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Rugby Union News with John Hopkins

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    D-Mail Email Marketing System Rugby Union News Desk Always going forward The Rugby News below is compiled by John A Hopkins from the rugby_www website Rugby
    Message 1 of 5 , Oct 1, 2004
      D-Mail Email Marketing System
        Rugby Union News Desk
        'Always going forward'
       
       

      The Rugby News below is compiled by John A Hopkins  from the rugby_www website

      Rugby Union news from around the world.
       
      If you are not a member of John's mailing list I recommend you click
      here and join this excellent Rugby Union News service.     

      Gary Roberts

      Coventry aid fire-hit school


      Players from National League One club Coventry are helping children from Deedmore School in the city recover from a major fire earlier this year.

      Deedmore, a primary school for children with learning disabilities, lost its hall and play equipment in the blaze in January and was forced to re-locate to the nearby Limbrick Wood School while the building was rebuilt.

      In response to the fire Coventry in partnership with Jaguar, one of their partners in a Sportsmatch-backed schools coaching scheme, agreed to run a programme of Tag Rugby coaching for the Deedmore youngsters. The scheme proved so successful that it is about to be launched again for the new school year.

      "We found that coaching youngsters rugby helped to improve their co-ordination and concentration skills," explained Coventry hooker Dave Addleton, who led the Deedmore project.

      "We run coaching courses for other similar schools in Coventry such as The Meadows but the decision to go into Deedmore came after the fire and the re-location to Limbrick Wood.

      "The response from the kids has been fantastic and we look forward to continuing the coaching this term."

      Yvonne McCall, head teacher at Deedmore, said: Our pupils have benefited greatly from this opportunity. Their co-ordination, ball skills and team building has developed enormously.

      "Our pupils look forward to this session each week and their confidence has grown. We would like to thank Coventry and Jaguar for funding it."

      Further information about Coventry's Schools Coaching schemes can be obtained from Dave Addleton on: 07958 272826.


      Tempers fray as Top 16 hots up

      First versus second showdown in L'Ovalie.

      Undefeated leaders Agen play host to second-placed Perpignan on Friday night in a weekend stuffed with significant matches in France.

      The talk this week has centred on controversy surrounding the men in the middle. Several games went down to the wire last weekend, and the Gallic passion was evidently aroused.

      In Auch, referee Patrick Thomas was attacked by an irate spectator after a last-minute score by Brive stole Auch's first success of the season from them. Auch face disciplinary procedures on October 13.

      In Perpignan, the referee was subject to a tirade of abuse from some of the fans and one or two players as Perpignan grimly held on for their victory.

      Biarritz coach Patrice Lagisquet has lashed out at the French Federation (FFR), saying that video referees need to be present at every game, not just the final rounds, after referee Didier Mene disallowed what seemed a perfectly good try for Biarritz during their defeat to Toulouse last week.

      However, one of Biarritz's most famous members, Serge Blanco, has said it would prove too expensive and be a waste of money.

      Toulouse won the game 26-25 with an 86th minute penalty, and the disallowed try was just one of many perceived errors by Mene during the match.

      The website of the National League even went as far as to publish an article entitled 'Don't shoot the ref!' in reaction to the  controversy, which implored spectators and players alike to stay calm and respect the man in the middle.

      The self-restraint of all could well be tested to the full this week.

      As well as the play-off between the top two, fifth-placed Toulouse visit third-placed Brive, and Stade Français entertain a Biarritz team feeling thoroughly down on its luck after a run of three narrow and often unfortunate defeats.

      Both Stade and Biarritz are seeking to put themselves in a more meaningful position in the table than the eighth and sixth positions they respectively currently occupy.

      Perpignan will provide the stiffest test undefeated Agen have faced so far. Les Agenais have based their rugby unashamedly on defence and dour tactics. They are yet to accrue a single bonus point, and have only scored seven tries in seven matches, as many as Biarritz wing Jimmy Marlu alone!

      Perpignan are the leading bonus point scorers in the Top 16, and have made up four of the six regular points by which Agen lead them by dint of their try-scoring ability. A win would see them take over at the top.

      The Catalan club announced this week that they are officially seeking a utility back after yet another player, wing Michael Konieck, was sidelined with a hernia injury.

      Stade welcome back Augustin Pichot and Mauro Bergamasco, and have signed Natal Sharks' No.8 Shaun Sowerby until the end of the season.

      But as the two return from injury, so two others enter the doctor's office: Pieter de Villiers (hand, one month) and Olivier Brouzet (back, two weeks).

      Nobody's injury list is as extensive as Biarritz's though. Couzinet, Chouchan, Etcheverria, Menieu, Pueloto, Dussautoir and Olibeau are all out for the time being.

      Brive have signed Jerome Guisset from Warrington Wolves as cover for their back row, and are confident of victory over Les Toulousains because they have only conceded six tries this season, whereas Toulouse have conceded 15.

      Toulouse are still without Frédéric Michalak, and are sweating on the fitness of scrum-half Jean-Baptiste Elissalde for Saturday's Brive match.

      Castres are looking to bounce back from their first defeat of the season at Bourgoin, and ought to do so at home to a struggling Narbonne team, which was further weakened this week by the loss to injury of fly-half Louis Koen, who has suffered knee cartilage
      damage.

      Beziers president Olivier Nicollin called a press conference on Thursday ordering victory in three of the upcoming four matches.

      Bezier face teams in the lower half of the division, and must win them all to still be in with a shout of a playoff place.

      Their job starts on Saturday at home to Grenoble.

      Clermont-Auvergne are still fighting to stop the under-performance from a star-studded team, and a home match against Bourgoin (who are notoriously weak on the road) looks to be an obvious chance to do just that.

      Bottom club Auch travel to Montpellier in search of their first win with the disciplinary hearing hanging over their heads, but buoyed by their narrow defeat to Brive.

      Montpellier are also in need of a win to keep themselves in touch with the play-off places.

      Bayonne and Pau square up to one another in the final match which will help the winner escape uncomfortable proximity to the relegation zone.

      Top 16 fixtures - Round Eight:

      Friday:

      Agen v Perpignan

      Saturday:

      Stade Français v Biarritz
      Brive v Toulouse
      Castres v Narbonne
      Beziers v Grenoble
      Bayonne v Pau
      Clermont Auvergne v Bourgoin
      Montpellier v Auch

      The clubs in the Pro D2 have a week off, and resume pleasantries on
      the 9 October.

      Three-way race for RWC 2011

      Buenos Aires looking to link up with South African bid It has officially become a three-way race in the bidding process to host the 2011 Rugby World Cup. The International Rugby Board (IRB) on Friday confirmed that 'expressions of interest' had been received from three countries - New Zealand, South Africa and Japan.

      South Africa confirmed their intention on Thursday along with New Zealand, whilst Japan informed the IRB of their plans last week.

      Mike Miller, Managing Director of RWC Ltd., confirmed the three official entries in a statement published on Friday.

      "It is very encouraging that three of our member Unions have shown an interest in hosting the world's premier rugby event, and it reflects the growth in popularity of the game worldwide," said Miller.

      The announcement by the IRB also quashes recent rumours that England or other European countries could enter the 2011 race. The deadline  for submissions of intent was 17.00 Dublin time (18.00 GMT) on Thursday and those who missed that deadline have now lost out on the
      opportunity to stage the showpiece event.

      Former South Africa captain François Pienaar, CEO of the South African bid committee, and Mthobi Tyamzashe (BIDCO chairman) confirmed on Thursday that the letter of intent has been handed to the IRB.

      Pienaar, who lead the Boks to victory in the 1995 Rugby World Cup which was held in South Africa, expressed his excitement at the opportunity for South Africa and indeed the entire African continent, to bid for another major sports event.

      Government support for the SA bid has not been finalised, but a comprehensive presentation to the sports commission will soon resolve this.

      The Argentine Rugby Union (UAR) made it clear that they would be interested in staging a game in Buenos Aires if it is staged by  South Africa.

      New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) chief executive Chris Moller also confirmed that New Zealand had officially registered his union's desire with the IRB prior to the deadline.

      "The NZRU has in writing expressed its interest in hosting the tournament in 2011, and that interest has been confirmed by the IRB," Moller said in a statement on Friday.

      New Zealand was the first country to host a World Cup, back in 1987.

      New Zealand's intention to be sole hosts follows the shambles of their failed bid to co-host the 2003 RWC bid, which was awarded in its entirety to Australia.

      France is staging the 2007 World Cup and some of the matches will be played in Wales and Scotland.

      The final decision on the hosting arrangements for 2011 will be made by the IRB Council in November 2005.

      The timelines are as follows:

      * November 2004 - Minimum criteria for hosting the Tournament approved.
      * November 2004 - Tender documents sent to the three interested Unions.
      * January 2005 - Confirmation for the unions following their review of the tender documents.
      * May 2005 - Formal submission of tenders.
      * November 2005 - IRB Council decision on Host Union for RWC 2011

      Dallaglio makes a timely return for Wasps

      Champions limp up to Northampton

      Injury-hit London Wasps have named their side for Saturday's Zurich Premiership trip to Northampton Saints.

      The champions have over a dozen men in the sickbay, but the good news is that former England captain Lawrence Dallaglio has recovered  form his rib injury and will start at No.8, with Joe Worsley reverting to the blindside flank.

      Samoa hooker Trevor Leota also makes a return to the squad after arriving back from New Zealand with his visa in order. He replaces Ben Gotting who sprained his foot and should be out for two weeks.

      In the backline, Peter Richards moves to No.13 with Rob Hoadley getting his first start at No.12.

      "Saints are a tough side to beat and we've lost our last three league games at Franklin's Gardens," said Wasps boss Warren Gatland.

      "We also have a long injury list, but I'm confident our squad can get us through this difficult time and this game.

      "We've played well at periods during the last two games but we must sustain that for the whole of Saturday"

      Wasps current injury list reads like a who's who of world rugby: Stuart Abbott (shoulder), Craig Dowd (Achilles), Ayoola Erinle (knee), Ben Gotting (ankle), Will Green (shoulder), Rob Howley (wrist), Josh Lewsey (hand), Matt Priscott (shoulder), Martin Purdy (shoulder), Simon Shaw (neck), George Skivington (hand), Fraser Waters (ankle).

