Tierney signs up with Leicester


RUGBY: Munster scrumhalf Tom Tierney joined Leicester Tigers yesterday as the club strengthened their position at the top of English rugby by unveiling two other new signings and a sponsorship deal worth more than £1 million. Coach Dean Richards has captured French prop Franck Tournaire from Toulouse and Welsh hooker Rhys Williams.

Tierney (25), who has eight caps, has been out of favour with Ireland since the 50-18 defeat against England two years ago. A shoulder injury ruled him out of contention for a place in the Munster squad against Leicester in last season's European Cup final which Leicester won.

Tournaire, capped 49 times, was part of the France squad which reached the final of the 1999 World Cup and played in the semi-final win over New Zealand at Twickenham. The tight head, however, has struggled to hold down a place in the national squad under Bernard Laporte. Williams, a former Wales under-19 international, has spent the last nine months playing in Hong Kong.

The Tigershave also agreed a three-year contract with landscaping firm Bradstone. The deal is the biggest in British club rugby.

Former New Zealand Maori full-back Jarrod Cunningham (33), has been diagnosed as suffering from motor neurone disease. The 33-year-old has spent the last three and a half seasons at London Irish.

South Africa coach Rudolf Straeuli has named uncapped forward Hendro Scholtz in his 24-man squad to face New Zealand for their Tri-Nations opener in Wellington on July 20th.