Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Rugby News: Monday 18 May

Rugby News: Monday 18 May

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

Image copyright - Steve Haag Sports

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. The big news stories of the week are Beauden Barrett setting personnel bests at the Blues, World Cup winner Nehe Milner-Skudder's switch to the Highlanders, a goodbye to tries score against pole protectors, shock in Gloucester and a return to South African shores for Gio Aplon.

Barrett Back From Lockdown With A Bang
Beauden Barrett is yet to don a Blues jersey in a competitive game but he's already setting records for the Auckland franchise.

The All Blacks star clocked up a staggering time during training the other day doing a Bronco - a shuttle run that involves running 20, 40 and 60 metres five times in the fastest time possible.

The former Wellington Hurricanes man completed the in four minutes and 12 seconds which is his personnel best and an Auckland record.

Nehe Steps On Over To the 'Landers
The Highlanders have managed a massive coup before the start of Super Rugby Aotearoa by landing the signature of 2015 Rugby World Cup winner, Nehe Milner-Skudder.

The former Hurricanes man was meant to be plying his trade with Toulon this year but a niggly shoulder injury and the advent of COVID-19 has seen his contract with Toulon cancelled.

This is a perfect signing for the Highlanders as they lost a couple back three stars in the offseason in the form of All Blacks Ben Smith and Waisake Naholo.

Pole Protectors Not So secure
So, we'll no longer be tries scored against the pole protectors with the IRB changing the law on grounding against the pads.

The move has mainly come about due to a couple of incidents that saw players lifting the pole protector and exposing the pole which creates a rather dangerous situation.

The new law states that “The post protector is no longer an extension of the goal-line” and therefore Law 8.2 (a) now states that, “a try is scored when the attacking player is first to ground the ball in the opponents' in-goal.

Ackermann Departs Gloucester
A rather strange one out of England this week with former Golden Lions coach Johann Ackermann leaving his post.

Rumours of squad unrest have been floating around the club for a while and it seems Ackermann's choice to sign a contract with Japanese side the Docomo Red Hurricanes was due to this.

It's rather surprising as he was enjoying a good stint with Gloucester have led the former mid-table contenders to a Gallagher Premiership play-off and also taken them to a European Challenge Cup final.

Aplon Heads For Loftus
Jake White has continued to make signings for the Bulls with the 2007 World Cup-winning coach brining in former Western Province man Gio Aplon.

While Aplon, at 37 years of age, won't have the dynamite pace he passed while plying his trade for Western Province, he will be a raft of experience to the Bulls stable.

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