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Exeter's Waldrom ruled out of Premiership final

33-year-old England back-rower Waldrom suffered damage to his medial ligament. Credit: PA

Thomas Waldrom will miss Exeter's Aviva Premiership final clash with Saracens after being ruled out for 12 weeks with a knee ligament injury.

The 33-year-old England back-rower suffered damage to his medial ligament in the closing stages of Saturday's 34-23 league semi-final victory over Wasps.

Exeter will face Premiership title holders and Champions Cup winners Saracens in their maiden league final at Twickenham on Saturday, with 28 coachloads of fans making the journey to London.

Flanker Don Armand admitted four-cap England back-rower Waldrom has been "really upset" by the injury blow, but vowed Exeter will now bid to lift the title in his honour.

"It's really horrible for someone like 'Tank' especially, who puts so much time and emotion into the team and you can see that by the way he plays," said Exeter flanker Armand.

"We're definitely going to miss him. He's been really upset this week and that just shows what the team means to him.

"There are definitely boys playing for him, as extra emotion and motivation."

Tuilagi to miss England's tour to Australia

Tuilagi won't be available for England this summer. Credit: PA

Manu Tuilagi will miss England's tour to Australia next month with a hamstring problem, the Rugby Football Union has announced.

Tuilagi sustained the injury in Leicester's Aviva Premiership semi-final defeat at Saracens on Saturday and, following a scan, has been ruled out of the three-Test series against the Wallabies.

A replacement will be named after Sunday's pre-tour Test against Wales at Twickenham.

"It's bad luck for Manu so close to the tour, but it provides a great opportunity for someone else. We wish Manu all the best and a quick recovery," head coach Eddie Jones said.

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Manu Tuilagi a major doubt for England tour Down Under

Manu Tuilagi watches from the sidelines after going off injured. Credit: PA

Manu Tuilagi is expected to miss England's summer tour to Australia due to a torn hamstring suffered in Leicester's 44-17 Aviva Premiership semi-final defeat by Saracens.

Tuilagi lasted just 20 minutes of the showdown at Allianz Park after sustaining the injury while attempting to ankle-tap wing Chris Wyles and it is understood the initial prognosis is a grade two tear requiring six weeks of rehabilitation.

If that assessment proves correct, it will rule Tuilagi out of next month's three-Test series against the Wallabies with Eddie Jones set to unveil his 32-33-man squad on Sunday.

Imanol Harinordoquy to retire at the end of the season

Former France forward Imanol Harinordoquy has announced he will retire from rugby at the end of the season.

What an amazing career Imanol Harinordoquy enjoyed. Credit: PA

The 36-year-old is hoping to sign off by winning the Top 14 title with Toulouse before calling time on his 16-year career.

"I will stop at the end of the season," he told L'Equipe.

"It will be a bit special when I play my last matches. I am not apprehensive. On the contrary, I am very excited about my final days. I want to win something."

The back-row player won 82 caps for Les Bleus and helped them win the Six Nations title five times, including three Grand Slams, and reach the 2011 World Cup final.

He also won the French title twice with Biarritz - but also suffered relegation with them in 2014, at which point he began to consider retirement.

He said:

It has come quite naturally, knowing that I was ready to stop two years ago after a difficult season at Biarritz, with the team's relegation and a knee constantly in pain.

I nearly ended my career because I could not train any more. Running had become a torture. When you get up the day after the game and need four ice packs on your knee, when your son asks you to pass a ball around in the garden and you cannot, you realise you have a life away from rugby.

– Former France forward Imanol Harinordoquy

Scotland call on Sean Lamont for tour of Japan

Scotland have called up Glasgow's Sean Lamont for next month's two-game tour of Japan after Tim Visser was ruled out through injury.

Lamont will get his opportunity to impress. Credit: PA

Veteran Warriors wing Lamont will now join the 27-man travelling party after Harlequins flyer Visser suffered a knee problem while representing his club in the European Rugby Challenge Cup final.

Lamont, 35, has represented his country on 104 occasions and will now get the chance to nudge himself closer to Chris Paterson's record caps tally of 109 when he jets out to the Far East on Saturday 11 June.

Vern Cotter's Scotland squad will gather at BT Murrayfield on June 6 for a short camp as they prepare for their double-header against the Brave Blossoms.

The first Test is scheduled for the Toyota Stadium in Toyota City on June 18, with the second at the Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo a week later

Michael Cheika extends contract as Australia coach

Cheika has commited his immediate future to Australia. Credit: PA

Michael Cheika has extended his contract as Australia coach.

