Weekly Round Up

Weekly Round Up

Perenara commits to New Zealand

All Black scrum-half TJ Perenara has extended his contract with the New Zealand Rugby until the end of 2017.

The Hurricanes vice-captain has played 26 Tests for the All Blacks after making his debut in 2014.

Lydiate renews with Ospreys on National Dual Contract

Ospreys have announced the re-signing of Dan Lydiate on a National Dual Contract.

Lydiate is one of four National Dual Contracted players, along with Sam Warburton, Hallam Amos and Samson Lee, recommitting their future to the game in Wales.

British and Irish Lion, Lydiate, returned to Welsh rugby on a NDC with the Ospreys from Racing Metro in December 2014 and has gone on to make 27 appearances for the Region, scoring one try, against the Scarlets in only his second game in an Ospreys shirt.

The 28-year old has played 57 times for Wales and in all three tests on the Lions tour to Australia three years ago.

Sam Warburton signs new National Dual Contract

Cardiff Blues have confirmed that Sam Warburton has signed a new National Dual Contract with the region.

The Wales captain, who has made 96 appearances for the Cardiff Blues, made his regional debut for the Blues against Edinburgh in 2009, and went on to win his first Wales Cap in the same year.

To date, Sam made 67 Test appearances for Wales, winning two Six Nations titles, including a Grand Slam and two during the British & Irish Lions Test Series victory over Australia, in which he was captain.

Brodie Retallick ruled out of Ireland test

Brodie Retallick has been ruled out with a concussion and will miss New Zealand's rugby test against Ireland at Chicago on Saturday.

Uncapped lock Vaea Fifita has been called into the All Blacks squad as injury cover joining uncapped Crusaders second-rower Scott Barrett.

Retallick, world player of the year in 2014, joins fellow lock Sam Whitelock on the sidelines, stripping the All Blacks of two classy ball winners and midfield targets.

Scrumhalf Aaron Smith is likely to make a return to the New Zealand team after missing recent tests against South Africa and Australia because of a disciplinary suspension.

Hong Kong Sevens coach Gareth Baber appointed to coach Fiji Sevens

The Hong Kong Rugby Union has announced that Hong Kong Sevens coach Gareth Baber has been appointed the new head coach of the Fiji Rugby Union’s men’s Sevens team, the reigning Olympic and World Rugby HSBC Sevens Series champions.

Baber, who was appointed as the men’s sevens coach and head coach of the elite rugby sevens programme at the Hong Kong Sports Institute in 2013, will assume his new post early next year.

He has been appointed on an initial four-year contract with Fiji, which will take the reigning Olympic champions through to the next Summer Games in Japan in 2020.

Stephen Larkham to leave Brumbies after 2017

Wallabies assistant and Brumbies Head Coach Stephen Larkham will move permanently into the Wallabies coaching team at the end of the 2017 Super Rugby season after signing a new three-year contract with the Australian Rugby Union.

Larkham, who joined the Wallabies coaching team in February 2015 and has occupied dual roles as Wallabies Attack Coach and Brumbies Head Coach for the past two seasons, will leave his role with the Brumbies at the end of the team’s 2017 campaign.

The 102-Test former Wallabies flyhalf is now locked into Michael Cheika’s Wallabies coaching team until the end of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Salvi ruled out with bicep injury

Exeter have lost the services of flanker Julian Salvi for the rest of the year due to a bicep injury.

The 31-year-old Australian picked up the injury during the Chiefs' narrow Champions Cup loss to Ulster and needs surgery.

"We're still waiting to learn the full extent of it but it looks relatively serious," said head coach Rob Baxter.

"He does put in a huge contribution over 80 minutes, and that's probably what we'll miss the most. His biggest quality is his consistency. He turns up every week, and even when we've had some poor performances and even when some individuals within the side have played poorly, Julian's contribution has always been absolutely first rate," added Baxter.

Salvi joined the Chiefs in the summer of 2015 from Leicester and became a key part of the side that made last season's Premiership final.

Kriel & Du Plessis to miss end of year Springbok tour

Jaco Kriel sustained a grade two tear of his left MCL in Japan & will be out of action for approximately four weeks, so he will not be available for the end of year Springbok tour.

