News in Brief
Cowan re-signs with NZRU
February 17, 2010
All Blacks scrum-half Jimmy Cowan has signed a new deal with the NZRU
© Getty Images
- All Blacks scrum-half Jimmy Cowan has re-signed with the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) and Rugby Southland until the end of 2012.
"I really enjoy playing my rugby in New Zealand, and I'm looking forward to the next few years with the All Blacks, Southland and the Highlanders," Cowan, 28, said in a statement.
The abrasive Highlanders captain made his All Blacks debut in 2004 and has played 32 Tests. Eleven of his first 13 Tests were off the reserve bench but he has forged his place as the first-choice No.9 over the past two seasons. In mid-2008 Cowan was fined and ordered to abstain from alcohol by the NZRU following three arrests in the space of three months for disorderly conduct. After undergoing alcohol counselling, he has kept a clean off-field record since.
Cowan made his Super Rugby debut in 2003, has scored seven tries and is the most capped Super Rugby player in the Highlanders team, playing his 68th game against the Crusaders in the opening round of the Super 14 last weekend. He has played 92 matches for Southland since his debut in 2000.
NZRU chief executive Steve Tew said was pleased to announce the re-signing of Cowan. "Since his provincial debut nine years ago, he has developed into an outstanding rugby player. He is a passionate player who leads from the front, is a key player both on and off the field and we are delighted that he has made a commitment to New Zealand for the next three years."
- Bath have completed the signing of Newcastle wing Tom Biggs on a three-year deal. The England Sevens international is joined in signing at the Rec by fullback Nick Abendanon, who has renewed his contract for a further two seasons.
- Northampton Saints have announced that Courtney Lawes has committed his future to the club.
The 20-year-old forward, regarded as one of England's brightest prospects, completed a meteoric rise through the ranks with his first international appearance against Australia last year and is hoping to use the Premiership stage as the platform for further honours. "I was always going to stay at the club," he said. "It's a good place to be at the moment in every way - the coaches are great, the lads are great and with how we're playing at the moment. It is also always good to play for your hometown club in front of your own fans and hopefully I will be for a long time to come."
Director of rugby Jim Mallinder is delighted that Lawes is remaining as a Saint. "Courtney has developed very quickly into being a good rugby player," he said. "But he is still very young and we believe that there is more improvement still to come, both physically and in how he plays the game. He has spent a lot of time with Dorian West on developing as a player and he still wants to continue learning."
- The Hurricanes are bracing to be without star winger Hosea Gear for several weeks after he injured his knee in his side's opening Super 14 victory over the Blues.
Gear suffered knee cartilage damage and was replaced during their 34-20 win at Albany, a match in which he starred and scored a decisive intercept try. He has been ruled out this Saturday's match against the Western Force but further assessment may well see the two-Test All Black sidelined for longer. David Smith or Andre Taylor will start in Gear's place on Saturday while wider training squad member Alapeti Leuia has been called into coach Colin Cooper's squad.
- Chiefs winger Lelia Masaga will return to rugby on Saturday for the Chiefs development team, suggesting a return to the Super 14 is not far away.
Masaga who underwent shoulder surgery in September, has undergone a thorough rehabilitation programme over the past few months, and will test his fitness against the Blues development team in Hamilton. The 23-year-old was a star of the Chiefs' charge to last year's Super 14 final, leading to a Test cap against Italy in June.