Dave Rennie is set to start work as Australia head coach ahead of schedule as Danny Wilson will take charge of Glasgow Warriors from next Monday.

Rennie was due to leave the Warriors at the end of the Pro14 season next month, but there has not yet been a decision on whether the campaign will resume amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Glasgow on Tuesday revealed Wilson will replace Rennie on June 1 in order for both coaches to give their new roles "undivided attention" when rugby union resumes.

Rennie will therefore be free to fully focus on watching Australian Super Rugby franchises in action when they get under way again.

Warriors managing director Nathan Bombrys told the Scottish team's website: "We've agreed that this is the right time for Danny Wilson to formally begin his role as head coach of Glasgow Warriors.

"The original plan was for Danny to come in after Six Nations and shadow Dave and his coaching team for the rest of this campaign. We appreciate Dave's willingness to be open and supportive, as this would have given Danny an excellent head start on next season.

"However, given that the 2019-20 season remains suspended for the foreseeable future, we felt that the best thing for the club would be to let Danny get started.

"With sport in Australia planning to return soon, making the change now will also allow Dave to begin his new role as head coach of the Australian national team.

"We are grateful to Dave for everything he has done for our club over the past three seasons, and particularly for how he has been supportive of the current situation, as well as his willingness to share his vast coaching knowledge with all of our coaches."

All Blacks star and Crusaders captain Scott Barrett re-signed with New Zealand Rugby (NZR) and the Super Rugby side until 2023.

Barrett's recommitment to NZR runs through to the 2023 Rugby World Cup, it was announced on Tuesday.

The 26-year-old lock, who is one of three brothers in the All Blacks squad alongside Beauden and Jordie Barrett, has made 36 international appearances since debuting for New Zealand in 2016.

All Blacks head coach Ian Foster said: "This is massive news for New Zealand Rugby and the All Blacks.

"Scott has already made an outstanding contribution to the team since making his debut back in 2016 and we know the best is yet to come. It's really exciting for the future having him re-signed."

Barrett and the Crusaders are preparing for the start of next month's Super Rugby Aotearoa.

The Crusaders, Blues, Chiefs, Hurricanes and Highlanders will begin a season of their own, starting June 13, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

New Zealand's five Super Rugby teams will play each other home and away over 10 weeks, beginning with a clash between the Highlanders and Chiefs behind closed doors in Dunedin on June 13.

Scotland back Ruaridh Jackson has announced his retirement.

The 32-year-old Glasgow Warriors star confirmed the news in an Instagram post on Monday.

Jackson featured 33 times for his country and declared he had lived his "childhood dream".

He is now set to pursue a new career in the drinks industry.

"It is not the fairytale ending I may have dreamed about, but I want to say a huge thank you," he wrote on Instagram.

"I have achieved more than I could ever have dreamed of, but it is now time to embrace a new challenge.

"I have been so fortunate to live out my childhood dream of playing rugby, not just professionally but for my country.

"It has been a journey that has allowed me to travel the world, make some incredible friends and, without doubt, has given me some of the happiest days of my life.

"I have played at some amazing clubs: Wasps, Harlequins and, of course, two stints at Glasgow Warriors, which will always hold a special place in my heart. The supporters will be one of the things I will miss most."

Jackson debuted for Scotland in 2010 against New Zealand and went on to score 37 points on the international stage.

Having started out with Glasgow, he returned to the club in 2017 following spells with Wasps and Harlequins. 

World Rugby has taken the decision to postpone all international rugby matches scheduled for July because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Reigning Rugby World Cup holders South Africa had been due to face Scotland and Georgia, while England were set to tour Japan and New Zealand had been scheduled to host Wales and Scotland.

However, all of those matches, and Ireland's tour of Australia, have been postponed with no new dates set.

A statement from World Rugby read: "Extended travel and quarantine restrictions that apply to numerous countries, and concerns over adequate player preparation time, mean that any sort of cross-border international rugby competition cannot be hosted in July.

"Monitoring of the potential impact on the remaining 2020 international windows continues in collaboration with international rugby stakeholders and the respective authorities.  

"All parties, including member unions, international competitions, professional club competitions and International Rugby Players, will be involved in the evaluation of potential contingency options with a view to achieving an aligned calendar for the remainder of the year.

"All decision-making will be entirely contingent on national government travel, quarantine and health advice and important player welfare and hosting considerations in line with return-to-rugby guidance recently published by World Rugby."

