Springboks include five uncapped players

Salmaan Moerat, Marco van Staden, Damian Willemse, JD Schickerling and Cobus Wiese are the five uncapped players invited to a Bok training camp.

The camp takes place in Stellenbosch, consisting of players from the Stormers and Bulls, as preparation for next month’s Rugby Championship.

SA Rugby’s director of rugby, Rassie Erasmus, confirmed that players from the Lions and Sharks will join the training camp once they’ve completed their Super Rugby commitments.

Stormers players Willemse (fly-half) and Moerat (lock) both starred for the Junior Springboks earlier this year. They will be joined in Stellenbosch by their franchise team-mates Schickerling (lock) and Wiese (flank/lock), who also played for the SA U20s earlier in their careers, while Van Staden (loose forward) has been in great form for the Bulls.

Also included in the training squad were the experienced Eben Etzebeth (lock), Coenie Oosthuizen (prop) and Trevor Nyakane (prop), all of whom missed the June internationals due to injury.

“I want to thank the franchise coaches for allowing their players to attend the camp, which we view as a very important part of our preparation,” explained Erasmus.

“We’re very pleased that several players got the opportunity to gain Test experience during the June internationals and we are now looking forward to working with more of our most promising players, such as Damian, Salmaan, Marco, JD and Cobus.

“It’s also good to have Eben and Coenie back with us after they’ve spent a considerable amount of time out of action because of injury. Once fit and available again, they will add considerable experience to the squad.”

The bulk of the squad will start with training this week, while a few of the Cape-based players already did some individual training activities under the watchful eye of the Springbok coaching and conditioning staff in Stellenbosch.

Springbok training squad for camp in Stellenbosch:

Forwards: Pieter-Steph du Toit (Stormers), Eben Etzebeth (Stormers), Steven Kitshoff (Stormers), Siya Kolisi (Stormers), Wilco Louw (Stormers), Frans Malherbe (Stormers), Bongi Mbonambi (Stormers), Salmaan Moerat (Stormers), Sikhumbuzo Notshe (Stormers), Trevor Nyakane (Bulls), Coenie Oosthuizen (Sharks), JD Schickerling (Stormers), RG Snyman (Bulls), Marco van Staden (Bulls), Cobus Wiese (Stormers)

Backs: Damian de Allende (Stormers), Warrick Gelant (Bulls), Jesse Kriel (Bulls), Embrose Papier (Bulls), Handré Pollard (Bulls), Ivan van Zyl (Bulls), Damian Willemse (Stormers)

Mourad Boudjellal slapped with €75,000 fine

Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal has been fined €75,000 following comments he made after his side's Champions Cup clash with Benetton.

A further €25,000 fine is suspended for three years for any similar offending or misconduct by Boudjellal in any rugby jurisdiction, while Toulon are subject to a deduction of five match points when competing in EPCR tournaments, suspended for three seasons for any similar offending or misconduct by the club or any of its representatives in any rugby jurisdiction.

An independent Disciplinary Committee made up of Chairman, Philip Evans QC (England), Dan White (England) and Jean-Noël Couraud (France), convened in London on July 4 under EPCR’s Disciplinary Rules to hear misconduct complaints against Boudjellal, and Toulon, related to comments made by Boudjellal to the media during January and February.

Following the Champions Cup, Round 5 match Boudjellal made comments that (among other things) allegedly condoned homophobic conduct, discriminated against and insulted various groups, and brought the game of rugby into disrepute by attacking, disparaging and criticising EPCR.

EPCR brought misconduct complaints in respect of those comments against Boudjellal and Toulon (the complaints against Toulon were based on its overall responsibility for the actions of Boudjellal and its failure to control those actions).

The independent Disciplinary Committee upheld the complaints against Boudjellal and Toulon in their entirety, ruling (among other things) that Boudjellal’s comments discriminated against and insulted a number of different groups and that they brought the game of rugby into disrepute.

The independent Disciplinary Committee considered the misconduct to have been very serious and determined that both Boudjellal and Toulon should receive a significant sanction. The Committee also concluded that there were several aggravating factors, including poor disciplinary records and poor conduct during the disciplinary process, and that these increased the severity of the sanctions imposed.

