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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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(Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

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

Murphy leaves Leicester Tigers

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Leicester Tigers have today announced the departure of Geordan Murphy from his role as Director of Rugby at the club.

After discussions with Murphy about his current contract, which was due to end at the conclusion of the 2020/21 season, it was decided that it would not be renewed and, by mutual consent, it was agreed that Murphy would leave the club with immediate effect. 

Murphy joined Tigers as a teenager, making his senior debut in 1997, and went on to make 322 appearances in 16 seasons, including four years as club captain.

After retiring in 2013, having won eight Premiership and two European titles, Murphy moved into coaching and rose through the ranks as skills coach, backs coach, attack coach, head coach and director of rugby.

He is Leicester’s leading try-scorer and appearance holder in European rugby and is 17th on the club’s all-time tryscorers’ chart.

Speaking about his time at the club, the outgoing Director of Rugby said: “First, I want to thank my wife Aneka and my two boys, and our new addition on the way, for everything they have done for me and how they have continued to make me a better player, coach and person.

“As well as my family here in Leicester, and all of our friends, I want to thank my family and friends in Ireland for their support throughout my career at Tigers as a player and coach in the good and bad times.

“I have spent 23 great years at Leicester Tigers and forged great friendships with people throughout that entire period.

“I’m most proud of the respect I earned from my team-mates and colleagues, and I’m grateful to all of them for how they have helped me, supported me and shared in my time at this club.

“Winning has been the easy part. It is when things are not going well, when you are losing and having to get back up every day and put on a brave face, that you know who your friends are and, to all of those who supported me through those times, those are the friends I will have for life.

“I wish the club the very best for the future on and off the pitch, and say thank you to the supporters who have been a part of my life for more than 20 years.”

“His contribution of more than 23 years is unrivalled in the professional era and all of us had the privilege of watching Geordan play for Leicester Tigers before being afforded another privilege in working alongside such a passionate club man” Tigers Chairman, Peter Tom

Tigers Chairman Peter Tom thanked Murphy for his contribution to the club, on and off the pitch, since 1997.

“I want to express, on behalf of everybody at Leicester Tigers, my sincere gratitude to Geordan for all that he has done for our club for more than two decades,” said Tom.

“His contribution of more than 23 years is unrivalled in the professional era and all of us had the privilege of watching Geordan play for Leicester Tigers before being afforded another privilege in working alongside such a passionate club man. 

“I wish Geordan, his wife Aneka and their children all the best for what comes next and I know, when we are able to safely do so, we will afford him the proper send-off he deserves in front of all of our supporters at Welford Road.”

The club will not be recruiting to replace the Director of Rugby role but will now commence a recruitment process to identify candidates for a position in the organisation charged with overseeing the strategic vision and off-field responsibilities at Oval Park.

Tigers Chairman Tom added: “This decision, while difficult, was made to ensure we are as effective and successful an organisation as we can be at Leicester Tigers.

“Steve Borthwick understands the expectations of him, his coaching team and the playing group at Leicester Tigers on the pitch.

“We are determined to see this club back at the top, where supporters expect us to be, competing for trophies and are fully behind the players, coaches and staff on this journey.”

Statement from Leicester Tigers Ends.

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Premiership

Bristol trio sign permanent deals

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(Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

Niyi Adeolokun, Tom Kessell and Peter McCabe have signed one-year contracts with the Bears.

The trio, who joined on a short-term deals at the conclusion of the 2019/20 campaign, extend their stay at Ashton Gate ahead of the new season.

Scrum half Kessell (two appearances) and wing Adeolokun (four appearances) both featured in the Challenge Cup final, while prop McCabe made three appearances in the Gallagher Premiership, scoring his maiden try for the club against Wasps at the Ricoh Arena.

Director of Rugby Pat Lam said: “All three of these guys have settled into the Bears culture well and made some positive contributions on the field, so we’re pleased to have them on board for the 2020/21 campaign.

“With another busy schedule ahead of us, and players set to be away on international duty or undergoing rehabilitation at the beginning of the new season, it’s important to ensure we have plenty of depth and cover in key positions.”

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Premiership

Leicester Tigers halt all training due to COVID outbreak.

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(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Statement from Tigers.

Leicester Tigers have taken the decision to stop all team training and close the club’s Oval Park training ground facility following a COVID-19 outbreak within the camp.

The club returned several positive tests for COVID-19 earlier this week following the latest round of Premiership Rugby’s COVID-19 screening programme, including members of the playing group and support staff.

As well as those players and staff who have returned positive tests being isolated at home, several members of the squad and support staff were also instructed to isolate after being identified as close contacts.

The club is working closely with Public Health England and Premiership Rugby to ensure the protocols in place are being followed across all departments to reduce the risk of any further incidents.

Leicester Tigers takes its responsibility to maintain high standards extremely seriously at this time and is confident in the measures in place.

Additional testing will take place tomorrow (Friday, November 6) for all players and staff ahead of Monday’s weekly testing in line with Premiership Rugby guidelines.

All players will now continue their pre-season programme alone in their household bubbles while the Oval Park facility remains closed.

Health, wellbeing and safety are paramount and all players and staff are being monitored by Tigers medical staff, in addition to their families being offered support where necessary.

Tigers have made the decision to pause all training commitments and close the training ground in a bid to maintain the integrity of the 2020/21 Gallagher Premiership season, which commences for the club on Saturday, November 21, as well as honouring our responsibilities to the Leicestershire community.

Statement ends.

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