News in Brief
McGahan extends Munster deal
December 1, 2009
Munster head coach Tony McGahan, Sale v Munster, Heineken Cup, Edgeley Park, October 19, 2008
Munster head coach Tony McGahan has signed a new deal © Getty Images

  • Head coach Tony McGahan has signed a two-year contract extension with Magners League champions Munster, keeping him at the Irish province until 2012.

    McGahan took over from current Ireland boss Declan Kidney at the beginning of last season and tasted domestic success in his first season in charge, having served as defence, backs and skills coach under Kidney.

    "It's been a privilege to be involved with this group of players and the management and officials here in Munster," said McGahan. "I'm really looking forward to the immediate future, with crucial Magners League and Heineken Cup games in the offing, but I'm also delighted, both personally and professionally, to be remaining with Munster in the short term."

  • Former Cardiff Blues skipper Rhys Williams has been forced to retire by a persistent knee injury, aged 29. Williams won 44 caps for Wales at fullback and on the wing and scored a thrilling brace of tries against Scotland at Murrayfield during their run to the Grand Slam in 2005.

    "I'm obviously massively disappointed but I hope in the future to look back on my rugby career and be proud of my achievements in the game," Williams said. "Rugby has been a huge part of my life and has given me many wonderful opportunities and memories. I've been fortunate enough to see the world while playing the game I love and have met a lot of people and made many lifelong friends."

  • Premier Rugby has thrown its weight behind Northampton's bid to increase the capacity of Franklin's Gardens from 13,500 to 17,000. The Saints announced their plans in May, with the building to be funded by the sale of a car park to ASDA for a new superstore.

    The plans have met with stiff resistance from Northampton Borough Council and now, following calls from Saints chairman Keith Barwell for an open public debate on the issue, Premier Rugby have announced their support.

    "Franklin's Gardens is one of the best rugby grounds in the country and has benefitted from sympathetic development in recent seasons, which has seen the capacity rise to over 13,000," said Premier Rugby chief Mark McCafferty. "The plans Keith Barwell and the board have announced are ambitious ones and should help cement Northampton Saints as a powerful presence in a town with a fine rugby heritage.

    "The club has been playing on the Franklin's Gardens site for over a century and they should be encouraged to maintain the traditions and history that are such a big part of the Saints. It is the kind of model that could well be adopted by other clubs as we see the interest in rugby continue to grow."

  • The UK National Sevens series will launch in 2010, building on the increased popularity of the sport ahead of its inclusion at the 2016 Rio Olympics. The series has been founded by independent promotions company Ultimate Rugby Sevens and carries backing from the RFU.

    The tournaments will take place in June and July 2010 with events scheduled for Bath, London, Manchester and Newquay. The series will be contested by 10 specialist Sevens teams and two invitational sides at each host event.

  • Stakeholders in Championship side Coventry will meet with RFU chief executive Francis Baron, chairman Martyn Thomas and company secretary Karena Vleck to discuss the club's future following an announcement by their chairman, Andrew Green, that the club has been forced to close due to persistent financial and legal uncertainty.

    "The club simply cannot carry on with such an uncertain future," read a statement on the club's website. "The club has debts and creditors that it has a responsibility to pay and has carried on because of promises and solutions they would bring.

    "Unfortunately and unlike most companies the club doesn't have any options to re-finance despite several interested parties/investors offering funding. This is because it doesn't have a lease for The Butts Park Arena, 8 acres of public land that was given to the club for its financial future some 6 years ago by Coventry City Council. This is a very sad day for rugby in Coventry; however the club just can't ignore the present situation regarding its debts and creditors."

  • Colin Cooper has announced he will resume his old role as Taranaki head coach in 2011 when his time with the Hurricanes comes to an end. Cooper had indicated 2010 would be his last season with the Super 14 franchise, but told the Taranaki Daily News his decision to apply for the job came at the last minute.

    Taranaki have been looking for a new coach since Adrian Kennedy quit several weeks ago. Taranaki Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson said Cooper had signed a two-year contract and it was a welcome return.

    "Colin is Taranaki born and bred and the pride he has in his home province, which he has represented and coached with distinction, will be an invaluable asset to us," he said.

  • Southland have accepted two Ranfurly Shield challenges ahead of next year's Air New Zealand Cup competition.

    They are to put the shield on the line against Heartland provinces North Otago and Wanganui in Invercargill on July 9 and 23 respectively. Southland won the shield for the first time in 50 years when they beat Canterbury this year. Wanganui won the Heartland Meads Cup final this year while North Otago were crowned Lochore Cup champions.


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