Rugby Australia's general manager Ben Whitaker had previously suggested that games could be rescheduled for October.

International rugby has been on hold since March when the Six Nations was halted with four matches still to play.

The financial impact of having no games has already severely impacted the unions in Australia and the USA, with World Rugby having set up a $100million relief fund.

 

The late, great Jonah Lomu would have been celebrating his 45th birthday on Tuesday.

News of the New Zealand legend's death at the age of only 40 rocked the sporting world in November 2015.

The giant wing tormented opponents during his magnificent career with such searing pace, incredible power and skill.

We pick some of the moments in which Lomu demonstrated why he was such a phenomenon.

Four-midable powerhouse demolishes England

Lomu had only just turned 20 when he got his first experience of the Rugby World Cup in South Africa back in 1995 and he was very much at home on the big stage.

England were simply unable to contain the powerful flyer in the semi-final at Newlands, Lomu scoring a sensational four tries in a 45-29 victory.

Lomu set the tone with a stunning early solo score, brushing off Tony Underwood and darting past Will Carling before steamrollering his way through Mike Catt and touching down.

He clinically added another three tries to set up a final against the hosts, which the Springboks won at Ellis Park.

 

Deja vu at Twickenham

England must have felt they had already seen more than enough of the imposing Lomu ahead of another World Cup showdown at Twickenham 21 years ago.

The two sides were locked at 16-16 in a Pool B match when Lomu produced another moment of magic in the second half.

He bolted down the left flank at great speed, hurtling past Jeremy Guscott and beating another three defenders before dotting down for a sublime score in the corner.

The All Blacks went on to win 30-16, thanks in no small part to the unstoppable Lomu.

 

All Blacks suffer Les Bleus despite jaw-dropping double

October 31, 1999 was a day to forget for New Zealand fans but Lomu sparkled again in a painful World Cup semi-final defeat to France.

He conjured up another jaw-dropping individual try when a swarm of blue shirts were unable to halt his charge from midfield.

Lomu added another for the showreel early in the second half after combining magnificently with Jeff Wilson as the All Blacks steamed into a 24-10 lead.

France came storming back at Twickenham, though, winning a thriller 43-31 to leave New Zealand shell-shocked despite the brilliance of Lomu.

 

Scotland blown away

Lomu's only other Test hat-trick came in a 69-20 demolition of Scotland in Dunedin. 

The All Blacks ran riot at Carisbrook in 2000, Lomu again taking centre stage with a world-class display of finishing.

Sheer strength, persistence and a blistering turn of foot gave him an opening try, getting over the line having got back to his feet after being taken down briefly by Chris Paterson.

His other two tries were more straightforward as weary Scotland were given a brutal lesson.

England defence coach John Mitchell expects Saracens duo Maro Itoje and Mako Vunipola to make "good decisions" over their futures.

Itoje has been linked with a loan move to Racing 92 and there are no certainties over which club his England team-mate Vunipola will play for next season after Sarries were relegated from the Premiership for breaching salary-cap regulations.

England head coach Eddie Jones is unable to select players based overseas, but Mitchell is confident Itoje and Vunipola will still be available for selection.

The New Zealander said: "I'm sure Eddie, as he is very good at, is guiding them and helping them and they have probably sought his advice.

"They've got family and friends and people within Saracens who they trust. 

"I'm quite confident that they will make good decisions, that are right for them and their families and also that are right in terms of playing Test rugby for England because they are two guys who love playing for England."

Mitchell knows the coaching staff and players must be ready to adapt their methods when rugby union returns after being suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"The RFU and our medics are working very closely with the government and it’s important I leave it with them," he added.

"No one knows what the pecking order will be. I guess it's just sensible that non-contact sports will be the creators of the start, I guess, and we'll learn from what we experience and what they go through. When we eventually get the green button then we as a coaching group will need to be ready.

"We're going to have to be creative and innovative around how we do things. A lot of our players are going to be better for this as well because they've had to find a way to train with home constraints.

"We are going to have to find different ways to train based on the distancing."

Sam Cane has succeeded Kieran Read as New Zealand captain, the All Blacks announced on Tuesday.

The loose forward, 28, made his debut against Ireland in 2012 and has gone on to represent his country on 68 occasions, with 48 of those appearances as a starter.

Cane, who has already captained New Zealand three times, was a Rugby World Cup winner in 2015 and part of the team that finished third in Japan last year.

