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MATCH REPORT: Harlequins 26, London Irish 30



Harlequins 26, London Irish 30

It was action under the Wednesday night lights for the latest London derby clash between Harlequins and London Irish, as the two sides battled it out in Round 1 of the Premiership Rugby Cup.

It was the Exiles who dented the scoreboard first, debutant Patrick Harrison shoving his way over the try line from the back of a rolling maul. A penalty in the middle of the pitch gave Rory Jennings the chance to kick to the corner, and the forward pack did the rest. Jennings’ conversion effort was missed, but Irish took an early 0-5 lead.

It wasn’t long before the Exiles grabbed their second of the night. Italy international Luca Morisi burst down the wing before passing inside to Michael Dykes and the winger sprinted 20 metres to dot down. This time, Jennings’ conversion sailed through, and the fly-half extended the lead to 0-12.

With 10 minutes on the clock, Hugh O’Sullivan got his turn to slide over for five points. Jennings made the initial break to take Irish into the visitors’ 22m, before a neat offload from the floor to O’Sullivan, with the latter strolling to the line. The conversion was missed, but the 0-17 scoreboard reflected what was an impressive opening 10 minutes for the young Exiles side.

Harlequins then threatened through Cassius Cleaves, but a brave last-ditch tackle from full-back Logan Trotter halted the attack, with Irish winning a scrum following a knock on.

The hosts enjoyed a substantial amount of time with the ball in hand and started to apply pressure on the Exiles’ try line. But, to their credit, the Irish defence held firm to prevent Harlequins getting their first points of the game.  

However, some minutes later, the pressure eventually rewarded Harlequins with their first try of the evening as Jonny Green powered over from close range. After Will Edwards’ successful conversion, the deficit was cut to 7-17.

A handful of tightly contested phases of plays then followed, but at the half-time whistle it remained 7-17 in London Irish’s favour.

Like in the first half, it was Irish who were the first team to register points in the second half. A penalty in front of the posts was popped through by Jennings to extend the Exiles’ lead by three after Harlequins were penalised for not rolling away from a tackle.

The first try of the second half went to Will Edwards after some quick feet from the Harlequins’ fly-half. Edwards converted his own try to cut the lead to 14-20.

Irish were quick to respond with their fourth and bonus point try! Ben Atkins broke down the wing before passing inside to Trotter. The full-back delayed his 2 v 1 pass to perfection and Harmes fended off the last covering defender to slide over. After the successful conversion, Irish’s lead was pushed to 14-27.

Strong running from Trotter and Tom Hitchcock pushed Irish close to the Harlequins try line, but the hosts slowed down the play illegally. Jennings slotted the resulting penalty through the uprights and the Exiles led 14-30 with 18 minutes to play.

Only a matter of moments later, Sam Riley score in the corner for the hosts. The replacement hooker slipped off from a rolling maul to touch down close to the whitewash. The conversion was missed, so the lead was cut to 19-30.

Irish were then caught on the back foot just minutes later, with the hosts reacting quicker to an unclaimed highball. Cleaves was the man to grab the loose ball and sprinted clear to score. The conversion was made, and, in a flash, the lead was reduced to a four-point gap.

With 10 minutes to go, the game was hanging in the balance.

Quins pressured in the Exiles’ half, but Hitchcock sniped in midfield to intercept and sprint off into the hosts’ 22m. The resulting pass was gathered by Harlequins, but, importantly, it relieved pressure.

Irish secured the victory after a knock on from Quins allowed Hugh O’Sullivan to punt the ball gently into the stands and bring a close to what was a frenetic 80 minutes of Premiership Rugby Cup action!

