These are your evening rugby headlines on Monday, April 8.

Scrum-half signs for rival region

Argentina scrum-half Gonzalo Bertranou has joined Cardiff Rugby on loan from the Dragons for the rest of the season.

Bertranou joined up with the Blue and Blacks earlier today as Matt Sherratt looks to bolster his resources at scrum-half going into the final stages of the campaign. Cardiff have already lost Tomos Williams to injury while Jamie Hill left the club with immediate effect earlier this month to take up an opportunity in Australia.

The 30-year-old Argentinian has won 53 caps for his country but has barely played since reaching the World Cup semi-finals last year. Having moved to Rodney Parade in February 2021, he has made 30 appearances for the Dragons but has played just two games this season for Dai Flanagan's side and started just twice in the past two years.

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“It was important that we brought in some further quality at scrum-half following the injury to Tomos Williams and the departure of Jamie Hill," said Sherratt after the signing was announced. “Gonzalo certainly fits that bill. He brings real quality, experience and professionalism in the position.

“He has more than 50 caps for Argentina, has captained them and is highly motivated to put in some big performances in Blue and Black. He’s trained today and we’re looking forward to seeing how he progresses here.”

World great dies

France legend Andre Boniface has died at the age of 89.

One of the finest French players of the 1950s and 1960s, Boniface won 48 caps for his country between 1954 and 1966 and helped them to four Five Nations titles during that time.

Epitomising French flair, he made his debut as a 19-year-old as France shared the Five Nations title with Wales and England, while his second cap came in his country's first ever win over New Zealand.

He partnered his beloved brother Guy in the French midfield in the 1960s and they had their finest displays against Triple Crown winners Wales in Paris in 1965 as they led France to a 22-13 victory. After playing their final game together in 1966, tragedy struck less than two years later when Guy was killed in a car crash on New Year's Day 1968.

In 2011, he was inducted into World Rugby's Hall of Fame, while nine years later, Mont-de-Marsan's home ground was renamed Stade André-et-Guy-Boniface. He passed away on Monday, four months short of his 90th birthday.

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Wales international calls for major law change

Former Wales international Alix Popham has backed calls for non-injury replacements to be banned across rugby, saying it would make the game safer.

Popham, who was diagnosed with early onset dementia and probable chronic traumatic encephalopathy in 2020, is one of hundreds of former players suing the game's governing bodies for damages and has now spent years campaigning and fundraising for brain health in rugby.

Together with his lobby group Progressive Rugby, Popham has called for "fitness and skills" to be prioritised over size within rugby and says bringing on powerful reinforcements - such as the South African 'Bomb Squad' - should not be allowed. His comments echoed those of Brian Moore, who in his latest column for the Telegraph argued that non-injury replacements should be banned.

"Does [rugby[ want to be a game that at the top levels is only open to the biggest and most powerful forwards?," wrote Moore. "It can have whatever sort of game it wants and if you prefer massive collisions between huge players, you are entitled to that view. However, what you must admit are the ineluctable effects of accepting this policy."

"In terms of safety, it cannot be safer for some players to play a full 80 minutes against two players trained and bulked to play only part of each match. It is also less safe, in terms of repeated subconcussive impacts, to have players who maximise their size and power, knowing they only have to play a limited role in a game. Having players play a full game would also allow teams to give players a full week off if they were played in alternate games instead of playing a limited time every match.

"Restricting the number of substitutes, or banning them save for injury, is one way of forcing players to train to play for longer periods and to shed bulk for aerobic capacity," Moore added. "We are heading for a point where certain levels of rugby are not for all shapes and sizes, unless you mean the shape and size is huge and heavy.

Sharing Moore's post on X, Popham added: "I totally agree and having been saying this for years along with Progressive Rugby. The game would be safer for the players if they ban non-injury replacements and focus on fitness and skills over size."

World Rugby boss lands new role

By Andrew Baldock, PA Rugby Union Correspondent

Sir Bill Beaumont admitted he "did not give it a second thought" when he was approached to fill the latest role in his long and illustrious rugby union career.

Beaumont has achieved much in the game as a Grand Slam-winning England skipper and British and Irish Lions captain, who went on to serve as chair of the Rugby Football Union and World Rugby. His second term at the helm of World Rugby ends in November, but the 72-year-old has no intention of winding down.

Beaumont was recently installed as new patron of the Rugby Football Union Injured Players Foundation (IPF), an organisation that supports players in England who have suffered a catastrophic spinal cord or traumatic brain injury on the field of play.

There are 150 lifelong beneficiaries of the IPF, with some of those players having sustained their injuries dating back to the 1960s. More than 30 years after SPIRE - the English game's first charity for injured rugby players - was established, the IPF's formation in 2008 has expanded an enviable network of support for players and their families.

"My old headmaster Ian Beer actually set this up in 1993, so I am delighted to be following in his footsteps," Beaumont told the PA news agency. "Rugby has been such a part of my life. My father played rugby, my grandfather coached rugby, I have three sons who played rugby - one still playing professionally - and two grandchildren playing mini rugby at the Fylde club, where I played all my rugby.

"I was flattered to be approached about it. I didn't give it a second thought. It is something I want to do," he added. "A big focus for me as patron will be advancing the great work achieved to date in bringing together foundations, governing bodies and medical experts from different countries to share knowledge and research findings, as well as developing successful models of support for catastrophic injury and reduction of its causes."

The IPF supports players back into work or education and funds training programmes or required adaptations to offices and homes as part of its support packages. Some 76 per cent of IPF clients are either employed or in voluntary roles, compared to a national average of less than half that figure for people with spinal cord injuries.