"It's a pretty exciting challenge really and as I've spent more time in the All Blacks and grown as a player, I've become a lot more comfortable being a leader in the team," Cane said.

"The great thing about the All Blacks is that the leadership group is full of captains and experienced players already, so I'm just really looking forward to working closely with that group and doing my best to lead them and the rest of the squad.

"My style as captain will be to not really change the way I do things. I'm just myself and will continue to be. I already work on building relationships, especially with the younger guys in the squad, and everyone else connected with the team, so that will continue.

"While we don't know yet what the rest of the year looks like for the All Blacks, I'm looking forward to catching up with the coaches and other senior players as we firm up our plans."

Read retired from international rugby after the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

New All Blacks coach Ian Foster said Cane, who has made 116 appearances for the Chiefs and won two Super Rugby titles, is a natural leader and has an important part to play amid uncertain times in global sport as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Sam is an experienced All Black with eight years in the team now and is a 'follow me' type of leader and a very good thinker in the game," Foster said.

"He has a natural ability to connect with everyone in the team and is straightforward and direct when he needs to be.

"There's massive respect for Sam amongst the players and management, and he's perfectly placed to lead the All Blacks into the future.

"We wanted to confirm Sam now because he'll play a key role helping us plan for whatever the future looks like and will be working behind the scenes with the other leaders."

SA Rugby has admitted it is considering the possibility of rescheduling the British and Irish Lions tour due to the impact of the coronavirus.

Warren Gatland's Lions are due to visit South Africa next July and August for a tour that will feature three Tests against the world champions.

However, the outbreak of COVID-19 could have a knock-on effect on that tour, with Northern Hemisphere countries facing up to the possibility of missing out on revenue from internationals that may have to be scrapped later this year.

A report over the weekend claimed the Lions' 2021 tour to South Africa could be cancelled entirely as World Rugby contemplates how to reschedule the calendar when the sport returns.

SA Rugby has insisted the Lions tour remains on, though it conceded the dates are being looked at.

"While we continue to look forward to an incredible tour by The British and Irish Lions next year, and there are no planned changes, it would be remiss of us not to explore various scenarios for a possible date change caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said an SA Rugby spokesperson.

The Lions last toured South Africa in 2009, losing 2-1 to the Springboks.

They have since beaten Australia 2-1 and drawn with New Zealand under Gatland.

Bill Beaumont wants to deliver a "stronger, more sustainable game" after he was re-elected for a second term as World Rugby chairman.

The former England captain, 68, achieved a 28-23 majority over fellow candidate Agustin Pichot following the first round of voting in the independent election, meaning he will carry on in the post for a further four years.

France's Bernard Laporte is the new vice-chairman after standing unopposed for the position, while seven new members have been confirmed to the organisation's executive committee.

World Rugby will officially confirm Beaumont's continuation in the role at its annual meeting on May 12, though he is already thinking about the future as rugby union looks to recover from problems caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

A complete shutdown of the sport at club and international level has had financial ramifications for many, with the focus now on a plan for a return to action that still "prioritises player welfare".

"Now is not the time for celebration. We have work to do," Beaumont said in a statement.

"We are tackling COVID-19 and must implement an appropriate return-to-rugby strategy that prioritises player welfare, while optimising any opportunity to return to international rugby this year in full collaboration with club competitions for the good of players, fans and the overall financial health of the sport.

"I am determined to ensure that the spirit of unity and solidarity that has characterised our work in response to an unprecedented global COVID-19 pandemic, is the cornerstone of a new approach that will deliver a stronger, more sustainable game when we emerge with new enthusiasm, a renewed purpose and an exciting future."

Beaumont thanked outgoing vice-chairman Pichot for the Argentinian's contribution to World Rugby over their previous four years of working together.

"While we stood against each other in this campaign, we aligned in many ways, and I have the utmost respect for him," Beaumont said. "Gus is passionate about the sport and his contribution has been significant."

Rugby Australia (RA) is discussing the possibility of playing a makeshift trans-Tasman competition and Bledisloe Cup series later this year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Super Rugby season was suspended last month due to COVID-19 and plans for a domestic competition as part of a way to continue the campaign were put on hold.

Australia and New Zealand, however, have managed to halt the spread of coronavirus and travel conditions could eventually be eased.

After agreeing a pay cut with players on Monday, RA is eyeing a provincial competition and a 2020 Bledisloe Cup series between the Wallabies and All Blacks.

