Melbourne and Eastern Cape set to fight it out
August 17, 2009
NZRU chief executive Steve Tew revealed the union's decision not to endorse Taranaki's Super 15 bid
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- Taranaki's Super 15 rugby ambitions have foundered with the news that the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) has opted not to endorse the region's bid for inclusion in the expanded 2011 competition.
NZRU chief executive Steve Tew today said the board had decided not to endorse the Taranaki bid for consideration by governing body Sanzar, but "significant thought" had been given to the merits of the case.
Tew said the NZRU felt an expansion of the number of Super teams in New Zealand would not be in the best interests of New Zealand rugby at the moment.
Earlier this month, the Hawke's Bay Rugby Union withdrew their short-lived expression of interest to form a stand-alone franchise in 2011, saying they did not have sufficient time to present a business plan.
Sanzar will consider proposals referred to it by the Australian Rugby Union (Melbourne) and the South Africa Rugby Union (Eastern Cape) in late September and make its decision about a month later.
- Bulls star Bryan Habana is to meet with Western Province boss Rassie Erasmus to discuss a possible move to the Cape Town-based outfit.
Springbok winger Habana has been heavily linked with a move to the northern hemisphere, with French side Bayonne said to be leading the chase for his signature.
However, Habana's father and agent, Bernie, has revealed that the 2007 IRB Player of the Year will have talks with Western Province on Tuesday.
"We have not received an offer from Western Province," said Habana senior to the Cape Times. "We are flying to Cape Town tomorrow morning. Bryan will be meeting Rassie and I will meet Rob Wagner.
"We have never offered Bryan's services to anyone. Rassie phoned me a while back enquiring about Bryan, and this is how tomorrow's meeting came about.
"Bryan didn't even know about Western Province's interest until today (Monday), when I told him we are going to Cape Town.
"He in fact asked me 'What for?' and I told him. So we will see what happens at the meeting."
- Clermont Auvergne are vowing to take legal action against Jaque Fourie for allegedly reneging on a promise to join the Top 14 outfit.
The French club claims to have a letter signed by the Springbok centre in which he commits himself to Clermont for the coming season. However, the Golden Lions claimed on Friday that Fourie is contracted to them until October 31, 2010.
Clermont vice-president Jean-Marc Lhermet has now revealed that they are ready to take Fourie to court over the matter.
"The debate is moving to the legal side, it is going to be sorted out between lawyers," he told L'Equipe. "By principle, we are going to go as far as possible."
- The Bulls have been boosted by the availability of Akona Ndungane for Friday's Currie Cup clash with the Leopards at Loftus Versfeld.
The Springboks winger has been out of action since last year's Super 14 final with shin splits but on Monday afternoon he was given the all clear to return to competitive rugby.
Heini Adam is also set to feature in Pretoria after recovering from an ankle injury but Chiliboy Ralepelle and Gurthrö Steenkamp both miss out because of their involvement in the Springboks' Tri-Nations squad.
- Welsh rugby legend Ray Gravell is to be honoured with the unveiling of a life-size sculpture at the Scarlets' new Parc y Scarlets stadium.
The Llanelli RFC player, who earned 23 caps for Wales, died suddenly while on holiday with his family on October 31, 2007. David Williams-Ellis, a world-renowned sculptor, has created the bronze sculpture that will be placed outside the Castell Howell main south stand in front of the £23m stadium's museum and main reception.
The public is invited to attend the unveiling ceremony, which will take place before the new Magners League season opening game between the Scarlets and Leinster on Saturday, September 5.
- Waikato flanker Jordan Smiler has been cited for a dangerous tackle on Canterbury's Tim Bateman during their Air NZ Cup loss in Christchurch on Friday. Smiler will appear before New Zealand Rugby Union judicial officer Peter Hobbs in Wellington on Tuesday.
- Sean Hardman has signed a new one-year contract with the Queensland Reds.
The 32-year-old hooker is already the franchise's most capped player, having made 137 appearances for Queensland over the past 11 seasons.
"I still love pulling on that Queensland jersey and going out there to do it justice. I'll be looking to start every game again next year and enjoying the success I know we can achieve as a team if we work hard together," Hardman said.
"If anyone thinks I'll be easing my way into retirement they're wrong; and the same goes for anyone who thinks the Reds are going to throw in the towel because we've lost a couple of high profile players during the off-season. I'm not and we're not."
- George Whitelock, Kieran Read and Andy Ellis have all signed three-year extensions to their current deals with the Canterbury Rugby Football Union.
"George, Kieran and Andy are fantastic players and would boost any side," Canterbury coach Rob Penney said. "George is of course Canterbury's captain, while Kieran captained Canterbury last season. Andy also plays a huge leadership role within the side."