Tonight's rugby news as Wales international 'frustrated' at Gatland's Grady pick and star joins French club

-Credit: (Image: Huw Evans Picture Agency Ltd)
-Credit: (Image: Huw Evans Picture Agency Ltd)

Your rugby evening headlines on Sunday, June 23.

Wales international 'frustrated' at Grady selection

Former Wales international Richie Rees says he was "frustrated" by Warren Gatland's decision to start Mason Grady at inside centre.

Speaking on the latest episode of the Scrum V podcast, Rees joined the show's regulars, Lauren Jenkins and Gareth Rhys Owen, at Twickenham for the match.

Despite it not being a vintage performance at 12, Grady, who plays on the wing for Cardiff, had some nice touches and made some solid tackles. His shift into this role was addressed by Owen on the podcast, who asked Rees whether he thought a crash-ball 12 is the right role for Grady going forward.

"In my eyes, no," explained Rees.

"Because we don't have the players around that. Mason isn't a north and south player - straight up and down player. Mason's X-factor is around his physicality, but that's off-line. So his ability to move players left and right, use his long limbs for fends.

"(Saying) run straight and go and run over the top of (Andre) Estherhuizen, who is the same size, if not bigger than him, it just doesn't suit Mason's game. It doesn't use the best of Mason's skills. That's probably where my frustration is, having known a lot of these players."

Timani joins Narbonne

Former Cardiff Rugby star Lopeti Timani has signed for RC Narbonne.

The 33-year-old will swap the United Rugby Championship for the third tier of French rugby ahead of the 2024/2025 campaign.

Timani played for the Blue and Blacks 26 times after being signed from RC Toulon in summer 2022. He was capped 12 times by the Wallabies earlier in his career before utilising the World Rugby rules to switch international allegiances to his birthland of Tonga in 2021.

With regional budgets being cut to £4.5m ahead of the new season, it's harder for Welsh clubs to keep hold of their foreign imports.

England star banned after clearout

England lock Charlie Ewels has been banned after a dangerous clearout on Japan captain Michael Leitch.

That means the Bath second rower will now miss England's summer series against the All Blacks. He had been on the field for just six minutes when he was given his marching orders.

Ewels made direct contact with his shoulder to the planted leg of Leitch, with the Brave Blossoms skipper falling to the ground.

Ewels attended a hearing before an independent disciplinary committee today. A World Rugby statement says: “Having considered all the available evidence, the submissions by the player and his representative, and all available camera angles, the independent committee determined that the red card was warranted.

"The committee considered the degree appropriate entry point for the offending and decided that the offence warranted a low-end entry point of 2 matches. Having considered submissions as regards mitigation, the committee did not apply mitigation to the sanction resulting in a final sanction of two matches."

Leicester Tigers head coach leaves

Leicester Tigers head coach Dan McKellar has left his role with immediate effect.

It was a mutually agreed decision between the parties after "extensive discussion regarding the club's future direction. McKellar has been at the helm for Tigers for one year, and joined the club initially from the Wallabies.

The club has now began their hunt for a new head coach. Tigers said: "We thank Dan for his contribution to Leicester Tigers and wish him, Carla, Amelie and Maya well for the future."

Leciester finished eighth last season and failed to make the play-offs.