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Mark Wilson retires from rugby

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(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Newcastle Falcons captain Mark Wilson has retired from rugby with immediate effect.

The 32-year-old came through the club’s academy and scored 42 tries in his 237 games, saying: “I’ve taken the decision to retire from rugby. It’s a decision that’s been hard to make, but it’s the right one for me and my family right now.

“I’ve been involved with the Falcons since I was a 14-year-old coming over from Kendal for academy training, and I’ve got some amazing memories. You never really know how you’re going to end your career, but for me, this is my time to call it a day.”

Cumbrian back-rower Wilson continued the Falcons’ proud tradition of growing their own, rising through the ranks to become a double centurion as well as representing his country at the elite level of the game.

Having made one appearance from the bench this season following an operation on his knee, he said: “My injury has made me re-assess where I’m at from a career point of view.

“That has been in the background and been in my thoughts quite a lot, and whilst it hasn’t been the case that the injury has physically ended my career in its own right, it’s certainly been one of the main things which has added to my decision.”

As well as becoming a Newcastle Falcons great, the Cumbrian also won 23 caps for England between 2017 and 2021, playing in the 2019 Rugby World Cup final and winning the 2020 Six Nations Championship.

Newcastle Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards said: “We’re all gutted and disappointed that Mark is retiring from rugby, but he has made a massive contribution to this club.

“He epitomises what we are about as someone who has come through our academy system, and can look back and be proud about what was a fantastic career. I’m sure I speak for everybody associated with the Falcons when I say a heartfelt thank you for everything he has given us during his time here.

“Mark is a team man who has put his body on the line time and time again, he embodies our homegrown philosophy and we all felt an enormous sense of pride when he went on to do so well on the international stage. He has inspired so many local youngsters by coming through our academy and reaching such heights, and I’m sure he won’t be a stranger around the place.”

Newcastle Falcons chairman Semore Kurdi said: “Mark typifies what it means to be a Newcastle Falcon, as someone who has come through our academy and gone on to achieve everything he has.

“He always put the team above personal gain, he has been an incredible player and leader here for well over a decade and it gave us a huge amount of pride to see a homegrown talent recognised on the international stage when he was called up by England.

“I want to personally thank him for everything he has contributed to the club, and to rugby in our region. He will rightly be regarded as a Newcastle Falcons great who is always welcome here, and he will be an inspiration to the many talented young players currently in our academy system.

“We’ve got a wealth of highly-promising players working their way up our pathway which leaves us in great health for the future, and that’s thanks in no small part to the example Mark has given them.”

A fans’ favourite who sits at eighth in the list of first-team appearance-makers during the professional era, Wilson said: “The overriding message I want to put across is just to thank everyone, by which I mean my family, my team-mates, my coaches, all the staff at the club and our supporters.

“The Falcons fans have always been great with me, and one of the biggest buzzes I’ve had was coming out to play in front of a full Kingston Park Stadium.

“I’ll still be here supporting the team, and I’d love my son to come along and see where I used to play. So yeah, it’s just a massive ‘thank you’ from my side to all the Falcons supporters – it’s really meant so much to have all that backing during the time I’ve been here.”

With so many memories to look back on, Wilson said: “One of the fondest periods I can remember from my time here is when we came up from the Championship and had that real resurgence, going on to finish fourth and playing in the Premiership semi-finals.

“The Champions Cup campaign where we won away at Toulon and then beat Montpellier at home inside a fortnight was a great time to look back on, and the game where we won away at Leicester with the last play to book ourselves a top-four place.

“There’ll be loads more that I’ve forgotten, but overall just to be involved and to be lucky enough to lead the side in big games like that – it’s been really special.”

Asked about what lies ahead, he added: “I’ll still be coming to watch games and supporting the club, but for now it’s time to get on with the next part of my life.

“To begin with I just want to take some time off. My wife has started a new business within the past year so I want to support her in that, and I just want to be around for the kids a little bit more.

“I want to make sure I’m fully committed to the next thing that I do, and that it’s the right thing for me. I’m excited about what’s next for us as a family, and proud of what I’ve been able to contribute to the club during my time here.”

Source – Newcastle Falcons Rugby


Premiership

O’Loughlin looks to build on solid start

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Exeter Chiefs

By Mark Stevens
30/9/22

Rory O’Loughlin believes the hard yards put in during a testing pre-season programme have already started to pay dividends for the Exeter Chiefs.

Three games into the new Gallagher Premiership campaign and it’s been a dream start for the Devonians, who have notched up victories over Leicester Tigers, Worcester Warriors and Harlequins.

Irishman O’Loughlin has featured in all three games and he will start tomorrow’s Round Four encounter away to Sale Sharks as the Chiefs look to build on their impressive start.

It will, however, be another acid test for Rob Baxter’s side, particularly as the Sharks themselves are unbeaten in the top flight so far this term.

“It’s a massive challenge for us,” said O’Loughlin, who joined the Chiefs this summer from Leinster. “Already I’ve seen just how competitive the Premiership is. Every week it’s a different challenge and one which you have to be ready for. There are no easy games!”

