NEW BOSS NONU’S BACK RED ROSES DEAL ROUTE TO TOKYO TV TESTS

Rugby World - - FRONT ROW -

Ex-France back-row Thomas Lièvre­mont has taken over as Ro­ma­nia coach, say­ing: “I want to bring back the smiles of all those who love rugby in this coun­try.” All Black cen­tu­rion Ma’a Nonu (right), 36, has signed a one-year con­tract at the Blues and will play Su­per Rugby in 2019. In Jan­uary, 28 Eng­land women’s 15s play­ers will be given full-time con­tracts. RFU di­rec­tor of pro­fes­sional rugby Nigel Melville said: “We want to lead the way for driv­ing stan­dards in women’s rugby.” The top four teams at the end of this sea­son’s men’s and women’s World Sevens Se­ries will qual­ify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. A fur­ther six men’s and women’s teams will qual­ify via re­gional tour­na­ments, with the fi­nal two places de­ter­mined by a repêchage event. Ire­land’s home Tests for the next four years will be broad­cast live on Chan­nel 4, start­ing with this Novem­ber’s clashes with Ar­gentina, New Zealand and USA.

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