Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s rugby news has the ARU turning to the fans, bad news for the Brumbies and more Welshmen heading overseas as negotiations fail. 

ARU turn to social media


The ARU have called upon rugby fans to submit possible law changes for use in the National Rugby Championship next year. ARU Bill Pulver has previously emphasised that a number of ‘innovative new rules’ would be considered for enhanced entertainment value. Already proposed changes have ranged from simply decreasing penalties and drop goals to two points, to the left-field idea of incorporating powerplays which could prohibit kicking.

It has also been revealed that the Sydney contingent of the NRC will probably be made up of merged Shute shield teams. For example, the Gordon, Warringah, Manly and Norths clubs have submitted interest as a merged ‘north of Sydney Harbour team.’ This is because of both the cost of NRC involvement as well as the potential for a third-tier of stand-alone clubs to reduce any competitiveness in the Shute Shield.   

Lealiifano out til March

Christian Lealiifano

Wallabies centre Christian Lealiifano will be sidelined for at least three months after yesterday’s ankle operation required the removal of some bone, scar tissue and a plate, inserted after an ankle dislocation last year. Coach Stephen Larkham was hopeful of a quick recovery period, but also emphasised, ‘The recovery is up to three months depending on when he can weight bear next. If he can’t full weight bear for six weeks, you usually double that time until he’s back playing.’

Lealiifano’s likely replacement as the Brumbies’ inside-centre, Pat McCabe, also needs to get medical clearance from the ARU after breaking his neck twice in just seven months. The 25-year-old has not been able to resume full-contact training since his injury during the Lions tour and has only played a handful of matches in the past 12 months.  

WRU talks falter


The WRU and the Welsh regions have failed to find a solution to their stalemate, leaving uncertainty over the future of  Sam Warburton. The Lions captain had previously made yesterday the deadline for the Cardiff Blues to come up with a deal to keep him in Wales. The Welsh regions continue to argue in favour of competing in an expanded Aviva Premiership despite the reservations of the WRU.

As for Warburton, Blues chairman Peter Thomas said, ‘We are still pursuing that and trying to find solutions.’ But Thomas also added, ‘The same amount of money is on the table.’ It was generally thought that Warburton’s Cardiff offer was not enough to keep him without a WRU top-up  amid lucrative negotiations with Northampton, Clermont and Toulon.  

Halfpenny reportedly on the move

Halfpenny kicks in Lions vs Force 2013

In more depressing news for Welsh rugby, it now also appears that Leigh Halfpenny will move to a French club. Clermont and Toulon have tabled offers in the region of £500,000-a-year for Halfpenny, who has refused to comment on his playing future this week. The Rugby Paper report says sources in France ‘claim Halfpenny has made a significant change within the last seven days about future plans, abandoning hope of being given a central contract by the WRU.’

Meanwhile, Halfpenny’s possible future team-mate, Toulon winger Bryan Habana, is set to undergo surgery and will be sidelined for two months after suffering a thigh muscle injury in Toulon’s match against Exeter last weekend.  


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