Tonight's rugby news as Wales international left 'gutted' and 12 to miss Twickenham clash

Wales and South Africa will meet at Twickenham on June 22
-Credit: (Image: Chris Fairweather/Huw Evans Agency)

These are your headlines on the evening of Sunday, June 9.

Davies left 'gutted' after final defeat

Wales fly-half Sam Davies was left 'gutted' after Grenoble suffered defeat in the Pro D2 final against Vannes.

Davies' side still have a shot at reaching the top tier of French rugby, but they'll have to beat big spenders Montpellier next Sunday to do so.

That will be no easy feat though. Despite finishing 13th in the Top 14, Montpellier are stacked with plenty of talent - with British and Irish Lion Sam Simmonds, Springboks scrum-half Cobus Reinach and France international Paul Willemse on their books.

As attention now turns to Grenoble's final shot at reaching the Top 14, Davies took to social media to thank the fans for his support.

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Speaking after their defeat to Vannes, Davies wrote: "Gutted as it was not to be yesterday! To many unforced errors cost us! Great experience and another chance at home against Montpellier next week for promotion. We’ll keep fighting! As we have all season! Staying focused!"

Davies' first season in France has been a successful one, despite the defeat this weekend, with the former Ospreys and Dragons' fly-half was named the best player in the second tier of French rugby.

Dozen World Cup winners to miss Wales clash

A dozen of the Springboks' World Cup winning side, including captain Siya Kolisi, will miss their upcoming clash with Wales at Twickenham this month.

Just 11 of the side that edged out New Zealand in Paris last October will be available after injuries, club commitments and retirement ruled out the other 12.

"Players based in Europe, the UK and Ireland will not be considered for the Boks’ first Test of the season against Wales at Twickenham," SA Rugby said in a statement.

Kolisi will be unavailable, with his club side, Racing 92, currently involved in the Top 14 play-off .

With the Test outside the international window, there's no obligation for teams outside of South Africa to release players. Vodacom Bulls players have also not been name in the squad, given their involvement in the URC play-offs.

Rassie Erasmus has named a 35-man squad for a training camp, which begins in Pretoria on Monday. As well as Kolisi, the likes of Handre Pollard and Jasper Wiese won't feature against Wales.

There are 11 uncapped players in the squad, including Andre-Hugo Ventre - the son of Springbok legend Andre Venter.

"We gained immense value by granting a few players a chance to prove what they can do at international level in the years leading up to the 2023 World Cup," said Erasmus.

"Some of the players who made their Test debuts were members of the squad that lifted the trophy in Paris, and we feel it is important that we continue blooding new players.

"Having them in camp and working closely with them on the field will set them and the team in good stead as we start laying the foundations for the 2027 World Cup in Australia."

Ford ruled out of summer series

By Duncan Bech, PA England Rugby Correspondent

George Ford has been ruled out of England's summer tour to Japan and New Zealand because of an Achilles injury.

Ford started at fly-half throughout this year's Six Nations but having completed the club season with Sale, it has been decided he needs time to recover from the pre-existing condition.

"Naturally we're disappointed that George won't be with us in Japan and New Zealand," head coach Steve Borthwick said.

"Following specialist medical advice, and in consultation with George himself, we have decided this is the best course of action.

"George is a big part of the England team and is an excellent professional who I know will rehab diligently to ensure he gets himself right as soon as he can."

Ford, who missed seven months of the 2022-23 season with an Achilles injury, was part of England's training camp last week but Borthwick must now plan to take on the Brave Blossoms and All Blacks without two of his World Cup fly-halves following Owen Farrell's decision to join Racing 92.

It leaves Northampton's Premiership-winning ringmaster Fin Smith and Marcus Smith of Harlequins in a shootout for the number 10 jersey, with rookie Charlie Atkinson most likely to tour as the third playmaker.

Fin Smith started the Six Nations on the bench in support of Ford before losing his place to his namesake once the British and Irish Lion had recovered from injury.

But the 22-year-old Saint has produced an impressive club season as evidenced by claiming the Rugby Players Association's player of the year award and a Premiership winners medal and will see this as the chance to challenge the pecking order.