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Club announcement: Leigh Jones



Leicester Tigers can confirm that General Manager Leigh Jones will depart the club in the summer.

Jones joined Tigers in May 2021 from the Hong Kong Rugby Union, where served as National Coach Development Manager and Head Coach before leading the defence and breakdown for the Japanese national team at the 2015 Rugby World Cup. He then returned to Hong Kong as Head of High Performance before taking on the role as General Manager of Rugby.

Prior to his tenure at HKRU, he held senior coaching roles with Ebbw Vale, Newport, Newport Gwent Dragons and the Welsh Rugby Union senior team, including leading the Wales ‘A’ programme under Sir Graham Henry.

Jones was the first to hold the role of General Manager at the club, which included responsibility for the off-field performance of Leicester Tigers, including overseeing the Oval Park facility, operational processes and procedures at the training ground, and driving the cultural and performance standards at all levels of the rugby programme, including the academy and senior squads.

In his time at the club, the senior squad were crowned Gallagher Premiership Champions at the conclusion of his first season, reached the quarter-finals of the Heineken Champions Cup in successive campaigns and fell one game short of back-to-back Premiership Finals.

Meanwhile, the academy programme completed a third-place finish in this season’s Premiership Under-18 League.

Speaking about his time at the club, Jones said: “It has been an interesting and enjoyable two years, transitioning back to the UK from Hong Kong into, what was, a new format for me personally in a competition of the Premiership’s standing.”

“It’s been a pleasure and privilege to work with some great staff, players and coaches at Leicester Tigers, helping to establish what I now believe to be a truly integrated and harmonious training platform from which players and coaches can maximise potential.

“While the work that you do goes largely un-noticed, it proves very important in the daily running of the rugby platform in respect of both the ‘here and now’ and also having a keen eye on the future; introducing and maximising systems, structures and player pathways to safeguard the future of the club.

“It has been a great thrill to work closely with the coaching team, many of whom are world class operators, to advise, mentor and simply offer an opinion, when needed.

Speaking further on his tenure, he added: “The results over the two year period have been pleasing; the pinnacle, winning the Gallagher Premiership in 2022, while also reaching the knockout stages of the Premiership and European Champions Cup in two successive seasons.”

“It has also been particularly pleasing this season in how everyone pulled together following the departure of Steve [Borthwick] and Kevin [Sinfield]. Following the initial disruption, Richard Wigglesworth, Aled Walters and the coaching team have done a magnificent job in keeping things on course during what could have been a particularly hazardous period.”

“It has also been great to see a significant international representation through the age-grades, supplying seven players to England U20s for the recent Six Nations and forthcoming U20s World Championship. Because of the attention given to this specific group of players, I believe they are are now first team ready, and will be a great addition to the first team squad next year.

“I am confident Leicester Tigers is in a positive position moving into the future, having assembled a strong squad to compete in both the Premiership and European competitions, with an exciting squad including a host of world-class players and youngsters who are well prepared to make the step up.”

Looking ahead to his own future, Jones said: “I am going to take some time out for my family, including returning home to Wales, after which I will look for the next challenge to throw myself into and contribute to an organisation in the way I have enjoyed so much during this time at Leicester Tigers.”

Outgoing Leicester Tigers Interim Head Coach Richard Wigglesworth added: “Leigh has been a great source of knowledge and experience, as well as a great mentor and friend to me in my time at the club.”

“Firstly, while I was balancing playing and coaching and then, when I moved into the Head Coach role, even more so as a brilliant advisor during my first time in a role of this magnitude.

“The work of a General Manager is largely behind the scenes, ensuring that coaches and players are capable of doing the very best they can because of the thankless work that goes into all that is required and Leigh has done that, every day, of which cannot be spoken highly enough of by myself.

“I am so grateful for all that he has done for me, this club and wish him all the very best in whatever comes next, whoever is the lucky organisation to have him.”

Leicester Tigers CEO Andrea Pinchen added: “Leigh joined Leicester Tigers at a critical point in this club’s history and has, during the past two seasons, provided wonderful experience and guidance to what were a young coaching group and evolving playing squad.”

“In addition to his day-to-day roles, he has played a pivotal role in helping establish strong foundations for which Leicester Tigers can move forward into the future, confident of being competitive through his and his staff’s excellent work.

“I thank him for everything he has done and, on behalf of all at the club and wider Tigers Family, wish him the very best for what is to come.”

Content & Images from – Leicester Tigers Rugby





Sale Sharks have agreed a deal to sign Fiji captain Waisea Nayacalevu from French Top14 side Toulon. 

The explosive centre, who starred for his country during the recent World Cup, has signed a one-year contract with an option for a further year. 

He will join up with Alex Sanderson’s Sharks squad ahead of the start of the 2024/25 Gallagher Premiership season. 

Waisea, 33, said: “I’ve watched the Premiership for a long time and it’s always been in the back of my mind that I would love to play there one day and experience rugby in England. 

“Now that opportunity has arrived and I’m really, really happy and grateful. I’m so excited to get over there and join the boys and see how I can contribute to the team. 

“I have spoken to Telusa Veainu and he only has positive things to say about the club and about Manchester. 

“I’m looking forward to playing with some of the guys I’ve played against, like Tom Curry and George Ford. But I also know there are a lot of really talented young players in the Sale Sharks squad and I’m excited to share my experience and help them develop as much as I can.  

“I told Alex that it’s what I’ve been doing for the last few years of my career and it’s something I’m passionate about.” 

Nayacalevu, who stands at 6’4” and weighs in at 16st 7lb, spent ten years at Top14 side Stade Français before making the switch to Toulon in 2022.  

He has won 34 caps for Fiji, slotting in at both centre and on the wing, and captained his country at last year’s World Cup, where the Pacific Islanders made the quarter-finals, losing 30-24 to England in Marseille. 

He also famously scored for Fiji in their memorable pre-World Cup win against England at Twickenham. 

Images & Content from Sale Sharks Rugby

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Falcons star to join Saracens



Phil Brantingham to join Saracens

Tuesday 05 March 2024 Written by: Tom Grisedale

Prop-forward Phil Brantingham will leave Newcastle Falcons in the summer to join Saracens.

The 22-year-old has played 25 games for his home town club, and leaves with the thanks and best wishes of everyone at the Falcons.

Chairman of rugby Matt Thompson said: “Phil has done well for us and we made him a good offer to stay here.

“We respect his decision and wish him all the best for his move in the summer, but between now and then he will be fully committed to finishing the season strongly for Newcastle Falcons.”

Source – Newcastle Falcons Rugby

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Sale Sharks can confirm that forward Cobus Wiese will leave the club at the end of the season to return to South Africa. 

The 26-year-old lock has played almost 80 games for the club and scored five tries since joining from the DHL Stormers ahead of the 2020/21 season. 

He played a key role last year as Sale reached the Premiership final, and this season he has featured a further 13 times for Alex Sanderson’s side. 

Alex said: “Cobus will be missed by all of us on so many levels. He’s the most polite and courteous of people off the field, but the most wildly excitable man on the field, and on a night out. 

“To say Cobus wears his heart on his sleeve is to do him a disservice with regards to his emotional commitment for which his body has paid the price on occasion.  

“He leads by example and has earnt the respect and adoration of the group both on a professional and a personal level. We wish him every success and happiness with his move back home.” 

Everyone at Sale Sharks would like to thank Cobus 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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