Rugby Union: Ireland's captain heads for home

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The Independent Online
THE IRELAND captain, Dion O'Cuinneagain, has taken up a home-based contract with the Irish Rugby Football Union. The loose forward, formerly with Sale, is the latest in a growing group of English-based players to return to Ireland.

His move follows the recent transfer of Keith Wood from Harlequins to his old club Garryowen. O'Cuinneagain will be available for selection by the European Cup holders, Ulster, and will play for Ballymena in the AIB League. He will be contracted until December 2000.

London Irish yesterday finalised the merger with London Scottish and Richmond to form a new superclub. The new club will be called London Irish and will play its matches at Harlequins' Stoop ground.

Meanwhile, the former Richmond coach John Kingston, who resigned recently as the club's director of rugby over the merger, has been appointed first- team coach and manager of the Irish club Galwegians and will take up his new job immediately.

Northampton have completed the signing of the 23-year-old Argentinian international Martin Scelzo on a two-year contract. The 21st prop holds an Italian passport and so will be registered as an EU-qualified player, not as an overseas one.

Pontypridd and Ebbw Vale are locked in a tug-of-war over the services of Richie Collins, the former Wales flanker. Collins, who was capped 28 times from 1987-1995, is Pontypridd's choice as coach to replace Dennis John, who has become the club's technical director. Ebbw Vale have confirmed that Collins, on contract as a player, has not turned up for pre-season training.

The England coach, Clive Woodward, will announce his 30-man World Cup squad on 31 August. Woodward and his final selection will return to their present training base at the Royal Marines' commando training centre in Lympstone, Devon, to make the announcement.

A mainly second-string Wales XV will play the United States at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on 30 August, two days after a full-strength Wales host France in a World Cup warm-up Test.

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