News in Brief
Pretorius joins Western Force
Pretorius joins the Force as their marquee signing
© Getty Images
- Former South Africa fly-half Andre Pretorius has joined Australian Super 14 franchise Western Force as their marquee player for next season.
The 2007 World Cup winner will leave the South African Lions after eight seasons and will replace Matt Giteau who is joining the Brumbies.
The Australian Rugby Union altered its rules last year to allow international players who are ineligible to play for the Wallabies to join their Super 14 sides.
30-year-old Pretorius, who has 31 Test caps, replaces New-Zealand born prop Ben Castle as the Force's foreign import.
- Junior All Blacks prop Jamie Mackintosh and scrum-half Alby Mathewson will return to the squad in Fiji after recovering from injury.
The pair missed the Juniors' Pacific Nations Cup victories over Samoa and Fiji but will be in contention for the final match against Japan on Tuesday.
Mackintosh's arrival sees Bay of Plenty prop James McGougan return home after covering for the 24-year-old's injury.
- Former Wales fullback Kevin Morgan has joined Principality Premiership side Neath as their strength and conditioning coach, and will also pull on the black of the club as a player next season. Morgan, who won 48 caps for Wales and scored the winning try as they clinched the Grand Slam against Ireland in 2005, left the Newport Gwent Dragons at the end of the season following a lengthy injury battle.
- The IRB has announced the shortlist for Junior Player of the Year 2009, with New Zealand U20 skipper Aaron Cruden joined by team-mate Winston Stanley, England No.8 Carl Fearns and Australia scrum-half Richard Kingi.
- Christchurch is under threat of losing its status of hosting major Test matches after poor ticket sales ahead of next week's All Blacks clash with Italy.
Around 12,000 tickets have been sold for the city's only Test fixture this year, less than half of the capacity of the AMI Stadium, which is currently undergoing reconstruction.
NZRU chief executive Steve Tew said the figures compared poorly with other New Zealand venues and that there was a growing trend of fans in the city becoming uninterested in attending Test fixtures.
"We would like to see more people there than are currently committed to the game, otherwise we are going to have to take a very deep breath about future allocations in that city," Tew said.
Tew did say that the stadium was not under threat of losing fixtures for the 2011 World Cup but venues like Hamilton and Dunedin could threaten Christchurch to host other Tests in the future.
- Leeds Carnegie have signed Western Force prop Gareth Hardy, 28, on a two-year contract.