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Premiership

Northampton Set to Lose Key Player

Northampton Saints have confirmed that one of their key men come the end of the current season

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(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Northampton Saints have confirmed that star scrum-half Cobus Reinach will depart Franklin’s Gardens come the end of the current season.

Reinach has been at the Premiership club since 2017, following a move from Super Rugby outfit the Sharks and has been a fan favourite in England since. 

The 29-year-old was thankful for everything that the club have done for him since his arrival and admitted he will find it hard to say goodbye. 

“I love playing for Saints and living in Northamptonshire. We have a fantastic group of coaches and staff and an exciting squad that I believe can challenge for the major honours, so this has not been an easy decision for me to make. I’d like to thank everyone for making the last three seasons so memorable; I’ll be sad to leave some great friends and team-mate. Saints will always have a special place in my heart and I look forward to giving everything I’ve got to make sure we finish the season with some silverware,” he said on his departure.

During his time with the Saints he has scored 29 tries in 70 appearances, and his rich vein of form saw him earn a recall to the South African national team and was part of the squad that went on to lift the Rugby World Cup title last year. 

There is no doubt that he will be missed and director of rugby Chris Boyd is upset to see him go but knows that Reinach has made his decision for the right reasons. 

 “While we’re disappointed to lose a player of Cobus’ quality, we respect that in the final years of his professional career he’s made a decision with the long-term future of his family in mind. Saints supporters love watching him play; he has provided them with plenty of memorable moments here at Franklin’s Gardens. I’ve been delighted with the form of Henry Taylor since his arrival at the start of the season, and with the emergence of Connor Tupai from our academy set-up this year – plus getting Alex Mitchell back from injury in the coming weeks will feel like a new signing for us. Cobus is putting all his focus and energy into ensuring that Northampton have as much success as possible for the second half of the season, and we will wish him well after that,” he said. 

It remains to be seen where Reinach will head come the end of the season, but it is assumed that he could make a return to South Africa

Before then however Northampton have a game against Lyon in the Champions Cup this weekend as they look to secure a place in the knock-out stages, and then they return to Premiership action where they are looking to build on a positive start to the season.

Premiership

Bristol Looking at Uruguayan Star

Bristol Bears are set to be ready to sign another key player ahead of next season as they look to build a Premiership title challenging side

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Bristol Bears are looking into the possibility of signing Uruguay back-row Manuel Diana according to Americas Rugby News.

The Bears have already been active in the transfer market ahead of the 2020/21 season, securing the signatures of the likes of Semi Radradra and Kyle Sinckler, as well as Saracens’ Ben Earl on loan. 

However, they now appear to be eying up Diana, who is currently playing for Major League Rugby side Toronto Arrows. 

The regular No 8 was part of Uruguay’s Rugby World Cup squad and played in all three of their pool stage matches, including their incredible 30-27 win over Fiji, in which he scored one of his team’s tries. 

With the rugby calendar up in the air due to the coronavirus outbreak it is unknown when exactly players will be able to move from club to club, but in the case of Diana, the remainder of the MLR season has been called off so it would seem ideal for him to be signed up. 

Although, a move to Bristol would mean he would have a fight on his hands for minutes on the pitch with players such as Nathan Hughes, Stephen Luatua and Jordan Crane already on the Bears’ books. 

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Champions Cup

Exeter Ace Signs Contract Extension

Following the news that England star Harry Williams has agreed a new deal with Exeter Chiefs another star player has committed his future to the Premiership giants

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(Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

England prop Ben Moon has put pen to paper on a new deal with Premiership side the Exeter Chiefs.

The eight-cap England international has agreed a new “long-term” deal that will see him remain at Sandy Park for the foreseeable future and he is delighted to be staying at his hometown club. 

“Obviously, I’m delighted. To be at one club your whole career is pretty rare these days. The fact it’s my hometown club as well, it’s brilliant, and I feel very privileged to be part of the Chiefs. Luckily for me, I’ve been part of a brilliant journey – one which I know has plenty of miles still to go. What we have achieved as a club, as a team, and as individuals, it’s taken a huge amount of work and effort, but everyone has seen the result,” he said to the club’s website. 

Moon has been with the Chiefs since his time in the academy and has managed to pick up an incredible 259 appearances for the club, notching 11 tries in that time. 

He has been part of the team since their time in the English second-tier and has helped them rise up the ranks, culminating in a Premiership crown in 2017. 

It is further good news for the current Premiership league leaders after fellow England international Harry Williams signed a contract extension with the club over the weekend as the Chiefs build toward the future.

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Premiership

Vunipola Sets Out Future Plans

There has been plenty of speculation regarding the future of Billy Vunipola since Saracens relegation was confirmed, but now the man himself has set the record straight on his plans for the future

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England ace Billy Vunipola has confirmed that he hopes to remain with Saracens beyond this season despite their relegation to the Championship.

The No 8 is one of the stars of English rugby and the Saracens side that has dominated club rugby in recent seasons. However, there were questions raised about his future with Sarries, when the club were relegated from the Premiership for breaching salary cap rules. 

Although contrary to many reports Vunipola has admitted that he wants to stay with Saracens for the foreseeable future, while speaking to Jim Hamilton for RugbyPass and is even taking positives from the situation. 

“There way I see, it’s part of the journey of the club. Some boys have had to try and further their careers, as they are at the start of their careers. I’m kind of in the middle of it. Boys are in different situations, and I can understand that. They’ve got families and things to look after. From my point of view, I’m just trying to sit still and play it out, see where we end up next year,” he said. 

At 130kgs, Vunipola is one of the most powerful and explosive back-rowers in the game, but has had his fair share of injuries in recent months and years and believes that time in the Championship could actually benefit his body in the long run. 

“I can’t see a negative in it. I’ve haven’t spoken directly to the powers at the top, when it comes to England or at Sarries, as to what will happen in terms of international recognition but if there’s one positive to take out of it, is I hope that my body will take less of a battering. With no disrespect to the Championship, it will give my body a chance to heal. I don’t think they play as many games in the Championship. They don’t have Champions Cup or those big games. You (Jim Hamilton) know what it’s like, they just keep coming. I’m excited for next year. I reckon I’ll play as much as I can, try to help the team as much as possible and hopefully we’ll come straight back up,” he added. 

It remains to be seen how time in the Championship will affect his international career as he mentioned above, but when pushed on his club career he was very clear to state that he will be at Sarries next season. 

“All the reports coming out, the club have looked after me, and not just me, my family. It’s time for me to dig my heels in and scrap with the boys and hopefully come up next year. There lots of examples of clubs going down, like Northampton going down and coming up and doing well, same thing goes for Quins, so, it’s kind of a good point in our journey as a club to reset some of our goals and accelerate. Yes, I’m definitely staying,” he continued. 

It is a major boost for Saracens to know that their key man will remain loyal to their cause despite recent set-backs within the club. However, with the British and Irish Lions tour around the corner next year the hope will be that time in the second-tier doesn’t impact his chances of making the trip to South Africa

Although reports have claimed that the club are trying to set-up high profile sides such as the Springboks themselves in order to allow their test-level players to compete against the best of the best.

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