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Premiership

England Star to Call Time on Career

One of the most coveted players in Premiership history has confirmed that he will call time on his career at the end of the season

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England international Jordan Crane has announced that he will step away from his playing career at the end of the 2019/20 Gallagher Premiership season. 

The 33-year-old is currently playing with Bristol Bears, where he has been since 2016 and will join the backroom staff as an academy transition coach in a dual role with immediate effect and is delighted with what he has achieved so far.

“When I reflect back on the last 16 years, I’ve been so fortunate to meet many great friends and share the field with some of the most talented players to play the game. The chance to represent my country and achieve domestic success with Leicester are obvious highlights and I’ve loved the past two seasons working with Pat Lam where I have played some of the best rugby of my career,” he said.

Having began his career with Leeds Tykes before moving to Leicester Tigers, where he was part of an unstoppable team between 2006 and 2016 before his move to the Bears. However, despite his long time with the Tigers he is excited for the future in Bristol.

“I’m fully committed to Bristol Bears and excited about the future ahead. I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue here and begin my coaching journey in a world-class coaching set up. My family love living in the area and we feel very settled. My focus is on a huge Premiership season with the Bears first and foremost – it would be fantastic to end my playing career on a high by helping Bristol earn a top six finish,” he added.

Bristol’s director of rugby Pat Lam believes that Crane will be able to help the youth teams understand what is like to be a Bear.

“When you are wanting our young players to understand our Bears game, culture and leadership and what is required at the next level I couldn’t think of a perfect fit to help guide them than Jordan. He is an outstanding leader who is respected by the coaches and players and he understands the importance of standards, commitment and consistency in everything we do. As a club and a culture, we want to promote from within whenever we can and support players and coaches to grow, develop and reach their dreams. Jordan has all the ingredients to be a world class English coach and we are excited about the value he will add to our under-18s and academy programme,” he said.

Crane will hope to retire on a high, having won four Premiership titles in the past, but will be looking to lead the Bristol Bears to a Champions Cup spot at the end of his last season.

Premiership

Bath Set to Land Fijian Star

Bath look set to make a mid-season swoop for a Fijian international to help bolster their team

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Bath are reportedly set to sign Fijian back Josh Matavesi from Newcastle Falcons to help cover their growing concerns in the centre.

The 29-year-old has been with the Falcons since 2017 following a move from the Ospreys, but while the club look set for an immediate return to the Premiership after their relegation, Bath appear ready to give him a fast-track back to the top. 

It is believed that Bath are searching for cover for Jonathan Joseph, who is currently sidelined through injury, however, he is expected to be called up to Eddie Jones’ England squad upon his return. 

While fellow centre Jamie Roberts is reportedly on the verge of sealing a move to Super Rugby outfit the Stormers

They do have centre Jackson Willison back from injury, but they feel like Matavesi will bring quality and experience to the midfield. 

Matavesi has 24-caps to his name for Fiji, but called time on his test career following their poor showing at the Rugby World Cup last year, where they failed to progress from the pool stages. 

It would be a big boost for Bath if they can seal the deal as he can also cover the fly-half position. What remains to be seen is if the deal goes through whether or not it will be a deal until the end of the season or beyond, with the Fijian thought to be looking for a move to Super Rugby in the future.

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Premiership

Harlequins Tie Down Key Man

Harlequins have confirmed that one of their most important players has signed a new contract extension amid rumours regarding an exit

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Harlequins have confirmed that star back-rower Alex Dombrandt has committed his future to the Premiership side amid rumours of an exit.

The explosive forward has been at the club for two seasons and has impressed ever since going on to score 16 tries in only 37 games and he is looking forward to what the future holds in a Quins jersey. 

“I am really excited to have committed my future to Quins; a club that I have loved as both a fan and a player over the years. I am excited by the direction the Club is going in and having Gussy, the coaches and great players in place there is no reason why we can’t be moving on up. Coming up to this level naturally was a huge step up for me but after two great years here I feel I have developed so much. I want to keep on this journey, hopefully help this great club and continue by working with some amazing people in such an impressive, fun and professional environment,” he said. 

The 22-year-old represented Wales at U20 level, but he has since gone on to play for England against the Barbarians and was also a part of Eddie Jones’ training camps in the lead-up to last year’s Rugby World Cup

Speaking on his extension Quins’ head of rugby Paul Gustard heaped praise on the youngster and is excited about what he can develop into.

“Dommers has developed from a kid with outstanding potential at University, into a first team player in his time at Harlequins. He is without doubt a special player who has exceptional talent and his commitment to the Club is strong affirmation of the progress we are making. He is a brilliant kid who is popular amongst the staff and the playing group and is part of a strong spine of young English talent that we want to drive our club forward as we look to compete regularly for silverware. He is still developing as a player and is humble enough to acknowledge areas of his game he wants to work on, which is a credit to him as he strives to maximise his skill and achieve international recognition. We want to create a positive environment for all our players to learn and grow and help them achieve individually and collectively, and we are delighted Dom sees the same potential and belief in us, as we do in him. Alex has done, and will continue to, play a significant and vital part in our future success and his re-signing is great news for everyone at Harlequins,” he said. 

Having won both the Fan’s Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year last season he is a clear favourite among those involved with the club and it is a massive boost for the team as they bid to improve in the Premiership.

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Premiership

Northampton Set to Lose Key Player

Northampton Saints have confirmed that one of their key men come the end of the current season

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Northampton Saints have confirmed that star scrum-half Cobus Reinach will depart Franklin’s Gardens come the end of the current season.

Reinach has been at the Premiership club since 2017, following a move from Super Rugby outfit the Sharks and has been a fan favourite in England since. 

The 29-year-old was thankful for everything that the club have done for him since his arrival and admitted he will find it hard to say goodbye. 

“I love playing for Saints and living in Northamptonshire. We have a fantastic group of coaches and staff and an exciting squad that I believe can challenge for the major honours, so this has not been an easy decision for me to make. I’d like to thank everyone for making the last three seasons so memorable; I’ll be sad to leave some great friends and team-mate. Saints will always have a special place in my heart and I look forward to giving everything I’ve got to make sure we finish the season with some silverware,” he said on his departure.

During his time with the Saints he has scored 29 tries in 70 appearances, and his rich vein of form saw him earn a recall to the South African national team and was part of the squad that went on to lift the Rugby World Cup title last year. 

There is no doubt that he will be missed and director of rugby Chris Boyd is upset to see him go but knows that Reinach has made his decision for the right reasons. 

 “While we’re disappointed to lose a player of Cobus’ quality, we respect that in the final years of his professional career he’s made a decision with the long-term future of his family in mind. Saints supporters love watching him play; he has provided them with plenty of memorable moments here at Franklin’s Gardens. I’ve been delighted with the form of Henry Taylor since his arrival at the start of the season, and with the emergence of Connor Tupai from our academy set-up this year – plus getting Alex Mitchell back from injury in the coming weeks will feel like a new signing for us. Cobus is putting all his focus and energy into ensuring that Northampton have as much success as possible for the second half of the season, and we will wish him well after that,” he said. 

It remains to be seen where Reinach will head come the end of the season, but it is assumed that he could make a return to South Africa

Before then however Northampton have a game against Lyon in the Champions Cup this weekend as they look to secure a place in the knock-out stages, and then they return to Premiership action where they are looking to build on a positive start to the season.

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