Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
Global Global
NZ NZ

Fissler Confidential: Outlandish Maro Itoje rumour put to bed

By Neil Fissler
Maro Itoje of England celebrates at the final whistle during the Guinness Six Nations 2024 match between England and Ireland at Twickenham Stadium on March 09, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan - RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

You could have been forgiven for thinking April Fools Day is happening twice this year after far-fetched rumours reached Fissler Confidential Towers this week that Maro Itoje was going to be appearing at the Olympics this season.

ADVERTISEMENT

It was suggested that the Saracens, England and Lions lock could follow the France captain Antoine Dupont, who skipped the Six Nations to switch formats ahead of the games that are being hosted in Paris this July and August.

But we understand that there is absolutely no chance of Itoje, who earlier this year signed a hybrid RFU deal, pulling on a Great Britain shirt in Paris.

Video Spacer

Springbok legend Victor Matfield on why Jason Jenkins might take over from Eben Etzebeth

Springbok legend Victory Matfield is backing Jason Jenkins to take over the Springbok No.4 jersey from Eben Etzebeth one day.

Video Spacer

Springbok legend Victor Matfield on why Jason Jenkins might take over from Eben Etzebeth

Springbok legend Victory Matfield is backing Jason Jenkins to take over the Springbok No.4 jersey from Eben Etzebeth one day.

England centre Henry Slade is still putting the finishing touches to his new Exeter Chiefs contract almost a month after Rob Baxter all but confirmed that he was staying at Sandy Park next season.

Slade is out of contract at the end of the season and had spoken to Stade Francais about joining the exodus of England players leaving the Premiership to make a move across the channel.

Something that could be holding up the deal is that the RFU’s scheme of £150,000 enhanced deals to top up club salaries could be scaled back or even scrapped altogether after only two have been given out to Maro Itoje and Jamie George.

Henry Slade
Henry Slade of England walks through the tunnel prior to the Guinness Six Nations 2024 match between France and England at Groupama Stadium on March 16, 2024 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Dan Mullan – RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)
ADVERTISEMENT

Former Munster centre Alex McHenry is set to leave Pro D2 promotion hunters Dax at the end of the season after a one-year option on his contract wasn’t taken up.

Cork-born McHenry, 26, an All Ireland Cup winner with Cork Constitution, joined Dax in October after the demise of the Jersey Reds, whom he helped win the RFU Championship last season. He has scored one try in 10 games at inside centre.

The former Ireland under-20 and Ireland 7s, who had a spell on loan in the Premiership at Wasps, scored two tries in three Premiership Cup games at outside centre for Jersey before they were wound up a week before the new season started.

Gloucester have launched a late bid to sign an injury replacement lock after former England under-18 international Cam Jordan was ruled out of action for the next nine months with a damaged ACL.

ADVERTISEMENT

The 24-year-old from Leicester scored a try in the Premiership Final win over his home town club in March but was injured in the Cherry and Whites win over French outfit Castres in the Challenge Cup.

George Skivington, who has already recruited Tomas Williams, Gareth Anscombe and Christain Wade for next season, has been asking for CVs of potential recruits who can cover for the loss of Jordan.

Welsh-qualified tight-head former landscape builder Rhys Litterick could come onto Warren Gatland’s radar after signing a new long-term contract with Cardiff following a brilliant first campaign at the Cardiff Arms Park.

Litterick qualifies for Wales through his father, Kevin, who is from the Ogmore Vale and is also Scottish qualified but looks set to pin his colours to Gatland’s mast ahead of games against South Africa at Twickenham and then two tests in Australia.

He has made 12 appearances for Cardiff this season since his move from Harlequins, where he came under the tutorage of legendary Wales tight-head Adam Jones.

Pro D2 promotion hopefuls Provence are seeking a medical joker for Wales centre George North, who ruptured his Achilles in his final international appearance for Wales at the end of the Six Nations.

