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Northampton Unveil New Club Captain

Northampton Saints have announced who will take over the captaincy from Dylan Hartley

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(Photo by David Rogers - RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

Northampton Saints have revealed that Alex Waller and Teimana Harrison will lead the side for the 2019/20 season.

The duo will co-captain the side following long-term captain Dylan Hartley’s decision to step aside from the role.

Both led the team at points during last season while Hartley was absent and Saints director of rugby Chris Boyd admits it was an easy decision to hand them the role.

“Teimana leads by example within our group and is respected by absolutely everybody throughout the club. He skippered the side superbly when called upon last season and I’m delighted to see him embrace this new role; he’s relishing the opportunity and understands the significance of representing this proud rugby community as co-captain of Northampton Saints. Alex and Teimana have now played in the same side for eight seasons and I’m sure their relationship will grow even further as they lead the squad together,” he said.

Despite Hartley’s injury woes over recent seasons which has seen him miss a number of games and lose his place in the England squad Boyd has confirmed that the hooker will continue to play a key role at the club.

“After pretty much 10 years in a leadership capacity, Dylan Hartley decided to step away from the captain’s role this year – but he will continue to be a significant and influential member of our group. Dylan was responsible for Teimana coming over from New Zealand and pulling on a Northampton jersey in the first place, so I know he is seriously proud to now hand over this responsibility to him and to help him adapt to the job at hand,” he added.

The side are looking to build on a successful campaign last year where they finished fourth in the Premiership, won the Premiership Rugby Cup and made it to the knock-out stages of the Challenge Cup.

They finish up their pre-season tomorrow when they host Leinster at Franklin’s Gardens as they hope to end on a high.

Premiership

Phipps pens Exiles contract extension

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Picture Credit - London Irish

Nick Phipps has put pen to paper on a contract extension with London Irish.

The Australian scrum-half – who joined the Club ahead of the 2019/20 season – has agreed a new deal to extend his stay with the Exiles.

The 32 year-old, who has over 70 caps for the Wallabies to his name, has made 39 appearances for the Exiles to date – and he’s excited about what the future holds for London Irish over the coming years.

“I’m chuffed to bits to agree a new deal” he said. 

“This is a really special Club and as a family we’re really enjoying our time in London, so there’s nowhere I’d rather be, it was a no-brainer to extend my stay.

“I want to make special memories here. We’ve got a great bunch of boys, who love playing for this Club; the coaching staff are great to work with on a daily basis – and we really feel we’re on an upward trajectory.

“There’s good things going to be happening here, I’m convinced of that – and I can’t wait to continue to be part of this exciting journey we’re on.”

Exiles Director of Rugby, Declan Kidney, believes Phipps’ decision to extend his stay at Irish is a clear signal of the Club’s intent, commenting: “Nick is an outstanding professional, the kind of player every coach dreams of having in their squad.

“His desire to continue to improve as a player, irrespective of what he’s achieved in a stellar career so far, speaks volumes of him.

“The fact he sees his long-term future here tells you we’re moving in the right direction, so we couldn’t be more delighted he’s committed his future to the Club.”

Tickets for the Exeter game are now available. Please click here to secure your seat!

Source – London Irish Rugby

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Premiership

‘In-form Gloucester a dangerous prospect’ – Lam

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(Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

Ashton Gate is set to welcome supporters back for the first time in 14 months, with 3,138 expected in BS3 – and Lam says the return of fans will provide a huge boost for his players, who sealed their play-off place with four rounds remaining by beating Bath at The Rec in round 18.

‘Exciting times’

“It’s exciting times. There is a focus on every game, so playing Gloucester heightens everything again, and the crowd coming in, albeit the beginning of a process to build the crowd back up, it’s exciting times.

“We understand it’s another derby with Gloucester and they will be dangerous. They had a great win, and they are improving every time under George (Skivington) and their new coaching regime.

“However, for us, I think the biggest focus is that every game is important, because when we took top spot in the table in round six, for us still to be there in round 19 is a huge effort, because we put an emphasis on us and on our journey, and we said the only reason we’ll get overtake is if we drop our standards.

“So, it would be a shame, with the position we are in with four games to go and an eight-point lead, to not get to the end as the team at the top, before we go into the semis.”

‘Extremely pleasing’

Lam praised his side’s mentality after they fought back from 15 points down to complete a second successive league double over Bath – and the Bears boss believes the experience will stand them in good stead come the business end of the season.

“The outcome is extremely pleasing. To get a record score down at The Rec was massive and a real testament to the work done by everybody – and the way we did it.

“We knew what we needed to do, and we knew the opportunities were there. We gifted them two soft tries, but the calmness of the guys to work their way through it and keep at it, and it’s great when guys are saying ‘keep going and we’ll get there.’

“For it turn out that way was pleasing and will hold us in good stead for what’s to come.”

Source – Bristol Bears Rugby

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Premiership

Tom Dunn disciplinary hearing

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Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Tom Dunn appeared before an online independent disciplinary panel last night (Tuesday 11 May 2021) following a dangerous tackle, contrary to World Rugby Law 9.13, during Saturday’s fixture against Bristol Bears.

Tom accepted the charge and was given a four week suspension. He is free to play again on 15 June 2021

Independent disciplinary panel statement – Tom Dunn hearing: “The Panel was satisfied that the player’s intention was to try and prevent the offload rather than to make contact with the head of the Bristol player. In those circumstances there were no factors to warrant a top end entry point therefore the mandatory minimum entry point applied.

 “The player was not entitled to full mitigation due to a recent red card and so the Panel deducted 2 weeks on account of his guilty plea, remorse and positive engagement in the process.”

Source – Bath Rugby

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