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Premiership

Ben Te’o among 8 players leaving Worcester.

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Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images

Worcester Warriors have announced that eight players will be leaving the club at the end of the current season.

England centre Ben Te’o, former Samoa back-row forward Alafoti Faosiliva, flankers Carl Kirwan and Zac Xiourouppa, loosehad prop Jack Cosgrove and two members of the Three Pears Warriors Academy, Mason Tonks and Nick Rigby, will all be moving on. In addition former South Africa flanker Dewald Potgieter has announced his retirement from professional rugby.

All will leave Sixways with the best wishes of the club and with thanks for their contributions to Warriors.

“We would like to thank all who are leaving for their contribution to the club and wish them the very best for the future,” said Warriors’ Director of Rugby Alan Solomons.

Te’o, 32, joined Warriors from Leinster three years ago and has won 20 international caps, two for the British and Irish Lions in New Zealand two years ago, during his time at Sixways.

He has made 33 first team appearances for Warriors, the most recent in last Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership win over Sale Sharks at Sixways, and has scored eight tries including one in the away win at Bristol Bears last month.

Samoa international Faosiliva joined from Bath in 2016 and has played 45 times for Warriors with his last appearance coming against Pau in December when he scored the opening try.

Kirwan joined Warriors from London Welsh four years ago and has made 28 appearances for the club, most recently in the European Challenge Cup quarter-final against Harlequins.

Academy product Xiourouppa had a spell on loan at Greene King IPA Championship club Cornish Pirates earlier in the season and made

the last of his three first team appearances in the Premiership Rugby Cup match against Saracens in November.

Cosgrove, another Warriors Academy graduate, returned to Sixways in December from Bristol Bears on a short-term contract and made his made his third senior appearance for the club as a replacement in the European Challenge Cup match in Pau.

Potgieter arrived at Sixways in 2016 and made ten first team appearances before suffering a serious knee injury.

“After being sidelined the last two years following an unfortunate and unrecoverable knee injury, I’m retiring from pro rugby at the end of this Premiership season,” Potgieter said.

“During what was an extremely frustrating period, I’d like to extend my sincere gratitude towards the Warriors for affording me the time to transition to a post-sport milieu.

“I wish the club all the best in their future endeavours, and in particular all the people who made the experience an incredible final pitstop, concluding a supremely rewarding career.”

Tonks, an England Sevens international, signed an Academy contract in October having impressed for the Cavaliers in the early-season Premiership Rugby Shield matches.

Rigby joined the Senior Academy two years ago and made his first team debut as a replacement in the Anglo-Welsh Cup match against Sale Sharks in November 2017.

“We would like to thank Mason and Nick for everything they have done during their time with the Academy and we wish them well for their future ventures,” said Chim Gale, Manager of the Three Pears Warriors Academy.

Premiership

Worrying injury list for Saracens

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(Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images)

Saracens issued the following update regarding players who are looking to return from injury.

OWEN FARRELL

Will undergo surgery for an ankle injury sustained while playing for England against Australia, is expected to be out for 10-12 weeks.

JAMIE GEORGE 

Has returned to the club after picking up a knee injury last weekend at Twickenham, will return in 8-10 weeks.

ELLIOT DALY

Back in full training and available for selection imminently.

MARCO RICCIONI 

Will have surgery on Wednesday on the knee injury suffered last week, will miss the remainder of the 21/22 season.

RALPH ADAMS-HALE

Had successful surgery after dislocating his shoulder against Leicester, should be back playing in early 2022.

DUNCAN TAYLOR 

Will have surgery on Wednesday after injuring his arm against Harlequins in the Premiership Cup. Expected to be out for 3-4 months.

BILLY VUNIPOLA

Is back in training after suffering a knee injury at the end of October.

KAPELI PIFELETI 

Has returned to training following a shoulder injury sustained in the Storm match against London Irish in October.

SEAN REFFELL

Going through final stages of the return to play protocols following a concussion last week.

