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Another Springbok 10 forced to retire

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Photo by Manus van Dyk/Gallo Images/Getty Images

South African rugby has suffered major blows during recent weeks. Just weeks ago, Pat Lambie was forced to retire from the game after being advised to do so by doctors.

Now it has emerged that former Springboks and Western Force flyhalf Peter Grant has also been forced to retire from competitive rugby. The 34-year-old Grant was advised to hang up his boots after receiving advice from specialists with regards to his past head injuries.

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My season as a professional Rugby player has come to an end and I need to say goodbye to this great game that has been my life and that I absolutely love. Unfortunately it’s not on my own terms, but I’m no spring chicken so I can accept that my time wasn’t too far round the bend. It’s been a tough pill to swallow, but looking back there’s so much to be thankful for and I am now getting excited for what lies ahead. I just want to thank our Lord for blessing me with this season in my life, for being with me every step of the way. Thank you to my beautiful wife, for believing in me, supporting me through thick and thin, and bringing the best out of me. I couldn’t have wished for a better teammate to tackle life. Thanks to my kids, Nova, John and Luke, for being my biggest fans and giving me such purpose and strength. And keeping me extra fit!! To my family and friends who have followed me over the years, thank you for all your support and constructive criticism. Mom and Dad, thanks for putting a rugby ball in my hands. Thanks to all my teammates who I have shared the field with and have helped create so many memories. And to all you legends I’ve played against, it was a real fight out on the pitch, but I’m going to miss those post match beers for sure. Thank you to all my coaches, medical staff and team management. You have all played a pivotal role in my growth as a player, and a person and I am grateful for the wonderful friendships we have developed. And last but not least. A huge thank you to my faithful fans and loyal sponsors. From Cape Town, to Kobe, to La Rochelle and to Perth. You guys have been awesome! I am really going to miss the thrill of kicking a conversion from the corner, making that final pass, that crunching tackle on the advantage line at the back of the line out, running out under the lights to the sound of a full house and finally seeing the joy on your faces after the final whistle. Thank you, Arigato gozaimashita, Merci beaucoup, Cheers.

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Grant is sad to be bidding the game farewell earlier than he would have expected. However, he is also excited to be getting the opportunity to spend more time with his family.

“There is a lot of excitement because now I get to go to the games and watch it with my kids though it’s going to be a challenge. It is also going to be a big change and I am excited for that,”  he said.

“But initially it was shock and then disappointment and uncertainty because this is all I know, and I was really getting geared up for another season. You go through the phases and there is a lot of emotion about that.”

During his career, Grant turned out for the likes of Western Province, Stormers, Kobelco Steelers, La Rochelle, Western Force and Perth Spirit.

He also represented South Africa Schools, South Africa U-19, Barbarians, Emerging Springboks and earned five caps for the Springboks between 2007-08.

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Wallabies selector O’Connor outlines requirements for Quade Cooper

Clear instructions.

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Photo by Tracey Nearmy/Getty Images

New Australian Rugby selector Michael O’Connor has highlighted that Quade Cooper can take less risks to win international selection, now that he has joined the Melbourne Rebels.

Connor is set to start his work as a selector next month. He will work alongside head coach Michael Cheika and in-coming director of Rugby Scott Johnson.

He told the Sydney Morning Herald: “There are still areas in his game he needs work on and if he can improve those, well then he’ll be in the reckoning.

“I would be very surprised if Michael (Cheika) didn’t agree with that. At Test level though you can’t be throwing blind passes. You can’t be taking risks at the line.”

Cooper was impressive during the Rebels recent 34-27 victory against the Brumbies.

O’ Connor expects his side to face a few selection dilemmas this year especially as it is a world cup year. However, he does feel that the final decisions will ultimately go down to coach Cheika.

Check out some of Quade’s highlights from his debut with the Rebels

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Sonny Bill Williams linked with Canadian move.

#Wolfpack

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Toronto Wolfpack owner David Argyle says the club are on the brink of signing one of the biggest names in rugby union according to League Weekly.

Several players have been linked with Canadian club across social media, but it does seem that Sonny Bill Williams is the name that seems most likely.

The 33-year-old has played across both codes. He left rugby league to return to the Union in 2014.

SBW has suggested in a number of interviews that he would like to finish his rugby career in League, where it all began for him when he ran out for the Canterbury Bulldogs in 2004.

Wolfpack owner Argyle certainly stirred the pot while speaking at a viewing party on Saturday night.

“We’ve got some really exciting things coming up,”

“Before the Rugby Union World Cup in Japan later this year, we will have one of the top five rugby players in the world (coming here).”

Toronto’s rise in Rugby League has been a radical one with the team playing their first pro game in 2017.

Backed by billionaire Argyle, who has made his fortune in mining they almost secured back-to-back promotions but were beaten in last year’s Million Pound Game by London Broncos.

They have started this seasons campaign with real purpose and have set their sights on the top flight under new head coach Brian McDermott.

Could we actually see Sonny Bill Williams become part of the ‘Wolfpack’ and appear for the transatlantic team next season, potentially in Super League?

Stranger things have happened.

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Barrett wary of French move following Savea blastings

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Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images

Toulon boss Mourad Boudjellal has came out swinging this week at his players following their lost to Agen. Julian Savea took the brunt of the abuse while Rhys Webb took a spraying too.

Beauden Barrett was speaking to reporters since the comments were made and has said the savaging of former All Blacks teammate Julian Savea by Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal would make him think twice about joining the French club.

The unrepentant French tycoon doubled-down on his criticism of Savea with another astonishing rant after Savea publically responded to the ‘released‘ comments made by his boss. This sparked a huge Twitter backlash against Boudjellal with friends and former colleagues of the All Black winger showing him their support.

Barrett took things a step further when questioned if Boudjellal’s comments would put him off signing for Toulon when he decides his post RWC Future.

“It certainly doesn’t help,” he told reporters.

“Firstly, you’ve got to be comfortable. It’s a big move to move offshore and you have to be happy with a number of things.

“Your family have to be happy, you have to be happy with the coaching setup and team culture, so there are a number of different things.

“It’s totally different over there from what we see externally. It must be a different dynamic, it’s not the same as here.”

The Twitter backlash against Boudjellal seemed to stoke the fire as he unleashed round 2 of his spat yesterday, saying the rest of his contract will be “very long for him”.

The owner was particularly unhappy Savea took a month off for a trip to Fiji to attend the wedding of his brother and All Blacks flanker Ardie Savea.

“I can not think it’s normal for a player paid more than 1 million euros per year to go on holiday to Fiji for a month in December … he just had to attend his brother’s wedding, not take long leave,”

Boudjellal words perhaps were an intentional warning for those considering joining the club.

“Do not come to Toulon as a tourist. There is enough in the region,”

Earlier this season the outspoken owner came out and said when he intended leaving the club. Perhaps this isn’t soon enough for some players.

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