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Champions Cup

Another Connacht Ace Signs Contract Extension

Connacht have confirmed that a fourth player in two days has signed an extension with the province

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(Photo By Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Connacht have announced that captain Jarrad Butler has put pen to paper on a contract extension with the western province.

The 28-year-old, who joined them in 2017, going on to play more minutes than any other player in the PRO14 since then, has decided to commit to the men in green until the summer of 2022 meaning he will be with Connacht for a minimum of five years. 

Butler is excited to continue on with the club and is looking forward to the future with Connacht. 

“I am delighted to commit my future to Connacht for a further two seasons. We have some real leaders within our squad, and I was hugely honoured to take over the role of captain last season. There is a real sense of ambition within the player group which extends right throughout the staff and supporters of the province. I am really looking forward to the seasons ahead in a Connacht jersey,” he said. 

Butler won Connacht’s Player of the Year award after making an instant impact following his arrival and after showing his influence was given the club captaincy. 

Meanwhile, head coach Andy Friend is also delighted to have the player stay on and believes his signing shows how ambitious the club are heading into the future. 

“Jarrad has proven himself to be a hugely consistent and versatile player. That consistency along with his unrelenting work rate are what make him an outstanding leader. His contract extension is significant as we aim to deliver success to the province,” he said. 

His signing is another thing for fans to cheer about as they discovered yesterday that star trio of Tiernan O’Halloran, Sean O’Brien and Tom Farrell have all signed on until the summer of 2022 much like Butler. 

As well as the extensions supporters have seen their province have a bright start to the season as they currently sit second in Conference B of the PRO14 on 19-points after five games only a point behind table toppers Munster

They will hope to continue their impressive start when they host reigning champions Leinster in their first inter-provincial derby of the season on Friday as some of their international stars are also set to return to the line-up following their time off after the Rugby World Cup with Ireland.

Champions Cup

Saracens Face EPCR Misconduct Hearing

Saracens are set to face yet another hearing but this time it’s on the European front

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(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Saracens are set to face a misconduct hearing with the EPCR today at 18 00 the European Rugby body have confirmed.

The reigning Champions Cup holders are in trouble after they informed officials earlier in the week that they may have fielded an ineligible player during their Champions Cup win over Racing 92 last month which sealed them a quarter-final place. 

The player in question is Titi Lamositele, who came off the bench in the 60th minute of the clash against the Top 14 side. It is understood that when the squad was announced for the game that the player was eligible. 

However, his work permit did in fact expire on January 18th, with the game taking place on the 19th, which could have caused a breach in the disciplinary rules.

An independent Disciplinary Committee will hear the complaint later today, with it being chaired by Roger Morris (Wales), Pamela Woodman (Scotland) and Jean-Noel Couraud (France). 

It is the latest blow in what has been a dramatic season to date for the Premiership outfit, who were found to have breached salary cap regulations in the competition and being fined and docked points before being relegated outright last month. 

They were docked further points recently to ensure that they will finish the season in last place in the Premiership. 

While on the European front they have already caused problems for the EPCR by failing to show up to the competition’s opening event. 

Despite all the drama they have managed to progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup and will face last season’s beaten finalists Leinster away from home, but it remains to be seen what their latest punishment could be if found guilty.

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6 Nations

Ireland Tie Star Down with New Contract

Ireland have confirmed that one of their key men has committed his future to both the national side and his province

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(Photo By David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Ireland lock James Ryan has signed a new three-year deal with the IRFU which expires at the end of the 2022/23 season.

The 23-year-old has starred for both Ireland and Leinster since his debut for both in 2017, becoming a key player and leader on the pitch and he is excited to continue on both fronts. 

“I’m delighted to sign an IRFU contract. A lot has been packed into the start of my professional career with both Ireland and Leinster and there has been some great success and a few disappointments, but I’m involved in two very exciting squads that want to be challenging for trophies,” he said. 

Having made the step into test rugby at only 20, Ryan adapted quickly and has gone on to add 24-caps to his name, including playing a main role in Ireland’s Six Nations Grand Slam success in 2018, as well as standing out in their Rugby World Cup campaign last year. 

IRFU high performance director David Nucifora believes that despite already being a key figure for both his teams Ryan will only continue to get better. 

“James is still a young man but he has delivered consistent high level performances for both Ireland and Leinster. He is growing into a leadership role with the national team and has a big future for both Ireland and Leinster,” he said. 

For his province Ryan has made a total of 37 appearances and has tasted success since his first game in 2017, while before his professional career kicked-off he captained Ireland U20’s to the World Rugby Championship final in 2016. 

His new contract also sees him move from a provincial deal to centrally funded one, much like Connacht ace Bundee Aki, who agreed similar terms to Ryan back in November. 

It is a massive boost for both club and country as they look to triumph on several fronts in the coming years. 

However, up first for Ryan is a clash with current Grand Slam holders Wales on Saturday in the second round of this year’s Six Nations championship, where he will be hoping to help the boys in green to a second win in a row following their opening round victory over Scotland.

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Champions Cup

Munster Complete Trio of Signings

Munster have confirmed the arrival of three new players for the 2020/21 season, in what is a major boost for the Irish province

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(Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Munster have announced the signing of three players in the form of Matt Gallagher, Damien de Allende and RG Snyman.

The trio have all signed two-year deals with the southern Irish province keeping them at the club until June 2022 at least. 

De Allende and Snyman were both reported to be heading to Ireland in recent months and now the recent Rugby World Cup winning Springbok duo have been announced by the club. 

Both players starred in that World Cup win, playing throughout the tournament, and both are currently playing in the Japanese Top League. 

Meanwhile Gallagher joins from Saracens following their recent relegation from the English Premiership after their breaches of the salary cap relegations. He joined the club at 14 and after nine years will add some fresh blood to the Munster ranks. 

Speaking on the signings Munster head coach Johann van Graan is delighted to have bolstered the options in the squad as they look to improve next season after already being knocked-out of the Champions Cup this season. 

“From a business point of view, I’m really pleased that Munster has secured the calibre of these players. In terms of Damian and RG, it’s testament to the worldwide standing of this club that two World Cup-winning Springboks will arrive here next summer. On a personal level, I know them both very well and in addition to being world-class athletes they are great men. They will add value to everything we are striving to achieve at Munster and I know our supporters will be eagerly looking forward to their arrival. Equally, getting Matt on board is fantastic for our backline options. He is an exciting young talent that can play in a number of positions and is from a great rugby pedigree,” he said. 

Munster fans will be delighted with the incomings and it should help them progress further on the European stage from next season as well as bringing them closer to competing for domestic honours too.

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