Weekly Round Up

Weekly Round Up

Leinster sign Scott Fardy 

Leinster have confirmed the signing of Wallabies international Scott Fardy after the completion of the 2017 Super Rugby season.

The 32-year-old made his debut for the Brumbies in 2012 as a 28-year-old, playing almost every game since earning his first cap.

He quickly established himself as one of Australian rugby's most valuable assets, earning 39 caps for Australia and helping them into the final of the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Commenting on the news, Leinster Rugby Head Coach Leo Cullen said: "Scott is a player of considerable talent and experience and we are looking forward to welcoming him to Leinster. 

"In order to compete consistently on two fronts in the Guinness PRO12 and the Champions Cup we need to have competition across the team and while Scott has played a lot of rugby in the back row, we have signed Scott as a second row and believe he will complement the second row options that we already have here in Leinster."

The IRFU have give Leinster permission to sign Fardy on the basis that he can only be considered at second-row to allow plenty of Irish-qualified loose-forward talent to start for the club.

SA Rugby introduce cap rule for overseas Boks

Following a decision by the Executive Council of SA Rugby, only overseas-based Springboks with more than 30 Test caps will be eligible for selection in future.

The policy will come into force from 1 July 2017, allowing players with fewer than 30 caps to return to South Africa should they wish to be considered for Springbok selection after the Incoming Series against France in June.

“We are sending a message to young players that if they wish to play for the Springboks, then they must remain in South Africa,” said Mr Mark Alexander, president of SA Rugby.

“But we have also retained flexibility for the coach to select exceptional players who may be based overseas provided they have a proven track record of 30 Tests for the Springboks.

Billy Vunipola

Vunipola is set to start for Saracens this weekend, having recovered from ligament damage against Argentina in November.

The no.8 may still feature for England in the Six Nations if he can prove his fitness before next weekend. 


Saints sign Springbok scrum-half Cobus Reinach

Northampton Saints has today announced the signing of Cobus Reinach ahead of the 2017/18 season.

“Cobus is an excellent player and we’re looking forward to having him at Franklin’s Gardens next season,” said Director of rugby Jim Mallinder. 

“We have been watching him for some time and he has proven time and again what a quality player he is. His set piece skills are excellent and he is a very opportunistic scrum half."

Josh Strauss Joins Sale Sharks

Sale Sharks have announced the signing of Scottish International Back Row Forward Josh Strauss on a three year deal.

“Josh is a world class forward," commented Director of Rugby Steve Diamond.

"He has been performing well for both Glasgow and Scotland over the past five years and will compliment the squad in the ball carrying department..."

Josh has been capped eleven times by Scotland after making his international debut against Japan in the 2015 World Cup at Kingsholm.

He is currently playing for Glasgow Warriors who he joined in 2012 from The Lions and Golden Lions where he was captain.

Paddy Jackson commits to Ulster

Ulster Rugby have announced that Paddy Jackson has signed a two-year contract extension that will keep him at Kingspan Stadium until at least the summer of 2019.

"To have Paddy commit to Ulster for a further two seasons is a huge boost," said Director of Rugby, Les Kiss.

"His form over the past few years has been widely acknowledged and it was no surprise that there was a lot of interest in him from other big European clubs..."

Jackson made his Ulster debut back in February 2011 against Scarlets and has gone on to amass 831 points in 118 matches.

He has played a total of 22 times for Ireland since his debut against Scotland in 2013.

Shaun Knight leaves Newport Gwent Dragons

Newport Gwent Dragons can confirm that Shaun Knight has been released from his contract.

Following his loan spell with Premiership side Bath Rugby, Knight has been offered a permanent contract with the English outfit.

“Shaun was a pleasure to work with, he is a consummate professional and very good young player," Head Coach Kingsley Jones commented.

“However due to the excellent performances of Brok Harris coupled with the progression and emergence of our other three Welsh qualified props Lloyd Fairbrother, Leon Brown and young Chris Coleman, future opportunities would be limited.

