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Super Rugby

Blues Confirm Trio of Injuries

The Blues have confirmed that three of their players will be out of action in the coming weeks due to injury

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(Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Super Rugby side the Blues have confirmed that three of their players picked up serious injuries during their 37-29 loss to the Chiefs over the weekend.

In what was their opening game of the new season things could hardly have turned out worse for the New Zealand-based franchise as they not only lost the game but have now lost star back Rieko Ioane, hooker Ray Niuia and prop Alex Hodgman for the foreseeable future. 

Ioane is the biggest loss to the team having starred during their defeat as he scored two tries at Eden Park, but he has fractured his hand and will now miss “several weeks” of action in what is a major blow. 

Meanwhile, things are even worse for Niuia who has sustained a knee injury that has ruled him out of the remainder of the season after just one game. While Hodgman is out following a calf tear during the game. 

In some more positive news for the franchise veteran hooker James Parsons could return from his own injury lay-off this week as well as Otere Black, with the duo hopeful of returning to action to help ease the injury-hit team. 

However, it is a huge loss to the team, but they will hope that they can manage to pull things together despite the set-backs when they face the Waratahs this weekend as they search for their first win of the campaign.

Super Rugby

Transfer fee involved in Siya Kolisi move to the Sharks

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Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

There had been rumblings for some time now that Springbok skipper Siya Kolisi was looking an exit from the DHL Stormers after an 11 year stint with the Western Province with The Cell C Sharks touted as his desired destination.

Kolisi signed with Western Province Rugby straight out of school, spending his entire professional career with Western Province Rugby Institute. Kolisi was not long in making an impact after making a try-scoring debut for the DHL Stormers in the opening game of the 2012 Super Rugby campaign, coming on as an injury replacement for Springbok legend, Schalk Burger.

Kolisi was appointed DHL Stormers captain in 2017 and led the team for two full Vodacom Super Rugby campaigns before he was appointed Springbok captain in 2018. He ends his time at Western Province Rugby as the second-most capped DHL Stormers player, with the legendary Burger (123) the only player to have bettered his 118 Vodacom Super Rugby caps for the franchise.

Kolisi’s current contract was set to come to an end in October 2021 and although the WP did everything possible to re-sign him, he chose not to take it up and has been released early from his contract, upon acceptance of a transfer fee.

Earlier this week, The Sharks confirmed the signing of Rugby World Cup-winning Springbok captain, Siyamthanda Kolisi, who joins the Cell C Sharks on a multi-year deal. This huge signing has already made a huge difference in the Betway betting odds for the upcoming Rainbow Cup. Those who bet on rugby may now see Cell C Sharks as a realistic challenger with the addition of Kolisi to their roster.

Speaking at the transfer unveiling by the Sharks, Kolisi revealed that there has been a transfer fee to be paid to Western Province Rugby due to his early release and he had taken care of that himself.

He confirmed that The DHL Stormers had put a new offer on the table but that had been rejected.

Kolisi said: “I bought into the vision of the Sharks immediately – the energy around the club, the management set-up, the squad and the potential for success was so strong.

“I have always had a desire to be the best and play with the best to reach my potential on-and-off the field and this move is just another step in maximising what I can achieve within my career.

“This is a very exciting new chapter for me and my loved ones and one I’m embracing fully. I arrive with a commitment to give this team everything I have and I’m thankful to the Sharks for the opportunity. We can’t wait to see what Durban has to offer.”

A Sharks club statement from their website added: “Kolisi’s ongoing strong appetite to win trophies and better himself on the field matched with the Sharks’ strategic vision and defined blueprint for success. It drove Kolisi’s motivation to expand his horizons within SA rugby and embark on this exciting new chapter in Durban.”

DHL Stormers Head Coach John Dobson wished Kolisi well and thanked him for his significant contributions over the years.

“Siya Kolisi will always be a DHL Stormers legend, his story is well-known throughout the world and everyone here is grateful to have played a role in that. We would have loved for him to stay and finish his career where it started, but we wish him all the best”

Kolisi said that he will always cherish the memories of his time with Western Province Rugby.

“I would like to thank everyone at Western Province Rugby for what has been an incredible time in my life in which I have grown as a rugby player and a person.

“All of the coaches, management and teammates who had such a big influence on me over the last 11 years and especially the DHL Stormers Faithful and people of Cape Town and beyond who made my time with the union so special. It has been a privilege to experience their support,” 

Kolisi becomes the second high profile transfer of Springboks this year involving a transfer fee after The Bulls confirmed the signing of Marcel Coetzee from Irish Province Ulster Rugby. Coetzee had a year remaining on his existing deal with Ulster and it’s been rumoured that The Bulls will have copped a sizeable payout to secure his services.

The Betway odds sure make for interesting reading for the upcoming Rainbow Cup. Can any of the newly added South African franchises topple Irish favourites Leinster? Or will the Ospreys from Wales find form again to be challengers? It’s sure going to be an interesting competition. Round 1 is scheduled to begin on April 17th.

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Pro14

Rob Kearney secures move to Australia

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(Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Press Release from Western Force:

Ireland’s most decorated player, Rob Kearney, has signed with the Western Force on a one-year deal.

The fullback, who scored 82 points in 95 appearances for Ireland, joins from current PRO14 champions Leinster Rugby.

Kearney’s illustrious international career has included two Grand Slams (2009 and 2018), four Six Nations triumphs (2009, 2014, 2015 and 2018) and three World Cup campaigns (2011, 2015 and 2019).

At club level, Kearney has earned 219 caps for Leinster, playing a crucial role in establishing the provincial side as Ireland’s most successful club team, where he lifted six PRO14 titles, four European Champions Cups and a European Challenge Cup since debuting against Welsh side Ospreys back in 2005.

Kearney’s aerial prowess, strength and reliability throughout his career has seen the Dundalk-born player also earn three caps for the British and Irish Lions, which included Tours to South Africa in 2009 and a series victory against Australia in 2013.

Having conquered the European club and international landscape for over a decade, Kearney is delighted for the opportunity to ply his trade in Western Australia.

“I am delighted to be joining the Western Force for their upcoming season and excited to play with such an ambitious club who are looking to improve on this year’s campaign,” Kearney explained.

“I hope to add value both on and off the field that complements the high ambition of the club.

“I’m particularly excited to immerse myself in a new performance environment and to play both with and against some of the best players and teams in the southern hemisphere.

“I look forward to moving to Western Australia to begin building relationships with my new teammates and coaches alike and to meet the ever-growing Western Force fan base which also includes a strong Irish contingent.”

Head of rugby Matt Hodgson is excited to see the Force attract world class talent, saying it shows the potential and positive development of the club.

“Rob is a fantastic signing, but more than that he is a great person who will be able to bring a lot to WA rugby,” Hodgson stated.

“He is a player of the highest calibre that brings a wealth of experience and quality to the side.

“He also brings a winning mentality, having experienced so much success for his country and Leinster. We can’t wait for the Sea of Blue and the sizeable Irish community within WA to see him pull on the Force jersey next season.”

Kearney will join the club for pre-season later this year.

More player announcements can be expected in the coming weeks.

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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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