Former European Player of the Year Leone Nakarawa has been sacked by Racing 92 after returning two weeks late from the Rugby World Cup, the Top 14 side have announced.

The Fiji international, who claimed European Professional Club Rugby's top individual award in 2018, was scheduled to be back in Racing training on October 28.

However, Nakarawa had an "unjustified absence" until November 12 and missed the European Champions Cup clash with Saracens on November 17, Racing revealed in a statement on Friday.

The club say Nakarawa refused to answer messages and that he had been accused of "abandoning his post" previously, too.

Racing have cancelled the player's contract, stating the action was "essential", and claim his absence "caused a lot of damage".

"This is a deplorable example for the players of Racing 92," the statement read. "His title of the 2018 European Player of the Year should have encouraged him to be exemplary.

"At Racing, the only star is the team, and the individualistic attitude of Leone Nakarawa is inconceivable. It denotes a total lack of team spirit and a characteristic insubordination."

Nakarawa joined Racing in 2016 from Glasgow Warriors, who are now reportedly interested in bringing the lock back to Scotland.

The 31-year-old has 62 caps and featured in each of Fiji's four matches at the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

Despite numerous successes in recent times, Reggae Girlz head coach, Hue Menzies has decided he can no longer continue in his capacity after a protracted dispute did not seem to be coming to an amicable solution.

Rugby Australia (RA) chief executive Raelene Castle said discussions were held with England head coach Eddie Jones before the Wallabies appointed Dave Rennie.

RA confirmed the appointment of New Zealander and Glasgow Warriors boss Rennie as Michael Cheika's replacement on Wednesday.

Cheika vacated his position following Australia's quarter-final defeat to England at the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

A return to Australia was touted for Jones, who was sacked by the Wallabies in 2005, but Castle revealed it was too difficult to prise the 59-year-old from England.

"We had discussions with Eddie," she told a news conference for Rennie's appointment midweek.

"But he was contracted to England, and tightly contracted, which ruled him out."

Rennie – a two-time Super Rugby-winning coach with the Chiefs – is the second New Zealander to coach the Wallabies, following in the footsteps of Robbie Deans.

Deans took over in 2007 and he guided Australia to third place at the 2011 World Cup before being axed in 2013.

Having been encouraged to apply for the All Blacks vacancy following Steve Hansen's exit, Rennie told Rugby.com.au: "I'm a proud Kiwi but the big thing is I've been talking to Australia for a lot of months and the All Blacks interest came in late in the piece and by that stage, we'd done a lot of homework, we were really excited about the opportunity to go to Australia and that ended up being an easy decision."

Rennie, who will not arrive until July, added: "I think Australians want their national team coached by an Australian and I'm OK with that.

"Hopefully, they're feeling that way because they care about Aussie rugby and all I can say is everywhere I've gone I've immersed myself in the community and the culture.

"I guess we'll be judged by what we do as opposed to what I say now but I can assure you that I care about he future of Australian rugby, going to work really hard to get a strong connection with the Super Rugby coaches and a national age grade coaches to ensure we've got good young talent through and good pathways for them."

Dave Rennie will become the Wallabies' new head coach, Rugby Australia have confirmed, though he will not start in the role until July 2020.

Rennie, who will complete his commitments with Glasgow Warriors before taking charge next year, has signed a deal running through to the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

The 55-year-old New Zealander won back-to-back Super Rugby titles with the Chiefs before heading to Europe to continue his coaching career, having previously had a spell in charge of the All Blacks' Under-20 team.

His appointment ends the search to find a replacement for Michael Cheika, whose tenure came to an end with Australia's quarter-final defeat to England at this year's World Cup in Japan.

Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle confirmed Rennie was their preferred candidate, while also announcing director of rugby Scott Johnson will take charge of the national team in the short term.

"This is a massive coup for Australian rugby. Dave Rennie was the clear standout candidate for the job, and we're thrilled to have secured his services," Castle said in a statement.

"Dave's coaching philosophy focuses equally on football and team culture, the key pillars to building sustainable success in any team. He has a proven track record in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere.

"Given incumbent head coach Michael Cheika had indicated in early 2019 the possibility that he would not seek re-appointment for the role, we needed to identify a list of candidates that would be available to us, and suitable to work within our new high performance framework. This search has been ongoing for the past six months.

"When Michael then confirmed he would not seek re-appointment following our Rugby World Cup exit, we moved to appoint our preferred candidate."

Dave Rennie will become the Wallabies' new head coach, Rugby Australia have confirmed, though he will not start in the role until July 2020.

