Posts Tagged ‘Rugby News’

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Adidas France 2012-2013 Home Replica Shirt True Blue

Adidas France 2012-2013 Home Replica Shirt True Blue

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Adidas France 2012-2013 Home Replica Shirt True Blue

Adidas France 2012-2013 Home Replica Shirt True Blue

Adidas France 2012-2013 Home Replica Shirt True Blue

Adidas France 2012-2013 Home Replica Shirt True Blue

Adidas France 2012-2013 Home Replica Shirt True Blue

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Shane Williams is set for his final home match for the Ospreys in the Pro12 play-off clash with Munster on Friday night.

The Lions wing did have a farewell match against the Dragons in April before the Ospreys earned a home tie in the final four.

Williams, 35, who scored a try in his ‘farewell’ against the Dragons, is likely to be preferred over Eli Walker.

“Shane will probably play,” said Ospreys coach Steve Tandy.

“There was a big focus for the Dragons game and that was the only game we could guarantee [for Shane’s farewell].

“Fortunate for us we have got the home semi-final so all likelihood Shane will play. It’s a big occasion.

“Eli has done terrific for us. He’s really developing but we see the big game experience from Shane on Friday night will be a real benefit to us.

“Eli is coming on and I’m sure he will be a great Osprey. Hanno [Dirksen] is getting better and better every game. It was key for us to develop these guys.

“We did feel it is the right time to give Eli a break and bring Shane in.”

There is an outside chance Williams could have another home tie in the final but that depends on the Ospreys beating Munster and Glasgow overcoming Leinster in the other play-off.

Williams enjoyed his ‘final’ match on 20 April by score a last minute bonus point try as the Ospreys overcame the Dragons 31-12 in front of 14,478 at the Liberty.

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Shane Williams has called for the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) to step in and help stop the player drain of Welsh stars to France and England.

Welsh rugby has seen a raft of players leave after being offered big pay days the regions cannot compete with.
“I do think there has to be some involvement with the Union,” said Wales’ record try scorer, who will retire at the end of the season. “At the end of the day, we want to keep our players in Wales.”

The Ospreys wing, who was named IRB Player of the Year in 2008 and retired from international rugby in December 2011, has seen a host of former Wales team-mates sign for clubs outside Wales.

Blues prop Gethin Jenkins, Ospreys hooker Huw Bennett and Dragons lock Luke Charteris will follow James Hook, Mike Phillips and Lee Byrne to France this summer, while Stephen Jones has left the Scarlets to sign for London Wasps.

“There needs to be some kind of commitment from the Welsh regions and the WRU,” added Williams.

“There needs to be a happy medium because as far as supporters are concerned, we just want to see Wales successful as a national side and the regions doing well in Europe and the RaboDirect Pro 12.

“It is a very difficult place at the moment, not just in Welsh rugby, but in Wales economically.”

The four regions – Cardiff Blues, Newport Gwent Dragons, Scarlets and the Ospreys – have announced a salary cap of £3.5m which will begin at the start of the 2012-13 season, a move which has been welcomed by the WRU.

The four regions and the WRU have also commissioned a financial review by accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers to address the ongoing financial problems and the dwindling attendances watching the regions.

“The Welsh regions appear to obviously have a problem financially, having said that, the problem is how much finance there is in the French clubs,” said Williams.

“That makes it very difficult for players to turn down these offers. “Even the English clubs are coming in with the big offers which makes it very difficult for the regions to keep hold of these guys. “It’s a shame but I don’t blame the players. You have to look after yourself, your family and look after your future as well. “It’s tough for the regions and they are certainly finding it very difficult to compete and because of that they seem to be struggling on the field.”

But Williams also offered a strong defence of nearly a decade of regional rugby in Wales despite claims it has failed to capture the public’s imagination.

“It has worked,” added Williams. “People are asking that question because the Welsh regions haven’t been successful in the Heineken Cup, but the Heineken Cup is a tough, tough competition.

“Since the regions were formed, the national side has certainly benefited, we have played some great rugby, won some championships and Grand Slams.

“So something has to be working. Yes, it’s been 10 years and there haven’t been any Heineken Cup wins but I have no doubt that will happen in the future.”

