News in Brief
Tiatia determined to go out on a high
Ospreys veteran Filo Tiatia is set to hang up his boots
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- Veteran Ospreys back-row Filo Tiatia, 38, has vowed to bring success to the region before hanging up his boots at the end of the season to join their coaching staff on a full-time basis.
The two-time All Black has made 96 appearances since joining them four years ago from Japanese side Toyota Verblitz and could make his final bow in Friday's league showdown with the Dragons.
"I'm not saying goodbye, I'll be stepping up the coaching role that I started last year and taking that to another level," he said. "This role that I've been doing as a player-coach will now become a full-time coaching role so hopefully I can continue to make a positive contribution to the Ospreys. Retiring is a word that players don't like, you never get accustomed to saying it, but for me it's the right time I think.
"It will be good to end with a bit of success, with some silverware. I've been fortunate enough to have been part of a team that has enjoyed league and cup success since I joined the Ospreys, and I want to go out on a high."
- The order of the Guinness Premiership semi-final matches has been agreed prior to this weekend's final round of league matches.
Leicester Tigers will play their home semi-final at 4pm on Sunday 16th May at Welford Road. The other semi-final, which will be hosted by either Northampton Saints or Saracens will kick off at 1.30pm on Sunday 16th May. The Leicester Tigers match will be the first rugby union match to be broadcast in 3D by Sky Sports.
- The Hurricanes' Ma'a Nonu has been reprimanded by the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) for an expletive-laden radio interview. NZRU general manager of professional rugby Neil Sorensen revealed in Wellington today that Nonu required to undertake a school visit to make amends. The Hurricanes midfielder completed an extraordinary interview soon after his starring role in his side's 33-27 win over the Chiefs last Saturday, using the f-word seven times when answering two questions.
"Ma'a and I met and discussed the incident and he acknowledges that he has let himself down on this occasion," Sorensen said in a statement. "As a result, we have found that his conduct constitutes a breach of our collective employment agreement and while I'm disappointed in Ma'a's behaviour, he has fronted up well and taken responsibility for his actions, including making a full public apology."
- London Welsh have scrapped plans to move their training base to Wales as part of a link-up with the Ospreys. The Rugby Football Union and the Welsh Rugby Union had voiced their reservations over the plans, with the RFU concerned at the prospect of an English club being based in Wales and the WRU keen to ensure that the semi-professional Welsh Premiership retains its status as the main feeder for the four professional regions.
A statement on the Ospreys website read, "We are disappointed at the RFU's reaction to the proposed partnership between the Ospreys and London Welsh Rugby Football Club Ltd, but would like to reiterate our continued commitment to working closely with London Welsh in a relationship that would be a positive step forward for both organisations as well as Welsh and English rugby in general. We will continue to discuss all possibilities with London Welsh, and would hope that both the RFU and the WRU are able to share our foresight and identify the many benefits that such a working partnership has for all parties."
The partnership between the Championship semi-finalists and the Magners League outfit is set to continue but in a scaled back format. The Welsh region are looking for their younger players to gain experience in the Championship while helping the Exiles to raise their playing standards.
- London Irish hooker James Buckland has signed a new two-year deal with the Guinness Premiership side. The former Wasps and Leicester No.2 joined the Exiles in 2008.
- Back-rowers Pierre Rabadan and Antoine Burban have signed new three-year deals with Top 14 side Stade Francais.
- Leeds have re-signed long-time servants Lee Blackett and Jon Pendlebury on two and one-year deals respectively as they continue their preparations for a second season in the Guinness Premiership.