Tunisia apologise after Zimbabwe Test rugby team forced to sleep on the streets

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The Zimbabwe rugby team were forced to sleep on the streets

Rugby Africa and Tunisia Rugby chiefs have offered “sincere apologies” to the Zimbabwe team and management after players slept on streets ahead of a World Cup qualifier.

Pictures posted on social media showed Zimbabwe players on the pavements in Tunisia prior to Saturday’s match against their hosts in Beja.

The Zimbabwe party were left furious at a poor standard of hotel accommodation, while also claiming they had experienced a six-hour airport delay over visa issues after arriving in Tunisia.

Saturday’s game is part of Africa’s Rugby Gold Cup competition, with Rugby Africa responsible for the fixtures.

In a joint statement issued with the Tunisia Rugby Union, Rugby Africa said: “Rugby Africa and Tunisia Rugby Union would like to express their sincere apologies to the Sables (Zimbabwe) team and management for this unfortunate situation.

“Rugby Africa has been made aware of the difficulties encountered by the Zimbabwean Rugby team with regards to their accommodation in Tunisia.

“We would like to reassure the Zimbabwean Ministry of Sports, Zimbabwe Rugby Union and all partners and fans that the situation was addressed immediately, and an acceptable solution has been found.

“Tunisia Rugby Union took the Sables management to visit another hotel, which was accepted.

“This (situation) does not reflect the standards of the Rugby Africa Gold Cup competition and we sincerely regret any prejudice caused.

“We pride ourselves in hosting Rugby Africa tournaments every year and make every effort to meet the best international standards.”

World Rugby said in a Twitter post that they had “received firm assurances from Rugby Africa that the issue has been quickly and effectively resolved.”

Rugby Africa president Abdelaziz Bouja added: “Our hosting agreements are signed by the six participating unions in the Rugby Africa Gold Cup and are very clear and strict in terms of accommodation standards.

“We rely on our unions to make sure the requirements are met, and it is unfortunate that it seemed not to be the case with this hotel in Tunisia.

“However, Tunisia Rugby Union has our trust, they are long term partners to Rugby Africa, hosting several matches and tournaments on our behalf every year.

“I know for a fact that hospitality matters to them and they have taken this issue very seriously and are rectifying it.”

Six African countries – Zimbabwe, Namibia, Tunisia, Morocco, Kenya and Uganda – remain in the qualifying picture for next year’s World Cup in Japan.

Namibia are firm favourites to progress automatically from current qualifying, while the eventual runner-up will go into a qualification repechage later this year.

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European Rugby round-up: Nagusa signs for Newcastle, Attwood returns to Bath and Swinson injured

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Nemani Nagusa has signed for Newcastle

Nagusa signs for the Falcons

Newcastle have signed Fiji international back-row forward Nemani Nagusa.

The Falcons said that Nagusa will link up with them later this summer, subject to him receiving a work permit.

The 30-year-old, who spent last season with French club Aurillac, has won 16 caps and also captained the Fiji sevens team.

Nagusa becomes Newcastle’s seventh new signing for next term after Logovi’i Mulipola, George McGuigan, Tom Arscott, Johnny Williams, Guy Graham and Connor Collett.

“Nemani is an exciting player with pace, power and handling ability,” Newcastle rugby director Dean Richards told the club’s official website.

“He is part of a strong Fiji side who are making big strides on the international scene. He has that X-factor about him and we look forward to his arrival once the work permit process has been completed.”

Dave Attwood returns to Bath

Todd Blackadder has described England lock Dave Attwood’s return to Bath as “almost like a new signing”.

Attwood, who has won 24 caps, spent the final four months of last season on loan at French heavyweights Toulon.

There had been speculation surrounding a possible longer stay with the three-time European champions, but Bath have now confirmed that Attwood, 31, will return for pre-season training with the Premiership club.

“His return will be almost like a new signing for us,” Bath rugby director Blackadder told the club’s official website.

“We are really looking forward to welcoming Dave back for pre-season training.

“He is a huge asset to the squad, and we are really excited to have him back with us ready for the new season.

“There were discussions with Toulon, but we always wanted to bring him back to Bath.

“He showed during his short stint there his qualities as a player, but we also know what leadership qualities he brings on and off the field too.

“With the likes of Dave, Roko (Semesa Rokoduguni), Sam Underhill and Francois Louw all fit and raring to go, we go into the campaign in a great position.”

Attwood, who won the last of his England caps against South Africa in 2016, made nine appearances for Toulon.

Swinson out for six months

Scotland forward Tim Swinson has been ruled out for six months through injury

The lock has undergone surgery on a leg injury sustained on international duty, Glasgow Warriors have announced.

He suffered the injury during the Dark Blues’ 44-15 win over Argentina that completed their tour of the Americas and has returned home to undergo the operation.

The 37-time capped Glasgow forward could be out of action for the remainder of 2018, ruling him out of the first half of the Guinness PRO14 season and making him a major doubt for the 2019 NatWest 6 Nations.

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Ireland rugby legend Peter Stringer retires

Duncan Bech 29/06/2018
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Ireland legend Peter Stringer has announced his retirement.

Former Ireland scrum-half Peter Stringer has retired from Rugby to bring down the curtain on a decorated professional career spanning two decades.

Stringer’s 20-year odyssey began with Munster in 1998 and he went on to make 230 appearances for the province, encompassing their Heineken Cup triumphs of 2006 and 2008

The 40-year-old also won 98 caps for Ireland over an 11-year period that reached its zenith with the 2009 Grand Slam, forming a highly-effective half-back combination with Ronan O’Gara.

More latterly he completed spells at Saracens, Newcastle, Bath, Sale and Worcester in the Aviva Premiership.

“From the age of five all I ever dreamed of doing was playing Rugby,” Stringer said in a statement released on his Twitter account.

“I cannot describe how it feels to have lived that dream for nearly all my life. The journey has been an uncompromising obsession filled with memories I will cherish forever.

“Thank you to my clubs in England. However, my proudest days on a Rugby field came from wearing the red of Munster and the green of Ireland and will remain with me for the rest of my life.”

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