News in Brief
ARU backs Melbourne Super 15 bid
August 12, 2009
ARU chief John O'Neill has backed a combined Melbourne Super 15 bid
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- The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) has backed Melbourne to host the fifth Australian Super Rugby franchise when the competition is expanded to 15 teams in 2011.
ARU chief John O'Neill dismissed bids from the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Western Sydney, preferring for the three Melbourne-based bidders, Vic Super Rugby, Belgravia Group and the Victorian Rugby Union, to form an alliance. The team will complete the Australian conference if selected, with SANZAR also considering bids from South Africa and New Zealand ahead of their announcement on October 31.
"Melbourne has shown itself to be able to find solutions," he said. "We're now going to work with the three bidders and the desirable outcome is to put them into one consolidated bid. We've spoken to all three parties down there and I think we can align each of their interests fairly elegantly where the ability to run a sporting franchise, a proven ability to run a sporting franchise, the ability to find a franchise and the connection with the community and to the game could be well attended to.
"In doing the due diligence and the assessment by ARU management, each of the three Melbourne bidders had a lot going for them but together they are irresistible."
"We will be encouraging them - with the ARU's help - to get together."
- Former Wallabies wing Clyde Rathbone has announced his retirement, citing long-term injury problems and a lack of desire to continue at the top level as his reasons. Rathbone, 28, won 26 caps for Australia and represented the Brumbies in Super Rugby, winning the title in 2004.
"I've decided to hang up the boots, it's all over," he told The Canberra Times. "I need to look after my long-term health and when I couldn't agree with any of the contracts that were in front of me for next year, I figured it would be best to step aside."
- All Black wing Sitiveni Sivivatu has followed up the signing of his new NZRU contract by re-signing with Waikato and the Chiefs until 2011. Sivivatu, currently with the All Blacks' Tri-Nations squad, joins a host of players including fullback Mils Muliaina and fly-half Stephen Donald in re-signing.
- Stade Francais No.8 Simon Taylor will be out for six weeks after breaking his foot during pre-season. Taylor last week cast doubts over his international future after opting out of Andy Robinson's first squad as Scotland coach.
- Worcester skipper Pat Sanderson has signed a new two-year deal with the Guinness Premiership side.
- Hooker Andy Titterrell has followed centre Matthew Watkins in leaving Guinness Premiership side Gloucester. Watkins has joined the Dragons, while Titterrell is yet to find a club after being told he was not guaranteed first-team rugby.
"They're both great lads but I couldn't, in all honesty, make any promises to them in terms of first-team rugby," said head coach Bryan Redpath. "Therefore, we told them both that they were free to explore other options. MJ has obviously sorted himself out first but we'd like to wish them both well for the future."
- Leeds have signed veteran England scrum-half Andy Gomarsall on a one-year deal. Gomarsall joins Andy Key's newly-promoted side after leaving Harlequins.
- Wasps have bolstered their playing ranks for the new season by signing London Irish fly-half Eoghan Hickey and Welsh prop Ben Broster on one-year deals.
- The Brumbies have handed a one-year rookie contract to utility back Andrew Smith. Smith, 26, can play wing, fullback and outside-centre and impressed on their recent tour of Europe.
- Auckland fullback Paul Williams has been banned for one match after being found guilty of charging Dan Carter without the ball during their Air New Zealand Cup loss to Canterbury last weekend. Williams will miss the game against Northland on Saturday, but his team-mate Winston Stanley was cleared to play after being cited for an illegal check on Ryan Crotty.