Experienced Jannie Du Plessis has withdrawn from the Springbok squad because of personal reasons. His wife will be giving birth to the couple's third child in early November. 

He was due to join the Springboks in London in two weeks' time to prepare for the Test against England at Twickenham on 12 November.

Due to Kriel and Du Plessis' absence, Springbok coach Allister Coetzee on Thursday confirmed that flank Nizaam Carr and prop Lourens Adriaanse will remain with the Springbok squad for the entire Tour as replacements.

“Jannie has a wealth of experience, he still has a lot to offer and he stays part of our plans. I want to wish him and his wife well as they are looking forward to welcome a third addition to their family.”

The Springboks will have their final training session on home soil on Friday morning before flying out to London in the early evening.

Michael Hooper wins second John Eales Medal

Waratahs Captain and Wallabies vice-captain, Michael Hooper has won the 2016 John Eales Medal after first claiming the title back in 2013.

The number seven beat out David Pocock by 107 votes to win the award, with his back row partner finishing second despite missing five Tests in 2016, with his World Cup domination propelling him up the leaderboard.

The 24-year-old was also voted the fan favourite for a remarkable fourth year in a row, with his award double answering some early season critics.

Gary Gold resigns for Sharks

After two years as Sharks' Director of Rugby, Gary Gold has requested the opportunity to pursue another avenue in his rugby career.

Commenting on his decision to step down, Gold said: “I have had an unbelievably enjoyable two years in Durban, with many highs and a few lows.  There is an exciting group of youngsters that are currently in the system, who have great futures ahead of them.”

“I look forward to the next challenge in my career and I would like to thank everyone at The Sharks for the great memories and the wonderful opportunity I was given to be at the helm of a fantastic team, the Cell C Sharks.”

Johan Snyman suspended for five weeks

Brive second row, Johan Snyman, has been suspended for five weeks after being cited in the European Rugby Challenge Cup, Round 2 match between Worcester Warriors and Brive.

Snyman was cited for a dangerous tackle on the Worcester Warriors player, Tom Heathcote, in the 49th minute of the match at Sixways Stadium in contravention of Law 10.4 (e).

Taking into account a one-week break in the TOP 14 match schedule, Snyman is free to play on Monday, 5 December 2016. Both the player and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.

Oliviero Fabiani suspended for nine weeks

Zebre Rugby hooker, Oliviero Fabiani, has been suspended for nine weeks after being sent off during the European Rugby Champions Cup, Round 2 match between Zebre Rugby and Connacht Rugby.
Fabiani plead guilty for biting Connacht second row, Quinn Roux, in the 29th minute of the match at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi in contravention of Law 10.4 (m).

The Committee initially selected 18 weeks as the appropriate entry point, but then decided to reduce the sanction to nine weeks due to Fabiani's timely guilty plea, expression of remorse and clean disciplinary record before imposing a suspension of nine weeks.

Fabiani is free to play on Monday, 9 January 2017. Both the player and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.

Reds coaching team finalised for 2017

The Queensland Rugby Union has finalised the St.George Queensland Reds coaching staff for the 2017 season, backing its own pathway to provide the support for head coach Nick Stiles.

Joining Stiles in the coaching ranks will be 2016 Queensland Under 20s head coach Jason Gilmore (assistant coach – defence) and McInnes Wilson Lawyers Brisbane City assistant Shane Arnold (assistant coach – attack).

Former Rugby World Cup-winning All Black Brad Thorn will take over as Queensland Under 20s head coach in 2017, while also supporting the Reds as a contact coach.

National Skills Coach Mick Byrne will also have an involvement with the team and a strong support role with the coaching team.

The Reds begin pre-season training on Monday 21 November, in preparation for their opening Super Rugby match against the Sharks at Suncorp Stadium on Friday 24 February 2017.

Shillcock commits future to Warriors

Warriors Academy youngster Jamie Shillcock has committed his future to the Club by signing a new deal with the first-team.

The versatile back, who can play at scrum-half, fly-half or full-back, was handed his first start for the Club in September against Bath Rugby where he impressed with two assists and two try-saving tackles.

