Rugby Union: Rebels return to Welsh League

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CARDIFF AND Swansea will return to the Premier Division of the Welsh National League next season. The two clubs, who played a series of friendly games against English Premiership sides last term after pulling out of their domestic League, have signed eight-year loyalty agreements with the Welsh Rugby Union. In return they will be nominated by the WRU to go into the European Cup along with Llanelli, Pontypridd and Neath, with Ebbw Vale making way.

A statement from Welsh rugby's governing body said: "The Welsh Rugby Union, Cardiff and Swansea are delighted to announce that the rift between the governing body and two of its senior clubs has been amicably settled and that Welsh rugby can again move forward on a united front."

Ebbw Vale, who now miss out on a European Cup place, will be compensated financially and will take part in the European Shield.

The former New South Wales state winger Matt Mostyn is one of three new caps in an Ireland team aiming for its first win over Australia in 20 years at Ballymore on Saturday. Mostyn, who has played for French side Bordeaux for the past seven months, will take the field with an Irish team featuring five changes from the side which lost 39-24 to New South Wales.

Mostyn said his mother, father and girlfriend will be in the crowd for his first Test for Ireland, the birthplace of his grandfather. He was granted an Irish passport enabling him to play in Europe last year.

Three injured players have been bracketed at blind-side flanker, with Victor Costello (ankle), Trevor Brennan (shoulder) and David Corkery (back) in a race to be fit.

IRELAND (v Australia, Ballymore, Saturday): C O'Shea; J Bishop, B O'Driscoll, K Maggs, M Mostyn; D Humphrey, T Tierney; D O'Cuinneagain (capt), A Ward, V Costello/T Brennan/D Corkery (two to be omitted), P Johns, J Davidson, P Clohessy, K Woods, P Wallace. Reserves: C Scally, J Bell, M O'Kelly, E Ellwood, R Corrigan, R Nesdale.