News in Brief
Counties-Manukau reject NZRU bailout
- Cash-strapped Counties-Manukau have rejected a New Zealand Rugby Union rescue package after starting a membership drive seeking 3000 new season ticketholders.
The club are hoping to remain in the top echelon of New Zealand's provincial rugby and the campaign has seen a slow but steady start.
If the club did agree a deal with the NZRU it would ensure the union's survival but they would have to voluntarily drop out of the Air New Zealand Cup when the competition is downsized next season.
A public meeting this week rejected the NZRU's offer which prompted the membership drive and the club has reported that 204 memberships have been sold to date.
Counties-Manukau chief executive Phil McConnell said: "That's a couple of hundred more than we sold last year."
McConnell also said that replica shirt sales had gone up as had interest in corporate hospitality but signing a shirt sponsor was a concern due to the union's uncertain future.
""Uncertainty is a killer among sponsors and a killer among players as well," he said.
The union hopes to be "self sufficient" in a month but if they are unsuccessful they will meet with the NZRU once again to discuss the offer.
- New Zealand coach Graham Henry and skipper Mils Muliaina have laughed off criticism that the All Blacks don't sing their anthem with required vigour.
Muliaina joked that it was because they couldn't sing, while Henry was a little more serious in saying: "I haven't instructed them to sing the anthem yet (but) I think it's a decision they will come to. I think they should sing the anthem, for sure."
- Golden Lions chief executive Manie Reyneke is confident that he made the correct decision in asking coach Eugene Eloff to step down following an audit in to the club's coaching structure by South Africa's World Cup-winning coach Jake White and his Winning Way company.
"The audit confirmed the worst. Jake and his company have made recommendations that we have accepted. Jake and Eddie (Jones) are two of the finest rugby coaches and thinkers in the world and they will provide the skills set needed to put Lions rugby back at the top," said Reyneke. "The message to our rugby public is that there is change. We have professionally dealt with the rugby issues of the last three years and we have acted calmly but with the necessary urgency.
"Eugene Eloff had a three-year plan but there was not delivery on the plan and in any business an individual is judged on delivery. Hans Coetzee will take on the role of head coach in the Currie Cup and a decision on who will coach the Super 14 team will be taken in the course of the Currie Cup."
- Sale Sharks have signed former England A and Under-21 flanker David Seymour from Saracens.
The 24-year-old made 105 appearances for Saracens and won a silver medal in the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.
Sale's Director of Rugby Kingsley Jones said, "David is a good signing for us, he has a high work rate and plenty of pace. He has come through the system at Saracens and when I found out he was available, I made my move to sign him."
- Newcastle Falcons have signed two teenage Scottish players from Kelso on two-year full-time contracts. Prop Grant Shiells joins after playing in the Under-20 World Cup in Japan and centre Michael Tait is an Under-19 international who is the son of former British & Irish Lion, Alan.
- Edinburgh have parted company with wing Roland Reid, centre Calum MacRae, hooker Steve Lawrie, prop Bruce McNeil and wing Marc Teague ahead of the new season.