That poor conduct included ignoring directions made by the independent Disciplinary Committee and responding derisively to requests from the Committee for information.

The independent Disciplinary Committee stated in its written decision that: “We had a responsibility to pass a sanction which properly marks rugby’s disapproval of the use, or condoning of the use, of any remark which is discriminatory or insulting. Such remarks only undermine the confidence and the desire of the majority of those involved in rugby to promote an entirely inclusive and diverse game … We considered this case to be a very serious example of offending of this type.”

Boudjellal and Toulon, who both chose not to attend the hearing, have also been ordered to pay EPCR’s costs.

Boudjellal, Toulon and EPCR have the right to appeal the decisions.

Season over for Nic Groom

The Lions have suffered a setback ahead of this week's game against the Jaguares after Nic Groom was ruled out for the rest of the season.

Groom, 28, requires surgery on an injured hand he sustained against the Bulls over last weekend with Ross Cronje likely to come into the XV.

The inexperienced Marco Jansen van Vuren is set to be named on the replacements bench for Saturday's match at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.

Post-surgery Jack Nowell eyeing Premiership opener

Jack Nowell is determined to go one better this season as Exeter Chiefs look to bounce back from their Premiership final loss to Saracens.

The Chiefs suffered a 27-10 negative to their rivals at Twickenham and since then Nowell has undergone surgery on damaged ankle ligaments, this after his partner Zoe gave birth to their daughter, Nori.

Now new father Nowell is looking to get back to full fitness during the off-season.

"It’s going very well," he told Exeter's website. "My operation actually got put back a week because my daughter was born the day I was due to have surgery, so I had it the week after instead.

"Now, we’re ticking along nicely and I’ve got the physios looking after me. For the first couple of weeks it was a bit tough, I was in a cast and I wasn’t actually allowed to do anything, but it kind of really gave me the chance to sit down, relax and take my mind off everything.

"I’ve now had a few weeks of training and I’m back into it. I’m really looking forward to getting the protective boot off and then getting back fit again and giving it a good go. I am doing everything I can to try and be available for that first game, but we’ll just have to wait and see how things progress."

Exeter kick off their Premiership campaign at home to Leicester and when looking back to their final defeat, Nowell maintains the club are in an excellent position to move forward this season.

"If we compare ourselves to two years ago, when we lost to Sarries in the first final, the look of the boys in the changing rooms after the game in May was much different. We were all absolutely gutted and I’ve never looked at our squad and seen us in that position before. It hurt us a lot," he said.

"Already this year you can really feel a sense of urgency from the boys. We are ready to go again. Even though we’ve just started pre-season, the boys are training hard and they’re really flying into it. We’re excited for the games to come."

Johnny Fa'auli to leave Chiefs for Japan - report

Suspended centre Johnny Fa'auli appears to have played his last game for the Chiefs after a report emerged that he's signed a deal to play in Japan.

Fa'auli, 22, was handed a six-week suspension on Sunday for his dangerous tackle on Wes Goosen during their 28-24 win over the Hurricanes.

And according to Stuff, that's set to be his last act in a Chiefs jersey as the physical inside centre has agreed a two-year contract with Toshiba.

Due to his suspension, however, Fa'auli miss Toshiba's opening fixture of the Top League season as it takes place on the final day of his ban.

James Marshall signs for Hurricanes

Former Hurricanes utility back James Marshall is returning to the club for next season, joining Reed Prinsep and Alex Fidow in signing up.

Marshall played the last of his 44 matches for the Hurricanes when the club won its first Super Rugby title in 2016 before he headed to the United Kingdom to link up with London Irish.

The 29-year-old joins loose forward Prinsep and prop Fidow in the Hurricanes 2019 playing squad.

“I’m very excited to be heading back to the Hurricanes, a team that I’ve always loved and supported since I was a kid,” Marshall told the Hurricanes' website.

“I feel that it’s the best environment for me to play to my potential being surrounded by the quality players and management that they have.”

John Plumtree, who will take over as Hurricanes head coach in 2019, was delighted to have someone with Marshall’s experience return to the squad.