      London Wasps: 15 Mark Van Gisbergen, 14 Michael Roberts, 13 Peter Richards, 12 Rob Hoadley, 11 Tom Voyce, 10 Alex King, 9 Matt Dawson, 8 Lawrence Dallaglio (captain), 7 Jonny O'Connor, 6 Joe Worsley, 5 Richard Birkett, 4 John Hart, 3 Tim Payne, 2 Phil Greening, 1
      Alistair McKenzie.
      Replacements: 16 Trevor Leota, 17 Henry Nwume, 18 Mark Lock, 19
      James Haskell, 20 Harvey Biljon, 21  Edd Thrower, 22 James Brooks.

      Kick-off: 15.00 (14.00 GMT)

      Province keeping pace with Chavhanga

      Japanese winger desires Province

      Zippy Zimbabwean born winger Tonderai Chavhanga is close to confirming his move to Western Province next season. Province CEO, Rob Wagner told this website that he is confident Chavhanga will sign for the Newlands outfit "shortly".

      This follows on the news this week that Japanese winger Yohei Shinomiya is also keen join Western Province.

      WP, and for that matter the Stormers, have already secured the services of the Cheetahs' Springbok starts Gerrie Britz (lock) and Hanyani Shimange (hooker), as well as Sharks loose forward Luke Watson for next year.

      Now the 21-year old Chavhanga has his sights set on a Province and Stormers contract for next season. His decision to move to Cape Town follows a successful season with the Stormers in the 2004 Super-12.

      Chavhanga has been on the Free State Cheetahs books since Under-19 level, but has not had much senior Currie Cup game time this season due to injury.

      The speedster has had his share of controversy since his arrival in South Africa, after finishing his school career at Prince Edward in Harare.

      After playing for South Africa in the early round of the 2003/04 International Rugby Boards (IRB) Sevens, it emerged that he had not yet complied to the three-year residential qualification as stipulated by the IRB.

      This meant that he was not eligible to play for the Springboks - either in the 15-man version or Sevens - or South Africa 'A' until he had been resident in the country of his choice for three years.

      This breach had serious consequences on the SA Sevens team. Points were taken away for breaching IRB rules and they were also fined by the IRB.

      Fortunately for South African fans, he will be eligible to play for  the Boks next year after completing his three year stint in Bloemfontein.

      Meanwhile, Japanese winger Yohei Shinomiya also indicated that he is keen join WP. The 25-year old winger is a big fan of South African rugby, and sees it as a great way to gain experience.

      Province coach Carel du Plessis will view video footage of the flying winger, and will make a decision on the matter shortly.

      Bok bulldozer eyes Twickenham Test

      Schalk still strong after bruising season

      The imposing figure of Springbok and Western Province flanker Schalk Burger has been leaving his mark on the rugby pitches of the Southern Hemisphere this year, but it is north of the Equator where he is hoping to make his biggest impression in 2004.

      Speaking to us ahead of WP's crucial Currie Cup Round 13 match, against the Sharks at Newlands on Saturday, Burger talked of his childhood dream to represent his country at Twickenham.

      If injury doesn't intervene, the strapping loose forward will certainly get his chance in the third Test, against England on November 20, on the Springboks' Grand Slam tour.

      Burger feels that although the "players will be feeling tired" after a long season, he is "looking forward to the opportunity to tour with Boks".

      Burger is eyeing a revenge Test against the old enemy, England, at the hallowed turf of Twickenham. The fiery flanker said: "I've been dreaming of playing at Twickenham since I was a little boy."

      The Springboks have plenty to prove in London, following their embarrassing 53-3 defeat at the hands of England in 2002 and their comprehensive 25-6 loss to the English in their World Cup match in Perth last year.

      Burger first earned the respect of the fickle South African rugby public after a spectacular debut season for Western Province in the 2003 Currie Cup tournament.

      It only took a few matches for his talent to be recognised and he was included in the Springbok World Cup squad.

      Burger emphasised his passion for South African rugby by saying that it has been "a great honour" to play for Province and the Boks.

      The 22-year-old Province crash ball specialist's body is still at maximum power, helped by his tender age and strong genealogy. "I am feeling good, the body is still strong," he said.

      However, Burger realises the short life span of professional rugby players. "Ask me how I feel in five years," he said, when questioned about the battering he takes week after week.

      Province fans will have noticed the amount of times Burger takes on the defence through the middle on crash ball runs, without passing.

      Burger jokingly claimed that "I can't pass".

      Unfortunately the physical crash ball approach has two major problems. Firstly, teams will be anticipating Burger's solo run, thus making him a bigger target and more predictable.

      Secondly, the sheer amount of physical contact will make him more prone to injuries.

      On the flip side, Burger is excellent at recycling ball at the point of breakdown.

      Arguably South Africa's most efficient Bok flanker, he generally sets up second and third phase ball when tackled, for his team-mates to utilize.

      Speaking on his spat with Province President Koos Basson, regarding his red carding in the recent Lions game, Burger feels that "emotions were high, and it got blown out of proportion".

      His differences with Basson have been sorted out, and it's all smiles behind the scenes at Newlands.

      The Bok flanker was quick to put down claims that he had something against Luke Watson, who recently left the Sharks to further his career at Newlands next year.

      "That was just the press looking for something," Burger said about speculation surrounding the rivalry between him and Watson


      Developing Decision Makers



      Words of praise for Developing Decision Makers

      "I read the book and agree with every word. This is my style of coaching, and the emphasis I put on all coaching courses and Academies I have conducted over the last 6 years, both here in the USA and in Holland where I was Tech Director/Coach.

      "Empowering the players has given me by the far the best results from the players. At first, players were reluctant to have input into the way we play - but as each gained more confidence peak performance was increased.

      "It enhanced team culture and brought many players out of their shell - with a lot more respect being shown between player/player and player/coach."

      Geoff Old - Technical Director - USA Rugby 

      Click to 
         
      ORDER YOUR COPY HERE!


      Martens in for Sharks at Leeds

      Saint-Andre still looking for more

      Sale Sharks have made just the one change to the side that trounced Worcester so thoroughly at Edgeley Road last Friday, ahead of their Zurich Premiership trip to Leeds Tykes on Sunday.


      Wingers Mark Cueto and Steve Hanley have both recovered from leg injuries sustained last Friday, and so the only change is at scrum-half, where Sililo Martens comes in for Bryan Redpath.

      Worryingly for the other ZP title aspirants, Philippe Saint-Andre still sees room for improvement in his team, despite their 100 per  cent start to the season that has seen them beat Leicester Tigers among others.

      "We have had a good start to the season but we have not yet become the finished article," said the French coach.

      "The players have been working hard all week and are keen to maintain the momentum. Leeds Tykes are a good side with a good coach and we will respect them."

      Sale Sharks: 15.Jason Robinson, 14.Mark Cueto, 13.Chris Rhys Jones, 12.Robert Todd, 11.Steve Hanley, 10.Charlie Hodgson, 9.Sililo  Martens, 8.Sebastien Chabal, 7.Magnus Lund, 6.Chris Jones, 5.Jason White, 4.Chris Day, 3.Barry Stewart, 2.Andy Titterrell, 1.Andrew
      Sheridan.
      Replacements from: Pierre Caillet, Dean Schofield, Peter Anglesea, Stuart Turner, Sebastien Bruno, James Moore, Bryan Redpath, Mike Hercus, Josh Taumalolo.

      Bath ring the changes for Gloucester

      Barkley ousts Malone from No.10 jersey

      Bath coach John Connolly has made six changes to the squad that defeated NEC Harlequins last weekend for Saturday's Zurich Premiership visit of Gloucester.

      Olly Barkley starts at fly-half in place of Chris Malone, who drops to the bench.

      Winger Brendon Daniel returns to the Bath XV after recovering from injury, as does England star Mike Tindall who will partner Springbok international Robbie Fleck in the centre.

      In the forwards, Steve Borthwick returns after suspension to replace Rob Fidler, whilst on the bench Lee Mears (broken hand) is replaced by England Under-21 hooker Rob Hawkins.

      After two wins on the road to get the Zurich Premiership campaign back on track, Connolly believes that Saturday's sell-out West  Country derby will be his side's toughest test of the season to date.

      "They are the form side at the moment," he said.

      "They are dangerous across the board and have an incredibly strong forward unit who are good at the set pieces and line-outs, whilst their backline is also incredibly dangerous.

      "We are going to have to be at the top of our game tomorrow."

      Bath Rugby: 15 Lee Best, 14 Andy Higgins, 13 Robbie Fleck, 12 Mike Tindall, 11 Brendon Daniel, 10 Olly Barkley, 9 Martyn Wood, 8 Isaac Feaunati, 7 Michael Lipman, 6 Andy Beattie, 5 Danny Grewcock, 4 Steve Borthwick, 3 Duncan Bell, 2 Jonathan Humphreys (captain), 1
      David Barnes.
      Replacements: 16 Nick Walshe, 17 Rob Hawkins, 18 Matt Stevens, 19
      Chris Malone, 20 Spencer Davey, 21 Gareth Delve, 22 Rob Fidler.

      Kick-off: 14.15 (13.15 GMT)

      Worcester make changes for Quins clash

      Stakes are high at Sixways

      Worcester Warriors have made five changes to the side that buckled  to Sale Sharks last weekend for Saturday's Zurich Premiership encounter with NEC Harlequins at Sixways.

      Dale Rasmussen is promoted from the bench, and takes Daren O'Leary's spot on right wing.

      Matt Powell is selected at scrum-half ahead of Neil Cole, and Leon Greeff makes way for Brad Macleod-Henderson in the back row.

      Meanwhile, Neil Lyman comes in at tighthead for Colin Noon.

      With both teams propping up the bottom of the table on two points each, Saturday's victors will be afforded a little breathing space.

