It’s all in today’s Rugby Rumour mill.
JEREMY THRUSH/BEN FRANKS
New Northampton coach Chris Boyd is already eyeing up a couple of All Blacks to join him at the Saints.
According to The Rugby Paper, Boyd is looking to sign former All Blacks and Hurricanes duo, lock Jeremy Thrush and prop Ben Franks.
Thrush, who played over 100 games for the Hurricanes, comes off contract with Gloucester at the end of the season while 47-Test All Black Franks is currently playing for London Irish and also comes off contract this year.
According to Foxsports in Australia, England coach Eddie Jones is being lined up to replace Michael Cheika as Wallabies boss.
Cheika has vowed to step down if he doesn’t win the 2019 Rugby World Cup, which seems unlikely, and Rugby Australia will start searching for his successor this year.
Jones is contracted to England through to 2021 but the 58-year-old has a break clause in his contract, dependent on England’s performance at RWC 2019.
The Racing 92/Johan Goosen saga has taken a new turn. The former Springbok fly-half suddenly retired from rugby at the age of 24 at the end of 2016, leading to Racing threatening to take him to court over not fulfilling his contract with the club.
But now, according to Sport24, Goosen, capped 13 times for South Africa, is allegedly being bought out of his Racing contract for €1.4-million by Montpellier owner Mohed Altrad, starting in July.
The Scots and Lions full-back is one of the most exciting runners in the game and no-one knows that better than former Scotland coach, Vern Cotter.
Cotter, now head coach of Montpellier, has reportedly offered a seven-figure sum to the Glasgow Warrior to bring him to France.
It’s a move that, if it came off, would make 25-year-old Hogg the highest paid British player in the Top 14.
Another player being eyed up by Northampton is the Fijian winger Patrick Osborne, according to The Rugby Paper.
Former Super Rugby wideman Osborne, 30, is currently playing for Japanese side Kubota Spears.
Chris Boyd knows Osborne well from his stints with the Crusaders, Chiefs and Highlanders.
Osborne has six caps for Fiji, the last coming in the summer against Samoa. The Saints have already confirmed the signing of Fijian-born Wallabies winger Taqele Naiyaravoro from the Waratahs ahead of next season.
The most capped Ireland scrum half of all time Peter Stringer was a busy presence at the base of the Irish ruck for over a decade from 2000 to 2011.
He formed a superb combination with fly half Ronan O’Gara as Ireland won the Triple Crown in 2004, 2006 and 2007 and again in 2009 when Ireland won the Six Nations and Grand Slam for the first time since 1948 – and only the second time in their history.
Stringer is Munster’s most ever capped player with 230 appearances and scored a try when the province won the European Cup for the first time in their history against Biarritz in 2005-06.
After leaving Munster he had spells with Saracens, Newcastle, Bath, Sale and Worcester, who he left in 2017 at the age of 40. But his playing days may not be over yet.
What are your thoughts on the Six Nations so far?
It’s an exciting championship as it always is. Many upsets and a lot of surprises I think along the way.
From an Irish point of view – a tough game against France, particularly over at Stade de France. Ireland had to fight so hard to get the win and only pulled off an incredible victory in the last couple of seconds.
Ireland are in a good place at the moment with the win against Italy and Wales.
I think we’ll see them go into the final game of the championship against England at Twickenham as favourites.
How does this Ireland team compare with great Irish teams you played with?
It’s difficult to compare. We were a side who had a lot of work and built up a squad over a number of years.
I think probably the difference with the squad comparing from when I was playing, you’re looking at 40, 45 guys now who are capable of slotting into that green jersey.
Whereas back when I was playing you had a squad of probably 25-30 guys who were capable of playing at that level and if you were to lose any guys to injury of your starting team, you’re delving into guys who wouldn’t have had exposure at that international level.
So looking at Irish Rugby as a whole you feel it’s currently in a good place?
I think you have to be happy. There was a bit of a lull there in the last couple of years where you’re competing against French money and English money with these big foreign players coming over and New Zealanders.
