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Premiership

Newcastle Falcons Sign Welsh Back

Newcastle Falcons have confirmed the capture of an experienced Welsh back from the Premiership

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(Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images)

Welsh centre Gareth Owen has decided to leave Leicester Tigers for Newcastle Falcons for next season despite their relegation to the Championship.

The centre, who is also comfortable playing at fly-half and full-back has signed a two-year deal and although he won’t be in the Premiership, he is excited by the challenge ahead.

“I see this as an exciting new challenge, even if things unfortunately didn’t go to plan for the Falcons in terms of remaining in the Premiership. I’m excited about trying to get the boys back up where they belong, and from a family perspective it’s great to be moving to the north east,” he said.

Owen continued on to say that the Falcons are a top-tier side and although he was part of the Leicester team that confirmed their Championship status he is fully committed to the cause.

“People think of Newcastle Falcons as being a Premiership club. We have to work hard next season and take nothing for granted to regain that status, and it’s all set up here to do that. I played for Leicester against them a couple of weeks ago in a game which helped to seal their fate in terms of relegation, but that’s just the way sport goes. Once next season starts I’m a Newcastle player so I’ll be fully committed to the club, and from what I experienced a few weeks ago I know I’m joining a club with great supporters, a nice stadium and a huge amount of ability,” he added.

The versatile back brings a wealth of experience having made 29 appearances for the Tigers as well as over 120 appearances for the Scarlets and Ospreys which included a Pro 12 title in 2017 and he noted he wants to use that experience to help Newcastle.

“I have quite a bit of experience at a high level. I’ve played across the back line and I can offer something to the squad. I’m just looking forward to getting up there for pre-season now and really making the most of this opportunity,” he finished.

The Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards is also looking forward to having the 30-year-olds experience within the squad.

“Gareth brings a lot of top-level experience and will help to get our back-line firing next season. He is a very balanced centre with a great skill set who can help get the most out of our other talented players, and we look forward to working with him when he arrives in the summer,” he said.

Owen will play his final game for Leicester on Saturday when they welcome Bath to Welford Road and will then have to look forward to Championship rugby next season.

Premiership

New ‘British League’ to Begin Within Two Years

A club chairman has claimed that a ‘British League’ will be made within the next two years merging two major leagues together according to reports

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An anonymous leading club chairman has told The Rugby Paper that a British League could be created in the next two years.

It is believed that the CVC group, whom are looking to secure a 27 percent share in the PRO14 following a similar deal with the English Premiership earlier this year, are looking to make a major change to the leagues.

The former owners of Formula One and Moto GP are apparently looking to merge the two competitions if they claim a stake in the PRO14.

With a deal sealed to buy into the Premiership during last season, the 13 clubs that own Premier Rugby Ltd will be receiving around £13.5m a piece following the completion of a deal worth around £275m.

It is thought that a similar deal would be on the cards for the PRO14 side’s if they claim their stake in the competition.

The merging of the competitions is of the best interest of the CVC group according to the source and they believe that the Welsh clubs would be very encouraged by the idea.

“A British League will happen in two years’ time. It will happen because it is the best outcome for the game in the four home countries and for CVC. It will appeal to the Welsh regions in particular and the Premiership clubs. Not one is profitable with the exception of Exeter and a British League will go along way towards providing stability,” they said.

The source went on to further discuss how the move could be a real boost for the Welsh regions especially.

“In Wales, it will be seen as the only opportunity to be sustainable Their regions lost between £5m-£6m last year. They have been kept going by the generosity of a few backers and the danger is they will get even fewer unless something radical is done. Fixtures like Cardiff Blues against Bristol, Dragons versus Gloucester, Ospreys against Bath and Scarlets against Saracens will stop the downward spiral of attendances in Wales,” they continued.

Although the Welsh regions appear to be the biggest beneficiaries of the potential merger, it seems as though the Irish provinces are not guaranteed to be involved and the league could go ahead without them.

“Commercially, they could be as much as 50 per cent better off. It will be important to have all four Irish provinces on board but, if necessary, we will go ahead and do it without them,” they finished.

The league is an interesting possibility, but it could cause potential problems by undermining the Champions and Challenge Cups, as well as they question of what happens to the Irish teams if they don’t sign up? All is up in the air at the moment and we will have to wait and see if this project becomes a reality.

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Major League Rugby

Saracens Lock Latest to Join MLR

Another player has decided to make a move over to the US for a taste of Major League Rugby action

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Saracens lock Dominic Day has left the Premiership side to join San Diego Legion in the Major League Rugby on a two-year deal.

The 33-year-old has been at Allianz Park for two years, making 32 appearances and has been influential in helping the club’s young talent.

The former Scarlets and Bath lock is thankful for the chances he has been given at Sarries.

“It’s been an amazing two years. I’ve met a lot of really good people and have been a part of a team which has won four trophies since I’ve been here. It’s been more than I could ever have asked for. Saracens are a massive club and pride themselves on being up there and winning things; being part of that has been amazing,” he said.

As well as his efforts on the pitch and with the youth development he has also set up fourfive CBD with fellow lock George Kruis which is a brand that helps athletes maintain an active lifestyle.

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall thanked Day for his time at the club and wished him luck in the US.

“Dom has been a brilliant person to have at the club over the last two seasons. In particular, he has played a key role in mentoring some of our younger players both on and off the field. We wish him and Nadia well as they embark on this exciting new challenge and will always be grateful to him for the huge contribution he has made at our club,” he said.

Day will now link-up with former England international Steffon Armitage, who joined San Diego Legion last week.

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Premiership

Worcester Coach on the Move

Worcester Warriors head coach Rory Duncan could be set to leave the club very soon according to reports

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Worcester Warriors head coach Rory Duncan has been given permission to speak to other clubs according to reports in the Worcester News. 

The news outlet claim that they have been informed by the club that they do not see Duncan as a part of their future plans.

“The club has put in place a strategic plan for the future of Warriors. We do not envisage Rory Duncan being part of those plans and, therefore, we have given Rory permission to seek opportunities elsewhere,” a club spokesperson said

Duncan has impressed with stints at the Cheetahs and the Warriors, and a return to the Cheetahs looked to be on the cards until the club announced Hawies Fourie as their new coach.

However, the Southern Kings are currently looking for a new head coach and Duncan is among a four-man list of coaches being considered for the position, with Steve Jackson, Corniel van Zyl and Pieter de Villiers being the others.

Duncan has experience with the Kings having played two Currie Cup seasons with them before his retirement from playing.

Both the Warriors and the Kings open up their respective campaigns for the 2019/20 season in September and one would imagine they will want a quick resolution if he is to depart for South Africa once again.

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