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Report | Tigers win final game of pre-season

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Harry Potter scored a hat-trick of tries as Leicester Tigers recorded a 42-28 victory over Newcastle Falcons in a pre-season fixture at Mattioli Woods Welford Road on Friday evening.

Potter scored twice in the opening quarter of the game and Charlie Clare added a third as Tigers led 21-7 at half-time.

At the beginning of the Bank Holiday weekend, both head coaches named extended squads and used the second period to spread gametime through their ranks with the new Gallagher Premiership season now just two weeks away.

Anthony Watson, Jimmy Gopperth and James Cronin were among the Tigers newcomers to sample running out at their new home stadium, with Tom Horton, Joe Taufute’e and Phil Cokanasiga joining the action after the break.

Potter completed his hat-trick at the start of the second half, with Taufete’e and Sean Jansen adding further scores in the final run-put before the start of the new season.

After Newcastle kicked off towards the Beehive Money Stand, they enjoyed some decent possession but could not progress further than the 22 with Tigers tackling quickly until eventually turning over ball and, just moments later, Steve Borthwick’s men were on the scoresheet.

Potter recovered from an early tumble when he was impeded in collecting a high ball which led to a yellow card for Vereimi Qorowale to get the first points on the board after five minutes, taking a long pass on the left wing and then winning the race to his chip kick to dot down. Freddie Burns added the conversion for a 7-0 lead.

A knock-on from the restart gave Falcons put-in ball just 10 metres out from the Tigers tryline but the set-piece brought a penalty which Burns kicked back up to halfway.

Potter led the kickchase to a diagonal prod from Burns to the left-hand corner and was rewarded with a penalty but, when play was spread to the opposite flank, Chris Ashton was bundled into touch just five metres out.

Matt Scott showed pace and composure as he covered a dangerous kick down the Falcons right and then dodged two tacklers to allow Tigers to re-set and clear.

Potter was back on the scoresheet on 21 minutes as he collected a crosskick on the left just seconds after a second yellow card had been shown to Qorowale as he tackled Ashton close to the line on the opposite wing.

Falcons lost attacking scrum possession and then missed a lineout in the corner but, when Eli Snyman stole a lineout at the opposite end, a chip from Ben Youngs over last man Logovi’i Mulipola somehow slipped from Ashton’s reach.

George Martin showed strength and good footwork to lead the next attack, but Tigers lost ball 15 metres out and Falcons were able to clear the danger.

The home defence was tested with a break by Gary Graham up the middle and, when Falcons retained ball, it was the back-rower who broke a final tackle to score next to the posts. The conversion from Brett Connon made it 14-7 on 35 minutes.

But Martin’s lineout catch set up position for a third Tigers try shortly before half-time, with Falcons backtracking quickly as Clare touched down and Burns added a third conversion for a 21-7 lead.

England Under-20s cap Jed Walsh was added to the Tigers backline for the start of the second period, while Falcons changed their entire line-up in their first outing of pre-season.

The opening points came with a hat-trick score for Potter in the left-hand corner after some crisp work in attack and Burns added the conversion from the touchline as Tigers sent on five replacements from the bench including Taufete’e.

Falcons responded with a try from Iwan Stephens, winning the chase to ball on the left, with new fly-half Josh Thomas adding the extras as Borthwick sent on replacements including summer signing Cokanasiga.

Lewis Chessum’s first involvement was stealing lineout ball and two direct carries from Kini Murimurivalu got Tigers going forward again before Hosea Saumaki was tackled into touch in the corner.

When wing Adam Radwan was met with a double tackle on the tryline, Tigers continued to defend strongly until Falcons were held up in possession.

But straight from the drop-out, Falcons returned at pace, with Stephens releasing Radwan to score on the right and Thomas was on target with the extras to make it 28-21 with 10 minutes still to play.

A break from Cokansiga was appreciated by the sizeable crowd and ended with a fifth try, with Taufete’e forcing his way over to the left of the posts and Gopperth added the conversion.

But Falcons soon celebrated another try of their own, scrum-half Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti wriggling out of contact to run clear. Thomas added the extras to put just seven points between the teams entering the closing couple of minutes.

Horton replaced Taufete’e in the middle of the front row and was immediately on the ball on the left but Falcons stood up to the lineout drive.

They were pinned inside their own 22, though, and the game ended with Sean Jansen making the final push from a lineout drive for another Tigers try, which Gopperth converted from the right touchline.

Content & Images from – Leicester Tigers Rugby


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.”

Content & Images from – Exeter Chiefs Rugby


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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 

Images & Content from Sale Sharks Rugby


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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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