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Declan Kidney’s comments post-Stormers



Speaking after London Irish’s defeat to DHL Stormers, London Irish Director of Rugby Declan Kidney affirms that there will be much to digest from their campaign in the Heineken Champions Cup so far.

The Exiles have now faced three defeats in their first outing in the tournament in a decade, with the Irishman emphasising the need to learn fast going forward in such elevated levels of competition.

Stormers took a second successive victory over Irish in as many rounds in Europe, winning 28-14, with the Exiles operating with a reduced complement for the last three quarters of the matchup at the Gtech Community Stadium.

Red cards to Ben Loader and Ciaran Parker, as well as Juan Martín González’s sin binning, increased the size of the task for his side but Kidney spoke of his contentment in the performance of the team overall.

“I’m proud of how the 13 played out the second half,” Irish’s Director of Rugby said.

“With 13 men against the champions of the United Rugby Championship, from our point of view the scoreboard was 14-7 in those last 37 minutes so they stuck at it well.

“From their point of view, they managed the game well from then on out however, and we couldn’t get the result.”

Kidney explains how operating with less than 15 men on the field affects Irish’s output, particularly against the calibre of sides in the Champions Cup.

“It’s difficult as a half back, being down men means that your attack options are a bit more limited and everyone else has to work even harder.

“Stormers played really well and didn’t overcommit to the ruck, and they kept their numbers in midfield so it was hard for us to find gaps.

“We managed to find two scores in the second half and came close to a third, which would have given us a point – every point in Europe is vital.

“They are the fine margins that as a group we must understand that they have a huge part of any progression in this competition.”

The Exiles now face Montpellier Hérault in the fourth and final round of the pool stages, a team that also won at Brentford to open the tournament but are yet to win in Europe since that meeting.

Having attained one point in this year’s competition, the west Londoners will require a win and other results to go their way should they wish to continue in European competition this season.

The challenge for Irish remains taking as many learnings from recent experiences on the continent, as well as competing at the highest level of knockout rugby.

“In Europe, you want to be winning your home matches at the very least, and it is a challenge to try and do that with less than 15 men on the pitch.

“Coming in as one of the lower seeds of the competition, you draw the likes of the URC winners and the French champions and you need to be on the money to beat sides like that.

“That’s why in one respect, there will be massive frustration and disappointment but there will also be encouragement for how the lads on the pitch conducted themselves.

“If we can go about what we did with 13 men, then we know we can do even better with 15.

“It will be a learning curve for the whole Club, there is more scrutiny in this competition but that’s what makes it such a great competition.

“We have to learn to go into it, the Club hasn’t been in the tournament for nigh-on 10 years and we can take many things from experiences like these, and the sooner we learn these things the better.”

Content & Images from – London Irish Rugby


Cokanasiga confirms future



Bath Rugby can confirm England international Joe Cokanasiga has committed his future to the club.

The 25-year-old has been in fine form this season, scoring four tries in nine Gallagher Premiership matches to date, and joins Tom Dunn, Will Stuart, Sam Underhill, Cameron Redpath and Ben Spencer in extending his time at The Rec. 

“Joe has been excellent for us this season and we’re delighted he will be staying with us,” Head of Rugby Johann van Graan said.

“He has great physical attributes which he uses to great effect, and his offloading ability in contact has provided us with fantastic attacking opportunities.

“He is an exciting player for us and we have no doubt he will continue to be an integral member of our squad.”

Cokanasiga has flourished under van Graan and has had a notable influence in games due to his power and pace. 

Since arriving in the West Country, the bulldozing wing has featured over 50 times for the Blue, Black and White whilst also making a significant impact on the international stage.

Debuting in 2018 against Japan, Cokanasiga has scored 12 tries in 14 Test matches, adding to his 21 in Bath colours. 

“There are goals I still want to accomplish here,” he said. 

“I really want to mark my time at the club by winning trophies; that’s a big ambition of mine. 

