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Ludlam: Saints’ shackles are off for huge Munster test

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We sat down with Northampton Saints skipper Lewis Ludlam ahead of a do-or-die weekend for the men in Black, Green and Gold in the Heineken Champions Cup, with a mouth-watering clash against Munster in Limerick on the horizon…Q: What are your thoughts on last Saturday’s defeat at Exeter Chiefs?LL: It was a really frustrating performance from us. We never gave ourselves an opportunity to fire a shot. It’s easy to be emotional, but when you don’t stick to a structure to allow yourself to be emotional within what we’re doing, it’s very hard. We let our structure go amiss a little bit and got over-excited, and that was the reason why it ended up how it did at the end. But I think the really pleasing thing is the attitude the boys have come back with this week to go back to basics, and go back to the things that help our game tick, to give ourselves the best opportunity this weekend.Q: It continued Northampton Saints’ disappointing away record this season, how do you explain it?LL: We’ve obviously struggled away from home a little bit, which again is a frustrating thing. The focus now, going forward, is enjoying the challenge of going away from home. From everything you see in the media and online this week, no-one backs us to go to Munster and get a result, which is such an exciting position to be in. To go there as underdogs, when all we need to do is put in a performance to give ourselves the best opportunity, it feels like the shackles are off a little bit and we can go down there, express ourselves and give it a good crack.Q: How are you finding your own form so far this season?LL: I feel like I’ve been going alright. There are loads of things I need to work on, of course. I know I need to work on those things if I want to be considered for the Six Nations, but I think the focus for me now is on performing for Saints. You can over-think things too much and get drawn into over-thinking selection, so for me my focus is on performing at the weekend and being a better player than I was last week.Q: Do you feel you are fully back up to speed now after recovering from the abdominal injury you suffered during the autumn?LL: It probably took me a couple of weeks, naturally, with the injury. It obviously takes a couple of games to get back up to speed, but I’m feeling good. I know I’ve still got a lot more in me to go, but the most important thing is the performance of the team and if the team performs well, then usually the individuals in the team are performing well as well.Q: What do you take out of last month’s match against Munster at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens?LL: It’s basically Test match level when you play these teams in the Heineken Champions Cup. You make one mistake and you’re really punished for it, so that’s a difference, but what is exciting about this competition is you get the chance to go away from home to a different country and see where we compare against some of the best teams in the game.

We sat down with Northampton Saints skipper Lewis Ludlam ahead of a do-or-die weekend for the men in Black, Green and Gold in the Heineken Champions Cup, with a mouth-watering clash against Munster in Limerick on the horizon…

Q: What are your thoughts on last Saturday’s defeat at Exeter Chiefs?
LL: It was a really frustrating performance from us. We never gave ourselves an opportunity to fire a shot. It’s easy to be emotional, but when you don’t stick to a structure to allow yourself to be emotional within what we’re doing, it’s very hard. We let our structure go amiss a little bit and got over-excited, and that was the reason why it ended up how it did at the end. But I think the really pleasing thing is the attitude the boys have come back with this week to go back to basics, and go back to the things that help our game tick, to give ourselves the best opportunity this weekend.

Q: It continued Northampton Saints’ disappointing away record this season, how do you explain it?
LL: We’ve obviously struggled away from home a little bit, which again is a frustrating thing. The focus now, going forward, is enjoying the challenge of going away from home. From everything you see in the media and online this week, no-one backs us to go to Munster and get a result, which is such an exciting position to be in. To go there as underdogs, when all we need to do is put in a performance to give ourselves the best opportunity, it feels like the shackles are off a little bit and we can go down there, express ourselves and give it a good crack.

Q: How are you finding your own form so far this season?
LL: I feel like I’ve been going alright. There are loads of things I need to work on, of course. I know I need to work on those things if I want to be considered for the Six Nations, but I think the focus for me now is on performing for Saints. You can over-think things too much and get drawn into over-thinking selection, so for me my focus is on performing at the weekend and being a better player than I was last week.

Q: Do you feel you are fully back up to speed now after recovering from the abdominal injury you suffered during the autumn?
LL: It probably took me a couple of weeks, naturally, with the injury. It obviously takes a couple of games to get back up to speed, but I’m feeling good. I know I’ve still got a lot more in me to go, but the most important thing is the performance of the team and if the team performs well, then usually the individuals in the team are performing well as well.

Q: What do you take out of last month’s match against Munster at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens?
LL: It’s basically Test match level when you play these teams in the Heineken Champions Cup. You make one mistake and you’re really punished for it, so that’s a difference, but what is exciting about this competition is you get the chance to go away from home to a different country and see where we compare against some of the best teams in the game.

Content & Images from – Northampton Saints Rugby


Premiership

Club announcement: Leicester Tigers Coaching Team

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Leicester Tigers Interim Head Coach Richard Wigglesworth and Head of Physical Performance Aled Walters will depart the club at the conclusion of the 2022/23 season. 

Wigglesworth and Walters will join England Rugby senior men’s coaching team. 

Wigglesworth joined Tigers as a player ahead of the 2020/21 season and made 43 appearances for the club, including starting in the 2021/22 Gallagher Premiership Final win, before retiring midway through the current campaign when he was appointed to the Interim Head Coach role.

Walters joined the club in the summer of 2020, during the COVID-19 suspended 2019/20 season, from the World Cup winning South African coaching team after previous roles with Munster, ACT Brumbies and Scarlets.

