News in Brief
Sarries book Wembley date with Springboks
September 29, 2009

  • Guinness Premiership leaders Saracens will take on World Champions South Africa at Wembley Stadium on November 17.

    The game will be the Springboks' second midweek showdown after facing Leicester at Welford Road on November 6. They will also play Test matches against France, Ireland and Italy. The announcement also comes hot on the heels of news that Australia will face Gloucester at Kingsholm in November.

    Sarries have already played at Wembley this season, defeating Northampton Saints at the home of English football in the second round of the Premiership. Also, last December Australia faced the Barbarians at the stadium. Saracens have strong South African links and are coached by former Springbok centre Brendan Venter.

    "We have enjoyed a fantastic year so far, and this match - against an in-form club team at one of the great stadiums in the world - will certainly become yet another highlight in this memorable season," said Springbok coach Peter De Villiers.

    Overseas tours always provide us with an opportunity to expose our emerging young talents to the international game and this will be a fantastic platform through which to do that. We expect Saracens to be tough but also believe in the abilities of our squad."

  • New Zealand centre Isaia Toeava has been ruled out of the All Blacks' end of year tour with a hip injury.

    The 23-year-old will be out of action for up to three months after a scan revealed a stress fracture in his pelvis at the back of his right hip joint. It is a bitter blow for the All Black youngster who battled back from a foot stress fracture to play in the final two Tri-Nations matches after starting in the first Test against France and against Italy in June.

    Lock Ali Williams, hooker Keven Mealamu and centre Richard Kahui have already been ruled out of the tour which begins with another Bledisloe Cup match against Australia in Tokyo at the end of October before Tests against Wales, Italy, England and France on successive weekends in November.

    The All Blacks round off the trip with a match against the Barbarians at Twickenham in early December.

  • Gloucester's Gareth Delve has seen his three-week ban for striking an opponent reduced to two weeks on appeal.

    The 26-year-old Welshman was hit with the original suspension after being found guilty of punching London Irish's George Stowers following a dangerous tackle by the latter during the Guinness Premiership clash between their two sides at the Madejski Stadium on September 13.

    However, RFU discipinary chief Jeff Blackett has seen fit to downgrade the charge from the mid-range to lower end of seriousness, meaning Delve's ban will now only run until October 12.

  • Tommy Bowe's agent has suggested that Ulster, Leinster and Munster are all keen to bring the Ospreys winger back to Ireland at the end of the current campaign.

    The Monaghan native has proven a revelation since arriving at the Liberty Stadium from Ulster last year and was one of the stars of this summer's British & Irish Lions tour of South Africa. Constable insists that Bowe is enjoying his spell in Swansea but hinted that he could be tempted into returning home next summer.

    "It is IRFU (Irish Rugby Football Union) strategic policy to have their top players playing in Ireland and I am obviously aware that Munster, Leinster and Ulster would all be keen to sign him," he told the Irish Independent.

    "Munster have Dougie Howlett out of contract at the end of the season while Leinster have Shane Horgan and Girvan Dempsey coming towards the end of their careers. And if Tommy returned to Ravenhill it would be a real statement of intent by Ulster.

    "However, Tommy is fully focused on the Ospreys at the moment and is concentrating on getting back into his rugby and producing his best for them in the lead-in to the November internationals."

  • Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll is poised to make his first appearance of the new season after being included in the Leinster squad for Saturday's Magners League derby with bitter rivals Munster in Dublin.

    The Lions centre had been expected to make his return in last weekend's clash with Edinburgh but he was ruled out of the trip to Edinburgh with a pinched nerve.

  • Sale Sharks' Luke Abraham has been suspended for three weeks after pleading guilty to stamping on Bath's Michael Claassens.

    The incident occurred during the Guinness Premiership match at Edgeley Park on September 18. Abraham's ban runs from September 24 to October 14 and he can play again on October 15.

  • North Harbour centre Andrew Mailei has been hit with a two-week suspension for a dangerous tackle during his side's Air New Zealand clash with Counties Manukau on Friday.

    Mailei was shown a red card for his challenge on Dean Cummins, which occurred just 22 minutes into the game at the North Habour Stadium. He will now be unavailable for his side's next two games, against Waikato and Bay of Plenty.

    Meanwhile, Bay of Plenty's Luke Braid has also been banned for two weeks after picking up his third yellow card of the season for a dangerous tackle during Saturday's clash with Otago.

  • The Free State Cheetahs have been rocked by the news that captain Adriaan Strauss has been ruled out of the rest of the Currie Cup season through injury.

    The influential hooker broke his thumb during last weekend's 30-27 defeat by the Blue Bulls and he has now been told that he faces a two-month spell on the sidelines.

  • Springbok hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle has been ruled out of action for at least a fortnight with a small fracture in his foot.

    There had been speculation that Ralepelle's season was over but his club side, the Blue Bulls, insist that he could yet play a part in the Currie Cup playoffs and the injury will be reassessed by team doctor Org Strauss in a fortnight.

  • Manawatu fullback Kurt Baker and trainer Paul Hamson have both been charged with misconduct following Saturday's Air New Zealand Cup clash with Hawke's Bay. Both Baker and Hamson stand accused of verbally abusing assistant referee Zarne Johnson during their side's 35-30 defeat in Napier. Baker also faces a separate charge of threatening Johnson.

    Meanwhile, King Country coach Brett Coombe is facing a charge of allegedly verbally abusing the match officials during Saturday's 23-13 win over South Canterbury in Timaru. In addition, the home side's James Hemara has also been cited for an alleged dangerous tackle on Canterbury's Sekope Maea.


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