The Ospreys have moved to strengthen their front row options with the signing of former All Black Campbell Johnstone.
The former Crusaders and Biarritz tight-head has signed until the end of the season providing much needed cover for existing tight-heads Aaron Jarvis, Adam Jones and Joe Rees who are all ruled out with injury.
The 32-year old from Waipukurau arrives in Ospreylia in time for the busiest month of the season. The Ospreys face back-to-back Heineken Cup clashes against European heavyweights Toulouse ahead of big Christmas derby fixtures, before the focus turns back to Europe with the visit of old foes Leicester Tigers to the Liberty and a trip to Treviso.
A product of the Canterbury province, Johnstone played 38 times for Crusaders before signing for Biarritz in 2008. Renowned as a powerful scrummager, Johnstone played 80 games for the French outfit in four years, including 14 appearances in the Heineken Cup. In the 2009/10 season he faced the Ospreys in the nail biting quarter-final clash in San Sebastian where Biarritz won by a solitary point en route to the final against Toulouse.
Capped three times by New Zealand in 2005, against Fiji and the British and Irish Lions (two tests), Johnstone left Biarritz in the summer, returning to New Zealand to play for Tasman in the ITM Cup.
Johnstone's arrival comes just days after the return of Cai Griffiths on loan from London Irish.
Andy Lloyd, Rugby Operations Manager at the region, commented: "The arrival of Campbell and Cai gives us some much needed options at tight-head given the injuries we've suffered and the ongoing commitments we have to the national set-up at senior and age-grade level.
"Campbell will go straight into our ERC squad on his arrival, and although Cai is ineligible for the Heineken Cup having played in the Amlin Cup this season he will have a big part to play in our PRO12 defence, particularly during the Six Nations period when in addition to our senior national commitments we will also lose two tightheads to the U20 squad.
"We remain entirely committed to development from within and don't take any decision to look outside the group for injury cover lightly. However, we have a responsibility to our supporters, management and directors to remain competitive, as well as to our players for their personal welfare. Given the complete lack of any professional experience in our remaining options there is quite simply no way we could go the rest of the season without bringing in additional cover.
"This autumn we have seen seven front five players from this region involved with the senior national squad, a contribution that we are justifiably proud of. However, the reality is that with so many players from one region featuring there can be a heavy price to pay in terms of injuries to the like of Aaron, Richard Hibbard and Alun Wyn Jones as well as the need to provide squad cover, both during the international period and when players return to the region unfit to play."
Principality Stadium will host the UEFA Champions League Final in six weeks' time. WRU chairman Gareth Davies, Football Association of Wales chief executive Jonathan Ford and Ambassador Ian Rush joined young sports fans at the trophy arrival at the venue to celebrate the magnitude of the event on Saturday 3rd June (kick-off 19.45).
British and Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton is looking forward to bringing together players from Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales for the biggest challenge of their careers - a series against world champions, New Zealand.
For the fifth year running, Wales referee Nigel Owens will be in charge of proceedings at Judgement Day V at Principality Stadium. It promises to be 'extra special' for the Wales' favourite ref, as he will be making his 150th appearance in the league.
There will be no shortage of inside knowledge from Bowl Finalists Caerphilly and Amman United when they face each other on Sunday at National Finals Day. Caerphilly hooker Rhys Cleverly knows the Principality Stadium pitch better than most as a matchday groundsman, while Amman United can look to Wales' record try scorer Shane Williams for some helpful advice.
Two hundred and 40 teams competed in the inaugural Urdd WRU 7s held at Pencoed last week with Welsh internationals Steff Andrews and Jasmine Joyce impressed with the talent on display, as was Urdd chief executive, Sioned Hughes.
The countdown is on for Judgement Day V as tickets for the big day at Principality Stadium soar through the 50,000 mark. Players and coaches alike are bursting at the seams to play in the double header with Dragons coach Kingsley Jones claiming there is a 'real buzz' about the event.
WRU TV went behind the scenes when the four regions got together to test their skill set for the BBC's Scrum V Live rugby show, at the WRU National Centre of Excellene in the build up to Judgement Day V. Blues' Matthew Morgan was one of the stars of the show while the Dragons' Cory Hill proved a surprise package...the full set of results will be revealed on tv screens on matchday
Wales assistant coach Richie Pugh is confident his side can cause a few headaches in the Hong Kong Sevens this weekend. In a tough group, Wales kick off their campaign against New Zealand on Friday before playing Japan and Fiji, who are chasing their third consecutive Hong Kong title, on Saturday.
Bedwas had to overcome a stubborn Carmarthen Quins side before winning the Foster's Challenge Cup final in Bridgend with a 23-18 victory. Bedwas captain Nicky Griffiths pays tribute to his side who have claimed the club's first piece of silverware in the modern era.
Team coach Brett Davey is aiming to keep his unbeaten run in cup finals at Principality Stadium intact when his side take on Amman United in the WRU Bowl final, after he guided Caerphilly to a 20-14 win against Cilfynydd in the semi-finals.
Penallta are hoping to go one step further than last season when falling to Bedlinog in the WRU Plate Final. After a titanic struggle against Nant Conwy, they have given themselves a great chance, after a hard fought 18-13 semi-final victory.