News in Brief
Lewsey in Baa-Baas squad to play England
England World Cup winner Josh Lewsey has been selected to play for the Barbarians against England and Australia this summer
© Getty Images
- England World Cup winner Josh Lewsey will play his final competitive match on English soil for the Barbarians against England at Twickenham on 30 May.
Lewsey, 32, is retiring from the sport at the end of the season after a career that included 55 caps for his country, representing the British & Irish Lions (3 caps) as well as having an illustrious club career with Wasps.
Lewsey, who will make his Barbarians debut, said "It's a real honour to have the opportunity to play for the Barbarians. In an era of professionalism it is a club that upholds the value of sport at its best and to that end it will be an honour to play for them at the end of my career."
Head Coach Dai Young said, "Josh has been an outstanding servant of the game and I'm sure he and his team mates will be doing everything they can to provide a fitting end to his playing career in England."
- The former France captain, Fabien Pelous, announced on Thursday that he will quit professional rugby at the end of the season.
"After careful thought, I felt it was time for me to go," the Toulouse lock said at a press conference.
Pelous, 35, started his professional career at Dax in 1995 before moving on to Toulouse 1997 where he has been ever since.He was a capped a record 118 times for France and retired after the 2007 Rugby World Cup, captaining his country on 42 occasions.
During a stellar career he won four Grand Slams in the Five or Six Nations and won the Heineken Cup with Toulouse in 2003 and 2005.
- The New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) made a modest profit of NZ$366,000 for the year, it announced at its annual meeting in Wellington on Thursday.
The result was an improvement on the NZ$1.7 million loss recorded in 2007 and chief executive Steve Tew said it was a strong result given the wider economic environment and the challenges facing all sports. The profit had been projected to be larger based on currency movements and higher than budgeted returns on the Bledisloe Cup Test in Hong Kong last October.
However, the final result was impacted significantly by the rapid weakening of the British pound against the New Zealand dollar in the final weeks of the year. "While we have a number of significant challenges, the NZRU remains on a very solid footing which is encouraging given the global economic climate," Tew said.
"The aim is to ensure we utilise that position to support and sustain rugby and try and position the game to be able to emerge positively from the international downturn."
- Leicester wing Alesana Tuilagi has received a four-week ban after being found guilty of foul play.
It means the Samoan international will miss Tigers' Heineken Cup semi-final against Cardiff Blues on May 3, plus the Guinness Premiership play-offs and final if Leicester get to Twickenham next month.
He was cited for playing Bath full-back Nick Abendanon without the ball during Tigers' Heineken quarter-final win a fortnight ago.
- Former All Blacks manager John Sturgeon has succeeded Andy Leslie as president of the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU).
Sturgeon, who was elected vice president in 2007, was elected president at the NZRU annual meeting in Wellington on Thursday. The 73-year-old Greymouth resident, an NZRU councillor from 1987 to 1995 and All Blacks manager from 1988 to 1991, will take up his post immediately.
Meanwhile, former All Blacks wing Bryan Williams was elected vice president. In other elections, chairman Jock Hobbs and fellow board member Ivan Haines were re-elected to the NZRU board.
- Teenage sensation Rob Horne is the latest player to commit his future to the Waratahs after signing a new two-year deal.
One of the hottest young properties in Australian Rugby, Horne, 19, said he is excited by the opportunity to continue his career at New South Wales. "This was a really big decision for me, but I'm happy that I've now done the deal and can get on with the rest of our 2009 campaign," said Horne.
"When you see the physicality he plays the game with, you have to remind yourself Rob's still only 19," said Waratahs head coach Chris Hickey. "He is an amazing talent and certainly isn't intimidated at this level."
- New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) chairman Jock Hobbs has admitted head office communication with the provincial unions has to improve in light of a letter from nine of them expressing grave concerns over the national union's motives.
The letter from the so-called "G9" unions aired worries an expanded Super rugby competition will further devalue the provincial NZ Cup. While admitting communication woes, Hobbs said the parties had the same interests at heart.
"The principles they have set out that they want to see in the domestic competitions we largely agree with, we are actually on the same page," Hobbs said. "We are standing in a boxing ring and there is no need to swing. We just need to talk about it," he said during a break in discussions.
The G9, comprising the Counties-Manukau, Bay of Plenty, Northland, Tasman, Southland, North Harbour, Taranaki, Manawatu and Hawke's Bay unions, wrote a four-page letter to the NZRU, questioned the motives of the national union, and said it was putting "revenue, the broadcasters and the players' association" before the good of the game.
- The Guinness Premiership Final is down to its last 5,000 tickets leaving it well on track to reach last year's total of 81,600, selling out Twickenham for the second year running.
- Sale Sharks have announced the signing of Scottish international front row forward Gavin Kerr on a two year contract. Capped 50 times by Scotland Gavin joins Sale Sharks from Edinburgh.
- Elvis Seveali'i, the Samoan international, and Alfredo Lalanne, the Argentine international, have signed new contracts with London Irish that will keep them with the club until the end of the 2010-11 season.
- Bristol have confirmed the signing of three new players ahead of next season. Wales' Rugby World Cup Sevens winning flanker James Merriman, USA Rugby's Robbie Shaw and Gloucester winger Dan Norton will all join the club ahead of next season.
- UWE Hartpury continued their domination of university rugby, winning yesterday's BUCS student final at Twickenham against West Country rivals UWIC, 49-30.