South Africa have promoted Jacques Nienaber to replace Rassie Erasmus as head coach following their Rugby World Cup triumph.

Erasmus reverted back to his position of director of rugby after the Springboks lifted the Webb Ellis Cup in Japan last November and will now oversee his former assistant Nienaber.

Nienaber was named as Erasmus' successor on Friday in a South Africa statement that said the new coaching set-up is "heavily accented on continuity".

Mzwandile Stick retains his position as assistant coach, with Felix Jones now a European-based coaching consultant.

Deon Davids is the new forwards coach, while Bulls scrums coach Daan Human takes up the same role with the world champions and will also stay on with the Super Rugby franchise.

Davids replaces Matt Proudfoot, who joined England's coaching staff this month.

Nienaber described his delight at landing the top job.

"This is a massive honour and responsibility, but I think I have a good understanding of what it entails, especially in this new structure," the 47-year-old said.

"I've worked with Rassie in a coaching capacity for nearly two decades now and we have a very good idea of how each of us thinks, and as I'll still be reporting to him, our working relationship won't be changing.

"It's a big step up for me in terms of carrying the day-to-day leadership role and there'll be other adjustments, but in many ways, it will also be business as usual.

"We've built up a good culture over the past two years and we'll simply be looking to extend that."

Erasmus stated: "Jacques is highly experienced and has worked with the Springboks on three separate occasions now so knows exactly what the job is about.

"Jacques will be responsible for the Test match preparation and day-to-day team operations but, as the director of rugby, I will be with the team for the majority of the time and in the coaches' box with Jacques at matches."

South Africa have promoted Jacques Nienaber to replace Rassie Erasmus as South Africa head coach following their Rugby World Cup triumph.

Finn Russell will not feature in Scotland's Six Nations opener against Ireland after being sent home for disciplinary reasons.

Scottish Rugby announced on Thursday that Racing 92 fly-half Russell has been released from Gregor Townsend's squad for a breach of team protocol.

Scotland will have to do without Russell at the Aviva Stadium a week on Saturday and it remains to be seen if he will play any part in the tournament.

A Scotland team spokesperson said: “Stand-off Finn Russell will play no further part in preparations for Scotland's Six Nations opener against Ireland, having been disciplined for a breach of team protocol during the week's camp in Edinburgh.

"He has returned to his club."

Russell last year revealed he had a disagreement with head coach Townsend after a dramatic 38-38 draw with England at Twickenham.

"I actually had an argument with Gregor [at half-time]," Russell told ITV after the game.

"I said to him, 'You're telling us to kick and when we kick, they just run it back and cut us open, and when we run it, they're just hitting us behind the gain line and winning the ball back'.

"Second half, we just came out with nothing to lose, played our rugby, kicked out of our half and scored some great tries. We played good Scottish rugby."

The 27-year-old played at Glasgow Warriors from 2012 to 2018 before landing his move to France.

In-demand Wales wing Steff Evans has ended speculation over his future by signing a new deal with the Scarlets.

The 25-year-old flyer attracted interest from France as he neared the end of his contract.

Evans has decided to remain with his home region ahead of the Six Nations, with no mention from the Scarlets of the length of his new deal.

Capped 13 times by the Six Nations champions, Evans said: "I am loving my rugby here at the moment so it was an easy decision to stay with the Scarlets.

"The coaches have built a great environment that all the players are buying into and there's a real buzz about the place at the moment.

"This is my home region, I grew up watching the Scarlets and to have made more than 100 appearances is an achievement I am hugely proud of.

"The squad here is as strong as it has been since I have been here and I really feel there are exciting times ahead.

"The boys have been playing some great rugby this season, we are still alive in two competitions and I am looking forward to playing my part in what should be an exciting few months to come."

Teenage wing Louis Rees-Zammit is among five uncapped players in new Wales head coach Wayne Pivac's squad for the Six Nations.

Rees-Zammit has earned rave reviews following his performances for Gloucester and the 18-year-old flyer is set to be unleashed on the international stage.

Prop WillGriff John, second-row Will Rowlands, centre Nick Tompkins and versatile New Zealand-born back Johnny McNicholl will also be hoping to win their first caps for the defending champions.

