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Barrett’s a Blue

Beauden Barrett has confirmed he has signed a new contract with New Zealand Rugby, but he won’t be at the Hurricanes next season

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Beauden Barrett has confirmed that he has signed a new four-year deal with New Zealand Rugby that will see him stay in the country until 2023.

The deal also secures a switch from the Hurricanes to the Blues, with the deal tying Barrett down until after the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

The 73-cap All Black is delighted to have finally been able to announce his decision following months of speculation.

“This is obviously a massive decision for me and my wife Hannah and we’re really looking forward to the next chapter of our lives. The Hurricanes will always be a huge part of who I am. The Hurricanes environment and style of rugby they play has helped me become the player I am today, and I’ll be leaving some very good mates,” he said.

Having turned out for the Hurricanes 125 times since 2011 the club has become a huge part of his life however, he is excited about the prospect of moving on.

“Wellington has been my rugby base for many years and university base for Hannah and we’ll always have fond memories of living there. Home for us now is Taranaki and Auckland and home and family are immensely important to both of us. I’m also enthusiastic about the new challenge I’ll get with the Blues over the next four years. They’re a team on the rise, I like the way they play and I’m really looking forward to being a part of that. While I’m looking forward to what the future holds, right now my focus is on the international season ahead with the All Blacks,” he added.

The 28-year-old has won two World Rugby Player of the Year awards in his career so far and NZR CEO Steve Tew noted this while talking about his joy at having Barrett stay in New Zealand.

“We are absolutely delighted that Beauden has committed to four more years with New Zealand Rugby. He joins a strong core of experienced Test players who are now with us leading into the 2023 Rugby World Cup. There is no doubting how important he is to the All Blacks and every team he plays for. As well as his on-field achievements, including back-to-back World Rugby Player of the Year awards in 2016-2017, he has also amassed numerous records, including being fourth on the All Blacks Test points-scoring list. He is now a genuine leader in any team he plays and a strong contributor to our off-field responsibilities. We all look forward to seeing him back in black for the international season and also wish him all the best with his move to the Blues next year,” he said.

The contract Barrett has signed allows him extra time off following the World Cup meaning he won’t join his new side until half-way through the 2020 season. It also includes a clause that states Barrett can take time at any point over the course of the four years to play rugby in Japan as long as it’s agreed among all parties.

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen believes that knowing Barrett is on board for another four-years is a massive boost for the All Blacks squad.

“It’s fantastic news for the All Blacks and obviously for the Blues as well and we congratulate Beaudy and his wife Hannah on his decision to stay in New Zealand. He’s one of the best players in the world, a leader in our team and has been involved in numerous successful campaigns, from Rugby World Cups to Bledisloe Cups, and I believe he’s going to get even better. Knowing he will be here through to the 2023 Rugby World Cup is massive for the All Blacks as they move into a new phase post-2019,” he said.

Barrett’s commitment to his country and the Super Rugby is a real boost for fans too, who have seen a number of high-profile names turn to the Japanese Top League for financial reasons. Barrett will be hoping to celebrate his new contract with a good showing in the Rugby Championship before attempting to add a third World Cup in a row to the All Blacks cabinet.

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Fiji Announce New Head Coach

Fiji have confirmed the man who will take over from former head coach John McKee

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Fiji have announced that former Scotland head coach Vern Cotter will take the reigns as head coach of the national side come the end of the current club season.

Cotter is currently working at Top 14 outfit Montpellier, but the Kiwi will leave his role at the end of the campaign and link up with the Flying Fijian team. 

The 57-year-old is excited to have the opportunity to coach such a talented squad and hopes they can improve in the years to come. 

“Fiji Rugby has come a long way in the last few years and I am looking forward to the opportunity to work with the talent within the national teams and enhance the competitiveness of Fiji on the world stage,” he said. 

Cotter takes over from former head coach John McKee who was in charge of the team from 2014 until the end of their Rugby World Cup campaign last year. In that time McKee was rather successful as he oversaw wins over first tier nations France, Scotland and Italy, as well as claiming four Pacific Nations Cups during that time. 

However, his time with the side came to an unfortunate end as they crashed out of the World Cup pool stages during which they were defeated by minnows Uruguay. 

Speaking on Cotter’s arrival chairman commander of Fijian Rugby Francis Kean was delighted to have a coach of his calibre come on board and is looking forward to seeing what the future holds under his charge. 

“Following an extensive recruitment process with many outstanding applications, the board is pleased to have secured such an exceptional candidate in Vern Cotter for the top job of Flying Fijians head coach. Mr Cotter presented a thorough and detailed plan to take the team to new levels of success and we were impressed by his vision and expectations of what can be achieved by the programme. We believe he will drive a culture of high-performance, fitness and discipline standards that are necessary to achieve success on the global stage,” he said. 

