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Match Preview: Bristol Bears (A)



Fixture: Bristol Bears vs London Irish

Competition: Gallagher Premiership, Round 3

Date: Saturday 24th September 2022

Kick-off: 3pm

Stadium: Ashton Gate Stadium

Capacity: 27,000


Round 3 of Gallagher Premiership action sees Bristol Bears host London Irish at Ashton Gate, the West Country team looking to maintain their 100% league record ahead the visit of the Exiles.

Pat Lam’s Bristolian outfit were aided by the efforts of Callum Sheedy against Wasps, who chipped in with a round-high 18 points (including a try and 100% kicking percentage) to win 23-8 in Coventry last weekend.  

Whilst Bears made the second-least metres (273) and defenders beaten (8) of any Premiership side in Round 2, they showed their defensive acumen with the second-most tackles (218) and most turnovers won (14).

Bears’ work behind the scenes has meant that last season’s 10th-place side are refreshed with a cast of big hitting players both new and familiar with the Gallagher Premiership, namely AJ MacGinty, Ellis Genge and Magnus Bradbury.

Irish have now bettered their haul of nine tries last year in the opening two rounds of the Premiership, and currently retain the most tries (10) and points (67) so far in the 2022/23 league despite a second-round loss to Northampton Saints.

The Exiles took a first win from Ashton Gate last February as Paddy Jackson accounted for 24 of his Club’s 49 points on the evening on Bristol, winning by a 15-point margin, with Bristol winning in Brentford earlier on in the season.

The boss- Pat Lam:

A successful playing career included stints in England as well as representing Samoa in three Rugby World Cups, Pat Lam won the inaugural Premiership title with Newcastle Falcons in 1998 and captained Northampton Saints to their first Heineken Cup two years later.

In the dugout, Lam brought with him his transformative reputation to the Sportsground in Galway with Connacht Rugby, winning their only Pro 12 title to date in 2016.

Lam’s work not only etched himself into Club folklore in Ireland, but in his time with Bristol Bears the former Samoa international brought Bears to the top flight as winners of the 2017/18 Championship.

Since then, he has guided the Club to two play-off berths as well as lifting the European Challenge Cup in the 2019/20 campaign.

One to watch- Magnus Bradbury:

One of 15 new signatures in the summer, Magnus Bradbury has hit the ground running after linking up with his new Club.

Despite being Glasgow born, it was Edinburgh Rugby who brought the 19-time capped Scottish international to the professional fore after a century of appearances, now plying his explosive talents amongst Pat Lam’s organisation after seven years with the capital side.

He was awarded the Sir Willie Purves Quaich in 2017, a gong bestowed upon the most outstanding young male Scottish player.

Two tries in two competitive appearances as a Bear, including a five-pointer in a 23-8 win over Wasps last week, means Bradbury could not have asked for a better start to life in BS3.

The 27-year-old has contributed to his new Club currently being the Gallagher Premiership side averaging the most turnovers (9) per game and accompanying Irish in the top five teams of average tackles per game (159).

Bradbury was one of four Bristol Bears (Jake Heenan, Luke Morahan, Sam Jeffries and Bradbury) in the top 10 players in Round 2 in turnovers won, with the Scottish back-row himself in the top 10 overall with three registered in company with teammate Harry Randall.

Classic Encounter- London Irish 38-21 Bristol – 4th April 2009 – Guinness Premiership:

A six-try performance from London Irish lifted them to the helm of the Guinness Premiership and conversely sent Bristol down to the second tier, finishing 38-21 at the Madejski Stadium.

A Tom Homer penalty opened the scoring, but it was Bristol who scored the game’s first try through bustling hooker Scott Linklater only for Nick Kennedy to reply soon after.

Fellow forward Steffon Armitage dotted down before the break, Kennedy making his presence count again in the second half in the corner before David Lemi’s interception cut Irish’s lead to a converted score.

Bristol’s hopes faded with some slick play from the backs saw scrum-half Paul Hodgson and winger Adam Thompstone, who bagged a fourth quarter brace, before Luke Eves’ late consolation.

