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Danaher: I’m massively proud of our lads



London Irish Assistant Coach Declan Danaher outlined his pride in the young squad that reached another Premiership Rugby Cup semi-final with a win against Bath Rugby.

With the 26-7 victory, Irish remains the only side to have retained 20 points from an available 20 since the inception of the Premiership Rugby Cup in 2018.

Danaher reached the semi-final of knockout cup competition four times as a player, no mean feat, with it also being 20 years to the season that Irish last achieved consecutive cup semi-final qualifications.

The Exiles’ stalwart told of the headstrong mindset he and senior squad members have imparted on younger elements of the team to create a solid output in the tournament this term.

“I’m massively, massively proud of our lads,” Danaher stated.

“Rory Jennings said it in those first few games before his time in the Premiership that we need to have a bit of a chip on our shoulder from last year coming away from that final.

“He put it on the lads to go all the way and see what they can do, and we have echoed that sentiment.

“They have taken the bull by the horns so far, and have been led by lads like Jack Cooke, and have done so well.

“There may not be the biggest names out there, but the boys have got together, scrapped and know what they want to do – they want to get to that final again and put in a performance that comes away with a win.”

Far from a free-flowing spectacle throughout, the defensive effort required from both sides saw relatively a tight spectacle at the Gtech Community Stadium as Irish didn’t seal their try bonus until five minutes from time.

Danaher commented on the work rate out of possession for his team on the evening and adjusting to the tightness of the game.

“From the outset, I think you could see Bath were strong in their defence, they shut us out for around 20 minutes and we came at them hard.

“I said to the lads at half-time if they thought Bath would turn up and just roll over for us, then we would be kidding ourselves and have to think again.

“We would have to earn it and scrap for it, and that was off the back of our defensive effort which I thought was superb.

“The likes of Ed Scragg, Jack Cooke, Tom Hitchcock and so many others, the shift was immense, and it was great to see Eddie Poolman out there starting for us.”

As well as a notable defensive output, the Assistant Coach also analysed how his team met the requirements of Bath’s approach to the game.

“What Bath did come with once we repelled them was to look to kick, and I felt as though the backfield was taken care of superbly.

“Jack Walsh came in for Logan [Trotter] when he was injured and was very, very good, and he has grown since he started playing in the Premiership Rugby Cup against Quins – he should take massive amounts of confidence from that game.

“The same goes for Matt Williams returning on the wing.

“Our effort off the ball and finding ways to work with what Bath offered from the boot from nine was great, we may have been a little rusty in attack, but the pleasing thing was that we still created chances and could have even take more from the edges and scored.

“It’s good to have something to work on, and I’d much rather be having that conversation than addressing glaring errors but we will need to be that level when we get to the semi-final.”

Despite the festivities post-game, a serious injury suffered to Logan Trotter in the opening 40 minutes will no doubt cast a shadow on the occasion.

The young full-back signed with the Club before commencing the Premiership Rugby Cup this year and has scored a try in his five appearances as an Exile after joining from Stirling County.

Danaher emphasised the communal effort from the team in supporting Trotter on his road to recovery.

“He’s gone into hospital and is in the right place, we won’t speculate on what happened but it’s obviously very significant to head there.

“Speaking the physios, they said there was a fair bit of pain but he’s a very strong boy.

“I chatted to the lads and we all said we’d be there to look after him, he’s been a massive part of the squad since coming in but these things are very unfortunate and he’s incredibly unlucky to have it happen to him.

“We wish him nothing but the best.”

Content & Images from – London Irish 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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