Today’s rugby news as South Africa rates Wales and All Blacks v Ireland hit by chaos

Here are the headlines from the morning of rugby on Tuesday 28 June.

The Springboks don’t underestimate Wales

South Africa assistant coach Deon Davids says the Springboks are under no illusions about the challenge Wales will present in the upcoming Test series.

Wayne Pivac’s men take on the world champions in Pretoria this Saturday in the first Test of their summer tour, followed by Tests in Bloemfontein and Cape Town. Given that Wales finished fifth in the Six Nations, the general consensus seems to be that the Springboks will comfortably secure a 3-0 shutout.

Read more:Wales denies psychological problems in South Africa after regional beatings

However, Davids insists they will not underestimate Wales in the coming weeks. “Listen, everyone is focused on the Italy loss,” he said.

“A couple of years ago, we also lost to Italy. What we need to understand is that if you look at the other Six Nations games, Wales were in those games until the very end.

“They are a competitive team, they play with a lot of passion and a lot of pride. They are in a situation where they want to change things, they have experienced campaigners, British and Irish Lions.”

“We’re under no illusions that it’s going to be a tough series and that’s how we’re approaching it.”

Northampton confirm Burrell was not racially abused at the club

Northampton Saints have confirmed that the racist abuse Luther Burrell revealed he experienced at the hands of former team-mates did not take place during his time at the club.

In an interview with the Mail on Sunday last weekend, Burrell said racism was “common” in English rugby. The 32-year-old center recalled players joking about slavery and recalled being called “n—–.”

And Northampton, where Burrell spent seven years between 2012 and 2019, released a statement on behalf of its chief executive, Mark Darbon.

“Everyone at Northampton Saints was saddened and dismayed to read Luther Burrell’s comments posted yesterday, detailing the racist abuse he has experienced during his playing career,” Darbon said.

“The Club condemns all forms of discrimination and yesterday reached out to Luther to offer our support and applaud his courage in speaking out.

“We were assured during our conversation that Luther did not experience any racial abuse during his time at Northampton Saints. The Club will continue its ongoing work to ensure that Franklin’s Gardens remains an inclusive environment for all Northampton players, staff and supporters.

“We have invited Luther to return to Franklin’s Gardens in the coming months to contribute to the Diversity and Inclusion projects that are already being carried out by the community and the Club’s commercial staff.

“Saints will welcome and support any wider action taken by the RFU and Premiership Rugby to improve education and awareness across the Rugby Union, so that we can eradicate discrimination from our game.”

All Blacks hit by another Covid setback

The All Blacks have been engulfed in Covid chaos ahead of their Test series against Ireland.

Overnight, Will Jordan became the sixth member of the group to test positive. Earlier this week, head coach Ian Foster, assistants John Plumtree and Scott McLeod and centers David Havili and Jack Goodhue tested positive. Everyone will be forced to self-isolate at home this week as the All Blacks prepare for the July series opener against Ireland at a sold-out Eden Park on Saturday night.

Lock Sam Whitelock insists that the players will take the initiative despite the setback.

“If anything for a player, it’s very good that it happens early,” said Whitelock, who is also recovering from a broken thumb before the first Test. “It makes us take the lead, which we normally want to do anyway. If anything, it means we have to do it a day earlier than we normally would.

“The leaders have been together for a couple of seasons and we know each other quite well. So it’s not about doing a lot of things differently… it’s possible for everyone to step up in the right areas. We all lead in different ways so we have to keep leading but making sure we’re right across the board because we don’t have our normal coaches there.

“It’s a really cool challenge and something I’m really looking forward to. It’s different, but how wonderful it is to have a week here that is so different.”

Sevens guru Ryan switches to football

Brentford have appointed rugby sevens guru Ben Ryan as their new elite performance director.

Ryan coached Fiji to Olympic gold when rugby sevens made its debut at Rio 2016, handing out the country’s first medal at the Games. Before that, he worked as England’s head coach for six years and did some consulting work with the WRU after leaving his post in Fiji.

The 50-year-old’s arrival in the newly created role is part of a restructuring of the Premier League team’s hierarchy following the departure of co-director of football Rasmus Ankersen last year.

Ankersen had shared that role with Director of Football Phil Giles, who will now take over the role alone. Speaking about Ryan’s appointment, Giles said: “When Rasmus left us in December 2021, I spent some time thinking about the future direction of the department and what skills and experiences I felt we needed to move forward.

“I believe that Director of Elite Performance is a position that will help us reach even higher levels of performance in both players and staff. After a thorough hiring process, Ben emerged as the standout candidate.

“He brings a wealth of experience in reaching the elite level in a variety of sports and has coaching experience that will help him work effectively with Thomas. [Frank]. He is also a Brentford fan, so he already understands the Club, he knows what we have already achieved and what we want to achieve together in the future”.

Read below:

Shane Williams picks the Wales team to play South Africa as Alun Wyn exits and Lydiate enters

Dragons officially announce rebranding as name changed to become ‘a club’ and not a region

Stunning footage shows Wales rugby team on safari in South Africa

Legs heavy, gasping for air: Wales stars reveal what it’s really like to play at height as Pivac’s men take on South Africa

Wales’ talented stars of the future show off their sheer talent as the Under-20s start the summer campaign strong

Leave a Comment