Here are the latest rugby headlines from Tuesday 5th April.
Wales duo discover fate
Welsh duo Ross Moriarty and Josh Adams will find out their fate immediately following injuries at the weekend. Both players are at risk of missing Wales’ summer tour and medics continue to assess their situation following scans earlier this week. Announcements could come today.
Moriarty looks set to face another long layoff after suffering a serious-looking knee injury during Friday night’s game for the Dragons in South Africa. Play was halted and the rear rower’s agonized screams could be heard around the stadium after he got stuck in an awkward position during a tackle.
Adams also suffered a knee ligament injury while playing for Cardiff against the Scarlets, although his looked less serious. He tried to continue playing and looked distraught as he hobbled off the field with the help of a physical therapist.
The Welsh regions have a handful of league games left this season, while Wales travel to South Africa in June for a three-Test series against the Springboks which begins on July 2.
Ms von de Villers ‘fell while doing housework’
Details are emerging in South Africa about the circumstances surrounding the tragic death of former Springboks coach Peter de Villers’ wife.
Reports in the state Herald Theresa de Villiers, 62, was doing routine chores on a family member’s property when she fell into a swimming pool and drowned. A family member reportedly discovered her body floating in the pool.
Homeowner Rafiek Hermans told Herald Live his mother-in-law was on medication but insisted on helping with some chores.
“It’s a very tragic situation and we’re all still traumatized,” he said.
Police spokeswoman Sandra Janse van Rensburg said there was no suspicion of third-party negligence.
The tragedy comes just three years after De Villiers lost his 28-year-old daughter to cancer. When asked for comment by the Herald, De Villers said: “Thank you for your condolences but I cannot speak now.”
Wales climbs the world rankings again
Wales have risen again in the official Rugby World Ranking, swapping places with Scotland after their triumph in the Women’s Six Nations at Arms Park on Saturday.
Ioan Cunningham’s side of Wales climb from 10th to 9th while Scotland are back after the Women in Red clinched a last-minute 24-19 victory in front of a record crowd. Wales had broken into the top 10 just a week earlier thanks to their 27-19 win over Ireland, another comeback win.
Scotland had taken the lead thanks to a Lana Skeldon try and a brace from Rhona Lloyd, but Wales responded with attempts from Carys Phillips, Sioned Harries, Kelsey Jones and Ffion Lewis in front of 4,875 fans.
The next meeting between the two teams will take place in the pool stages of the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand on October 9.
With France (third) beating Ireland 40-5 and England (leaders) completing a 74-0 win over Italy in the other games of the second round, there were no further changes in the rankings.
England vs Wales in front of a record crowd
In Wales’ next and toughest challenge, they meet the Red Roses in round three of the Women’s Six Nations this Saturday. Simon Middleton’s side recorded their 20th consecutive Test victory over the weekend and will give Wales their toughest test of the tournament.
Wales turned part-professional, awarding 12 players full-time contracts in January, followed by 12 more part-time semi-professional contracts. But England have been professional for three years and are seen as holding a huge lead over the other Six Nations teams, to a lesser extent France who are England’s only realistic title challengers.
But this Saturday’s grudge match will be played in front of a record crowd, it has been confirmed. More than 11,000 tickets have been sold for England v Wales on Saturday 9 April (kick-off 4.45pm) at Kingsholm Stadium in Gloucester, which will break the attendance record for an England women’s non-World Cup home game.
Wales captain Siwan Lillicrap said: “We will show them respect because we know how good they are, but neither are we afraid of them as we play with and against them week in and week out [in England’s Premier 15s competition].”
Remaining tickets cost from £13.50 for adults and £3.50 for children. More information can be found here.
Wales will have played each of their three previous Six Nations games in front of record crowds, first at the Dublin RDS in front of 6,113 fans, then with 4,875 fans in the Welsh capital and next at the home of Gloucester.
Wales Sevens squad named
Wales Sevens head coach Richie Pugh has named his 13-man squad for the Singapore and Vancouver legs of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. Wales will play New Zealand, Scotland and Argentina in Pool C in the fifth round of the World Series in Singapore this weekend before heading to the Canada stage the following week.
Morgan Sieniawski returns to the squad for the first time since Sydney in 2020 while four players are uncapped. Ex-Wales U20 winger Carrick McDonough and Cardiff winger Iwan Pyrs Jones will make their debuts alongside Bishop’s Stortford’s Chris Smith and Scarlets winger Callum Williams.
“The heat will be new to us – we’re going in 35 degrees and the humidity of Singapore – although they say it’s an air-conditioned stadium it’s a climate that as Welsh people we’ll never get used to I’m afraid” said Pugh.
“I know New Zealand will jump for it – it’s been over two years since they’ve been able to travel and play on the circuit while Argentina are one of the form teams in the series in my eyes at the moment. Scotland are a well organized and well trained Sevens team with a lot of threats so it’s a really exciting pool to play against but that’s what it’s all about.”
Wales Sevens squad for Singapore/Vancouver: Luke Treharne (Wales 7s), Carrick McDonough (Dragons), Morgan Sieniawski (Wales 7s), Chris Smith (Bishop’s Stortford), Tom Brown (Wales 7s), Callum Williams (Scarlets), Arthur Lennon (Speranza 7s), Tom Williams ( Wales 7s), Morgan Williams (Wales 7s), Iwan Pyrs Jones (Cardiff), Lloyd Lewis (Wales 7s/Pontypool), Ewan Rosser (Dragons), Cole Swannack (Pontypridd).
Bristol signs ex-wing of the Harlequins
Bristol have announced the signing of former Harlequins wing Gabriel Ibitoye. The 24-year-old had stints at French clubs Agen and Montpellier after leaving Quins before moving to Israel and playing for the Tel Aviv Heat in the Rugby Europe Super Cup.
Ibitoye, an England Under-20 international, is joining Bristol ahead of next season.
Bristol rugby director Pat Lam said: “Gabriel is a tremendously talented player with the pace and versatility to threaten opposition defences. Returning to the Gallagher Premiership is an exciting challenge for him. We see huge potential in a young player who was in talks for a call-up in England a couple of years ago.”