Ruck and Maul: South African Kings reach a dead end in search for Celtic lineage

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The Independent Online

The Magners League is baffled by claims from the South Africa Rugby Union that the Port Elizabeth-based Southern Kings – currently a team without opponents after they lost the battle with Melbourne to claim the vacant slot in the Super 15 from 2011 – might join the Celtic competition.

SARU said on Thursday they had mandated their president, Oregan Hoskins, to "continue discussions with European rugby authorities" over the Kings joining "a northern hemisphere rugby competition", adding they were "encouraged by discussions around the possibility of the Kings appearing in the Celtic League". But David Jordan, the director of Celtic Rugby, told Ruck and Maul: "We have not been discussing anything with the South African Union. There were some discussions four or five years ago about a possible tie-up with Currie Cup teams but it came to nothing." As for the two Italian sides hoping to enter the Magners League in the 2010-11 season, D-Day is drawing near. "Any Italian team joining has to demonstrate they will be competitive as well as commercially secure," said Jordan. "We will start our planning for next season early in the new year."

Boks home in on Wembley

More to-ing and fro-ing in South African rugby. The Springboks are pondering a return to Wembley, scene of the recent match against Saracens, for a Test against France next summer. The Boks are already due to meet Wales in Cardiff on 5 June, and though the French fixture on 12 June should be played in Cape Town, it would need special dispensation because host cities in the football World Cup cannot stage other international sport at the same time. An Argentinian team is to play in the Vodacom Cup, South Africa's third-tier competition below the Super 14 and Currie Cup, next year. "It could prove an important stepping stone for Argentina... to confirm their inclusion in the Tri-Nations from 2012," said Dr Jan Marais of SARU. Thus begins the long-awaited run-up to Argentina taking a central place in southern hemisphere rugby – and a possible exodus of Pumas from European clubs.

Try and guess the winner

Voting is open to the "global rugby family" for the International Rugby Players' Association Try of the Year, though it is not quite global but restricted to tries from the Six Nations Championship, Tri Nations, British & Irish Lions series and June and November internationals. You may recall Shane Williams' try for the Lions in Johannesburg from Riki Flutey's chip and inside flick, but be less familiar with the one scored by Alexander Yanyushkin for Russia against Uruguay in the Nations Cup. Check it out among the video clips of all 15 tries on the shortlist at irb.com.

Not likely to return to Sale

The postponement of London Wasps' Premiership match at Sale a fortnight ago is likely to lead to Premier Rugby reaffirming their regulation and the relevant International Board law, which are intended to give the referee the final say on the safety of a pitch. The London Wasps chaplain, David Chawner, is believed to have been sent statements from supporters unhappy at their treatment by Sale and their fans on the night in question. It is understood that a Wasps supporter had his car tipped up and two female followers of the club felt unsafe at a match for the first time in many years spent watching their team.

hughgodwin@yahoo.co.uk

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