Ospreys and Wales prop Paul James is set to join English Premiership side Bath on a two-year contract.

James, who has won 34 caps for Wales, has been with the Ospreys since the inception of regional rugby in 2003.

The 29-year-old has made 177 appearances and scored seven tries for the Ospreys but his current deal expires in the summer.

Neath-born James is one of a number of Wales stars leaving the region.

Hooker Huw Bennett has announced a move to France, Sonny Parkerwill join London Welsh while Shane Williams will retire.

Tommy Bowe, Nikki Walker and Tom Smith have also confirmed they will depart the region at the end of the campaign.

James, who can play at loose-head and tight-head, made his first Wales appearance against Romania in 2003 but had to wait six years for his second cap, against New Zealand in Cardiff.

He featured for Wales at last year’s World Cup in New Zealand and was also a member of the 2012 Grand Slam winning squad.

Cardiff Blues are poised to appoint Worcester forwards coach Phil Davies as director of rugby, BBC Sport Wales understands.
Last month, Davies asked the the Avivia Premiership club for permission to speak to the Welsh region.
The Blues lost former boss Dai Young to London Wasps ahead of the 2011-12 season and placed Justin Burnell and Gareth Baber in charge.
The Blues have refused to confirm or deny the development.

Davies, a former Scarlets coach went into discussions about the role with two years left on his contract at Sixways Stadium.
The former Wales and Llanelli back-five forward helped guide the Warriors’ back to English rugby’s top flight for the 2011-12 season.
Davies, who won 46 Test caps, led the Scarlets to their last Heineken Cup semi-final in 2007 before he was sacked the following season.
Before that, he led the Leeds Tykes from National League Three to Heineken Cup rugby and lifted the Powergen Cup at Twickenham in 2005.

He went on to coach Wales Under-20 and Welsh Premiership side Cardiff RFC before taking up his role at Worcester.
In January 2012, the Blues confirmed forwards coach Burnell and backs coach Baber would remain in charge until the end of the season.

The Blues go into the final game of their Pro12 season at the Scarlets on Saturday having seen their play-off challenge fail.
They reached the Heineken Cup quarter-finals, where they were thumped 34-3 by defending champions Leinster.

In April the Blues announced a search for a new director of rugby and witnin days Worcester chairman Cecil Duckworth revealed Davies’ request for permission to bid for the role.

Twelve players, including Wales prop Gethin Jenkins and Wales scrum-half Richie Rees, are leaving at the end of the season, and the region fear they will also lose new Wales wing sensation Alex Cuthbert.

The region were also criticised over their handling of Gavin Henson, who was sacked after a alcohol-fuelled disturbance on a flight as the squad returned from Glasgow.

Record Wales cap-holder Stephen Jones could join fellow veteran Shane Williams in facing Wales for the Barbarians in Cardiff this summer.

Jones, who has made 104 Wales appearances, has been invited to play for the Barbarians in their three-game tour that ends against Wales on 2 June.

However, the Baa-baas have not approached Martyn Williams. The flanker has been linked with a possible 100th and final Wales appearance that day. That would bring down the curtain on the 36-year-old’s career on the same day that wing namesake Shane, 34, takes a final bow on the big stage.

On the day their second-string squad take on the Baa-Baas, Wales’ front-line players will already be in Australia, preparing for the first game of their three-match Test series on 9 June. If he is fit, Sale scrum-half Dwayne Peel could partner Wasps-bound Scarlet Jones at half-back for the touring club. The Baa-baas invitees include All Blacks Joe Rokocoko, Stephen Donald, Aled de Malmanche and Brad Thorn, Springbok half-back Ruan Pienaar and Wallaby flanker George Smith.

Centres invited are the Gloucester pair of former England captain Mike Tindall and Samoa’s Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu along with France’s Maxime Mermoz and Damien Traille.

Baa-baas coach John Kirwan, the former New Zealand wing and ex-Japan and Italy coach, could also field Fiji flanker Akapusi Qera at the Millennium Stadium.

The Barbarians kick off their tour against England at Twickenham on 27 May, then take on Ireland at Gloucester on 29 June before completing their tour against Wales.