Source – Saracens

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Premiership

George Ford to join Sale Sharks

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Sale Sharks are delighted to announce that England fly-half George Ford has signed a long-term contract to join the club ahead of the 2022/23 Gallagher Premiership season.

Oldham-born Ford, who has won 77 caps for his country, put pen to paper this morning on a three-year deal which will see him join Alex Sanderson’s squad in July 2022.

The Sharks Director of Rugby hailed the move as ‘massive’ – and CEO Sid Sutton said it demonstrates the ambition of everyone at Carrington to take the club to the very top.

Alex said: “George Ford is world class – one of the very best fly-halves in the game over the past five years. This season he’s probably playing the best rugby of his career so we’re getting him at the right time.

“I met him twice and we had the chance to show him around the ground and the fact that he’s taken this decision, in the form that he’s in, with Leicester doing so well, tells me that he believes in the ambition of this club, and in the culture that we’re building.

“He’s a northerner and his heart is very much in this area. He’s been away for some years now but he’s coming back to his spiritual home. His family is hugely important to him and I know that his life outside rugby has played a part in this move.

“The exciting thing for me is that he’s 28 years old, and he’s coming here in the form of his life. We aspire to be a major force in the Premiership and in Europe too and we’ve got one of the world’s best flay-halves in his pomp.

“It’s massively exciting but not just because of how talented he is. When I’ve spoken to him it’s clear that he wants to help us bring the younger players in our squad on. He has so much desire to lift the people around him and that’s the kind of person I want here.

“It’s a massive boost for the club and it’s a big indication of what we’re all about and where we’re trying to get to.”

George Ford made his debut for Leicester Tigers in 2009, becoming the youngest rugby union player to make his professional debut in England, at just 16 years and 237 days.

After winning a Premiership title with Tigers in 2013, he moved to Bath, winning the Gilbert Golden Boot as the top-points scorer and winning LV= Young Player of the Year, before returning to Leicester for the 2018-19 season.

In total he has made 79 appearances for Leicester Tigers and is the league’s leading points scorer this season with 107 points to his name.

He made his England debut in 2014 and has since gone on to win 77 caps. He played a key role as Eddie Jones’s men reached the World Cup final in 2019.

Sharks CEO Sid Sutton said: “We’re just at the start of an exciting new era for Sale Sharks and this demonstrates the ambition of everyone at the club to push forwards and achieve great things.

“The club culture is based on the values of togetherness, pride, humility, fearlessness and passion and George has all of that and more. We’re a club with aspirations and good people involved pushing forwards both on and off the pitch and he wants to be a part of that.

“It’s massive for everyone involved with the club – players, staff, board and our supporters too.”

Commenting on the announcement George added: “I’m excited about what the future holds – playing rugby in the North West, representing the club where I am from and helping drive Sale Sharks forward.”

Images & Content from Sale Sharks Rugby

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Premiership

Tigers issue statement on George Ford statement

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(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Leicester Tigers can confirm that George Ford has indicated to the club that he will not be activating an option in his contract to remain beyond the current season.

The 28-year-old made his senior debut in 2009, while still a member of the Tigers Academy, and made 40 senior appearances for the club before leaving to join Bath Rugby in 2013.

He returned to Leicester in 2017 and has played 73 games during the past four seasons, to total 113 appearances for the club to date.

Leicester Tigers Head Coach Steve Borthwick said: “George has made a personal decision, which he informed us of earlier this week, which means this will be his final season in Leicester.

“I have had the pleasure of working with him for a number of years, with England and now here at Tigers, and I am grateful to have had that privilege.

“We are fortunate to have the best following in rugby, who have been able to enjoy watching George represent their club for many years and I am sure they will echo me in thanking him for his contribution to Tigers.”

“There are still a lot of games to be played in this season and George is fully committed to finishing his time at Leicester Tigers in front of big crowds at Mattioli Woods Welford Road, which our supporters can be proud of and to share in success with them.”

George Ford added: “It has been the most difficult decision of my career.

“I am proud and grateful to represent this great club at Leicester and I will give my all for the rest of my time at Tigers.”

Leicester Tigers will make no further comment on the matter at this time.

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