News in Brief
Botha rejoins Blue Bulls
October 1, 2009
Gary Botha is set to return to action with the Bulls
© Getty Images
- Gary Botha has signed for the Blue Bulls following his mutually-agreed release from Harlequins. The Springbok hooker returns to his former team on a two-year contract and will link up with the squad on November 1.
"I have learned a tremendous lot over the last two seasons and would like to plough back what I have picked up," he said. "The game is different in the northern hemisphere and it was good to experience something of it, but I can't wait to pull on the Bulls jersey.
"I am a Blue Bull through and through, I've been playing for the Union since I was 12, and what we've got at Loftus is certainly something very special. The Bulls truly are a family and I undoubtedly missed that. I will be arriving in the country on Wednesday with my rugby boots and I am fit and eager to play."
- Gloucester hooker Olivier Azam has been cited by the RFU for kicking Saracens skipper Steve Borthwick in face during last weekend's Guinness Premiership game at Vicarage Road.
Borthwick required treatment at a specialist eye hospital and has been ruled out for two to four weeks. Azam will appear before the disciplinary panel on October 6. He will be joined by team-mate Adam Eustace, who has been cited for stamping on Saracens scrum-half Justin Marshall during the same game and Bath wing Joe Maddock who has been cited for a dangerous tackle on Leicester Tigers' Geoff Parling.
- Leicester Tigers are facing up to life without skipper Geordan Murphy after the Ireland international was ruled out for up to four months with a shoulder injury.
Murphy underwent surgery after dislocating his shoulder in last weekend's draw against Bath and will likely miss their Heineken Cup group stages, with the club already without regulars Sam Vesty, Alesana Tuilagi and Toby Flood due to injuries.
- Cardiff Blues boss Dai Young has admitted that the injury-ravaged region are looking to call in cover for injured back-row options Ma'ama Molitika and Xavier Rush.
Molitika is facing up to four months on the sidelines with a pectoral injury, while Rush is struggling with a dislocated finger. The Blues face Glasgow in the Magners League this weekend also shorn of centre Jamie Roberts, out with a minor neck injury, and open their Heineken Cup account against Harlequins on October 10.
"We're looking for someone who'd make an impact. The process is on," Young told The Western Mail. "It's obviously something we've got to look at. Whether we can afford it, I don't know. Also, there's a question over whether there's a player of quality out there."
- Harlequins have signed centre Nils Mordt from Northampton Saints as cover for the injured Jordan Turner-Hall. Mordt has represented England at both Sevens and Saxons level and provides vital backup for the struggling side as Turner-Hall undergoes a four month recovery period on a shoulder injury.
- Five Taranaki players have been suspended for the Air New Zealand Cup match against Otago on Saturday for breaching team protocol.
Ace Malo, Ed Jenkins, Chris Walker, Jarrad Hoeata and Baydon Phillips all broke the team's alcohol rules after last weekend's loss to Waikato, Taranaki Rugby Union chief executive Mark Robinson told Newstalk ZB. They also face disciplinary proceedings.
- Manawatu fullback Kurt Baker and the team's trainer Paul Hamson have been banned after being charged with misconduct for allegedly verbally abusing assistant referee Zarne Johnson in an Air New Zealand Cup match between Hawke's Bay and Manawatu in Napier on Saturday.
Baker was also charged with allegedly threatening Johnson. Hamson's conduct towards
Johnson was such that the second assistant referee, Bruce Dockary, felt it necessary to intervene. Both Hamson and Baker denied making the comments but NZRU judicial officer Bruce Squire was satisfied that both were guilty of misconduct.
Hamson was suspended from all rugby for three weeks and fined NZ$300, while Baker - who had used threatening words towards Johnson - was suspended from all rugby for eight weeks. Four weeks of the suspension have been deferred for a year, providing he does not commit further foul play or misconduct within that period.
- Currie Cup strugglers Boland are set to lose several key players in the coming months. Scrum-half Marnus Hugo has signed a one year contract with Griquas, fullback Justin Peach is returning to Port Elizabeth with the Elephants and prop Janro van Niekerk is eyeing a move to another union.