News in Brief
Dupuy ban shortened by one week
January 13, 2010
Stade Francais scrum-half Julien Dupuy, Bath v Stade Francais, Heineken Cup, The Recreation Ground, October 18, 2009
Stade Francais scrum-half Julien Dupuy will miss the entire Six Nations after being found guilty of eye-gouging © Getty Images

  • Stade Francais scrum-half Julien Dupuy has had his six-month ban for eye-gouging reduced by one week on appeal.

    Dupuy was handed his original ban after being found guilty of eye-gouging Ulster flanker Stephen Ferris during the Irish province's 23-13 Heineken Cup victory on December 12. The independent appeal committee accepted that, "the original decision had been in error only in a limited and technical manner" and as a result reduced the sanction by seven days.

    The appeal decision ends the 26-year-old's hopes of playing in this year's Six Nations and effectively ends his season as he will not be able to play again until May 27. "It's a very heavy sanction," Stade Francais club president Max Guazzini told Reuters after the hearing. "They [ERC] wanted to make an example. The player (Ferris) said himself there was no gouging. The fact that he [Dupuy] is French probably played a role."

  • Ben Foden has signed a new deal with Northampton Saints. The highly-rated fullback has enjoyed success with the club since switching from Sale in 2008 and won his first England cap during the 2009 Six Nations, as well as a European Challenge Cup title with the Saints.

    "It's been good for me so far," he said. "I've enjoyed being in new surroundings, I feel part of the team at fullback and we're playing good rugby. I really enjoy working with Dorian [West], Paul [Grayson] and Jim [Mallinder].

    "He's a former fullback but he let me choose my own path. Now I'm playing fullback he's now giving me direction and help in how to develop. All of the coaches are very good at managing players and I'm looking forward to where they're taking the team in the future."

  • Cardiff Blues No.8 Xavier Rush has insisted that his future with the Magners League side is yet to be finalised. Former All Black Rush, 32, has been linked with a contract in Japan and Blues coach Dai Young has admitted that they may struggle to keep him.

    "There is nothing signed and there's no reason why I wouldn't be here next season," he told The Western Mail. "If the truth be known, the ball is probably in the Blues' court so let's see what happens. Japan is one consideration. But so is staying in Cardiff so let's just wait and see what comes back. I'm certainly not against staying in Cardiff. That's for sure."

  • Worcester director of rugby Mike Ruddock has admitted that the Guinness Premiership club have given up on a high-profile swoop for Ospreys fly-half James Hook.

    "I met with James' agent a couple of months ago but I was told he was under contract until 2011," he told BBC Hereford & Worcester. "Until he is out of contract there's not a chance of him coming here. It's unlikely that a current international would want to leave Wales, as the Welsh RFU has said if players go off and play in England they might not get in the Wales team."

  • Top 14 strugglers Bayonne have continued a rocky season by sacking coaches Thierry Mentieres and Jean-Philippe Coyola. Bayonne are six points adrift in the Top 14 and out of the running in the European Challenge Cup. Former Toulouse coach Christian Gajan is the frontrunner to take over.

  • Back-row Sione Lauaki will captain the Chiefs in the opening rounds of the Super 14 in the absence of All Black fullback Mils Muliaina. Lauaki has been handed the captain's armband as Muliaina is on an extended break as part of his contract with the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU).

    Lauaki will lead last season's beaten finalists against the Sharks in Durban, the Lions in Johannesburg and Western Force in Perth.

    "On-field he's hugely influential for this particular group and off-field - as I've been saying for a while - he has a major impact on the culture of the team," coach Ian Foster told The Waikato Times. "I think he's really grown through some ups and downs and become a fantastic leader. We saw a lot of behind-the-scenes leadership last year particularly that was very valuable for us.

  • Reigning Super 14 champions the Bulls will likely be without the versatile Francois Hougaard for the opening rounds of the tournament. The utility back is out for four to six weeks with a knee injury picked up during training.

  • Ulster No.8 Chris Henry has signed a new three-year deal with the Magners League side. He is joined in re-signing by senior players Nigel Brady, Willie Faloon and Ian Whitten.

  • The Highlanders will kick off their Super 14 preparations with a warm-up against the Chiefs at Carisbrook on January 23, before heading to Fiji to face a Fijian selection a week later.


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