“James has a real ability to play a number of positions to a really high ability while he’s a great thinker and a really good communicator on the field,” Plumtree said.

“The coaching group think he will be a really good asset next season. He will have no trouble fitting back into the squad.”

Prinsep, who has signed on with the Hurricanes until the end of the 2020 season, had no hesitation in recommitting to the club.

“I feel my personal game continues to grow in this environment and I really want to be a big part of the Hurricanes going forward,” he said.

Fidow’s 2018 season might have been heavily impacted by injury but the 20-year-old was even more determined to return next season.

Plumtree said Prinsep and Fidow would also play important roles in the squad next season.

“We have already seen what Reed is capable of and how well he has gone this season and we are sure Alex will get a better crack at it next season after what has been a frustrating time for him because of injuries.”

Rebels pair handed $15,000 fines

Rebels duo Amanaki Mafi and Lopeti Timani have each been given a $15,000 fine by their club following an incident in Dunedin last weekend.

According to Fox Sports, 28-year-old Mafi appeared in Dunedin District Court on Monday charged with injuring with intent to injure over the incident which took place after the Rebels' loss to the Highlanders.

The Japan international entered no plea and was granted bail.

The terms of his bail mean he cannot associate with Timani and the number eight's case is scheduled to return to court on Friday, August 3.

"The alleged victim received moderate injuries following the incident," a NZ Police spokeswoman told Fox Sports.

Wales Sevens star to join Ospreys

Wales’ record try-scorer in sevens, Luke Morgan, will link up with the Ospreys following his involvement in this month’s World Cup in San Francisco.

The 26-year-old from Bridgend ended the 2017/18 World Rugby Sevens Series second in most tries scored (44) – with only the USA’s Carlin Isles touching down on more occasions (49) across the campaign.

Morgan, who came through the development pathway at the Ospreys and played one senior game for his home region as a teenager, follows former Wales Sevens teammate Sam Cross, who joined the Liberty Stadium-based region last pre-season, with Cross’ move being made permanent in March.

Head coach Gareth Williams says the agreement with Ospreys is another example of the good relationship between the sevens programme and regional rugby, and how it aids player development as a part of the pathway.

“This is a great opportunity for Luke following his achievements on the World Series," says Williams. "It’s another good example of what the programme can achieve in bringing players through during those formative years post-Academy.

"Luke originally joined us from the Ospreys many years ago and he has progressed to being one of the best finishers on the Series. It will be exciting to see him take this next step in his career and I have great faith in him making a huge impact in the opportunities he will be given."

Dan Griffiths, rugby general manager of the Ospreys, welcomed the news, saying: “Luke progressed through the pathway at the Ospreys and we are delighted to welcome him back.

“As a young man he was given the opportunity to refine his game on the sevens circuit and has developed into a world-class finisher. We are looking to add speed and game breaking ability to the squad and Luke certainly has the potential to give us that X-factor in the wide channels.

“This is a great opportunity for him to come into the full-time fifteens environment again and show what he can do. As we’ve seen with Sam Cross, there is potential for talented sevens players to develop here into quality regional players and we hope that Luke takes his chance this season.

“Once again, it’s great that the union and region can work togethe, and provide opportunities for players in Wales to fulfil their potential.”

Cheetahs sign Dries Swanepoel

The Cheetahs have announced that Bulls centre Dries Swanepoel will be joining the Bloemfontein-based outfit on a two-year contract.

Similar to Grey College school mates and Cheetah stalwarts, Francois Venter and William Small-Smith, Swanepoel joined the Blue Bulls where he played for their U19 team in 2012.

He received a call-up to the SA U20 side for the 2013 IRB Junior World Championship and scored five tries in 14 appearances for the Blue Bulls U21 side. He made his Currie Cup debut for the Blue Bulls in 2014 and represented the side in their Vodacom Cup, Currie Cup and Super Rugby campaigns.

Swanepoel also had a small taste of Guinness PRO14 action when he joined Munster in April this year on a short-term loan as cover for injuries at the Irish club.

