News in Brief
Kirk set to decide on Super Rugby location
October 28, 2009
Former All Black skipper David Kirk, Eden Park, Auckland, August 10, 2007
Former All Black skipper David Kirk will help to decide the fate of the bidding Super Rugby franchises © Getty Images

  • The delayed decision on the location of the new Super Rugby franchise is expected to be resolved in around two weeks' time. SANZAR failed to reach a unanimous agreement on the 15th side, with Port Elizabeth and Melbourne vying for the final place in the new Australian conference.

    With the decision moving to arbitration, the final say will now come from World Cup-winning All Black skipper David Kirk and retired High Court judge, the Hon Barry Paterson QC. The panel will review material provided by SANZAR and the applications from the two bidding parties.

    As well as excelling on the field, Kirk is the former chief executive of Fairfax media and the president of the New Zealand Rugby Players' Association. Paterson is the chairman of the New Zealand Sports Tribunal and a member of the Court of Arbitration for Sport. He is also a former New Zealand Cricket board member.

  • In accordance with the Elite Player Squad (EPS) agreement, England manager Martin Johnson has released four players to their clubs ahead of this weekend's round of Guinness Premiership fixtures. London Irish's Steffon Armitage, Harlequins wing David Strettle and Leicester locks Ben Kay and Richard Blaze have all left the camp.

    Kay and Blaze have been released to get extra game-time under their belt, while there is adequate cover in the back-row and back-three to allow Strettle and Armitage to return to their clubs.

  • The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) has officially opened its £4m centre of excellence in the Vale of Glamorgan. The project was completed with £1.5million of National Lottery funding from the Sports Council for Wales, and £1million of additional WRU funding.

    The WRU national academy and the World Cup-winning Wales sevens group will be based at the new facility alongside Warren Gatland's senior squad.

    "We have now created an inspirational working environment where the coaches and players can focus on development and match preparation," said Gatland. "One of our core values is that each player holds a responsibility to the Welsh jersey, and if we ask them to give their all for that we have a duty to help them as much, and as professionally, as we can."

  • The RFU will implement a new licensing system for player agents, beginning next Sunday. The change will mean that any player or club in England wishing to appoint someone to act for them in employment issues must select an agent from an approved list, solicitor, barrister or close relative.

    The Agents Registration Scheme has been developed in conjunction with the Rugby Players' Association and Premier Rugby. It will be monitored by the Agents Review Board under its chairman, RFU Council member Peter Baines.

    "The principal objective for this scheme is to create a level of quality control within this area of our sport and to drive standards upwards," Baines said. "Agents are an important cog in the business of rugby."

  • The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) has announced that the first game to be played at Dublin's new Aviva Stadium, the replacement for Lansdowne Road, will be between a combined Leinster/Ulster team and a Munster/Connacht selection on August 7, 2010.

  • The All Blacks have covered up during their trip to Japan to face Australia on Saturday after they were reminded that their extensive tattoos could be offensive to their hosts. Players have undergone pool session in tech-fit shirts out of respect for Japanese culture.

    "Most people know that when you go to the pool in Japan you have to cover up. The players were reminded when we arrived," a team spokesman said.

  • Canterbury referee Vinny Munro has been appointed to control the Air New Zealand Cup final on November 7. His appointment was announced as his assistants for the final, Jonathan White and Chris Pollock, were named to officiate in this weekend's semi-finals.


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