Caucaunibuca season in doubt
CONNACHT will not have to deal with the threat of Rupeni Caucaunibuca when they take on Toulouse in Galway next month, with coach Guy Noves confirming yesterday that the Fijian try-scoring sensation is likely to miss the rest of the season after knee surgery.
"You can say that the rest of his season has been compromised," said Noves, adding that the operation had taken place "three or four weeks ago."
The 31-year-old, whose off-field disciplinary problems have been offset by devastating performances on the wing, joined from Agen last season on a short-term contract before agreeing a deal last May to stay with Toulouse until the end of this season.
McCaw plays down eye-gouge furore
NEW ZEALAND attempted to play down the eye-gouging controversy as they concluded their World Cup victory tour in Wellington yesterday with a haka on the steps of the Houses of Parliament.
Captain Richie McCaw has admitted he got "a poke in the eye" during the 8-7 World Cup final win over France, but said he did not know if it was intentional.
Footage of an altercation three minutes before the end of Sunday's final shows France centre Aurelien Rougerie dragging his hand across McCaw's face, but no one was cited for the incident before the 10.45 deadline on Tuesday night.
The French squad have left New Zealand having been further accused of assaulting photo journalists who approached players in a restaurant.
Meanwhile, New Zealand media reported than an Irish passport holder was arrested and convicted of selling stolen tickets, acquired when a group of conmen pretended to be one of the tournament sponsors. A 39-year-old Londoner travelling on an Irish passport, was arrested on the eve of the final, while he was touting Category A seats worth almost €1,000 each.
Injury rules out
Saracens and England scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury. The 28-year-old underwent surgery yesterday after he injured his anterior cruciate ligament during the LV= Cup clash against Exeter Chiefs on Sunday.
Wigglesworth will miss the whole of the Six Nations.
Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall said: "It's a big blow for Wiggy, who has been playing so well for Saracens and has worked so hard in the past 18 months to get himself back in the England side.
"In my opinion, he was one of England's stand-out players at the World Cup and it's a shame he will miss the Six Nations.
"It's also a blow for us, but we are lucky to have two very good players in Neil de Kock and Ben Spencer, so we are not looking to recruit."