Lock Seb Davies and wing Jonah Holmes are among the 38 included by Pivac along with fit-again back-row Taulupe Faletau and scrum-half Rhys Webb, who is set to re-join the Ospreys from Toulon.

"We are really excited to be naming our Six Nations squad and kicking the campaign off," said Pivac.

"A lot of time and effort has gone into selecting the squad, all of the coaches have been out and about, seeing players in training, speaking with them and we are pretty excited with the group we have got.

"Looking back to the Barbarians week, that was hugely important for us. We got a lot of 'firsts' out of the way, getting to meet and get in front of the players and having a game together was hugely beneficial.

"We do have a couple of injuries but we flip that into seeing it as an opportunity for some new players to impress, with not only the Six Nations in mind but also longer term and 2023."

 

Wales squad in full:

Forwards: Rhys Carre, Rob Evans, Wyn Jones, Elliot Dee, Ryan Elias, Ken Owens, Leon Brown, WillGriff John, Dillon Lewis, Jake Ball, Adam Beard, Seb Davies, Alun Wyn Jones (captain), Will Rowlands, Cory Hill, Aaron Shingler, Aaron Wainwright, Taulupe Faletau, Ross Moriarty, Josh Navidi, Justin Tipuric.

Backs: Gareth Davies, Rhys Webb, Tomos Williams, Dan Biggar, Owen Williams, Jarrod Evans, Hadleigh Parkes, Nick Tompkins, Owen Watkin, George North, Josh Adams, Owen Lane, Johnny McNicholl, Louis Rees-Zammit, Jonah Holmes, Leigh Halfpenny, Liam Williams.

Stuart Hogg has been named Scotland captain for the Six Nations and Gregor Townsend has included six uncapped players in his squad for the tournament.

Full-back Hogg will lead his country after Greig Laidlaw announced his retirement from international rugby last month.

As well as appointing a new skipper, head coach Townsend has also brought in some fresh faces following Scotland's failure to advance from their pool at the Rugby World Cup.

Tom Gordon, Kyle Steyn, Ratu Tagive, Luke Crosbie, Nick Haining and Alex Craig will be hoping to win their first caps.

Matt Scott and Rory Sutherland have been recalled to a 38-man squad along with Cornell du Preez.

Townsend said: "We've put a bigger emphasis on form as a guide for our selection, with those picked backed to go out and grab their opportunity.

"A number of young players have broken through at their clubs, while the bulk of the squad [23/31] from Japan has been reselected based on some strong individual performances and huge effort throughout our World Cup camp.

"We're on to our next campaign now and it’s going to be very tough given the competition we face. Ireland have only lost one championship game at home in the last five years, and England were in great form in Japan."

Scotland face Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in their first match of the Six Nations on February 1.

 

Scotland squad:

Forwards: Simon Berghan, Jamie Bhatti, Magnus Bradbury, Fraser Brown, Alex Craig, Luke Crosbie, Scott Cummings, Allan Dell, Cornell du Preez, Zander Fagerson, Grant Gilchrist, Tom Gordon, Jonny Gray, Nick Haining, Stuart McInally, WP Nel, Jamie Ritchie, Rory Sutherland, Ben Toolis, George Turner, Hamish Watson.

Backs: Darcy Graham, Chris Harris, Adam Hastings, Stuart Hogg (captain), George Horne, Rory Hutchinson, Sam Johnson, Huw Jones, Blair Kinghorn, Sean Maitland, Byron McGuigan, Ali Price, Henry Pyrgos, Finn Russell, Matt Scott, Kyle Steyn, Ratu Tagive.

England have revealed a new-look coaching team to support Eddie Jones heading into the Six Nations.

Simon Amor, formerly head of the England Sevens set-up and brought in as attack coach, and Matt Proudfoot have come into the fold.

Proudfoot, who will work as the forwards coach, was part of Rassie Erasmus' staff during South Africa's Rugby World Cup triumph last year.

The duo will work alongside defence coach John Mitchell and former England international Steve Borthwick, who switches to skills coach.