Tom Coventry joining Blues as assistant coach next season

The Blues have confirmed that current North Harbour coach Tom Coventry is joining the Auckland-based side next season as an assistant coach.

Coventry will join the coaching group alongside Tana Umaga and Tasman coach Leon MacDonald, who were named in May.

The former Waikato player and Chiefs assistant coach is vastly experienced and successful with two Super Rugby titles at the Chiefs and he guided North Harbour to the semi-final of the Mitre 10 Cup last season.

In his two years at North Harbour he has had a close involvement at the Blues, guiding the Development team.

Chief executive Michael Redman said the club was impressed with his credentials.

“We received some outstanding applications for the position but Tom stood out with his clarity and details around the forwards’ role. His credentials as a coach are impressive and his success to date speaks for itself,” he said.

“He comes with significant support from our players who have played under him, and from our own staff who have worked with him both at North Harbour and with our development side.

“We believe we have an excellent team of coaching staff in place as we look to make a significant improvement in our performances next season.”

Head coach Tana Umaga said he is looking positively at 2019 prospects.

“I look forward to Tom joining the group with Leon and myself," Umaga said. "His experience of both New Zealand and international rugby will be of great value to our players and the coaching team.”

Coventry said he is excited at the opportunity, as well as the challenge ahead.

“I am excited to be back coaching in Super Rugby again and this is an exciting challenge,” he said. “In my time in the region I have had a good chance to evaluate and be impressed by the talent here. Clearly there are unique challenges and responsibilities in this region but I believe the club has the foundations in place as well as a first-class training facility.

“I am confident with a lot of hard work that we can turn around the fortunes at the Blues and I look forward to being part of that.”

Coventry will complete his duties with North Harbour in the upcoming Mitre 10 Cup competition before taking up his position with us.

Waikato-born and raised, Coventry played 52 games for the province and won the NPC in 1992 before moving into coaching. 

Hawke’s Bay including winning the ITM Cup Championship before four years at the Chiefs under Dave Rennie, where they won two Super Rugby titles. Coventry moved to UK to coach London Irish before returning home and taking up his current role at North Harbour where they reached the premiership semi-final.

Current forwards coach Steve Jackson did not seek re-appointment and chief executive Redman will confirm support staff roles in the coming months.

Wales name squad for San Francisco

Wales have named their squad for this weekend's Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco and it will be one last hurrah for captain Adam Thomas.

Wales' stalwart Thomas will be competing in the Principality Premiership next season. In Luke Morgan they can boast the second deadliest try-scorer in the world this year, scoring only four fewer than hosts USA's Carlin Isles in the 2017/18 World Rugby Sevens Series.

Bolstering a squad of World Series regulars such as Ethan Davies, Owen Jenkins, Luke Treharne, Ben Roach and Will Talbot-Davies are Cardiff Blues' Lloyd Williams and Ospreys' Cory Allen. The duo - capped 23 and six times respectively for Wales in 15s - recently helped Wales to the Exeter Sevens quarter-final as part of their World Cup preparations.

One of the PRO14's biggest young prospects, the Dragons and former Wales U20 back Jared Rosser, is selected; as is Tom Williams, who has made a strong impact in his final sevens season before returning to Ospreys on a full-time basis next season.

RGC's Afon Bagshaw and Cai Devine have both captained Wales in Rugby Europe this season, their maturity and development impressing their coaches and cementing their place in the final tournament of the season.

Head coach Gareth Williams said: "This is a great culmination to our season. The World Cup has been an aim of ours for the past 18 months and we're excited with the squad we have put together.

"We are building nicely towards the opening match versus Zimbabwe, and starting well against their physicality and elusiveness is a key aim of ours.

"The tournament structure is different, but exciting, and we are eager to get out there and get things started."

Wales Sevens: Luke Treharne, Ethan Davies, Lloyd Williams, Luke Morgan, Owen Jenkins, Tom Williams, Cory Allen, Afon Bagshaw, Adam Thomas, Cai Devine, Jared Rosser, Ben Roach, Will Talbot-Davies

Caleb Timu, Ed Quirk cop two-week bans

The Reds' Caleb Timu and Sunwolves' Ed Quirk both received two-week suspensions for incidents occurring during the sides' encounter in Brisbane on Saturday.

