Sivivatu ruled out of Super 14 finale
Chiefs speedster Sitiveni Sivivatu will not line-up for this weekend's Super 14 Final against the Bulls
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- The Chiefs' Super 14 title bid suffered a significant setback today with All Blacks wing Sitiveni Sivivatu ruled out of the final against the Bulls in Pretoria after dislocating a shoulder.
Sivivatu suffered the injury during the second half of Friday's 14-10 semifinal victory over the Hurricanes -- and after a medical assessment he was ruled out of the Chiefs 24-man touring party which leaves for South Africa early tomorrow. He has been replaced in the squad by Waikato midfield back Jackson Willison, leaving Sosene Anesi and Dwayne Sweeney as potential candidates to complete a back three featuring Mils Muliaina and Lelia Masaga.
On a positive note for the Chiefs ahead of the finale at Loftus Versfeld, All Black centre Richard Kahui has been named despite a bruised calf sidelining him from the semifinal and the final regular season match against the Brumbies. He will continue to be monitored when the team reaches Pretoria.
Forwards: Sona Taumololo, Joe Savage, Nathan White, James McGougan, Aled de Malmanche, Hika Elliot, Craig Clarke, Kevin O'Neill, Toby Lynn, Liam Messam, Tanerau Latimer, Serge Lilo, Sione Lauaki.
Backs: Toby Morland, David Bason, Stephen Donald, Mike Delany, Callum Bruce, Richard Kahui, Dwayne Sweeney, Jackson Willison, Sosene Anesi, Lelia Masaga, Mils Muliaina.
- Leinster's 19-16 victory over Leicester in the 14th Heineken Cup Final at Murrayfield on Saturday has been praised as a tremendous spectacle which gave a multi-million pound boost to the local economy.
Derek McGrath, ERC Chief Executive, said, "The 14th Heineken Cup final was a fantastic European occasion on and off the field and one that the whole city of Edinburgh embraced. The supporters from across Europe converged on the Scottish capital and received a warm welcome and I'm sure will leave with some great memories.
"The exciting season finale was a fitting result for the months of preparations carried out by our Edinburgh 2009 event partners and is certain to leave a positive legacy for the city and Scottish rugby."
A crowd of 66,523 watched the drama unfold at Murrayfield. Lothian and Borders Police reported no arrests at the game and "no incidents of note" amid the post-match revelry in the city. An economic impact study was being undertaken during yesterday's event with the prediction that local business and the wider community would have benefited to the tune of £15 million.
Scottish Rugby's Chief Executive Gordon McKie said, "I thank everyone who made a special day at Murrayfield possible yesterday, once again showcasing, in the best light, our stadium, the city of Edinburgh and Scotland."
- At least two provincial unions will be axed from this year's NZ Cup, and more may follow as the premier provincial rugby competition is revamped yet again, it was reported today.
The Sunday Star-Times newspaper said details of the new competition were to be kept secret until later this week. However, key details were leaked to the newspaper, which reported that Counties-Manukau are believed to have volunteered to be culled from the cup.
They are negotiating a parachute deal with the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) so they can honour their player contracts. The newspaper said others wanting to continue in the cup will be asked to justify their inclusion by reapplying to the NZRU, and up to three more teams could be axed on the grounds they no longer meet the criteria agreed to when they entered.
Counties-Manukau reacted quickly to deny the report. "Counties Manukau Rugby has not been advised that they are out of this year's Air New Zealand Cup competition," said chief executive Phil McConnell. "They have also not been in player payment discussions with the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU), nor have they volunteered to go to Heartland competition."
- Hurricanes wing David Smith was arrested in Wellington on Sunday morning for a drink driving offence. His arrest was announced by the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU).
While the matter is subject to a police investigation the NZRU said both it and Hurricanes team management would not comment. "Once the legal process has concluded, the NZRU will commence its own misconduct process," it said in a statement
The Hurricanes' Super 14 season ended last Friday when they lost a semi-final 10-14 to the Chiefs in Hamilton.
- Kazakhstan have settled in second place in this year's Asian Five Nations Top 5 competition after dispatching Hong Kong 25 - 6 today in a rain-drenched Almaty. Today's win sees Kazakhstan finish with three victories from its four matches, good for 15 points on the table. The Kazakhs have moved up an impressive two spots on their 2008 finish.
Japan was again the runaway champion this year after going undefeated through its four matches (with four bonus points for scoring four or more tries in each match) to finish on 24 points. Kazakhstan's victory today leaves them a distant second on 15 points, two ahead of Korea which finished in third with 13 points from 2 wins and three bonus points. Hong Kong finished in fourth place on 8 points while Singapore finished in last place on 1 point. Singapore will now be relegated to the Division I championship in 2010 to be replaced by the Arabian Gulf, the winners of the 2009 Division I championship in Dubai.