Newcastle release Grimes as player cull gathers pace

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The Independent Online

The Newcastle clear-out continued yesterday with the news that the Scotland lock Stuart Grimes has had his contract terminated.

Grimes, 32, who won the last of his 71 caps in the 2005 Calcutta Cup match against England before taking a year out of international rugby, is likely to interest Bristol, who are looking to strengthen their squad with experienced players.

He is the fifth player to be released following Dave Walder, who is attracting the attention of Newport-Gwent Dragons, the Welsh international Colin Charvis, the Italy prop Tino Paoletti and Australian back-row forward Owen Finegan.

Gloucester learned yesterday that they will have the services of England centre Mike Tindall for their Premiership showdown against Wasps on Saturday. Tindall suffered a blow to his right cheekbone against Leeds at the weekend, but an X-ray has revealed no serious damage.

London Irish have signed Samoa-born Seilala Mapusua on a three-year contract. Northampton have re-signed the scrum-half Ian Vass from Harlequins on a two-year contract.

Gareth Jenkins, the new Wales coach, expects to announce his first squad, for this summer's two-Test tour of Argentina, next Wednesday.

There is speculation that Nigel Davies, Jenkins' assistant at Llanelli, will join him on the coaching team along with Cardiff's Dai Young, while Mike Ford, the Saracens head coach who is being linked with a defensive role in the England set-up, is thought to be top of Jenkins' list for an identical role with Wales.

The Scotland coach, Frank Hadden, has included 15 uncapped players in a 54-strong joint Scotland and Scotland A training squad. The senior party has a two-Test tour of South Africa next month, while the A team will be taking part in the Churchill Cup in Canada from 3 to 17 June.