News in Brief
Waratahs sign Wallabies bolter
December 3, 2009
Dave Dennis charges away from Cardiff's chasing pack
© Getty Images
- Up-and-coming blindside flanker Dave Dennis has been rewarded for his midweek form on Australia's Grand Slam tour with a new two-year Super 14 contract with the Waratahs.
Dennis was an unexpected inclusion in Robbie Deans' traveling party, but his form in Australia's wins over Gloucester and Cardiff convinced Waratahs head coach Chris Hickey to re-sign the 23-year-old, who made his Waratahs debut in 2007 but has been hindered by a string of injuries since.
"It's always been my preference to stay at the Waratahs, but the decision-making process took a bit of a back seat after getting selected for the Wallaby tour," Dennis said. "Once I made that squad I turned my focus towards preparing well, training hard and taking the opportunity which I had been given.
"Once I made the squad the Waratahs were happy for me to concentrate on my footy rather than having to think about any negotiations while I was away which I was really appreciative of. However once I got through the Cardiff game I was in a position to think more about my options and I'm really happy with the decision I've made to return to the Tahs."
Hickey said Dennis, who impressed Deans while winning the 2009 Shute Shield with Sydney University, would strengthen his forward options.
"We knew there was a lot of interest in Dave which isn't surprising given his performances in the Shute Shield and then his selection for the Wallabies, so we gave him the time to weigh up his options and allow him to make the best decision for his football future," Hickey said.
"I think one of the major factors for Dave was that he's been in the NSW framework for a few years now, he knows how our program operates and he can see himself making an impact within the squad over the next two years."
- Harlequins will unveil their new director of rugby before Christmas with club favourite Tony Diprose being strongly linked with the position. The London club have been searching for someone to fill the vacancy since the disgraced Dean Richards departed in August because of his role in the 'Bloodgate' scandal.
Chief executive Mark Evans today refused to confirm reports that former England back row Diprose, currently an assistant coach at Twickenham Stoop, would be appointed. But Evans confirmed an announcement on Richards' successor would be made this month.
Quins have sold over 50,000 tickets for 'Big Game 2', their Guinness Premiership clash with Wasps at Twickenham on December 27. The total already equals the figure for last year's fixture against Leicester at the same venue, which had a limited attendance because of transport reasons, and the club are aiming for an 82,000 sell-out.
- Bath prop Duncan Bell has apologised for criticising the club's supporters in an interview with the Bath Chronicle newspaper. Recently back from England duty, Bell lashed out at supporters who booed the side following their defeat to London Irish last weekend but has since apologised, saying that he was riled by the line of questioning.
"First and foremost I would like to apologise to any fans that have been upset or angered by any quotes attributed to me relating to their support of the club," he said. "The tone of certain quotes has, in my opinion, been misrepresented and certainly not the message or theme that I tried to get across. I am a little annoyed with myself for being drawn into this topic and really should have known better.
"What I should have said is that the club as a whole including; players, coaches, medical staff, the whole of Argyle Street and yes indeed the fans as well are all in it together and have to pull as one to achieve our goals. But I was angered by the line of questioning and when asked about certain sections of the crowd booing the players and leaving the ground early and whether we played for them, I answered 'no' we play for 'us'. If we were to play only to impress people sitting in the stadium then we would not win any games. We have to play as a team. Us. Worrying about impressing the crowd will not win us games."
- SANZAR has announced its line-up of Super 14 referees for the new season, with South Africa (4) leading New Zealand (3) and Australia (1) in representation on the Merit panel. Australia's only top-line official, Stu Dickinson, came in for criticism from top IRB officials for his performance in New Zealand's 20-6 victory over Italy.
Merit panel: Jonathan Kaplan, Craig Joubert, Mark Lawrence, Marius Jonker (South Africa); Bryce Lawrence, Chris Pollock, Keith Brown (New Zealand); Stuart Dickinson (Australia).
Reserve panel: Steve Walsh, Nathan Pearce, Paul Marks, Ian Smith (Australia); Jaco Peyper, Pro Legoete (South Africa); Vinny Munro, Garratt Williamson, Jonathon White (New Zealand).