      Worcester Warriors: 15 Thinus Delport, 14 Dale Rasmussen, 13 Ben Hinshelwood, 12 Thomas Lombard, 11 Ben  Gollings, 10 James Brown, 9 Matt Powell,  8 Drew Hickey, 7 Pat Sanderson (captain), 6 Leon Greeff, 5 Craig Gillies, 4  Tim Collier, 3 Neil Lyman, 2 Ben Daly, 1 Tony Windo.
      Replacements: 16 Steven Sparks, 17 Lee Fortey, 18 Andre van Niekerk,
      19 Saosi Vaili, 20 Mark Gabey, 21 Clive Stuart-Smith, 22 Daren
      O'Leary.

      Kick-off: 14.00 (13.00 GMT)

      Monty assigned special comeback role

      O'Driscoll to be man-marked by Springbok fullback

      Percy Montgomery has been handed one of the most difficult tasks in world rugby in his comeback match for Newport-Gwent Dragons at home to Leinster.

      The South African full-back, who returns fresh from his Tri-Nations success with South Africa, has been installed at outside centre in a bid to keep prolific Ireland and Lions centre Brian O'Driscoll away from the Dragons tryline.

      Both players are making their season debuts after extensive international commitments, and will be champing at the bit to make their presence felt for their respective teams.

      The Dragons' match against Leinster sees the fifth-placed team in the Celtic League host the second-placed outfit, and is the most evenly-balanced of the weekend's round of matches.

      Monty has had a reputation for being lackadaisical in defence in the past, but has been lauded by critics in both the UK and South Africa for the improvement in his game during last season.

      Friday night will be his stiffest test yet as he faces up to the Irish captain, who is in line for a Lions captain role, and is arguably the world's no.1 centre on recent form.

      Otago nailed by resurgent Taranaki

      Taranaki move back into pole position

      Taranaki maintained a good chance of a semi-final place after a convincing 31-14 victory against the struggling Otago in Round Eight of the Air New Zealand NPC on Friday.

      Despite the win, hwoever, Taranaki will still need to see what happens in the remaining games this weekend to see what they have to do to make the semifinals.

      Lowly Otago looked like they had thoughts of their summer holidays, and not playing entertaining rugby.

      Taranaki's Aussie recruit Brock James, got the scoring underway with a penalty in the ninth minute.

      On two occasions Otago fly-half Shaun Webb missed penalties that could have edged his side into the game, but his attempts drifted
      wide.

      Taranaki made numerous breaks into the Otago half, but the tight Otago defence was resolute.

      James added another penalty in the 32nd minute.

      Taranaki struggled in the line-outs, but eventually got it right, spreading the ball to the backs, putting away fullback Scott Ireland to score out wide.

      Otago started the second half in the worst possible fashion when they conceded a penalty close to their line, resulting in three points, taking Taranaki to a 16-0 lead.

      That score finally got the visitors into action, scoring a typical 'smash and dash' try through All Black hooker Anton Oliver.

      Webb converted to bring the score to 16-7.

      James popped over a penalty minutes later, taking the home team to 20 points, causing Otago heads to finally drop. And the visitors were never really in the game afterwards.

      Taranaki scored two more tries through James Hilgendorf and Mark Stewart to take the game well away from Otago.

      Otago managed a consolation try through Warren Smith, bagging their second try in the process, but it was never going to be enough to ruin the Taranaki party.

      The scorers:

      For Taranaki:
      Tries: Ireland, Hilgendorf, Stewart.
      Cons: James 2
      Pens: James 4

      For Otago:
      Tries: Oliver, Smith.
      Cons: Webb 2

      MacDougall storms into Edinburgh

      League convert to add firepower to the Gunners Edinburgh have secured the signature of Rugby League convert Ben MacDougall until 2007 in a cross-code switch that Scottish Rugby
      Union (SRU) boss Ian McGeechan believes could prove an inspired move.

      The 27-year-old makes the move from the Melbourne Storm in Australia and McGeechan believes the centre, who qualifies for Scotland through a a paternal grandfather from Glasgow, can make an impact on the game in Scotland at an international level as well as
      domestic.

      "We are obviously delighted that we have been able to recruit a talented player whom we believe can not only do an excellent job for Edinburgh Rugby but could, if his performances merit it, potentially play for Scotland," said McGeechan.

      McGeechan added that the extra November Test match against MacDougall's home country next month had helped finance the deal to bring the player to Scotland.

      The Scottish team will play the Wallabies twice as part of the series, which also includes games against South Africa and Japan.

      But the arrival of MacDougall will also help plug a glaring gap left by injury to another international.

      "The loss of Tom Philip with the knee injury he sustained on our summer tour of Australia has been a blow to Edinburgh Rugby," added McGeechan.

      "I made it clear at a meeting with the professional teams and the Premier Division One clubs back in August that, if finances permitted, we would look to strengthen our professional teams without putting undue pressure on other parts of the system.

      "The revenues provided by our additional Abbey Autumn Test match against Australia mean we are able to do so.

      "We have been tracking Ben for just over a month and all the reports tell us he is a top quality player.

      "Of course, he will have to adapt from league to union but we are confident he will."

      MacDougall, meanwhile, is targeting a regular place with the Gunners before focusing on any potential Scotland call-up.

      "I'm very much looking forward to joining Edinburgh Rugby," he said.

      "I've always had at the back of my mind that I'd like to switch codes and now this fantastic opportunity has come along I've jumped at the chance.

      "I did play union in Sydney as a teenager but I'm not kidding myself that it will be anything other than a challenge to adapt.

      "But I'm really looking forward to meeting the guys at Edinburgh and getting down to the business of trying to secure a place in the starting team."

      Sharks receive late Keil blow

      More injury for struggling Sharks

      The Natal Sharks received a late blow ahead of their Currie Cup match against Western Province at Newlands on Saturday after centre Rudi Keil was ruled out because of injury.

      Keil, who was out for the majority of the season because of ligament damage to his knee, sustained further damage to the same knee after taking a knock during the Sharks' match against the Cheetahs last week.

      But Keil stressed that the two injuries were not related in any way.

      "Even if it was my other knee, or even my elbow, it would have probably been the same result," said Keil.

      "The knock was bad enough to do the damage, but it wasn't associated with the ACL damage."

      The rehabilitation for the original injury is generally six-nine months, and Keil was rushed back into the Sharks lineup after seven months, within that period.

      But Sharks coach Kevin Putt was also quick to reveal that the two injuries were not linked.

      "This is not as if he was rushed back and did further damage. The original injury was to the knee ligament [anterior cruciate ligament] and this looks to involve the cartilege, unfortunately in the same [right] knee," said Putt.

      "It is not relevant to the ligament injury at all. Sadly he has been ruled out of action for Saturday, and will now undergo a scope to assess the damage and subsequent treatment."

      Keil, who was named on the bench for the match against WP, will be replaced by Sam Gerber.

      The revised Sharks team: 15 Brett Hennessey, 14 Enrico Swartz, 13 Adrian Jacobs, 12 Trevor Halstead, 11 Henno Mentz, 10 Brent Russell, 9 Sandile Nxumalo, 8 AJ Venter, 7 Charl van Rensburg, 6 Warren Britz, 5 Johann Muller, 4 Albert van den Berg, 3 Brendon Botha, 2
      John Smit (captain), 1 Eduard Coetzee.
      Replacements: 16 Delarey du Preez, 17 Deon Carstens, 18 Nico Breedt,
      19 Solly Tyibilika, 20 David von Hoesslin, 21 Sam Gerber, 22 Conrad
      Barnard.

      Lions book their semi-final spot

      Hosts made to work for victory

      The Lions booked their place in the 2004 Currie Cup semi-finals with a 35-24 win over the Griquas at Ellis Park in Johannesburg, but the visitors came close upsetting the hosts with a
      strong second-half performance.

      In the end the score-line flattered the home team, who put in a below-par performance strewn with errors. But in the end the Lions achieved what they would have wanted - a semi-final and the maximum points.

      And with a home semi-final still in the equation the latter could prove vital for the Johannesburg outfit.

      The Lions were on the board in the fourth minute with a penalty from Nel Fourie as captain Wickus van Heerden opted for safety early on, knowing fully that with a play-off spot on the line that a win was a necessity.

      But Griquas were looking for the maximum points and came close to scoring immediately after the restart as they threw caution to the wind - taking a quick tap only for flanker Nicky van der Walt knocking on short of the line.

      Fly-half Braam van Straaten, wisely so, opted to kick the goal with the next penalty and drew the scores level for his team.

      The Lions looked full of running early on and Jaque Fourie - who was switched to the wing in a late move by Ludeke - almost went over in the corner in the next passage of play, but was smashed into touch by the Griquas' cover defence.

      But the hosts continued to run the ball up and had a huge amount of possession on which to lay a solid platform, but silly mistakes and poor vision continued to thwart their efforts.

      And in the 13th minute they almost came close to throwing away another clear opportunity before centre Bryan Habana straightened the line and burst through the defence to score.

      Fourie converted to stretch the lead further.

      But Van Straaten continued to keep Griquas in touch with his trusty boot and the veteran fly-half traded two penalties a-piece with Fourie as the game lost its shape in open play.

      The Lions, seemingly looking to run the ball at all costs, failed to use their copious possession to its full effect and too often they were turned over by the Griquas forwards in the tackle.

      But an interception from Lions scrum-half Enrico Januarie, when Griquas were putting pressure on the hosts' line, kept the score ticking over for the Lions. And Fourie soon pushed the lead to 23-9.

      Griquas, however, continued to bash away at the Lions defence and their persistence soon paid off when centre Christophe du Toit broke through the gap for the try. Van Straaten made no mistake with the conversion.

      A yellow card for Griquas prop Attie Winter shortly before the whistle cost his team dearly when Lions prop Baksteen Nel scored from the resultant lineout for the Lions to go into the break 28-16 ahead.

      After the restart the Lions hit the ground running with fullback Conrad Jantjes splitting the Griquas defenders and charging within five meters from the line, but again the final pass went astray - as did the points.

      It was Griquas who scored first with flanker Nicky van der Walt bashing his way over the line and the alarm bells must have been ringing for the Lions as their lead was cut to just five points.

