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Retired Welsh star joins Newcastle Falcons as defence coach



Tuesday 20 June 2023

Wales hooker Scott Baldwin will complete Newcastle Falcons’ staff for the new season after signing up as defence coach.

The 34-year-old has retired from playing to focus on his new role having starred for Ospreys, Harlequins, Worcester and Wales in a professional playing career spanning more than a decade.

The most recent of Baldwin’s 37 Wales caps came during this year’s Six Nations, with the Bridgend-born front-rower packing down against Ireland, Scotland and Italy.

His club career saw him playing more than 100 times in the United Rugby Championship and 43 in Europe as well as starting for Harlequins in their victorious 2021 Gallagher Premiership final.

Spending last season playing for Ospreys and coaching at home club Bridgend, he completes a refreshed Newcastle Falcons management team which sees new head coach Alex Codling working with incumbents Micky Ward and Mark Laycock.

Codling said: “I first met Scott when I was forwards coach at Harlequins, I enjoyed working him and you could see straight away he was a top professional.

“He’s got a huge amount of experience from playing in the Premiership, URC and internationally over a number of years, and he’ll bring a wealth of knowledge to the role.

“During my own time working with Scott you could see he was keen to make the transition from playing to coaching, and he was one of those guys who always seemed to think like a coach. I’m looking forward to integrating him into a fantastic group here and seeing the impact he will make for the Falcons.”

Delighted to be taking on his new challenge in the North East, Baldwin said: “Coaching is something I’ve been really interested in since 2017 when I started doing it at semi-pro level with Bridgend, and I just fell in love with that side of the game.

“That’s grown more and more as time has gone on, and it’s a fascinating area in terms of the different styles of play and not just being one mould for everyone. It’s broadened my horizons while I’ve been combining it with playing, and I can’t wait to get started with Newcastle.

“It’s been tough in a way because I know I can still play at this level, but this felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to start my professional coaching career.

“I’ve spent a lot of time in Newcastle because my sister lived there for 20 years so we used to go up every six weeks to see her, my nieces and my brother in law. They’re full-on Geordies, and I already feel like I’ve got a good connection with the area through the time I’ve spent up there with them. It’s very similar to Wales in many respects with hard-working people and good values, and professionally for me it’s a really exciting opportunity which was too good to turn down.

“It’s a talented squad with a relatively new coaching group, and I worked with Alex Codling during our time together at Harlequins. We got on really well, and we’re both very much into the game in terms of talking about rugby a lot and looking into everything around it.”

Excited by the chance to return to the Gallagher Premiership after winning the league as a Harlequins player, Baldwin said: “You have to go into it with your eyes wide open because the Premiership is a relentless league with loads of different playing styles where every squad is incredibly talented, and you have to stay on it every week.

“All the clubs are in the same country which is a change from the URC from a travel perspective, although we’ll obviously have some long bus trips with being situated up in the North East.

“In the URC the Welsh derbies feel a bit special because they’re not that common, but in the Premiership it’s like that every week where you’re up against boys you know, and some of the best players in the world. The Falcons have obviously got a really strong Argentinean contingent as well as all their local talent, and it’ll be really good tapping into all the various groups with everything they bring to the table.”

Relishing the opportunity to further tighten the Falcons’ rearguard, Baldwin said: “I love defence, and I’ve been very fortunate to work with some of the best defence coaches in the world in Shaun Edwards, Steve Tandy and Paul Gustard.

“From playing against Newcastle on numerous occasions the thing that always sticks in my mind is the fact they’re always a hard team to beat. As a defence coach when you know a team is going to work incredibly hard for each other – that’s a great starting point, and there’s a lot you can build around that.

“There’ll obviously be some fine tuning around the system and the specifics of how things work, but the biggest thing is just building connections with players. That’s what I’ve always enjoyed about coaching, and when you have that relationship with a coach you’ll go that extra mile for them.”

