Rugby evening headlines as Sam Warburton says URC ‘makes no sense’ and England suffer early Australia tour blow

Here are the latest rugby evening headlines for Monday, June 6.

Warby delivers URC verdict

Former Wales captain Sam Warburton has doubled down on his criticism of the United Rugby Championship and South African teams’ involvement in it.

The two-time Lions skipper accused the then-PRO14 of “shamelessly” chasing the money in April 2021, as it was becoming ever more apparent the former Celtic league was expanding further into South Africa. “I’m not going to lie, I think the whole PRO14/Rainbow Cup has turned into a mish-mash competition,” he said at the time.

Read more: ‘Dream duo’ set to give young Wales team major boost

Now that the first URC season which included the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers is nearing completion, it is plain to see that they have faired emphatically better than the Welsh teams, with two of the aforementioned franchises making the semi-finals.

In light of that, Warburton was challenged by outspoken South African pundit Mark Keohane, who sent him a tweet saying: “So @samwarburton_ you asked what value the SA teams add to @URCOfficial @URCOfficial_RSA after 1st month… but you have gone AWOL since . Perhaps @simonrug you can get an answer from Sam”.

Warburton was not going to shy away, replying: “Hi Mark. I’ll give you an answer no problem. There’s no doubting their ability. Fantastic rugby nation. League just doesn’t make sense and looks a random mix and match of clubs “

South Africa’s injury worries

Springbok veteran Frans Steyn is set to miss the first Test against Wales this summer as he battles a thigh injury, with reports in South Africa claiming he could sit out the entire series.

The versatile Steyn is said to be rehabilitating a thigh injury. Meanwhile, another versatile back in Damian Willemse is also reportedly recovering from an arm issue.

It gives head coach Jacques Nienaber a bit of a headache as players who can cover multiple positions, like the aforementioned Steyn and Willemse, allow him to go with a 5-2 split of forwards and backs on the bench.

It is being suggested that the likes of Kurt-Lee Arendse, who lit up the URC this season, Warrick Gelant or La Rochelle’s Dillyn Leyds could now be in line for a call-up.

England name squad as Sinckler absent

Eddie Jones has named a 35-man squad to prepare for a match against the Barbarians on June 19 before they travel on a three-Test tour of Australia this summer.

The squad does not include players from Leicester, Northampton, Saracens or Harlequins, as they are all involved in the Premiership play-offs.

But a notable absentee was Kyle Sinckler, who did not link up with the squad like other injured players did. He has not played since April. The Times are reporting that the tight-head will miss the tour completely.

Forwards: Biyi Alo (Wasps, uncapped), Alfie Barbeary (Wasps, uncapped), Jamie Blamire (Newcastle Falcons), Callum Chick (Newcastle Falcons), Freddie Clarke (Gloucester, uncapped), Tom Curry (Sale Sharks), Trevor Davison (Newcastle Falcons) ), Charlie Ewels (Bath), Will Goodrick-Clarke (London Irish, uncapped), Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs), Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors), Sam Jeffries (Bristol Bears, uncapped), George McGuigan (Newcastle Falcons, uncapped) , Tom Pearson (London Irish, uncapped), Bevan Rodd (Sale Sharks), Patrick Schickerling (Exeter Chiefs, uncapped), Jack Singleton (Gloucester), Will Stuart (Bath), Sam Underhill (Bath), Jack Willis (Wasps).

Backs: Henry Arundell (London Irish, uncapped), Charlie Atkinson (Wasps, uncapped), Mark Atkinson (Gloucester), Orlando Bailey (Bath, uncapped), Joe Cokanasiga (Bath), Ollie Hassell-Collins (London Irish, uncapped), Will Joseph (London Irish, uncapped), Jonny May (Gloucester), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Paolo Odogwu (Wasps, uncapped), Max Ojomoh (Bath, uncapped), Tom Parton (London Irish, uncapped), Adam Radwan (Newcastle Falcons) ), Harry Randall (Bristol Bears), Dan Robson (Wasps).

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