Connect with us

Premiership

All Blacks centre signs for Northampton Saints

Tidy bit of business for the Premiership side as the Souther Hemisphere exodus continues.

Published

on

Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images

Northampton Saints can today announced that Kiwi centre Matt Proctor will join the Club from Super Rugby side Hurricanes.

The 26-year-old New Zealand international is director of rugby Chris Boyd’s first new signing for next season, with a raft of current Saints already penning deals to remain at Franklin’s Gardens.

“For a long time now, I have had the ambition of testing myself in the Northern Hemisphere and for so many reasons Northampton is a great fit for me.”

Matt Proctor

omfortable both on the wing and at fullback, Proctor has established himself as one of the best midfielders in the Southern Hemisphere in recent seasons.

And after committing to make the switch across the world to the Gallagher Premiership, Proctor is already relishing the prospect of a new challenge on English soil with Northampton.

“I am excited to have signed for such a prestigious club in Northampton Saints,” said Proctor.

“For a long time now, I have had the ambition of testing myself in the Northern Hemisphere and for so many reasons Northampton is a great fit for me.

“Not only will I have the opportunity to be coached again by Chris Boyd – the person I have worked with the most as a professional player – but I will also have the honour of joining a Club that is steeped in tradition and boasts a rich history of success.

“The Club and I share the same goals in wanting to achieve as much success as possible on the pitch, while also contributing to the wider rugby community off the field; so overall I am thrilled to be heading to Franklin’s Gardens.”

After making his Super Rugby debut in 2013, Wellington-born Proctor was part of the Hurricanes side that – under Boyd – secured the title three years later.

He celebrated his 50th appearance for the franchise in 2018, while also being named captain for Wellington Lions’ Mitre 10 Cup campaign.

“Matt is exactly the calibre of player that we want to be bringing to Northampton.”

Chris Boyd

In the same season Proctor then made his All Blacks Test debut against Japan in November, with his representative career also including the Maori All Blacks, New Zealand Under-20s and New Zealand Schools.

Boyd said: “Matt is exactly the calibre of player that we want to be bringing to Northampton – he’s a world-class talent.

“I obviously know first-hand what he can do having worked with him back in New Zealand, and I am confident he can slot into our back-line next year alongside the quality players we already have at Saints.

“At 26, Matt is entering the peak years of his career and he had the desire for a new challenge on this side of the world. We feel that he can really fill his vast potential here in Northampton.”

Premiership

Cipriani has a new club

Published

on

(Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

Danny Cipriani will join Bath Rugby in May on an extended one-year contract, to include the completion of the 2020/21 season.

The 16-cap England international will join the Blue, Black and White at the beginning of May, following a rigorous recruitment process to strengthen the club’s options at fly-half, with Rhys Priestland departing to Cardiff Blues at the end of this season.

The 33-year-old playmaker is credited for his unique vision as well as his natural creativity and impressive attacking skillset, contributing to a semi-final place for Gloucester in 2018/19 and the Rugby Players’ Association Players’ Player of the Year 2019.

Highly attack minded, Cipriani’s ability to predict the passage of play, create space and control the game is a key component of the fly-half’s unique attributes.

His expertise in game understanding, combined with an exciting commitment to seizing opportunities, has often resulted in match-winning moments across his 18-year career in the sport.


On joining the Blue, Black and White, Cipriani said: “I’ve been really focused over the past three months on improving my running efficiency and kicking, while looking for a club that matches my ambition. After speaking with Stuart and Neal, it was clear that Bath offered that opportunity.

“We talked about what I could bring to the club and what Bath were looking for in a fly-half; someone who could be part of an attacking mindset, who could help unlock that aspect of the game and inject additional pace and vision – complementing the quality in the team.


“The club has a clear ambition and drive that aligns with my own; they want to achieve something special as a team, they want to win. That was a very appealing vision for me.”



Cipriani will join Tian Schoeman as an experienced fly-half who will support Bath’s developing players – in particular Orlando Bailey – to evolve their game.

Cipriani and Schoeman give Hooper experienced options at fly-half, providing a significant opportunity for Bailey to further accelerate his development with their stewardship, following his recent appearances in the first team.


