Rugby evening headlines as new Wales player is ‘amazing rare breed’ and USA rugby plunged into crisis after World Cup announcement

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Here’s your round-up of all the latest rugby headlines for Wednesday, June 8.

New Wales prop praised for ‘amazing’ work ethic

New Wales squad member Sam Wainwright has been praised for his “amazing training ethic” by the former international who was one of the first people to spot his big potential. Rupert Moon was the head of north Wales rugby when the young prop was picked up by RGC 1404 as a teenager, having come through Rhyl RFC.

Former Neath, Llanelli and Wales scrum-half Moon recalls: “I spoke to his mum and dad in 2015, when he was 17, and told them he is a rare breed and they should be proud. He had the most amazing training ethic from a young age. He emptied the tank every session and was so eager to learn and do the right thing. He was very kind and respectful too and had a lovely supportive family. We have kept in touch over the years.”

After three years as a regular starter with RGC, during which time he was capped by Wales U20s, Wainwright was signed up by Saracens in 2019. He went on to have a spell out on loan at Ampthill in the English Championship, but this season he has started to get more game-time with Sarries, making double figure appearances. Now, with the Dragons’ Leon Brown having been ruled out of Wales’ tour of South Africa with shoulder nerve damage, Wayne Pivac has turned to the 24-year-old tighthead, who you can read more about here.

Tom Youngs’ wife, Tiffany, dies

Tiffany Youngs, the wife of former England and Lions rugby star Tom Youngs, has died after a long and “heroic battle” with cancer. She has passed away some six weeks after ex-Leicester captain Tom, 35, retired from the sport to return to Norfolk to care for her.

Tiffany was first diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma – a form of blood cancer – in 2014 and was given a terminal diagnosis. Four years later, she was told she was in remission.

However, her cancer then returned, resulting in Tom initially taking indefinite leave from rugby in October 2021, before later announcing his retirement from the sport this year. You can read the full story on the tragedy here.

Rugby crisis in USA

Major League Rugby in the USA has been plunged into crisis with the disqualification of LA and Austin, the top two teams in the Western Conference. It’s reported the expulsions from the season-ending playoffs were for breaches of rules surrounding the salary cap. The shock news comes less than a month after the US was awarded the 2031 and 2033 men’s and women’s Rugby World Cups.

A brief statement on social media from MLR said: “Due to a violation of league rules, the LA Giltinis have been disqualified from the 2022 Major League Rugby competition.” In a similar announcement last week, they said: “Due to a violation of league rules, the Austin Gilgronis have been disqualified from 2022 post-season play. Championship Series fixtures will be announced as they are determined.”

The Giltinis, who employ former Wallaby star Matt Giteau, are in their second season in the league, having won it in their first. The Houston SaberCats will now host the Western Conference final and play the winner of the eliminator between the Seattle Seawolves and San Diego Legion. In the east, Rugby ATL of Atlanta and Rugby New York will contest the eliminator, the winner progressing to the conference final against the New England Free Jacks. The MLR Championship game is scheduled for the weekend of June 25-26.

Tour call-up for Scarlets forward

Scarlets prop Javan Sebastian has been included in Scotland’s 40-man squad for their summer tour to South America. The 27-year-old tighthead was born in Bury St Edmunds, England, and grew up in west Wales, with his family moving to Carmarthen when he was two.

But his father, Edwin, hails from Edinburgh and that’s how he qualifies for Scotland, with national team coach Gregor Townsend knowing him from a year-long spell he had with Glasgow. He made his Test debut against Japan last November and now he’s on board for a tour that which will include an A-match against Chile later this month and three Tests against Argentina in July.

Captain Stuart Hogg, fly-half Finn Russell and centre Chris Harris have been rested from the trip, having all been on last summer’s Lions tour of South Africa. Edinburgh lock Grant Gilchrist has been named skipper, while Edinburgh trio Ben Muncaster, Glen Young and Matt Currie, along with London Irish’s Kyle Rowe and Glasgow duo Murphy Walker and Ollie Smith, are the uncapped players selected.

Forwards: Ewan Ashman (Sale), Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow), Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh), Dave Cherry (Edinburgh), Andy Christie (Saracens), Luke Crosbie (Edinburgh), Scott Cummings (Glasgow), Rory Darge (Glasgow), Matt Fagerson (Glasgow), Zander Fagerson (Glasgow), Grant Gilchrist (captain, Edinburgh), Jonny Gray (Exeter), Jamie Hodgson (Edinburgh), Ben Muncaster (Edinburgh), Pierre Schoeman (Edinburgh), Javan Sebastian (Scarlets), Sam Skinner (Exeter), Rory Sutherland (Worcester), George Turner (Glasgow), Murphy Walker (Glasgow), Hamish Watson (Edinburgh), Glen Young (Edinburgh).

Backs: Mark Bennett (Edinburgh), Matt Currie (Edinburgh), Darcy Graham (Edinburgh), Adam Hastings (Gloucester), George Horne (Glasgow), Damian Hoyland (Edinburgh), Rory Hutchinson (Northampton), Sam Johnson (Glasgow), Huw Jones (Harlequins), Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh), Rufus McLean (Glasgow), Ali Price (Glasgow), Kyle Rowe (London Irish), Ollie Smith (Glasgow), Ross Thompson (Glasgow), Sione Tuipulotu (Glasgow), Duhan van der Merwe (Worcester), Ben White (London Irish).

The ‘toughest transfer window ever’

Former Dragons boss Bernard Jackman has labelled the mass end-of-season departures of players as the “toughest transfer window” he’s ever seen in rugby. The ex-Ireland hooker was reponding to the comments from England prop Kyle Sinckler who has said nearly 100 Gallagher Premiership players will be without a club for next season due to the financial situation in the game.

That mirrors the situation in Wales where regional playing squads are being significantly reduced in numbers, with some 50 players moving on from the four teams in all.

Giving his verdict, Jackman said: “This is the toughest transfer window I have ever seen in professional rugby. So many excellent players and great professionals will drop out of the game. It really reinforces how important it is that players plan for live after rugby while playing.”

Former Leicester, Gloucester, Saracens and Scotland lock Jim Hamilton has delivered his own verdict on the situation in England, saying: “They don’t have this problem in France. The salary cap needs to be increased and players paid more. Oh and less games…..and summer rugby.”

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