Rugby

Masoe heading home prematurely

Masoe suffered a career-ending spinal injury in a pre-season friendly in January.

The Samoa international has made great progress with his recovery, but was informed on Monday that he must leave Pinderfields Hospital this week amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Masoe says he is not ready to be discharged and warned people who are not obeying government lockdown rules that they should understand the consequences of their actions.

Ardie Savea named rugby player of the year

Savea was awarded the supreme award the Kelvin Tremain trophy at an awards dinner at the SkyCity Convention Centre in Auckland on Thursday evening.

He also picked up the All Blacks player of the year award and also Super Rugby player of the year.

Savea was not at the awards, however, having undergone knee surgery on Wednesday.

Black Ferns Sevens co-coaches Allan Bunting and Cory Sweeney were named New Zealand Coaches of the Year, and the Black Ferns Sevens were crowned New Zealand Team of the Year for a second consecutive year.

Pivac and Wales to face Gatland

Pivac will replace Gatland in charge of the Six Nations Grand Slam champions following this year's Rugby World Cup in Japan.

But Gatland, who has led Wales for 12 years, will soon return to Cardiff as the Baa-Baas coach, adding an intriguing narrative to Pivac's debut match.

Pivac said: "The Barbarians are a special side and it will be a great way to start my Wales career facing the Baa-Baas and, of course, Warren.

Japan not ready for World League: Jamie Joseph

If signed off, the competition will involve 12 teams made up of the four Rugby Championship teams, along with Japan and the United States, and the Six Nations teams in a round-robin competition, but it wouldn't include any Pacific nations.

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) boss Steve Tew said the latest proposal isn't acceptable to NZR and the plan has been heavily criticised by the International Rugby Players Council, including All Blacks skipper Kieran Read.

Joseph said they simply don't have the structures in place or the resources to be involved at this point.

Brown desperate for England recall

The full-back was dropped during the Test series defeat to South Africa in June and was overlooked by Eddie Jones for the November internationals.

Harlequins stalwart Brown is determined to add to his 72 caps and will discover on Thursday whether he has been selected by Jones.

"Obviously I'm massively disappointed not to be involved, because I'm desperate to play for England." the 33-year-old, speaking on behalf of Land Rover at an off-road driving event, told Omnisport.

Saint-Andre France will grow again

Benjamin Fall's early red card - rescinded by a World Rugby judicial committee 48 hours later - left Les Bleus a man light in the second Test against an All Blacks side who, to say the least, have had their number in recent years. At the Westpac Stadium in Wellington - a venue known as 'The Cake Tin' - the visitors were cooked after 12 minutes, eventually going down 26-13 to lose the series with a game to spare.

Wales make five changes to line-up

Aled Davies, Ryan Elias, Tomas Francis and Owen Watkin also come into Warren Gatland's line-up, with Hadleigh Parkes (finger) and Samson Lee (back) ruled out through injury. 

Jenkins will play blindside flanker, while Elias and Francis will make their first starts of the tour in the front row alongside Rob Evans.

Aled Davies will line up alongside Rhys Patchell at scrum-half, while the back three remains unchanged after Wales' opening victory in San Juan. 

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Habana to hang up boots

The 34-year-old winger, whose contract at French club Toulon expires in June, confirmed the news on Instagram.

"The inevitable moment has come knocking on my door and I've welcomed it in for a drink." he said.

Habana scored 67 tries in the 124 Test appearances he made for the Springboks and his last international appearance was in 2016 when he was also vice-captain.

The electric winger underwent knee surgery last year and has struggled to make an impact at Toulon this season.

Ireland rise to number two in rugby rankings

Ireland's win over Scotland at the weekend and England's loss to France, means the two teams swap position on the rankings table.

It's the first time Ireland have been number two since August 2015.

Ireland are now on 87.85 points - over six behind the world's number one team New Zealand, and 0.35 in front of England, who they face at Twickenham this weekend as they go in pursuit of only their third Grand Slam.

Australia are at four followed by South Africa, Scotland and Wales.

Mowen finds peace with Pau

Having been largely unheralded during his time at both the Reds and Waratahs, he was the leader of his beloved Brumbies and captain of his country.

Mowen had taken the most prized position in Australian rugby from James Horwill at the end of 2013 and after years of pouring his heart and soul into every jersey he had ever pulled on, he had finally reached the pinnacle.