News in Brief
Bulls won't break bank for Habana
August 18, 2009
Bryan Habana is considering his Bulls future and has been linked with a host of top clubs
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- The Bulls are desperate to hold on to star winger Bryan Habana but will not break their wage structure to do so, according to commercial manager Ian Schwartz.
Springbok star Habana is out of contract at the end of October and met with officials from Western Province on Tuesday to discuss a possible switch to the Cape Town-based oufit. The Bulls are hoping to persuade the 2007 IRB World Player of the Year to stay put but Schwartz admitted that it will all come down to money.
"I don't know what WP are offering, but we can only work within the financial structures. It's a fair structure that applies to all players. If we make extravagant offers, it will damage the game," he told Die Burger.
Stormers boss Rassie Erasmus was a part of the Western Province contingent which held talks with Habana and he is hoping that an agreement can be reached between the two parties.
"I met Bryan and discussed his potential role here. The next step is to make an offer. I suppose our chances will be as good as that of the other provinces," he said.
"We don't have much depth at wing and Bryan will complete the picture really nicely. Of course, we have no guarantee that he will be coming."
- Marco Wentzel has been appointed as Leeds Carnegie captain for the coming season.
The former Springbok only arrived at the club from Leicester Tigers earlier this summer but Leeds head coach Neil Back believes that Wentzel is the ideal man for the job.
"Myself and Andy Key have known Marco for a number of years from our time at Leicester and the qualities that convinced us to sign him for Leeds Carnegie are also the same qualities that have made him an obvious choice to captain the side this season," he said.
Wentzel assumes the role from USA international Mike MacDonald, who successfully led the club back into the Guinness Premiership at the first attempt.
- Newcastle Falcons have signed Uche Odouza from Japanese outfit Suntory. The England sevens winger has agreed a deal with the club which will allow him to continue his studies at York University.
"Uche gives us a big physical threat on the wing and another dimension to our game," Falcons director of rugby Steve Bates said. "He has impressed us with his pace and power, and we look forward to integrating him into our squad."
- Scotland boss Andy Robinson has welcomed former Italy prop Massimo Cuttitta into his coaching team. Cuttitta works as a scrum coach for both Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors and will perform a similar role with the national side.
"I've been pleased with Massimo's contribution at the pro teams and I think it's good to extend that to the national team," Robinson said. "The set-pieces are a key area for us and Massimo will challenge the players to improve."
In addition, Robinson has hired former Scotland hooker Steve Scott has been hired as a specialist throwing coach.
- Aaron Mauger is poised to make his long-awaited return from injury in Leicester's pre-season friendly with Cardiff Blues on Friday.
The former All Blacks centre has been out of action since May with a persistent back problem but Tigers boss Richard Cockerill has confirmed that the Kiwi will feature in this weekend's game in the Welsh capital.
"Aaron will play and we can see where he is at," Cockerill told the Leicester Mercury. "He is looking good in training and we are keen to make sure that he is fully fit at the start of the season."
- Waikato flanker Jordan Smiler has been suspended for a week following a dangerous tackle on Canterbury's Tim Bateman during an Air NZ Cup rugby match last Friday. Smiler's suspension will run up to and including August 25.
- Western Province are buoyed by the return of captain Luke Watson for Saturday's Currie Cup clash with the Golden Lions. The former Springbok was forced to pull out of the starting line-up for last weekend's win over the Boland Cavaliers after being laid low by a bout of influenza.