News In Brief
Bristol snap up Crockett
December 4, 2009
Former Bath centre Alex Crockett has joined Bristol
© Getty Images
- Bristol have announced the signing of former Bath co-captain Alex Crockett.
The 28-year-old centre will arrive at the Memorial Stadium in January but will not be available for selection until March as he is still under suspension after being hit with a nine-month ban from the game last summer for allegedly failing to attend a drugs test.
"Alex is an outstanding player and a proven talent on the field. It was simply an opportunity we couldn't miss given his playing capabilities and our goal for promotion back into the Guinness Premiership," Bristol coach Phil Hull said.
"It's a new challenge for him and I'm sure he will bring with him a tremendous amount of experience and knowledge, as well adding further strength and depth to the existing squad.
"The signing offers Alex a chance to rebuild his career back into top flight rugby and in turn, help Bristol build towards the future and hopefully, a return to the Guinness Premiership.
"It has always been my vision when handed this position to build a squad that will eventually have at least two quality players in each position, both of whom are capable of playing in the Guinness Premiership. The signing of Alex backs up that vision."
Crockett has been in limbo since quitting Bath after being accused of refusing to take a drugs tests in relation to a club enquiry into allegations of substance abuse at an end-of-season players' night out last May. As a result, he is grateful to Bristol for granting him the chance to resurrect his career.
"It is a chance that I am determined to take and will do everything possible to help Bristol get promotion back to the Guinness Premiership," he said.
"I already have close ties with Bristol, having gone to school at Colstons and with many close friends in the area, I am really excited about the opportunity."
- Saracens duo Alex Goode and Andy Saull have both signed new three-year deals with the Guinness Premiership leaders.
Both 21-year-olds have played an integral part in Sarries' impressive form this season and director of rugby Brendan Venter is delighted that the pair have signed contract extensions.
"We are working hard to build something special at this club, on and off the field, and stability is crucial," the South African said. "These long-term contracts, and others to be announced in the coming days and weeks, are fantastic for the club - they are like giants stakes in the ground, underpinning our future.
"Alex and Andy are two exceptionally talented and determined young players, who arrived in our Academy as exciting prospects and have developed into respected Premiership players. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that both have the potential to play for England."
- David Pocock's younger brother, Steven, has followed in the Wallaby flanker's footsteps by joining the Western Force Academy. Steven, 17, revealed that he had been the recipient of a similar offer from the Queensland Reds but turned that down in favour of joining his elder sibling in Perth.
"Me and Dave get along quite well, I enjoy being around him and I enjoy being around him, so I am sure he will help me along," the up-and-coming back row told the Sydney Morning Herald.
"I probably won't rise as fast as him.... but there is opportunity here, and I would like to take that opportunity by going my hardest.
"I see what (Dave) has achieved and that is great. But I don't see him as a (rugby star), I see him as my brother and he has not changed one bit really; still the same old Dave."
- Premier Rugby will meet on Monday to discuss London Wasps' refusal to take to the field for last weekend's Guinness Premiership clash with Sale Sharks at Edgeley Park.
Despite the inclement weather conditions and the fact that there was some surface water on the pitch, match referee David Rose felt that the pitch was playable. Sale were happy with Rose's assessment but Wasps were unhappy with the surface and the game was postponed.
"We can confirm that a panel will meet on Monday to review the cancellation," a statement from Premier Rugby read. "A further statement will be made in due course."
Wasps, who have been involved in two previous late cancellations in the past three seasons, face the prospect of a points deduction if the panel rules against them.
- Leicester Tigers have been rocked by the news that Richard Blaze has been ruled out of action for at between nine and 12 months after being forced to undergo another operation on a broken foot.
It is a major blow for the Tigers as head of operations Simon Cohen has admitted that the club is not in a position to recruit a top quality replacement for the 24-year-old lock.
"The board moved heaven and earth to find the funds to bring in Lote Tuqiri," he told the Leicester Mercury. "As much as we would like to bring in a replacement for Richard Blaze it is unlikely that, in the current financial climate, there would be funds available to bring in a player of international quality."
- All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, star fly-half Dan Carter and Taranaki hooker Andrew Hore have been named as nominees for the New Zealand rugby player of the year award.
The women's player of the year nominees are Kelly Brazier and Carla Hohepa, both of Otago, and Auckland's Victoria Heighway. The winners will be named in Auckland on December 17 and will be judged by former All Blacks captains Andy Leslie and Graham Mourie, rugby commentator Grant Nisbett and former All Black Brent Anderson.
- The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) reportedly blocked an attempt by Leinster to sign Wallaby star Matt Giteau on a short-term contract.
According to the Irish Independent, Leinster intended to bring Giteau in to cover the void left by fly-half Jonathan Sexton, who broke two fingers during Ireland's Test win over South Africa at Croke Park last Saturday.
It is claimed that Giteau, despite coming off the back of a long, arduous season with both Western Force and Australia, was keen on the deal, which would have seen him remain in Dublin until the conclusion of the pool stages of the Heineken Cup at the end of January.
However, the IRFU were apparently alerted to Leinster's moves to land the Brumbies-bound No.10 and vetoed the move.