Director of Rugby Stuart Hooper said: “Danny’s abilities are evident; his game understanding and management are exceptional as is his skillset in the backline. He has a real eye for detail around the attacking shape, I’m confident that he will bring an exciting dimension to our game.

“We have made no secret of our recruitment in this key position. Our process, as with all recruitment and contracting decisions, has been thorough and diligent and we are now incredibly excited to be able to announce the recruitment of Danny.


“I have no doubt that Danny will become a valued member of our playing group and become an ambassador to the younger players coming through the pathway just as Rhys has so well over the seasons.”

Continue Reading

Premiership

Tigers welcome back Burns

Published

on

(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Leicester Tigers will welcome Freddie Burns back to the club ahead of the 2021/22 season.

The 30-year-old, currently playing for Toyota Jido Shokki in Japan, returns to Leicester for a second stint at the club where he made 75 appearances between 2014-17.

Burns began his professional career with Gloucester in 2007 and made his Test debut in 2012 after representing England Under-20s and Saxons.

He joined Leicester in 2014 and scored 603 points for Tigers in three seasons, before moving to Bath Rugby ahead of the 2017/18 campaign and then to Japan for the 2020/21 season.

Speaking about the addition of Burns from next season, Leicester Tigers head coach Steve Borthwick said: “We are looking forward to welcoming Freddie back to the club from next season.

“He is an experienced Premiership player who has played international rugby and will be a valuable addition to our squad.

“I have been impressed with the way Freddie has spoken about wanting to be a part of what we are building at Tigers and his determination to be a leader in our squad.”

Burns added: “I can’t wait to be back in Leicester and part of the club again.

“I can see the changes in the team and clear identity of the squad with Steve and want to be a part of that.

“I am coming back to compete and want to be playing in the Premiership once again.

“Tigers fans are so passionate and I always had such a good connection with them, they are definitely a reason why I want to come back to the club.”

Continue Reading

Premiership

Gallagher Premiership scrap relegation

Published

on

(Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)
  • At the end of season 2020/21 there will be no relegation from the Premiership into the Championship, and no relegation from the Championship into National One. 
     
  • Provided the winner of the 2020/21 Greene King IPA Championship is eligible for promotion under the current Minimum Standards Criteria, the 2021/22 season to consist of 13 teams in the Gallagher Premiership and 11 in the Greene King IPA Championship. 
     
  • Holistic new minimum standards on and off the pitch for promotion to the Gallagher Premiership will be developed between now and the end of May 2021 with involvement and approval from Council which will be designed to promote sustainability in the professional game.

The RFU Council today cast a strong majority vote in favour of no relegation from the Gallagher Premiership or the Greene King IPA Championship for the 2020/21 season. 

Council members considered the impact Covid-19 has had on all areas of the game, including the earlier decision to suspend promotion and relegation in the community game and the Gallagher Premiership cancelling a significant number of matches in the 2020/21 season.  These cancellations have resulted in a material impact on league positions which could mean relegation based on cancellation not on field merit. 

Over the next four months the RFU, Premiership Rugby and Championship representatives will work on recommendations for changes to the season structures for 2021/22 and beyond for both the Premiership and Championship. 

It is hoped that proposals will include a different approach to promotion and relegation from the Gallagher Premiership.  The aim will be to retain the ambition of clubs in the Greene King IPA Championship and below and to continue to allow a route to promotion to the Gallagher Premiership. New minimum standard criteria, investment in facilities and club funding will be discussed.  The domestic calendar will be reviewed, which will also allow additional preparation time for the England senior men’s team ahead of Rugby World Cup 2023.  Player welfare will be central to the proposals and the RPA will be consulted on the development of season structures.   It is likely that any season structures may also include a further moratorium on promotion and relegation for three or four seasons, after which the structure will be subject to further review.  Those proposals would be subject to a vote of the RFU Council before the end of the 2020/21 season. 

Speaking about the RFU Council vote, RFU President, HH Jeff Blackett said; “The RFU Council has taken time to understand and discuss all the factors regarding no relegation for this season so that we act in the best interests of all levels of the game.  We want to ensure a healthy elite game to support successful winning England teams that generate income to stimulate and preserve the game across all levels.  The Council will continue to be closely engaged with the proposals from the RFU, Premiership Rugby and the Championship to ensure we maintain the integrity of the future league structures for England Rugby.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending