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Bath announce big contract renewal news.

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Bath Rugby today announced that Francois Louw has signed a new contract, which will take the South African into his ninth season with the Club.

Louw arrived in the West Country at the start of the 2011/12 season from Super Rugby outfit Stormers and has since made 130 appearances.

Capped 65 times by his country, the 33 year-old has forged a reputation as one of the most highly regarded back rowers. Strong defensively and at the breakdown, Louw brings considerable experience to the team, which is not only crucial on the pitch, but off it in developing the wealth of talent in the back row.

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Louw said:

“I am delighted to have extended my stay at this Club for another year. It has been a privilege and honour to play for Bath over the last eight seasons and to be a part of shaping the clear long-term future set out by the Club is something I’m really excited about. Thank you to everyone for your continuous support.”

Director of Rugby, Todd Blackadder, added:

“Francois is one of those players that every coach wants in their team. He is not only a world-class player, but he brings the leadership qualities which will continue to drive us forward as a team. He has also been integral in the development of some of the younger players in the back row, with Sam Underhill, Zach Mercer, Josh Bayliss and Miles Reid all able to draw upon his experiences as a player.

“I know this news is going to go down well with the Bath Rugby supporters, who have had the fortune of watching him down at the Rec for the last eight years.”

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6 Nations

England & Wasps star set to miss the rest of the season.

Big blow for Wasps & England.

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England international Dan Robson has suffered blood clotting that could cause him to be sidelined for the rest of the season.

The scrum-half missed England’s final Six Nations game against Scotland and both his country and club, Wasps, have confirmed he suffered blood clots and are being evaluated and treated.

“Blood clots which arose spontaneously earlier this week and is being evaluated and treated by specialists at the moment. At this stage it is too early to give a return-to-play date,” they said.

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Robson himself released a statement after admitting he is devastated by the news.

“Obviously pretty devastated by my recent news but I know I am in the best hands to get back to full health and back on the pitch as soon as I can. Appreciate all the support from everyone and a special out to the medical staff that have aided me especially in locating the issue and acting so promptly,” he said.

England will hope the injury is not too serious as they head into their summer preparations for the World Cup later this year.

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Premiership

Harlequins announce trio of International singings.

An Italian and two Argentinians.

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Harlequins have gone on a spree of singings announcing 3 big name signings.

The most well known will be Italian centre Michele Campagnaro.

The strong, ball-carrying Centre, who can also cover wing, was a member of the Exeter Chiefs squad who won the Premiership in the 2016/17 season and is currently playing his rugby with Wasps.

The 26-year-old represented Italy in the recent Six Nations campaign and to date has amassed 42 caps for Italy and scored nine tries for his country.

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Campagnaro will join the Club after the World Cup, if selected, and said he cannot wait to get started at The Stoop.

“Joining Harlequins is a very exciting move for me and I am looking forward to the challenge,” he said. “I was very impressed with the winning culture that Paul Gustard has created at Harlequins and I know he is building a squad capable of winning a lot of trophies.”

Paul Gustard, Head of Rugby added said: “I have watched Michele in recent years starring for club and country and I know he will be a great addition to our squad at Harlequins.

“We have an array of exciting talent at centre at the Club and Michele will provide excellent competition for places as we look to progress and build on this season’s momentum.

“Michele is a seasoned international, a Premiership winner, who will add top level experience to our playing group. He is a fantastic talent, powerful through contact and will give us even more of an attacking threat next season.”

Joining Campagnaro at Quins next season will be Argentina duo Santiago Garcia Botta and Martin Landajo.

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Premiership

The latest Cipriani rumour could ruffle an Irish man’s feathers

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There’s rarely a season goes by where rumours around Danny Cipriani’s future aren’t circulating. This season is no different.

Wasps signalled fairly early into Cipriani’s last season that they would not be renewing his contract. With Cipriani’s International future very much in the balance he didn’t decide on his 2018/19 club until fairly late into the season. With his International ambitions seemingly back on track having been named in the South African touring side, Cipriani decided against playing abroad and signed on with Gloucester Rugby fairly late in the season.

With it being late in the season, most clubs already have the majority of their roster & budget already penned in for the following season so it’s very unusual for big name and big money signings to be made late into the season. It is believed that Cipriani signed on a 2 year deal worth approx £190K per season, much less than he could have earned if had chosen to play overseas.

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Also rumoured to be in his contract was a ‘release clause’ that has alerted the attention of many other clubs. His recent form for Gloucester and his exclusion from the England side make him a very valuable asset to any club.

One of those clubs rumoured to be circling to see if Cipriani has itchy feet for a little more coin or a new challenge is reported to be Bristol Bears. Whilst this might be music to the ears of many in Bristol, it certainly wouldn’t be to Irish man, Ian Madigan.

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Madigan has regularly been fighting with Luke Daniels for the 10 jersey this season and he could have more competition on his hands if the ‘Rugby Paper’ is to be believed.

If this deal went through, could we see Madigan back on Irish soil sooner than expected?

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