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An update from CEO, Lance Bradley



As we have reached the end of the season for our men’s team, and are heading towards the finale for our Gloucester-Hartpury women’s team, I thought it might be useful to give you an update, and our thoughts on the season.

Men’s Team

Firstly the men’s team. There’s no doubt that finishing 10th in the Gallagher Premiership was disappointing, especially when we had been third only a couple of months before the end of the season.

We’ve tried not to use injuries as an excuse, but I do think it’s worth explaining just how big an impact injuries have had, especially in the second half of the season.

To put our injuries in context, we would normally expect to have two or three players require an operation during a season. This season we had 14 players undergo operations, and eight of those were players who would be considered first choice starters.

At times we had up to half of our salary cap spend unavailable through injury.

And it isn’t just a case of having so many injuries; it’s the positions in which those injuries occurred.

In the front row, for example, a team can cope with one of its first choice players being absent, and this is a fairly normal situation for most teams. When you are unable to start with any of your first choice front rowers, then things inevitably become much more difficult. And it also means that when you bring on the replacements from the bench, things can get even more challenging.

Before our Christmas games we had two or three of our first choice front row starting every game, and we averaged 3.1 points per game. Afterwards we had zero or one starting in seven out of eight games, and we averaged 1.4 points per game.

That’s not to say anything about the players who have stepped in – everyone has worked hard and given their all. It’s just a fact of life that if you’re unable to use your first choice players, especially when they’re all in the same group (eg front row), and for an extended period of time, the job becomes much more difficult.

We’ve done a deep dive into what we believe the reason for so many injuries might be. Of course we’ve looked at the impact of our 3G pitch, as well as training routines and loads, nutrition etc.

There’s no evidence at all that the pitch has been a factor. In fact our soft tissue injuries have dramatically decreased since the installation of our pitch and the switch of training centre to Kingsholm.

There’s no pattern to the injuries, and we’ve come to the conclusion that we’ve just had an astonishingly bad run of luck.

We’re not saying that finishing 10th was entirely down to injuries, but they certainly played a huge part. If there’s a positive to come out of this, it’s that it’s exceptionally unlikely that we’ll have the same level of injuries next season. If we’d been able to maintain 3.1 points per game we would have finished third.

Another area which played a part in our disappointing final position was our attack. The stats from the season show that only Newcastle scored fewer points and tries than we did.

The appointment of James Lightfoot-Brown as our new Attack Coach will bring a good deal of additional experience and resource to our coaching team.

James has come from London Irish, where he not only worked with their academy, but was also their attack coach. In fact he was so highly regarded during the eight years he coached there that he stood in as interim head coach when Les Kiss was away for a few weeks.

We will be announcing the addition of further resource to our coaching team shortly.

Despite the disappointment of finishing tenth, there were some good points to come out of the season. Our defence was good, with only three teams conceding fewer points than us. Discipline, too, was good; we conceded fewer penalties than any other team. And with so many injuries it gave a number of players coming through our academy game time they wouldn’t have expected quite so early, and several of them have grabbed that opportunity with both hands.

I must also mention that our total attendance was the fourth highest in the Premiership, behind only Leicester, Bristol and Harlequins (who played two home games at Twickenham). We sold out four games, and our attendance increased versus the same fixture in 21/22 in nine out of ten games. Thank you for your incredible support.

All of this leads us to believe that we are still on the right track for success, and we’re already looking forward to next season.

Women’s Team

We, and Hartpury, invested heavily in our Gloucester-Hartpury women’s team in the run up to this season, and that investment is already paying dividends.

We currently sit at the top of the Allianz Premier 15s table, with three games to go. The first of those games is at Kingsholm on Sunday, kick off 2.30pm. We have already qualified for the semi-finals, and could secure a home semi-final with a win against Harlequins.

Tickets are £10 for adults and £5 for juniors, plus £1.50 booking fee, and you can buy yours by clicking here. Why not come along and see how good women’s rugby is? We’d really appreciate your support.

The Allianz Premier 15s Final will be held at Kingsholm, on June 24. Should we reach the final that will be a day to remember. Without wishing to tempt fate, it may be worth at least pencilling it into your diary now.

It’s an exciting time for women’s rugby. You may have seen that a world record 58,500 people watched England v France at Twickenham a couple of weeks ago. Just twelve months ago the world record attendance was 15,500 for England v Wales at Kingsholm. It just shows the incredible speed at which the women’s game is growing.

We’re delighted to be at the forefront of it.

So, a season of two halves for our men’s team. We started well, but ended up in a disappointing 10th place. We do, however, believe we know the reasons for this, and have already taken steps where we can to improve things for next season. We were on course for a top four finish half way through the season, and there’s no reason at all to think we shouldn’t be capable of that kind of performance next season.

For our women’s team, however, there’s still everything to play for in the closing weeks of the season, including a potentially very big day with the Premier 15s Final being at Kingsholm.

Thank you for your support so far this season, it really has been appreciated. We look forward to seeing you at our remaining Gloucester-Hartpury games, and next season for our 150th anniversary.

Content & Images from – Gloucester Rugby


RFU Statement on London Irish



The RFU Club Financial Viability Group has agreed to give London Irish a one-week extended deadline to meet the original conditions as set out below and pay the remaining May payroll to staff and players.

1) a takeover of the club has been completed and approved by the RFU, with the buyers undertaking to provide all required working capital to meet the club’s obligations as they fall due for at least season 2023/24; or

2) the club evidences that it will continue to be funded to operate throughout the 2023/24 season. If the club fails to meet these conditions it will be suspended from participating in the Premiership (and other competitions) in season 2023/24 to avoid a scenario where the club enters insolvency mid-season, with the corresponding and substantial impact that has on players, staff, and fans, as well as on the remainder of the league.

