Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Rugby News: Monday 20 April

Rugby News: Monday 20 April

Darry Worthington takes a look at the rugby news that has made the headlines over the past week.

While COVID-19 has put a hold to all rugby fixtures around the globe, there's still a lot of rugby news doing the rounds at the moment. This week's big stories include Augustin Pichot going on the online offensive, Bill Beaumont's Nations Cup proposal, Basteraud bids America goodbye, Paul Jordaan calls it a day and Dan Carter's future still undecided.

Image copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Pichot Wants a Rugby Game
Augustin Pichot has just got my vote for IRB president and it's not because of his 'Global Development' plans - as good an idea as they sound. No, the former Argentine nines call for a rugby game to rival the FIFA franchise is why I'm firmly in his court.

“Rugby’s old-fashioned in terms of technology,” Pichot said. “I see my kids today and realise the importance of e-sports for the new generations. They play Fortnite, League of Legends, FIFA. All of the established sports markets are connected with digital games and that is a huge means of attracting a younger audience. FIFA 2020, NBA 2K20, NFL Madden.

“Rugby hasn’t had a decent game since Jonah Lomu Rugby in 1995, so that would be part of the remit for a dedicated World Rugby innovation department. You need to think about how you approach the modern fan. Young boys and girls. It’s not rocket science.”

I fully agree with him. As an avid rugby fan, I would have loved to have killed time during the lockdown playing a decent rugby game. It also makes sense from a financial point of view with world rugby should to turn a massive profit on a quality game. And with the state rugby finds itself in, it could really use a new revenue source.

Paul Jordaan: The Goat Whisperer
Former Natal Sharks man Paul Jordaan has called time on his playing career at the tender age of just 28. The Baby Bok representative was a hell of a player and looked like he may well become a regular for the Springboks before a somewhat surprising move to France.

He had a cracking debut Top 14 season with La Rochelle, who he helped guide to the play-offs. Recurring knee injuries would limit his game time in the following years, however, and these injuries saw him call time on his career 11 months ago but he actually hadn' t been clear on his retirement up until last week.

He is quoted as saying “I feel like I left rugby on my own terms, on my own decision. I’m now doing something I really like, so it was not that difficult,” he said, explaining why he decided to settle on the family farm near Durban.

“We raise sheep and goats. We have a few Kalahari red goats and we also have a hunting trip business with American customers, but the past few years have been difficult for the company. We are emerging from a period of five years of drought. For a long time now, I wanted to come back and help.

“I’m done (with rugby). I decided it was time to hang up my boots and start my life after rugby. When you are a player, you live in a bubble and many boys leave it too late. I don’t want to make this mistake. I feel like it was the right time for me to leave the rugby scene and start my next life.”

The Not So United Nations Cup
Back to Augustin Pichot now, and his race to beat current IRB chairman, Bill Beaumont, in the upcoming IRB election.

Pichot has been a big supporter - actually one of the innovators of the idea - of a Nations Cup that would see an annual tournament which pits the world's 12 best teams up against each other. This tournament would also have a second-tier which would pit some tier 2 and tier 3 nations against each other in the second division, with promotion and relegation thrown into the equation.

While many of the emerging nations are extremely happy about it, the proposal has left a lot of northern heavyweights annoyed.

This subject point could make or break the two men's campaigns. It will be interesting to see their comments on the matter in the coming weeks.

Basteraud Bids The States Au Revoir
Mathieu Bastareaud has returned to France, where he has just signed a deal with Lyon, whom he played a couple of Top 14 games fo earlier in the season.

It's no surprise the big man has left the States behind considering the rugby union is bankrupt and the ongoing Covid-19 has wreaked havoc on the country.

Lyon may feel slightly worried that the former French international will come back out of shape. He has never been the fittest player in the world and he apparently turned up to his first few RU New York Rugby training sessions - this was the American side he played for - extremely out of shape after being on tour with the Barbarians.

Where To For Carter?
Speaking of the MLR, there are a few rumours doing the rounds that some American clubs are trying to sign New Zealand legend, Dan Carter.

Carter's contract recently ended his contract with Japanese Top League side, Kobe Steelers and has confirmed whether he will retire or not. Ironically, the club that are said to have the most interest in Carter are Mathieu Basteraud's old side, RU New York.

I highly doubt this one will come off. I think we may see Carter play some rugby, though, but my money is on him joining a New Zealand province for the Mitre 10 Cup.

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