Rugby briefs: Gatland honoured | Puma quits Europe | Samoan joins Saints | Aussie pair stay put

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WALES coach Warren Gatland walked off with top honours yesterday without going anywhere near a stadium.

Gatland picked up an honorary law degree from Swansea University at a gala award ceremony at the city’s Grand Theatre. Graduates watched as the 49-year-old Kiwi picked up the award during the university’s winter graduation ceremony.

Puma quits Europe

Sports firm Puma is withdrawing from sponsoring rugby in Europe, leaving the Irish Rugby Union team looking for a new kit provider, the Germany-based company said yesterday The Irish Rugby Football Union, Puma’s biggest sponsorship in the sport, said that Puma would continue to supply kit to cover the 2013/14 rugby season.

Samoan joins Saints

Samoa international scrum-half Kahn Fotuali’i has signed for Northampton after rejecting a new deal to remain with the Ospreys. Aviva Premiership club Saints confirmed the capture of 30-year-old Fotuali’i, who is rated among the world’s leading scrum-halves. He has won 13 caps for Samoa and starred in the 2011 World Cup. He moved to the Ospreys after that tournament.

Aussie pair stay put

Veteran duo Stephen Moore and Ben Alexander have recommitted to Australian rugby until at least the end of 2015 Rugby World Cup. The Wallabies and Brumbies front-rowers resisted the temptation to head overseas, citing unfinished business at both Test and Super Rugby level as they signed new contracts with the Australian Rugby Union.