The opening round featured a number of close matches and a number of good ones, with some teams offering pleasant surprises and only a couple proving disappointing. Otago was one side that looked pretty handy, putting Harbour to the sword in far from ideal conditions at Dunedin. North Harbour v Tasman at Albany (Tuesday 6.05pm) [...]
Robinson hangs up his boots World Cup winner Jason Robinson has announced his retirement from rugby for the second and, he insists, final time. Ford up for IRB award England Under-20 fly-half George Ford has been nominated for the IRB’s junior player of the year award. Dowding handed Ospreys deal The Ospreys have awarded Army prop Lance Bombardier Ken Dowding a 12-month deal after he impressed while training with the region last term.
Kingsley Jones has named his first Churchill Cup team ahead of Russia’s opening game at Esher on Wednesday.
Veteran All Black scrumhalf Byron Kelleher became a free agent on Monday after French Top 14 outfit Bayonne tore up his pre-contract committing him to join them next season. The 35-year-old – capped 57 times by New Zealand – signed a pre-contract with the ambitious French club at the beginning of the year when Toulouse told him he would not be retained after this season.
USA Eagles coach Eddie O’Sullivan has rung the changes for his sides Churchill Cup clash with Tonga, who are making their first appearance in the tournament, on Wednesday. Only wing Colin Hawley and try-scoring lock Scott Lavalla are retained for the Eagles from the side that went down 87-8 to the England Saxons on Saturday. There is a new halfback combination in Tim Usaz and Nese Malifa and Sevens player Paul Emerick – who also played in the 2007 World Cup, is brought in at centre
The Metropolis RFC and Syracuse battled it out in the Emirates Airline USA Rugby Men’s DIII Club Championship on Sunday in Glendale, Colorado. Metropolis won the match 46-25 and are the new Men’s DIII National Champions.
The Glendale Raptors claimed their first ever National Championship on Sunday in thrilling fashion over the Olympic Club of San Francisco in front of an empassioned home crowd. With a final score of 20-15, Glendale’s ability to score tries and finish attacking moves led them to a victory. The first half saw each sides tactics become apparent. Olympic Club rated Keegan Engelbrecht’s trusty boot to give his side the advantage. Glendale opted for a flowing open attacking style that allowed their potent back three to unleash their pace. Glendale’s tactics prevailed.
Owen Farrell is targeting Heineken Cup glory after guiding Saracens to the Aviva Premiership title. Saracens failed to progress from a tough group last season but they lurk as a team to avoid when the draw for the 2011/12 competition is made at Twickenham on Tuesday
All Black coach Graham Henry and Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder expressed their relief that Sonny Bill Williams emerged from his latest boxing match without injury. Williams defeated Tongan gospel singer Alipate Liava’a by a unanimous points decision after six rounds and Henry commented that the fact that his opponent was much shorter than him probably made things more difficult for the All Black inside centre. He told The Press : “He’s in one piece and that’s the main thing.
Bad boy Danny Cipriani is free to play for the Rebels again. He will return for their last two league matches – against the v Brumbies in Canberra and Western Force in Melbourne – after his franchise decided to lift the in-house ban on the flyhalf. The 23-year-old hasn’t played since late April, when he was suspended following a series of off-field breaches