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.

Tonga to finalise Rugby World Cup squad this week

The 'Ikale Tahi held on to defeat the Western Force 19-15 in Nukuʻalofa on Saturday in their first home match for two years.

Despite the wet conditions, head coach Toutai Kefu said it was a great experience for the squad to be back in Tonga and have the chance to connect with local fans.

"Apart from the downpour it would have been a really good spectacle but nevertheless everyone enjoyed playing back at home," he said.

Tonga target Japanese pace

The Brave Blossoms opened their PNC campaign with an impressive 34-21 victory over Fiji last weekend and 'Ikale Tahi coach Toutai Kefu said the World Cup hosts could not be allowed to dictate today's game.

"Japan are a very formidable side. If they get their own way they're very hard to beat. What I was surprised at was how Fiji defended. I thought they were quite poor there. I've seen much better defence from them. They just pretty much let Japan have it their own way and play their own style," Kefu said.

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.

Pumas scrum becomes Achilles heel

The former Wallabies forwards coach will bring quiet confidence but a lack of faith in his scrum across the Tasman following Argentina's 46-24 loss to the All Blacks in Nelson.

Saturday's Rugby Championship Test against Australia on the Gold Coast will be Ledesma's first against his former team since taking charge of the ninth-ranked Pumas from Daniel Hourcade six weeks ago.

He is perturbed by a slide in Argentine scrummaging standards, once considered the rock their game was built around.


"It's great to be back": Hunt breaks silence after comeback

The banished Reds star returned to rugby with a 30-minute cameo in Souths's 24-all draw at Bond University - the Magpies erasing a 24-12 deficit after Hunt entered the fray.

He helped set up the try which laid the platform for a grandstand finish and threw the final, looping cutout which put star winger Emori Waqavulagi in for his third try of the afternoon - Quade Cooper missing a shot two metres in from touch after the final siren to leave the score deadlocked.

Rugby Tens on hold for 2019

Tournament chief executive Rachael Carroll said it was "a real shame" and the postponement was "a very tough call".

"We've considered many scenarios for 2019 but, unfortunately, we haven't been able to come up with a viable option."

The potential impact of the world cup on player availability was a factor that could not be ignored, Ms Carroll said.

"While that is disappointing, we do understand and accept the requirement of the competing nations to place the world cup at the forefront of their planning."