"Yeah it's certainly one of the models that we've got worked through at the moment and we remain in consistent discussions with New Zealand because obviously that makes a lot of sense," RA chief executive Raelene Castle told reporters via a conference call on Tuesday.

"The indications we're getting from government agencies is that the sequence of opening up is likely to be domestic first, then into maybe trans-Tasman and maybe Pacific, and then international.

"So we have a number of different scenarios that we are [looking at] and that's certainly one that we are in conversations with New Zealand about."

Castle added: "If the governments don't let us travel and the governments don't open international borders to allow teams to come in to this environment, we might not have any choice but to review what the structures look like [in terms of] what we deliver at the back-end of this year and then potentially what we could deliver into '21.

"So it won't be driven by what SANZAAR want to do, it will be driven by what governments allow and which countries open up their borders at what times. And certainly all of the indications that we are getting from the Australian and New Zealand governments is that they are very proud of the fact that they've managed to control this very well and limited the damage and the loss of life, and they're not willing to open that up again quickly to risk that they go backwards again.

"So that's an overlay that we as a SANZAAR community have to be dealing with and those are conversations that are actively happening."

Steve Hansen has backed Warren Gatland's idea to stage a "decider" between the British and Irish Lions and New Zealand in 2021.

Gatland steered the Lions to a drawn series against Hansen's All Blacks in 2017 and will lead the team on a tour of South Africa next year.

The former Wales boss suggested a one-off match could be staged ahead of Tests against the Rugby World Cup-winning Springboks, in order to raise funds after the coronavirus pandemic.

While Hansen, who stepped down as All Blacks boss after the World Cup, stated such a game would not settle the 2017 series once and for all due to different personnel being involved, he believes it could be important to the sport's future.

"Well, it won't be a decider because it won't be the same people involved. But what he's really saying is let's have this game to try and help make some money for the game because the game is in trouble," Hansen told Wales Online.

"You have got one rugby nation, in the United States, who have gone bankrupt, we've got Australia on the brink, we know England have got a financial crisis, everybody will have because you are not getting paid the TV rights and those are what makes the game go round.

"The game is in financial crisis. People are struggling. So I think anything that allows us to create some income to support the game is important."

Hansen is now the director of rugby at Toyota Verblitz in Japan's Top League, which last month had its season cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The former All Blacks coach believes the suspension of rugby provides an opportunity to make sweeping changes for the good of the game.

"We have an opportunity now to start with a blank page because you have got everybody putting self-interest to the side," said Hansen.

"They know they could be gone if they don't do the right thing. So it's a great opportunity to bring everybody together, north, south, individual countries and do what it is right for the game. It's been a long time coming because it's been needed for quite some time.

"There has been a lot of self-interest and if we don't do the right thing we could lose the game and that would be a tragedy."

The Rugby Championship in 2020 could be held while the Super Rugby season is ongoing to make sure both take place, SANZAAR CEO Andy Marinos has suggested.

This year's southern hemisphere tournament between Argentina, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand is due to be held between August 8 and September 27.

The domestic Super Rugby campaign is scheduled to finish with the final in June, but the coronavirus pandemic forced the season to be put on hold.

As organisers try to ensure both competitions can be staged in 2020, Marinos has proposed the idea of having them run in parallel, despite the drawback of Super Rugby teams having to give up international players during Test-match windows.

"Could you be playing the Rugby Championship at the same time as a domestic competition?" Marinos said via NewsHub.

"It's not trying to rubbish one for the other, it's how do we get a sensible solution in what may be a restricted time frame?

"Logic would suggest if there is an ability to create like what we've seen with the NRL around a bubble, if it's all in one location it seems a bit easier.

"At this point in time, we'd be silly to rule out anything. We are hell-bent and have every intention of delivering the complete package."

Scottish Rugby will discuss a salary reduction scheme with high-earning players and staff members as they deal with the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The governing body has confirmed it will continue to do whatever possible to support all clubs, though income streams are "badly affected" with no games staged at Murrayfield as the season remains suspended.

Scotland may also be unable to complete tours to South Africa and New Zealand in July, while there are even concerns over their home internationals scheduled for November, when they are due to play against Argentina, Japan and the All Blacks.

Fearing a potential loss of expected revenue in excess of £12million, chief executive Mark Dodson has agreed to take a 30 per cent pay cut until at least the start of September, while head coach Gregor Townsend agreed to a 25 per cent decrease last month.