      Van Straaten failed to convert, but the Griquas skipper soon slotted a long-distance penalty to close the gap within four points and to set up a tense second half.

      And it wasn't pretty with both sides throwing themselves into the fray with reckless abandon. The Lions continued to throw away chances that they had created with poor handling and even worse passing.

      And Griquas twice came close to spoiling the Lions' party in the last 10 minutes of the game only to be held up over the line by a determined defence.

      But in the end it was a piece of individual brilliance from Lions hooker Schalk Britz that proved the difference as the electric youngster danced his way through the Griquas defence before
      releasing winger John Daniels for the try.

      Fourie again added the extras to give his side enough of a buffer - securing the semi-final spot - and sealing Griquas' fate in the process.

      Man of the match: Lions scrum-half Enrico Januarie continues to his above his weight in the Currie Cup this season. And the scrappy No.9 again put in a tireless performance on Friday before he was forced off injured.

      The scorers:

      For the Lions:
      Tries: Habana, Januarie, Nel, Daniels
      Cons: Fourie 3
      Pens: Fourie 3

      For Griquas:
      Tries: Du Toit, Van der Walt
      Cons: Van Straaten
      Pens: Van Straaten 4

      The teams:

      Lions: 15 Conrad Jantjes, 14 Jaque Fourie, 13 Bryan Habana, 12
      Doppies La Grange, 11 Jorrie Muller, 10 Nel Fourie, 9 Enrico
      Januarie, 8 Roland Reid, 7 Wikus Van Heerden (captain), 6 Cobus
      Grobbelaar, 5 Willem Stoltz, 4 KleinJan Tromp, 3 Baksteen Nell, 2
      Schalk Brits, 1 Pietman Van Niekerk.
      Replacements: 16 Lukas Van Biljon, 17 Heinrich Kok, 18 Cobus
      Grobler, 19 Schalk van der Merwe, 20 Nicholas Eyre, 21 Quintin van
      Tonder, 22 John Daniels.

      Griquas: 15 Bobby Joubert, 14 Chumani Booi, 13 Christophe du Toit,
      12 Dries Scholtz, 11 Brendell Brandt, 10 Braam van Straaten
      (captain), 9 Eben Olivier, 8 Phillip van Schalkwyk, 7 Jannie
      Bornman, 6 Nicky van der Walt, 5 Duimpie Theron, 4 Johan Ackerman, 3
      Attie Winter, 2 Louis Loubser, 1 Jane du Toit.
      Replacements: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Rudi Durandt, 18 Hedley
      Wessels, 19 Windpomp van Rooyen, 20 Joshua Fowles, 21 Zane Kirchner,
      22 Gareth Krause.

      Yellow card(s): Attie Winter (Griquas, 38)

      ORDER YOUR COPY HERE!





      The Rugby News below is compiled by 
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      D-Mail Email Marketing System Rugby Union News Desk Always going forward The Rugby News below is compiled by John A Hopkins from the rugby_www website Rugby
      Message 2 of 5 , Oct 14, 2004
        D-Mail Email Marketing System
          Rugby Union News Desk
          'Always going forward'
         
         

        The Rugby News below is compiled by John A Hopkins  from the rugby_www website

        Rugby Union news from around the world.
         
        If you are not a member of John's mailing list I recommend you click
        here and join this excellent Rugby Union News service.     

        Gary Roberts

        Zurich Premiership preview - week seven

        Banana skins for the top teams?

        A quarter of the season gone, and still we cling to our slender 2-1
        lead over Stuart Barnes in the prediction stakes! But the surprises
        thrown up in last week's round of fixtures show that like the four
        clubs who have broken away at the top of the ZP, we can take nothing
        for granted.

        The top four are all on the road this week, some face tougher trips
        than others, but the nature of this year's competition is such that
        all four encounters err on the side of 'awkward'.

        The match of the week is undoubtedly at the Rec, where Bath and
        Wasps face off in a re-match of last year's ZP final, each keen to
        continue their good run after slow starts.

        Leaders Leicester travel to bottom club Harlequins, who will be
        encouraged by last week's improvement in their narrow defeat to
        Gloucester.

        Gloucester themselves become the fourth team to see just what
        improving new boys Worcester can offer at Sixways, and second-placed
        Sale face a stern test against a vastly under-performing but
        dangerous Northampton side at Franklin's Gardens.

        The hole-ridden Falcons defence will be wondering which Saracens
        team will turn up at Kingston Park: the one that swept aside the
        Saints, or the one that surrendered so meekly to Irish?

        The upwardly-mobile Exiles receive a Leeds Tykes team who are also
        keen to keep themselves away from the conundrum of the ZP relegation
        riddle.

        A week of fixtures that could see the top four put some serious
        daylight between themselves and their pursuers, but to predict that
        with confidence would be a tad hasty...

        WORCESTER v GLOUCESTER - 14:00* (Saturday)

        Gloucester must be very, very careful not to lose concentration for
        this one. They have so far conceded more penalties per game than any
        other team in the ZP, averaging 14 per outing.

        Couple this statistic with Worcester's strength on their own line-
        out, and the home side could easily make any casual approach costly
        to the Cherry and Whites.

        Both teams looked good taking the ball on last week - Worcester's
        Ben Hinshelwood was the top metre-maker in the last round, making
        155 metres against Leeds, whilst Gloucester centre Terry Fanolua
        made the highest number of clean breaks with six.

        Gloucester also made the second-highest number of clean breaks as a
        team, 15 times they broke the line against Quins.

        The key for Gloucester on Saturday will be to keep it tight. They
        are as strong as ever in the scrum, and are making the breaks in the
        backs, and crucially, they are grinding out wins even when not
        firing on all cylinders.

        Worcester's defence is creaky - they are shipping over 25 points a
        game - and if Gloucester can discipline themselves to squeeze the
        Warriors' forwards out of it, Fanolua and friends will be able to
        call the shots.

        Worcester are not quite in control of their own destiny for this
        one, unless they can conjure up something really special. However,
        if Gloucester lose concentration or shape in any way, the Warriors
        have shown they can capitalise.

        Prediction: Gloucester by 6 points.

        BATH v LONDON WASPS - 14:45 (Saturday)

        A repeat of last season's ZP Final and an intriguing match-up. Both
        teams have improved game-by-game after losing starts, and both
        produced top-notch performances last week in differing ways.

        Bath became the first team to deny the Tigers a try bonus since the
        opening day, their fearless defence missed only nine tackles during
        the match, even if they did concede 15 penalties.

        Wasps managed a try bonus for the first time this season in a
        scintillating attacking performance that saw them make an astounding
        759 metres of ground and beat 38 defenders.

        History gives Wasps the upper hand. The only time they have lost to
        Bath in the ZP since May 2001 was a one-point reversal during the
        squad-weakening 2003 Rugby World Cup, including two wins and a draw
        at the Rec.

        Wasps were superb last week, but are seriously weakened by the
        catalogue of injuries at scrum-half, which will blunt their attack.
        They would need all guns firing to break down the gnarly Bath
        tacklers.

        Bath do not have such a busy matron, and if they can repeat last
        week's stifling defence they will give Wasps a very different
        challenge to that posed by the Falcons.

        After their win against Gloucester a fortnight ago, the Rec is
        probably a much more comfortable place for them to play as well.

        Assuming both teams keep to current form, this week's result is set
        to be a repeat of that one-pointer. This time though, it could well
        go Bath's way.

        Prediction: Bath by a point

        LONDON IRISH v LEEDS TYKES - 15:00 (Saturday)

        The exiles have the perfect opportunity to do something they haven't
        managed for over a year - nail down three straight victories.

        Maybe they could even muster a try bonus point, something they have
        achieved only once in their last 28 ZP matches!

        Meanwhile, history throws up a curious pattern - the two teams are
        doing the double over each other in alternating seasons.

        In the 2001/2 and 2003/4 seasons, the Irish did the double in this
        fixture. In the season between it was the turn of Leeds. So, a
        logical deduction reveals that his will be the year of the Tykes.

        Not likely. Several aspects of the Exiles' game that had previously
        only been seen in flashes came together at Sale last week in a
        performance that must be used as a building block by Gary Gold's
        team.

        The defence was tight, the forwards unforgiving and the backs ran
        with authority.

        Leeds have improved over the season as well, and will be no
        pushovers. The returns of Iain Balshaw and Tim Stimpson have been a
        whetstone for the cutting edge of their attack, and their forwards
        are renowned for their willingness to get in amongst it.

        But they might find the Irish just a little too tough to cut at the
        Madejski on Saturday.

        Prediction: Irish by 4 points

        HARLEQUINS v TIGERS - 15:00 (Saturday)

        Bottom club hosting top club, second-leakiest defence hosting top
        scorers. As if a trip to Gloucester on the back of five defeats
        wasn't hard enough last week, now the crisis-laden Quins square up
        to the merciless Tigers.

        In 17 ZP matches between these two, Quins have won only twice. Both
        were recent, coming in April and May last year, and both were at the
        Stoop.

        At least they improved last week, recording the highest number of
        metres gained in any game this season.

        It doesn't hide the fact that they are on a hiding to nothing
        though. Leicester are winning all their scrums and nearly all their
        line-outs, while the Quins' forwards are losing too many of theirs,
        particularly their line-outs, where they have won only 76 percent on
        their own throw.

        The Tigers are also scoring try after try, and face a Quins defence
        that has conceded the most tries in the ZP, even if not quite the
        most points.

        Home advantage might help, but it will only reduce the losing margin.

        Prediction: Tigers by 22 points.

        NORTHAMPTON v SALE SHARKS - 15:00 (Saturday)

        What on earth has happened to Northampton? A month ago they had
        played two, won two, and were running in scintillating tries from
        virtually anywhere.

        Last week against Saracens they were terrible. Overlaps were
        ignored, scoring passes were dropped, and the defence which had
        looked so impregnable at the start of the season sprang enough leaks
        to sink a ship.

