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De Klerk Predicts Teammates Springboks’ Recall

Sale Sharks scrum-half Faf De Klerk has had his say on which player he thinks will follow his footsteps and earn a return to the international set-up

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(Photo by MARTY MELVILLE/AFP/Getty Images)

Sale Sharks scrum-half believes that fellow Springbok Dan Du Preez will be recalled to the test arena after showing incredible form in the English Premiership.

De Klerk had fallen down the pecking-order before his move to Sale in 2017, before going on to become a key component of the Sharks team and catching the eye of Boks head coach Rassie Erasmus. 

He has since gone on to make the No 9 jersey his own in the Springbok squad and is backing his fellow countryman Du Preez to follow a similar trend after helping Sale shoot up the table. 

“Dan is playing amazing and it hasn’t just come all of a sudden. He had a massive year last year and was very unlucky to drop out injured before the World Cup. Duane Vermuelan is still in the picture but as his stats show, Dan is playing phenomenal rugby. He has so much going for him and there really isn’t a weak point and the du Preez boys bring it every weekend. Dan is definitely being looked at and if you perform the coaches will look at you. It’s not a like a few years ago when they would just focus on South African based players. Now, if you do well at your club you are going to get a chance and that is the main motivation,” he said while speaking about Du Preez. 

Du Preez looked like he was ready for the international stage once again last year in the lead up to the Rugby World Cup in Japan, only to sustain an injury that saw him miss out on the tournament. 

However, his return has been incredible and with the change in the Springboks’ backroom-team meaning that Felix Jones is keeping a close eye on European-based players, de Klerk feels that it is a perfect time and situation for Du Preez. 

“It’s great that Felix is based in Dublin and will service all the guys in the UK and Europe and he can give us background on what we want to do with the Springboks and what the coaches expect from us in our positions. It is nice to know there is someone here to look after us. We have been lacking this kind of thing in the last few years because we would rock up to the Springbok camp before a test match and the guys in South Africa would have done their alignment camps and we were playing catch-up,” he added. 

Du Preez will be hoping to add to his four caps come the summer, and he certainly has the backing of his teammate. However, before than the duo along with Du Preez’s brothers will be hoping to help Sale continue their march in the Premiership if it resumes amid the spread of the coronavirus.

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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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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