Wednesday’s rugby news a clean World Cup, Butler aiming high, Goromaru immortalised and a touching Lomu tribute.
No positive drug tests at RWC
There were no positive drug tests detected before or during the 2015 World Cup in England, the sport’s global governing body, World Rugby, has announced. 200 tests of both urine and blood samples were carried out during the tournament by UK Anti-Doping (UKAD), with 268 out-of-competition samples collected as well.
More than 600 players and 500 team officials also undertook mandatory education programs before the tournament. World Rugby chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “World Rugby is committed to a prevention programme of targeted testing and global education to ensure that players at all levels understand the performance and health importance of maintaining a level playing field for all.”
Butler aiming for Test selection
Jarrad Butler is hoping to use his selection in Michael Cheika’s Barbarians side to springboard his difficult task of putting himself into Wallabies contention. Butler has David Pocock and Michael Hooper standing in his way, but his Super Rugby form has been impressive in the last few years.
The BRumbies loose forwards said that the Barbarians tour was a good opportunity to work with Cheika. “It was good getting to know him better and hopefully vice versa,” Butler said. “That was the good thing about the whole trip … [the Wallabies] are still definitely where I want to go.” Pocock will shift back to the Brumbies’ 7 jersey next year while Butler will battle with Ita Vaea for No. 8 duties.
Japan unveil statute
Japan’s Rugby World Cup hero Ayumu Goromaru has been honoured by the construction of a a life-size bronze statue unveiled in Tokyo as part of the city’s Christmas celebrations. “When I first heard about the statue I kind of wished they had statues of the whole Japan team,” Japan’s World Cup hero told reporters.
Goromaru, Japan’s leading points-scorer in Tests, will have the opportunity to further enhance his profile in 2016 when he links up with the Queensland Reds in Super Rugby.
Nonu honours Lomu
All Blacks star Ma’a Nonu has paid a warm-hearted tribute to Jonah Lomu from France as the rugby legend was laid to rest in Auckland on Tuesday. Nonu is settling in at French club Toulon and was unable attend Monday’s public memorial at Eden Park where Lomu was farewelled with a fierce haka by former All Blacks.
“To the gentle giant that inspired us boys worldwide in the 1995 RWC, to capturing the nation and taking on the world at the same time,” Nonu wrote. “You were always kind, loving and generous to me.” Almost 1000 people turned to honour the rugby legend including Prince Ata, the Prince of Tonga.