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EPCR announce new broadcast partnership in the USA



By Mark Stevens

The Heineken Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup will further extend their reach in the booming USA rugby market following today’s announcement of a new three-year broadcast partnership between EPCR and the leading sports streaming platform, FloSports.

As the exclusive broadcaster of EPCR’s tournaments in the USA until the conclusion of the 2024/25 season, FloSports will stream matches in each of the pool stage and knockout stage rounds, including both finals which are scheduled for Dublin’s Aviva Stadium in May 2023.

The deal is part of an historic alliance which will see the Heineken Champions Cup and the EPCR Challenge Cup bundled with key fixtures in the United Rugby Championship (URC) and France’s TOP 14, allowing viewers in America unprecedented access to all four competitions on one digital platform.

This innovative collaboration between EPCR, the URC and the TOP 14 means that FloSports will stream close to 450 matches representing more than 600 hours of high-class action during the 2022/23 season.

Apart from access to fixtures involving iconic clubs such as Exeter Chiefs, Leicester Tigers, Leinster Rugby and Stade Toulousain, viewers in America will also be able to watch the best of South African rugby as the Stormers, Bulls, Sharks, Lions and the Cheetahs compete in the Heineken Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup for the first time.

“The Heineken Champions Cup is the pinnacle of international club rugby and we are delighted to enhance the global reach of our flagship competition, as well as the EPCR Challenge Cup, through this exciting partnership with FloSports alongside two of our leagues – the URC and the TOP 14,” said EPCR Chairman, Dominic McKay.

“The US market is a key strategic priority for EPCR as we build the audiences and awareness of our world-class competitions in new territories. With the Heineken Champions Cup, EPCR Challenge Cup, URC and TOP 14 available from this season at the home of US rugby, more fans than ever will be able watch the very best of the international club game.

“This is our first foray into collaborating on international media rights deals with our leagues, so we are proud to make this piece of history in conjunction with FloSports.” 

“We are thrilled to be working alongside these three world-class rugby properties to create a historic sports alliance with a mission of supporting the overall growth of rugby in the US,” said Ryan Fenton, Director, Global Rights Acquisition, FloSports.

“The partnerships with EPCR, the URC and the TOP 14 fit perfectly into our vision to elevate rugby in the US through ongoing investments in media rights which delivers unparalleled live programming and creates compelling news and analysis while building an essential destination for fans of the sport.”

EPCR will be announcing further multi-year broadcast partnerships for its core territories of the UK, France, Ireland and South Africa shortly, and these will be followed by the announcement of the exact dates, kick-off times and TV coverage of the 2022/23 fixtures.

Content & Images from – Exeter Chiefs Rugby


RFU Statement on London Irish



The RFU Club Financial Viability Group has agreed to give London Irish a one-week extended deadline to meet the original conditions as set out below and pay the remaining May payroll to staff and players.

1) a takeover of the club has been completed and approved by the RFU, with the buyers undertaking to provide all required working capital to meet the club’s obligations as they fall due for at least season 2023/24; or

2) the club evidences that it will continue to be funded to operate throughout the 2023/24 season. If the club fails to meet these conditions it will be suspended from participating in the Premiership (and other competitions) in season 2023/24 to avoid a scenario where the club enters insolvency mid-season, with the corresponding and substantial impact that has on players, staff, and fans, as well as on the remainder of the league.

The extension, until Tuesday 6 June, has been given following consultation with staff and players who asked for the deadline to be extended to allow them to be paid 50% of their salaries.

Paula Carter, RFU Board Member and Chair of the Club Financial Viability Working Group said; “It is deeply frustrating for all the staff, players and fans that there have been multiple missed deadlines. 

“We are extremely disappointed that the club has so far only funded 50% of the staff and player wages, however, we have to respect the wishes of those most affected.

“The 4pm deadline on 6 June is final and we have added the stipulation that the club must also fulfil its contractual obligations to its employees by paying the May salaries in full.”

Content & Images from – London Irish Rugby

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Coenie Oosthuizen to leave Sale Sharks



Springbok Coenie swapping Sharks for Sharks

Prop Coenie Oosthuizen leaving Sale Sharks to join South African side Cell C Sharks

Sale Sharks can confirm that prop Coenie Oosthuizen will leave the club to return to South African side Cell C Sharks.

