News in Brief
Tuitupou inks Munster deal
Sam Tuitupou will join Munster
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- Munster have confirmed that Worcester centre Sam Tuitupou will join them next season pending a medical.
The powerful Kiwi played nine Tests for the All Blacks between 2004 and 2006 and will fill the void left by Springbok Jean de Villiers, who will return to South Africa to press for a World Cup place. The Magners League side have also sealed the signing of Leicester's Ireland 'A' international wing Johne Murphy.
- The shortlist for the prestigious Rugby Players' Association Players' Player of the Year award has been announced prior to the awards ceremony on May 26. The shortlist includes London Irish flanker Steffon Armitage, Saracens hooker Schalk Brits and Northampton trio Phil Dowson, Ben Foden and Soane Tonga'uiha.
The Saints also have two nominees in the category of Young Player of the Year, where wing Chris Ashton and lock Courtney Lawes have been recognised. Also on the shortlist is Leicester prop Dan Cole, his team-mate Ben Youngs and Wasps centre Dominic Waldouck.
- Leeds lock Erik Lund will join his brother, former England flanker Magnus, at Biarritz next season after agreeing a two-year deal with the Top 14 club.
"There are some obvious reasons why I decided to join Biarritz, notably the chance to play
alongside my brother, to play in the Heineken Cup and experience a new lifestyle," he said. "All of those were beyond Leeds Carnegie's control. However, it was incredibly difficult because of how special this group of players are here."
- Legendary Wales fly-half Phil Bennett has expressed his fears
for the Scarlets after another disappointing season. The region failed to qualify for the Heineken Cup via the league and picked up only five victories during the campaign. Bennett blamed the mishandled move to Parc y Scarlets, from Stradey Park, as part of the reason for the downturn.
"I think they've cut back," he told BBC Wales. "I think their move from Stradey Park to Parc y Scarlets was handled quite badly in many ways and I think the region has suffered from it. The support isn't there, the community hasn't supported it in many ways and they all need to get together and say 'this is for the good of Llanelli Rugby Football Club, the Scarlets'. But they have to have a wonderful season next year, much, much better than they've had."
- Northampton have signed promising youngster Greig Tonks, 20, from Leicester. Comfortable at wing, fullback or centre, Tonks has spent three seasons learning his trade with Nottingham in the Championship.