“Bath is an excellent opportunity for Shaun to play rugby at the top level and we’d like to wish him well for the future.”

Wasps confirm Kyle Eastmond will miss the rest of the season

Wasps have today confirmed that Kyle Eastmond will miss the rest of the season after tearing his Achilles tendon during last Sunday’s game.

“It’s obviously really disappointing for Kyle that he will miss the rest of the season and I really feel for him, because it came at a time when he was really starting to find his feet in this side and get a good run of games under his belt," Director of Rugby Dai Young said.

“The good news is that the operation was as straightforward as it can be with this type of injury and that he is expected to make a full recovery, hopefully being back ahead of the new season."

Eastmond is expected to be sidelined for six months, which will rule him out of the remainder of Wasps’ 2016/17 campaign.

Cheetahs lose Peterson for 4-6 weeks 

The Cheetahs have confirmed that winger Sergeal Petersen will be sidelined for 4-6 weeks with a knee injury he picked up against the Lions in the opening round of Super Rugby last weekend.


Sam Carter signs two-year deal with Brumbies


Brumbies co-captain Sam Carter has signed a new two-year deal with the Canberra side.

Since the departure of Stephen Moore, Carter has taken the captaincy, while co-captain Christian Lealiifano continues his recovery from leukaemia.

Carter has played 80 games for the Brumbies since making his debut in 2011 and will lead the Brumbies for the first time at home in a clash against the Sharks on Saturday.

Murray McCallum signs professional contract with Edinburgh

Edinburgh Rugby have announced that tighthead prop Murray McCallum, 20, will graduate from the Academy and join the club on a two-year contract.

Having represented Scotland at under 18 level, McCallum went on to represent the Scotland U20's that beat England and Australia for the first time in 2015/16.

Despite progressing through the age-grade systems as a loosehead prop, he recently made the switch to tighthead prop.

Front row duo commit to Bath

Bath have confirmed that front row duo Shaun Knight and Michael van Vuuren have both agreed contract extensions with the Club. 

Knight arrived on loan from Newport Gwent Dragons in September, but has now agreed a permanent deal to remain in the West Country until the end of the 2017/18 season.

Former South African U20 hooker van Vuuren arrived at Bath from Leicester Tigers following spells with Top 14 side Stade Francais and Super Rugby’s Cheetahs and Kings.

Director of Rugby, Todd Blackadder, said: “It’s been a busy month or so with contract renewals, but we’re delighted to have secured a number of players in preparation for next season.

“Shaun and Michael are another two players that we had identified as playing an important role at the Club and I have no doubt they will offer a great deal to the squad during their time here.”

Wasps sign Alex Rieder extension

Wasps have announced that versatile back-rower Alex Rieder has signed a contract extension at the club. 

Rieder joined Wasps ahead of the 2015/16 season and has 24 appearances for the club, including 17 this season.

The former Championship Player of the Year commented on his extension:

"To be able to extend my contract at Wasps is a great honour. To not only be able to play for a club with such an amazing history, but also to potentially contribute to it, is a privilege.


Warriors sign Wasps’ Tom Howe

Warriors have signed Wasps Academy starlet Tom Howe ahead of the 2017/18 season.

The winger, who will be part of the senior squad at Sixways when joining in the summer, has been a regular through the England age-groups, having helped the Under 20s to the Junior World Championship title last year.

He has made 13 appearances for Wasps, having crossed the whitewash on two occasions – one of which came against Warriors in November’s Anglo-Welsh Cup encounter at the Ricoh Arena.

Matt Cox signs new Worcester Warriors deal

Worcester Warriors have confirmed that back rower Matt Cox has signed a new contract to remain at Sixways.

Cox is a Warriors Academy graduate and has been in fine form this season, having made the most carries of any player in the European Challenge Cup after amassing 100 in just 6 games.

