News in Brief
Barbarians seek revenge at Twickenham
March 9, 2009
England's Mathew Tait exploits a gap in the Barbarians' defence, England v Barbarians, Twickenham, England, June 1, 2008
England's Matthew Tait exploits a gap in the Barbarians' defence during their clash at Twickenham last year © Getty Images

  • Twickenham Stadium will open its doors to some of the world's best rugby union talent on Saturday May 30 when England take on the Barbarians.

    The Barbarians will be seeking to avenge the narrow 17-14 defeat suffered on their last visit to Twickenham in June 2008. Last year's star-studded Baa Baas line-up included the likes of Australian fly half Stephen Larkham, second row Justin Harrison, Samoan centre Seilala Mapusua and Welsh fullback Gareth Thomas and were coached by the Celtic combination of David Young and Eddie O'Sullivan. Young has already accepted an offer to resume his duties this summer.

    The Barbarians will play Australia the following weekend in Sydney. The one-off match will be the first in the 60-year history of the Wallabies and Barbarians to be played in the country

  • International Rugby Board chairman Bernard Lapasset believes the success of the 2009 Rugby World Cup Sevens has boosted rugby's bid to return to the Olympics. "This was a tremendous tournament this year for the men and women playing at the same time. It was a massive event that we have created in Dubai. I think it's a new step for the Sevens, a very important moment for the Sevens.

    "We also had some delegates from the IOC here for this tournament and I am sure they were appreciative of what we have done. It was a very exciting event, a big crowd for the three days and the quality of the play. The men and women have put on a great event for rugby in the world."

    Kit McConnell, head of Rugby World Cup, added, "In terms of the Olympics it shows how many regions and countries around the world are now competitive at the top level. I think it only underlines how much rugby has grown and continues to grow. It was an outstanding day. We had two worthy champions, but over the three days of Sevens we've just seen so much spectacular action on the field in both the men's and women's competitions."

  • Newcastle fly-half Jonny Wilkinson is reportedly on the verge of making a return to action after a five-month injury lay-off.

    The Times reports that the player has returned to full training and is eager to be involved in the Guinness Premiership game against Harlequins on Sunday. The injury-prone Wilkinson dislocated his left kneecap and tore the muscle around the joint against Gloucester at the end of September. He has since undergone two operations and completed his latest period of intense re-habilitation that included a spell with renowned knee specialist Bill Knowles in the United States.

  • Gloucester's Ryan Lamb punched a fan in the face outside a nightclub after he told him he should be playing for England, a court heard today.

    Lamb, 22, who plays for Guinness Premiership leaders Gloucester, hit student Gregor Paterson after he shouted that Lamb should be in the national side instead of fellow fly-half Andy Goode, magistrates were told. Lamb, who has featured for England Saxons and is regarded as a future international regular, was fined £1,000 by magistrates in Cheltenham after pleading guilty to common assault.

  • Former Wales centre Mark Taylor believes that Wales centre Gavin Henson is the best No.12 in the world.

    "Gavin is the best 12 in the world," the former Wales skipper, capped 52 times by his country, told BBC Wales' Scrum V. "He takes the ball up to the line better than anyone else, he can distribute, he's got the strength to go through a gap and the pace to finish."

    Taylor is also expecting big things from Henson's partnership with Jamie Roberts who switches to outside centre for this weekend's Six Nations clash with Italy. "Gavin is the key to any successful Welsh side and having Jamie that little bit wider out will suit him better as well…I think it'll suit Jamie as well, it'll give him a little bit more time on the ball. Overall, it looks on paper like the dream selection. Obviously it'll be interesting to see if it happens in the game."

  • France coach Marc Lièvremont has called up No.8 Louis Picamoles to his squad for the Six Nations clash against England at Twickenham on Sunday as a replacement for injured lock Romain Millo-Chluski.

    As a result France are left with just two locks, Lionel Nallet and Jerome Thion, in their squad although Sebastien Chabal may be used as cover. Lievremont is due to announce his starting line-up on Wednesday.

  • Waratahs No.8 Wycliff Palu could be sidelined up to four weeks with a broken hand suffered in his side's 15-11 win against the Reds on Friday night. Palu will visit a hand specialist on Tuesday for further assessment but is a major doubt for this Friday's clash with the Brumbies in Canberra.

    "Cliffy, we've had a scan and there is a bit of a crack," coach Chris Hickey told The Australian. "We are still hopeful it will be fine. The worst-case scenario would be three to four weeks. We'll have a much better idea of whether he is going to be in or out by Wednesday morning."

    Compounding the issue is a back injury to reserve Scott Fava who is expected to be sidelined for another two weeks. The undefeated Waratahs have only won once in Canberra in Super Rugby history, but they will be favoured to beat the Brumbies, who are coming off a bye a loss to Western Force.


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