London Irish

Tries: Nick Kennedy (2), Steffon Armitage, Adam Thompstone (2), Paul Hodgson

Conversions: Delon Armitage

Penalties: Tom Homer (2)


Tries: Scott Linklater, David Lemi, Luke Eves

Conversions: Luke Arscott (3)

Pre-match patter:

Bristol Bears Director of Rugby Pat Lam spoke of what challenge lies ahead of London Irish’s visit to Bristol this Saturday.

“We lost to London Irish at home last year and the last three games against London Irish have been bizarre games, exciting for the neutrals,” Lam commented.

“We were thirty points ahead when we were there three games before, and they came flying back and we ended up with a draw.

“We wone down there lost season but they shot back, and at home we shot out to an early lead but we got a card and they scored lots of points in a short amount of time.

“Based on those last three games, it’s a great day for our Family Day but obviously we don’t want them to score that many points, but it’s always an exciting game.”

Lam projected an acutely aware outlook of the danger Irish can cause in attack, also crediting the Club’s youth system and production line in south-west London.

“They have got some class players, if you look at their Academy they have a really good catchment area with a high quality of schools that often end up in their Academy.

“[Henry] Arundell is one example of many that they have brought through, and they have brought through many experienced foreign players with a great coaching staff headed by Declan [Kidney] and Les [Kiss].

“They have got that ability to have that purple patch and when they do, if you don’t control that well they will come back and sting you.”

Content & Images from – London Irish Rugby


Team News | Carter starts with Kata on-debut off the bench



Leicester Tigers have named their team for Saturday’s trip south to take on Saracens at StoneX Stadium at 3:05pm, live on TNT Sports.

Tigers head coach, Dan McKellar has made three changes to his matchday selection. Tongan international Solomone Kata is named for a potential Tigers debut with Australian lock Sam Carter earning his first Premiership start.

Olly Cracknell starts at number eight after missing Tigers’ victory over bath in round three.

Leicester will welcome back their remaining Rugby World Cup players on Monday.

Leicester Tigers head coach, Dan McKellar said: “Saturday’s a great challenge for our group and we’ve embraced that.”

“Sam has been really good for us off the bench the last couple of weeks so earns a start and we’re excited to see what Sol (Kata) can bring with his ball-carry and his energy on the field.”



15 Mike Brown [12]

14 Josh Bassett [5]

13 Guy Porter [66]

12 Dan Kelly [62]

11 Ollie Hassell-Collins [6]

10 Jamie Shillcock [7]

9 Tom Whiteley [10]

1 James Cronin [17]

2 Charlie Clare [83]

3 Joe Heyes [128]

4 Cameron Henderson [42]

5 Sam Carter [5]

6 Hanro Liebenberg (c) [90]

7 Tommy Reffell [101]

8 Olly Cracknell [28]



16 Nic Dolly [30]

17 Francois van Wyk [37]

18 Will Hurd [30]

19 Harry Wells [180]

20 Matt Rogerson [5]

21 Joe Powell [6]

22 Charlie Atkinson [22]

23 Solomone Kata*

*Denotes potential Leicester Tigers debut

Content & Images from – Leicester Tigers Rugby

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Club announce arrival of former Wallaby coach



Leicester Tigers Head Coach Dan McKellar has appointed Petrus du Plessis to his senior coaching team as Interim Scrum Coach.

The South African will remain in the role until the arrival of new Scrum Coach Dan Palmer, when his commitments with the Wallabies are complete following the Australian national side’s Rugby World Cup campaign.

Born in South Africa, du Plessis represented St Helens, Orrell and Sedgley Park between 2001-2009 before joining Nottingham Rugby ahead of the 2009/10 Championship season.

He joined Saracens a year later and, during the next sevens seasons, featured in three league and two European Champions Cup winning campaigns.

The front-rower moved to London Irish in 2017 and then Glasgow Warriors in 2018, spending two seasons in Scotland before retiring in 2020 – including a final season as player/coach.

In September 2020, du Plessis was announced as Australia’s Scrum Coach where he worked alongside McKellar for almost three years.

Speaking about the interim appointment, Leicester Tigers Head Coach Dan McKellar said: “Our scrum is an integral part of what we do and, with Dan [Palmer] arriving after the World Cup, we felt it was important to have that specific focus on it during this period.

