News in Brief
Catt commits to London Irish
London Irish attack coach Mike Catt has extended his contract with the Exiles
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- London Irish attack coach Mike Catt has put pen to paper on a new three-year contract with the club. The 38-year-old former England international only called time on his illustrious playing career earlier this month but is now looking forward to concentrating solely on coaching.
"I am delighted to be staying at the club for at least another three years," he said. "One of my main reasons for retiring from playing was a desire to focus full-time on coaching, both for the continued development of the team and for my own aim of becoming the best coach I can be.
"At times last season, I did not feel that I was able to give Toby Booth my full support due to my playing commitments, and I now relish the opportunity of helping London Irish reach its full potential."
Exiles head coach Toby Booth, who signed a new deal with the club earlier this month, is delighted that Catt has agreed to extend his stay at the Madejski Stadium.
"He brings an unrivalled level of expertise and experience to the role and I have every confidence that he is capable of becoming as successful as a coach as he was a player," he said. "The commitment of Mike, Dave Ellis and I shows our belief that London Irish is a team that is heading in the right direction and I am delighted to have such an excellent coaching team working alongside me."
- Leeds have announced that Argentine prop Juan Francisco Gomez has signed a new two-year contract with the club. The Pumas tight-head, who was last week included in the squad for the upcoming Tests against Scotland and France, arrived at Headingley midway through the 2008/2009 season on a loan deal from Leinster.
However, the move was made permanent at the end of the campaign and, after an impressive debut season in the Guinnness Premiership, Gomez has put pen to paper on a new deal with Leeds, much to the delight of head coach Neil Back.
"Juan enjoys our environment here at Leeds Carnegie and thrives on the competitive nature of our squad. He is beginning to flourish on the back of consistent performances which has led to him being selected for the full Argentina Test squad," he said.
"I think it is important to say that Juan is still developing and he knows where he needs to improve his game. Having said that, the corner stone of your pack is your tight-head prop and that gives you a platform on which you can build your game. Juan has done that exceptionally well for us this year in tandem with Phil Swainston off the bench."
- Jean de Villiers has been forced to pull out of the South Africa starting line-up for the June 5 Test against Wales at the Millennium Stadium with a shoulder injury. The 29-year-old centre, who is returning to Western Province this summer after a season with Munster, has been replaced in the Springbok midfield by Jaque Fourie.
- Wian du Preez is on his way back to Munster, the South African prop having signed a two-year contract with the province. Du Preez first linked up with Tony McGahan's men on a short-term contract last November to provide cover for the injured Marcus Horan only to return home upon the conclusion of the pool stages of the Heineken Cup.
- France centre Yannick Jauzion has pulled out of next month's tour to South Africa and Argentina. No explanation has yet been given for the withdrawal, which was resulted in a call-up for Jauzion's Toulouse team-mate Florian Fritz.
- The Bulls welcome back leading try-scorer Gerhard van den Heever for Saturday's Super 14 showdown with the Stormers in Soweto. Van den Heever returns after serving a two-week suspension to reclaim his usual berth on the right wing from Jaco van der Westhuyzen in the only change to the side which overcame the Crusaders in the semi-finals at the weekend.
Bulls team v Stormers: Z Kirchner; G van den Heever, J Pretorius, W Olivier, F Hougaard; M Steyn, F du Preez; G Steenkamp, G Botha, W Kruger; D Rossouw, V Matfield; D Stegmann, D Potgieter, P Spies.
Replacements: B Maku, B Roux, F van der Merwe, D Kuün, J-L Potgieter, J van der Westhuyzen, P Wannenburg.
- Ben Gollings has been nominated for the IRB Sevens Player of the year. The veteran England ace, who is the leading all-time points scorer in IRB Sevens rugby, will compete with Samoan trio Mikaele Pesamino, Lolo Lui and Alafoti Fa'osiliva for the prestigious award, which will be presented at the conclusion of the Edinburgh Sevens at the end of the month.
- London Welsh have announced the signing of England Sevens star Josh Drauniniu and Fiji international Wiasea Luveniyali from Harlequins.
- The Ospreys have announced that they have extended their sponsorship deal with RWE npower renewable until the end of the 2012/2013 season. One of the new features of the revised agreement is a guarantee of an annual minimum contribution of 25 percent of the sponsorship fee to the Ospreys Community Development Programme.