"The Guinness Six Nations 2020 is a fresh start for the team so that is how we have approached our coaching staff," Jones told the RFU website.

"With Neal Hatley moving to Bath we felt we needed to regenerate the forwards coaching area. Matt Proudfoot has had an outstanding coaching career to date culminating in being a World Cup winning coach with South Africa.

"He brings great technical expertise and knowledge having coached in South Africa and Japan and having played in Scotland and South Africa.

"We feel he can take the forwards to another level and build on the great work Neal and Steve have done over the last four years.

"We have had our eyes on Simon for a while. We used him in the run up to the Rugby World Cup in some of our training camps.

"I have been very impressed with his dynamism, his rugby intellect and he will bring a fresh view on how we build our attack. "

Jones remains in talks to extend his England tenure, with his contract set to expire in 2021.

Ireland fly-half Joey Carbery has been ruled out of the Six Nations due to a wrist injury.

The Munster number 10 did the damage during a 38-17 Pro14 defeat to Ulster last week and will be out for up to four months.

Carbery was making his first start of the season after recovering from an ankle injury, but now faces a lengthy absence.

RTE quote Munster head coach Johann van Graan as saying: "That's rugby, I'm gutted for Joey as an individual.

"He worked hard to get back into the position, he played the full 80 for the first time for quite a while and now he is out for a considerable amount of time.

"That's rugby, that's life. He'll be back, he's a class man and a brilliant rugby player.

"He'll come back stronger, take his time and I can't wait to have him back in the future."

Carbery posted on Instagram: "Devastation doesn't even describe how I'm feeling. Thanks for all the well wishes. Been a tough couple of months physically and mentally, and thought I was in the clear. But will be back soon, better than ever."

Ireland's first-choice fly-half Johnny Sexton is also out of action with a knee problem and is reportedly unlikely to feature before Ireland's Six Nations opener against Scotland at the Aviva Stadium on February 1.

Charles Ollivon has been named as France captain at the start of a new era under Fabien Galthie, who has named 19 uncapped players in a 42-man Six Nations squad.

Galthie, who replaced Jacques Brunel as head coach after the Rugby World Cup, has selected back-row Ollivon to lead the side following Guilhem Guirado's retirement from international rugby.

Toulon's Ollivon only has 11 caps to his name but is set to skipper his country when they face England in their first match of the tournament on February 2.

"It's an honour to be captain of the France team," said Ollivon.

"It's a somewhat special moment, quite moving. I can't wait to start the adventure."

Galthie has put his faith in youth, with 20-year-olds Louis Carbonel, Jean-Baptiste Gros and Killian Geraci among those called up to a squad with an average age of 24.

Wing Teddy Thomas is recalled after being overlooked for the World Cup in Japan, but there is no place for the likes of Maxime Medard and Yoann Huget.

 

France squad: 

Forwards: Dorian Aldegheri, Cyril Baille, Demba Bamba, Camille Chat, Anthony Etrillard, Jean-Baptiste Gros, Mohamed Haouas, Julien Marchand, Jefferson Poirot, Cyril Cazeaux, Killian Geraci, Bernard Le Roux, Boris Palu, Romain Taofifenua, Paul Willemse, Gregory Alldritt, Charles Ollivon, Dylan Cretin, Francois Cros, Alexandre Fischer, Sekou Macalou, Selevasio Tolofua, Cameron Woki.

Backs: Antoine Dupont, Baptiste Serin, Maxime Lucu, Romain Ntamack, Louis Carbonel, Mathieu Jalibert, Gael Fickou, Virimi Vakatawa, Arthur Vincent, Julien Heriteau, Gervais Cordin, Lester Etien, Gabriel Ngandebe, Damian Penaud, Vincent Rattez, Teddy Thomas, Anthony Bouthier, Kylan Hamdaoui, Thomas Ramos.

Brad Mooar will leave the Scarlets at the end of his first season in charge to complete the New Zealand coaching staff.

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) on Tuesday confirmed an agreement had been reached with the Welsh region, who will be paid compensation for head coach Mooar to return to his homeland in June.

The former Crusaders assistant coach will assist new All Blacks boss Ian Foster and take the role of attack coach.

