News in Brief
Jack ridicules northern hemisphere rugby
Chris Jack has returned to New Zealand after a spell with Saracens
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- Former All Black Chris Jack has derided northern hemisphere rugby as 'easy' after leaving Saracens in the hope of making a return to international rugby. Jack is currently touring with the Barbarians as they visit Australia for the second match of their tour and he is determined to add to his 67-test caps.
The New Zealander will have a brief spell with South African side Western Province and will then make a return to Super 14 rugby next season with the Crusaders in the hope of putting on an All Black jersey once again.
After two seasons with Saracens, Jack said: "I'm not going back just to muck around. If I wanted to muck around I would have stayed up there. I want to come back and I want to play well. If I wanted to play easy rugby I would have stayed up in the northern hemisphere.
"I want to play good rugby again. I want to play challenging rugby and I want to enjoy it. The premiership gets a bit tough after a while of the same sort of stuff. It's good to play some rugby that's enjoyable and like-minded, I guess."
- England World Cup-winner Mike Catt could feature against the British & Irish Lions for the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth on June 16.
Port Elizabeth-born Catt could feature against the side he toured with in 1997 and 2001 according to the city's newspaper the Daily Dispatch. The former Bath player could represent the Kings who will hope to use this match to show that they should have become the next franchise in Super rugby.
Catt will be joined by a host of other players who ply their trade in Europe including former Springboks De Wet Barry, Brent Russell and Neil de Kock. There will also be representation for northern hemisphere clubs with Rudi Coetzee, Trevor Hall and Robbie Diack all expected to play.
They will all be expected to make the XV if the team is signed off by Southern Kings chief selector and president of the Boland Rugby Union, Francois Davids.
- Four Australian provinces are set to compete against each other to stage an Australian Test-match next year, as the search continues for the home of Australia's fifth province as part of the expansion of Super Rugby in the southern hemisphere.
Gold Coast, Melbourne, Western Sydney and Gosford are expected to make bids for the game, at either Gosford or the Gold Coast, with the most likely date for the Fiji Test to take place on June 5, 2010.
The match was supposed to take place in July but will now be played next season in June. Both the Australian and Fijian unions had been in discussions and Australian chief executive John O'Neill said: "We are trying to make sure it is a meaningful Test, involving their best team against our best team".
- Bourgoin's Thomas Genevois has been suspended for three weeks by an independent Disciplinary Committee in Dublin following his red card in the European Challenge Cup final against Northampton at the Twickenham Stoop on Friday, 22 May, 2009.
The punishment related to Genevois striking Saints replacement Courtney Lawes but the Frenchman's suspension has been dated back to the date of the match and with the off-season taken into account, Genevois can play again on 8 August 2009.
Meanwhile Genevois' teammate, Julien Frier, has been suspended for three weeks from today after being cited in the same game.
The punishment related to Frier's strike on Saints player Euan Murray during the European Challenge Cup final at the Twickenham Stoop on Friday, May 22.
- Giant prop Wyatt Crockett has finally been called up to the All Blacks squad to face France and Italy after satisfying the national rugby selectors' technical requirements for a loosehead prop.
At 1.93 metres tall, Crockett is the same height as tighthead Carl Hayman but the All Blacks assistant coach, Steve Hansen, had concerns over the 26-year-old's core strength.
The pair had a heart-to-heart and after four seasons of Super 14 rugby for the Crusaders the prop now has his chance.
Hansen said: "He's a tall man and if you don't have the right core strength you tend to spend a bit of time on the ground. That was happening quite a bit up to this year. Now he's worked on it and we haven't had so many collapses from him."
- Northampton Saints have announced that ten players will be leaving Franklin's Gardens over the summer.
Tom Smith (retiring), Matt Lord (retiring), Barry Stewart (retiring) and Senior Academy forward Rob Milligan (medical advice) have already had their departures confirmed, while Sean Lamont will join the Scarlets and Alex Rae will be playing for the Bedford Blues next season.
Four other players leaving the club are; Ben Lewitt, Neil Starling, Will Harries and Phil Hoy.