News in Brief
Skrela set to start for Toulouse
Toulouse No.10 David Skrela is set to line up against the Blues in Cardiff this weekend
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- France fly-half David Skrela has passed a fitness test and will be part of a 25-man Toulouse squad which travels to Wales for Saturday's Heineken Cup quarter-final against Cardiff Blues.
Skrela was a doubt with a rib injury sustained in last weekend's 42-10 victory over Brive in the Top 14. But he has proved his fitness and is likely to fill the No.10 jersey for the French champions at the Millennium Stadium.
Les Bleus full-back Clement Poitrenaud is fit after adductor problems and France prop Benoit Lecouls has recovered from a shoulder complaint, but fellow front-row forward Jean-Baptiste Poux (neck) will not make the trip.
- Brad Thorn is the latest big name to commit to the All Blacks, with the Crusaders lock re-signing with the New Zealand Rugby Union and Canterbury through to 2011.
"At this stage of my career I am really enjoying my footy and keen to continue playing rugby for the Crusaders and the All Blacks," said Thorn. "
The 34-year-old dual code international joins a key group of senior players who have committed their services to New Zealand including All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, Rodney So'oialo, Keven Mealamu, Dan Carter, Ma'a Nonu and Andrew Hore.
- Five more internationald have been added to the star studded Barbarians line up to play England at Twickenham Stadium on May 30.
Nick Evans (Harlequins and New Zealand), Doug Howlett (Munster and New Zealand), Justin Harrison (Bath and Australia), Luke McAlister (Sale Sharks and New Zealand) and Seilala Mapusua (London Irish and Samoa) will play against England before Martin Johnson's squad travel to play Argentina at Old Trafford on June 6 and The Pumas again in Salta, Argentina on June 13.
The players will be joined by five other legends of the game who were announced at the end of last month, Martin Corry (Leicester Tigers and England), Serge Betsen (London Wasps and France), Jerry Collins (Toulon and New Zealand), Justin Marshall (Saracens and New Zealand) and Rocky Elsom (Leinster and Australia).
- Rugby World Cup Limited has announced that SKY Television New Zealand will be the Host Broadcaster for all matches of Rugby World Cup 2011 in New Zealand.
In addition to the deal with SKY NZ, RWCL will look to licence simultaneous free-to-air broadcast in New Zealand of up to 16 matches, including the opening match and knock-out matches. The National Business Review reports that Sky is set to make around NZ$3 million in profit from its deal, despite predicted costs of around NZ$15 million.
- Crusaders and All Blacks captain Richie McCaw is nearing full fitness following a month on the sidelines with a medial ligament strain.
McCaw ran freely at training on Thursday and will be further assessed when the team arrives in South Africa ahead of their three-match schedule but is in line to face the table-topping Sharks at Durban on April 18.
"From everything we've been told he's good to go next week. It's not so much about the physicality but it's the turning. His straight-line running is fine, it's just the turning and stepping," said coach Todd Blackadder.
- Wally Holmes, a front row stalwart for England in the 1950s, has died in the Midlands at the age of 83.