        The really damning statistics were the 24 times they turned over
        their ball, and the fact that despite making 21 clean breaks, they
        failed to touchdown once (they did cross the line twice, but were
        denied by the video ref).

        Perhaps they should look to Sale coach Philippe Saint-Andre for
        advice. His team has turned over less ball than any other, averaging
        twelve times per game.

        On paper, this should be a cracker. Both teams have strong and
        incisive backlines.

        Both teams have hard-running and mobile packs as well, Sale's Chris
        Jones is the top try-scoring forward in the ZP, Sebastian Chabal is
        the top carrier, and the credentials of Corné Krige and Andrew
        Blowers for the Saints need no reiteration.

        On form, this might be a very ordinary affair. Sale have simmered
        since there raucous start to the season, and they have not shown
        whether they are capable of producing a plan B when someone wise up
        to them - as Irish did last Friday.

        The Saints are in danger of losing their season before Christmas.
        Last week's errors seemed to stem more from nerves and pressure than
        anything else, and they must collectively relax and go back to
        basics before they can dream of producing their early season form
        again.

        Sale are the better bet for this one. Although they have
        traditionally struggled at Franklin's Gardens (one win in seven),
        they have been more consistent this season than the Saints.

        They have ground out a couple of wins in tough situations, which
        shows a mental resilience conspicuously absent from the Saints.
        There is no palpable sense of panic in their ranks, as there is in
        the East Midlands.

        For Northampton, an improvement in basic ball-play is critical, but
        it might not be enough.

        Prediction: Sale by 6 points.

        FALCONS V SARACENS - 15:00 (Sunday)

        Whatever the outcome, games involving the Falcons are not short of
        action. Rob Andrew's team has the loosest defence in the ZP, but the
        dishonour is tempered by their attack, which is the third-highest
        scoring.

        Cynics would say, "Ah yes, but they have Jonny Wilkinson", but two
        try bonus points belie the rumour that they might be a one-man show.

        Saracens continue to daze and confuse. Their win against Northampton
        last week was a mixture of superlative back play, opportunism, and
        hard-headed defence.

        They made 199 tackles in the match (including a season-highest 26 by
        flanker Dave Seymour), which is the highest in any game this season.
        And despite scoring three tries, they only gained 282 metres in the
        match, the lowest gain in any game last week.

        One week they are excellent, the next it all goes awry. It makes
        this job very difficult!

        At home, Saracens might have been a good bet, but they are poor on
        the road, having only won one in eight.

        Newcastle may be on a run of three straight defeats, but losses to
        Gloucester, Wasps and Leicester are hardly inexcusable, and they
        were never as hapless as Saracens were at Irish a fortnight ago.

        The only problem they must address is the tackling: 38 missed
        tackles against Wasps is a poor showing by any standard.

        Saracens' victory last week was born out of luck and opportunism
        rather than by pure rugby prowess however, and they have yet to
        convince as thoroughly this season as the Falcons have.

        If the Falcons can keep Richard Haughton at bay, and not concede too
        much soft possession to Saracens' enterprising backs, they ought to
        arrest the slide.

        Prediction: Newcastle by 9 points.



        Injured Dawson misses trip to Bath

        King on bench with facial injury

        London Wasps star Matt Dawson has been ruled out of action with a
        hamstring strain and will miss Saturday's Zurich Premiership clash
        against Bath at the Rec.


        The England scrum-half picked up the injury during Wasps' 43-29
        victory over Newcastle last weekend, and is rested as a precaution.

        Harvey Biljon start at No.9 in the absence of Dawson, Rob Howley and
        Warren Fury.

        Meanwhile, James Brooks slots in at fly-half with Alex King taking a
        pew on the bench. King took a blow to his eye last Sunday, and is
        nursing a gash that required 11 stitches above it and four
        internally.

        Elsewhere, England prop Will Green makes a return and will partner
        Tim Payne and Phil Greening up front while the rest of the pack
        remains unchanged.

        "Bath are playing some good rugby and I was very impressed with
        their performance against Leicester," said Wasps coach Warren
        Gatland.

        "They have a strong pack with the backs to run most sides off their
        feet.

        "However, I'm confident that we can match them for power and pace
        and hopefully come away with some points.

        "Games between these two clubs are always gigantic battles, and
        Saturday will be no different."

        London Wasps: 15 Mark Van Gisbergen, 14 Edd Thrower, 13 Peter
        Richards, 12 Ayoola Erinle, 11 Tom Voyce, 10 James Brooks, 9 Harvey
        Biljon, 8 Lawrence Dallaglio (captain), 7 Jonny O'Connor, 6 Joe
        Worsley, 5 Richard Birkett, 4 John Hart, 3 Will Green, 2 Phil
        Greening, 1 Tim Payne.
        Replacements: 16 Trevor Leota, 17 Henry Nwume, 18 Mark Lock, 19
        James Haskell, 20 Alex King, 21 Alistair McKenzie, 22 Rob Hoadley.

        Kick-off: 14:45 (13:45 GMT


        Wallabies look to wrap up pre-season preparations



        Six weeks on from their last Test and two weeks before the Qantas
        Wallabies head to France and the UK for the 2004 Spring Tour, the 28-
        man squad is currently wrapping up pre-season preparations in Coffs
        Harbour.

        Usually associated with December and January in the other football
        codes, the Wallaby pre-season takes place between the end of the Tri
        Nations and the start of the Spring Tour.

        This year, the eight-week period has seen the squad hold camps in
        Sydney and now Coffs Harbour, as well as train in separate groups in
        their home states.

        Wallaby Strength and Conditioning Coordinator Jason Webber, says the
        pre-season is the ideal time for players to look at getting some
        strong individual achievements in strength, speed and fitness.

        "Obviously there is a large difference between the rugby
        international season and the AFL and NRL.  Our guys have had an
        eight-week period between the end of the Tri Nations and the
        beginning of the Spring Tour this year where they really have the
        opportunity to get themselves physically improved," said Webber.

        "The players are extremely enthusiastic at this time of the year and
        it is an opportunity for them to focus on their performance as an
        individual athlete opposed to in a team structure."

        Elton Flatley, who has had a longer pre-season than most, after
        missing the entire Bundaberg Rum Rugby Series with a broken arm,
        says the training during this time is important for everyone.

        "Obviously we are together at the moment but we have been spending a
        lot of time in our individual states doing some fitness and agility
        sort of stuff," said Flatley.

        "This is really our pre-season and the time where we get a bit of a
        break and work on your own preparation for the tour."

        Working hard in Sydney over the last month or so, Phil Waugh has
        also seen the benefits of the pre-season period.

        "It's been extremely hard since the end of the Tri Nations with a
        lot of speed, fitness and even some contact work," said Waugh.

        "We don't get a lot of time off and it's good to give the body a
        rest from the bumps and bruises you get in game time. So it's good
        to get rid of those and the guys are now looking forward to getting
        onto the field."

        The Qantas Wallabies will finish up with their skills camp in Coffs
        Harbour tomorrow with another couple of weeks of training before
        they head out to the UK on Saturday 30 October.

        The first Test of the Spring Tour is on Saturday 6 November against
        Scotland in Edinburgh.


        Superboots lace up for showdown

        Prepare for a battle of the superboots when Daniel Carter and Glen
        Jackson go head to head in tomorrow night's Air New Zealand NPC semi-
        final at Jade Stadium.

        Canterbury's Carter is the most accurate goalkicker in New Zealand
        with a success rate of 86 per cent while Bay of Plenty's Jackson is
        the third best with a 82 per cent strike-rate - just 1 per cent
        behind former Cantabrian Shaun Webb who played for Otago this
        season.

        Jackson has had more room for error than Carter because he has
        played more games and been forced to take more shots at goal.

        Jackson, who has signed to play with London club Saracens following
        the NPC but has the chance to get out of the contract if selected
        for the All Blacks' Tour of Britain and Europe next month, has
        converted 45 of his 55 shots at goal.

        With 136 points to his name he is the leading pointscorer in the
        NPC.

        Carter, who also kicked for the All Blacks and Crusaders this year,
        has nailed 30 of his 35 shots and clocked up a total of 77 points.
        Carter had been involved with the All Blacks and did not kick in the
        shield challenge because Andrew Mehrtens was handed the kicking tee
        in his 100th match.

        Webb nailed 20 of his 24 attempts and totalled 51 points. Such was
        Otago's woeful attacking record he was only able to convert nine
        tries.

        Australian Julian Huxley, who played first five-eighth for Northland
        this season, is fourth-equal with Wellington pivot David Holwell.

        They have a conversion rate of 81 per cent.

        stay hardwired to allblacks.com for full coverage of the Air New
        Zealand NPC semifinals this weekend 



        Eagles name squad for Europe

        Schubert and Hercus to lead assault

        A pair of 25-year-olds, flanker and captain Kort Schubert and fly-
        half Mike Hercus, will lead the United States on its November tour
        of Ireland and Italy.

        The duo, both of whom turned in strong 2003 Rugby World Cup
        performances into European professional contracts, are senior
        members of the 28-man American squad, which has transitioned smartly
        since last year's world championship.

        With players like Schubert, Hercus, and prop Mike MacDonald to the
        fore, the Eagles purposefully rebuilt nearly half the side in the
        first half of 2004. The spring-summer term concluded with a standout
        performance against France.

        "One of the challenges facing this Eagle squad, after four months
        apart, is to go from zero to 90 miles per hour against two Six
        Nations countries," USA coach Tom Billups said in announcing the
        squad.

        Schubert (Cardiff Blues) and Hercus (Sales Sharks) are two of four
        pro players in the 28-man squad, center Paul Emerick of Amatori and
        lock Gerhard Klerck of Benetton Treviso being the other two. Having
        debuted in 2000, Schubert is a veteran of 36 internationals,
        including 6 as captain. Hercus, with 21 caps since 2002, has 8 tries
        and 269 points to his credit and needs 18 points to become the all-
        time Eagle scoring leader.

        Fourteen of the squad are past or present University All-Americans,
        the USA's foremost development program. Seven players are uncapped,
        six of them joining the National Team for the first time.

