Rugby evening headlines as Maro Itoje prank revealed to have sparked brawl and Springbok star to cover new position

Here are your rugby evening headlines for Monday, April 11th.

Brown reveals Itoje prank sparked brawl that ended England career

A Maro Itoje prank was the cause of an altercation between Mike Brown and Ben Te’o which cost the England pair their 2019 Rugby World Cup places.

Former England full-back Brown has often talked about the infamous fight on a team bonding session which made headlines and ultimately cost both he and Te’o their place in the squad, but he’s now revealed that it was a prank from Saracens star Itoje that ultimately kicked things off.

READ MORE:Rugby star suffers gruesome facial injury after landing on opponent’s boots

“Maro [Itoje] decided it would be funny to go around whacking people, in a fun, jovial way, but he’s a big guy and he’s been drinking, ‘Brown told RugbyPass’ Jim Hamilton in the Rugby Roots documentary.

“He hit me very hard there [points at chest]. Hard enough to leave a massive handprint. And I’m sitting there just chatting, having a good relax for the first time in a few weeks and he’s coming up behind me and whacked me.

“He’s done it to a few people, but I didn’t really take kindly to that. So I left it for a few minutes because I was steaming. I was so angry.

“I left it a few minutes, calmed down, then pulled him aside and said‘ Look, I know we’re having a good time and that, but I don’t really appreciate that. I think it’s disrespectful, just don’t do it again. And it was fine, me and Maro were fine.

“Ben being the wind-up he is, kind of cottoned on that and then for the rest of the time decided they would try and wind me up. And he’d had a few as well. He likes his drink.

“He kept on [motions a pushing gesture with hands], ‘You’re not going to do anything, you’re not going to do anything. Tough guy on the pitch, just messing around.

“There was a case where he [Te’o] was trying to do it and he kind of fell over this table and knocked a load of drinks over. Joe Marchant and Alex Dombrandt, who were new to the environment at the time, just stood up and were like ‘Ben, what are you doing? Just leave him alone. We’re just trying to chill out. ‘

“I don’t think he liked that because they were two young guys and it wound him up a bit. He went away and I think he was a bit annoyed because he’d been shown up by two young lads. “

Later that night, the pair came to blows – which ultimately cost them both a place at the tournament in Japan. However, Brown believes that wasn’t the reason for his exclusion, adding that he challenged the England coach on that front.

“That wasn’t the reason why I didn’t go to the World Cup,” he added. “I think it was just easier for Eddie to put it on that, as I’d kind of been getting pushed out of the team as that season had gone on. Then a few days later when he’s ringing around people to say they’re not involved, he kind of puts it on that. I got it ‘Look, I understand selection is what it is, but don’t put it on that [the fight]. You haven’t even asked me what happened.

“With all due respect, I didn’t really do anything. I don’t feel like it was my fault, I hadn’t drunk much, two drinks or whatever. There were people in a worse state than me and I was just trying to mind my own business.

“So he [Eddie Jones] just switched and turned on me, effing and blinding. It wasn’t nice. Just be a man and say what is the reason I’m not getting picked. Don’t try to put it on that, because it’s not that. It’s pretty clear and obvious that it’s not that.

“I asked him to tell me what he thinks happened and they said ‘My security guards were there, they told me what happened. I said, let me see what they’ve said has happened, because he said he had written reports. They wouldn’t give me that. He said: ‘Who the F do you think you are?’ because I was going back at him and he doesn’t like that. “

Kolbe could cover the fly-half ahead of Wales Tests

South Africa coach Jacques Nienaber has expressed his concerns over the fly-half depth at his disposal, adding that Cheslin Kolbe could cover there for the Springboks.

The fleet-footed Kolbe has become one of the world’s rugby’s most dangerous players in the back-three, but, with a Test series against Wales coming up this summer, it appears that he might also be considered to cover the 10 jersey.

“It was quite a shock, at one stage I was thinking that if we have to play a Test match now, both of our regular fly-bad are injected,” Nienaber said. “Handre is back to fitness again and Elton had his surgery again and will actually be at the alignment camp because he and Malcolm Marx will be doing their rehabilitation.

