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Premiership

Falcons sign Nathan Earle

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Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

 

Multiple Premiership title winner Nathan Earle has joined Newcastle Falcons on a two-year deal, speaking of the ‘exciting times’ ahead at Kingston Park Stadium.

The 26-year-old winger scored four tries in five league games this season for recently-crowned Gallagher Premiership champions Harlequins, having also won the league with Saracens.

A proven finisher who has toured with England, Earle has scored 23 tries in his 53 Premiership appearances, plus another four in 13 European outings.

A try-scorer for Saracens in their 2017 Premiership final victory over Exeter Chiefs, the 6 foot 2 star also scored on his England debut in the non-cap match against the Barbarians the same year.

The former England Under-20s and 18s wing even won New Zealand’s National Provincial Championship with Canterbury back in 2016, scoring in the final, and the Hong-Kong-born flyer is already eager to get started on Tyneside.

“I’m really excited to be joining Newcastle, and can’t wait to get stuck into pre-season on July 19,” said Earle.

“My little brother and my best mate were both at university in Newcastle so I’ve been up there plenty of times, and have a bit of an insight into what the place is about.”

Revealing the part played by director of rugby Dean Richards in luring him to the North East, he added: “I had a couple of positive chats with Dean, and it was really his whole outlook on things which led me to believe that this was the best option for me.

“I feel like Newcastle is somewhere which is going to be exciting next season, and I’ll obviously have familiar faces like Mike Brown who is making the same move, and Tom Penny, who I played with the season before when he came down to Quins.

“I’d like to think I’m a bit of an experienced practitioner now, and hopefully I can help what is already an incredibly dangerous back three.

“The Falcons have got loads of quality there, and we can really push on next season. I don’t think we’re a bottom end of the table team by any means, and it’s just an exciting prospect to be up there.”

Reflecting on a season which saw him bursting into form for Harlequins before missing the culmination of their title-winning season through injury, Earle said: “It’s the second time I’ve left a team after they’ve just won the Premiership title, and even though I was injured for the semi-final and the final it was still a great period to be part of.

“Those two games were probably two of the best knock-out matches the league has ever seen, and it was great that we did it playing the Quins way.

“It was awesome for the boys who were able to play, but after a couple of days’ celebrating I’m just looking forward now and getting excited about the prospect of being a Newcastle Falcons player.”

Falcons boss Richards echoed that enthusiasm, saying: “Nathan is someone who has scored tries and won trophies wherever he has been, and I’m delighted to have been able to bring him up to Newcastle.

“He’s another good English player adding to what is already a competitive squad, and I’m looking forward to seeing the impact he can make for us.”

Source – Newcastle Falcons Rugby

Premiership

Tigers sign Tongan International

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(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Leicester Tigers have signed Tongan international Hosea Saumaki.

The outside-back will join Tigers ahead of the 2021/22 season after five seasons in Japan, including three seasons representing the Sunwolves in Super Rugby.

In 2012, Saumaki represented Tonga at Under-20s level and on the international Sevens circuit.

The Tongan-born back represented Daito Bunka University in Tokyo before joining Japanese Top League club Canon Eagles in 2017.

A prolific try-scorer, Saumaki finished his debut season in the Top League second on the competition’s try-scorers tally.

The 29-year-old made his Test debut for Tonga against the All Blacks earlier this year, before adding two more international appearances in back-to-back appearances against Samoa in New Zealand.

Speaking about the signing of Saumaki, Leicester Tigers Head Coach Steve Borthwick said: “Hosea is an exciting signing for the club.

“He is a strong, physical and fast outside-back who has shown himself to be a prolific try-scorer in his career-to-date.

“In our conversations with Hosea, we’ve been impressed by his desire to want to be a part of what we are building at Leicester Tigers and are looking forward to welcoming him to the club.”

Discussing his move to Tigers, Saumaki said: “I’ve always wanted to play rugby in the United Kingdom and to get that opportunity at Leicester Tigers is a dream.

“Tigers have a big fan base, who are really supportive of the team and the boys and for me to be a part of that is really exciting.

“I want to get the ball in hand, keep the energy up and score some tries for Leicester; that’s what I like to do, give one-hundred percent for my team mates and the club.”

Saumaki is is Borthwick’s 13th addition ahead of the 2021/22 campaign alongside fellow backs Freddie Burns, Bryce Hegarty, Dan Lancaster, Juan-Pablo Socino and forwards Dan Richardson, Eli Snyman, Marco Van Staden and Francois Van Wyk, as well as four graduates from the Leicester Tigers Academy.

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Premiership

Ulster to play Saracens in Pre-Season doubleheader.

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Photo By John Dickson/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Ulster Rugby will get the 2021/22 season underway with home and away pre-season friendlies against Saracens in September. 

The Ulster men will face the five-time Premiership and three-times Champions Cup winners at Kingspan Stadium on Friday 3 September (kick-off 7pm).

The squad will then make the journey to central London for the away clash on Thursday 9 September (kick-off 5pm) at the Honorary Artillery Company. 

This will be the first time the two sides have faced each other since the pool stages of the 2015/2016 Heineken Champions Cup.

Both matches against Sarries, who return to the Gallagher Premiership this season, will act as preparation for Ulster ahead of the newly launched United Rugby Championship, and the challenges they will face in this year’s Heineken Champions Cup.

Admission to the home pre-season friendly on 3 September is included in 2021/22 Season Tickets, as well as access to all home regular season fixtures in the United Rugby Championship and Heineken Champions Cup.

Existing Season Ticket holders have until 5pm this Friday (30 July) to renew their packages, and can do so online at ulsterrugby.com/seasontickets.

New purchasers can ensure they are notified first about new Season Tickets as they become available by registering their interest here.

The availability of match tickets sold individually will be dependent upon available capacity, in-line with government regulations. Further details will be released in due course.

Source – Ulster Rugby

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Premiership

England Coach John Mitchell joins Premiership side

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Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Wasps are delighted to announce that John Mitchell, currently part of England Men’s senior backroom staff, will be joining the Men’s team coaching set up.

The former Head Coach of the All Blacks has signed a contract with the Club that will see him link up with the squad this season.

Mitchell, England’s Forwards Coach under Sir Clive Woodward from 1997 to 2000, re-joins Wasps having spent time with the Club as an Assistant Coach during the 1999/2000 season.

The 57-year-old’s impressive résumé also includes being United States Head Coach from 2016 to 2017 and two stints coaching Sale Sharks. Mitchell has been in charge of England’s Defence since September 2018.

Men’s Head Coach Lee Blackett said: “We are thrilled to add John to the coaching group for this season. He brings a wealth of knowledge and will only improve our playing department.

“Once we knew John was available, we prioritised getting him back to Wasps.

“Finding somebody of John’s calibre at both an international and domestic level is rare. He fits the profile we have been looking for, adding to our talented group of coaches.

“John’s primary role will be to lead the attack, but his breadth of top-level experience will see him assist on a number of levels. He understands Wasps having worked here before and his passion for the club and improving our players shone through from the start.

“The support from the board in making this happen demonstrates the ambition of this club.”

Source – Wasps Rugby

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