Here are your rugby morning headlines on Saturday, December 7.
Biggar reveals best ever coach
Wales star Dan Biggar has revealed Northampton boss Chris Boyd is “the best coach I have ever been involved with”.
Biggar believes he has improved greatly as a player since joining Northampton, who currently top the English Premiership.
“If I’m brutally honest I thought I had three years up here to, I wouldn’t say get through, but just to try and have an impact on,” he said.
“I didn’t think I’d come here and learn so much and improve and want to get better as much as I do in every session and every day in training.
“It’s a different set-up to what I expected when I signed. It has been a real breath of fresh air for me. One hundred per cent, I’m a better player for it,” he told the Telegraph.
Former Hurricanes coach Boyd, whose previous number 10 was Beauden Barrett, said: “Dan played a bit different to how I saw the game but if we could both be open-minded about possibilities then we could both grow.
“They are chalk and cheese, Beauden being a freakish athlete. Dan is as good as anyone in the world at what he does. He does the bread and butter really well and he is as fierce a competitor as there is. If you had to roll your sleeves up for a fight, you’d want Dan on your shoulder. He is a proper rugby player. Maybe he is more conservative than I would naturally be but you throw all the influences here into the mix and you come up with a pretty good recipe.”
Referee reveals abuse
The man who will take charge of the Six Nations clash between England and Wales at Twickenham in March has spoken about the online abuse he has received as a referee.
Top New Zealand ref Ben O’Keefe revealed he is regularly targeted by fans online, with some sending him private Facebook messages to criticise him.
O’Keefe came under fire during the Rugby World Cup for appearing to congratulate a Fijian player for scoring a try.
Speaking on the Rugby Bricks podcast , O’Keeffe, who only made his Super Rugby debut in 2015, said: “The sad thing is you’ll get a handful of people who can easily take the time and search for you on Facebook – even though I’m as private as I can be – and still send you a private message,” he said in a wide-ranging interview.
“I often joke that if I’m in South Africa and I receive three messages saying how bad my performance was, I reckon I’ve had a pretty good game.
“When it gets to 10 messages, you go ‘ok, I’ve done something wrong’.
“The biggest difference (at international level) was the external stuff – the social media, your name in the paper on the weekend, the comments on the website – it took a lot of time to get used to not looking at that and not be affected by it, because we’re all human beings.
“If someone tells me how poor my performance was, in a lot brighter language than that, you take it to heart early on, and I definitely did.
“That was a big thing to get over.”
You can see the full list of Six Nations referee appointments here.
Super Rugby star apologises for racial slur
Crusaders star Bryn Hall has reportedly apologised to the Jewish Council over the racist TV comment he made about All Blacks star Jack Goodhue.
The Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) had described comments he made about Goodhue on a Sky Sports Kick Off show as racist after receiving a complaint.
During a feature on the show, Hall refereed to Goodhue as ‘a Jew’ in a derogatory context.
A complaint to the BSA said the slur breached the discrimination and denigration standard and they labelled this remark as a clear example of casual racism.
“There is no room in New Zealand for casual racism and it is important that we all work hard to move away from this type of language,” Jewish Council spokeswoman Juliet Moses said initially about Hall’s comments.
“I’ve received and accepted what I believe is a sincere, thoughtful apology from Bryn Hall, who made the “Jew” comment that gave rise to someone’s BSA complaint,” Moses tweeted after Hall’s apology.
Sacked player in demand
Glasgow Warriors are the early front-runners to sign Fiji star Leone Nakarawa after he was sacked by Racing 92.
Nakarawa was key to Warriors’ 2015 Pro12 title win during a three-year stint before joining Racing in 2016. He is also being linked with Sale Sharks, less than 24 hours after being dismissed. You can read the full story in his sacking here.
“We’ll be dipping into everyone’s pockets to find out (if they can sign him),” said head coach Dave Rennie.
“From what I understand, the whole of Europe are making phone calls to his agent, so we’ll see how that pans out.
“But he’s really tight with a lot of these boys.He’s a fan favourite, he loved it here, the boys loved him, so if we can make it happen that would be brilliant.”