It was the year of Easy Rider, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Midnight Cowboy, Kes and The Italian Job; Abbey Road, Let It Bleed, Dusty In Memphis and Kick Out The Jams.

OK boomer.

Woodstock was a totemic cultural moment in 1969 - but so too the first flight of the Boeing 747, the wedding and bed-in of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, the Stonewall riots and the first manned Moon landing, Neil Armstrong and all that jazz. And jazz. Miles Davis’ classic In A Silent Way split critics down the middle.

There was Monty Python's television debut but also the Manson Family murders and the ongoing Vietnam War. The US magazine Life revealed at least 12 million Americans had experimented with marijuana.

All very adult, magic meets toxic; spaceman versus off your face, man.

Little wonder then, that when Pele scored his 1,000th career goal on November 19 of that year he begged the world to please think of the children. The babes of US boomers may have been treated to the very first broadcast of Scooby Doo on CBS in September, but Pele knew the kids in Brazil were still being sold short as the end of the decade drew near.

"For the love of God, people," the 29-year-old Pele said in Rio de Janeiro, on that historic night. "Now that everyone is listening, help the children, help the helpless. That's my only wish at this very special time for me."

Gareth Southgate plans to stay on as England manager for the 2022 World Cup if he feels there is "warmth" for him to continue, though he acknowledged that could depend on his side's performance at Euro 2020.

England secured their place at next year's finals with a 7-0 rout of Montenegro last week, before rounding off their qualification campaign in style by beating Kosovo 4-0.

After reaching the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup, the last four of the UEFA Nations League and qualifying for Euro 2020 comfortably at the top of Group A, Southgate conceded his side will now be singled out as one of the teams to beat in the tournament.

And the former Middlesbrough manager is aware how his position could change should England fail to impress next year.

"When you have a week like I've had, you sense that people can fall out of love with you and if there isn't a warmth for you to continue, then that can start to affect the team," Southgate, who dropped Raheem Sterling from his squad for the clash with Montenegro after the Manchester City forward's tussle with team-mate Joe Gomez, told reporters.

"So, I'm realistic about how quickly those tides can turn. For me, it's about what's next and I know in the end we'll always be judged ultimately by the tournaments.

"We've got to accept that [England are one of the favourites]. We should go in feeling confident about ourselves and, equally, we know there are areas of the game we've got to get better at. But I think all the top teams will feel the same.

"The players have the belief and we've got to keep giving them that belief, but we don't tell them lies, we are pretty honest with our appraisals of their performances and the sorts of matches they're going in to."

Southgate, however, will still be planning, even if he is uncertain as to whether he will lead England at the Qatar World Cup.

"I think when I started and we looked at other federations, we were almost embarrassed to go and look at where we should be preparing for," Southgate explained.

"And Germany were always there and they'd already secured the best hotel. So, I think we've had to be a bit bolder and say, 'no, look, it's not a jinx to go and do it'. We've got to have belief in what we're doing and execute the right preparation.

"Without taking any focus off what we're doing next summer we've got to get the next bit right, otherwise we'll be behind the curve. I think the best organisations get that short-, mid- and long-term planning right."

Jamie Joseph is out of contention to become New Zealand head coach after committing his future to Japan.

The former All Blacks forward was thought to be among the front-runners to replace Steve Hansen, who departed after their Rugby World Cup defence ended in semi-final defeat to England.

However, Joseph joins the likes of Warren Gatland, Joe Schmidt and John Mitchell in opting not to pursue arguably the most coveted job in world rugby.

Joseph has instead extended his contract with Japan through to December 2023, having guided the Cherry Blossoms to an unprecedented World Cup quarter-final on home soil.

"I have great expectations for rugby in Japan and I'm very honoured that I can lead the team towards the next World Cup," Joseph said via a statement on the Japan Rugby Football Union's official website.

"We achieved the goal of being among the top eight countries in the World Cup, but there are still more issues to be tackled.

"To that end, I chose the path to challenge with the Japanese national team again. I want to strengthen the team."

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson, Ian Foster - who served as assistant to Hansen - and Glasgow Warriors boss Dave Rennie are thought to be on the shortlist to replace Hansen, who led New Zealand to World Cup glory in 2011 and 2015.

Sergio Ramos has reiterated his desire to represent Spain at the 2020 Olympic Games.

Captain for club and country, Real Madrid defender Ramos is Spain's most-capped player, with 168 appearances on the international stage. 

