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Premiership

Leicester Tigers squad for Premiership Rugby 7s

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(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Leicester Tigers include new signing Johnny McPhillips and eight of the club’s academy graduates in the squad for the Premiership Rugby Sevens this weekend.

Former Ulster fly-half McPhillips is the first of the summer arrivals to have the chance to run out in Tigers colours as the season’s traditional curtain-raiser is hosted at Franklin’s Gardens in Northampton over Friday and Saturday.

McPhillips, 22, is joined by seven members of the Tigers development squad – all part of the academy’s Under-18 League championship-winning sides in recent seasons – and the former academy scrum-half Will Findlay.

Henri Lavin and Taylor Gough are entering their second season in the development squad, while Ollie Ashworth, Jonny Law, Joe Browning, Leo Gilliland and Freddie Steward all step up in 2019/20.

They are joined by guests Toby Smith, Will Aflleck and Levi Roper in a Tigers squad coached by Matt Smith and David Mélé this weekend.

Smith, who retired as a player last season and is now head coach at the Tigers academy, said: “The Premiership Sevens is an opportunity to give guys exposure to playing at a Premiership stadium, in front of a decent crowd and the TV cameras – all of that outside ‘noise’ and distraction they are not used to – and that is another step in terms of their own development as players.

“It’s a first run-out of the year, a first appearance in our colours for Johnny McPhillips, the first time for guys like Joe Browning to be involved in senior rugby and a chance for all of them to make the most of a new opportunity.”

All 12 Premiership clubs are involved over two days of competition at Franklin’s Gardens, with action from 5.30pm on Friday. Tigers face Wasps at 7.23pm and Bath Rugby (8.53pm) on the opening evening and all 12 teams return for the knockout stages and finals on Saturday, starting at 2.30pm.

Tigers will wear the club’s new alternate fluoro-red kit throughout the weekend.

Tickets are available from the Saints ticket office, price £20 adults/£8 juniors for the whole weekend or £12/£5 for a single day.

Leicester Tigers
1 Henri Lavin
2 Taylor Gough
3 Ollie Ashworth
4 Jonny Law
5 Will Findlay
6 Joe Browning
7 Leo Gilliland
8 Freddie Steward
9 Johnny McPhillips (c)
10 Toby Smith
11 Will Affleck
12 Levi Roper

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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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6 Nations

World Rugby applies 50/22 law trial globally, bolster concussion protocol

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World Rugby announced on Wednesday five law trials which will start next month, including a so-called “50/22” kicking adaptation.

The 50/22 change allows a team to gain a throw-in inside the opposition’s 22-metre area by kicking the ball to touch with at least one bounce from their own half.

The rule was used in recent Super Rugby tournaments and its primary intention is to “encourage the defensive team to put more players in the backfield, thereby creating more attacking space and reducing defensive line speed”, according to the sport’s governing body.

The other laws to come into force on a temporary basis from August 1 include a goal-line drop-out if the ball is held up in the in-goal area, if there is a knock-on from an attacking player in the same area or an attacking kick is grounded by the defenders in their own in-goal.

There are also restrictions on attacking players latching onto team-mates from a ruck and clean-outs which target or drop weight onto the lower limbs at the breakdown.

Michael Hooper with a textbook tackle close out a certain try

The final trial allows for a one-player latch before contact, but the individual must “observe all of the requirements for a first arriving player, particularly the need to stay on their feet”.

World Rugby has also moved to strengthen concussion protocols, with independent specialists set to review cases when Test players return to action after a head injury.

They will launch a panel of Independent Concussion Consultants (ICCs) to provide expert opinion on whether players are ready to return to action after head knocks.

The global governing body will fully fund the process for Test-level competitions, with ICCs asked to rule when players look to return to action 10 days or fewer after a concussion or on players deemed higher risk due to previous head-injury history.

Source – Australia Rugby

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