News in Brief
Henry slams crowd behaviour
June 23, 2009

  • Coach Graham Henry says poor crowd behaviour at All Blacks Tests is embarrassing for his team and has called for an improvement well before the 2011 rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

    Spectators recently pelted the French players with bottles while they completed a victory lap at Carisbrook and spectators running on to the field during play halted both tests. Away from the venue, French player Mathieu Bastareaud was assaulted and injured in a group attack hours after the Wellington Test, an incident that is being investigated by police.

    "It's embarrassing for the All Blacks for that sort of thing to happen," Henry said. "There needs to be a message, the message needs to be given straight away. I don't think we can wait until 2011, personally. I think we should be pretty harsh on those who break the law."

  • France and Toulouse fly-half David Skrela will be out of action for six months after undergoing knee surgery. The injury had been troubling Skrela all season, and eventually ruled him out of their tour of New Zealand and Australia.

  • The New Zealand and Welsh Rugby Unions have confirmed an additional Test fixture to be held at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium in November, adding to the All Blacks 2009 end of year tour schedule.

    The All Blacks will return to Cardiff having defeated the Welsh side 29-9 last November on their way to achieving the team's third successful Grand Slam over the Home Unions. The Test match will take place on Saturday November 7, kicking off at 5.15pm.

    This year's fixture will also be part of the celebrations of the ten year anniversary for Millennium Stadium which was developed for the Rugby World Cup in 1999. In addition to the Wales Test match, the All Blacks are currently scheduled to play Italy (Milan, November 14); England (London, 21 November), France (Marseilles, 28 November) and the Barbarians (London, 5 December) on their end of year tour.

  • Bath have announced the appointment of Nick Blofeld as their new Chief Executive as of September 1.

    "We need some fresh thinking and a bigger management team to be able to progress with our re-development plans at the same time as ensuring that Steve Meehan and the team get all the support they need to keep delivering on the pitch," said current CEO Bob Calleja who will become the club's Chief Operating Officer and concentrate on the re-development of the club's home at The Rec.

    Andrew Brownsword, chairman and owner of Bath Rugby added, "Nick is a natural successor as CEO and I'm confident will be able to help us to enhance Bath Rugby's position at the top of professional rugby. He has a wealth of relevant commercial experience in marketing, sponsorship and re-development and we are delighted he has agreed to join us for the beginning of the season."

  • National League One club London Welsh have entered administration.

    The historic club, founded in 1885, recently made the decision to turn professional and has developed a three-year plan to reach the Guinness Premiership. However, investment in top quality players and experienced training and coaching staff has come at great personal cost to the principal investor and Chairman of the Club, Kelvin Bryon.

    For London Welsh to progress towards promotion to the Premiership, the Club will need to secure additional investment from either another individual or a consortium of investors. It is hoping to generate interest of an additional £1m-£1.5million a season. There are sufficient funds available for the Club to continue to operate for one more month but without additional income, the club will be unable to continue to trade in its present form. This is likely to result in exclusion from the Championship and the British and Irish Cup by the RFU and the Club will revert to playing local level rugby.

    "London Welsh is within striking distance of the elite level of English rugby but I am unable to continue being the principal investor of the Club," said Bryon. "To continue and achieve our dream of reaching the Premiership, we need other investors to step forward to join us on our exciting journey."

  • Ulster have announced a new team management structure ahead of the new Magners League season.

    David Humphreys will take control of Rugby Operations, with responsibility for the Ulster Senior Team, the Ulster Ravens (formerly Ulster A), the Ulster U20s and the High Performance/Academy structure, reporting to the chief executive Michael Reid. Brian McLaughlin has been appointed as a new head coach with responsibility for training and team selection and will be assisted by Jeremy Davidson, Neil Doak and Peter Sharp.

    "I'd also like to take this opportunity to welcome Brian to the team," said Reid in a statement. "A proud Ulsterman himself, and with his knowledge of our players and the skills he has gained throughout his coaching career to date, I am confident that we have the right man to lead us forward on the field."

  • England rugby league star Lee Smith has completed a cross-code move from Leeds Rhinos to London Wasps. The 22-year-old centre or fullback will remain with the Rhinos until the end of the Super League season, before moving to Adams Park on a contract until 2012.

    "The opportunity to train alongside players of such calibre with a coaching team of Tony Hanks and Shaun Edwards couldn't be missed," said Smith.

  • RFU Academy and England U20's Assistant Coach, Martin Haag is re-joining Bath as forwards coach.

    Haag, who played 295 times for Bath, has been with the RFU since June 2008 and returns to the UK this week after helping the England U20 team reach their second consecutive final in the IRB Junior World Championships last weekend.

  • RFU President Brian Williams has paid tribute to Vaughan Williams, the RFU Council Representative for Students, who died peacefully in his sleep yesterday aged 63 barely six weeks after being diagnosed with liver cancer.

    "Vaughan epitomised all that is best in rugby union, working tirelessly so that others might play and he ensured that many young people who might have been lost to rugby were able to enjoy the game. He will be greatly missed but his legacy has been tremendous," said Williams.


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