The Ospreys star, who has won 121 International caps, is due to join Provence, who are currently second in the Pro D2 table, next season on a two-year contract, but a debut will have to wait until he is fit again.

But in the meantime, Provence, who are a point behind league leaders Vannes, are looking around to see who is available to cover for North.

The Ospreys got a double boost this week when it was announced that lock James Fender is staying with the region next season and that Welsh international scrum-half Kieran Hardy is joining from the Scarlets.

The ex-Wales Under-20s lock who spent time on loan at Cornish Pirates last season was tipped for a place in Warren Gatland’s Six Nations squad before picking up a season-ending arm injury in January.

Hardy will compete for the Ospreys nine shirt next season with cousin Luke Davies, who has made 16 appearances for the club this season after starting his career with the Scarlets before spending time with the Jersey Reds.

Clermont Auvergne are set to end their search to further strengthen at fly-half by raiding the Top 14’s basement dwellers Oyonnax for Argentina international Domingo Miotti.

Miotti, 27, who won one test cap, only arrived in Oyonnax last summer after ripping up his deal with Glasgow Warriors had a season with Western Force and has scored nearly 150 points in 18 games.

He is likely to replace another of his countrymen, Benjamin Urdapilleta and Jules Plisson in challenging Anthony Belleau for the starting role with La Yellow Army next season.

Dan Kelly has emerged as the favourite to replace Antoine Frisch if he swaps Munster for Toulon. Some sources believe the Leicester Tigers man is in advanced talks with the Irish Province.

England international Kelly, who qualifies for Ireland, is now Munster’s first-choice replacement, with talks over the future of Frenchman Frisch continuing again last week.

Related

ADVERTISEMENT

Join free

LIVE

{{item.title}}

Trending on RugbyPass

Comments

Join free and tell us what you really think!

Sign up for free
ADVERTISEMENT

Latest Features

Comments on RugbyPass

D
Diarmid 9 hours ago
Players and referees must cut out worrying trend in rugby – Andy Goode

The guy had just beasted himself in a scrum and the blood hadn't yet returned to his head when he was pushed into a team mate. He took his weight off his left foot precisely at the moment he was shoved and dropped to the floor when seemingly trying to avoid stepping on Hyron Andrews’ foot. I don't think he was trying to milk a penalty, I think he was knackered but still switched on enough to avoid planting 120kgs on the dorsum of his second row’s foot. To effectively “police” such incidents with a (noble) view to eradicating play acting in rugby, yet more video would need to be reviewed in real time, which is not in the interest of the game as a sporting spectacle. I would far rather see Farrell penalised for interfering with the refereeing of the game. Perhaps he was right to be frustrated, he was much closer to the action than the only camera angle I've seen, however his vocal objection to Rodd’s falling over doesn't legitimately fall into the captain's role as the mouthpiece of his team - he should have kept his frustration to himself, that's one of the pillars of rugby union. I appreciate that he was within his rights to communicate with the referee as captain but he didn't do this, he moaned and attempted to sway the decision by directing his complaint to the player rather than the ref. Rugby needs to look closely at the message it wants to send to young players and amateur grassroots rugby. The best way to do this would be to apply the laws as they are written and edit them where the written laws no longer apply. If this means deleting laws such as ‘the put in to the scrum must be straight”, so be it. Likewise, if it is no longer necessary to respect the referee’s decision without questioning it or pre-emptively attempting to sway it (including by diving or by shouting and gesticulating) then this behaviour should be embraced (and commercialised). Otherwise any reference to respecting the referee should be deleted from the laws. You have to start somewhere to maintain the values of rugby and the best place to start would be giving a penalty and a warning against the offending player, followed by a yellow card the next time. People like Farrell would rapidly learn to keep quiet and let their skills do the talking.

1 Go to comments
TRENDING
TRENDING 'He hasn’t been selected in the Welsh team... Gatland is not interested' 'He hasn’t been selected in the Welsh team... Gatland is not intereste
Search