Lawrence Dallaglio, the London Wasps director and former captain, has remarked that his club would be happy to sign Matt Stevens when the England prop's drugs ban is up in 2011, and Bath are also "keen" to have their former employee back. As revealed in these pages in September, Stevens has been keeping fit by training and competing in the martial art Brazilian Jujitsu. More recently, the South African-born front-rower told ITV he "would have liked to have been able to coach kids, even if it had a kind of drug- awareness angle to it, but the ban is quite stringent in that regard. I can see why... you need to keep [those who fail drugs tests] away from the sport so you don't set bad examples." This is not quite true. The International Rugby Board have confirmed to Ruck and Maul that Stevens – in common with anyone serving a similar suspension – is permitted to undertake educational work on the dangers and effects of drugs.
Richards curries the can
A different kind of rehabilitation is on the cards for Harlequins' erstwhile director of rugby Dean Richards. The so-called "directing mind" in the Bloodgate saga is, like Stevens, suspended from coaching players and clubs. But being a guest speaker with the Dewi Morris Curry Club in Manchester is fine. Richards will help his old England team-mate Morris entertain Sale Sharks fans at £45 a ticket next Friday evening. Comedian Billy Bean will provide the laughs.
The Barbarian invasion
Good times for foreign players in Europe. The overseas representation in France's Top 14 is running at around 40 per cent – similar to that in England – and a blanket ban by the Guinness Premiership on players turning out for the Barbarians against New Zealand next Saturday has cleared the way for visiting stars to wear the famous black-and-white hoops. The ambitious French third division side Marseille Vitrolles have decided if you can't beat 'em... Jonah Lomu made his debut last Sunday in a 63-18 rout of Montmélian. The All Black legend, who has occupied himself of late with body-building and campaigning for Japan's 2019 World Cup bid and rugby in the Olympics, was used mainly as a very large decoy in the unfamiliar position of outside-centre.
Gael Force's winding road
Someone with a sadistic sense of humour must have drawn up the fixtures for the newest of Scotland's three teams in the inaugural British & Irish Cup. The Proclaimers' "I would walk 500 miles", often played at Murrayfield, might have been apt as Gael Force kicked off the cup last weekend with a 545-mile journey to Cam-borne, where they lost 29-8 to Cornish Pirates. The Force, a Scottish Rugby Union-run side of National Academy players and Edinburgh and Glasgow squad members, were then treated to a 445-mile jaunt to Exeter yesterday. They could swap the Proclaimers for the Pretenders and make "2,000 Miles" their song. The Cornish fixture featured a 40-minute comeback for Edinburgh's openside flanker Ross Rennie, who has had two knee operations since being injured in his solitary Test, against Ireland in 2008. And, blow me, what about that name with the excruciating pun? Apparently with rugby league having purloined "Bravehearts" and cricket nicking "Saltires", there wasn't a lot to choose from.Reuse content