Quirk saw red in the 37rd minute for a closed fist to the head of Hamish Stewart on the ground, while Timu saw yellow for smashing in to Hayden Parker on the floor in the 43rd minute.

"The SANZAAR Foul Play Review Committee has accepted a guilty plea from Timu of the Reds for contravening Law 9.11: Players must not do anything that is reckless or dangerous to others, after he was Cited during a Super Rugby Match at the Weekend.

Timu has been suspended from all forms of the game for 2 weeks, up to and including Saturday 28 July 2018.

The incident occurred in the 43rd minute of the match between the Reds and Sunwolves played at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on 13 July 2018.

The SANZAAR Foul Play Review Committee of Nigel Hampton QC (Chairman), Stefan Terblanche and John Langford assessed the case.

In his finding, Foul Play Review Committee Chairman Nigel Hampton QC ruled the following:

"Having conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, including all camera angles and additional evidence, as well as a statement from the player and submissions from his legal representative, Mark Martin QC, the Foul Play Review Committee upheld the citing under Law 9.11"

"With respect to sanction the Foul Play Review Committee deemed the act of foul play merited a mid-range entry point of 4 weeks given the level of recklessness. However, taking into account mitigating factors including the Player's excellent Judicial record and guilty plea at his first available opportunity, the Foul Play Review Committee reduced the suspension to 2 weeks."

"The player is therefore suspended for 2 weeks, up to and including the 28 July 2018.”

All SANZAAR disciplinary matters are in the first instance referred to the Foul Play Review Committee to provide the option of expediting the judicial process.

For a matter to be dispensed with at this hearing, the person appearing must plead guilty and accept the penalty offered by the Foul Play Review Committee.

The SANZAAR Foul Play Review Committee has accepted a guilty plea from Ed Quirk of the Sunwolves for contravening Law 9.12: Striking with the hand or arm, after he was Red Carded during a Super Rugby Match at the Weekend.

Quirk has been suspended from all forms of the game for 2 weeks, up to and including 4 August 2018.

The incident occurred in the 36th minute of the match between the Reds and Sunwolves played at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on 13 July 2018.

The SANZAAR Foul Play Review Committee of Nigel Hampton QC (Chairman), Stefan Terblanche and John Langford assessed the case.

In his finding, Foul Play Review Committee Chairman Nigel Hampton QC ruled the following:

"Having conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, including all camera angles and additional evidence, as well as a statement from the player and submissions from his legal representative, Maryjane Crabtree, the Foul Play Review Committee upheld the Red Card under Law 9.12"

"With respect to sanction the Foul Play Review Committee deemed the act of foul play merited a mid-range entry point of 4 weeks given the strike to the head of the opposition player. However, taking into account mitigating factors including the Player's good Judicial record, the fact the opposing Player was uninjured and the Player's guilty plea at the first available opportunity, the Foul Play Review Committee reduced the suspension to 2 weeks."

"The player is therefore suspended for 2 weeks, up to and including 4 August 2018.”

All SANZAAR disciplinary matters are in the first instance referred to the Foul Play Review Committee to provide the option of expediting the judicial process.

For a matter to be dispensed with at this hearing, the person appearing must plead guilty and accept the penalty offered by the Foul Play Review Committee.

SANZAAR to review use of TMO

SANZAAR have highlighted the use of the Television Match Official as a major concern for them ahead of their annual season-conclusion review.

At the conclusion of each season SANZAAR conducts a thorough review of its competitions and looks to continually enhance and improve the product for its stakeholders.

The past four weeks of international and domestic rugby have highlighted some challenges within the match officiating processes in the game of rugby, in particular with regards to the use of the Television match official.

SANZAAR CEO Andy Marinos stated: “Match officiating is a very important component of our game that undergoes continuous review to keep abreast of law changes and specific directives passed down from World Rugby.

"The performances of the guys in the middle and those on the sidelines, and behind the TV monitor, are regularly reviewed and appraised to ensure the best referees and officials are officiating in Super Rugby matches.