He has never participated at the Olympics, however, where the football tournament is comprised of under-23 squads allowed to select three over-aged players.

Ramos' long-time international centre-back partner Gerard Pique has also voiced his desire to take part at Tokyo 2020, despite having retired from duty with Spain after the 2018 World Cup

"It makes me excited to always represent Spain. Like Pique, all the players who could play an Olympic Games with Spain would do it," Ramos told a news conference ahead of the Euro 2020 qualifier against Malta – Robert Moreno's side already assured of their place at the finals.

"First there is a Euro and then we will see, but I am excited because it is something I have never experienced."

Another of Ramos' colleagues during a glorious era with Spain, David Villa, announced this week that he will retire in January, concluding a career in which he became his country's all-time record goalscorer. 

"He is a legend, one of the best players in Spain and the world," Ramos said of the former Valencia and Barcelona forward, who was a key member of Spain's triumphant campaigns at Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012.

"I congratulate him on his career and for everything he has given for Spain and the teams in which he has played."

Ramos will turn 34 in March but is not considering hanging up his boots just yet. 

In fact, he has designs on taking one more shot at World Cup glory in 2022.

"As long as football allows me and I am physically well and looking forward, I will not anticipate [my retirement]," he added.

"We have a wonderful Euro ahead of us. I would like to reach the World Cup. I want to win again with Spain."

Scottish Rugby has expressed its regret over threatening to take legal action against World Rugby during the World Cup and agreed to pay a £70,000 fine.

Chief executive Mark Dodson said Scottish Rugby had received legal opinion for a potential case against the world governing body if Scotland's clash with Japan was cancelled due to Typhoon Hagibis.

The decisive Pool A showdown between the hosts and Scotland at International Stadium Yokohama was in doubt with one of the most destructive typhoons in decades approaching.

Japan reached the quarter-finals and knocked Gregor Townsend's side out when the match went ahead as scheduled last month.

Scottish Rugby stated that it would "consider all options, which may include arbitration" after World Rugby ordered the organisation to apologise and pay a fine.

The matter is now closed, though, after Scottish Rugby opted against taking further action.

"World Rugby can confirm that the Scottish Rugby Union has expressed its regret and has confirmed it will not challenge World Rugby further on this matter.

"The Scottish Rugby Union has agreed to pay a donation of £70,000 to World Rugby and the matter is now closed. There will be no further comment from either party."

World Rugby stated last week that the fine will be donated to the ChildFund Pass it Back programme to assist with the ongoing relief effort in areas affected by Typhoon Hagibis.

Scottish Rugby has expressed its regret over threatening to take legal action against World Rugby during the World Cup and agreed to pay a £70,000 fine.

Chief executive Mark Dodson said Scottish Rugby had received legal opinion for a potential case against the world governing body if Scotland's clash with Japan was cancelled due to Typhoon Hagibis.

The decisive Pool A showdown between the hosts and Scotland at International Stadium Yokohama was in doubt with one of the most destructive typhoons in decades approaching.

Japan reached the quarter-finals and knocked Gregor Townsend's side out when the match went ahead as scheduled last month.

Scottish Rugby stated that it would "consider all options, which may include arbitration" after World Rugby ordered the organisation to apologise and pay a fine.

The matter is now closed, though, after Scottish Rugby opted against taking further action.

"World Rugby can confirm that the Scottish Rugby Union has expressed its regret and has confirmed it will not challenge World Rugby further on this matter.

"The Scottish Rugby Union has agreed to pay a donation of £70,000 to World Rugby and the matter is now closed. There will be no further comment from either party."

World Rugby stated last week that the fine will be donated to the ChildFund Pass it Back programme to assist with the ongoing relief effort in areas affected by Typhoon Hagibis.

Sonny Bill Williams has returned to rugby league by signing a two-year deal with Super League newcomers Toronto Wolfpack.

The 34-year-old, a two-time Rugby World Cup winner with New Zealand, has switched codes again having signed a contract reportedly worth 9million Canadian dollars that will make him the highest-paid rugby league player in the world.

Williams, who featured for the All Blacks in their run to the World Cup semi-finals last month, began his professional career in the NRL with Canterbury Bulldogs.

After winning a Premiership with the Bulldogs, he switched to union to play for Top 14 club Toulon but returned to the NRL in 2013, winning a second title with Sydney Roosters.

It has been five years since Williams played league and his signing is a coup for a Toronto side that will spend next season in Super League having won promotion in just their third campaign.

