News in Brief
Saracens pushed on player contracts
PRA boss Damian Hopley is pressing for clarification from Saracens regarding the future of those players who are surplus to requirements
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- Saracens have been urged to come clean over their intentions for the 12 contracted players who have been told they are no longer required by the club. Incoming director of rugby Brendan Venter told the players, who include former All Black Chris Jack and club stalwarts Kevin Sorrell and Ben Skirving, they do not feature in his plans for next season.
The 12 players who have consulted lawyers and the Professional Rugby Players' Association are seeking assurances that all payments and benefits due under their contracts will be met in full. PRA chief executive Damian Hopley said, "There are inconsistent messages coming out from the club regarding its aims for the playing squad going forward. Saracens has publicly cited the need for economic cutbacks, whilst simultaneously confirming its intention to bring South African players to the club. Information given to the players by the club this week is fundamentally different to information the players received last week."
- Sale have announced the signing of prop Jack Forster from fellow Guinness Premiership side Gloucester on a two-year deal. Forster is an England Saxons international and bolsters a pack that will lose Clermont Auvergne-bound Lionel Faure at the end of the season.
- England attack coach Brian Smith has apologised to referee Jonathan Kaplan after complaing about his refereeing of England's Six Nations loss to Wales at the Millennium Stadium on February 14.
"We have spoken since the Wales Test match and I believe it was a positive conversation," he said. "I apologised for expressing my views publicly because it would have more productive to have raised those directly with him after the match.
"Jonathan is one of the best referees in the world and I'm sure we'll continue to have a healthy working relationship."
- Magners League side Scarlets have secured the signatures of several rising stars. Wales scrum-half Martin Roberts, centre Jonathan Davies and second-rows Dominic Day and Lou Reed have all committed until 2012, with flanker Johnathan Edwards and prop Phil John staying at Parc y Scarlets until 2011.
- A high performance centre backed by SA Rugby has been shelved due to a lack of funding. The complex, to be situated at the Bushman Sands Resort in Alicedale on the Eastern Cape, would have provided training facilities and accommodation for promising players and match officials.