Today’s rugby news as Welsh star reveals rat-related Dragons initiation and South Africa issue statement on X-rated Erasmus ‘hack’

Here are your rugby headlines for Monday, June 6.

Tovey reveals eye-opening Dragons drinking games

Former Dragons and Cardiff fly-half Jason Tovey has lifted the lid on some of the raucous drinking games he endured during his time with the Rodney Parade outfit.

It was revealed just last week that the 33-year-old has joined Ynysddu, who finished top of the Division Two East last season, winning all eight of their matches, and are looking to go one better next season by bolstering the ranks with superstar signing Tovey.

In an interview looking back at his professional playing days, which spanned two stints with Cardiff, three with the Dragons and a spell up in Scotland with Edinburgh, Tovey opened up on his early days in Newport.

Read next: Welsh international happiest he’s been for years after having a ‘gutsful’

“When I first started at the Dragons I had people like Rhys Thomas, Adam Black, Steve “Jabba” Jones, and Luke Charteris as teammates,” he told RugbyPass. “The Dragons was a fun place to be. I loved going into training and being around these guys.

“We had some mental social events back then. I’ll never forget my initiation into the first team. Have you ever played the old drinking game where they’d throw something like a golf ball or a coin into your pint and you’d have to down it if it landed in your drink?

“Well, that’s what I did only they used a dead rat from a pet shop instead. That was Rhys Thomas’ idea who was one of rugby’s great characters. I remember thinking ‘f*** me this is professional rugby and I’m downing a pint with a dead rat in it!’ That definitely wouldn’t happen today but back then some of the old amateur traditions were still present in the professional game, and it was a lot more enjoyable.

“We did loads of crazy things. We did bush tucker trials with worms, and it was all good fun, but now it’s just so boring. Most of the boys would rather take photos and boast about it.

“The bush tucker trial was when you had three boxes with each box containing something different items which you had to eat. So, one box had beans, the other had cola bottles, and one had live worms in there. Luckily, my box had beans in it, but Adam Hughes wasn’t so lucky.”

Lifting the lid even further, he added: “Also, at that time Newport had a Walkabout, and we managed to rent it out for a few hours. We did an obstacle course around the whole pub.

“All you do these days is sing on the bus which is far too tame. In Walkabout we did what we called an Ironman on stage. There was 11 of us who had to neck a bottle of reef, and then the first one out is done.

“If you were a slow drinker, you were doing 11 bottles of reef on the head. I went into the final rounds of it, and I had blood coming out of my nose, while I also vomited blood. It was grim, but all your teammates would look after you. If they saw, you were in a bad way, they’d make sure you were okay.

“Back in the day before the Dragons trained at Ystrad Mynach the gym was quite literally in a shed at the back of Rodney Parade. We even used to have socials in there, stay in there all day and all night.

“I think that’s one of the reasons we did well under Tommy (Paul) Turner. We were so tight as a squad. We were like a tight-knit family, and boys would bust a gut for their teammates on the field.”

Jantjies included in Springboks training squad

Jacques Nienaber has named a 17-player squad to link up for a South Africa training camp on Monday, including Elton Jantjies who was arrested last month.

The Springboks host Wales this summer and are slowly building towards full tilt with a training camp in Pretoria, for which uncapped duo Grant Williams, a scrum-half, and Ntuthuko Mchunu, a loosehead prop, have been included.

However the headline act is the inclusion of fly-half Jantjies. The 42-cap pivot is said to have been taken into custody at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg last month after travelling home from a family holiday.

News24 claimed Jantjies was allegedly harassing an air hostess, citing eyewitness accounts. It claimed he followed the woman to a toilet, where she locked herself inside. And according to The South African, witnesses claimed Jantjies banged on the toilet door for around 10 minutes until his knuckles started bleeding. He is alleged to have shouted, “Komaan, my skat (Come on, my darling)”, to the hostess.

Jantjies’ agent said following the allegations: “It’s alleged that while on board the plane, a light was damaged. We believe that the incident has been unnecessarily heightened. Our client however remains compliant with the investigation process and will address this matter with the seriousness it beckons.”

Jantjies was released on bail by the authorities. None of the players involved in the URC semi-finals have been included in Nienaber’s training squad.

“Most of these players were together for a large part of the 2021 season and they know each other well on and off the field, so we are confident that they will set the tone,” Nienaber said.

“We know what Grant can do, he showed his class at our training sessions last season, and he knows our structures and systems well, while Ntuthuko has really improved a lot over the last year, and we are excited to work with him after showing what he can do for the Sharks this season.

“We have worked hard on ensuring that we have a well-developed squad that syncs quickly, so we will work as hard as possible in the next few weeks to get the structures going so that the other invited players can slot in easily.

“There are several familiar faces in the group and a few players who have been out of the set-up for a while, but we have our goals for this season and with an eye on the Rugby World Cup, so from a coaching perspective it is important that we know what talent we have across the board.

“We will announce our official squad later in the month once we have a clearer indication of which players are available and the injury status of all the players. But the important thing is that we get going with our on-field preparations as soon as possible so that we are ready to return to action when the series begins.”

SA Rugby statement over Erasmus gaffe

SA Rugby have had to issue a statement after a pornographic video was retweeted from Rassie Erasmus’ Twitter account.

His account retweeted the video on Friday before Erasmus himself appeared to tweet out that his account had been hacked and he was not in control of the content which had been shared.

However, in another twist to these weird events, SA Rugby have had to set the record straight by saying all tweets which have come from the account were in fact put out by someone who has hacked the account.

A statement read: “Rassie Erasmus, SA Rugby’s director of rugby, has confirmed that his Twitter account, @RassieRugby, has been hacked and that he no longer has access to or control of the account.

“The issue has been reported to Twitter and will hopefully be resolved speedily. Any content appearing under the handle should be disregarded as being posted by a malicious hacker until further notice.”

It’s not the first time he has come into social media hot water, of course. Following the Lions’ tour of South Africa last year, Erasmus retweeted a post from an anonymous user called Jaco Johan, who tried to highlight some “questionable calls” made by the referees against the Springboks during the Test series.

It was alleged that Erasmus was the man behind that Johan account, using duplicitous means to attack World Rugby and its officials. The Springboks’ DoR was also given a two-month ban for his criticism of referee Nic Berry following the first Test against the Lions.

Wilson facing calls for his job

Welsh coach Danny Wilson has come under significant pressure in his role as Glasgow head coach after his side’s embarrassing 76-14 surrender to Leinster in the URC quarter-finals.

The Scots but up meek resistance to the league’s runaway favourites and it produced a scoreline that was not befitting a knockout match. There have been substantial calls for Wilson, formerly Cardiff head coach, to lose his job one year before his contract expires at Scotstoun.

“We have set our standards higher than that and to put on a performance like that is just not acceptable for us as a squad and a club, and also for the fans as well,” said Glasgow star George Horne.

The Herald rugby scribe David Barnes wrote: “Saturday’s 76-14 hammering by Leinster is going to be hard for the coach to get past. Whereas it previously seemed likely he would soldier on with Warriors until at least after the 2023 World Cup when we can expect a giant game of musical chairs to play out amongst professional and international coaches, now it is far more more likely that he will be gone by the time pre-season begins in four weeks’ time.

“Wilson still has a year to run on his contract, but that won’t matter if Mark Dodson decides that he has become a threat to the bottom line (be in no doubt that these decisions are made by Scottish Rugby’s Chief Executive not Glasgow Warriors Managing Director Al Kellock).”

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