Centre Williams, a two-time World Cup-winner with the All Blacks with 58 caps to his name, is ready to play a big role for ambitious Toronto on and off the field.

"Toronto Wolfpack is a club that represents Toronto which is a very multicultural city," he said.

"The club has big ambitions and big goals. I want to be part of all this and do all I can to help reach those lofty goals.

"On the field I'd like to bring high quality play and do all I can for the betterment of the team. Off the field I'd like to use my experience to mentor the young players and be helpful where I am needed.

"Super league will be a new challenge and one I'm looking forward to. It will be a new experience and one I'm ready to embrace."

Scottish Rugby has been fined £70,000 and ordered to apologise after threatening to take legal action if the Rugby World Cup clash with Japan was cancelled due to Typhoon Hagibis.

The crunch Pool A clash showdown between the hosts and Scotland at International Stadium Yokohama last month was in doubt with one of the most destructive typhoons in decades approaching.

Scottish Rugby chief executive Mark Dodson said the organisation had received legal opinion for a potential case against World Rugby if the match was called off, with Scotland needing a win to reach the quarter-finals.

Japan beat Gregor Townsend's side in a contest that went ahead as scheduled and Scotland have now been sanctioned for Dodson's remarks, though a second charge brought against an unnamed Scottish Rugby spokesperson was dismissed.

A statement from the world governing body said: "World Rugby strongly believed the comments, which suggested an unfair and disorganised treatment of all teams, to be inappropriate and ill-judged at a time when Japan was preparing for the largest and most destructive typhoon in decades. 

"The international federation believed that such comments brought the game into disrepute, not only in relation to World Rugby's handling of an extraordinary situation but also in the message that it sent to the Japanese people. 

"Having considered all the evidence, including submissions by World Rugby and the SRU, the committee determined in respect of the first charge that comments attributed to Mark Dodson amounted to misconduct and brought the game into disrepute. 

"In respect of the second charge, the available evidence was insufficient for the committee to be satisfied on the balance of probabilities as to the source of the offending remarks and therefore it dismissed the charge."

Scottish Rugby said it would reflect on this outcome and further consider all our options, which may include arbitration.

Former England captain Dylan Hartley has retired at the age of 33, his club Northampton Saints have confirmed.

Hartley has not played since December due to a troublesome knee problem and it is that injury that has ultimately ended his career.

The hooker made 97 appearances for England, captaining his country on 30 occasions, and is the nation's second-most capped player behind Jason Leonard.

Hartley made his international debut in 2008 and was named Eddie Jones' captain ahead of the 2016 Six Nations, when England won the Grand Slam.

England also won the Six Nations with Hartley as captain in 2017 but his injury meant he missed the recent Rugby World Cup, with Jones' side reaching last weekend's final before losing to South Africa.

"I am extremely proud of my journey, both with Saints and representing England, but now is the right time to hang up my playing boots," Hartley said in quotes published on Northampton's website.

"I have loved my journey in rugby. I came to England as a teenager hoping to get a few games of rugby and to see the world.

"I could have never predicted that one day I'd play 14 years for such a special club and go on to represent and captain England."

Hartley made 251 appearances for Northampton across 14 seasons and came on when Saints won the Premiership final against Saracens in 2014.

His career was littered with controversies, though, and he was named England captain in 2016 despite serving bans totalling 54 weeks for offences such as gouging, biting and striking.

"My career wasn't perfect, but I wouldn't have had it any other way," Hartley added.

"I'm privileged to have experienced some amazing highs while there have also been some personal lows, all of which are powerful experiences that will stay with me forever.

"The final chapter of my career was supposed to go a different way, but that is the nature of professional sport."

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) has announced the launch of its recruitment process to replace All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen, with an appointment to be made in December. 

Hansen's eight-year tenure at the New Zealand helm ended following the Rugby World Cup bronze final win over Wales, a semi-final defeat to England having denied him a shot at a second title.

NZR confirmed the search for his successor was under way in a statement released on Wednesday, in which the organisation said it had invited "applications from a small group of coaches familiar with New Zealand's professional rugby environment".

Chairman Brent Impey revealed the process – conducted by a five-strong panel – would take place throughout November and next month, with a head coach announced prior to Christmas.

"This is a hugely exciting time for New Zealand Rugby," said Impey. "We know that the All Blacks and New Zealand have been served well by exceptional coaches, so we are well aware of the importance of the task ahead.

"We believe we have an excellent group of people on the panel, balancing the experience of winning, high-performance teams and leadership with external perspective and experience."

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