News in Brief
Du Preez pens new Munster deal
Prop Wian du Preez made his Springboks debut against Italy last year
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- Munster have secured the services of Cheetahs prop Wian du Preez on a two-year-contract.
The Springboks international joined the province on a two-month deal at the end of last year as cover for the injured Marcus Horan and his signature is a significant coup for coach Tony McGahan. The 27-year-old, who made his Test bow against Italy last year, has reportedly become disillusioned by his lack of international opportunities.
"They [Munster] were really impressed by his scrummaging and commitment, and have made a good offer," the player's agent Stephan Weyers told the Volksblad newspaper. "We told [Cheetahs coach] Naka [Drotske] early on that we are considering another offer and were open with him from the outset. Wian would love to end his career at the Cheetahs."
Moving the other direction is Leinster prop CJ van der Linde who will return to Bloemfontein following the Magners League Grand Final against the Ospreys at the RDS on Saturday after and injury-plagued two-year spell. The 29-year-old, who was part of the 2007 Rugby World Cup-winning team, recently returned to the international fold for the clash with Wales on June 5.
- Waratahs head coach Chris Hickey has won the Australian Super 14 Coach of the Year Award for the second year running.
Hickey guided the Tahs to a 9-4 win-loss record for the second straight season, however an improved attacking game helped the team to third place on the Super 14 ladder and a semi-final appearance. After receiving the award, Hickey deflected praise to his staff and players as well as the other Australian Super 14 coaches.
"This is really an award for the team and their achievements this season, as it was last year as well," said Hickey. "Over the last two years there has been a lot of change in terms of playing personnel and at the start of 2009 there was a complete change in coaching staff too so to maintain a high level of performance under those circumstances is extremely pleasing."
The Reds' Quade Cooper claimed the Player of the Year award and also collected the Try of the Year honour while the Brumbies' Pat McCabe was named the Rookie of the Year.