Cox's form has also seen him pick up back-to-back Player of the Month awards in December and January.

Sale Sharks sign Curry twins on 5-year deals

Sale Sharks have confirmed that England U20 internationals Ben and Tom Curry have both signed 5-year deals.

The pair have already made an impact in the first team, at the age of 18, they have became only the fourth set of twins to play side-by-side in the Premiership. 

Tom also became the youngest player ever to score a try in the Premiership when he touched down at Bristol last October.


Rory Clegg signs long-term contract at Ealing

Ealing Trailfinders can confirm that Rory Clegg has joined on a long-term contract from Glasgow Warriors ahead of the transfer deadline last Friday.

"Rory is someone we have been following for some time and it is great to bring him in at this stage of the season,” Director of Rugby Ben Ward said.

The fly-half has played for the current Pro 12 champions since the start of the 2015-16 season and scored 95 points in 14 appearances. He also has appeared for Harlequins, Newcastle Falcons and England Saxons.

Yorkshire Carnegie captain Ryan Burrows to join Newcastle Falcons

Yorkshire Carnegie captain Ryan Burrows has become Newcastle Falcons’ latest signing as the club continues its recruitment for next season.

Newcastle Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards commented: “Ryan is an experienced performer who has played to a consistently high standard in the Championship over a number of years now, and really deserves this chance to step up.
“His ball-carrying, leadership and work rate will all be major assets when he joins us in the summer, before which time I know he is completely committed to helping Yorkshire Carnegie finish their season strongly.”

The 28-year-old has scored 28 tries in his 138 appearances for Carnegie since joining them in 2011, having also made more than a century of appearances for Rotherham.

7 members of the Leinster Academy awarded senior contracts

Ahead of next season, Leinster Rugby and the IRFU can confirm that seven members of the Leinster Academy have been awarded Senior Contracts. 

Ross Byrne, Joey Carbery, Nick McCarthy, Rory O’Loughlin, Andrew Porter, James Ryan and Peadar Timmins are the seven players that will join up with the Leinster Senior squad.

Commenting on the news Leinster Rugby Head Coach Leo Cullen said:

“We invest a huge amount of time and resources into our Academy system in Leinster and we very much see these players and this model as the future of this club. I am excited by the challenge that lies ahead of them as they look to kick on in their careers.”

Between them, they have played 55 times for Leinster in the Champions Cup and Guinness PRO12 this season, contributing 15 tries and 142 points. 

Sunwolves sign Jamie-Jerry Taulagi for Super Rugby 2017

The Sunwolves have confirmed the signing of Jamie-Jerry Taulagi from Munakata Sannix Blue for Super Rugby 2017.

The 23-year old represented the Reds in Super Rugby from 2014-2016 making 10 appearances for the Queensland side. 

He moved to the Japan in 2016 where he represented the Munakata Sannix Blues on 11 occasions scoring 29 points. 

Damian de Allende ruled out for 3 months

Stormers centre Damian de Allende has been ruled out of action for up to three months due to an ankle injury.

De Allende sustained the injury in the second half of the Stormers 37-24 victory against Bulls at  Newlands on Saturday.

The midfielder joins the likes of Scarra Ntubeni (achilles), Leolin Zas (leg) and Juan de Jongh (knee) on the Stormers injury list.


Wasps sign Fijian international Gaby Lovobalavu

Wasps have announced that Fijian international centre Gabiriele Lovobalavu will join the club ahead of the 2017/18 campaign.

Lovobalavu, who has won 22 caps for his country and represented Fiji in the last three Rugby World Cups (2007, 2011 and 2015), is currently playing for Bayonne in the Top 14, having joined them from Toulon in 2012.

He will head to Wasps over the summer when Samoan international centre Alapati Leiua moves to Bristol Rugby. 

