Keane lands top job at Tasman

FORMER All Black Kieran Keane has been named as the new coach of the Tasman Makos.

The Marlborough Express reports Keane – whose CV includes coaching stints with Marlborough, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand under-16 and Marlborough Boys’ College – was promoted from team’s co-coach to the top job following a season review and interview process by the Tasman Rugby Union.

He beat six candidates for the fulltime role, including fellow co-coach Bevan Cadwallader.

The Makos finished ninth in last season’s Air New Zealand Cup, but are likely to do it even tougher this year, as a number of players – most notably skipper Andrew Goodman, Quentin MacDonald and Kahn Fotuali’i – have left the province. CLICK HERE to read more.

Another Asian Bledisloe on the cards

THE ALL Blacks and Wallabies look set to play another Bledisloe Cup test in Asia this year, according to the Australian Press Association.

But with the 2011 Rugby World Cup and the expansion of the Tri Nations to include Argrentina on the horizon, it could be the last time the teams play an additional Bledisloe test.

The announcment comes after the two sides played matches in Hong Kong in 2008 and Tokyo last year – both of which were won by the All Blacks. CLICK HERE to read more.

Canterbury pull out of national sevens

FINANCIAL pressures has seen one of New Zealand’s powerhouse unions withdraw from this weekend’s national sevens tournament in Queenstown.

The Southland Times is reporting Canterbury will not attend the tournament as the union is looking at ways to curb spending after posting an $ 800,000 loss in October last year.

South Canterbury has taken the red and blacks spot instead.

In total, 16 provinces from throughout New Zealand will compete during the two-day event. CLICK HERE to read more.

Melbourne Super 15 dramas sorted

MELBOURNE’S Super 15 franchise can begin recruiting players, coaches and administrators after the Australian Rugby Union and investors reached an agreement surrounding the team’s license.

The deal between the ARU and the Melbourne Rebels consortium ends months of dramas surrounding the venture, which came under threat after potential investors pulled out following financial and ownership disputes.

Under the agreement, the franchise will receive some loan funding from the ARU and be allowed to recruit up to 10 foreign players in its formative years, according to the Australian Associated Press.

Melbourne – which will be Australia’s first privately run team – will play its home matches at Rectangular Stadium when they join the expanded Super rugby competition next year. CLICK HERE to read more.

Parks confirms Cardiff move

FORMER Scotland first five Dan Parks will swap the blue jersey of Glasgow for that of Cardiff, according to the BBC.

Parks – who became the first player in the Magners League to score 1000 points – confirmed he will end his seven-year stint at the Warriors and link with the Welsh giants at the end of the season.

The announcement ends months of speculation about the 31-year-old’s playing future. CLICK HERE to read more.

Fiji Rugby Union restore cibi

THE FIJI rugby team will again be able to perform the cibi before its matches, according to news website stuff.co.nz.

The Fiji Rugby Union agreed to restore the island nation’s version of the haka at a meeting in Suva yesterday.

Their decision comes after under-fire coach Samu Domoni banned the team from performaning the war dance on their disastrous European Tour – which resulted in a number of heavy defeats and saw players raise concerns in a letter about Domoni’s behaviour – as he believed it was throwback to heathen days of cannibalism. CLICK HERE to read more.

RFU unveils new Guinness Premiership drug policy

GUINNESS Premiership players caught taking drugs will escape with a fine and be given anonymity from next year.

But they will be disciplined and have their names made public if they fail two tests within 18 months, according to the Daily Mail.

The Rugby Football Union is introducing the measures as part of a crackdown on the use of illegal substances in England’s domestic competition.

It follows a drug scandal at Bath led to four players being suspended and another – former Australian international Justin Harrison – being given his marching orders. CLICK HERE to read more.