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George Skivington & Ben Morgan react to ‘gutting’ Saracens defeat



A last-minute Owen Farrell drop goal gave Saracens a 16-19 victory over the Cherry & Whites at Kingsholm on Friday evening. Head Coach, George Skivington, was left gutted for his players, who he felt had done enough to claim the points from the league leaders.

“I’m gutted, I thought the boys set themselves up really well. It was a great battle actually, I don’t think there was much in it and it could have swung either way.

“We’ve said before that we want to play rugby. Against Irish the weather was torrential, and it looked like it might be that same again tonight. I was really happy with how the boys played, I thought they were spot on and it’s very tough what happened to them at the end.”

Despite being hit by a number of crucial injuries over the festive period, Gloucester Rugby went toe-to-toe with the 5x Gallagher Premiership winners. Skivington says his coaching staff and players work hard to make sure anyone can fill in.

“We’ve not had much luck with injury that’s true, but we work very hard on making sure everyone in the squad is well versed on what they’ve got to do, we’ve got a very clear plan and we’ve got good lads who work really hard. I’d like to think whoever slips in will work hard and get stuck in, I was very proud of them.”

But Skivington admits there are some areas where the Cherry & Whites can still improve that could turn a narrow defeat like Friday into a victory.

“There is areas we can be better, we created a lot of pressure as we did last week and I think there was just a few fumbled balls in the 22. A little bit better communication and we can probably score a try or two.”

Over 13,000 fans were present at Kingsholm, just 6 days after a capacity crowd saw the Cherry & Whites edge out London Irish. Skivington praised the supporters, and hopes they enjoyed the rugby on offer, despite the defeat.

.“The supporters here are phenomenal, and I think they’ll appreciate what they saw tonight, the lads pushing it right down to the wire. It’s really important to us that we don’t want any fans to come here and not see 100% and us give everything. I know the loss is gutting but hopefully the rest of it they enjoyed.”

Number 8, Ben Morgan, was also left heartbroken by the last-minute defeat. This was the second time Saracens have beaten the Cherry & Whites at the death this season.

“The lads fought all the way through that game, and to lose it like that really hurts. Obviously, this is now the second time in a row we have lost to them in the last play of the game. It doesn’t make it easy.”

But Morgan remained positive, and says they’ll take a lot of heart from their performance.

“There’re loads of positives to take out of that game. Saracens are a class outfit, they’ve been consistently competing in the top competitions for the last decade now but they knew they were in a game with us tonight and only swung it in the last ten minutes and won it at the death. So, there’s a huge number of positives, but it doesn’t make it any easier to swallow.’

Morgan also highlighted their need to be more clinical when in attacking positions, if they are to contend with the top teams.

“There’s a lot of belief in the squad, absolutely we think we should have won that game. We don’t want to talk about the decisions in that game, we’ll look at what we can control. We can be a bit more clinical in the attacking zones.”

The 33-year-old thanked the supporters for two great atmospheres over the last two games, and says the players are working hard to make the fans proud.

“The last two games at home have been a stellar effort from everyone here. Its great to have this place bouncing, the crowd really make it and tonight it was a tremendous atmosphere.

“Everybody loves a Friday night at Kingsholm, and I hope everyone here was proud of the effort we put in, and we’re working hard to get those final tweaks right to come out on top.”

This week, Gloucester turns their attention back to European rugby, with the return of the Heineken Champions Cup. The Cherry & Whites host four-time Champions Leinster Rugby at Kingsholm, and Morgan is expecting a big test.

“Leinster are easily the best team in Europe and we’re looking forward to welcoming them here. It’s a change up for the next fortnight going into the Champions Cup, a competition we’re excited to be in, and there’s everything to play for for us.

“It’s a hard place to come, they’re going to have to be on their mettle. We’ll have a good training week, get the detail ironed out but again our focus is on ourselves, make sure that we get our things right and we’ll present a challenge to them.”

Tickets for the fixture are available here.

Content & Images from – Gloucester Rugby





Sale Sharks have agreed a deal to sign Fiji captain Waisea Nayacalevu from French Top14 side Toulon. 

The explosive centre, who starred for his country during the recent World Cup, has signed a one-year contract with an option for a further year. 

He will join up with Alex Sanderson’s Sharks squad ahead of the start of the 2024/25 Gallagher Premiership season. 

Waisea, 33, said: “I’ve watched the Premiership for a long time and it’s always been in the back of my mind that I would love to play there one day and experience rugby in England. 

“Now that opportunity has arrived and I’m really, really happy and grateful. I’m so excited to get over there and join the boys and see how I can contribute to the team. 

“I have spoken to Telusa Veainu and he only has positive things to say about the club and about Manchester. 

“I’m looking forward to playing with some of the guys I’ve played against, like Tom Curry and George Ford. But I also know there are a lot of really talented young players in the Sale Sharks squad and I’m excited to share my experience and help them develop as much as I can.  

“I told Alex that it’s what I’ve been doing for the last few years of my career and it’s something I’m passionate about.” 

Nayacalevu, who stands at 6’4” and weighs in at 16st 7lb, spent ten years at Top14 side Stade Français before making the switch to Toulon in 2022.  

He has won 34 caps for Fiji, slotting in at both centre and on the wing, and captained his country at last year’s World Cup, where the Pacific Islanders made the quarter-finals, losing 30-24 to England in Marseille. 

He also famously scored for Fiji in their memorable pre-World Cup win against England at Twickenham. 

Images & Content from Sale Sharks Rugby

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Falcons star to join Saracens



Phil Brantingham to join Saracens

Tuesday 05 March 2024 Written by: Tom Grisedale

Prop-forward Phil Brantingham will leave Newcastle Falcons in the summer to join Saracens.

The 22-year-old has played 25 games for his home town club, and leaves with the thanks and best wishes of everyone at the Falcons.

Chairman of rugby Matt Thompson said: “Phil has done well for us and we made him a good offer to stay here.

“We respect his decision and wish him all the best for his move in the summer, but between now and then he will be fully committed to finishing the season strongly for Newcastle Falcons.”

Source – Newcastle Falcons Rugby

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Sale Sharks can confirm that forward Cobus Wiese will leave the club at the end of the season to return to South Africa. 

The 26-year-old lock has played almost 80 games for the club and scored five tries since joining from the DHL Stormers ahead of the 2020/21 season. 

He played a key role last year as Sale reached the Premiership final, and this season he has featured a further 13 times for Alex Sanderson’s side. 

Alex said: “Cobus will be missed by all of us on so many levels. He’s the most polite and courteous of people off the field, but the most wildly excitable man on the field, and on a night out. 

“To say Cobus wears his heart on his sleeve is to do him a disservice with regards to his emotional commitment for which his body has paid the price on occasion.  

“He leads by example and has earnt the respect and adoration of the group both on a professional and a personal level. We wish him every success and happiness with his move back home.” 

Everyone at Sale Sharks would like to thank Cobus 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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