse van Rensburg, the High Performance Manager at the Blue Bulls Company, said that the facts of the reports are far removed from the truth.
“JJ and Grant have Japan clauses in their contracts,” Janse van Rensburg said, adding that the duo will head to Japan after the Super Rugby season, missing the Currie Cup competition, and will then return for Super Rugby 2016.
Brumbies scrumhalf Nic White has arrived in Cape Town ahead of Saturday’s clash against the DHL Stormers at Newlands.
The Brumbies flew into South Africa on Monday ready for a big week in the Cape, the Stormers preparing to right the wrongs of last week after falling to the Toyota Cheetahs.
White returns for the Stormers match this weekend after 3 weeks out, his ankle injury now firmly beaten.
He said the Stormers presented the Brumbies with a significant challenge.
The Reds believe the Australian Rugby Union’s revised contracting system could convince star playmaker Quade Cooper to remain in Brisbane.
Cooper’s future remains a hot topic of conversation, following the announcement by Toulon than the 53-Test veteran had signed a 2-year contract with the French club.
Cooper, the Reds and the ARU vehemently denied his departure is a done deal – accusing the Top 14 club of jumping the gun.
It is now reported that Cooper has been offered a 4-year flexible contract by the ARU, which will allow him to play in Japan during the off-season and return for Super Rugby to remain eligible for the Wallabies.
Reds coach Richard Graham, addressing a media scrum in Brisbane on Monday, said they remain optimistic that Cooper will not take up the Toulon offer.
The top-of-the-table Hurricanes have announced the re-signing of Nehe Milner-Skudder and Matt Proctor until at least the end of 2017.
Both Milner-Skudder, 24, and Proctor, 22, have proven themselves to be elusive members of the Hurricanes’ backline, and coach Chris Boyd said they would both be key figures in the team’s future.
“They’re both local products of the Hurricanes franchise, and it’s no secret that both of these guys are exciting talents.
Waratahs and Wallabies hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau could take a long leave of absence from rugby or even the quit the game entirely if he suffers another heavy head knock.
Polota-Nau, who has been working with Australian neurologists on the effects of concussion, was forced from the ground with a head injury early in the Waratahs’ Super Rugby win over the Brumbies in Canberra on Friday.
The 29-year-old was also forced to miss a couple of games in the southern hemisphere’s provincial championship earlier in the season after suffering another blow to the head at training.
4 Months out from the World Cup, Polota-Nau, who has amassed 50 caps for Australia despite battling a litany of injuries throughout his career, said he was taking a cautious approach to his playing future.