Speaking about Wigglesworth and Walters, Leicester Tigers Chief Executive Officer Andrea Pinchen said: “Richard and Aled have been key figures at the club in recent seasons in very different ways and, while disappointed to be saying farewell to them at season’s end, thank them for their efforts on and off the field at Leicester Tigers.”

“It has been a great privilege to have had both represent and be a part of Leicester Tigers.

“Their professionalism and leadership shone through when we were forced into changes to our coaching team halfway through a season and they took on more responsibilities, which we are grateful to both for and look forward to continuing to have as part of Leicester Tigers for the remainder of this campaign.

“In the same way that we want to see our players be as successful as possible and achieve accolades at all levels the game, we want our coaches and staff to achieve this as well. The appointment of Leicester Tigers coaches to senior international roles is not only a testament to their hard work and ability, but a great badge of honour for this club.

“We wish both of them all the best for the next chapter in their career and, as they have throughout their tenures at Tigers, know that they are fully committed to finishing their time with the club successfully.”

Leicester Tigers has identified a shortlist of replacements and is nearing the conclusion of the interview stage with candidates.

Speaking about the recruitment process, Pinchen said: “As we have stated before now, we began the process of identifying candidates for the Leicester Tigers Head Coach role at the beginning of the current campaign when we felt there was a chance Steve Borthwick would be targeted by the national side.

“That process has been ongoing for a number of months, from which we narrowed down to a shortlist and are nearing the end of the interview process with those candidates. We will be taking the time we feel necessary to get the best possible people in to lead Leicester Tigers from next season into the future.

“Leicester Tigers is not a club that is interested in having a transition period and are firmly focused on ensuring that this club has the very best coaching available to our players to deliver success on the pitch for our supporters, partners and community.”

The club will make no further comment on the process at this time.

Content & Images from – Leicester Tigers Rugby


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Cokanasiga confirms future

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Bath Rugby can confirm England international Joe Cokanasiga has committed his future to the club.

The 25-year-old has been in fine form this season, scoring four tries in nine Gallagher Premiership matches to date, and joins Tom Dunn, Will Stuart, Sam Underhill, Cameron Redpath and Ben Spencer in extending his time at The Rec. 

“Joe has been excellent for us this season and we’re delighted he will be staying with us,” Head of Rugby Johann van Graan said.

“He has great physical attributes which he uses to great effect, and his offloading ability in contact has provided us with fantastic attacking opportunities.

“He is an exciting player for us and we have no doubt he will continue to be an integral member of our squad.”



Cokanasiga has flourished under van Graan and has had a notable influence in games due to his power and pace. 

Since arriving in the West Country, the bulldozing wing has featured over 50 times for the Blue, Black and White whilst also making a significant impact on the international stage.

Debuting in 2018 against Japan, Cokanasiga has scored 12 tries in 14 Test matches, adding to his 21 in Bath colours. 

“There are goals I still want to accomplish here,” he said. 

“I really want to mark my time at the club by winning trophies; that’s a big ambition of mine. 

“A lot of change has taken place over the past few years, but this season I’ve found consistency in my performances. I feel I’ve positively contributed to the club’s progression and I’m excited by what’s to come in the next chapter.”


 

JOIN JOE AT THE REC FOR OUR REMAINING HOME GAMES!

Bath Rugby return to action on Saturday 18 February against London Irish before hosting Bristol Bears on Friday 24 February.

Exeter Chiefs head to The Rec on Sunday 26 March in our penultimate home outing.

Whatever takes your fancy, get your tickets!

BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW!


 

 

Content & Images from – Bath Rugby


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Chiefs fullback agrees new deal

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Exeter Chiefs

By Mark Stevens
31/1/23

Josh Hodge says he’s ‘over the moon’ to have agreed a new long-term deal with the Exeter Chiefs.

The gifted full-back has pledged his future to the Devon club and believes an exciting period lies ahead for him and everyone at Sandy Park.

Signed in the summer of 2020 from Gallagher Premiership rivals Newcastle Falcons, the 22-year-old has to date made 37 first-team appearances, scoring 39 points in all competitions.

He is seen by many, including Director of Rugby, Rob Baxter, as one of the crown jewels in Exeter’s exciting vision for the future and news that he is staying put for the foreseeable future will be welcomed by everyone connected with the Chiefs.

“To be honest, it wasn’t a hard decision to sign a new contract with this fantastic club,” said Hodge. “Personally, I’m over the moon and I’m looking forward to my future here in the sunny county of Devon.

“There has been a lot of effort, good business decisions and hard work, both in training and on the pitch, to achieve the results the club has achieved in recent years.”

Alongside Hodge, the Chiefs are investing heavily in bringing through their next crop of young talent, such as Dafydd Jenkins, Christ Tshiunza, Marcus Street, Richard Capstick, Sam Maunder, Will Becconsall and Greg Fisilau to name but a few.

“I’m looking forward to working with the team to help the club attain its rightful position towards the top of all the competitions we take part in and justify the efforts of past players and trainers,” added Hodge.

“All the building blocks have been put in place by the board, backroom staff and coaches and it’s up to the team to work tirelessly to put the cherry on the cake and deliver the results the Chiefs and our fans deserve.”

Others within the current Chiefs ranks are expected to confirm they are also extending their stays with the club in the coming days and weeks.

Content & Images from – Exeter Chiefs Rugby


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