Foster last week brought in John Plumtree to look after the forwards and Greg Feek as scrum coach, while also retaining Scott McLeod to coach the defence. 

The All Blacks head coach, who replaced Steve Hansen after New Zealand's failure to win an unprecedented third successive Rugby World Cup, said: "We're delighted to have Brad confirmed to join us.

"I know the new coaching group is excited and keen to get into their work next season and we'll look forward to welcoming Brad in following his commitments with Scarlets.

"On behalf of the All Blacks, I'd also like to thank Scarlets for their understanding around Brad's release. It is very much appreciated."

Mooar said: "To be joining the All Blacks coaching staff next year is an incredibly humbling and proud moment for my family and me.

"The opportunity to help coach your country comes around very rarely, so I would like to thank the Scarlets club for allowing me to join the All Blacks.

"Similarly, I’d like to thank Ian Foster and NZR not only for this opportunity, but also to finish the season with the Scarlets."

Mooar joined the Scarlets at the end of the 2019 Super Rugby season following Wayne Pivac's appointment as Wales head coach.

Record-breaking former Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw has ended his international career at the age of 34.

Laidlaw has skippered Scotland more times than any other player, leading his country out in 39 of his 76 appearances.

The Clermont Auvergne fly-half is also the second-highest all-time points scorer for Scotland with a tally of 714.

Laidlaw on Thursday announced that a defeat to hosts Japan in the Rugby World Cup in October will be his last Test.

"Emotionally, this decision was incredibly tough. However, when I reflected on what I have learned from playing Test-level rugby and where Scotland is as a national team, it makes sense," Laidlaw.

"Captaining your country to victory is the stuff of childhood dreams. To say I will never again stand in the tunnel, filled with nerves, alongside my rugby family and lead my team-mates out on to the pitch at Murrayfield, is incredibly hard.

"While my body and heart could continue playing, my head tells me that it's time to let the team rebuild. In terms of where Scotland is now, they are in a position to spring forward and I cannot wait to give them my full support from the stands.

"To the Scotland coaches and backroom staff over the years who dedicate hours behind the scenes to prepare the team collectively and as individuals, I thank you.

"To the people who have helped me achieve my dreams: my team-mates, my parents, sister, family, close friends and my incredible wife, Rachel, and our sons, I will be forever thankful for all the support you have shown me over the years; you have stuck by me through thick and thin.

"I'd also like to thank Scottish Rugby and the staff behind the scenes who have both supported me as captain and a player and enabled the team to perform in front of capacity crowds.

"And finally, a massive thanks to the Scotland supporters both in Scotland and abroad for sharing the rollercoaster ride of international rugby with me.

"Your support was always appreciated, from messages on social media to being at the stadium, or just stopping to chat on the street. I look forward to supporting the team alongside you all at Murrayfield soon."

New Zealand head coach Ian Foster has added Hurricanes boss John Plumtree and former All Black Greg Feek to his coaching team.

Hurricanes head coach Plumtree, who will work with the forwards, and ex-Ireland scrum coach Feek have signed two-year deals in a new era for the three-time world champions.

Scott McLeod will stay on as defence coach, with Scarlets head coach Brad Mooar expected to complete the coaching team.

Grant Fox will remain a selector for the 2020 season along with Foster and Plumtree.

"I'm delighted to confirm three of the four other coaches who'll make up our coaching team," said Foster, who was promoted to replace Steve Hansen this month.

"They're all outstanding coaches in their own right, and we'll have new voices and fresh ideas in the All Blacks, which will be really stimulating for everyone, and help us grow as we enter a new era."

Incoming New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson said: "When Ian was appointed to the head coach job, we were all impressed by the collective strength of the team that he'd assembled.

"It's a combination of youth and experience, with both international and New Zealand experience, and they'll bring new ideas to the playing group, which is exciting for the future."

Rugby Football Union (RFU) chief executive Bill Sweeney revealed talks with Eddie Jones over a new deal are "ongoing" but says both parties must be fully committed

The England head coach is contracted until 2021 and the Australian has given little away over whether he is keen to stay on until the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.