“Like a player, match officials who consistently do not perform to the level required are stood down from time to time, with specific game related work then done to get them back to performing consistently.

“A major concern for us at present is the practical implementation of the Television Match Official (TMO) protocols. The protocols are clearly not working and a specific review is required in this area.

“SANZAAR believes the appointed referee needs to remain the key decision maker on the field and that TMO interventions only provide context to the match officials’ decision making.

"We need better consistency in the application of the protocols and most would agree that perhaps this is not the case. The aim of the review will be to drive some operational changes to the protocols to ensure this consistency so that better outcomes are delivered.

“SANZAAR is not empowered to adjust any protocols that have a direct affect on the Laws of the Game. However, we are keen to lead the discussion in this important area and following our review we will take our recommendations to World Rugby, the guardians of the Laws of Rugby, to ensure beneficial outcomes are achieved for the game.

“In terms of the Super Rugby finals SANZAAR will shortly appoint the four referees for the Super Rugby quarter-finals. These will be merit-based appointments and their selection has included direct input from the Super Rugby head coaches.”

Jordie Barrett, Ardie Savea sign new deals

The Hurricanes and New Zealand rugby have received a huge boost with the news that Jordie Barrett and Ardie Savea have re-committed until the end of 2019.

25-Test Savea made his Super Rugby debut for the Hurricanes in 2013 and All Blacks Test debut in 2016, while Barrett made his Super and Test debut in 2017. He has played five Tests.

Savea said: “Wellington is my home town and it’s great I can stay here and contribute as much as I can for the Hurricanes. Also, we all know how important next year is for the All Blacks with the Rugby World Cup in Japan and I really want to be a part of that campaign.”

Barrett said: “I’m really enjoying my rugby at the moment after missing the back end of last season.

“Hopefully I can play my part in helping the Hurricanes go as far as we can this season and next and, if my form warrants it, I can also be involved in the All Blacks.”

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen added: “It’s great to have two young players recommitting to New Zealand Rugby and their Super club. Ardie and Jordie are both incredibly talented footballers in their own right, have been outstanding in our environment and done the jersey proud and we look forward to working with both of them.”

John Plumtree, who will take over as head coach of the Hurricanes in 2019, was delighted to have Barrett and Savea commit to the club for another year.

“It goes without saying that they are both world-class players,” he said.

“Ardie has become an important leader within the squad, even though he’s still quite young, while Jordie has quickly established himself as one of the best and most versatile players in the competition. They really want to stay at the Hurricanes and build on what we are doing so I really look forward to working alongside them to do that.”

Amanaki Mafi released on bail

Rebels number eight Amanaki Mafi has been released on bail after appearing in court in Dunedin charged with intent to injure in an altercation with team mate Lopeti Timani.

Japan international Mafi had been arrested on Sunday following the incident and detained in custody until his court appearance on Monday - for which he has been charged with intent to injure. He was bailed to addresses in Melbourne and Japan, the local Otago Daily Times reported.

The incident happened in the aftermath of the Rebels' 43-37 defeat at the hands of Highlanders which ultimately sent them crashing out of the competition at the group stages, as it later transpired that the Sharks were able to beat the Jaguares in Durban.

Liam Williams baffled by Alex Goode’s England omission

Wales international Liam Williams is surprised that Saracens team-mate Alex Goode has been constantly overlooked for England selection.

The 30-year-old has performed consistently well for the Londoners but has only picked up 21 caps for the Red Rose since making his debut in 2012.

And Williams, who has featured 48 times for Warren Gatland’s men, told the BBC that Goode was “the best 15 I have ever played with".

"How he doesn't get a look-in with England I haven't a clue. His work rate, his hands, feet and all-round game is tremendous - it's good to play alongside Alex.

“If he (England head coach Eddie Jones) does not pick him, that's up to him."

Williams and Goode will look to help continue the club’s recent success after Mark McCall's charges won their third Premiership title in four years.

The Welshman joined the English outfit on a two-year deal in 2017 with the option of a third and the 27-year-old says that it is likely he will remain until 2020.

"I have spoken to Saracens and said I am 99% sure I want to take the third year," he added. "I have just bought a house, we have just won the league, what more do you want? It is a great place."

