News in Brief
Corry to captain Baa-Baas at Twickenham
Martin Corry will captain the Barbarians before hanging up his boots for good
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- Leicester Tigers forward and former England international Martin Corry has been called upon to captain the Barbarians on their two-match summer tour.
The Barbarians play England at Twickenham on 30 May before flying to Sydney where they will play Australia on 6 June.
Barbarians' president Micky Steele-Bodger said, "We have a particularly strong squad this year, full of test quality players with vast experience world wide. Martin was a popular choice by our committee to be their captain. He is held in high regard by everyone who has played with and against him and as he is retiring after our tour we are delighted to think that his final matches will be in a Barbarian jersey."
Martin Corry, who first played for the Barbarians on their summer tour to South America in 1998, said, "It is a huge honour for me to be invited to be captain of the Barbarians. They are a club that holds dear everything which is right about rugby. They never fail to promote the proper values and traditional qualities of our sport."
- Ulster boss Matt Williams has quit his post with the Magners League side with immediate effect. Former Scotland boss Williams has been in charge at Ravenhill for 17 months and has helped the club to rediscover some form in recent months.
"I have a young family in Sydney and it has become clear that I need to give them more of my time," said Williams. "I am delighted with the progress of the Ulster players - the team is still in the very early days of their development. We lost too many close games due to our inexperience but that will change with time.
"There needs to be patience and understanding that this team will grow into a powerful outfit in years to come. I am deeply disappointed that I will not be there with them on the journey. From Stephen Ferris, Paddy Wallace and Rory Best through to Darren Cave, Ian Whitton, David Pollock and Niall O'Connor, I was privileged to coach Ulster and witness the potential of their talent. I have enjoyed every day here in Ulster and am deeply sorry to leave in these circumstances. I will be watching out for them next season, but from Australia."
The Ulster CEO Michael Reid has said that they won't be rushing to make a new appointment and that some CV's for the position had already been received. Operations Director David Humphreys will take charge of squad matters until a new coach is named, they are expecting to name who that will be prior to pre-season training which starts on 15 June 2009.
- Brumbies flanker George Smith has been voted as the best Australian player in the Super 14 for the fourth year running. Smith edged out Waratahs prop Benn Robinson in a poll by Australian journalists.
- The England and London Irish fullback, Delon Armitage, is certain that his club team-mate and attack maestro, Mike Catt, will retire because his battered body is refusing to go on.
Catt, a World Cup winner, turns 38 in September, is currently discussing his future with his family after the Exiles' 10-9 loss to Leicester last week.
Some of his team-mates have urged him to continue with scrum-half Paul Hodgson describing him as the "Dennis Bergkamp of rugby," Armitage though believes that the former England playmaker has reached the end of his playing career.
"I think he's going to call it a day. He's feeling it now. Those two physical matches against Harlequins in the semi-final and Leicester have hurt him!" he said.
"It's huge to have someone like that on the field leading us younger guys, especially when your head drops or your mind goes. I'd like him to play another year but while his mind is saying yes, his body is saying no. Hopefully he can do it but we'll see."
- Namibia coach John Williams has selected a host of Springboks to face a South African XV in Windhoek on Friday May 29. Fullback Jaco van der Westhuizen, Tonderai Chavhanga, Meyer Bosman, Derick Hougaard and centre Wayne Julies will all turn out for the invitational XV, while Sharks scrum-half Rory Kockott has also been selected. Kockott has a point to prove after he was surprisingly omitted from the Springbok training squad.
- Toulon centre Sonny-Bill Williams has returned to Australia in order to make his pro-boxing debut before representing the Barbarians against England and Australia. Williams will fight on the undercard of Anthony Mundine's world title fight with Daniel Geale in Brisbane next Wednesdsay night. This is is first trip back to Australia since his acrimonious departure from NRL side Bulldogs last season.
- Cardiff Blues wing Richard Mustoe and Scarlets flanker Rob McCusker have both been cut form the Wales squad to tour North America. Coach Robin McBryde always intended to cut the squad to 32, and the duo join Dragons players Luke Charteris, Jason Tovey, Lewis Evans and Dan Lydiate in missing the tour. The Dragons play a Heineken Cup playoff next Friday.
- The former Wallaby lock Justin Harrison has retired from the game, shortly after announcing his departure from Bath. Harrison, 35, who was in the headlines after an alleged altercation with a Harlequins player in a London pub has also withdrawn himself from the Barbarians squad due to play against England and Australia.
Bath confirmed on Wednesday that Harrison had asked to be released "due to personal reasons" and that they had agreed to his request. Just hours later though Harrison announced that he was leaving the game for good.
"I would like to thank all of the coaches, players and supporters that have helped me through my rugby career," Harrison said. "I have welcomed the journey of a truly international sport and have enjoyed meeting the many varied people along the way. I look forward to exploring any opportunities that the future holds."
Harrison joined Bath from Ulster on a one-year deal last summer and signed a 12-month extension in December.
- Bath flanker James Scaysbrook has agreed a move to Championship side Exeter Chiefs for next season. Scaysbrook will bolster the Chiefs as they look to gain promotion to the Premiership
- The Ospreys have announced that four members of their squad have been released. David Bishop, Filipo Levi, Leigh Bevan and Michael Collins will all leave the Liberty Stadium. Samoa skipper Levi is to join Newcastle Falcons, while Bishop's release comes after a wretched time with a serious knee injury.