News in brief
Williams to solve Ospreys' scrum-half crisis
October 22, 2009
Ospreys' Shane Williams claims a high ball, Leicester v Ospreys, Heineken Cup, Welford Road, Leicester, England, October 11, 2009
Shane Williams' could start at scrum-half this weekend © Getty Images

  • Shane Williams is poised to solve the Ospreys' crisis at scrum-half by stepping into the No.9 jersey against Cardiff.

    Mike Phillips and Jamie Nutbrown are long term casualties for the region and coach Jonathan Humphreys believes the British and Irish Lions winger would have no problems filling the void. And Humphreys is of the opinion that the position could be where Williams finishes his career.

    "Shane is a fantastic rugby player," he told The Western Mail. "He has everything tailored to be a very good scrum-half. People have said in the past that will be his position one day as the years creep on and I think he sees that as possibly where he will end up.

    "In terms of the injuries and where we are, it's a distinct possibility that Shane will start at nine for us this weekend. We have got Rhodri Wells and Liam Davies, so we do have back up in that department. But those boys are carrying a few knocks at the moment. So we are going to be waiting to see what their fitness is."

    Humphreys admitted that the Ospreys may look to bring in further cover at scrum half ahead of the next round of Heineken Cup group matches in December.

    "That is a possibility for us," he said. "If the diagnosis is bad on Mike and Jamie, then we will probably go to the market and look for somebody. We would be able to add someone to our Heineken squad as our three registered scrum-halves are injured, with Tom Isaacs out long term."

  • Leinster flanker Shane Jennings will serve his full 12 week ban after his appeal was dismissed today.

    The appeal was heard by an independent committee comprised of Chairman Christopher Quinlan (England), Rod McKenzie (Scotland) and Jean-Noel Couraud (France). Leinster had expressed their disappointment with the ban and the delay in hearing the appeal.

    Jennings was found guilty of making contact with the eye of London Irish's Nick Kennedy during the Heineken Cup clash at the RDS and will now be out until the new year.

  • Northampton second-row Juandre Kruger has received a three week ban for stamping on Nicolas Durand during the Saints Heineken Cup defeat to Perpignan on Friday night.

    The South African was cited by Citing Commissioner Murray White and Judicial Officer, Rod McKenzie (Scotland) found the lock guilty and suspended him up until and including Sunday, 8 November.

  • Wales have chosen their first core squad for the IRB Sevens World Series. Thanks to the new participation agreement between the WRU and regions, coach Paul John now has eight players at his disposal for the season for the first time. Wales won the Rugby World Cup Sevens last season, but used 34 players during the Series leading to inconsistent results.

    Wales Sevens 2009-10: Jevon Groves (Cross Keys), Darren Daniel (Scarlets), Lloyd Williams (Blues Academy), Craig Hill (Newport), Chris Davies (Aberavon), Nicky Thomas (Swansea), Ifan Evans (Llandovery), Chris Morgan (Aberavon)

  • Wales and Fiji are battling it out to secure the international allegiances of Scarlets prop Deacon Manu.

    Reports have linked the New Zealand born player - who qualifies for Wales on the residency rule - with a call-up for the squad for the November internationals, but Fiji have named him in their squad for their matches against Scotland, Ireland and Romania.

    Manu's mother is Fijian, and the matter is further complicated by the fact that the front-rower would become an overseas player if he was to declare for the island nation. But coach Nigel Davies told The Western Mail yesterday that the decision was up to the player.

    "Obviously we don't want to raise our quota of non-Welsh qualified players, but ultimately it's not our choice," he said. "Ultimately we'll support whatever he decides. Deacon has a number of options. Fiji are chasing him hard and Wales have certainly shown an interest. We are talking to Deacon as well. He's got a lot of decisions to make and that's testimony to the way Deacon has been playing."

  • Cheeky Watson has accused SA Rugby of not being decisive enough on the issue of the 15th Super Rugby franchise.

    Watson is the head of the Southern Kings bid and after yesterday's decision to determine the successful bid by an independent arbitration process, he accused the union of not being strong enough in their negotiations.

    "I am on record as having said from the start that it's a waste of time to lodge an application as the chance of success is very small,' Watson told Supersport. "SA Rugby just wasted time and showed again that it is too afraid to make internal decisions. They should have fought from the start for a different format, but gave up too easily.

    "SA Rugby have to demonstrate that they are serious about transformation. If that is the case, the Eastern Cape has to get a franchise and the other franchises have to tender for the remaining four spots. Remember, SA Rugby have made the presentation for the Kings in Australia. If they feel so strongly about all the reasons, they have to fight for the Kings."

  • The Ospreys have confirmed that Tom Smith has signed a new contract that will keep him at the Liberty Stadium until the end of the 2011/12 season.

    The 23 year old back-row has played 40 times for the region, five times this season and is delighted to have signed up for three more years.

    "I'm a local boy and I want to be playing for the Ospreys," he said. "I've grown up here and I just want to make the next step and really establish myself with my home region. The record here shows that there's really no better place to be as a young Welsh player coming through the ranks."


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