News in Brief
Bastareaud facing lengthy international ban
Mathieu Bastareaud could be out of international rugby for up to three years
© Getty Images
- According to reports the France centre Mathieu Bastareaud can expect a lengthy ban from representing France after he caused uproar with lies that he'd been mugged while touring with the national team in New Zealand earlier this year.
Francois Alguacil, president of the Federation Francaise de Rugby (FFR) disciplinary committee, told Le Parisien newspaper that the Stade Francais centre could face a considerable time out of the international game.
"I think he will be banned from the squad for between one and three years," said Alguacil. "This was offensive to the French team, but also to the governments of New Zealand and France."
Bastareaud, 21, falsely claimed that he had been mugged after returning to his Wellington hotel following France's second Test loss to the All Blacks. The incident prompted a high profile police investigation and a public apology from New Zealand Prime Minister John Key. But the player's allegations were exposed as completely false when CCTV footage showed him entering the hotel uninjured.
He will be eligible to continue playing club rugby should he be banned from the national squad.
- Banned Harlequins winger Tom Williams has until Saturday to consider an appeal. Williams was slapped with a 12-month suspension by ERC after being found guilty of fabricating a blood injury during Quins' Heineken Cup quarter-final defeat to Leinster last season, with the club also being fined £215,000.
- Newcastle's former All Black prop Carl Hayman is relishing the captaincy of the club, and can't wait to lead a side for the first time at senior level. Hayman will take charge for the first time in a pre-season game against Ulster, and is tasked with helping 17 new signings to gel.
"It's a new challenge for me because I've never captained a club before, but it's an exciting thing to be involved with," said Hayman. "Whilst I haven't captained a team at professional level I've generally always been a senior player, so those aspects of leadership aren't all that foreign to me. Obviously being the official club captain is a bit of an extra step up from there, but I'm familiar with what it takes to lead a side and I'm loving the challenge of it."
- Bath's long-held desire to increase the capacity of their Recreation Ground home has moved closer to fruition after a proposal allowing the ground to be taken over by Bath and North East Somerset Council after a land exchange was welcomed by the trust that owns the property.
Bath lease the ground from the trust, overseen by the Charity Commission, and are therefore prohibited from expanding the ground. The proposal from the council would see the trust take over Firs Field in Combe Down as a replacement for the Rec, with ownership passing to the council.
"There is a glimmer of hope," Bath chief executive Bob Calleja told The Guardian. "The landswap offer offers a solution to something that has dragged on for a long time. We remain focused on ensuring a sustainable future for the club and our preferred choice has always been to develop the Rec. Under charitable law we cannot play professional sport on the land and the council taking over the ownership seems to us the best way forward."
- South Africa's proposed friendly fixture against the Leicester Tigers at Welford Road in November has been confirmed after it received approval from the RFU.
The Tigers have invited the Springboks to celebrate the opening of their new stand and will be the first game of South Africa's end of year tour as they go on to play Tests against France, Italy and Ireland.
"We have had some wonderful games against touring teams here at Welford Road in the past but we have never played the world champions," the Tigers chairman Peter Tom said.
- The Taranaki Rugby Union have been asked to provide further information after impressing the New Zealand Rugby Union with their bid to become Super rugby's 15th franchise from 2011.
TRU chief executive Mark Robinson presented their proposal to the NZRU at a meeting in Wellington last Friday and has now been asked to provide further detail. The NZRU will have a more detailed look at Taranaki's proposal next week and then decide if it should be forwarded to SANZAR.
That comes after Hawke's Bay withdrew their expression of interest saying the seven day deadline was not long enough to present a professional business case, although they remain committed to the concept.
- Queensland Reds have signed former Australia U21 and Waratahs openside Lei Tomiki following a stint in France with Narbonne and Castres. Tomiki has signed a two-year deal, while veteran hooker Sean Hardman is reportedly close to signing a one-year extension.
- London Irish have appointed Dave Ellis as defence coach on a one-year contract. Ellis has been defence coach for the France national team for 10 years and will combine his duties at the Exiles with his international commitments.