News in Brief
IRB's Olympics bid cheered
Australia Womens skipper Cheryl Soon was pleased with the reaction to the IRB's Olympic bid
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- The IRB delegation's presentation to the International Olympic Committee was met with cheers according to the skipper of the World Cup-winning Australian Women's Sevens team Cheryl Soon. The IRB are campaigning for Sevens to be re-admitted to the Olympic games.
Soon was a member of the delegation alongside IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset, IRB secretary general Mike Miller, Humphrey Kayange, captain of the Kenya Sevens team, leadingplayer and referee Anastassiya Khamova and former Argentina scrum-half Agustin Pichot and was pleased with the reception that their proposal recived from the committee.
"I think the reception we received was very good," Soon told AAP. "There were board members clapping and cheering. We wanted to let them know about the speed, the excitement and the inclusiveness of sevens rugby, and in how many countries around the world the game is played.
"We want to play alongside the world's top athletes competing at the highest levels of their sports. It would be an absolute privilege to do so."
- Experienced French referee Joel Jutge has been forced to retire by a troublesome knee injury. Jutge has not officiated since 2007 due to the problem, and will now take up a position in the administration of French refereeing.
- The Counties Manukau Rugby Union has called a public meeting to discuss the plight of the organisation and its future on the provincial landscape. The union today issued a plea for fans and the public to attend a forum at the province's home base in Pukekohe next Monday night as fears grow about its continued participation in the top tier of New Zealand's domestic competition.
Crippled by the costs associated with staging poorly attended games at Mt Smart Stadium and then rocked by their major sponsor Tribro going into receivership, Counties Manukau required a bailout from the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) to stay operational.
However, the NZRU offer relied on the union agreeing to drop out of the Air NZ Cup - a scenario union officials initially rejected, although that stance may be altered after next week's meeting at Growers Stadium. The union's board felt dropping out of the Air NZ Cup would reduce Counties Manukau to a feeder union, one where players, coaches and support staff were denied professional pathways locally.
Counties Manukau chief executive Phil McConnell said the community's views were imperative.
"We need to let our public know what is going on and give them a voice. We still believe enough people care about the province to save our union," O'Connell said, equating Counties Manukau's predicament to the one experienced by Northland last year.
- Bourgoin's Top 14 future has been secured after an audit by the Nationale d'Aide et de Contrôle de Gestion (DNACG), the financial arm of the Ligue National de Rugby (LNR). The European Challenge Cup-finalist had been threatened with demotion to Pro Division 2 due to financial struggles, but have sufficiently allayed fears with guarantees over their plans for the future so as to avoid the drop.
- The Brumbies have reinforced their back-row options by re-signing flankers Mitchell Chapman and Henry Vanderglas. Chapman has signed a two-year deal to stay in Canberra while Vanderglas has inked a one-year rookie deal.
- Saracens have continued to strengthen their ranks for next season by signing South African lock Mouritz Botha as cover for Hugh Vyvyan and skipper Steve Borthwick.
- Newport Gwent Dragons have secured the services of former Newport scrum-half Darren Edwards as backs coach. Morris joins from Harlequins, and also serves as a coach with Wales U18.