“A lot of change has taken place over the past few years, but this season I’ve found consistency in my performances. I feel I’ve positively contributed to the club’s progression and I’m excited by what’s to come in the next chapter.”



Bath Rugby return to action on Saturday 18 February against London Irish before hosting Bristol Bears on Friday 24 February.

Exeter Chiefs head to The Rec on Sunday 26 March in our penultimate home outing.

Whatever takes your fancy, get your tickets!




Content & Images from – Bath Rugby

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Chiefs fullback agrees new deal



Exeter Chiefs

By Mark Stevens

Josh Hodge says he’s ‘over the moon’ to have agreed a new long-term deal with the Exeter Chiefs.

The gifted full-back has pledged his future to the Devon club and believes an exciting period lies ahead for him and everyone at Sandy Park.

Signed in the summer of 2020 from Gallagher Premiership rivals Newcastle Falcons, the 22-year-old has to date made 37 first-team appearances, scoring 39 points in all competitions.

He is seen by many, including Director of Rugby, Rob Baxter, as one of the crown jewels in Exeter’s exciting vision for the future and news that he is staying put for the foreseeable future will be welcomed by everyone connected with the Chiefs.

“To be honest, it wasn’t a hard decision to sign a new contract with this fantastic club,” said Hodge. “Personally, I’m over the moon and I’m looking forward to my future here in the sunny county of Devon.

“There has been a lot of effort, good business decisions and hard work, both in training and on the pitch, to achieve the results the club has achieved in recent years.”

Alongside Hodge, the Chiefs are investing heavily in bringing through their next crop of young talent, such as Dafydd Jenkins, Christ Tshiunza, Marcus Street, Richard Capstick, Sam Maunder, Will Becconsall and Greg Fisilau to name but a few.

“I’m looking forward to working with the team to help the club attain its rightful position towards the top of all the competitions we take part in and justify the efforts of past players and trainers,” added Hodge.

“All the building blocks have been put in place by the board, backroom staff and coaches and it’s up to the team to work tirelessly to put the cherry on the cake and deliver the results the Chiefs and our fans deserve.”

Others within the current Chiefs ranks are expected to confirm they are also extending their stays with the club in the coming days and weeks.

Content & Images from – Exeter Chiefs Rugby

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Tigers sign Brown on short-term contract



Leicester Tigers can confirm the signing of Mike Brown on a short-term contract.

The outside-back joins Tigers after previously representing Harlequins, where he won two Premiership titles, and Newcastle Falcons.

Brown has made 72 Test appearances for England and featured in three Six Nations winning campaigns for the national side.

Speaking about the addition of Brown, Leicester Tigers Head Coach Richard Wigglesworth said: “Mike is an experienced Premiership player, who has represented his country and won trophies at club and Test level.

“His experience and his knowledge is vital during this Six Nations period where we have a number of players away.

“Mike is hungry to prove himself out on the pitch and impressed us with not only what he’s saying and doing off the pitch, but his efforts on the field and willingness to help those guys around him.

“Above all, Mike is a competitor and wants to be successful. We want those attributes in our players and he offers that.”

Discussing the move to Leicester Tigers, Brown said: “To join a club like this with all of its history and players who have been here before, it is amazing.”

“When Leicester Tigers offer you the chance to go into the environment, it is a hard one to turn down.”

Brown joins after a trial period at the club, about which he added: “To get the chance to come into the environment has been great so far and a really positive experience for me.”

“It has just had a great impression on me, led by enthusiastic coaches – one of which in Wiggy I have played a lot of rugby with – and then equally, all of the players have welcomed me in.

“I have felt sharp and it has been really good out on the field with this group of Tigers players.”

Brown recently featured for The Barbarians and, looking ahead to a potential return to professional rugby, said: “I still believe I have a part to play in the game. I didn’t believe it was my time to stop because I felt good and I still feel good.”

“I have been staying fit, wanting to be ready and not just hanging on to hope but being best prepared if it did.”

Brown joins the club effective immediately.

Content & Images from – Leicester Tigers Rugby

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