        Among the 15 forwards, the front row candidates comprise props
        MacDonald, Chris Osentowski, Jacob Waasdorp, and Golden Gate
        newcomer Patrick Guire. The hookers are Matt Wyatt and uncapped Mike
        Hobson of Air Force.

        At lock - without Dave Hodges for the first time since 1996 - the
        Eagles feature Matt Kane, Gerhard Klerck, Alec Parker, and Brian
        Surgener. The loose forwards comprise captain Schubert, Jurie Gouws,
        Fifita Mo'unga, Tony Petruzzella, and uncapped Andrew Ryland of Penn
        State. Both Klerck and Gouws return from springtime injuries.

        In the backline, Mose Timoteo and David Williams are the
        scrumhalves, with Hercus and Matt Sherman at flyhalf. Emerick,
        Salesi Sika, Albert Tuipulotu, and Chicago Lions newcomer Scott
        Jones are listed at center.

        The deep three candidates include Eric Anderson, David Fee, Al
        Lakomskis, Mike Palefau, and Francois Viljoen. While Fee and Viljoen
        saw significant playing time this spring, Anderson and Palefau are
        new to the team, and Lakomskis - also a center candidate - earns his
        first call-up since 2002.

        Several frontline players who made substantial contributions over
        the past three years, including Dan Dorsey, Kain Cross, and Riaan
        Van Zyl, are not available for the tour, which falls during the
        Thanksgiving holiday.

        United States

        Forwards: Kort Schubert, captain (Cardiff Blues), Jurie Gouws (Santa
        Monica), Patrick Guire (Golden Gate), Mike Hobson (Air Force
        Academy), Matt Kane (Old Puget Sound Beach), Gerhard Klerck (Blue
        Bulls), Mike MacDonald (University of California), Fifita Mo'unga
        (Gentlemen of Aspen), Chris Osentowski (Belmont Shore), Alec Parker
        (Gentlemen of Aspen), Tony Petruzzella (California Polytechnic
        University - San Luis Obispo), Andrew Ryland (Penn State
        University), Brian Surgener (Back Bay), Jacob Waasdorp (Warringah),
        Matt Wyatt (OMBAC).

        Backs: Eric Anderson (Olympic Club), Paul Emerick (Amatori), David
        Fee (Chicago Lions), Mike Hercus (Sale Sharks), Scott Jones (Chicago
        Lions), Al Lakomskis (Belmont Shore), Mike Palefau (Provo Steelers),
        Matt Sherman (Randwick), Salesi Sika (Brigham Young University),
        Mose Timoteo (Golden Gate), Albert Tuipulotu (Gentlemen of Aspen),
        Francois Viljoen (Washington), David Williams (Chicago Lions).

        Management: Tom Billups (head coach), Brett Taylor (assistant
        coach), Chris Lippert (team manager), Andre Blom (strength and
        conditioning coach), Rich Schurfeld (video and notional analysis),
        Dr. Michael McAdam (physician), Alex Garibay (physiotherapist).




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        The Rugby News below is compiled by John A Hopkins  from the rugby_www website

        Rugby Union news from around the world.
         
        If you are not a member of John's mailing list I recommend you click
        here and join this excellent Rugby Union News service.     

        Gary Roberts


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        D-Mail Email Marketing System Rugby Union News Desk Always going forward The Rugby News below is compiled by John A Hopkins from the rugby_www website Rugby
        Message 3 of 5 , Oct 21, 2004
          D-Mail Email Marketing System
            Rugby Union News Desk
            'Always going forward'
           
           

          The Rugby News below is compiled by John A Hopkins  from the rugby_www website

          Rugby Union news from around the world.
           
          If you are not a member of John's mailing list I recommend you click
          here and join this excellent Rugby Union News service.     

          Gary Roberts

          Clive names Lions' coaching team

          McGeechan returns to the Lions pride

          Lions coach Sir Clive Woodward has named an unprecedented 26-strong management team for the 2005 Lions tour of New Zealand, and it includes three-time coach Ian McGeechan, Ireland boss Eddie O'Sullivan and England coach Andy Robinson.


          The appointments, revealed at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on Thursday, include Woodward's England successor Robinson and McGeechan, the most successful Lions coach of all time.

          An impressive coaching line-up is completed by the likes of  Ireland's Eddie O'Sullivan, Llanelli Scarlets' supremo Gareth Jenkins, plus defence gurus Phil Larder and Mike Ford.

          Kicking specialist Dave Alred has been chosen, along with Robinson and Larder for a second successive Lions trip, with Woodward predictably leaning heavily on his World Cup support staff.

          England fitness coach Dave Reddin makes the 11-match trip, as does England's video analyst Tony Biscombe and physiotherapist Phil Pask.

          Chef Dave Campbell and lawyer Richard Smith, who were both members of the England World Cup contingent, have also been included by Woodward, together with former Irish international referee David McHugh, who will offer specialist advice.

          Lions doctor James Robson is also included for his fourth tour, having gone on the 1993, 1997 and 2001 tours. He will have Irish doctor Dr. Gary O'Driscoll as support.

          "We have got the right management group behind the team, that is one of the key factors in ensuring that the Lions can deliver our ultimate aim of winning the Test series," said Woodward.

          "Whether on the coaching, medical, fitness, media, logistics or legal side of things, it is about creating the right blend and a support structure to give us the best opportunity to be successful in New Zealand."

          It is thought that Robinson, O'Sullivan and Larder will have responsibility for the weekend Lions team, with McGeechan, Jenkins and former Great Britain rugby league international Ford looking after the midweek team.

          Woodward, as head coach, would oversee both groups.

          For McGeechan, victorious Lions coach in Australia (1989) and South Africa (1997), it is a golden chance to complete a memorable clean sweep as he coached the 1993 Lions to New Zealand, but that Test  series ended in a 2-1 defeat.

          Robinson returns to Lions duties three years after assisting Graham Henry on the tour to Australia, while Jenkins has a perfect opportunity to display his coaching skills after being overlooked for the job of Wales boss earlier this year.

          British and Irish Lions Management Team:

          Sir Clive Woodward (head coach),
          Bill Beaumont (tour manager),
          Andy Robinson (coach),
          Eddie O'Sullivan (coach),
          Phil Larder (coach),
          Ian McGeechan (coach),
          Gareth Jenkins (coach),
          Mike Ford (coach),

          John Feehan (chief executive),
          Louise Ramsay (team manager),
           
          Dave Alred (specialist coach),
          Dave Reddin (fitness coach),
          Craig White (fitness coach),

          Tony Biscombe (video analyst),
          Gavin Scott (video analyst),

          James Robson (head doctor),
          Gary O'Driscoll (doctor),
          Phil Pask (physiotherapist),
          Bob Stewart (physiotherapist/masseur),
          Stuart Barton (physiotherapist/masseur),
          Richard Wegrzyk (masseur),

          Dave Campbell (chef),
          Dave Tennison (kit technician),
          Louisa Cheetham (media liaison),
          David McHugh (specialist advisor),
          Richard Smith (legal support).


           Who are all these people?

          Pen profiles of the Lions support team Gone are the days when the Lions used to take a single person along to help organise the washing and social activities, nowadays there is someone for everything from the munchies to the media. We run down who is who in the backroom staff for the 2005 Lions.

          CLIVE WOODWARD (HEAD COACH)
          Background:
          Born:6 January 1956 (Ely, Cambridgeshire)
          Playing:
          Position:Centre
          Clubs:Harlequins / Leicester / Manly
          Country: England (21 caps, 1980-84)
          Lions: · Toured South Africa in 1980 playing in the 2nd and 3rd tests at Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth as a centre and right wing.

          · 1980 Tour he appeared in nine other games, scoring 4 tries, 5 conv, 8 pens and 1 drop for 53 points to be the 2nd highest scorer on the tour after Ireland's Ollie Campbell.

          · Clive went on his 2nd Lions tour in 1983 (Captain Bill Beaumont) to New Zealand, playing in seven games (none of which were tests) and kicking a penalty goal against Hawke's Bay in Napier

          Coaching:
          Club: Henley / London Irish / Bath
          National Team:1997-2004: England Head Coach
          Record: · 2003: Grand Slam, Rugby World 2003
          · England record: 59 games won, 22 games lost, 2 games drawn
          Lions:· Appointed Lions Head Coach in February 2004
          · First Englishman to coach the Lions since Lions' tours first
          appointed specialised coaches in 1966

          BILL BEAUMONT (TOUR MANAGER)
          background:
          Born:9th March 1952 (Preston, Lancashire)
          Playing:
          Position:2nd Row
          Club/County/Division:Flyde / Lancashire / Northern Country: England (34 caps, 21 as England Captain)
          Lions: · Toured New Zealand with the Lions in 1977 participating in the final three tests having been called up as a replacement.
          · Captain Lions to South Africa in 1980, the Lions lost the series 3-1
          Rugby Administrator:
          Governing Bodies:Held a number of governing body / roles including:
          Director for European Rugby Cup, member of the RFU Management Board.
          Bill is currently RFU representative to the International Rugby Board and the Six Nations Committee, as well as serving on the RFU Council.

          ANDY ROBINSON (COACH)

          Background:
          Born:3 April 1964 (Taunton, Somerset)
          Playing:
          Position:Openside Flanker / Number 7
          Club:Bath
          Country: England U23's, England A
          England (8 caps)
          Lions: · 1989 (June/July): Toured with the Lions to Australia playing in six matches but no tests scoring two tries against Queensland B in Cairns and NSW Country in Newcastle.

