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In the News this week

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Although our players are taking some well earned rest there is still some breaking news coming through.

It has been reported that Eben Etzebeth has signed a two year deal with French club Toulon.

Club owner and president Mourad Boudjellal confirmed that Etzebeth and All Black Nehe Milner-Skudder will be heading to Toulon next year.

Etzebeth will join the club after the 2019 World Cup in Japan and Milner-Skudder in June before the World Cup.

Steve Hansen

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen has announced that he will step down as coach of the All Blacks after the World Cup.

This ends speculations of about two months on whether the world cup winning coach will continue or make way for someone else.

“After being involved in the All Blacks for 16 years, I do feel it’s right for the team for me to stand down. I think change after the Rugby World Cup will bring a new outlook for the team and it’ll be time for someone else to enhance the legacy of the All Blacks,” Hansen told the All Blacks’ website.

Hansen revealed there had been no pressure from his family to step aside.

As only people who have done the job will understand, there are not only heavy demands on yourself, but also on your family. My family has given me unreserved love and support over the last 16 years and I feel it’s now time to make them the sole focus,” he said.

It’s been a huge privilege to be part of the All Blacks for such a long time and I’m really looking forward to, and excited by the challenges, of the next 12 months. We’ll be attempting to do something that has never been done before – to win three consecutive Rugby World Cups. I’m highly motivated by that, as is the whole group, and we’re really looking forward to it.

This is a critical process which shouldn’t be rushed and shouldn’t be made in the turbulent period that tends to follow a Rugby World Cup campaign.”

New Zealand Rugby CEO Steve Tew said Hansen had overseen “one of the richest periods in All Blacks history”.

“On his watch the All Blacks have had a winning rate of close to 90 percent – a remarkable run of sustained success,” he said.

“As well as his success on the field, he will also be remembered for his bold selections and the way he and his management team provided the opportunity and environment for the players to achieve their full potential on the international stage.

“He cares deeply about the game and the wider issues facing it and his views are hugely respected not only in New Zealand but internationally.

“On behalf of New Zealand Rugby, we congratulate Steve, his wife Tash and his family on his contribution to New Zealand Rugby – and the contribution he’ll continue to make in 2019 – and we all look forward to what next year will bring.

It was another sad week for french rugby and Stade Francais with the passing of teenager Nicolas Chauvin. He suffered a broken neck in an academy match.

The 19-year-old sustained the injury in Sunday’s match against Bordeaux-Begles and was rushed to hospital to undergo an emergency operation.

However, on Wednesday, Stade Francais confirmed the death of Chauvin from ‘cervical trauma that resulted in cardiac arrest and cerebral anoxia’.

A statement released by the French club read: “It is with great sadness that Stade Francais Paris announces the death of Nicolas Chauvin, a young hopeful of the club, who died tonight at CHU Pellegrin in Bordeaux.

“Following an accident at the Espoirs game in Begles, Nicolas suffered a cervical trauma that resulted in cardiac arrest and cerebral anoxia.

“Today, all our thoughts are with the family of Nicolas to whom all the members of the club send their most sincere condolences.

“Stade Francais Paris is in mourning.”

Black Ferns scrum-half Kendra Cocksedge made history on Thursday when she became the first woman to be named the Kelvin R Tremain Memorial Player of the Year.

Cocksedge, a 47-Test cap Black Fern and playmaker for the successful back-to-back Farah Palmer Cup champions Canterbury was in sublime form in 2018.

She emerged the winner of the prestigious award from a strong field of nominees featuring All Blacks Brodie Retallick, Richie Mo’unga, and Codie Taylor.

She was also named the New Zealand Rugby Women’s Player of the Year – her second time (last in 2015) winning that award – and won the Fiao’o Faamausili Medal for player of the Farah Palmer Cup.

The awards cement her status as the most outstanding player in fifteens rugby in New Zealand – male or female – in 2018. She joins an impressive alumnus of previous winners including Sam Whitelock, Beauden Barrett, Ma’a Nonu, Retallick, Kieran Read and Richie McCaw.

Former Springbok wing Ashwin Willemse says he was shocked to learn of an email sent by Nick Mallett to SuperSport’s executive producer Scott Seward.

Details of Mallett’s email, which was sent in October 2016, emerged after a report was compiled by Advocate Vincent Maleka into allegations of racism at the pay-channel.

It followed Willemse’s sensational TV walkout in May this year when he accused fellow analysts Mallett and Naas Botha of “patronising” and “undermining” him.

In an interview with TimesLIVE, Willemse said of Mallett’s email: “If you’re going to feel that way about a person, have the backbone to say it. Having a backbone would mean I could come to you and say: ‘Ashwin, I no longer want to work with you.’ It was just confirming what I always thought to be the case, but never had evidence to prove.”

A tracheal tube has been inserted in Naka Drotske’s throat to help with ventilation.

According to Netwerk24, the bleeding in the former Springbok hooker’s intestinal tract has stopped and a new type of antibiotic is fighting his lung infection.

This comes after the 47-year-old was rushed to a Bloemfontein hospital on Tuesday night when his condition suddenly worsened.

Drotske had undergone two successful operations since a shooting incident at his brother’s smallholding outside Pretoria late last month. He was shot in the chest, abdomen and arm.

Drotske’s wife Marzanne Drotske earlier said that her husband was recovering “fantastically well” before the setback.

Barbara Steenkamp, a spokesperson for Mediclinic Bloemfontein, said Drotske is “on full ventilation and it will remain like that for three days”.

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