Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Rugby News: Monday 4 May

Rugby News: Monday 4 May

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 include a possible shunning of South African Super Rugby sides, a big win for Bill Beaumont, Montpellier putting distance between themselves and Pieter-Steph du Toit, the 2020 Lions tour possibly being canned and a bit of transfer speculation surrounding one of South African rugby's bright young prospects.

Image copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Lions Tour in Jeopardy?
This one is more speculative than a punt on the Kings winning next season's PRO14 but a couple of the UK publications have said that the British and Irish Lions 2021 tour of South Africa is in jeopardy due to the financial constraints home unions are facing. The crux of the story is that these unions would rather host home tests or send their national sides on tour in order to inflate their coffers.

It seems a bit far-fetched as they are unlikely to host Tests in mid-July, and with fans so desperate to see rugby action after the limited amount of oval ball action that will take place in 2020, they'll still be able to drum up some cash by sending slightly weakened sides on tour to New Zealand and Australia.

SARU have also rubbished the notion saying that while the tour may have to start at a later date, it will still take place.

There's been a lot of talk between the Australian and New Zealand rugby unions regarding a supplemental tournament that will replace the remaining Super Rugby games. The tournament would only feature New Zealand, Australian and possibly Pacific islands sides and would not include the South African franchises nor the Jaguares.

While this was originally muted as a way to get some domestic rugby on the go, it seems it could actually end up replacing Super Rugby as we know it. It would make a lot of sense as well with South Africa franchises apparently pretty keen on plying their trade in Europe and leaving Super Rugby - which has become a rather diluted product - behind.

Beaumont Sees Off Pichot
In a rather underwhelming conclusion to the IRB CEO election, old guard representative, Bill Beaumont, saw off the challenge of Augustin Pichot to retain his spot at the top of the IRB.

Speculation had been rife that Beaumont - who won the vote 28-23 - would be toppled by the more progressive Pichot. However, the Englishman retained his chair mainly due to the home unions backing him.

There were actually a couple surprise votes in their with Fiji and the African sides (these are all the sides in Africa apart from South Africa) giving their two votes to the incumbent.

Libbok On the Move?
A couple South African publications are reporting that Blue Bulls young gun, Mannie Libbok, is being eyed up by the Sharks.

While Libbok is a natural fly-half, it seems the Sharks want to recruit him as a back-up fullback option. It would be a smart move as the Natalians are likely to be without the sensational Aphele Faasi for long swathes of the coming years as he looks set to become a Springbok star in the near future.

Montpellier Rubbish PSDT Rumours
Last week rumours surfaced that French giants Montpellier were looking to lure Stormers stalwart Pieter-Steph du Toit to France on a monstrous 3.6 million Rand contract.

The French club have rubbished these claims, however, saying they have not offered the World Player of the Year a contract.

These types of stories are likely to flood the media in the coming weeks as South Africa enters it's final few days of a 21-day amnesty clause that allows players to break their contracts with domestic sides and sign on with overseas teams.

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