“Elton is doing very well, they will be seeing a specialist in the next week or two. If he gets the all-clear, he will head back to Japan and rejoin his club, which is in a promotion-relegation battle, so he wants to add some value there. Hopefully, he gets some games in Japan but we first want to make sure that he can get signed off by the specialist who operated on him….

“That’s why last year our thoughts were on getting an experienced head in the squad like Morne Steyn. Remember, we have Frans Steyn who can play there, Gaza [Damian Willemse]Cheslin put in some excellent performances for Toulouse last year before he went to Toulon, where he played for Toulouse at fly-half. ”

Dragons captain confident of finding a long-awaited win

Dragons captain Harri Keddie has called on his side to pick their heads up from another defeat and find some much-needed victories in the final weeks of the season. The Gwent side have only won once every year, back in October, in what is shaping up to be their worst season ever. However, Keddie, who shone in the defeat to Gloucester, is confident that the long-awaited victory will come.

“Everyone must stick together at the minute,” they said. there.

“We now play Scarlets who are coming off the back of some good wins, but derby rugby is completely different and form from the previous week can be tough to match. We have got to pick our heads up now. We can’t reflect for too long.

“We’ll tighten things up from Monday and then look forward to the double header. When it is six games on the bounce you can’t spend too long looking back. We’ll get it out the way Monday morning and then, from that afternoon onward, it is a good forward and look forward to the next challenge. ”

Official appointments announced for the weekend of European rugby

England’s Luke Pearce will be in charge when Leinster Rugby and Connacht Rugby renew their Heineken Champions Cup rivalry at the Aviva Stadium on Friday, and Frank Murphy of Ireland will be in the middle for the 2nd leg of the contest between Bristol Bears and Sale Sharks at Ashton Gate on the same evening with both matches live on BT Sport.

On Saturday, the return clash of Harlequins and Montpellier Hérault Rugby at the Twickenham Stoop, again live on BT Sport with additional free-to-air coverage on Channel 4 and Virgin Media in the UK and Ireland, will be refereed by Scotland’s Mike Adamson, while on the same day, Mathieu Raynal of France and England’s Wayne Barnes has been appointed for the Munster Rugby v Exeter Chiefs contest at Thomond Park and the 2nd leg meeting of Stade Rochelais and Union Bordeaux-Bègles at Stade Marcel Deflandre respectively.

Also on Saturday, Ireland’s Andrew Brace will be in charge at Mattioli Woods Welford Road when Leicester Tigers and ASM Clermont Auvergne go head-to-head again, and Matthew Carley of England will referee the 2nd leg confrontation between Ulster Rugby and Stade Toulousain at the Kingspan Stadium.

The Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 will conclude on Sunday when Georgia’s Nika Amashukeli takes charge of the return meeting of Racing 92 and Stade Francais Paris at Paris La Défense Arena.

The Challenge Cup Round of 16 gets underway on Friday evening with four winner-takes-all matches. Andrea Piardi of Italy has been appointed for the meeting of London Irish and Castres Olympique at Brentford Community Stadium, while Biarritz Olympique v Wasps at Parc des Sports Aguiléra will be refereed by Ireland’s Chris Busby.

Tual Trainini of France will be in the middle when Newcastle Falcons and Glasgow Warriors clash at Kingston Park, and Italy’s Gianluca Gnecchi will be in charge when No 1-ranked Lyon go up against Worcester Warriors at the Matmut Stadium de Gerland.

Saturday’s meeting of Edinburgh Rugby and Bath Rugby at the DAM Health Stadium will be refereed by Ludovic Cayre of France, England’s Karl Dickson has been appointed for RC Toulon v Benetton Rugby at Stade Félix Mayol, and Sam Grove-White of Scotland will take charge of the all-Gallagher Premiership contest between Gloucester Rugby and Northampton Saints at Kingsholm.

Sunday’s Saracens v Cardiff Rugby clash at the StoneX Stadium, live on BT Sport and S4C, will be refereed by France’s Pierre Brousset.


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