There was a bit of a lull there from an Irish point of view in Europe – Munster and Leinster were struggling to get out of their groups when they had been winning it in previous seasons.
Now Ireland are back up there and certainly Munster – I’ve been watching them quite closely. A lot of guys coming through, putting their hand up.
Since the terrible passing of Anthony Foley there seems to have been an incredible revival and the coaching staff that had worked with Anthony and the new guys that have come in have just bought in to this whole new concept of playing and playing for each other and its done incredible stuff for the province.
You were great friends with Anthony. His passing must have hit you hard.
It had an incredible effect on people.
I was playing in Sale with Sale Sharks at the time and came back over for the funeral and attended the Munster-Glasgow game the day after and I’ve never seen atmosphere or emotion like it in the stadium.
Not only in Ireland.
I think the effect it had on people all over the world and in world rugby, it showed the mark of the man and the character that he was and I just know that the players who are there now, I know how much he meant to them as a friend, as a coach – some of them as a fellow player.
He had a passion for the game, he was from the area and all he wanted to do was coach Munster.
Speaking to a lot of the guys now who were there – a lot of his ideas and his tactics and his moves, everything is coming to the fore now and the coaches who have stepped in are using he foundation that Anthony and his team would have put in place.
In Ireland as a whole, the way the national team showed a mark of respect before they played the All Blacks in Chicago forming a No8 on the field before the kickoff.
He was an incredible guy, he was very close friend of mine, my No8 for the best part of ten years.
You are 40 now but still incredibly fit. Are you considering playing on?
I’m back in Ireland at the moment with the wife and our ten month old baby boy.
For the best part of the last five or six years recently we’ve been in the UK and especially with the new arrival it’s nice to be around family.
I’m looking at a couple of options but it’s not just me that I have to think about now it’s my wife and Noah my son – he started walking the other day, he’s very active.
I’m just happy at the moment to keep my ear out and if something does come up that I’d be happy to go for then certainly I would be ready for it.
You’re a regular visitor to Dubai. Any chance we might see you out here playing or coaching?
I’ve been to Dubai 16, 17 times over the last number of years so it’s a place I like. I have lot of friends out there as well. A good friend of mine Mike Phillips has moved out there recently as well. You never know, you never know.
So if you’re a rugby club in Dubai looking for a good No9 for next season – you might like to give Peter a try.
The All Blacks can’t completely control the flood of New Zealand players heading overseas so they have done the next best thing.
Here’s three All Blacks who could be heading north:
The two-time World Rugby player of the year has already played 62-Tests for the All Blacks and at 26 the NZRU will be hoping to have him around for the next two Rugby World Cups – Japan 2019 and France 2023.
But after the RWC next year Barrett will be looking for a change rather than slugging it out in Super Rugby for four more years.
With Lima Sopoaga already departing – perhaps never to return – NZ need to manage BB very carefully and a few seasons up north could be exactly what he needs to top up the retirement funds and keep him fresh to return to NZ in 2022.
THE RISING STAR
The captain of New Zealand’s all-conquering team at last year’s World Rugby Under 20 Championship, the 20-year-old is now part of the Chiefs squad for Super Rugby.
But once Super Rugby finishes it’s unlikely he’ll be blooded this year for the All Blacks with Steve Hansen probably opting to give him a few years to mature.
Jacobson is already being talked about as a future All Blacks captain and the perfect way of fast tracking his skills could be a northern winter with Quins at the end of 2018-19.
The other option would be Mitre 10 Cup and a pre-season for Super Rugby in 2019 which may not be enough to gauge his readiness for RWC 2019.
The Chiefs flanker has started this year’s Super Rugby in exceptional form and although it seems like he’s been around a long time – like Barrett he is just 26.
And just like BB the All Blacks will hope he can last two more RWCs so a spell at Harlequins after RWC 2019 makes perfect sense.
Captain and No8 Keiran Read will be 34 at the end of RWC2019 and will likely retire so NZ will need Cane even more come 2023 – hence the need to manage him carefully.
The one factor to consider is the toll of the northern game on loose forwards.