August cited for alleged gouge

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Benoit August, the Biarritz captain and hooker, was last night cited for two alleged illegal acts, including a gouging, against Bath's England lock Danny Grewcock in Saturday's Heineken Cup semi-final. August will appear before a disciplinary hearing after the citing commissioner John West, of Ireland, found that he had: "... allegedly committed a dangerous tackle on the Bath No 5 Danny Grewcock, and ... that he appeared to make contact with Grewcock's eye in the tackle." The date for the hearing has yet to be set.

Wasps are expected to announce tomorrow that they have signed the injury-stricken England prop Phil Vickery on a pay-per-play deal. It is a huge gamble by Wasps. Vickery, 30, has had his share of knocks and has played just a handful of games in the last three years for Gloucester. His latest problem is his back, on which he has now undergone three operations. Yesterday he said: "To be honest I don't know if I can get back to play at all yet. I am still in the early stages of my recovery. It could be July before I hit a scrum machine. I may find that my back is not good enough."

Meanwhile, the Challenge Cup finalists Gloucester and London Irish want to switch to a larger venue than Harlequins' 12,500-capacity Twickenham Stoop for the final on 21 May. The clubs want a stadium with a 15,000-20,000 capacity to cater for the interest the final will generate; alternative stadiums include Bristol City's Ashton Gate and Leicester's Welford Road.

Saracens' England scrum-half Kyran Bracken, 34, who won 51 England caps, has announced he is to retire at the end of the season. He makes his last appearance at Vicarage Road in Friday's Guinness Premiership match against Leicester.

The Heineken Cup finalists Munster are reported to be chasing Llanelli's Wales lock Chris Wyatt, while Cardiff's Welsh international flanker Martyn Williams is tipped for a move to the French club Perpignan.

Thomas Lombard is to leave Worcester at the end of the season and return to France for family reasons. He is expected to join Castres.

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