“To have been able to appoint someone with the experience of Petrus for that was an added bonus and too good an opportunity not to take up for the club and our players.

“I have worked with Petrus over the past few years in Australia and know the energy and enthusiasm he brings, as well as the effort he puts into his work. I am glad we’re able to have that here at Leicester Tigers in the interim.”

The appointment of Petrus du Plessis to the interim role is effective immediately.

Content & Images from – Leicester Tigers Rugby

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Bath confirm 2023/24 squad



The official Bath Rugby squad for the 2023/24 season has been announced.

Entering into his second year at the helm of Bath Rugby, Johann van Graan welcomed Ollie Lawrence, Ted Hill, Alfie Barbeary and Fergus Lee-Warner over the course of 2022/23, who remain with squad as we head into 2023/24.

With Finn Russell and Thomas du Toit still yet to link up with the squad after the Rugby World Cup, the Head of Rugby’s squad is looking full of power and prowess. 

Several big names committed their futures to the Blue, Black and White earlier this year, seeing England internationals Tom Dunn, Will Stuart, Sam Underhill, Ben Spencer and Joe Cokanasiga all re-signing. 

Scotland international Cameron Redpath also pledged his future to the club, as did Irish international second row Quinn Roux. 

Arriving at the club this summer is recently announced signing, Mikey Summerfield, who joined from London Irish. The young prop has been lauded with talent and high prospects, offering another option in the front row. 

Bath Rugby also named Billy Sela, Jack Bennett, Ieuan Davies, Ioan Emanuel, Rory Cameron, James Short, George Timmins and Raff Weston as their Academy intake for 2023/24, with many of them already putting their stamp on the age-grade international stage. 

The Bath Rugby squad are now preparing for the season ahead, with the opening fixtures seeing the commencement of a newly formatted Premiership Rugby Cup.

The coaching set-up has also been refreshed for 2023/23. Joining van Graan on his staffing team are Assistant Coaches Lee Blackett and Richard Blaze, who arrived at the club from Wasps and Leicester Tigers ahead of pre-season.

Stevie Scott and Andy Robinson have also joined van Graan to assist with scrummaging and the coaching of the Academy, respectively.

JP Ferreira and Jon Callard remain with the squad into their second year alongside van Graan. 

bath rugby squad 2023/24

PROP: Arthur Cordwell, Thomas du Toit, Ioan Emanuel, Archie Griffin, Johannes Jonker, Scott Kirk, Beno Obano, Juan Schoeman, Billy Sela, Archie Stanley, Will Stuart, Mikey Summerfield, Kieran Verden

HOOKER: Niall Annett, Tom Dunn, Max Pearce, Jasper Spandler, John Stewart

SECOND ROW: Jack Bennett, Rory Cameron, Harvey Cuckson, Josh Dingley, Eddie Erskine, Charlie Ewels, Will Jeanes, Fergus Lee-Warner, Daniel Marais, Josh McNally, Ewan Richards, Quinn Roux

BACK ROW: Abdul-Khalik Akenzua Al Kareem, Alfie Barbeary, Josh Bayliss, Chris Cloete, Jaco Coetzee, Thompson Cowan, MacKenzie Graham, Arthur Green, Ted Hill, Nahum Merigan, Miles Reid, Ethan Staddon, George Timmins, JJ Tonks, Sam Underhill

SCRUM-HALF: Tom Carr-Smith, Ieuan Davies, Murdoch Lock, Louis Schreuder, Ben Spencer

FLY-HALF: Orlando Bailey, Piers Francis, Sam Harris, Finn Russell, Raff Weston, George Worboys

CENTRE: Will Butt, Louie Hennessey, Ollie Lawrence, Max Ojomoh, Will Parry, Cameron Redpath, James Short, Max Wright

BACK THREE: Joe Cokanasiga, Tom de Glanville, Ciaran Donoghue, Matt Gallagher, Gabe Goss, Luke Graham, Byron Lloyd-Gilmour, Ruaridh McConnochie, Will Muir

bath rugby coaching team

HEAD OF RUGBY: Johann van Graan

ASSISTANT COACHES: Lee Blackett, Richard Blaze, Jon Callard, JP Ferreira, Andy Robinson, Stevie Scott


Content & Images from – Bath Rugby

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