News in Brief
Gear heading to Japan
Rico Gear is off to Japan
© Getty Images
- According to reports in Japan, former All Blacks wing Rico Gear has signed with the Kintetsu Liners from relegated Guinness Premiership side Worcester.
The Daily Yomiuri confirmed the move for the 19-cap All Black, who joined Worcester from the Crusaders in 2007. He was granted a release at the end of this season after Worcester said they wouldn't stand in his way if he had a significant offer to move elsewhere.
The Kintetsu Liners, based in Osaka, are coached by former All Black Peter Sloane and signed former All Blacks fullback Leon MacDonald last year before he ended his playing career.
- Irish referee George Clancy will take charge of the first Magners League semi-final between the Ospreys and Glasgow at the Liberty Stadium on Friday night, with Welsh official Nigel Owens taking the whistle for Saturday's all-Irish affair in Dublin, where Leinster host Munster.
- Northampton trio Chris Ashton, Phil Dowson and Soane Tonga'uiha lead the nominations for the Guinness Premiership Player of the Year awards. Also included on the shortlist are Saracens duo Schalk Brits and Ernst Joubert.
- The Crusaders have been forced to stand down scrum-half Kahn Fotuali'i after a breach of the team's recovery protocol. The impressive halfback will miss their vital round 13 game against the Brumbies in Christchurch this weekend, a
must-win game if they are to keep their semi-final hopes alive.
"It's an unfortunate thing to happen at this time of the season but we're not going to let it distract us," Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder told NZPA. "We're going to focus solely on our very important match against the Brumbies on Friday night. Kahn regrets the breach and will be doing his best to help prepare the team to win on Friday."