The Australian Rugby Union announced that Cheika has agreed a two-year extension, 18 months before his current deal was due to expire.

It means that 49-year-old Cheika, who led Australia to the World Cup final at Twickenham last October, will be in charge through to the end of 2019.

In a statement released by the ARU, Cheika said:

I never imagined I would be in the position of coaching Australia, and I feel extremely honoured to have the opportunity to continue on for the next period though to the end of the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

Along with the other members of our team, I will be doing my absolute best to ensure that every game that the Australian rugby team plays between now and then fills the nation with pride and all Australians can watch the Wallabies play in a way that Australians want to see rugby played.

It is a privilege to be associated with the people involved with our national team, and playing my part in establishing the Wallabies' identity for the years to come and for many years after that.

– Australia coach Michael Cheika

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New Wasps signing Beale faces six months out

Beale has signed for Wasps next season. Credit: PA

New Wasps signing Kurtley Beale is likely to be sidelined for "four to six months" after suffering a torn patella tendon injury, the NSW Waratahs have announced.

Beale sustained the injury during the first minute of the Waratahs' Super Rugby match against the Bulls in Sydney on Saturday - just a day after signing a deal with Wasps, which will reportedly make him the Aviva Premiership's highest-paid player.

The 27-year-old Australia back will undergo surgery on Monday and, according to the Waratahs, could be out of action until November.

A statement on www.waratahs.com.au read: "Waratahs centre Kurtley Beale has received a better prognosis than expected after injuring his knee during last night's round 12 Super Rugby match against the Bulls.

"Beale is likely to be sidelined for four to six months with scans revealing his patella tendon has torn from his patella. The result is the best possible prognosis given the tendon remains intact, requiring less invasive surgery, and that the injury is isolated with no other damage to the knee.

"Beale's length of time away from the game will be better understood following surgery tomorrow, Monday 16th May, at midday (local time)."

New Wasps signing Beale carried off on stretcher

Beale is signing for Wasps next season. Credit: PA

New Wasps signing Kurtley Beale was carried off on a stretcher in the opening minute of the NSW Waratahs' home clash against the Bulls on Saturday with a knee injury.

Beale sustained the injury as he challenged for high kick after less than 30 seconds of the Super Rugby fixture at Sydney's Allianz Stadium - just a day after signing a deal with Wasps which will reportedly make him the Aviva Premiership's highest-paid player.

The 27-year-old Australia back was in obvious discomfort as he was treated on the pitch before being taken off on a stretcher cart.

The Waratahs have yet to make an official announcement but former Wallabies captain Michael Lynagh, summarising on Sky Sports 3, said Beale had been taken to hospital for tests but hopes the injury is not a bad one.

Lynagh, having spoken with people in Sydney who had been in contact with Beale, said: "They don't think it's quite as bad as what they first thought, but Kurtley's been taken straight to hospital now and he's going to have scans and all that sort of thing done."

On how Beale sustained the injury, Lynagh said: "It looks like there's turf that's being replaced at the stadium and it looked to me like Kurtley, when he went up on his left leg to try and get power to go up, it just slipped a little bit and gave way, had no power and that's when he did it.

"I hope he's okay and it's not as bad as first thought, as they are saying down there."

Beale, who has won 60 international caps, is understood to have agreed a one-year contract at Wasps with the option for a 12-month extension if his initial spell at the Ricoh Arena proves to be a success.

His annual salary is reported to be worth in excess of £700,000, and if the figure is accurate it makes him the highest-earning player in Premiership history, eclipsing the £500,000 paid to rugby league convert Sam Burgess.

Rugby player banned for doping blames biltong

Biltong is a form of dried, cured meat. Credit: PA

A rugby union player has been banned for two years by UK Anti-Doping after claiming his positive test for a steroid was due to contaminated meat.

Macclesfield's Sam Broster, formerly an academy player at Wasps and Sale, tested positive for the presence of the anabolic agent clenbuterol in July 2014 after eating biltong, a form of dried, cured meat, common in South Africa.

A statement from UK Anti-Doping read: "Sam Broster has been suspended from all sport, for two years, following an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV).

"Broster argued that the positive finding had been as a result of eating biltong, a South African form of jerky.

"However, an RFU disciplinary panel concluded that there was no basis for reducing the sanction based on no significant fault or negligence."

His ban concludes on August 15, 2016.

UKAD director of operations Pat Myhill reminded athletes they are responsible for any substance in their system and that proving meat contamination is not straightforward.

"The meat that has been contaminated will, in most cases, have been eaten," Myhill said.

"Finding evidence to support this defence can therefore be difficult."

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