4 Dec, 10:19
Grand Slam winners Fiona Coghlan and Nora Stapelton have returned the Women's RBS 6 Nations trophy to Chief Executive John Feehan at the Six Nations offices in Dublin.
... Bernard Laporte has announced the French squad for the November internationals. There are no places for Christophe Dominici or Sale's Sebastian Chabal, though Sebastien Bruno, Chabal's Sale team-mate, makes a return after three years in the international wilderness. The French squad is Forwards: Sylvain Marconnet (Stade Franais), Pieter De Villiers (Stade Francais), Olivier Milloud (Bourgoin), Fabien Pelous (Stade Toulousain, captain), Pascal Pape (Bourgoin), Jerome Thion (Biarritz), Serge Betsen (Biarritz), Olivier Magne (Clermont), Imanol Harinordoquy (Biarritz), Julien Bonnaire (Bourgoin) Backs: Jean-Baptiste Elissalde (Stade Toulousain), Frederic Michalak (Stade Toulousain), Julien Peyrelongue (Biarritz), Damien Traille (Biarritz), Yannick Jauzion (Stade Toulousain), Tony Marsh (Clermont), Aurelien Rougerie (Clermont), Cedric Heymans (Stade Toulousain), Pepito Elhorga (Agen), Nicolas Brusque (Biarritz) ...
... Mike Ruddock has selected Gavin Henson, the form back in Wales this season, at centre, with Stephen Jones holding on to the outhalf berth. Dwayne Peel got the nod over Gareth Cooper, who subsequently had to retire from the subs' bench. Michael Owen is in the second row, while Ryan Jones makes his debut at no. 8. He is one of a record six Joneses in the side. Wales: 15 Gareth Thomas, 14 Hal Luscombe, 13 Sonny Parker, 12 Gavin Henson, 11 Shane Williams, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 Ryan Jones, 7 Colin Charvis, 6 Dafydd Jones, 5 Michael Owen, 4 Brent Cockbain, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Steve Jones, 1 Duncan Jones. Replacements: 16 Mefin Davies, 17 Gethin Jenkins, 18 Luke Charteris, 19 Martyn Williams, 20 Mike Phillips, 21 Ceri Sweeney, 22 Tom Shanklin.
... Good news on the Duncan McRae front. The Gloucester outhalf was involved in what looked a potentially horrific injury when he bore the weight of two packs on his neck. But it transpires that he has no problem with the spinal cord or nerve structure, though he has got soft tissue and ligament damage ...
... Rob Howley, forced to retire from playing due to a wrist injury, is to join Cardiff as an assistant coach to former playing colleague Dai Young. The 64 times capped Welsh scrumhalf, who won the European Cup for Wasps in the last minute last season, should be just the tonic for the struggling Cardiff outfit, for whom he used to play alongside Young
... Matt Williams has been beset by cruel luck as he prepares his Scotland side for the Autumn Internationals. First, he lost his captain Scott Murray to injury. Then he is told he can't have his exiles for the SA match (Smith, Grimes, White etc.). Then Robbie Kydd and Craig Hamilton have to leave the squad due to a gastric/flu bug in case it spreads. Then Simon Danielli has to undergo keyhole surgery and is out for two to three weeks. Then Tom Smith gets injured playing for Northampton at the weekend and is awaiting a specialist report on the injury. Then his wife leaves him. I'm joking about the last bit, but the way things are going
... Schalk Burger has, not surprisingly, won the SA Player of the year Award, while there was a special award to Percy Montgomery for becoming the highest points scorer in South African history
... Darren Fox, the Northampton flanker, has been suspended for eight weeks for headbutting Sean Lamont in their Heineken Cup match against Glasgow. Fox has also been fined by his club