          · 1989 (October): played in the Lions "unofficial test" against France at the Parc des Princes to celebrate the Bicentennial of the French Revolution.
          Coaching:
          Club: Bath (1997-2000)
          National Team:2000: May appointed England Coach
          2004: October appointed Head Coach England
          Lions: 2001: Assistant Coach to Graham Henry's Lions Tour to Australia
          2004: Appointed Coach to Lions 2005 Tour

          EDDIE O'SULLIVAN (COACH)
          Background:
          Born:21st November 1958 (Youghal, County Cork)
          Playing:
          Position:Wing / Fly-half
          Clubs:Youghal / Garryowen / Munster
          Country: Ireland B (1 cap)
          Coaching:
          Club/Province: Blackrock College /Buccaneers RFC / Connacht
          National Teams:1995-1997 Ireland U21's Coach
          1997-1999 (after RWC '99) US Eagles Assistant Coach + National
          Technical Director USA Rugby
          1999: Assistant Coach Ireland
          2001: National Coach Ireland
          Record: 2004: Triple Crown Winners, RBS Six Nations
          Lions: 2004: Appointed Coach Lions New Zealand Tour

          PHIL LARDER (COACH)
          Background:
          Born:20 March 1945 (Oldham, Lancashire)
          Playing:
          Position:Rugby Union: Centre
          Rugby League:
          Clubs:Rugby Union: Broughton Park (Manchester) / Sale Sharks
          Rugby League: Oldham / Whitehaven
          Coaching:
          Club: Rugby League: Widnes / Keighley / Sheffield
          Rugby Union: Worked with Leicester Tigers during their 4-year Premiership winning run (May 99 through to May 2001) and when Leicester became the only club to win the Heineken Cup back-to-back (May 2001, May 2002).
          National Team:Rugby League:
          1985: appointed Director of Coaching for Rugby League in England
          1985-1992: Assistant Coach Great Britain Team
          1995: England Rugby League World Cup
          1996: Coach British Rugby League to New Zealand Rugby Union:
          1997-2000: appointed England Adviser on Defence (first appointment of its kind)
          2000-present: Assistant England Coach Lions: 2001: Defence Coach on 2001 Tour to Australia
          2004: Appointed Coach on 2005 Tour to New Zealand

          IAN McGEECHAN (COACH)
          Background:
          Born:30 October 1946 (Leeds, Yorkshire)
          Playing:
          Position:Fly Half / Centre
          Clubs:Headingley
          National Team:Scotland (32 caps)
          Lions:· 1974: Lions Tour to South Africa and Rhodesia making 14 appearances (including all four tests as a centre) scoring a try against Eastern Transvaal in Springs and a drop goal in the 2nd test against the Springboks in Pretoria.

          · 1977: Lions Tour to New Zealand and Fiji making 16 further  appearances including all five tests against New Zealand (4) and Fiji, scoring three tries (two against Poverty Bay/East Coast in Gisborne and another versus North Auckland at Whangarei).
          · Ian skippered the Lions twice on tour against Poverty Bay/East Coast and New Zealand Universities in Christchurch.
          · 1977: made a further Lions appearance at Twickenham against the Barbarians in the Queen's Silver Jubilee Match.
          Coaching:
          Club: Northampton
          National Team:1987: Assistant Coach Scotland
          1988-1993: Scotland Coach
          1999-2003: Scotland Coach
          2003: Director of Rugby, Scotland Rugby Union
          Record: 1989: 2-1 Lions series victory over Australia
          1990: Scotland Grand Slam
          1991: SF World Cup (defeated 9-6 by England)
          1993: 1-2 New Zealand series victory over the Lions
          1997: 2-1 Lions series victory over South Africa
          1999: Scotland win Five Nations Title
          Lions: 1989: Lions Coach to Australia
          1993: Lions Coach to New Zealand
          1997: Lions Coach to South Africa
          2004: Appointed Coach to Lions Tour to New Zealand

          GARETH JENKINS (COACH)
          Background:
          Born:11th September 1951
          Playing:
          Position:Flanker
          Club:Llanelli
          National Team:Wales B (1 cap as captain vs France Rouen 1975) 4 appearances for the Barbarians in 1976
          Coaching:
          Club: Llanelli Scarlets (all records below)
          Club Record:1991-93 Won Welsh Cup three years in a row
          1997-98, 1999-00, 2002-03 Welsh Cup victories
          1992-93 League and cup double (only club to have done this)
          1992-93 Won the League and Cup Double
          1998-99 & 2001-02 won league title
          2003 Celtic League Champions
          National Team:1992-3 to 1995 Assistant Coach Wales (to Alan Davies)
          1994-95 Wales win Five Nations title
          Lions: 2004: Appointed Coach to Lions Tour to New Zealand

          MIKE FORD (COACH)
          Background:
          Born:18th November 1965
          Playing:
          Position:Scrum half
          Clubs:Wigan / Leigh / Castleford / South Queensland / Oldham (Rugby League)
          Retired in 2001 as player / coach of Oldham
          Country: Great Britain (10 caps)
          Rugby League Tour British Lions Tour in 1988 to Papua New Guinea, New Zealand)
          Coaching:
          Club: 2004: September appointed Saracens Defence & Skills Coach
          National Team:2002: January Appointed as Ireland's Defensive Co-ordinator
          Lions: 2004: Appointed Coach to Lions Tour to New Zealand 2005

          John Feehan - British & Irish Lions Chief Executive
          DOB: 6th February 1963
          Born: Dublin
          John played as tight-head prop for various teams including Dublin Trinity, Old Wesley, Leinster and for Irish Universities. John comes from a sales, marketing and commercial background working with a variety of multinationals including Unilever, Scottish & Newcastle and the Oakhill Group.

          Appointed Commercial Director in April 2002 to the British & Irish Lions and 6 Nations. John was appointed Acting CEO six months later and in February 2003 was appointed CEO.

          Louise Ramsay - British & Irish Lions Team Manager
          DOB: 9th August 1968
          Born: Luton
          Louise joined the England squad in 2001 after a 10 year career working with the British Olympic Association with responsibility for both Winter and Summer Olympic teams, for which she was awarded an MBE. Louise was an integral member of the England RWC 2003
          Management team and toured with England to Argentina in 2002 and to New Zealand and Australia in 2003.

          Dave Alred - British & Irish Lions Specialist Coach
          DOB: 2nd April 1948
          Born: London
          As a Kicking Specialist Dave started working with the English team in their build up to the 1995 World Cup. He joined the England set up in a part time capacity in 1997 and became full time in 2000. He was Kicking Coach on the British & Irish Lions Tour to Australia in
          2001.

          Dave Reddin - British & Irish Lions Fitness Coach
          Dave has worked with the senior England squad since 1997 after two seasons with Leicester Tigers. His time with England also included work with the national Under-21 development team at the SANZA tournament in 1998. Responsible for the physical preparation of the England players and implementing their detailed training and dietary programmes.

          Craig White - British & Irish Lions Fitness Coach
          DOB: 9th October 1971
          Born: Wigan
          Having played rugby league at an amateur level, Craig began working as a Strength and Conditioning Coach in the late 1990's for a variety of clubs and individuals - including Waterloo RFC, the Irish Rugby Football Union and Bolton Wanders Football Club. He moved to
          London Wasps in 2002 to take up the post of Director of Fitness.

          Tony Biscombe - British & Irish Lions Video Analyst
          DOB: 18th June 1945
          Born: Leeds
          Prior to joining the RFU in 1989, Tony previously coached at Headingley, Roundhay & Morley but since 1997 has been the National Technical Support Manager for the RFU. With responsibility for managing the video analysis carried out for the entire elite England
          squad.

          Gavin Scott - British & Irish Lions Video Analyst
          DOB: 1st September 1974
          Born: Dundee
          Having played professional Rugby for Glasgow as a hooker from 1997, Gavin moved out of playing into video analysis when he retired from the playing side in 2001. He continued to work at the Club and in 2002 started working with the Scottish team. Gavin oversees a lot of
          the work that gets done with the Scottish professional sides.

          James Robson - British & Irish Lions Head Doctor
          DOB: 24th November 1957
          Born: Whitehaven
          This will be James' fourth successive Lions tour having previously toured in 2001 to Australia, 1997 to South Africa and 1993 to New Zealand.

          Having initially qualified as a physio from Queen Margaret College in Edinburgh, he spent a further 6 years studying medicine at Dundee University. A former Edinburgh Wanderers player (1979-1981) James first became involved with the Scottish national teams as a physio on the 1991 tour to Canada.

          He has become increasingly involved in Scottish Rugby and is now in the position of Team Doctor. When not involved with the Scottish Team he is a practicing GP in Dundee. TBC

          Gary O'Driscoll - British & Irish Lions Doctor
          DOB: 27th October 1969
          Born: Manchester
          Having qualified as a Doctor from London's Imperial University College Gary became involved with the London Irish team in 1997.

          In 1999 became the Ireland U21 Doctor, looking after them on three U21 World Cups in South Africa (2000), Australia (2001) and England
          (2002). He moved over to the senior team Irish team in 2002. He toured with the Irish team for the Rugby World Cup 2003.

          Gary not only has a close working relations with the team but also has close family ties within rugby as the second cousin of Ireland international Brian O'Driscoll. When not involved with the Irish Team he is a practicing GP in Manchester.

          Phil Pask - British & Irish Lions Physiotherapist
          DOB: 14th March 1960
          Born: Worksop
          Phil has had a close association with Northampton having played for the club at open side flanker in the late 1980's and then moving over to become Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Saints when the game turned professional. He was on board as Physio with the
          Club when they won the Heineken Cup on 2000.

          Over this time he has been involved at various levels of the England game - coming on board in 1989 with the England Schools through to working with the England elite squad in 1997. When he is not involved with the England Management he runs a private practice in the Midlands.

          Bob Stewart - British & Irish Lions Physiotherapist / Masseur
          DOB: 4th November 1973
          Born: Paisley
          After qualifying as a Physio he went to work in Wellington, New Zealand in private practice. On return to the UK he joined the SRU at the end of 1998. He toured with Scotland to South Africa in 1999 and since 2000 has been on every Tour that Scotland have been
          involved in, including the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Australia. When not with the Scottish National team Bob works with the Glasgow Rugby.

          Stuart Barton - British & Irish Lions Physiotherapist / Masseur
          DOB: 28th November 1970
          Born: Galashiels
          Having qualified Stuart worked in Canada in private practise prior to joining the Scottish Rugby Union. His first tour of duty was in 1998 and he has been in charge at two Rugby World Cups. When not with the national set up he works with Edinburgh Rugby.

