The SA Rugby magazine team rounds up some of the interesting snippets of news making headlines around the world.
Four Premiership players test positive for cocaine
On Tuesday, the RFU revealed rather damning findings that four Premiership players had tested positive for cocaine during the 2017-18 season, which apparently came when they were ‘dislocated’ from their clubs either through injury or selection omission.
All the cases allegedly involved the use of alcohol, while RFU’s director of medical services, Dr Simon Kemp, suggested that ‘these positives are not from players who typically play and train every week’, but rather reflected the ‘risks 18 to 35-year-olds are exposed to when going out socially’.
As first-time offenders, the identities of the players were kept confidential, but they were fined and offered psychiatric counselling.
All Blacks desperate for a back-up flyhalf
Former World Cup-winning coach Graham Henry stirred up some debate over the weekend when he suggested that former All Blacks legend Dan Carter should be considered as a possible bolter for this year’s showpiece event in Japan.
Speaking to Newstalk ZB, Henry said Carter would not be out of place if called on following the long-term injury to Damian McKenzie, who has suffered a serious knee injury.
‘There’s been some talk about Dan Carter, and I don’t think Dan Carter will let you down,’ Henry said. ‘I know that he played in the final of the Japanese competition and played outstandingly.’
Considering that Carter turned 37 years old back in March, this one seems a bit far-fetched.
Gatland to lead British & Irish Lions to South Africa in 2021?
According to reports up north, Warren Gatland is set to be reappointed as head coach of the Lions for their next tour to our shores, but without jeopardising his chances of taking over the England top job from Eddie Jones.
The Lions board has apparently agreed that Gatland remains the top candidate, and terms could be finalised within a month.
It would be quite a turnaround, considering that the Wales coach suggested in 2017 that he had ‘hated’ parts of the last tour to New Zealand, and would be unlikely to coach the Lions again.
Lions pulled a fast one against Chiefs
With Lions head coach Swys de Bruin having returned to South Africa on the eve of last Friday’s clash against the Chiefs, it was interesting to see chief executive Rudolf Straeuli commenting on the late changes to the team.
Although Malcolm Marx and Elton Jantjies were initially named on the bench, they ultimately earned a start as the Lions claimed an impressive 23-17 victory in New Zealand.
‘It was a tactical move to announce the team like that because we wanted the Chiefs to believe they were not going to play,’ Straeuli said according to Netwerk24. ‘With Malcolm on the bench, the Chiefs opted to rest some of their heavy forwards. With him in the starting team we could take them on at scrum time and it worked well. The foundation for our victory was laid up front.’
It may well spark a debate about what remains of the spirit of the game.
Folau faces the music
Australia’s director of rugby, Scott Johnson, has backed Rugby Australia’s hardline stance to sack Israel Folau following his latest controversial social media posts.
A code of conduct hearing to determine the future of Folau will be held on 4 May, and Johnson launched a plea for the sport to embrace its inclusiveness.
‘I want to make it really clear I am very supportive of where Rugby Australia is in this stance,’ Johnson said. ‘What I will say is we want a game that includes everyone.
‘You don’t coach just to win trophies, you coach to make people better, and that’s why I’m in the sport and I’m passionate about it. People can say and do what they want. It’s what we stand for as a sport that is important.’
Photo: Ian Cook – CameraSport via Getty Images