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Rugby News

Monday 14th January 2019

Wales Taulupe Faletau set to miss Six Nations with broken arm

Wales number eight Taulupe Faletau is set to miss the Six Nations after again breaking his arm.

Faletau suffered a fractured forearm playing for Bath in October and missed the autumn international series.

The British and Irish Lion, 28, made an impressive return in Saturday's 18-16 Champions Cup win over Wasps but it has emerged he has suffered another break.

Faletau is expected to be out for up to eight weeks, so has a slim chance of making the final round on 16 March.

Wales begin their campaign away to France in Paris on 1 February and Faletau's injury adds to Wales' back-row headaches, with Lions flanker Dan Lydiate set to miss the start of the tournament after suffering a bicep injury in November.


Sam Underhill to see specialist for ankle injury

England flanker Sam Underhill could be ruled out of the Six Nations after he damaged ankle ligaments in Bath's victory against Leicester on Sunday.

The 22-year-old will see a specialist to find out the extent of the injury, but recovery time is usually six weeks.

Underhill was part of England's 2018 Six Nations side and featured in three of the autumn internationals.

England start their 2019 Six Nations campaign with a visit to defending champions Ireland on 2 February.

Bath will also lose lock Matt Garvey, who fractured his ankle in the same game, for around three months.

Underhill, who has nine caps for his country, is not the only international player in recovery at Bath, with England winger Joe Cokanasiga out with a medial knee ligament injury. The 21-year-old is not expected back until mid-January.

Backs Anthony Watson and Jonathan Joseph are also out with Achilles and mid-foot ligament issues until "early 2019", while Wales back-row Taulupe Faletau is expected to return soon from a fractured forearm.


Lions captain Warburton retires from rugby

British and Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton has retired from rugby at the age of 29 after winning 79 Test caps.

The former Wales captain has not played since leading the 2017 Lions to a drawn series against New Zealand.

The back-rower recently returned to Cardiff Blues training after being sidelined for 2017-18 by knee and neck surgery.


Rugby World Cup 2019: Russia qualify after Spain, Belgium and Romania sanctioned

Russia have qualified for next year's Rugby World Cup after Spain, Belgium and Romania were sanctioned for fielding ineligible players.

Spain had hoped for a reprieve after an investigation into their defeat by Belgium, which meant Romania qualified.

But the panel ruled that all three countries broke eligibility rules and have been deducted points.

Russia therefore join Ireland, Scotland and hosts Japan in Pool A, while Germany meet Portugal in a play-off.

The winners of that go into a Europe/Oceania play-off against Samoa for the chance to complete Pool A at next year's global showpiece.

Romania have now appealed against the ruling, and claim they took all the appropriate steps to determine the availability of Sione Faka'osilea, who has been deemed ineligible after previously representing the Tongan 7s team.

The unions of Spain, Belgium and Romania have a 14-day window in which to appeal against the panel's decision.


Six Nations: Ireland beat England to win Grand Slam

Ireland thumped England on St Patrick's Day to win only the third Grand Slam in their history in thrilling fashion.

First-half tries from Garry Ringrose, CJ Stander and Jacob Stockdale lit up a snowy Twickenham as Joe Schmidt's men opened up a 21-5 lead despite having Peter O'Mahony in the sin bin.

A double from Elliot Daly and Jonny May's try with the clock in the red at the end of the game brought only faint consolation for the home side on another chastening afternoon for Eddie Jones.

Clinical with their chances, composed on an afternoon of immense pressure, Ireland were fully deserving of their triumph.

This team now joins the heroes of 1948 and 2009, their thrilling blend of experience and youth a class above their northern hemisphere rivals.

England had won 14 matches on the bounce at Twickenham but their poor Six Nations went from disappointing to disastrous under a green-shirted onslaught.

Not since the dark days of 2006 have they lost three matches in a single Six Nations campaign, and with Scotland beating Italy and Wales beating France in the late kick-off, they eventually finished fifth in the table for the first time.


2023 Rugby World Cup: South Africa recommended to host tournament

South Africa has been recommended to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup ahead of Ireland and France, the tournament's organising board has announced.

The World Rugby Council will meet on 15 November in London for a final vote.

South Africa, who won the 1995 cup as hosts after returning to international sport, were endorsed after reviews of each host candidate evaluation.


Six Nations unchanged in international rugby calendar shake-up

Rugby administrators worldwide are nearing an agreement on a new rugby union calendar, which will come into effect after the World Cup in 2019.

The Six Nations will not move from its traditional February to March slot.

The British and Irish Lions series and the World Cup will retain their places in the calendar.

The Lions are set to tour in July and August in 2021.

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont and vice-chairman Agustin Pichot have been leading negotiations, with the changes expected to be ratified at the next council meeting at the end of November.

While a full-on global season is not feasible, there is confidence the new calendar will see a greater alignment between the two hemispheres.

Under the proposals, the Premiership and Pro12 leagues would start later and then would finish at the end of June, with the Super Rugby competition in the southern hemisphere ending at a similar time.

There is also a determination to have less overlap between international rugby and domestic tournaments, which is currently a point of consternation among clubs in Europe.