Score sequence (London Irish second): 0-5, 0-12, 0-17, 7-17, 7-20, 14-20, 14-27, 14-30, 19-30, 26-30

Harlequins: Tries: Green (31) Edwards (53) Riley (65) Cleaves (68) Conversions: Edwards (32) (54) (68)

London Irish: Tries: Harrison (5), Dykes (7), O’Sullivan (10), Harmes (56) Conversions: Jennings (8), (57) Penalties: Jennings (46), (62),

15 Connor Slevin, 14 Ross Chisholm, 13 Hayden Hyde (Benson, 33), 12 Bryn Bradley, 11 Cassius Cleaves, 10 Will Edwards, 9 Jack Stafford, 1 Santiago Garcia Botta (Fin Baxter, 53), 2 Jack Musk (Sam riley, 53), 3 Rhys Litterick (Will Hobson, 53), 4 Charlie Matthews (c), 5 Jonny Green, 6 Zach Carr (Smith, 60), 7 Will Trenholm, 8 Viliami Taulani.

16 Sam Riley, 17 Fin Baxter, 18 Will Hobson, 19 Tom Golder, 20 Jonny Smith, 21 Jake Murray, 22 Jamie Benson, 23 Conor Oresanya.

London Irish:
15 Logan Trotter, 14 Alex Harmes (Walsh, 60), 13 Luca Morisi, 12 Tom Hitchcock, 11 Michael Dykes (Bradbury, 62), 10 Rory Jennings, 9 Hugh O’Sullivan, 1 Tarek Haffar (Parker, 62), 2 Patrick Harrison (Scott, 62), 3 Mikey Summerfield (Fasogbon, 76), 4 Ed Scragg (Chapman, 66) , 5 Chunya Munga, 6 Jack Cooke (c), 7 Isaac Curtis-Harris (Moore-Aiono, 57), 8 Ben Atkins.

16 Calum Scott, 17 Jamie Jack, 18 Afo Fasogbon, 19 Hallam Chapman, 20 Izaiha Moore-Aiono, 21 Ollie Allan, 22 Monty Bradbury, 23 Jack Walsh.

Referee: Mr Joe James


Content & Images from – London Irish Rugby


RFU Statement on London Irish



The RFU Club Financial Viability Group has agreed to give London Irish a one-week extended deadline to meet the original conditions as set out below and pay the remaining May payroll to staff and players.

1) a takeover of the club has been completed and approved by the RFU, with the buyers undertaking to provide all required working capital to meet the club’s obligations as they fall due for at least season 2023/24; or

2) the club evidences that it will continue to be funded to operate throughout the 2023/24 season. If the club fails to meet these conditions it will be suspended from participating in the Premiership (and other competitions) in season 2023/24 to avoid a scenario where the club enters insolvency mid-season, with the corresponding and substantial impact that has on players, staff, and fans, as well as on the remainder of the league.

The extension, until Tuesday 6 June, has been given following consultation with staff and players who asked for the deadline to be extended to allow them to be paid 50% of their salaries.

Paula Carter, RFU Board Member and Chair of the Club Financial Viability Working Group said; “It is deeply frustrating for all the staff, players and fans that there have been multiple missed deadlines. 

“We are extremely disappointed that the club has so far only funded 50% of the staff and player wages, however, we have to respect the wishes of those most affected.

“The 4pm deadline on 6 June is final and we have added the stipulation that the club must also fulfil its contractual obligations to its employees by paying the May salaries in full.”

Content & Images from – London Irish Rugby

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Coenie Oosthuizen to leave Sale Sharks



Springbok Coenie swapping Sharks for Sharks

Prop Coenie Oosthuizen leaving Sale Sharks to join South African side Cell C Sharks

Sale Sharks can confirm that prop Coenie Oosthuizen will leave the club to return to South African side Cell C Sharks.

The 34-year-old Springbok, who can play on either side of the scrum, arrived in Manchester in May 2019 from the Durban-based Super Rugby side.

He’s gone on to make 94 appearances for Sale, including 16 this season as Alex Sanderson’s men reached their first Premiership final in 17 years.

Coenie made his debut for the Springboks in 2012 and has since won 30 international caps.

