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Press Conference Notes 23.09.22

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Director of Rugby Steve Diamond spoke to the media today ahead of Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership match against Newcastle Falcons at Sixways (3pm).

Here’s what Steve had to say:

Is the club in administration?

  • I can’t confirm that, no. I have heard the same rumours.
  • Whether it’s convenience or good timing or poor timing, the public liability insurances for the club are up on Monday so we are in limbo from then anyhow.
  • If there’s no public liability insurance we won’t be able to train at the stadium. We will have to train off-site.
  • Something will have to happen either the said investor who is negotiating or administration.

What did you make of Robin Walker MP’s speech?

  • I thought it was an excellent debate – it’s the first time my name has been mentioned in Parliament by the way.
  • He was very passionate and it was what people want to see and hear, some facts and some honesty.
  • We have been in this period of near-purgatory for some time now and it seems to be coming to a head with us potentially being suspended on Monday.

Have you heard from the owners?

  • I had a text on Sunday but that has been it.
  • Because I have not had any dialogue with them I can’t speak for them. But it would be bizarre to let a business go into real uncharted waters by having a team suspended because they can’t pay the insurance cover in case people slip in the stands. It would also be unprofessional.
  • I don’t know how we have got this position. It’s sad and it’s diabolical that it’s been allowed to walk itself to the graveyard virtually. I never thought it would get to this position, but it has.
  • The rugby for the players and the staff – most of them are volunteering now – is a welcome relief.
  • The result is unimportant to me. Just getting 23 lads out to give it their best shot is all I’m interested in.
  • If people had the same mindset behind the scenes that I have then we wouldn’t be in the situation we are in now.

Have you ever though it’s not worth it?

  • No, not even today. If the right people come in with the right vision then it will be a success.
  • It’s been run poorly, incredibly badly, and it needs re-booting. At least I have had six months to work out how badly it has been run.
  • With a fair wind behind us and some serious finance in reserve – not to use on celebrity names in the playing staff – just to reboot the club from Academy to the top. You wouldn’t need to be Warren Buffet to do that.
  • We need to build relationships with the rugby club across the road where there is no relationship – which I find ridiculous.
  • The local community have shown what they are about in bucketloads. I’ve had personal messages from sponsors, potential sponsors and potential investors. Everyone wants it to work and that’s where I get my enthusiasm from.

What are your over-riding emotions?

  • I don’t feel let-down. I have had the foresight to see that, for whatever reason, there has been no financial control and no real graft in the business.
  • Every rugby club had to take emergency steps through the Covid period with DCMS and HMRC allowing payment windows.
  • But you have to stay on-side with these people. Generally that comes from being a good communicator and as we have seen over the past month that has been very poor.
  • If it’s very poor with people who give blood for them on a Saturday afternoon then you can only imagine it being a lot worse to people at the end of a phone.

How are the players mentally?

  • They are remarkably good. We had a good chat again this morning and the over-riding mentality is that we want to play the game.
  • For the right reasons. We are in the political window but I don’t want the team to be in that position. I can handle that position.
  • It does put pressure on by us playing because the staff are working for nothing, the volunteers have been fantastic and we get so much goodwill that if we don’t play the attention will come onto the team and that’s not what we are about.
  • But if the deadline is not met by the powers-that-be on Monday then we will be suspended.

How long might you be suspended for?

  • There are some assurances that it wouldn’t be fatal. But you can’t have a team not playing for five or six weeks and then put them back in again.
  • I am assuming if we are suspended and we do go into administration then it will be a two or three week process. We could be playing after the break when we have a bye week in two weeks’ time.
  • The disappointing thing is how this has kept going and meandered. I asked the RPA this morning whether they had jumped in now because the insurance is up on Monday.
  • We are playing with a lot of livelihoods and 70 per cent of those livelihoods haven’t been fully paid.

Injuries

  • Ted Hill is nearly there with his hamstring but we don’t want to risk him.
  • Renato Giammarioli is waiting on his visa.

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Premiership

Baxter issues Moon injury update

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Exeter Chiefs

By Mark Stevens
26/1/23

Rob Baxter says he cannot give a timescale as to when prop Ben Moon will return to the Exeter Chiefs match-day squad.

The 33-year-old forward is currently Exeter’s longest-serving player, having made his debut in 2008 away to Sedgley Park, and is the last remaining member of their 2009-10 promotion squad.

The England international, however, has not featured for the Devon club since coming off the bench against Munster in last April’s Heineken Champions Cup clash at Sandy Park.

Asked by the media this week about Moon, the Chiefs’ Director of Rugby said: “I wouldn’t hold out hope that he’s going to be appearing soon. It’s been a challenge for Ben for a little period of time now, it’s not just been this season.

“He’s had periods in and out with it, it’s something that’s been affecting him for a little while and because of what it is we just have to be very careful with it.”

