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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


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 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."


Australia centre Beale signs for Wasps

Beale is heading to Wasps. Credit: PA

Wasps have completed one of the biggest signings in Aviva Premiership history after announcing that Australia star Kurtley Beale has been recruited for the 2016-17 season.

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

Wasps director of rugby Dai Young said: "There are very few players in world rugby who can really excite people and get spectators on the edge of their seats. Kurtley Beale is one of those rare talents."

Dylan Hartley 'fit and well' after returning from injury

England captain Dylan Hartley is "fit and well" after coming through his first few minutes of rugby in almost two months.

England captain Hartley returned from injured unscathed. Credit: Reuters

Hartley was knocked unconscious during England's Six Nations Championship Grand Slam-winning clash with France and, according to Northampton Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder, he has been champing at the bit to get going.

The hooker came on for Mickey Haywood as his side secured European Champions Cup qualification for next season with a 28-20 Aviva Premiership victory at Gloucester's Kingsholm, scoring three tries through centre George Pisi and two from Wales wing George North.

Fly-half Stephen Myler booted 13 points with three penalties and two conversions while all of Gloucester's points came in the first half as replacement full-back Lloyd Evans and flanker Ross Moriarty grabbed tries and Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw, playing in an unaccustomed fly-half role rather than his regular scrum-half position, booted two penalties and two conversions.

With Northampton out of the end-of-season Premiership play-offs, Hartley's only chance for a decent run-out before the England tour to Australia will be in the Test match with Wales at the end of this month.

While Mallinder thought Hartley would rather rest in the summer, joking about sitting in a deckchair, he said:

Dylan has been frustrated that he has not been able to play. He has been injured and taken his time. He has not rushed it and he probably needs a bit more game time to get back up to speed but we are delighted to see him back.

– Northampton Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder
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