News in Brief
Wilkinson injury-free and raring to go
May 27, 2009
Jonny Wilkinson poses for photographs at his new club, Toulon, May 27, 2009
Jonny Wilkinson has touched down in Toulon © Getty Images

  • Jonny Wilkinson has assured his new employers at Toulon that his troublesome knee will not be a factor as he prepares to kick off his new season. Wilkinson hasn't played a game since dislocating his knee-cap against Gloucester in October.

    "I just turned 30 (on Monday), but I feel 20!" he said. "I have not played rugby for seven months, but I was able to train and take a holiday. My body is fine, the knee is perfect and now I just need to adapt to the rhythm of competition.

    "I'm in the process of taking medical tests - it's going well. I feel fresh. I'm not stupid. I know the physical demands of playing at the highest level. And I feel better than ever."

  • Newcastle have appointed All Blacks prop Carl Hayman as their new captain following Phil Dowson's decision to join Northampton. Hayman, 29, joined the Falcons on a big-money contract in 2007 and will lead the team for the 2009-10 campaign.

    Newcastle director of rugby Steve Bates, said, "Carl is someone who commands instant respect right throughout world rugby, and is the natural choice to lead us next season. He quite rightly has a fearsome reputation as a player, and is the sort of character who will drive up standards right across the board.

    "Carl is a very unassuming guy who leads more by example than anything else, but he will say what needs to be said, and will be supported by the outstanding group of senior players we have within our squad."

    Another boost for the Falcons came with the news that fly-half Jimmy Gopperth has been cleared to join the club from pre-season. Newcastle secured a release for Gopperth from his commitments with North Harbour in the Air New Zealand Cup.

  • Super 14 side the Lions have parted ways with coach Loffie Eloff after another disappointing season. Hans Coetzee will temporarily take the reins as the Lions prepare for a showdown with the touring British and Irish Lions and the Currie Cup.

  • All Blacks legend Justin Marshall is backing controversial rugby league convert Sonny-Bill Williams to impress the New Zealand selectors when he turns out for the Barbarians against Australia on June 6. Williams currently plays for French Top 14 side Toulon, but was a New Zealand international in rugby league.

    "There's a huge amount of experience in the team, so what he doesn't now have to worry about is players around him. So he basically is able to go out and play," Marshall told AAP.

  • Saracens have continued their recruitment drive for next season by signing South African flanker Ernst Joubert from Super 14 side the Lions.

  • Edinburgh have completed the signing of Dutch winger Tim Visser from Guinness Premiership side Newcastle Falcons. Visser, who has signed a two-year deal, comes hot on the heels of Falcons team-mate Steve Jones, who signed for Andy Robinson's side on Tuesday.

  • Championship side London Welsh have confirmed the signing of Newport-Gwent Dragons scrum-half Rob Lewis.


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