News in brief
Crusaders calling for Jack?
Chris Jack could be heading for the Crusaders following his stint with Saracens
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- Crusaders chief executive Hamish Riach has confirmed that he has met with All Black lock Chris Jack to discuss a return to New Zealand.
Jack is one of fifteen players to be shown the door by Guinness Premiership club Saracens at the end of the season following the appointment of former Springbok and current Stormers defence coach Brendan Venter as director of rugby.
Jack played 89 matches for the Crusaders under Robbie Deans before his move to England, and his return would provide a major boost for the franchise and for New Zealand coach Graham Henry, who is currently relying on Ali Williams and Brad Thorn as his main second-row options.
"Yes, we have been chatting to him but we don't have anything in concrete," Riach told The Press.
- Saracens and England skipper Steve Borthwick is apparently considering his future with the club following the recent cull of squad members. "I had a chat to him [Borthwick] beforehand. He's another one who will need to make a decision on his future because he came to the club with a certain vision." Jones told The Hillingdon Times. "That vision is probably not there anymore so he will need to make a decision. The thing about Steve Borthwick is he will be one of the most loyal men in the world. So it depends where his loyalty lies at the moment."
- The RFU and Premiership clubs are meeting on Tuesday with the subject of abolishing relegation apparently on the table. With the credit crunch biting hard some clubs believe that they cannot concentrate on developing players and challenging in Europe with the financial implications of relegation hanging over their heads.
- Toulon player-coach Tana Umaga is out for two weeks after being forced from the field during their French Top 14 win over Bourgoin with an adductor strain. He will miss games against Bayonne and Perpignan.
- Guinness Premiership side London Irish could be without skipper Bob Casey for up to six weeks after the lock underwent surgery on a bicep injury sustained against Bath last month. "We're hoping for a speedy recovery because he's our captain and the talisman of the team," head coach Toby Booth told BBC Radio Berkshire. "He had an operation last week and it's probably going to be six weeks or so."
- Italy coach Nick Mallett has called fly-half Kristopher Burton, flankers Simone Favaro and Jean-Francois Montauriol, lock Tommaso Reato, prop Fabio Staibano, centre Roberto Quartaroli and wing Michele Sepe into his extended squad for their Six Nations clash with Wales at the Stadio Flaminio on March 14.
- Bulls skipper Victor Matfield has been elected as chairman of the South African Rugby Players Association (SARPA) at its annual general meeting. Matfield has held the position before but was forced to relinquish it while playing in France for Toulon. He takes over in the role from former Springbok Hennie le Roux.