The 34-year-old Springbok, who can play on either side of the scrum, arrived in Manchester in May 2019 from the Durban-based Super Rugby side.

He’s gone on to make 94 appearances for Sale, including 16 this season as Alex Sanderson’s men reached their first Premiership final in 17 years.

Coenie made his debut for the Springboks in 2012 and has since won 30 international caps.

Sharks Director of Rugby Alex Sanderson said: “Since he arrived in Manchester, Coenie has been a massive part of this team and this club and everyone is going to miss him.

“On the field he’s a fantastic player but off it, he’s been a real leader for us in what is a young squad.”

Everyone at Sale Sharks would like to thank Coenie 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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Leicester Tigers 23/24 Coaching Team



Leicester Tigers can confirm the club’s senior coaching team ahead of the 2023/24 season.

Dan McKellar, who was announced as the club’s new Head Coach in February, will oversee the rugby programme and lead on the line out and forwards coaching.

Brett Deacon will lead on the breakdown and contact area, while also assisting McKellar with the forwards.

Deacon made 135 first-team appearances in two spells as a player with Tigers before joining the coaching staff upon retiring in 2015. After working with the club’s academy for two seasons, he joined the senior coaching team ahead of the 2016/17 campaign.

Matt Everard, who joined the club midway the 22/23 season as Senior Academy Coach before taking on a permanent senior role in December 2022, is the Defence Coach.

After representing Tigers, Wasps and Nottingham as a player, Everard moved into coaching with The Archers before returning to Wasps as Academy Coach and moved into the senior coaching team ahead of the 2019/20 campaign.

Alan Dickens, Dan Palmer and Ollie Richardson are the additions to the club ahead of the new season.

Dickens will take charge of the Attack & Backs, Palmer is the Scrum Coach and Richardson joins as Head of Physical Performance.

Read more on the appointments of the trio here:

Matt Smith will be the Skills Coach for the senior squad and take on the newly-created Lead Academy Coach role which sees him responsible for the Senior Academy Squad and transition of players from junior to senior rugby.

Smith made 228 appearances for Tigers before coaching the club’s academy side after retiring from playing in 2019, and joined the senior coaching team ahead of the 20/21 season.

Speaking about his coaching team, incoming Leicester Tigers Head Coach Dan McKellar said: “I am excited by the group we have put together, which has a great balance of continuity and new voices who will bring fresh ideas.”

“It was important to me that there was a mix of people who not only understand the Premiership, but vital that they understand Leicester Tigers and we have got that in Brett Deacon, Matt Everard and Matt Smith, as well as the majority of our performance staff who remain with the club.

“In addition, to have Alan Dickens and Ollie Richardson’s knowledge of the English game, players and competitions we compete in is of great value, and Dan Palmer’s expertise is very exciting for the club moving forward.

“What is most pleasing for me is that this coaching team are excited by the squad we have to work with from next season at Leicester Tigers, because of where they are at currently and work they have done but, importantly, how it can evolve.”

Leicester Tigers 23/24 Coaching Team

  • Dan McKellar, Head Coach
  • Brett Deacon, Assistant Coach
  • Alan Dickens, Attack & Backs Coach
  • Matt Everard, Defence Coach
  • Dan Palmer, Scrum Coach
  • Ollie Richardson, Head of Physical Performance
  • Matt Smith, Skills Coach & Lead Academy Coach

The club can also confirm that Richard Wilks has been appointed General Manager.

Wilks joined Tigers during the 20/21 campaign as a consultant before being appointed Head of Performance Recruitment in November 2021.

Discussing the appointments, Leicester Tigers CEO Andrea Pinchen said: “I believe we have put together a world class coaching team, headed up by Dan McKellar, to lead Leicester Tigers from next season into this exciting new chapter of the club’s history”

“A lot of work has gone on behind the scenes to bring this impressive group who all offer their own unique skills, experience and knowledge from diverse backgrounds in the game.

“Most pleasing for me in this group is a shared desire to see this club continue to be successful but, even more so, strive to reach new heights together.

“After a turbulent year for all involved with Leicester Tigers, to be able to confirm our senior coaching team now is a great pleasure for me and I hope our supporters are as excited as I am about them leading this club into the future.”

The Leicester Tigers squad will commence pre-season training in July ahead of the 23/24 campaign.

Content & Images from – Leicester Tigers Rugby

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