News in Brief
Williams set for sabbatical
Ali Williams is set for six months on the sidelines
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- All Blacks lock Ali Williams is set for a six-month sabbatical following surgery on his injured Achilles and shoulder, aiming to return to action in the Blues' 2010 Super 14 campaign.
Williams will be a big loss for the struggling All Blacks, but they are hopeful that young Crusaders second-row Isaac Ross will progress further at international level alongside Brad Thorn. Taranaki's Jason Eaton, who impressed for the Junior All Blacks in the Pacific Nations Cup, is also an option for Graham Henry's Tri-Nations squad.
"There's always someone to push you off the cliff isn't there?" Williams said when asked if
he felt his position was under threat. "That is that hardest part, watching. I think he's (Ross) done extremely well. He's a confident young man and in open spaces he does very well. So far he's made a real fist of it. If you cast your eyes back to what I did, I didn't do much for those first three or four years of my international career. And he'll get better with every experience he gets."
- The RFU has set a date of July 29 for the hearing involving former Bath players Michael Lipman, Alex Crockett, Andrew Higgins and Justin Harrison. The players have been charged with a number of offences including "taking prohibited substances and wilful refusal to take a drugs test".
- The independent disciplinary panel investigating Harlequins' substitution of Tom Williams and his replacement by Nick Evans - who himself had been withdrawn earlier in the game - during their Heineken Cup quarter-final at the Stoop in April has been adjourned until July 20.
- Newcastle Falcons have signed former Springbok centre Gcobani Bobo from the Stormers. Bobo, who has six international caps, joins the Falcons on a two-year deal.