Last-gasp victories over Leicester Tigers and Harlequins showed the fighting spirit of the Chiefs, whose summer work alongside the Royal Marines has definitely helped to give them a hard-nosed edge to their play.

“There were times in pre-season when I was questioning my move,” joked O’Loughlin. “The days were long, the sessions were hard, but you’ve seen in these first few games that are fitness levels are high and that we’re able to keep going for the full 80 minutes.

“Although we’ve come out of two of those games with last minute scores, we deserved to win those games, so that’s a big positive and something that we can look to build on.”

Exeter’s strong start has certainly laid a solid foundation from which they can build, but O’Loughlin feels there is still more to come from the team, starting at the Salford Stadium this weekend.

“There was a lot of chat during pre-season where we talked about learning from last season, where we missed out on points we probably should have secured,” he added. “As I said, every game is massive and you have to take points when they are on offer.

“Sale this weekend, we know it’s going to be tough. If you look at their team and the way some of their players play, it’s all based around them getting that physical dominance. We’ve talked a lot about this week and we know we have to match them in that area if we are to get anything from the game.

“That said, we’re coming into the game ourselves in a good mindset and looking to build on what we’ve done so far this season. There have been lots of positives in our game and that’s what we need to use again at the weekend.”

Content & Images from – Exeter Chiefs Rugby


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Premiership

Team News | Tigers side to take on Saracens

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Steve Borthwick has named the Leicester Tigers matchday squad for the club’s away game against Saracens in Round 4 of the 2022/23 Gallagher Premiership season.

Hanro Liebenberg captains the side with Ben Youngs named as vice-captain for Saturday’s match at StoneX Stadium.

Borthwick has made eight changes to the starting side from the away win over Northampton Saints in Round 3.

Anthony Watson is named to make his Leicester Tigers senior debut, while Handré Pollard is in line for his first appearance after being included among the replacements.

Phil Cokanasiga, Olly Cracknell, Joe Heyes and Kini Murimurivalu have been named to make their first starts of the 2022/23 campaign after featuring from the bench during the opening rounds.

STARTING XV:
15 Freddie Steward [57]
14 Anthony Watson *
13 Phil Cokanasiga [3]
12 Jimmy Gopperth [3]
11 Kini Murimurivalu [38]
10 Freddie Burns [105]
9 Ben Youngs (vc) [285]
1 James Cronin [3]
2 Charlie Clare [55]
3 Joe Heyes [103]
4 Harry Wells [159]
5 Eli Snyman [21]
6 Olly Cracknell [3]
7 Tommy Reffell [81]
8 Hanro Liebenberg (c) [62]

REPLACEMENTS:
16 Joe Taufete’e [2]
17 Francois van Wyk [20]
18 Dan Cole [293]
19 Ollie Chessum [33]
20 George Martin [42]
21 Jack van Poortvliet [50]
22 Handré Pollard *
23 Chris Ashton [15]

* Leicester Tigers senior debut

Content & Images from – Leicester Tigers Rugby


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Premiership

Roux and van Velze to make first Bath Rugby starts v London Irish

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Bath Rugby have made five changes to their starting XV for the trip to London Irish in Round 4 of the Gallagher Premiership.

Quinn Roux and GJ van Velze will earn their first starts for the club from lock and blindside flanker respectively, while Juan Schoeman will make his maiden start of the campaign.

Josh Bayliss comes back into the back row that is missing Richard de Carpentier and Chris Cloete due to injury. The latter has sustained a broken metatarsal and will begin his rehabilitation post-surgery.

In the backs, Gabriel Hamer-Webb is the only amendment to the backline that started against Wasps. Will Muir suffered an injury in training and will seek specialist opinion. Matt Gallagher retains his place at full-back with Tom de Glanville’s hamstring issue needing further treatment.

Elsewhere, Tom Dunn remains as captain for his 175th Bath appearance with Will Stuart, Josh McNally and Miles Reid also maintaining their spots in the pack. 

Louis Schreuder and Orlando Bailey’s half-back partnership continues as does the midfield link-up of Max Ojomoh and Jonathan Joseph. Joe Cokanasiga completes the XV from the wing.

On the bench, D’Arcy Rae has returned from injury while Tom Ellis and Ruaridh McConnochie are included following midweek action in the Premiership Rugby Cup.


Bath Rugby team to play London Irish


THE OPPOSITION

15 Henry Arundell, 14 Ben Loader, 13 Will Joseph, 12 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ben White; 1 Danilo Fischetti, 2 Agustin Creevy, 3 Lovejoy Chawatama, 4 Api Ratuniyarawa, 5 Rob Simmons, 6 Ben Donnell, 7 Tom Pearson, 8 Matt Rogerson (c)

Replacements

16 Isaac Miller, 17 Will Goodrick-Clarke, 18 Oliver Hoskins, 19 Josh Caulfield, 20 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 21 Chandler Cunningham-South, 22 Caolan Englefield, 23 James Stokes


COMPEED RECOVERY JOURNEYS


 

Content & Images from – Bath Rugby


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