Here are the latest rugby headlines from Tuesday 3 May.
Scarlets flop set for Stormers transfer
Former Scarlets flop Clayton Blommetjies will join the Stormers at the end of the year.
According to reports in south africathe 31-year-old utility fullback will join the Cape Town side from the Cheetahs for the start of next season.
Blommetjies could replace Springbok full-back Warrick Gelant, who has been linked with a move to Racing 92 next year.
During his time at Llanelli, the South African struggled to make an impact – he was loaned out to Leicester Tigers before his contract ran out early.
Wales manager ready to discuss his future
Wales women’s head coach Ioan Cunningham prepares to speak about his role in Welsh rugby following this autumn’s World Cup in New Zealand. The former Scarlets manager has just guided Wales to a third-place finish in the Six Nations, their best finish in 13 years, after just four months of 12 of the players turning full-time professionals. He is expected to oversee further progress ahead of the Fall World Tournament as the team settle further into their new professional era.
But he is only under contract with Wales Women until the end of the World Cup. The former Wales U20s boss has been linked in recent weeks with a return to the role, although the Welsh Rugby Union have insisted none of those talks have taken place while Cunningham said publicly: “My attention is with the Wales women’s team.”
Asked on Saturday after Wales v Italy when he would talk about his role after the World Cup, he replied: “Good question. Soon I imagine.”
As for his first Six Nations in charge of this team, he said: “I absolutely loved it. I loved working with this group of players, they want to learn, they want to improve, their passion for the shirt. I’m really happy to be part of this group and excited about what we can accomplish.
“I really believe that with hard work and what we can do in the summer period and in August and September, we can really do something special, hopefully in October.” Wales are set to face England and Canada this summer in World Cup warm-up matches, which you can find out more here.
A Wales player in Alphonsi’s Six Nations squad
No.8 Sioned Harries is the only Wales player to feature in Maggie Alphonsi’s Six Nations squad of the tournament. World Cup winners and seven-time Six Nations champions, the combined XV are dominated by seven Red Roses stars, with four French internationals and three Irish internationals also in the mix.
Welsh flanker Alisha Butchers is credited for her efforts as her team’s best tackler, while hooker Kelsey Jones is praised for her consistent impact off the bench, but it’s only Worcester Warriors striker Harries – who brought him back to the test arena for this campaign after more than two years in the desert – which is part of the team.
Alphonsi said of Harries in The Telegraph “Harries’ work rate and impact off the bench epitomized a reinvigorated Welsh side. In the fourth round she scored a try and constantly inspired the team to push forward.”
Lancaster rejects unfair claims
Stuart Lancaster insists Steve Borthwick’s claim that Leinster have an unfair advantage over Leicester ahead of their Champions Cup clash is far from accurate.
The Tigers host Leinster at Welford Road on Saturday in the clash of the two League leaders, with Leicester top of the Premiership and Leinster top of the URC.
While the Irish province were able to keep a large number of key players at home to work with Lancaster while a second string squad toured South Africa, Leicester named full Premiership squads.
“The context is quite different,” Borthwick said, referring to the buildup on both sides.
“Look at the size of their squad, the number of internationals in their squad and the nature of their league, it’s very different.
“Compare that to where we are, the Premiership is fierce competition and we’ve had games in which we want to get results and that’s what it is.
“We operate with a salary cap and a limited squad size. Leaving one squad in South Africa and one in Ireland is a different situation.
“It’s a very good team, they’ve been together for a long time. We will test ourselves against an exceptional team from the early stages of the project we are on.
“Look at France – their budgets are not that different from Leinster’s in terms of budget and caps and that’s one of the challenges we have to overcome.
“Hopefully we can ask Leinster a few questions.”
However, former England manager Lancaster dismissed the idea that Leinster would benefit from being able to prevent players from visiting South Africa.
“I’m not sure it’s an advantage to go to South Africa before a Champions Cup quarter-final – I’m not sure anyone would want that in their preparation,” he said.
“Hence the decision we made because if we weren’t clear in the URC – and we’ve earned that right by working so hard over the course of the season – then maybe we would have made a different decision. .
“But we are and we did.
“It played out that way and that means we, you could say, haven’t played since Connacht, and Leicester are seasoned and ready.
“When you look at the quality of Leicester, every player is, or has been, an international player or will be like Jack van Poortvliet or Dan Kelly.
“(Nemani) Nadolo is a Fijian international, Freddie Stewart is excellent. The list is really long.
“They recruited very well and they have good local talent coming forward.
“At half-backs in particular, both Ford and Youngs are England players, as I know better than anyone.
“It will be a great game across the board, but I don’t think we have an unfair advantage.
“It’s right up there, it’s one of the toughest challenges we’ve faced for sure on a variety of fronts and we’ll have to be at our best, that’s for sure.”