In March 2016, World Cup-winning All Black Piri Weepu was out of work in France. I spoke to him for Rugby Wrap Up as he looked to find his way back to the pro-game via strictly amateur French sixth-tier outfit Saint-Sulpice-sur-Tarn
Former All Black Piri Weepu has put professional concerns on the backburner for the moment as he concentrates on finding a way to enjoy his rugby again.
The 32-year-old half-back has yet to make his debut with amateur side Saint-Sulpice-sur-Tarn, who play in the sixth tier of French rugby.
He arrived at the small-town club in February, after a brief but troubled spell at Oyonnax, but he has yet to flick out a trademark pass in anger as his registration remains tied up in frustrating French red tape…
The Top 14 is a big-money business, but dark clerks of the FFR and LNR ensure clubs do not play fast and loose with the financial rules…
If ever you needed proof that French rugby’s Top 14 was a high-stakes game for high rollers with money to burn, recent news has delivered it.
Last week, the new billionaire owner of Stade Francais, Germany’s Hans-Peter Wild, revealed he was willing to invest €30million of his own money over the next three seasons to right the struggling Stade ship.
The 75-year-old Capri-Sun king joked: “At my age, I’ve earned the right to have some fun.” But he also said that he wanted his investment to become one of the top three clubs in Europe.
And then, on Sunday, it was revealed that Toulon – that rabble-rousing red-and-black symbol of conspicuous Top 14 consumption – were days away from being busted down to the second-tier ProD2 by the dismal-sounding Direction Nationale d’Aide et de Contrôle de Gestion (DNACG), who had discovered a €2million hole in their finances.
I spoke to Canadian rugby legend Jamie Cudmore about the dangers of concussion for the Rugby Pass website
Tighter high-tackle laws put too much pressure on referees and Head Injury Assessments (HIAs) are not fit for purpose, Canadian rugby star Jamie Cudmore has warned.
The veteran lock, a committed campaigner for improvements in the recognition and treatment of concussion in rugby, is the latest in a long line of players, former players, medical experts and coaches to voice their concern over the change in protocols.
This weekend alone, Munster’s Conor Murray and Leinster’s Jonathan Sexton returned to play after suffering suspected head injuries in European Champions Cup games.
European Professional Club Rugby, the organisation that runs the two European competitions, is reportedly so concerned about the impartiality of club medical staff that they are considering independent match-day doctors from the quarter-final stage of the tournament.
Cudmore said: “I see where World Rugby is trying to go – they’re trying to make the game safer. But it seems to me they’re just trying to cover their asses in case there is, eventually, an NFL-type class-action lawsuit.”