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Rugby morning headlines as world superstar's PRO14 transfer collapses after failed medical and Eddie Jones to take tips from Euro 2020

Wales Online logo Wales Online 11/06/2021 Matthew Southcombe

Your rugby morning headlines for Friday, June 11.

Fiji superstar's move falls through

Fijian rugby icon Leone Nakarawa saw his move to Ulster collapse after he failed his medical.

The man with the most impressive handling skills in world rugby has an impressive resume, having scooped a European player of the year award during his time at Racing 92 and named in the Rugby World Cup team of the tournament in 2015.

He was also part of the Fiji Sevens team that won gold at the Rio Olympics in 2017.

Nakarawa returned to his old club Glasgow early last year but played three games before flying back to Fiji when lockdowns struck.

He returned late when rugby restarted and was then struck down by a knee injury.

Now his move to Glasgow's PRO 14 rivals Ulster is off.

A brief statement from the club said: “We can today confirm that, on receipt of a detailed medical report following an examination by the club at the weekend, Leone Nakarawa will no longer be joining Ulster Rugby for next season.

“This outcome is disappointing for the player and Ulster Rugby, however, we will continue to build strongly with our preparations for next season. We wish Leone the very best for the future.”

Cuthbert: I've grown as a man in Exeter

Alex Cuthbert says he has grown mentally stronger during his time with Exeter as he continues to be linked with a return to Wales.

The 31-year-old international wing is out of contract with the reigning English champions at the end of this season.


Video: Euro 2020: England's final 26-man squad (Birmingham Mail)

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He looks likely to leave the Devon club and the Ospreys are one of the teams reported to be interested in securing his services.

Cuthbert was targeted by a minority of keyboard warriors towards the end of his time in Wales, coming in for heavy flak on social media over his Test performances.

Having opted to leave Cardiff Blues and head over the Bridge in 2018, he has been plagued by injury, making just eight appearances since November 2019.

But the 47-times capped Wales and Lions winger says he has gained a lot from his three-year stay at Sandy Park.

“I feel like I’ve grown as a person as well as just a player,” he told BBC Radio Devon.

“It’s been frustrating (on the injury front), but the physio staff and the medical department have been so positive with me.

“It’s quite easy to get yourself into a bit of a hole and there’s nothing worse than watching games of rugby when you know you should be playing.

“I’ve worked hard on that part and mentally I think I’ve grown as a man in terms of my mental strength and what I’ve learnt in the last three years missing a lot of rugby.”

Eddie takes tips from Euros

Eddie Jones will be tuning into Euro 2020 in search of ideas to strengthen his own performance as England coach.

Jones has struck up a good rapport with Gareth Southgate and has taken part in regular virtual chats with the Three Lions boss, David Moyes and Arsene Wenger to discuss the challenges of working in sport during the Covid era.

England launch their Euro 2020 opener against Croatia on Sunday and with his own side's summer series not beginning until June 27, Jones will be on the lookout over the coming weeks for pointers that might translate to rugby.

"I know Gareth reasonably well. We have chatted over the last period of time and I will be following his interests and the team's interests," he said.

"They obviously have a talented group of players as evidenced by two English teams being in the European Cup final and one team in the Europa League final.

"They have got some great talent at the moment and it's about how that talent can come together and play as one team where players have to play in different roles.

"It's no different to what we have to do in terms of sometimes players have to play a slightly different role to what they do at their club because it suits the team better. I will be watching that.

"Obviously there are some good players in other teams so we will see how the coaches get the best out of those players.

"Again, I've had a few chats with the Belgium coach (Roberto Martinez) and he's got some talent there. How they handle the expectation of being one of the favourites with outstanding players like Kevin De Bruyne will be of interest."

Jones is preparing for next month's Tests against the USA and Canada at Twickenham, which are preceded by an 'A' international against Scotland A.

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