These are your rugby headlines for Monday, November 20.
Police launch investigation as CCTV footage found
Police have launched an investigation after former England international Ugo Monye alleged he was subjected to racial abuse by a fan while covering Exeter Chiefs v Gloucester on TNT Sports. The incident has now been identified on CCTV footage from outside the stadium.
Monye was left distraught as he heard a supporter repeatedly use a racial slur, with the behaviour going unchallenged by those around him. "Leaving Sandy Park and one supporter running through crowd starts shouting 'N****, N****'," Monye wrote on X. "Disgraceful. Not a single person said a word, challenged or even reported it.
"He walks off after a mild scuffle and fans are now telling me 'We’re with you'," he added. "B****** you’re with me. You weren’t with me when you saw and heard the most blatant racism I’ve seen from a supporter at a live game. So fed up"
Superintendent Antony Hart of Devon and Cornwall Police said in a statement: "We have been made aware of an incident which happened on Sunday 19 November at Sandy Park in Exeter. Our enquiries are currently ongoing into the incident.
"We take all reports of hate crime extremely seriously and we will not tolerate this behaviour."
Exeter Chiefs have now issued an update, saying: "Exeter Rugby Club have been working closely alongside Devon & Cornwall Police following the reported incident of racial abuse on Sunday 19th November, which took place outside of the stadium and not within our grounds, at the conclusion of our Gallagher Premiership match with Gloucester Rugby.
"The incident was captured on CCTV and this evidence along with all relevant information has been passed to Devon & Cornwall Police and the club will continue to work closely with the authorities to support their investigations.
"We would like to say a big thank you to the huge number of people who have been in contact with the club with statements and information regarding the incident. We know that this behaviour is not representative of our fans.
"Exeter Chiefs have a zero-tolerance policy for behaviour of this kind, and we have acted as quickly as possible to ensure that this has been dealt with following the advice of all appropriate authorities.
"We would ask anyone who has any information regarding this incident to contact Devon & Cornwall Police quoting 258 20/11/23."
Join the Wales Rugby WhatsApp community
The Wales Rugby breaking news and top stories WhatsApp community has launched - and thousands of fans have already joined. You can expect the day's top stories and major updates sent directly to your WhatsApp from our team - allowing you to stay up to date with all the latest Welsh rugby news for free.
All you have to do to join is click on this link, select 'Join Community' and you're in. No one else in the community will be able to see your personal information and you will only receive messages from the WalesOnline sport team. We will not spam your feed with constant messages, but you will receive daily updates . We also treat our community members to special offers, promotions, and adverts from us and our partners.
If for some reason you decide you no longer want to be in our community, you can leave by clicking on the name at the top of your screen and clicking 'Exit Group'. You can read our Privacy Notice here.
RFU's Maro Itoje plan as 'Giteau Law' suggested
Former England international Brian Moore has suggested England should introduce a new law to keep Maro Itoje in England.
Saracens lock Itoje has recently been linked with a move to France after his club asked him to take a 50% pay cut. Changes to the salary cap rules have forced Sarries to make a change on their marquee players, and with Itoje on a reported £800,000 a week, he's been chosen for the cut.
The 29-year-old is expected to have a whole host of teams vying for his signature, and could join the exodus of Premiership players heading to the Top 14, with Henry Arundell and Joe Marchant plying their trade over the English Channel. However, should he leave for France, then he won't be able to represent England at international level.
Former British and Irish Lion Moore has suggested England adopt 'the Giteau ruling' to help ensure Itoje continues to play for England while plying his trade in the Top 14.
Writing in his Telegraph column, Moore explained: "'All levels of the English game are inter-dependent and require careful management to ensure each level is protected. This means the RFU cannot be blind to the circumstance of players like Itoje and their value in this circle of reliance and they might have to look at a compromise that exists in other unions' rules.
"A relaxation of the rule, along the lines of Giteau’s law in Australia, would not be unreasonable. A player can play abroad and for Australia after gaining a minimum 30 Test caps; and/or five seasons at Super Rugby level. That number of Tests is, for me, too low. Its previous level of 60 caps, under which Itoje would still qualify for England selection, is far preferable.
"There can be small doubt that this issue will run. For English rugby’s sake it is important that the right decisions are taken, and the balance of the argument has to be in favour of the good of the game as a whole, not the individual."
The Telegraph reports that Montpellier, Toulouse and Racing 92 would lead the chase for his signature, should he make a move.
The Rugby Football Union are confident they can keep lock Itoje in England, despite reports he's set for a move to France.
The Standard reports that the RFU is aiming to create 25 hybrid contracts to top up the contracts of England's top stars and keep them in the Gallagher Premiership.
Should he move abroad, Itoje would not be able to play for England under the RFU's ruling on only selecting overseas players in "exceptional circumstances". Henry Arundell comes under that bracket and is currently plying his trade with Racing 92, after his parent club London Irish were suspended from the Premiership.
France suffer huge blow to coaching team
France have suffered a huge blow in the wake of the 2023 Rugby World Cup, with general manager Raphael Ibanez departing the team, according to Midi Olympique.
The Frenchman won 98 Test caps for his country, and has been part of a strong coaching team which features the likes of former Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards. Ibanez, along with his colleagues, helped get Les Bleus into a position to be favourites for their home tournament, but they ultimately crashed out of the competition in the quarter-finals.
Ibanez is said to have left his post, but will continue to be involved with the French Rugby Federation. The news comes just after the 50-year-old signed a new contract with France until 2028, putting pen to paper at the start of 2023.
Speaking to Europe Radio 1 back in January, Ibanez said: "It’s time to tell you a secret. As it is working well, I’m going to extend the adventure because it’s the most beautiful and the most intense that we can live, so I have signed until June 2028.
"It’s the greatest adventure, when you’re passionate about rugby, when you’re passionate and committed."
Tributes after Springbok's death
World Cup-winning South Africa second-row Hannes Strydom has been described as "one of the great locks of his generation" following his death at the age of 58.
Strydom, who helped the Springboks lift the Webb Ellis Cup for the first time in 1995, was killed in a car accident on Sunday evening.
He won 21 Test caps between 1993 and 1997, including starting the World Cup final against New Zealand 28 years ago, a triumph which came shortly after the end of apartheid.
Strydom is the fifth member of the Springboks team which began that 15-12 victory over the All Blacks at Ellis Park in Johannesburg to pass away following the deaths of Ruben Kruger (2010), Joost van der Westhuizen (2017), James Small and Chester Williams (both 2019).
South African Rugby Union president Mark Alexander said in a statement: "Hannes was one of the great locks of his generation and as a member of the Springbok squad from 1995, one of the heroes of our local game.
"To lose yet another member of the iconic Bok squad from 1995 is a heavy blow to the rugby fraternity here in South Africa and our thoughts and condolences are with his wife, Nikolie, their children, Annalie, Hannes and Lucy, family and friends in this very difficult time."
Strydom's international career included facing the British and Irish Lions in 1997, a series which ended in a 2-1 defeat for the Springboks.
His former club, the Lions, also paid tribute to him.
Lions chief executive Rudolf Straeuli, another member of South Africa's 1995 World Cup squad, said: "We are deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Hannes.
"We share a tight bond as members of the 1995 group and to lose yet another one of our brothers is a big blow."