Newcastle Falcons have signed 11 senior players for the coming campaign in Murray McCallum (Edinburgh), Eduardo Bello (Saracens), Cameron Hutchison (Edinburgh), Hugh O’Sullivan (London Irish), Tim Cardall (Melbourne Rebels), Louis Brown (Coventry), Ollie Leatherbarrow (Exeter Chiefs), Kiran McDonald (Munster), Bryan Byrne (Bristol Bears), Josh Bainbridge (Coventry) and John Kelly (Doncaster Knights).

A five-strong senior academy influx sees Newcastle University’s Adam Scott joined by England Under-18s quartet Finn Baker, Isaac Keller, Jacob Oliver and Ben Redshaw.

Season tickets for 2023-24 are on sale now by clicking here.

Source – Newcastle Falcons Rugby


Team News | Carter starts with Kata on-debut off the bench



Leicester Tigers have named their team for Saturday’s trip south to take on Saracens at StoneX Stadium at 3:05pm, live on TNT Sports.

Tigers head coach, Dan McKellar has made three changes to his matchday selection. Tongan international Solomone Kata is named for a potential Tigers debut with Australian lock Sam Carter earning his first Premiership start.

Olly Cracknell starts at number eight after missing Tigers’ victory over bath in round three.

Leicester will welcome back their remaining Rugby World Cup players on Monday.

Leicester Tigers head coach, Dan McKellar said: “Saturday’s a great challenge for our group and we’ve embraced that.”

“Sam has been really good for us off the bench the last couple of weeks so earns a start and we’re excited to see what Sol (Kata) can bring with his ball-carry and his energy on the field.”



15 Mike Brown [12]

14 Josh Bassett [5]

13 Guy Porter [66]

12 Dan Kelly [62]

11 Ollie Hassell-Collins [6]

10 Jamie Shillcock [7]

9 Tom Whiteley [10]

1 James Cronin [17]

2 Charlie Clare [83]

3 Joe Heyes [128]

4 Cameron Henderson [42]

5 Sam Carter [5]

6 Hanro Liebenberg (c) [90]

7 Tommy Reffell [101]

8 Olly Cracknell [28]



16 Nic Dolly [30]

17 Francois van Wyk [37]

18 Will Hurd [30]

19 Harry Wells [180]

20 Matt Rogerson [5]

21 Joe Powell [6]

22 Charlie Atkinson [22]

23 Solomone Kata*

*Denotes potential Leicester Tigers debut

Content & Images from – Leicester Tigers Rugby

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Club announce arrival of former Wallaby coach



Leicester Tigers Head Coach Dan McKellar has appointed Petrus du Plessis to his senior coaching team as Interim Scrum Coach.

The South African will remain in the role until the arrival of new Scrum Coach Dan Palmer, when his commitments with the Wallabies are complete following the Australian national side’s Rugby World Cup campaign.

Born in South Africa, du Plessis represented St Helens, Orrell and Sedgley Park between 2001-2009 before joining Nottingham Rugby ahead of the 2009/10 Championship season.

He joined Saracens a year later and, during the next sevens seasons, featured in three league and two European Champions Cup winning campaigns.

The front-rower moved to London Irish in 2017 and then Glasgow Warriors in 2018, spending two seasons in Scotland before retiring in 2020 – including a final season as player/coach.

In September 2020, du Plessis was announced as Australia’s Scrum Coach where he worked alongside McKellar for almost three years.

Speaking about the interim appointment, Leicester Tigers Head Coach Dan McKellar said: “Our scrum is an integral part of what we do and, with Dan [Palmer] arriving after the World Cup, we felt it was important to have that specific focus on it during this period.

“To have been able to appoint someone with the experience of Petrus for that was an added bonus and too good an opportunity not to take up for the club and our players.

“I have worked with Petrus over the past few years in Australia and know the energy and enthusiasm he brings, as well as the effort he puts into his work. I am glad we’re able to have that here at Leicester Tigers in the interim.”

