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2 Huge International Names confirmed to play in USA Major League.

An All Black and a French man.

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Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images

Major League Rugby in the United States was always going to be a slow burner but a few big names always help bring a little attention.

The current season saw a few bigger names make the move with former England International Ben Foden moving to New York along with former Leinster Out-Half, Cathal Marsh.

This morning, 2 big names were confirmed to be joining the MLR. Mathieu Bastareaud had been widely rumoured to be making a ‘loan’ style move to NYC post World Cup and this was confirmed by the Frenchman via his Instagram.

The French star, Bastareaud is off for a sabbatical season in New York leaving Toulon at the end of the Top 14 campaign for a season before returning to the south of France to complete the final year of his contract.

“I’ve decided to join New York after the World Cup,” Bastareaud told Canal+ after Toulon’s Top 14 win over Bordeaux-Begles on Sunday.

“I wanted a change. It’s the best compromise for me in terms of my family life and life experience.”

The deal was agreed between Toulon’s owner Mourad Boudjellal and New York’s French general manager Pierre Arnald.

​Bastareaud, who is being hailed as the biggest name to play in the United States competition, had an offer to go to South Africa to play Super Rugby with the Sharks, according to French media reports.

“Mathieu Bastareaud is a guy apart. He has made history at this club and has given a lot,” Collazo told Agence France Presse.

“He needs to see something else and breathe a little bit. He’s going to discover New York.

Another huge name that will feature in the MLR sooner rather than later is former All Black back-rower, Adam Thomson.

Thomson returns to professional rugby 18 months after his last pro game following a serious spinal infection kept him in hospital for almost two months at the beginning of 2018.

He will join the the Utah Warriors as an injury replacement for Jackson Kaka, who has been ruled out for the remainder of the MLR season with a neck and shoulder injury.

Thomson will remain with the Warriors for the 2020 season will also be joined by Fijian sevens star Vatemo Ravouvou.

Thomson will bring a wealth of experience to the MLR side having played for years in Super Rugby sides that included the Highlanders, Red and Rebels. He also went on to win 29 caps for the All Blacks where he was a member of the World Cup-winning squad in 2011.

International

Rugby Australia Make Significant Cuts

Following the coronavirus pandemic rugby has been hit hard with no way of playing games and now Rugby Australia have been forced into making cuts in order to retain staff in the long-run

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(Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Rugby Australia have confirmed that they will be standing down 75% of their staff in a bid to combat the growing struggles that the coronavirus pandemic is causing.

The workers will be released from tomorrow until the 30th of June due to the lack of finances available to Rugby Australia with the Super Rugby season currently on hold and a strong possibility of the Wallabies summer tests being called off. 

In the worst case possible the organisation are predicting a loss of $120 million due to the virus and speaking on the latest developments the organisation’s chief executive Raelane Castle admitted this was the toughest decision she and her colleagues had ever had to make. 

“Today we have had to deliver the hardest news imaginable to our incredible, hard-working and passionate staff, that many of them will be stood down for a three-month period so that the game can survive this unprecedented crisis. Since the suspension of our proposed domestic Super Rugby competition, we have been working to understand both the immediate and long-term financial implications for the game as a result of the suspension of the competition, and potential further loss of revenue-generating content as we look ahead to the international season. Our extensive modelling shows that as a code, we could lose up to $120 million in revenue should it not be possible for any rugby to be played in 2020. Of course, that is the worst case scenario, and we are very hopeful that we can recommence the Super Rugby season and domestic Wallabies test matches at some point this year. The measures we will implement from April 1, although extremely painful, are necessary to ensure the sport remains financially viable and to ensure that we are able to come out the other side of this global crisis, fully-operational and ready to throw everything into the rebuild. It is our priority to keep all of our valued team connected and engaged through this period,” she said. 

Castle’s has already taken a 50% pay cut since the crisis began and the rest of Rugby Australia’s executives will have a 30% reduction in pay. 

It is a tough call to make in order to preserve rugby in Australia and the fear is that things may get worse with a fear that not all four of the country’s Super Rugby franchises will make it through to next season due to the financial losses.

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International

Jones Set for Pay Cut

England head coach Eddie Jones is set to be asked to take a pay cut during the current coronavirus outbreak according to reports

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England head coach Eddie Jones will be asked to take a 25% pay cut due to the coronavirus outbreak according to the PA news agency.

The Rugby Football Union have already cut the wages of their executive team by the same amount and the organisation are expecting revenue losses of up to £50 million over the next 18 months due to the virus. 

Jones has the highest salary of all international coaches with a yearly wage of around £750,000 and it is believed that talks are to be held with him and his coaching staff in the coming days to reduce that. 

The former Japan head coach is currently heading into the final year of his contract which runs out come July 2021 and it remains to be seen whether he will be asked to lead England into the 2023 French Rugby World Cup

Meanwhile, a number of Jones’ English stars have already taken pay cuts at their respective clubs following the outbreak. However, some reports claim that players will be taking legal action against their clubs over these cuts. 

With the timeline of recovery from the overall virus unknown rugby is heading into the future with no return date and as such it is unclear how long or far these reductions will have to go to keep organisations afloat.

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World Rugby Cancels Several Tournaments

World Rugby have announced the cancelation of a number of tournaments due to the coronavirus outbreak

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World Rugby have confirmed that several tournaments have been pushed back or cancelled due to the outbreak of coronavirus across the world.

Among the changes are Sevens tournaments, U20 World Cup campaigns and qualifying events for certain competitions. 

The worldwide rugby body released a statement earlier today outlining their plans for the foreseeable future. 

“After detailed and constructive dialogue with the respective host and participating unions, and with the wellbeing of the global rugby family at heart, the following events have been postponed:

  • The men’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series tournaments in London and Paris will be postponed, provisionally until September;
  • The women’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series tournament in Langford has been postponed until later in the year;
  • The final men’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series event has been postponed until later in the year;
  • Some Rugby World Cup 2021 and 2023 regional qualifying events have been postponed;

In addition, the following event has been cancelled: The World Rugby U20 Championship 2020, scheduled to be hosted in northern Italy in late June and July, has been cancelled following detailed consultation with the Federazione Italiana Rugby. The Olympic Games Repechage qualification tournament scheduled for June is under review and World Rugby continues to be in close consultation with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) regarding the implications for the qualification process in the event that the repechage is unable to be hosted due to the covid-19 outbreak. The World Rugby Hall of Fame, located in Rugby, will be closed until the end of May in line with public health authority directives,” the statement read. 

The pandemic is causing havoc among the rugby community with both the Irish and English Rugby Football Unions calling a close on their domestic competitions for this season bar the PRO14 and English Premiership, which remain under review. 

Elsewhere, the Six Nations was unable to be concluded in its normal time frame due to the postponement of fixtures, with further disruption expected among the international game. 

In other league news the French Top 14 has been suspended and Super Rugby has done the same, however, the Australian sides are set to play against one another over the coming weeks.  

The dates resumption of the current campaigns remain unknown with the pandemic stopping everything in and out of sport.

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