News in Brief
Ioane pens new Reds deal
Scrum.com
August 1, 2009
Digby Ioane of the Reds chips the ball forward during the round 11 Super 14 match between the Blues and the Reds at North Harbour Stadium on April 25, 2009
Digby Ioane has reaffirmed his commitment to the Reds © Getty Images
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  • Digby Ioane has ended months of speculation over his future and re-signed with the Queensland Reds and Australian Rugby Union until 2011. The centre has decided not to follow Berrick Barnes out of the door after the playmaker decided on a switch to the Waratahs.

    Skipper James Horwill has also reaffirmed his commitment to the ailing Super 14 franchise after rumours began to circulate about the possibility of him jumping ship.

    "I'm 100% with the Reds next year," Horwill told AAP. "I don't know if you can do more than hold a press conference to announce your signing, like I did a couple of months ago.

    "It's disappointing this has come out, especially at this (delicate) time. It's like trying to kick a good man while he's down."

  • Australia have travelled to South Africa for their Tri-Nations Test against the Springboks on August 8 without coach Robbie Deans.

    The former Crusaders boss has returned to Christchurch following the death of his father and is expected to miss the majority of the Wallabies' week in South Africa. Winger Drew Mitchell, who this week confirmed a move to the Waratahs, believed that Deans' absence would not have an adverse affect on the squad. Deans is likely to arrive on Wednesday, with Jim Williams and Richard Graham taking training until that point.

    "We've all been working together. We all know where we are trying to get to and what we need to do to achieve that," he said.

  • Jonny Wilkinson was rested for Toulon's friendly win over French rivals Racing-Metro 39 at the Stade Mayol on Friday night.

    The England fly-half had been expected to play some part in the fixture after only being afforded 40 minutes on his debut, against Brive last week, and that prompted peculation that Wilkinson may have ruled out of the game through injury.

    However, Toulon confirmed that the former Newcastle Falcon has merely been rested. As a result, he is now likely to feature in Thursday's friendly with the Brumbies, Toulon's final pre-season game before they get their Top 14 campaign underway with an eagerly-awaited clash with Stade Francais on August 14.

  • Ospreys flanker Ben Lewis is hoping to put 14 months of injury hell behind him and finally win recognition at regional level, and also possibly with Wales in the autumn internationals.

    Warren Gatland's Wales look likely to head in to their autumn series against Australia, Samoa, Argentina and, pending the conclusion of legal ranglings between the WRU and regions, New Zealand without talismanic openside Martyn Williams.

    Before his injury Lewis was talked of a as a likely long-term replacement for the Blues flanker, but he is concentrating only on his responsibilities with the Ospreys.

    "I'm feeling pretty good about myself right now. I've been out for longer than a year and I've had quite a tough time of it but it's good to be back in full training and getting the ball in hand. I'm genuinely excited about the prospect of playing again," said Lewis."Have I got a target for the season? To get back playing as many games as I can in an Ospreys shirt, it's as simple as that. I want to try and carry on where I left off in April last year. It's difficult to target anything else given the length of time I've been out.

    "I had a taste of regional rugby a couple of seasons ago and I was starting to build up a reputation for myself and now I have to do it all over again."

  • Mark Bartholomeusz is to return to Australia next year to link up with Super 14 outfit Western Force.

    The 32-year-old utility back, who was capped once by the Wallabies, spent last season with Italian side Petrarca Padova and freely admits that he was taken by surprise at being presented with the chance to end his career in Perth.

    "I just think it's a wonderful opportunity for me to come back to Australia and play Super rugby again," Bartholomeusz told the official Western Force website.

    "I'm very grateful to the Western Force for giving me this opportunity and am excited about playing with some great young players, and being part of the rugby community in Perth.

    "I can't say it was always a plan, but when I got the opportunity presented in front of me I thought it was too good to pass up. To be part of Australian rugby again wasn't something I was sure I'd have the opportunity to do, but I have now with the Western Force and it was an easy decision to make."

    Bartholomeusz quit his homeland in 2004 after helping the Brumbies win the then Super 12 title. He subsequently enjoyed spells in the Guinness Premiership and Magners League, with Saracens and Ulster respectively, before joining Padova last year.

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