The appointment of Petrus du Plessis to the interim role is effective immediately.

Content & Images from – Leicester Tigers Rugby

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Bath confirm 2023/24 squad



The official Bath Rugby squad for the 2023/24 season has been announced.

Entering into his second year at the helm of Bath Rugby, Johann van Graan welcomed Ollie Lawrence, Ted Hill, Alfie Barbeary and Fergus Lee-Warner over the course of 2022/23, who remain with squad as we head into 2023/24.

With Finn Russell and Thomas du Toit still yet to link up with the squad after the Rugby World Cup, the Head of Rugby’s squad is looking full of power and prowess. 

Several big names committed their futures to the Blue, Black and White earlier this year, seeing England internationals Tom Dunn, Will Stuart, Sam Underhill, Ben Spencer and Joe Cokanasiga all re-signing. 

Scotland international Cameron Redpath also pledged his future to the club, as did Irish international second row Quinn Roux. 

Arriving at the club this summer is recently announced signing, Mikey Summerfield, who joined from London Irish. The young prop has been lauded with talent and high prospects, offering another option in the front row. 

Bath Rugby also named Billy Sela, Jack Bennett, Ieuan Davies, Ioan Emanuel, Rory Cameron, James Short, George Timmins and Raff Weston as their Academy intake for 2023/24, with many of them already putting their stamp on the age-grade international stage. 

The Bath Rugby squad are now preparing for the season ahead, with the opening fixtures seeing the commencement of a newly formatted Premiership Rugby Cup.

The coaching set-up has also been refreshed for 2023/23. Joining van Graan on his staffing team are Assistant Coaches Lee Blackett and Richard Blaze, who arrived at the club from Wasps and Leicester Tigers ahead of pre-season.

Stevie Scott and Andy Robinson have also joined van Graan to assist with scrummaging and the coaching of the Academy, respectively.

JP Ferreira and Jon Callard remain with the squad into their second year alongside van Graan. 

bath rugby squad 2023/24

PROP: Arthur Cordwell, Thomas du Toit, Ioan Emanuel, Archie Griffin, Johannes Jonker, Scott Kirk, Beno Obano, Juan Schoeman, Billy Sela, Archie Stanley, Will Stuart, Mikey Summerfield, Kieran Verden

HOOKER: Niall Annett, Tom Dunn, Max Pearce, Jasper Spandler, John Stewart

SECOND ROW: Jack Bennett, Rory Cameron, Harvey Cuckson, Josh Dingley, Eddie Erskine, Charlie Ewels, Will Jeanes, Fergus Lee-Warner, Daniel Marais, Josh McNally, Ewan Richards, Quinn Roux

BACK ROW: Abdul-Khalik Akenzua Al Kareem, Alfie Barbeary, Josh Bayliss, Chris Cloete, Jaco Coetzee, Thompson Cowan, MacKenzie Graham, Arthur Green, Ted Hill, Nahum Merigan, Miles Reid, Ethan Staddon, George Timmins, JJ Tonks, Sam Underhill

SCRUM-HALF: Tom Carr-Smith, Ieuan Davies, Murdoch Lock, Louis Schreuder, Ben Spencer

FLY-HALF: Orlando Bailey, Piers Francis, Sam Harris, Finn Russell, Raff Weston, George Worboys

CENTRE: Will Butt, Louie Hennessey, Ollie Lawrence, Max Ojomoh, Will Parry, Cameron Redpath, James Short, Max Wright

BACK THREE: Joe Cokanasiga, Tom de Glanville, Ciaran Donoghue, Matt Gallagher, Gabe Goss, Luke Graham, Byron Lloyd-Gilmour, Ruaridh McConnochie, Will Muir

bath rugby coaching team

HEAD OF RUGBY: Johann van Graan

ASSISTANT COACHES: Lee Blackett, Richard Blaze, Jon Callard, JP Ferreira, Andy Robinson, Stevie Scott


Content & Images from – Bath Rugby

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