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Premiership

Bristol sign Radradra. Announced with another quality social media campaign

What a signing. What an announcement.

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Image from Bristol Bears

Bristol Bears stunned rugby this morning with the signing of Fijian Superstar Semi Radradra who will join the Bears next season when his contract with Bordeaux expires in June 2020.

A standout individual across both rugby codes, the Fijian international arrives at Ashton Gate on a three-year deal.

27 year-old Radradra averaged 100m a game at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, lighting up the competition pool stages with a string of sensational displays, including a brace against Georgia.

During his time in the Australian NRL (National Rugby League), Radradra was named Dally M winger of the year for two seasons in a row, scoring 82 tries in 94 games for Parramatta Eels.

“There is no doubt that Semi is one of the best players in the world – he’s truly a world class performer and we are so excited about what he can do for the team,” .

Director of Rugby Pat Lam

“Every top club across both codes on the planet wanted him, so for Bristol to be able to bring in a player of his quality underlines the fantastic work that the club is doing. Semi has clarity about our vision and knows what the club want to achieve. As a person and a player, he is perfect for our culture which places an emphasis on community and high performance.

“I got to know Semi well at the Barbarians and we were blown away by his professionalism and dedication. He is world class because of the relentless work and preparation he puts into his game, day in day out. It’s no surprise that he has taken the World Cup and French Top 14 by storm – Semi is the ultimate professional.

“We believe the Gallagher Premiership is the best league in the world and Semi’s arrival into the league will only enhance the product further. He’s an unstoppable force and we are looking forward to seeing him light up the competition for the next three seasons.”

Radradra has enjoyed a stellar club career so far, representing Toulon and Bordeaux in the French Top 14, following his switch from the NRL in 2016.

He added: “I’m looking forward to coming to the Premiership and to be playing under Pat Lam at Bristol Bears. They are one of the most exciting teams in Europe right now and the way that they are doing things is making everybody take notice.

“I visited the world class facilities at Ashton Gate and saw the progress of the new training ground – it’s a fantastic club to be joining with a bright future ahead. I can’t wait to get started and contributing to the Bristol Bears vision.”

As usual with Bristol, they like to do things a little differently when it comes to announcing signings or contract renewals.

The initially teased their Twitter followers with this…

The announced the signing with this ‘Good Will Hunting’ parody video.

They haven’t eased up either over the course of the morning with lots more engaging content showing off their new signing.

And potentially our favourite…

What a signing. We can’t wait to see him in the Premiership next season!

Premiership

Ulster to play Saracens in Pre-Season doubleheader.

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Photo By John Dickson/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Ulster Rugby will get the 2021/22 season underway with home and away pre-season friendlies against Saracens in September. 

The Ulster men will face the five-time Premiership and three-times Champions Cup winners at Kingspan Stadium on Friday 3 September (kick-off 7pm).

The squad will then make the journey to central London for the away clash on Thursday 9 September (kick-off 5pm) at the Honorary Artillery Company. 

This will be the first time the two sides have faced each other since the pool stages of the 2015/2016 Heineken Champions Cup.

Both matches against Sarries, who return to the Gallagher Premiership this season, will act as preparation for Ulster ahead of the newly launched United Rugby Championship, and the challenges they will face in this year’s Heineken Champions Cup.

Admission to the home pre-season friendly on 3 September is included in 2021/22 Season Tickets, as well as access to all home regular season fixtures in the United Rugby Championship and Heineken Champions Cup.

Existing Season Ticket holders have until 5pm this Friday (30 July) to renew their packages, and can do so online at ulsterrugby.com/seasontickets.

New purchasers can ensure they are notified first about new Season Tickets as they become available by registering their interest here.

The availability of match tickets sold individually will be dependent upon available capacity, in-line with government regulations. Further details will be released in due course.

Source – Ulster Rugby

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Premiership

England Coach John Mitchell joins Premiership side

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Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Wasps are delighted to announce that John Mitchell, currently part of England Men’s senior backroom staff, will be joining the Men’s team coaching set up.

The former Head Coach of the All Blacks has signed a contract with the Club that will see him link up with the squad this season.

Mitchell, England’s Forwards Coach under Sir Clive Woodward from 1997 to 2000, re-joins Wasps having spent time with the Club as an Assistant Coach during the 1999/2000 season.

The 57-year-old’s impressive résumé also includes being United States Head Coach from 2016 to 2017 and two stints coaching Sale Sharks. Mitchell has been in charge of England’s Defence since September 2018.

Men’s Head Coach Lee Blackett said: “We are thrilled to add John to the coaching group for this season. He brings a wealth of knowledge and will only improve our playing department.

“Once we knew John was available, we prioritised getting him back to Wasps.

“Finding somebody of John’s calibre at both an international and domestic level is rare. He fits the profile we have been looking for, adding to our talented group of coaches.

“John’s primary role will be to lead the attack, but his breadth of top-level experience will see him assist on a number of levels. He understands Wasps having worked here before and his passion for the club and improving our players shone through from the start.

“The support from the board in making this happen demonstrates the ambition of this club.”

Source – Wasps Rugby

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6 Nations

World Rugby applies 50/22 law trial globally, bolster concussion protocol

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World Rugby announced on Wednesday five law trials which will start next month, including a so-called “50/22” kicking adaptation.

The 50/22 change allows a team to gain a throw-in inside the opposition’s 22-metre area by kicking the ball to touch with at least one bounce from their own half.

The rule was used in recent Super Rugby tournaments and its primary intention is to “encourage the defensive team to put more players in the backfield, thereby creating more attacking space and reducing defensive line speed”, according to the sport’s governing body.

The other laws to come into force on a temporary basis from August 1 include a goal-line drop-out if the ball is held up in the in-goal area, if there is a knock-on from an attacking player in the same area or an attacking kick is grounded by the defenders in their own in-goal.

There are also restrictions on attacking players latching onto team-mates from a ruck and clean-outs which target or drop weight onto the lower limbs at the breakdown.

Michael Hooper with a textbook tackle close out a certain try

The final trial allows for a one-player latch before contact, but the individual must “observe all of the requirements for a first arriving player, particularly the need to stay on their feet”.

World Rugby has also moved to strengthen concussion protocols, with independent specialists set to review cases when Test players return to action after a head injury.

They will launch a panel of Independent Concussion Consultants (ICCs) to provide expert opinion on whether players are ready to return to action after head knocks.

The global governing body will fully fund the process for Test-level competitions, with ICCs asked to rule when players look to return to action 10 days or fewer after a concussion or on players deemed higher risk due to previous head-injury history.

Source – Australia Rugby

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