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News in Brief
Springboks duo heading home
Scrum.com
November 8, 2009

  • Chiliboy Ralepelle and Gurthro Steenkamp are returning to South Africa after being injured in the Springboks' opening tour match against Leicester at Welford Road.

    Ralepelle, who captained the side in yesterday's shock 22-17 defeat, has to see a specialist over his injured foot - while prop Gurthro Steenkamp has a knee problem.

    Tighthead Jannie du Plessis is also doubtful with an injured hand, the South Africa Rugby Union (SARU) confirmed in a statement on their official website. Prop Wian du Preez and hooker Adriaan Strauss, who both play for the Free State Cheetahs, have been called up as replacements.

    Prop Tendai 'Beast' Mtawarira has been cleared to tour with South Africa, after SARU and the sports ministry reached an agreement. SARU had been alerted to clauses in the National Sport & Recreation Amendment Act 2007, which needed to be completed before Zimbabwean-born Mtawarira's place in the squad could be confirmed.

    The act required SARU to provide an explanation to the sports minister for the selection of a non-South African national.

    "We are delighted with the news, after discovering this problem during the week," SARU president Oregan Hoskins said on sarugby.net. "The government has been very helpful in expediting the completion of the necessary protocols, and we're all relieved that 'Beast' will be available for selection for the Springboks against France in Toulouse on Friday."

  • David Strettle hopes to be fit to rejoin the England squad after suffering a back injury scoring the opening try for Harlequins in their 15-15 home draw with Scarlets in the Anglo-Welsh Cup.

    The winger, released from Martin Johnson's original 32-man squad to play for his club after being omitted from the matchday 22 against Australia, was hurt scoring in the fourth minute and replaced nine minutes later.

    Collin Osborne, Harlequins' assistant coach, said, "We're waiting to see what the doctors and physios say. It was a bit of a late drop from a knee after he'd scored. He's seized up a bit but we're hoping he'll be fine. He's up and walking but he's got a stiff back - the muscle's spasmed and it's tightened up."

  • New Zealand's Super Rugby franchises are reportedly set to be sold off with officials keen to cash in on the strength of their brand.

    The Sunday Star-Times reports that a discussion paper which has been circulated among several of the game's major stakeholders for comment, went before the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) board last month.

    "This is the future," NZRU chief executive Steve Tew told the newspaper. "If the Australians get the Melbourne franchise it will be almost exclusively funded by private investment. It's something we will work on in the coming years, because the reality is New Zealand rugby is undercapitalised. The value of New Zealand rugby is immense. At some stage we have to find a better way of cashing in on it."

    The NZRU says the franchises should be sold much the same way Telecom was, with the NZRU holding what's known as a "golden share". The NZRU would also reserve the right to appoint the head coach and have a say on whether franchises took home games overseas. The NZRU wants also to bulk-fund player contracts so it can maintain control over them.

  • Former New Zealand winger Jonah Lomu watched his new side Marseille-Vitrolles lose to US Seynoise in a French third division clash at Stade Maillol in Toulon on Saturday. The All Blacks legend hinted that he may make his long-awaited debut next Sunday against Mazamet.

  • Ryley Batt was a dominant figure as Australia beat New Zealand 53-45 in the final of the Asia-Oceania wheelchair championship in Christchurch on Sunday. Japan won the bronze medal match 65-29 over Korea.

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