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Premiership

Bristol Star Signs Contract Extension

Last week Bristol secured the services of one of the world’s most exciting players and today they have confirmed that one of their key men will be staying on too

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(Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

Bristol Bears have confirmed that ace back-liner Charles Piutau has signed a new contract extension with the Premiership club.

The deal sees him extend his stay with the club until at least 2022, which is an exciting prospect for fans who have seen him dominate the league over the past year, scoring six tries in eleven appearances for the Bears last season. 

However, he is only getting better it seems having already made a total of 551 metres in five games and beating 24 defenders in that time, both chart-topping stats. 

The news follows last weeks’ announcement that Fijian star Semi Radradra will join the club next season and the thought of the two linking up will have fans watering at the mouth. 

Speaking on the extension Piutau has admitted that he had no hesitation to put pen to paper as he is loving life in Bristol. 

“My family and I are loving our time in Bristol and it was an easy decision to stay. There’s a brilliant environment and a group of boys who are all giving everything for the jersey and the community. It’s always an honour to play alongside my brother (Siale Piutau) and to represent the Bears in front of the awesome fans at Ashton Gate. Pat Lam has been a massive influence on my career and I’m loving my rugby here. There’s a collective belief that we can win silverware if we continue to keep moving forward and I’m excited about the future at Bristol,” he said. 

Meanwhile, the club’s director of rugby Pat Lam is delighted to have the 28-year-old continue on and is impressed with how he has taken to life in Bristol. 

“Charles is an outstanding team man and a world-class talent. He has the ability to create opportunities out of nothing for the team, so we are delighted that he has committed to the Bears and our vision. What has been most pleasing is how enthusiastic Charles is about the Bears, his team-mates and the city. He applied for, and was appointed to, the role of community leader in the player leadership group this season, which underlines how much he cares about the community,” he said. 

While fans may be excited for the next couple of years, Lam couldn’t hide his own excitement at the combinations of players that Bristol will have come next season. 

“On the field, Charles brings an invaluable attacking threat, but also a calm head and a wealth of experience. His game understanding and leadership at the back brings a lot of comfort to his team-mates and it has allowed a lot of the young players around him to flourish. To be able to select a Bristol backline next season that will combine world-class talents such as Charles Piutau, Semi Radradra and Luke Morahan alongside a host of young, English talent shows the exciting direction and growth that we are showing as a team,” he added. 

It is a major boost for the Bears who have started this season well and are building towards something special come next season.

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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