SA Rugby confirm coaching structures with Coetzee remaining Head Coach

The Executive Council of SA Rugby reaffirmed its support for Allister Coetzee, as they announced the coaching and management structure for eight national teams.

46 individuals were named, Franco Smith is one of the notable additions to the senior Springbok team as well as the announcement of Chean Roux as the Springbok U20 coach.

Read more here

Scarlets Assistant Coach Ioan Cunningham pens new deal

Scarlets have confirmed that Assistant Coach Ioan Cunningham has penned a new deal keeping him at his home region for the next few years.

Glanaman born Cunningham joined the Scarlets in 2000 as part of the region’s inaugural Academy year group, combining his training with a HND in Sports Science from Coleg Sir Gar.

After hanging up his playing boots Cunningham began his coaching career as Elite Youth Development Manager with the Ospreys before returning to his home region in January 2011 as Academy Skills Coach.

SA Rugby announce new national club rugby competition

Sunday rugby, triple-headers, regional championships and a new competition name on the rugby calendar are all part of a major makeover for the opening provincial competition of the South African season.

The SuperSport Rugby Challenge will kick off on the weekend of 22/23 April and will feature the country’s 14 provincial unions together with Namibia’s Welwitschias in a 13-week tournament that is set to take rugby in a whole new direction.

As part of the new look, the SuperSport Rugby Challenge will SuperStack matches with as many as three games hosted back-to-back at a single venue – one of which will be a local club rugby match.

“The SuperSport Rugby Challenge will take professional rugby to places it has never been before - both literally and metaphorically,” said Jurie Roux, SA Rugby CEO.

For more click here

The RFU announces 10 clubs to play in new Women's Super Rugby

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) has announced that 10 clubs have been offered a place, subject to contract, in the new women’s domestic competition from September 2017.

Women’s Super Rugby is a major development for the women’s game in England and will significantly raise the standards of rugby domestically and help support the Red Roses’ ambition to be the number one team in the world, along with growing participation numbers.

All applicants will be required to deliver against a set of minimum operating standards, which are designed to create an infrastructure within the clubs to support an increasingly professional game.

The competition's structure has all the teams playing each other on a home and away basis. The top four teams at the end of the home-and-way season qualify for the play-offs which follow a 1 v 4, 2 v 3 system. All clubs must meet the RFU's Minimum Standards Criteria to remain in the competition. There is no promotion or relegation in the first two seasons of the competition.

Following a rigorous and independently-chaired application process, the 10 successful teams that have been offered a place in the Women’s Super Rugby, subject to contract, are:

  • Bristol Ladies Rugby Ltd
  • Darlington Mowden Park Sharks
  • Firwood Waterloo Ladies
  • Harlequin FC
  • Gloucester-Hartpury Women’s RFC
  • Loughborough Students (Lightning)
  • Richmond FC
  • Saracens Women
  • Wasps FC Ladies
  • Worcester Valkyries

Super Rugby Round Up

Western Force 26 vs Reds 19

The Western Force secured a 26-19 home win over the Queensland Reds in round 2 of Super Rugby. Two tries apiece in the first half saw the sides deadlocked at 12-12 at halftime.

The Reds struck first in the second half with their third try, but the Force chipped away with two penalties to close the gap to a single point at 19-18.

With about 10 minutes to play the Force ran in their third try to hit the front and added a penalty 5 minutes later to secure a seven point victory.


Chiefs 41 vs Blues 24

The Chiefs put the Blues to the sword with a dominant 6 try win. The Blues lost Luatua on the stroke of half time to a red card after a late high tackle, they never recovered from that until scoring 3 late tries when the game was already lost.

The Chiefs have a full house of 10 points from their opening 2 games to start the season.

Upcoming Fixtures 

Hurricanes vs Rebels 

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Highlanders vs Crusaders

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Brumbies vs Sharks 

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Sunwolves vs Southern Kings

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Lions vs Waratahs 

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Stormers vs Jaguares

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Cheetahs vs Bulls

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