Daily Round Up – 26/07/2021 – Olympic Sevens
Olympic Sevens Underway
The Olympic Sevens tournament kicked off today. Fiji, New Zealand and Great Britain all got off to winning starts. Fiji overcame a scare from hosts Japan to take a 24-19 victory on Monday, the opening day of the 12-team tournament. Great Britain ran in four tries to beat Canada 24-0 and New Zealand comfortably dispatched South Korea 50-5. Argentina beat Australia 29-19, South Africa defeated Ireland 33-14 and the United States overcame tough opponents in Kenya with a 19-14 victory.
In the second round of fixtures, Fiji and Great Britain continued with wins and will face each other to see who finishes top of Pool B. A total of seven teams have sealed their qualification to the next stage, including New Zealand, but the likes of Ireland, Japan and Australia will have to wait. Australia came back and put a big score on South Korea, but they still may have to beat New Zealand in order to qualify.
Further games will be played Tuesday and the Semi Finals will be held on Wednesday.
All Blacks Forced To Change Schedule
New Zealand Rugby has been forced to overhaul the All Blacks schedule and scrap plans to host two Rugby Championship tests against the Pumas in Auckland and Wellington in September due to the trans-Tasman bubble closure. The first Bledisloe Cup Test will go ahead on August the 7th, but the second fixture has now moved from Perth to New Zealand.
All Black Charged With Assault
All Blacks Back Row Shannon Frizell has been charged with assault, following an incident in a nightclub in Dunedin. The assualt allegedly took place back in May and now Frizell has been formally charged. He is due to appear in the Dunedin District Court on Tuesday.
NZ Rugby’s general manager for professional rugby and high performance Chris Lendrum:
“It’s disappointing for him and us he’s in this position,”
“In fairness to Shannon we still need to meet and hear from him his side of the story, and we’ll be doing that very shortly.
“At the moment the matter is before the court so there’s not a lot we can do or say at this point in time, but there will be an employment process and we’ll work through things with him.”
Sharks Make Triple Signing
South African Side Sharks have made a trio of new signings, ahead of the United Rugby Championships inaugural season. Australian Centre Ben Tapuai has joined after leaving Bath Rugby, in the Premiership. Former Gloucester, Munster and Blue Bulls Lock Gerbrandt Grobler has joined after a stint in the Top 14 with Stade Français. Finally, the current top try scorer in the Currie Cup Eduan Keyter will be joining from the Griquas. Three interesting additions that will no doubt strengthen the Sharks.
Another Signs On For More With The Seawolves
Fly Half AJ Alatimu has signed on for three more years with the Seattle Seawolves, through the 2024 Major League Rugby season. He joins a long list of players to sign new deals in recent weeks, as the Seawolves look to build for next year. They found some form towards the end of the season and will be looking to tie down key players and potentially adding some fresh faces. Alatimu was one of the players that caught the eye with some of his play. The Samoan International has had a season to bed in as the main pivot for the Seawolves and grow into a real leader next year.
Alatimu grew up in New Zealand, before heading to Australia to pursue opportunities. He helped Perth Spirit win the 2016 NRC competition, before moving to Brisbane. His form for Samoa and Brisbane led to a Super Rugby call up from the Western Force. Alatimu featured at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, before making his way to the Seawolves. Strong form next season, could lead to a recall to the Samoa squad.
Head Coach & Director Of Rugby Allen Clarke:
“AJ’s contribution on and off the field since his arrival has been excellent. He has all the makings of developing into a top-class fly half with a quality running, passing, and kicking game. He has quickly become a leader within the squad and is highly respected by the wider group as a quality person and player. Like so many of our signings to date, I thoroughly believe AJ’s best rugby is ahead of him.
We’ve already seen his commitment to the team and we’re delighted he, Ngaire, and their son, Isaiah, will be members of the Seawolves family for another 3 years.”
Finn Russell Returns To Lions Training
The Lions have been handed a boost, with Scotland Fly Half returning to training following an injury. He had been covered in the squad by Marcus Smith, but his return could be a timely one. First Test starting Fly Half Dan Biggar may be a doubt for the second test, as he goes through concussion protocols. If he is to miss the Second Test, then the Lions could have Owen Farrell, Marcus Smith and Finn Russell available. Biggar played well in the First Test, but they are three very able deputies. The decision would be, which of the three gets that starting spot.
Cornish Pirates Hooker Heads To Australia
Cornish Pirates Hooker Tom Channon will be leaving the club and moving to Australia with his wife. The 30 year old made 113 appearances following his move from Bristol in 2013. He has struggled with injuries in recent seasons, but fought hard to get back to fitness. The much loved member of the squad won the Community Player of the Year award for three years running – 2018/2019/2020.
Cornish Pirates’ joint head coach Alan Paver:
We are naturally going to miss Tom, however at the same time all our very best wishes are expressed to him and his partner.
As everyone connected with the Pirates will be aware, Tom has been a huge contributor during his long time at the club, proving a valued member of the team and contributing really well both on and off the field, which is something to justly recognise and remember.
James Coughlan Appointed New Toulon Defence Coach
Former Munster Back Row James Coughlan has been appointed the new defence coach of RC Toulon, in the Top 14. Coughlan is no stranger to French rugby and has spent the last few seasons coaching at Brive, Pau and Aix-en-Provence.