Sweeney expects a decision to be made on Jones' future before too long after he guided England to the Rugby World Cup final in Japan, where they fell short against South Africa. 

"Those conversations are ongoing. Both sides need to want this," Sweeney told BBC Sport.

Jones is enjoying a break over the Christmas period after a busy 2019, with the RFU having held a "very positive" review into England's World Cup campaign.

"We said in Japan we would get back and do a full debrief. We have done that and it was all very positive," Sweeney said.

"We have had a number of conversations already. He is on a Christmas break now and will get back early in the new year.

"We will continue those conversations and make a decision on that fairly soon.

"Both sides need to want this. There is no point one side wanting this and the other not. So we will take it from there."

Former Wales assistant coach Rob Howley has apologised and opened up on his battle with "demons" after being banned for making 363 bets on rugby over a four-year spell.

On Monday he was handed an 18-month ban for breaching World Rugby's anti-corruption and betting regulations.

The sanction, nine months of which is suspended for two years, followed a three-month investigation by an independent disciplinary panel.

It was discovered that Howley's bets had spanned dates between November 2015 and September 2019, some of which were on Wales games during his time with the team.

Howley has issued a full apology, insisting his sister Karen's death in 2011 had left him in a difficult place.

"I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to all those close to me and everyone this has affected, especially the rugby community, close colleagues and above all my family," Howley said in a widely reported statement on Tuesday.

"I am an extremely private man, and unfortunately it was this that kept me silent as I battled my demons following my sister's tragic death.

"The last few months have been immensely tough, and continued help will allow me to find the right path back to rugby which has always been my true passion. 

"I am immensely grateful for the faith and support I've received from everybody close to me."

Backs coach Howley was withdrawn from Wales duty when the WRU learned of a potential breach in the build-up to the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

The ban has consequently been backdated to September 16, meaning he will be eligible to return to the sport on June 16, 2020.

Howley wished to make it clear that his good character had been recognised during an investigation which he fully co-operated with.

The 49-year-old added: "I feel it is important for me to reiterate a number of the key facts that were highlighted and proven during the investigation:

"'Mr Howley acknowledged his breach of the regulation at the first available opportunity, that he has demonstrated deep felt and genuine remorse, that he has an exemplary character and an exemplary disciplinary record (both as a player and coach).

"'There was no suggestion of dishonesty or misuse of confidential information involved.

"'The fact that Mr Howley had sought help from a psychologist who had diagnosed that the trigger for Mr Howley's recreational betting had been a family tragedy and that Mr Howley had refrained from betting since his suspension'."

Andy Farrell has sprung a surprise by leaving full-back Rob Kearney out of his first Ireland training squad, a 45-man group which will get together in Dublin later this week.

Leinster star Kearney will not be present when new coach Farrell hosts a "24-hour mid-season stocktake" in Dublin on December 22 and 23.

The 33-year-old, who has 95 Ireland caps, played for his country during their recent Rugby World Cup campaign in Japan, including in the heavy quarter-final defeat to New Zealand.

But Kearney has missed out on Farrell's selection, which includes some top names along with a host of uncapped players.

Five of his uncapped Leinster team-mates are in the squad, Jamison Gibson-Park, Will Connors, Caelan Doris, Max Deegan and Ronan Kelleher.

Ulster duo Tom O'Toole and England-born Billy Burns also get the nod, along with Connacht scrum-half Caolin Blade.

"The next six weeks is the window for players to put their hands up for selection for our first squad, which will be named in late January ahead of the Six Nations," Farrell said.

"We have limited opportunities across the busy provincial season to bring a broad group like this together, but this 24-hour window will allow us to plant a few seeds.

"It will also give the coaches a better insight into a few players who been performing consistently well for their provinces."    

Ulster prop Marty Moore returns to the fold having not played for Ireland in almost five years.

Leinster lock Devin Toner and Ulster number nine John Cooney are also back after former boss Joe Schmidt did not select them for the World Cup.

Jordi Murphy, Sean Cronin, Jack Carty and Kieran Marmion join Kearney in missing out on a place in the group.

John Ryan and Tadhg Beirne are both injured and not listed, but Johnny Sexton is included despite currently being out with a knee problem.

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