Moon has featured in all six of Exeter’s Premiership final appearances at Twickenham – and he also played in the 2020 European Champions Cup final win over Racing 92, and Exeter’s first major final when they beat Northampton Saints to win the 2014 LV Cup.

Moon won eight England caps in the 2018-19 season, but did not make the squad for that autumn’s World Cup in Japan.

“He’s still active around the club, he’s still here, he’s in training, he’s continuing very hard with his rehab and getting everything else he can right, but we’ve just got to be really careful around that neck.

“It’s probably one of those things where it’s getting to the stage where there’s not a lot more we can do. I can’t talk for Ben about his future, but you’re not going to see him in the immediate future on the pitch.”

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Premiership

TEAM NEWS – Sale Sharks v Bath Rugby

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South African talisman Rob du Preez is set to make his 100th Sharks appearance whilst Alex Groves is in line for his Gallagher Premiership debut as Alex Sanderson names his side to face Bath Rugby at the AJ Bell Stadium tomorrow night. (Kick-off 7:45pm – Live on BT Sport) 

Sanderson makes seven changes to the Sale starting line-up as his squad returns to Gallagher Premiership action following defeat at the hands of Ulster in the Champions Cup. 

In the forwards, there is a complete change of the Sharks front-row as Simon McIntyre, Tommy Taylor and Nick Schonert all return to face Bath.  

Cobus Wiese links back up with Josh Beaumont in the second row following a one-match suspension for a dangerous tackle in the Sharks’ clash with Toulouse two weeks ago. 

Jono Ross captains the side in the absence of Ben Curry, whilst Sam Dugdale steps in to replace the flanker after his England call up to Steve Borthwick’s England squad. Jean-Luc du Preez retains the number 8 shirt with twin-brother Dan remaining on the side lines due to an ongoing hand injury. 

Gus Warr continues to provide a platform for success at scrum-half and links up with centurion Rob du Preez, who is named at fly-half. 

The ever-present Sam James retains the thirteen shirt with Ryan Mills picked at inside centre in the absence of Manu Tuilagi. The former Wasps centre is one of two changes in the Sharks’ back line. 

Sanderson’s second change in the backs comes in the form of Tom Roebuck, who replaces Arron Reed on the wing after an impressive cameo in the Champions Cup. Tom O’Flaherty is named on the other wing, with exciting academy graduate Joe Carpenter at full-back. 

On the bench, Ewan Ashman, Ross Harrison and Joe Jones are named as front-row replacements, with Alex Groves and Rouban Birch providing further cover for the forwards. Raffi Quirke, Luke James and Arron Reed cover the backs. 

Sale Sharks Starting XV: 

15. Joe Carpenter, 14. Tom Roebuck, 13. Sam James, 12. Ryan Mills, 11. Tom O’Flaherty, 10. Robert du Preez, 9. Gus Warr; 1. Simon McIntyre, 2. Tommy Taylor, 3. Nick Schonert, 4. Cobus Wiese, 5. Josh Beaumont, 6. Jono Ross (c), 7. Sam Dugdale, 8. Jean-Luc du Preez 

Replacements: 

16. Ewan Ashman, 17. Ross Harrison, 18. Joe Jones, 19. Alex Groves, 20. Rouban Birch, 21. Raffi Quirke, 22. Luke James, 23. Arron Reed 

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Premiership

Rogerson pens new contract with London Irish

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London Irish is delighted to announce that Club captain Matt Rogerson has signed a new contract with the Club.

The 29-year-old has continued to be a bedrock of Irish’s back-row this year with one more try added to his total haul of 14 in five seasons as an Exile.

Rogerson recently exceeded the 100-appearance milestone as a London Irish player, making a century of appearances in a 39-17 Gallagher Premiership victory against Newcastle Falcons at the Gtech Community Stadium in December 2022.

Speaking on extending his time with London Irish, Matt Rogerson explained his decision to continue his career with the west Londoners.

“Today is a great day for me personally and for my family. I recently played in my 100th game for the Club, which was an incredibly emotional occasion, but one I will remember fondly for years to come.

“Working with such a talented pool of players every day is inspiring to me, having the opportunity to lead them alongside Rob, Paddy and Adam is a great privilege that is not lost on me.

“I can’t thank the supporters enough for embracing me in recent years, and hopefully, many more milestones are ahead for me here being part of the London Irish family.”

The skipper, in his second full season captaining the Boys in Green, signed from Jersey Reds upon conclusion of the 2017/18 season to then contribute to his new Club’s promotion bid in the following campaign.

London Irish Director of Rugby Declan Kidney affirmed his praise of Rogerson as a “true leader” of the team.

“We are delighted to have Matt continue in our ranks going forward. Matt is the consummate professional, on and off the pitch, he sets very high standards for himself and leads by example, always giving 100% to the team and squad, be it in a match, training or off pitch duties.

“As a true leader through these last few years, he has and continues to be an example that all other players and staff can look up to. We would like to thank Matt and his family for his continued commitment to London Irish.”

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Content & Images from – London Irish Rugby


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