Sharks Director of Rugby Alex Sanderson said: “Since he arrived in Manchester, Coenie has been a massive part of this team and this club and everyone is going to miss him.

“On the field he’s a fantastic player but off it, he’s been a real leader for us in what is a young squad.”

Everyone at Sale Sharks would like to thank Coenie 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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Leicester Tigers 23/24 Coaching Team



Leicester Tigers can confirm the club’s senior coaching team ahead of the 2023/24 season.

Dan McKellar, who was announced as the club’s new Head Coach in February, will oversee the rugby programme and lead on the line out and forwards coaching.

Brett Deacon will lead on the breakdown and contact area, while also assisting McKellar with the forwards.

Deacon made 135 first-team appearances in two spells as a player with Tigers before joining the coaching staff upon retiring in 2015. After working with the club’s academy for two seasons, he joined the senior coaching team ahead of the 2016/17 campaign.

Matt Everard, who joined the club midway the 22/23 season as Senior Academy Coach before taking on a permanent senior role in December 2022, is the Defence Coach.

After representing Tigers, Wasps and Nottingham as a player, Everard moved into coaching with The Archers before returning to Wasps as Academy Coach and moved into the senior coaching team ahead of the 2019/20 campaign.

Alan Dickens, Dan Palmer and Ollie Richardson are the additions to the club ahead of the new season.

Dickens will take charge of the Attack & Backs, Palmer is the Scrum Coach and Richardson joins as Head of Physical Performance.

Read more on the appointments of the trio here:

Matt Smith will be the Skills Coach for the senior squad and take on the newly-created Lead Academy Coach role which sees him responsible for the Senior Academy Squad and transition of players from junior to senior rugby.

Smith made 228 appearances for Tigers before coaching the club’s academy side after retiring from playing in 2019, and joined the senior coaching team ahead of the 20/21 season.

Speaking about his coaching team, incoming Leicester Tigers Head Coach Dan McKellar said: “I am excited by the group we have put together, which has a great balance of continuity and new voices who will bring fresh ideas.”

“It was important to me that there was a mix of people who not only understand the Premiership, but vital that they understand Leicester Tigers and we have got that in Brett Deacon, Matt Everard and Matt Smith, as well as the majority of our performance staff who remain with the club.

“In addition, to have Alan Dickens and Ollie Richardson’s knowledge of the English game, players and competitions we compete in is of great value, and Dan Palmer’s expertise is very exciting for the club moving forward.

“What is most pleasing for me is that this coaching team are excited by the squad we have to work with from next season at Leicester Tigers, because of where they are at currently and work they have done but, importantly, how it can evolve.”

Leicester Tigers 23/24 Coaching Team

  • Dan McKellar, Head Coach
  • Brett Deacon, Assistant Coach
  • Alan Dickens, Attack & Backs Coach
  • Matt Everard, Defence Coach
  • Dan Palmer, Scrum Coach
  • Ollie Richardson, Head of Physical Performance
  • Matt Smith, Skills Coach & Lead Academy Coach

The club can also confirm that Richard Wilks has been appointed General Manager.

Wilks joined Tigers during the 20/21 campaign as a consultant before being appointed Head of Performance Recruitment in November 2021.

Discussing the appointments, Leicester Tigers CEO Andrea Pinchen said: “I believe we have put together a world class coaching team, headed up by Dan McKellar, to lead Leicester Tigers from next season into this exciting new chapter of the club’s history”

“A lot of work has gone on behind the scenes to bring this impressive group who all offer their own unique skills, experience and knowledge from diverse backgrounds in the game.

“Most pleasing for me in this group is a shared desire to see this club continue to be successful but, even more so, strive to reach new heights together.

“After a turbulent year for all involved with Leicester Tigers, to be able to confirm our senior coaching team now is a great pleasure for me and I hope our supporters are as excited as I am about them leading this club into the future.”

The Leicester Tigers squad will commence pre-season training in July ahead of the 23/24 campaign.

Content & Images from – Leicester Tigers Rugby

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