Cotter will bring a huge amount of experience to the team having led the Scots to the World Cup quarter-finals in 2015 and holding the most successful record of any Scotrish head coach in the professional era. While at club-level, he has been part of back to back Super Rugby title wins with the Crusaders, as well as leading Clermont to a Top 14 title in 2010. 

Fiji will hope that he can take their extremely talented squad and help mould them into a team that fills its potential at last.

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New Springboks Head Coach Announced

The Springboks have confirmed their new coach and his coaching staff

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The Springboks have confirmed that Jacques Nienaber has been promoted from assistant coach to head coach.

Nienaber takes over from World Cup winning coach Rassie Erasmus, who has moved to the director of rugby role and the new head coach will report directly to Erasmus in his new position. 

Speaking on the unveiling Erasmus believed that Nienaber is the perfect man to take over from him due to his experience with the side already. 

“Jacques is highly experienced and has worked with the Springboks on three separate occasions now so knows exactly what the job is about. Jacques will be responsible for the Test match preparation and day-to-day team operations but, as the director of rugby, I will be with the team for the majority of the time and in the coaches’ box with Jacques at matches. I’ll still be responsible for the strategy and results with Jacques taking operational control. The structure allows the director of rugby to spend more time on other aspects of the role,” he said. 

Nienaber himself is delighted to have the chance to manage the reigning World Cup holders and is looking forward to the challenge ahead. 

“This is a massive honour and responsibility, but I have a good understanding of what it entails, especially in this new structure. I’ve worked with Rassie in a coaching capacity for nearly two decades now and we have a very good idea of how each of us thinks and as I’ll still be reporting to him our working relationship won’t be changing. It’s a big step-up for me in terms of carrying the day-to-day leadership role and there will be other adjustments but in many ways, it will also be business as usual. We’ve built up a good culture over the past two years and we’ll simply be looking to extend that,” he said. 

Elsewhere, there is a tactical shuffle of coaches with Nienaber’s promotion as Mzwandile Stick coming into the assistant coach role, while former Ireland international Felix Jones remains in the set-up, but is now a European-based coaching consultant. 

There are two new appointments as well in the coaching set-up with Deon Davids and Daan Human, the Bulls scrum coach, sharing the role of the forwards coach, taking over from Matt Proudfoot. 

The changes are at a minimal to try and keep the harmony with the current squad following their incredible season last year and they will be hoping to continue where they left off later this year.

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Borthwick Confirms New Job Already

Steve Borthwick confirmed his departure from the England set-up yesterday and less than 24 hours his new role has been announced

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Leicester Tigers have confirmed that England assistant coach Steve Borthwick will take over as head coach once his current commitments to the national side conclude.

It is a move that has been rumoured for some time and with Borthwick announcing his departure from the England set-up yesterday after over four years with them, many expected that he would be heading in the Tigers direction. 

However, the speed at which the confirmation has come about is the only surprise, but the former England international is delighted to be given the chance to manage the Tigers after learning so much from working with Eddie Jones since 2012. 

“The last four-and-a-half years working with the England team has been an incredible journey. I have worked with some brilliant players and staff. In particular, I would like to thank Eddie Jones. To have worked with one of the greatest head coaches in the world for so long has been an unbelievable experience. I’m delighted to be joining Leicester Tigers as head coach. The Tigers have such a long and successful history and are one of the greatest rugby clubs in the game. Welford Road, with the special atmosphere created by the club’s incredible supporters roaring their team forward, is a very special place to be. We must now work to build upon that great history and create our future to get this club to the top of European rugby. It is a brilliant challenge and I am excited to start working with the players and everybody associated with the team. Geordan provides a link with the club’s greatest teams and we will be working together to ensure that there are many successful days ahead for this club, and for our supporters to enjoy,” he said. 

He will be welcomed into the club with open arms after being part of the Japanese national set-up that stunned the world at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, before switching to England where he has won two Six Nations titles and reached a World Cup final. 

His arrival sees current head coach Geordan Murphy changes his role at the club, taking up the position of director of rugby and club chairman Peter Tom believes that the two former stars can build back a Tigers team that has struggled lately. 

“The appointment of Steve Borthwick as head coach and Geordan Murphy in the role of director of rugby provides an exciting combination of leadership, expertise and experience to drive the club forward in its desire to challenge for major honours again. The club has enjoyed many of its greatest successes with a blend of the Tigers DNA alongside fresh, innovative ideas from outside, both among the players and the coaching staff, and we look forward to Geordan and Steve leading that in their respective new roles,” he said. 

Both Borthwick and Murphy will be hoping to bring the Premiership side back to the top level of the game come next season, but before then they have their separate tasks, with Borthwick guiding England through the upcoming Six Nations, while Murphy attempts to take the Tigers further up the Premiership table.

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