News in Brief
Delve and Stowers banned
September 22, 2009
Gloucester's Gareth Delve and London Irish's George Stowers square up at the Madejski Stadium
© Getty Images
- Gloucester captain Gareth Delve and London Irish back row George Stowers have each suspended for three weeks following their brawl at the Madejski Stadium.
The two players came to blows after Stowers' dangerous tackle on Gloucester scrum-half Dave Lewis in the final minute of London Irish's 40-10 victory on September 13. Stowers received a two-week ban for the tackle and a further one week suspension for striking Delve, who had reacted to the challenge with a flurry of punches.
Both players are free to play again on October 12 but will miss the first round of Heineken Cup fixtures.
- Three of Leinster's British and Irish Lions contingent, Luke Fitzgerald, Jamie Heaslip and Rob Kearney, are set for a return to action against Magners League leaders Edinburgh this weekend.
The trio have been named in coach Michael Cheika's 26-man squad for the Murrayfield clash on Saturday and are joined by Girvan Dempsey who missed last weekend's 18-11 victory away to the Ospreys.
In related news, Munster's squad for Sunday's clash with the Newport Gwent Dragons includes their Lions Paul O'Connell, Donncha O'Callaghan, Keith Earls and Ronan O'Gara.
- Springboks centre Jaque Fourie has had a small victory in an appeal against a four match suspension for a dangerous tackle on New Zealand's Ma'a Nonu in Hamilton on September 12.
A Sanzar appeal committee agreed the tackle was a lifting one and in breach of IRB law but it found that in all the circumstances the penalty was inappropriate.
The sanction was amended so that Fourie's suspension runs from September 14, up to and including October 3, 2009. It means he will be unavailable for two Currie Cup matches on September 26 and October 3.
- Northland Rugby Union chairman Andrew Golightly has warned the proposed revamp of provincial rugby in New Zealand could have negative ramifications for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
The New Zealand Rugby Union are adamant they will not back down from a decision to cull four provinces from the Air New Zealand Cup at the end of this season as they look to split the new competition into two divisions.
"The World Cup will be a great event but we will need the whole country united," Golightly said. "There will be disappointment in four key provinces and that won't be good leading into the World Cup."
The province was kicked out of the Air New Zealand Cup last year, along with Tasman, before community pressure saw both reinstated. They are in the mix to be axed once again, alongside Tasman, Counties-Manukau and Manawatu.
- The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) have been forced to scrap a trial match ahead of their end of season tour due to a row ove rplayer payments.
A match between the Wallabies and an Australian Barbarians side was set to take place in Sydney next week but has been cancelled after the Rugby Union Players Association (RUPA) argued the players should be paid.
"The players' attitude was if the game is being played for commercial gain, we want to be paid," RUPA chief executive Tony Dempsey told The Australian newspaper.
- Current Crusaders and Tasman prop Ben Franks has re-signed with Tasman for a further two years. Franks joined Tasman in 2007 and has played 20 games for the Makos.
His signing will make him available for selection for the 2010 Crusaders squad, a team he has played 35 games for between 2006 and 2009. He was also a member of the All Black squad on their Northern Hemisphere tour in 2009, playing one game against Munster.
Franks is currently recovering from a foot operation and is unavailable for selection for the remainder of this year's Air NZ Cup campaign.
- Insurers Amlin have been named as title sponsors of the European Challenge Cup in a three-year agreement. The Amlin Challenge Cup kicks off next month, with the main contenders set to include current Guinness Premiership leaders Wasps and Jonny Wilkinson's Toulon.