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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

Ospreys Sign Super Rugby Star

Ospreys have had a difficult start to the season, missing a host of players due to the World Cup but they have now signed a man that they hope will help them turn the tide

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(photo by Peter Fitzpatrick/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Ospreys have confirmed the signing of Super Rugby back-liner Marty McKenzie until the end of the 2019/20 season.

The 27-year-old, who can play at fly-half or full-back has played for Super Rugby franchises the Blues, the Crusaders and most recently the Chiefs, but failed to be handed a new deal for the 2020 season and has taken the opportunity to come overseas to play. 

Ospreys general manager Dan Griffiths is delighted to have signed a player of McKenzie’s quality and confirmed he will take the place of the injured Gareth Anscombe. 

“It was disappointing to lose Gareth, but our focus was to bring the right quality of player into the squad for the remainder of the season,” Ospreys general manager Dan Griffiths said in a statement. It’s been a challenging start with World Cup representation and a series of injuries having a significant impact, particularly to backline resources. With the addition of Marty we have recruited a player who has been a regular feature for the Chiefs in Super Rugby, playing with and against some of the world’s top players on a weekly basis. He will bring experience, creativity and a fresh perspective on and off the field. We are looking forward to seeing him in an Ospreys jersey,” he said. 

McKenzie is the older brother of All Blacks ace Damien, who has been suffering from a ruptured ACL since April, the same injury Anscombe picked up ahead of the World Cup. 

The Ospreys have also secured the signings of South African pair Marvin Orie and Shaun Venter and will be hoping that the addition of McKenzie will take them up the PRO14 table, where they currently sit in second-last in Conference A. 

However, they must turn their attention to the European stage once again this weekend as they prepare to take on Saracens in the Champions Cup.

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Champions Cup

Glasgow Confirm Rennie Replacement Already

Dave Rennie was revealed as the new head coach of the Wallabies last night, but current club Glasgow Warriors have taken little time to find his replacement

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(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Glasgow Warriors have announced that Danny Wilson will replace Dave Rennie as head coach come the end of the current season.

It was confirmed last night that Rennie will leave the Scottish giants at the end of the season to take up the role as Australian head coach, after Michael Cheika left the role following their Rugby World Cup exit. 

However, the PRO14 outfit have moved swiftly to fill the vacancy with current Scotland assistant coach Wilson set to take the reins once the season concludes. 

The 43-year-old forwards coach is delighted to be given the opportunity to work with the Warriors. 

“The opportunity to coach such an attractive club as Glasgow Warriors was too good to miss. I’ve been extremely impressed with the Scottish system in recent years and I’m looking forward to working with an exciting and talented squad of players at Warriors. I want to build on the high-tempo style of play that I know the fans love and pay to see week in, week out. The club has been challenging at the top end of the Guinness PRO14 on a regular basis and as a coach, it is that type of environment and culture you want to be involved in,” he said. 

Wilson comes into the role with a wealth of experience already to his name having coached the Cardiff Blues to a European Challenge Cup crown during a three-year stint, as well as roles with the Scarlets, the Dragons and with Wales’ U20 team, before his move to the Scottish national side. 

Speaking on the appointment Scottish Rugby chief executive Mark Dodson believes that Wilson’s prior experiences will help him in his new role. 

“We’re very pleased Danny has accepted this important role at Glasgow Warriors as it retains an excellent coach within the Scottish professional game. Danny has worked hard to develop Scotland’s set-piece into a real area of strength and his technical expertise, aligned with his working knowledge of many of the Warriors’ players, will be key to maintain the club’s progression in the coming years. He has a depth of experience from previous roles with PRO14 teams and we feel this, alongside his recent international coaching, makes him the right person for the club at this time. I’d like to thank Danny for his contribution to the Scotland team and wish him well as we continue our ambitious plans to make both Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh as competitive and successful as possible in their respective competitions,” he said. 

Wilson will continue to work with the national side through their upcoming Six Nations campaign as they look to put a disappointing World Cup behind them, before he moves on to his new position with the Warriors. 

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Champions Cup

Saracens fined by European Rugby (EPCR)

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EPCR have just released the below statement.

Saracens have accepted that they breached the 2019/20 Heineken Champions Cup Participation Agreement by not making the required club representatives available for a key EPCR promotional event.

On Wednesday, 6 November 2019, Saracens’ Director of Rugby, Mark McCall, and captain, Brad Barritt, did not attend the official Season Launch of the 2019/20 Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup for Premiership and PRO14 clubs which was being staged at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.

Having previously indicated that they would be represented at the event, Saracens’ failure to attend constituted a breach of the 2019/20 Heineken Champions Cup Media Rules, and compromised EPCR’s ability to deliver the rights contracted to its broadcast, commercial and media partners.

In light of this breach of its rules, EPCR has decided to impose a fine on Saracens which has been paid by the club, and the sum of which will remain undisclosed.

EPCR appreciates the subsequent efforts made by Saracens to grant rights-holding broadcasters special interview access to members of their Heineken Champions Cup squad in the week before the start of the tournament.

Statement ends.

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