          Richard Wegrzyk - British & Irish Lions Masseur
          DOB: 19th April 1963
          Born: Taplow
          Richard has been part of the England Management since his appointment in 1992. He has amassed over a 100 test matches as the team masseur. When not involved with the England set up he runs his own London practice. This will be his third Lions Tour.

          Dave Campbell - British & Irish Lions Chef
          DOB: 30th June 1971
          Born: Glasgow
          He has worked closely over the years with Dave Reddin at England's Training Camp at Penny Hill Park Hotel, Bagshot. He toured with England in 2002 to New Zealand and Australia. He has constantly worked with the England fitness / nutrition team and was part of the England Management set up for their successful Rugby World Cup campaign in 2003. He is the newly appointed Head Chef at Pennyhill Parks sister hotel, the Manor House Hotel near Bath.

          Dave Tennison - British & Irish Lions Kit Technician
          DOB: 16th January 1960
          Born: Bridlington
          After twenty years in the Royal Marines and a period as a fitness adviser to the Devon & Cornwall police force, Dave fulfilled a key role in England's World Cup winning support team, having joined the RFU in September 2002 as their kit technician.

          Louisa Cheetham - British & Irish Lions Media Liaison
          DOB: 24th April 1972
          Born: Stamford, USA
          Louisa has worked in both the domestic and international rugby world for over five years. From a sports agency background, Louisa has worked with a wide range of companies within rugby including Teachers, Nike, Zurich & Powergen across properties such as the
          English Premiership, the British & Irish Lions in 2001 and the Rugby World Cup 2003.

          David McHugh - British & Irish Lions Specialist Adviser
          DOB: 21st December 1955
          Born: Limerick
          Began refereeing in 1984 and made his refereeing Test debut on September 17 1994.
          A former scrumhalf with Aer Lingus, Highfield and Ballincollig, McHugh made his Rugby World Cup refereeing debut a year later when he took charge of South Africa's 20-0 defeat of Canada in Port Elizabeth. He officiated at Rugby World Cup 1999, refereed the inaugural European Cup final in 1996 between Toulouse and Cardiff, and then became the first to control two finals with the 2001 showdown between Leicester and Stade Francais.

          He retired from the international game after the 2004 RBS Six Nations with 29 tests to his name. Still living in Cork, David is working for the IRFU as Referee Development officer with a remit for the coaching and development of referees in Ireland.

          Richard Smith - British & Irish Lions Legal Support
          DOB: 29th November 1963
          Born: Worcester
          Richard was called to the Bar in 1986, appointed Queens Council in 2001. Has provided legal support for the England Rugby Team since 2003, which included attending the Rugby World Cup.



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          D-Mail Email Marketing System Rugby Union News Desk Always going forward The Rugby News below is compiled by John A Hopkins from the rugby_www website Rugby
          Message 4 of 5 , Oct 24, 2004
            D-Mail Email Marketing System
              Rugby Union News Desk
              'Always going forward'
             
             

            The Rugby News below is compiled by John A Hopkins  from the rugby_www website

            Rugby Union news from around the world.
             
            If you are not a member of John's mailing list I recommend you click
            here and join this excellent Rugby Union News service.     

            Gary Roberts
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            Bookshop it will by delivered to your PC today.
            Finals in New Zealand, South Africa and beginnings in Europe.
            The NPC had its grand final in New Zealand and the Currie Cup its final in South Africa. In Europe the Heineken Cup and the Parker Pen Challenge Cup started.

            In addition there were World Cup qualifiers. There will be more...

            International


            World Cup Qualifier - Europe Round 1
            Lithuania vs Israel, 60-7

            World Cup Qualifier - Europe Round 2
            Croatia vs Slovenia, tbc
            Hungary vs Andorra, tbc
            Sweden vs Latvia, 20-18

            Friendly
            The match was intended as a warm-up for Belgium prior to their World Cup qualifier. The Armenian team is chosen from players playing in France.

            Armenia vs Belgium, 24-11

            Europe
            The inclement weather did not make for a free-flowing start to the Heineken Cup and the Parker Pen Challenge Cup.

            Do the results suggest that the Celtic League does not have the strength of the Zurich Premiership and France's Top 16?

            Heineken Cup - Round 1
            Bath vs Bourgoin, 22-12
            Castres vs Ospreys, 38-17
            Leicester Tigers vs Calvisano, 37-6
            Leinster vs Benetton Treviso, 25-9
            London Wasps vs Biarritz, tbc
            Munster vs Harlequins, 15-9
            Newcastle Falcons vs Dragons, 10-6
            Northampton Saints vs Glasgow, tbc
            Perpignan vs Edinburgh, 23-0
            Stade Français vs Gloucester, 39-31
            Toulouse vs Llanelli Scarlets, 9-6
            Ulster vs Cardiff Blues, 21-16

            Parker Pen Challenge Cup
            Agen vs L'Aquila, 50-23
            Béziers vs Petrarca, 57-24
            Catania vs Sale Sharks,
            Cetransa El Salvador vs Rugby Parma,
            Clermont Auvergne vs Leonessa, 65-0
            Grenoble vs Leeds Tykes, 9-9
            London Irish vs Auch, 20-18
            Montpellier vs Rovigo, 51-7
            Narbonne vs Connacht, 25-11
            Pau vs Gran Rugby Parma, 35-15
            Saracens vs Bayonne, 24-21
            The Borders vs RC Coimbra, 98-3
            Viadana vs VRAC Quesos Entrepinares, 88-6
            Worcester Warriors vs Brive, 29-15

            England - National League One

            Bristol are top, Nottingham bottom.

            Bedford Blues vs Sedgley Park, 13-8
            Bristol Shoguns vs Henley Hawks, 41-6
            Coventry vs Rotherham Titans, 22-15
            Exeter Chiefs vs Nottingham, 24-17
            London Welsh vs Orrell, 29-22
            Otley vs Penzance & Newlyn, 24-13
            Pertemps Bees vs Plymouth Albion, 16-5

            France - Pro D2 - 8e journée

            Aurillac vs La Rochelle, 43-19
            Bordeaux vs Aix, 24-19
            Dax vs Métro-Racing, 46-6
            Mont-de-Marsan vs Périgueux, 26-9
            Montauban vs Oyonnax, 32-15
            Tarbes vs Limoges, 27-22
            Toulon vs Albi, 33-6
            Tyrosse vs Lyon, tbc

            Ireland - AIB League Level 1

            Blackrock College vs Belfast Harlequins, 22-14
            Clontarf vs Carlow, 11-6
            Cork Constitution vs Ballymena, tbc
            Dublin University vs Buccaneers, 20-12
            Garryowen vs Galwegians, tbc
            UCD vs Dungannon, 30-17

            Japan - Top League

            Newboys Verblits beat the champion Steelers. They are now level on match points at the top with Toshiba Brave Lupus,  NEC Green Rockets and Yamaha Jubilo. Kintetsu Liners are last.

            Toshiba Brave Lupus vs IBM Big Blue, 67-18
            World Fighting Bull vs Sanyo Wild Knights, 28-23
            Suntory Sungoliath vs Kintetsu Liners, 67-14
            Toyota Verblits vs Kobe Kobelco Steelers, 34-24
            Yamaha Jubilo vs Ricoh Black Rams, 38-8
            NEC Green Rockets vs Kubota Spears, 51-10

            New Zealand - NPC Final

            Canterbury vs Wellington, 40-27

            Promotion-Relegation
            Northland retained their Division 1 status.

            Northland vs Nelson Bays, 32-13

            Scotland - Premiership Division One
            Glasgow Hawks are top, Gala bottom.

            Aberdeen GSFP vs Melrose, 32-8
            Ayr vs Glasgow Hutchesons' Aloysians, 29-19
            Boroughmuir vs Currie, 23-20
            Glasgow Hawks vs Biggar, 53-16
            Hawick vs Gala, 25-20
            Heriot's vs Watsonians, 50-20

            South Africa - Finals Currie Cup

            Premier Division

            Blue Bulls vs Cheetahs, 42-33

            Division One

            The outcome depended on the last conversion, which was missed.

            Boland Cavaliers vs Border Bulldogs, 23-22

            Amateur
            Western Province Clubs vs Natal, 35-30
            Under-20  - A Section
            Blue Bulls vs Lions, 19-16
            Under-20  - B Section
            Mighty Elephants vs Griqualand West, 35-17
            Women A Section
            Blue Bulls vs Eastern Province, 48-0
            Women B Section
            Boland vs Free Sate, 19-5

            Spain - División de Honor - 5ª Jornada

            C.D. Arquitectura vs C.D Universidad de Sevilla, 20-20
            El Monte Ciencias vs Spyro Bera Bera R.T., tbc
            U.E. Santboiana vs Jeep Alcobendas Rugby, 24-11

            División de Honor B - 3ª Jornada

            Atco. Portuense vs Les Abelles, tbc
            Ayto. León Futbolín vs Durango, tbc
            CAU Valencia vs UCAM Murcia, 37-13
            Complutense Cisneros vs Inés Rosales CAR, tbc
            Hernani vs Universidade de Vigo,
            L'Hospitalet vs Ayma Ordizia, tbc
            Oviedo vs USAP Barcelona, tbc
            Tecnidex Valencia vs Liceo Francés, 21-12

            Wales Premiership

            Neath are top, Caerphilly bottom.

            Bedwas vs Pontypridd, postponed because of waterlogged field
            Bridgend vs Swansea, 14-8
            Cross Keys vs Aberavon, postponed because of waterlogged field
            Llandovery vs Caerphilly, 28-15
            Llanharan vs Ebbw Vale, postponed because of waterlogged field
            Neath vs Pontypool, 41-12
            Newbridge vs Cardiff, abandoned after 20 minutes
            Newport vs Carmarthen Quins, 10-3

            Click below for more News Rugby News compiled by 
            John A Hopkins  from the rugby_www website

            Counties bounce back
            Super 12 Fixtures
            Six Nations Fixtures
            Further gloom for Ospreys
            Worcester glorious in European tie


            If you are not a member of John Hopkin's mailing list I recommend you click here and join this excellent Rugby Union News service. 


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