A proportion of Scottish Rugby's staff will be placed into the government's furlough scheme, while players will be consulted over the possibility of reducing their wages as the organisation tries to cut costs amid the global health crisis.

"Our players and our coaches cannot fulfil any fixtures and the money we normally expect to make from the professional and international game at this time of the year, and over the summer, has all but disappeared due to the challenges beyond our control," Dodson said in a statement.

"No one knows with any certainty when any rugby can resume.

"We have seen many, many examples of our staff, clubs and players across the country supporting their local communities and demonstrating rugby's values in daily life.

"Rugby makes a positive contribution to society and it is this positivity and our whole sport working collectively that will give us the best opportunity to come through this crisis, safely, together."

Siya Kolisi says it is vital Nelson Mandela's legacy continues as the South Africa captain opened up on his role in helping the country fight coronavirus.

Kolisi, who skippered the Springboks to Rugby World Cup glory last year, was due to launch his foundation later in 2020.

The outbreak of COVID-19 has launched Kolisi into immediate action and he has partnered with others to make donations to provide vital supplies to frontline medical workers tackling the crisis.

An Instagram post from the flanker's foundation last week explained: "Whilst the Kolisi Foundation was months from launching with different projects in mind, we couldn't ignore the seriousness of COVID-19 so began to focus our energy and resources on supporting our frontline workers – supplying sanitisers and reusable masks. 

"We are thankful that we have been able to lean on our incredible partners to support the project and will look to partner with other established organisations in the future to guarantee our work is as impactful as possible, addressing hunger and other areas close to our heart."

Kolisi said part of his motivation is ensuring the work of former president Mandela continues.

"I just think his legacy must still continue, the rainbow nation he wanted to see,"he told BBC Breakfast.

"Actually working partnering up with the foundation, helping the frontline workers, we're all trying to attack the hunger and help the workers. 

"Just thinking of other people, the way he lived his life, he always wanted to make South Africa better, that's what we're trying to realise to make sure his legacy continues and because we have a beautiful country, so much potential, we can achieve so much. 

"Hopefully can inspire other people too."

Kolisi is drawing on his own experiences of playing as part of a team to aid a country that has had over 1,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and has one of the world's strictest lockdowns.

"It's really tough and I think playing in a team squad, this is going to be a team effort from everyone in South Africa and everyone in general, I think everybody has a role to play," he added. 

"It's a time for people to stay at home and not leave our houses, we have a complete lockdown our president has acted swiftly. 

"I think for people who are in a fortunate basis who can help others, food is a big problem at the moment, we're pushing hard on fighting the hunger, making sure people get meals there are a lot kids who go to school just to get one meal.

"I'm trying to provide for that and making sure we help as much as we can."

Wayde van Niekerk says it was "an amazing inspiration" to see South Africa win the Rugby World Cup – especially as the team contained friends and family.

The Springboks triumphed 32-12 over England in the final in Yokohama on November 2 last year to become world champions for the third time.

Olympic 400-metre champion and world-record holder Van Niekerk says the players deserve all the accolades and sponsorship bonuses they have received for their momentous success.

"It's been an amazing inspiration for not just myself but the entire country, and yet another spark for myself as a South African to want to achieve great things," he told Stats Perform.

"I'm quite close friends with a few players and it's great to see how their lives have changed and the blessings and the sponsors and so on that are coming their way. It's amazing, it's well deserved and it's great."

Van Niekerk is friends with several key South Africa players, including captain Siya Kolisi, and he is a cousin of Cheslin Kolbe.

Kolbe battled back from injury in time to play against England and went on to score the final try of the match, capping a terrific 2019 that saw him nominated alongside eventual winner Pieter-Steph du Toit for World Rugby's Player of the Year award.

Van Niekerk recalled: "Thinking back to Cheslin's final try: he's come through so much, moving to France, thinking that he wouldn't make the SA team, and just wanting to go and enjoy his rugby and then getting selected for the World Cup.

"The final try was amazing but let's be honest, his entire tournament, I feel like he was one of the players of the tournament and one of the highlights of the Rugby World Cup.

"I think it's such a blessing and such an amazing blessing to be associated with such great people, like Siya and Cheslin, it's lovely to be associated with them and draw off of them and use them as inspiration for myself, coming back from injury and wanting to do great things for my country the way they did."

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