The extension, until Tuesday 6 June, has been given following consultation with staff and players who asked for the deadline to be extended to allow them to be paid 50% of their salaries.

Paula Carter, RFU Board Member and Chair of the Club Financial Viability Working Group said; “It is deeply frustrating for all the staff, players and fans that there have been multiple missed deadlines. 

“We are extremely disappointed that the club has so far only funded 50% of the staff and player wages, however, we have to respect the wishes of those most affected.

“The 4pm deadline on 6 June is final and we have added the stipulation that the club must also fulfil its contractual obligations to its employees by paying the May salaries in full.”

Content & Images from – London Irish Rugby

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Coenie Oosthuizen to leave Sale Sharks



Springbok Coenie swapping Sharks for Sharks

Prop Coenie Oosthuizen leaving Sale Sharks to join South African side Cell C Sharks

Sale Sharks can confirm that prop Coenie Oosthuizen will leave the club to return to South African side Cell C Sharks.

The 34-year-old Springbok, who can play on either side of the scrum, arrived in Manchester in May 2019 from the Durban-based Super Rugby side.

He’s gone on to make 94 appearances for Sale, including 16 this season as Alex Sanderson’s men reached their first Premiership final in 17 years.

Coenie made his debut for the Springboks in 2012 and has since won 30 international caps.

Sharks Director of Rugby Alex Sanderson said: “Since he arrived in Manchester, Coenie has been a massive part of this team and this club and everyone is going to miss him.

“On the field he’s a fantastic player but off it, he’s been a real leader for us in what is a young squad.”

Everyone at Sale Sharks would like to thank Coenie for his contribution to the club and the team during his time here and we wish him all the very best for the future.

Images & Content from Sale Sharks Rugby

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Leicester Tigers 23/24 Coaching Team



Leicester Tigers can confirm the club’s senior coaching team ahead of the 2023/24 season.

Dan McKellar, who was announced as the club’s new Head Coach in February, will oversee the rugby programme and lead on the line out and forwards coaching.

Brett Deacon will lead on the breakdown and contact area, while also assisting McKellar with the forwards.

Deacon made 135 first-team appearances in two spells as a player with Tigers before joining the coaching staff upon retiring in 2015. After working with the club’s academy for two seasons, he joined the senior coaching team ahead of the 2016/17 campaign.

Matt Everard, who joined the club midway the 22/23 season as Senior Academy Coach before taking on a permanent senior role in December 2022, is the Defence Coach.

After representing Tigers, Wasps and Nottingham as a player, Everard moved into coaching with The Archers before returning to Wasps as Academy Coach and moved into the senior coaching team ahead of the 2019/20 campaign.

Alan Dickens, Dan Palmer and Ollie Richardson are the additions to the club ahead of the new season.

Dickens will take charge of the Attack & Backs, Palmer is the Scrum Coach and Richardson joins as Head of Physical Performance.

Read more on the appointments of the trio here:

Matt Smith will be the Skills Coach for the senior squad and take on the newly-created Lead Academy Coach role which sees him responsible for the Senior Academy Squad and transition of players from junior to senior rugby.

Smith made 228 appearances for Tigers before coaching the club’s academy side after retiring from playing in 2019, and joined the senior coaching team ahead of the 20/21 season.

Speaking about his coaching team, incoming Leicester Tigers Head Coach Dan McKellar said: “I am excited by the group we have put together, which has a great balance of continuity and new voices who will bring fresh ideas.”

“It was important to me that there was a mix of people who not only understand the Premiership, but vital that they understand Leicester Tigers and we have got that in Brett Deacon, Matt Everard and Matt Smith, as well as the majority of our performance staff who remain with the club.

“In addition, to have Alan Dickens and Ollie Richardson’s knowledge of the English game, players and competitions we compete in is of great value, and Dan Palmer’s expertise is very exciting for the club moving forward.

“What is most pleasing for me is that this coaching team are excited by the squad we have to work with from next season at Leicester Tigers, because of where they are at currently and work they have done but, importantly, how it can evolve.”

Leicester Tigers 23/24 Coaching Team

  • Dan McKellar, Head Coach
  • Brett Deacon, Assistant Coach
  • Alan Dickens, Attack & Backs Coach
  • Matt Everard, Defence Coach
  • Dan Palmer, Scrum Coach
  • Ollie Richardson, Head of Physical Performance
  • Matt Smith, Skills Coach & Lead Academy Coach

The club can also confirm that Richard Wilks has been appointed General Manager.

Wilks joined Tigers during the 20/21 campaign as a consultant before being appointed Head of Performance Recruitment in November 2021.

Discussing the appointments, Leicester Tigers CEO Andrea Pinchen said: “I believe we have put together a world class coaching team, headed up by Dan McKellar, to lead Leicester Tigers from next season into this exciting new chapter of the club’s history”

“A lot of work has gone on behind the scenes to bring this impressive group who all offer their own unique skills, experience and knowledge from diverse backgrounds in the game.

“Most pleasing for me in this group is a shared desire to see this club continue to be successful but, even more so, strive to reach new heights together.

“After a turbulent year for all involved with Leicester Tigers, to be able to confirm our senior coaching team now is a great pleasure for me and I hope our supporters are as excited as I am about them leading this club into the future.”

The Leicester Tigers squad will commence pre-season training in July ahead of the 23/24 campaign.

Content & Images from – Leicester Tigers Rugby

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