His recent form has also seen him recalled to the England Under 20 squad alongside five of his fellow Warriors teammates.

Toomua faces 6 months out with knee injury

Leicester centre Matt Toomua faces six months on the sidelines with a knee injury.

The 26-year-old needs surgery after suffering posterior cruciate ligament damage during Sunday's 27-17 European Champions Cup win over Racing 92.

"Not having Matt and Manu is clearly disappointing but we have good young players," said boss Richard Cockerill after also losing Manu Tuilagi.

"We know the quality of Matt and Manu. But Manu is making good progress and we will hopefully have him back on the field soon."

The Australia international joined the club from Super Rugby side Brumbies before the start of the season.

Keith Earls suspended for two weeks

Munster Rugby's Keith Earls has been suspended for two weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in London today (Wednesday) after the European Rugby Champions Cup, Round 2 match between Munster Rugby and Glasgow Warriors.
Earls was sent off by referee for a dangerous tackle on the Glasgow Warriors hooker, Fraser Brown, in the 19th minute of the match at Thomond Park in contravention of Law 10.4 (j):

He will be free to play on Monday, 7 November. Both the player and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.

Dunn signs long-term contract extension

Tom Dunn has signed a new, long-term contract extension with Bath Rugby, the Club has confirmed.

The 23-year-old hooker has made the transition from Academy to Senior Squad in 2015 after starting his career with the Club as a University Scholar whilst studying at the University of Bath.

Dunn  made his starting debut later that season against Bucharest, scoring a try in the process.

Hudson forced to retire from professional rugby

Gloucester Rugby can confirm today that second row James Hudson has retired from professional rugby with immediate effect having failed to overcome a serious knee injury.
The 34-year-old , who joined the club from Newcastle Falcons ahead of the 2013-14 season, injured his knee when he appeared as a replacement in Gloucester's first preseason friendly in September 2015, away at Exeter Chiefs.

Hudson made over 250 appearances in a career, which included representing Bath Rugby, London Irish and Newcastle Falcons as well as Gloucester in the Premiership.
However, having also played for England against the Barbarians and on two Churchill Cup tours, he will remain with the Cherry and Whites in the role of Performance Nutritionist.

England 33-man squad for Wealth Series

Eddie Jones has announced his 33-man squad for the Old Mutual Wealth Series against South Africa, Fiji, Argentina and Australia.

With 10 players unavailable through injury, Jones has named six uncapped players in the squad. Tight-head prop Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins) joins back-row forward Nathan Hughes (Wasps) and second-row Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby) in the forwards. Wing Mike Haley (Sale Sharks), fly–half Alex Lozowski (Saracens) and centre Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors) are included in the backs. 

After recovering from a lengthy injury, wing Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby) returns to the England set-up, as do back-row forwards Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby), Tom Wood (Northampton Saints) and second-row Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby).

See full squad here

Force sign Michael Ruru

The Western Force have added another Perth-based product to their senior list, with Nedlands scrumhalf Michael Ruru signing with the club for the 2017 Super Rugby season.

The half back had a standout year taking out the PG Hampshire award in the Pindan Premier Grade, winning tournament MVP at the World Club 10s in Mauritius and played a third consecutive year in the Buildcorp National Rugby Championship for the Perth Spirit.

Jenkins withdraws from Australia Men's 7s captaincy

Australian Men’s Sevens team will have a changing of the guard for its 2016/17 World Rugby Sevens Series campaign with Ed Jenkins electing to step down from his role as Captain.

Jenkins informed teammates of his decision over the weekend and said it was a move he had always planned to make post the Rio Olympic Games.

Lewis Holland has been appointed Club Captain for the Aussie Men’s Sevens program, although the playmaker will miss the entire 2016/17 World Series campaign after suffering a ruptured achilles during a pre-season training session.

Nel sidelined with neck injury

Edinburgh have announced that Scotland international tighthead prop WP Nel has been ruled out for at least four weeks with a neck injury.

“Tighthead prop WP Nel exacerbated an ongoing neck complaint during Edinburgh Rugby’s European Challenge Cup victory over Harlequins on Saturday at BT Murrayfield Stadium,” read a statement from the PRO12 outfit.

“Following specialist review, it has been advised Nel commence a four-week rehabilitation programme before further assessment.

“He will be unavailable for selection and remain in the care of the club’s medical team during this period.”

Zirakashvili extends his Clermont stay

Clermont have announced that experienced tighthead prop Davit Zirakashvili has put pen to paper on a new contract with the Top 14 side.

The 33-year-old, who has been in great form for the club since joining in 2004, signs an extension that ties him to Stade Marcel Michelin until 2020.

Zirakashvili has 53 caps for Georgia and has featured in three Rugby World Cups (2007, 2011 and 2015).

Ollie Lindsay-Hague joins England 7s

Ollie Lindsay-Hague has been added to the England Sevens squad for the 2016/17 World Rugby Sevens Series.

"It's great to have Ollie joining us full time for the season," said England Sevens Head Coach Simon Amor.

"He was outstanding during the GB preparations and in Rio as well. Ollie is a superb player, who has exceptional feet and on his day he is un-defendable. Everyone is excited to see what he can bring to the group on a permanent basis."

Having recently left Premiership club Harlequins in August, the 26-year-old was also part of the Team GB sevens squad that won a silver medal at the Rio Olympics in the summer.

Chris Ashton to join Toulon next season

Saracens can confirm that wing Chris Ashton will join Toulon next season.

The 29-year old England international will link up with the Top 14 outfit for the 2017/18 campaign after five seasons with Saracens where he became the club’s leading try scorer and won two Premiership titles and a European Champions Cup with the Men in Black. 

On leaving Saracens at the end of the season, Chris Ashton said:  “I’d like to put on record my thanks to Mark McCall, our Chairman Nigel Wray and the whole team at Saracens for the manner in which they have dealt with my request to join Toulon next season. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Allianz Park and I have made so many special memories on and off the field.

“I have developed as a player during my time with Sarries but more importantly I have developed as a person, and I will always be indebted to the Club for that.

“There is a tremendous culture at Saracens and the bond between everyone here is very tight. It will be a real wrench for me to leave all that behind at the end of the season but I’m looking forward to a new challenge at Toulon next year.  My focus now is helping the squad prepare for Leicester Tigers on Saturday, contribute to the side when I return to action later this year and hopefully make a few more memories together in a black and red shirt.”

Aki & Dillane sign contract extensions with Connacht

Connacht Rugby and the IRFU have announced the contract renewals of senior players Bundee Aki and Ultan Dillane.
Aki has signed a three-year extension to bring his stay at Connacht up to the summer of 2020. Since arriving in 2014, the centre has made 47 appearances for Connacht and was instrumental in the province's PRO12 title success last season.
Second row Dillane has signed a two-year extension to his current deal. The powerful ball carrier made his 34th appearance for Connacht in Sunday's bonus-point, Champions Cup win over Zebre.
Scotland squad for the 2016 Autumn Tests

Head Coach Vern Cotter today named a 31-man Scotland squad for the forthcoming 2016 Autumn Test matches against Australia, Argentina and Georgia next month.


Prop Zander Fagerson and Olympic silver medal winning centre Mark Bennett join the group, having represented Scotland U20 and Team GB during the summer.


The group is completed by the inclusion of uncapped 24-year-old Edinburgh Rugby prop Allan Dell after it was confirmed that club mates Willem Nel and Rory Sutherland have both been ruled out of the forthcoming Autumn Tests.


See full squad here


Wallabies 32-man squad for 2016 Spring Tour


Wallabies Coach Michael Cheika has named a 32-man squad for the Spring Tour for Tests against Wales, Scotland, France, Ireland and England.

Marika Koroibete, who has joined the Melbourne Rebels on a two-year deal, has been named alongside fellow uncapped players Kyle Godwin and Tolu Latu, who were both standouts in the Buildcorp National Rugby Championship for NSW Country Eagles.

Koroibete could become the first player since Tatafu Polota-Nau in 2005 to play for the Qantas Wallabies before making his Super Rugby debut.

Nine of the 11 debutants from 2016 have made the squad, although powerful centre Samu Kerevi has been forced out of the tour after undergoing surgery for a syndesmosis injury suffered during the Wallabies' 37-10 defeat to New Zealand in Auckland last Saturday.