Israel Dagg signs short-term contract in Japan

Crusaders full-back Israel Dagg has effectively ruled himself out of All Blacks selection for the rest of the year after agreeing a deal with Japanese side Canon Eagles.

Dagg, who has garnered 66 caps for New Zealand, will represent the Eagles when the Crusaders’ Super Rugby season finishes.

Canon are currently coached by former South Africa boss Allister Coetzee and their season runs from August to January.

Dagg told stuff.co.nz: “For me it is just (a chance) to see a bit of the world, take my family to Tokyo. It is going to be an awesome adventure. What happens after that takes care of itself. I am happy with the decision I have made and just want to look forward to it.

"Before then, I have got a job to do here. My main focus is on doing that for this team.

"I have had a little conversation here and there (with the All Blacks selectors). I have made the decision and I am going. It is all good."

Johnny Faauli receives six-week suspension

Chiefs centre Johnny Faauli has been banned for six weeks for his dangerous tackle on Wes Goosen during their 28-24 victory over the Hurricanes.

The back was red carded and deemed to contravene Law 9.13 having connected with Goosen’s head after failing to wrap his arms around the 'Canes man.

Faauli will therefore miss the game against the Hurricanes in the quarter-finals, as well as the rest of the Super Rugby season, should they emerge triumphant in Wellington.

In his finding, Nigel Hampton QC ruled the following: “Having conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, including all camera angles, additional evidence, a statement from the player and submissions from his legal representative, Aaron Lloyd, the Foul Play Review Committee upheld the Red Card under Law 9.13.

“With respect to sanction the Foul Play Review Committee deemed the act of foul play merited a mid range entry point of 6 weeks.

“The Foul Play Review Committee added 2 weeks to the entry point as aggravation for the fact the Player has two previous offences of a similar nature on his Judicial record and as a personal deterrent to combat a pattern of such offending by the Player.

“However, taking into account mitigating factors including the Player's expressed remorse and his plea of guilty at the earliest possible opportunity, the Foul Play Review Committee reduced the suspension to 6 weeks.”

Amanaki Mafi charged by police following alleged assault

Melbourne Rebels number eight Amanaki Mafi has been charged by police in New Zealand after an alleged altercation with team-mate Lopeti Timani.

The incident happened after the Australian outfit’s 43-37 defeat to the Highlanders, a result which cost them their place in the end-of-season play-offs.

Mafi will now appear in Dunedin District Court on Monday charged with injuring with intent to injure.

“The alleged victim, also a 28-year-old man, received moderate injuries following the incident," a police spokeswoman said.

“He did not require hospitalisation. The pair were known to each other. As the matter is now before the court, police are not in a position to comment further.”

Rugby Australia released a statement saying that they and the Rebels were aware of an incident which took place after their defeat to the Highlanders.

“Both players remain in New Zealand with Mafi currently in police custody following an altercation between the two players," RA said.

“Rugby Australia understands that no other players were involved in the incident."

Rebels chief executive Baden Stephenson added: "I am bitterly disappointed that an incident has occurred at the end of a season where we have taken pride in our on and off-field behaviour.

"We will respect the process and won't be making further comments until all investigations have taken place."


Samoa book ticket to RWC 2019

Samoa have qualified for Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan after winning the second leg of the Oceania/Europe play-off against Germany 42-28 in Heidelberg on Saturday.

The hard-fought victory, combined with the 66-15 first leg win in Apia, confirmed a 108-43 aggregate win and a place in Pool A alongside Ireland, Scotland, Japan and Russia.

Germany, 12 places behind their opponents in the World Rugby Rankings, will take great heart from a spirited performance that will give confidence ahead of their participation in the Repechage in Marseille in November.

In what promises to be a fascinating tournament, Germany will meet Canada, Hong Kong and the Rugby Africa Gold Cup runner-up in a round-robin format contested over three match days on November 11, 17 and 23.

Congratulating Samoa on his twitter account, World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: "Congratulations to Samoa on Rugby World Cup 2019 qualification and a place in Pool A. Germany will be encouraged by a strong performance as they look ahead to November's Repechage."