News in Brief
Lemi apologies for 'emotional' celebration
September 16, 2009
David Lemi celebrates as the full-time whistle blows, Bath v London Wasps, Guinness Premiership, the Recreation Ground, Bath, England, September 12, 2009
Wasps winger Daivd Lemi leaps into the air just before gesturing to fans during his side's narrow Premiership victory over Bath last weekend © Getty Images

  • London Wasps winger David Lemi has issued a public apology for the way he celebrated his side's Premiership victory over Bath at The Rec last Saturday.

    "I really regret any gestures that may have caused any supporters or players offence at the game on Saturday," he said of his middle-finger salute. "The game was extremely tense and very emotional for me personally. I lost myself in the emotion of the win at the final whistle. It was not my intention to offend or make any gesture that would upset anyone in the ground and I would like to apologise for my actions.

    "The game was very tight and passionate and I lost myself in that moment. I have let myself and my team mates down and I would like to offer my sincere apology for this. The game of rugby is one I love and I would never wish to offend any spectator or player through my actions."

    Wasps Director of Rugby Tony Hanks, said, "Actions of this nature are extremely out of character for David, and although this game was hugely intense and full of drama in the final stages, we do not excuse any action that could bring the game into disrepute or cause any player or spectator any offence."

    RFU Disciplinary Officer Jeff Blackett revealed he would be taking no further action, declaring, "I am confident that London Wasps acted decisively and proportionally on this matter and David himself has issued a public apology. There is no place for this sort of behaviour in rugby union and I have warned David as to his future conduct."

  • British & Irish Lions star Jamie Roberts will make his first start of the season when Cardiff Blues visit Magners League opponents Connacht on Friday night.

    Wales centre Roberts, who was voted the outstanding player of this summer's Lions tour to South Africa, will partner Gareth Thomas in a new-look midfield.

  • The French Rugby Federation (FFR) and the Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR) have signed a new four-year agreement governing issues including player release and payment.

    LNR president Pierre-Yves Revel and FFR president Pierre Camou ratified the agreement, adopted by both parties in July this year, at a meeting in Paris on Wednesday.

    The new accord hands France coach Marc Lievremont 9-10 days preparation time with his squad ahead of the autumn international series and the Six Nations Championship.

  • Gloucester's Andy Hazell has been suspended by a Rugby Football Union disciplinary panel for one week, after finding him guilty of stamping on Bath's Julian Salvi during their Guinness Premiership match at Kingsholm on September 6.

    The same hearing also decided to take no further action against Wasps' prop Tim Payne who was shown two yellow cards in his side's Premiership victory over Bath last weekend - deeming his dismissal as sufficient punishment.

  • Toulouse scrum-half Byron Kelleher and his clothing brand are being sued for alleged copyright breach and non-payment of fees, according to the Sports Journalists Association.

    Photo agency Cleva Media is taking the action, which is expected to be heard in a French court later this week, with a decision likely next month. The hearing will come just days after Kelleher, a former All Blacks, was arrested for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol, hitting a car and being involved in a brawl.

    Cleva is suing the player and his clothing brand, BK9, for copyright infringement and non-payment of more than 35,000 euros ($NZ74,000) in fees. Cleva says it was forced to legal action to recover fees and images after more than 100 of its pictures were used on BK9's website and marketing material.

    Kelleher, 32, played 57 tests for New Zealand before joining Toulouse in 2007, helping them to the French title last in 2008.

  • Northampton Saints have confirmed their desire to expand Franklin's Gardens into a 17,000-capacity stadium.

    The club intend to raise the current capacity from 13,600 to make it, "fit for the increasing demands of European and Guinness Premiership rugby." To fund the £6 million development the club will sell the long-term lease it holds on the Edgar Mobbs Way car park to supermarket chain Asda.

    Saints chairman Keith Barwell said the stadium development was essential to help the club maintain its place among English rugby's elite. "We saw on Saturday the direction club rugby is heading," he said. "The 45,000 crowd at Wembley followed hot on the heels of the London double-header, which had a crowd in excess of 67,000, and the Premiership Grand Final, which has sold out two years running.

    "Furthermore ERC are now stipulating that knockout matches have to be played in a stadium with a minimum capacity of 15,000, which is more than the current capacity. We don't want to be in the situation where we face the prospect of taking big games away from Northampton, which is why we need to develop Franklin's Gardens."

    Northampton Saints and ASDA will now continue their pre-application discussions with Northampton Borough Council and the West Northants Development Corporation.

  • The number of rugby players in New Zealand increased 4 percent this year, the New Zealand Rugby Union has revealed.

    The total of 145,472 players registered this year with the 26 provincial unions was 5193 more than last year.

    NZRU community rugby general manager Brent Anderson said this was a positive sign that rugby was continuing to have an important place in New Zealand communities.

    "The increase is a testament to the initiatives in the community rugby plan and the ongoing hard work of our provincial unions to deliver the game to their communities."

  • Summer signing Henry Fa'afili has received visa clearance to link up with Guinness Premiership club Leeds Carnegie.

    Fa'afili was among three Leeds players who experienced delays with visa applications, the others being Mike MacDonald and Fosi Pala'amo.

    "We are pleased to hear that Henry has been given clearance to arrive," said Leeds rugby director Andy Key.


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