See full squad here

Glasgow sign Waikato lock

New Zealand-born lock Brian Alainu'uese has joined Glasgow Warriors from Waikato for the rest of the PRO12 season.

The deal is subject to a visa and medical, but the 22-year-old arrived in Glasgow on Saturday and trained for the first time with his new team-mates today (Monday).

Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend said: "Brian has a real physical presence and has played well for Waikato in the Mitre Cup this season. 

"He has the ability to play an offloading game and will help our set-piece play. With Greg Peterson, Scott Cummings and Tjiuee Uanivi currently injured, we’re delighted to secure the services of such a quality second-row, and we're looking forward to integrating him into our squad."

Alainu’uese played six times and scored three tries in his first season for Waikato. His performances earned him a call-up to the Samoan under-20s due to his island heritage, where he played five times and scored one try.

Maro Itoje ruled out for 6 weeks

Maro Itoje, the Saracens and England lock, will require surgery after fracturing his right hand in Saracens’ 44-26 win over Scarlets on Saturday and has been ruled out of action for six weeks.

Mark McCall, Saracens Director of Rugby, said: “For any team to lose a player of the ability of Maro is a blow and he will be missed through the autumn for both Saracens and England.

“What’s now important for Maro is his recovery and we look forward to his return later this season.”

Lions sign Sithole

The Golden Lions have announced the signing of Western Province prop Sithembiso Sithole for the 2017 season.

The 23-year-old spent most of 2016 on loan with the Southern Kings but will now head to Johannesburg to join the Lions.

Newcastle Falcons prop Taione Vea forced to retire

Newcastle Falcons prop Taione Vea has been forced to retire from rugby as a result of the spinal injury he suffered in the Premiership opener against Sale Sharks on September 2.

“I took a bad knock in the game against Sale and spent a few nights in hospital, and when I had my scan results unfortunately things didn’t come back too well," said Vea.

“...I was left paralysed for five or six minutes on the field, where I couldn’t feel my whole body. That is enough for anybody in a lifetime, and the risk of that happening again if I was to return to playing is quite high. It is obviously not the way I wanted to go."

The 27-year-old made 22 competitive appearances for the club after joining from London Welsh in the summer of 2015, and has been capped six times by Tonga.

Mike Ford succeeds Diego Dominguez for Toulon

Mike Ford has made a return to top-flight coaching, with the former England defence coach appointed first-team coach of French Top 14 club Toulon, just four months after his dismissal by Bath.

Ford will be responsible for attack, defence and overall game plan, after impressing club owner Mourad Boudjellal during a meeting last week.

He is due to start work today (Monday) and it is understood that his contract will run to the end of the season with the option of two more years.

Joe Schmidt commits to Ireland for RWC19

The Irish Rugby Football Union has today confirmed that Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt will continue on his current contract up to the end of the Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan.
Appointed ahead of the 2013 Guinness Series, Schmidt has been involved in a period of sustained success and achievement with the national team.

Back-to-back RBS 6 Nations Championships were secured in 2014 and 2015, a first Test Series win in the southern hemisphere was recorded in Argentina in 2014 and a first ever Test victory on South African soil was achieved in Cape Town at the end of the 2015/16 season.

David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director, commented: "Joe is one of the leading coaches in world rugby and it is fantastic for Irish rugby that he has committed until the end of the World Cup cycle.  We have a talented group of coaches and Joe has been central to attracting coaching talent and driving success with the national team.”

Joe Schmidt, Ireland Head Coach, added: "I'd like to thank the IRFU for their patience and confidence as the decision to continue took somewhat longer than I'd anticipated.

"The strength of the rugby community has been incredibly visible over the past week and the enthusiasm of management and players to improve and compete is complemented by a really positive camaraderie.

"Looking forward there are positive signs with the U20s finalists at the Junior World Championships this year, the provinces topping three of the five European Champions Cup pools as well as Ulster and Leinster sharing the lead of the PRO12 at present."

Since taking over the head coach position in November 2013, Schmidt has capped 71 players including 26 new caps. 

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