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News in Brief
Japan confident of RWC nod
Scrum.com
July 20, 2009
Japan Rugby Football Union vice president Noboru Mashimo,  Bledisloe Cup Tokyo 2009 press conference, Tokyo, Japan, June 30, 2009
Japan's Rugby World Cup bid chairman Nobby Mashimo is confident of bringing the sport's showpiece event to the Far East © Getty Images
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  • Japan are confident of securing enough votes to claim the right to host the Rugby World Cup in 2015 or 2019.

    England and Japan are favourites to host the 2015 and 2019 tournament respectively after Rugby World Cup organisers recommended their bids to the International Rugby Board (IRB) last month. The 28-member IRB Council will make the final decision as to where the tournaments will be held at their meeting in Dublin on July 28.

    "We're close to the 14 votes we need," Japan's bid chairman Nobby Mashimo told reporters on Monday. "We have 10 votes we can pretty much count on."

    Japan were narrowly beaten by New Zealand for the right to host the 2011 Rugby World Cup and are widely expected to be the beneficiary of the IRB's desire to take the tournament into a new territory in 2019.

  • Guinness Premiership side Bath have completed the signing of Fiji international fly-half Nicky Little on a one-year deal. Little joins the club as cover for injured Springbok Butch James and is joined in Bath's pre-season squad by Exeter's Chris Cracknell, who has joined on a four-month deal as extra back-row cover.

  • Newport Gwent Dragons have announced that Colin Charvis will remain with the region as defence coach next season. Charvis, capped 94 times by Wales, will unlikely take to the field as a player again after undergoing knee surgery however.

  • The RFU have declared that London Welsh are free to compete in next season's Championship after a successful takeover.

    Red Dragon Ltd satisfied the RFU's criteria for the takeover, fulfilling requirements including assurances that they could support the club for two years and also pay any creditors owed money by the club.

    The club will start next season with a five point penalty after lapsing in to administration and failing to notify the RFU.

  • The Blue Bulls will be without flanker Deon Stegmann for their Currie Cup showdown with the Sharks on Friday. Stegmann has failed to recover from an ankle injury and joins Pedrie Wannenburg, Akona Ndungane and Burton Francis on the injured list.

  • Leicester Tigers have appointed former flanker Ben Herring to their coaching staff. Herring will take responsibility for coaching the first team with their skills at the breakdown following his early retirement from the game due to repeated concussions.

  • A relatively inexperienced Auckland squad has been named to challenge for this year's national provincial title.

    Coach Mark Anscombe said despite their inexperience, he felt the squad had the potential to perform well in the Air New Zealand Cup. "We've named several guys who have never played for Auckland before and it's no secret that there's not a lot of experience out wide but it's a great opportunity for some guys to step up and I'm confident they will," said Anscombe.

    Kurtis Haiu is the most capped Auckland player on 49 caps, ahead of Taniela Moa, with 47 caps and Jay Williams, with 30 caps. The captain is to be named later this week. Auckland's final pre-season game is against North Harbour on Thursday.

    North Harbour coach Craig Dowd and assistant Jeff Wilson say their 26-man squad for upcoming campaign is a balance of youth and experience.

    "We have a number of young players in our squad who have come through our development program and will make their debuts in the Air New Zealand Cup this year," Dowd said."This is balanced by the availability of 2008 All Blacks Anthony Tuitavake, Rudi Wulf and Anthony Boric who will bring experience to the group.

    "The Cup is now very much a development competition and our approach has been focused around promoting our local players."

    Auckland: Tevita Mailau, Pauliasi Manu, Charlie Faumuina, Paea Fa'anunu, Francis Smith, Tom McCartney, Kurtis Haiu, Jay Williams, Andrew Van der Heijden, Dean Budd, Chris Lowrey, Peter Saili, Onosa'i Auva'a, Hamish Paterson, Taniela Moa, Grayson Hart, Ash Moeke, Daniel Bowden, Benson Stanley, Winston Stanley, Jamie Helleur, Teddy Stanaway, Thomas Timani, Dave Thomas, Atieli Pakalani, Paul Williams, Keven Mealamu, Jerome Kaino, John Afoa, Isaia Toeava, Joe Rokocoko, Ali Williams (injured).

    North Harbour: James Afoa, Mike Reid, Ben Afeaki, James Parsons, Michael Mayhew, Anthony Boric, Filo Paulo, James King, Chris Smith, Malakai Ravulo, Tom Chamberlain, Richard Mayhew, Robbie Colhoun, Vili Ma'afu, Chris Smylie, Matt France, Mike Harris, Ben Botica, Andrew Mailei, Anthony Tuitavake, George Pisi, Nafi Tuitavake, Josh York, Rudi Wulf, Jack McPhee, Ken Pisi

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