Rugby news in brief: Deighton joins board of Rugby World Cup

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LONDON Olympics chief executive Paul Deighton has been appointed to the board of England Rugby 2015.

Former England captain Bill Beaumont joins Deighton as its latest board members. It means Deighton will link up again with former LOCOG director of sport Debbie Jevans, now England Rugby 2015’s chief executive.

Deighton’s Olympics role included leading LOCOG’s day-to-day operations and having responsibility for a £2billion budget from the private sector. “Everyone recognises that the London Olympics and Paralympics have set a high benchmark for international sports events that follow,” Deighton said. “I want to bring the knowledge and experience gleaned from my time with LOCOG to help ensure that the organisation, delivery and feelgood factor of the Rugby World Cup in 2015 is right up there with London 2012.”

Jones optimistic on Welsh title defence

PROP Adam Jones believes there is no reason why Wales cannot defend their RBS Six Nations title, despite concerns over injuries and form. Tighthead Jones, 31, made a welcome return from two months out with a knee injury in the Ospreys’ 17-6 Heineken Cup win over Toulouse on Saturday, providing Welsh rugby with a major boost after a miserable autumn series.

“It was probably a good series to miss, the way it turned out. But I don’t think we’ve turned into a poor team overnight,” he said. “There’s a lot of talent in the squad. If we can get everyone fit, we can give anyone in the Six Nations a run for their money. A lot has been made about Warren Gatland being away on Lions duty but the coaches are fantastic anyway. Of course Gats is a big influence, but I don’t see why we can’t retain our title. It’ll be difficult, but I don’t see why not.”

Byrne on sidelines with back injury

WALES international full-back Lee Byrne could face a lengthy spell on the sidelines due to a back injury.

The Clermont Auvergne player was hurt just before half-time of his team’s Heineken Cup victory over reigning European champions Leinster in Dublin two days ago.

The French club, on their official website, said 32-year-old Byrne had “suffered a fractured right pedicle of the fifth lumbar vertebra”.

Byrne, who has won 46 Test caps and toured South Africa with the 2009 British and Irish Lions, is in his second season of a three-year contract with Clermont.

He was not included in the Wales squad that played autumn internationals against Argentina, Samoa, New Zealand and Australia last month, losing all four games.