News in Brief
Eales joins ARU board
Former Wallabies captain John Eales has joined the Australian Rugby Union Board
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- Former Wallabies captain John Eales has been appointed to the Australian Rugby Union Board.
The 39-year-old, who won the Rugby World Cup with Australia in 1991 and led his country to sport's biggest prize again in 1999, was elected unopposed at the Annual General Meeting in Sydney following the retirement from the Board of former Defence Force Chief, General Peter Cosgrove. "I'm excited by the opportunity," he said. "Rugby has always been a passion and I look forward to being able to contribute."
Eales played 86 Tests for Australia, making his debut in 1991 and retiring after the retention of the Bledisloe Cup and Tri-Nations titles 10 years later. Widely regarded as one of the game's greatest players, he has remained active in sport since his Test retirement, serving as a director of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame and as a Board member for five years with the Australian Sports Commission.
Eales was also engaged by the Australian Olympic Committee to act as a mentor for individuals, teams and coaches at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games. He was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 1999 for services to the community and Rugby and received the 2000 Australian Sports Medal for his contribution to Australian Rugby. The annual award to recognise the Wallabies' best player for the year is also named after him - the John Eales Medal.
At the AGM, ARU announced an operating surplus of $6.13 million. It is a figure surpassed only once since the 2003 Rugby World Cup - last year's operating surplus was $9.2m. After allocations to Member Unions for coaching and development, a net deficit of $279,000 for 2009 was declared. In 2008 there was a net surplus after allocationsof $712,000.
- The Irish Rugby Football Union has confirmed that the composite provincial rugby match between Leinster/Ulster and Munster/Connacht will mark the opening of the new Aviva Stadium on Saturday, July 31.
"This promises to be a great occasion to open the Aviva Stadium to the Irish rugby public," said Philip Browne, IRFU chief executive. "It was felt that a combined provinces fixture would be the most appropriate way to do this, providing a look back into the history of the game while also creating a new chapter for Irish rugby."
The new stadium will host the autumn internationals in November with the visit of South Africa, Samoa, New Zealand and Argentina during November. France will be the first Six Nations game at the venue (February 13, 2011) and Ireland will host England in a final day clash on March 20.
- Scotland fly-half Phil Godman has agreed a new two-year contract with Edinburgh. The 27-year-old has become the ninth player to extend his stay at the capital club since the turn of the year.
Godman has amassed 355 points in 130 appearances since joining Edinburgh from Newcastle six years ago. "I'm delighted to be staying and I'm really excited about what we can achieve," he said. "I'm proud to play for Edinburgh - it means a lot to me. But the main reason I wanted to stay is because I'm ambitious and I want to win trophies."
Head coach Rob Moffat said: "Dan Parks has played very well for Scotland, so that is another challenge for Phil - to reclaim the No.10 jersey for the national team."
- Northampton Saints have continued their recent recruitment drive with the signing of Leeds Carnegie winger Scott Armstrong.
The 23-year-old scored 11 tries in National League One during the 2008-09 season and has made 14 appearances for Leeds this season. "Northampton is a club that is going places and has come on a lot in the last few seasons," Armstrong said. "The Saints are playing an exciting brand of rugby. It's enjoyable to watch and something I'm looking forward to being involved in."
- The Brumbies have re-signed outside back Andrew Smith signing on a two-year deal. The 25-year-old former Australian Sevens and Australian Under 19's representative, who the Canberra-based franchise on a one-year deal last year, made his Super 14 debut for the Brumbies against the Blues in Auckland four weeks ago.