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Premiership

Rugby Australia Confirm Skelton Stance

With the Saracens team set to be torn apart, Rugby Australia have announced their intentions regarding one of the side’s key men

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(Photo credit GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)

Rugby Australia have confirmed they will be trying to sign up Saracens star Will Skelton following the club’s salary cap scandal.

Skelton has been away from Australia since 2016 following a stint with the Waratahs, where he won the Super Rugby title in 2014. However, in the lead up to the Rugby World Cup last year approaches were made for the massive lock in a bid for him to be eligible for the tournament. 

Those moves came to no avail, but now Rugby Australia’s director of rugby Scott Johnson told The Australian that they will go all out to tempt Skelton back to his homeland. 

“I can’t see them keeping anywhere near that team together and because he [Skelton] is not ­English, he will be one of the first under the spotlight. We have spoken to his agent, and we are going to go heavy this week. We are in a realistic chance at some stage to bring him back, if he wants to come back. He’s going to make a decision on what he is doing this for. Is it money, or is it career? So he has to make that clear to us. For us, we won’t compete for the money. We’ll make a good offer. But I only want guys in the country who want to make a difference. He has apparently been saying the right things but, to be fair, he was always just trying to honour his contract,” he said. 

If he returns to Australia it is believed he could go back to the Waratahs, but there is also rumours that the Rebels or the Brumbies could try and get him onto their books. 

Meanwhile, with a big salary and being unable to play for England, it seems a logical move for Saracens to try and offload the 27-year-old. 

Already they have lost Liam Williams to the Scarlets and it is believed that George Kruis will depart for Japan come the end of the current campaign. While question marks remain over a host of star names including Owen Farrell, Billy Vunipola and Maro Itoje. 

However, while those players more than likely would seek a move to a club in England, Skelton will have his options and a move back to Australia would be a huge boost for the national side as they head into a new era under Dave Rennie.

Premiership

Pat Lam commits long-term future to Bristol Bears

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Bristol Bears

Pat Lam has committed his long-term future to Bristol Bears.

The Director of Rugby agrees a new five-year contract, following the completion of his existing deal, until the end of the 2027/2028 campaign.

The most successful Bristol coach since the game turned professional, Lam achieved an immediate promotion back to the top-flight in his first season at the helm. In 2019, he led Bears to ninth position – the highest points tally for a newly promoted club in twelve years.

A year later, Bristol clinched a third placed finish in the Gallagher Premiership and secured their first major silverware since 1983 with a European Challenge Cup Final victory over Toulon.

“He has embraced the rebrand and our vision of ‘Inspiring Our Community Through Rugby Success’. From the Academy to our Women’s team, Pat lives and breathes our mission every day. He has given the city a rugby club we can be proud of.”

Owner Steve Lansdown

Then, last season, Bristol recorded their highest ever regular season position, topping the table and making the Champions Cup knockout stages, while Lam was awarded Global Reach Director of Rugby of the Year.

Owner Steve Lansdown said: “What Pat and his team have achieved in a short space of time at Bristol Bears is excellent, but it’s not just the way that the team have performed on the field, it’s the culture and standards he has set to continually drive the organisation forward.

“Bristol Bears are on an exciting journey, and we are delighted to have Pat at the forefront of that. He has embraced the rebrand and our vision of ‘Inspiring Our Community Through Rugby Success’. From the Academy to our Women’s team, Pat lives and breathes our mission every day. He has given the city a rugby club we can be proud of.”

Chairman Chris Booy said: “We’re delighted to have secured Pat’s signature on a long-term contract. It’s no surprise he would have the interest of every top club in the world, so it’s testament to the ambition of the Bears that Pat was eager to stay.

“We are absolutely aligned on the direction of the club. Bristol Bears will continue to grow and we will achieve sustainable success at the top of the domestic and European game.

“Pat has built a squad of humble young men who not only represent our community superbly, they play an innovative brand of rugby that has everybody taking notice.”

Director of Rugby Pat Lam said: “It’s an absolute honour to continue as Director of Rugby at Bristol Bears. To have the opportunity to work with a great group of people, and to represent our community with pride and love is very special.

“I am grateful to have the continued support of Steve, Jon and Chris and I’m thankful that they have entrusted me to keep leading the Bristol Bears along our journey of Inspiring Our Community Through Rugby Success.

“While we have come a long way in the last four years, I am really excited by what is still to come as we challenge all of us individually and collectively to raise the bar every day.

“I genuinely believe that now we have all our Men, Women and Academy aligned as one club, we are poised to bring a lot of inspiration and success, on and off the field, for many years ahead and I feel very humbled to be a part of it.”

Source – Bristol Bears Rugby

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Premiership

Harlequins squad for 2021/22 campaign

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(Photo by Paul Thomas/Getty Images)

Harlequins’ coaching team have announced the Club’s squad to tackle the 2021/22 campaign

Director of Rugby Performance Billy Millard and Senior Coach Tabai Matson have named a 61-man squad for the season ahead, consisting of 37 senior squad members and 24 Harlequins Academy players.

Second row Stephan Lewies will continue to lead the Club having led the men in the Famous Quarters to a Gallagher Premiership trophy in just his first season as Club Captain last year, with the Springbok lock ready to lead his side as they look to defend their title.

“I’m honoured to be able to continue leading Harlequins alongside a strong senior group,” said Lewies. “This is a special group and a special place. We’ll look to keep serving this team to the best of our ability.

“We know the challenge we face this season. It will be different to those we faced last season. We’re excited by the challenge and looking to continuously grow as a team.

“We are determined to not stand still; to keep improving as the season goes on and peak at the right time.

“We want to stay true to our DNA playing the Quins way with smiles on our faces.”

Eager to kick-off his first competitive game with Quins this weekend, Matson said: “We’re delighted with how the squad has shaped up over the summer. We’ve had two great pre-season games to prep, and the team are so focused on starting the season playing the Harlequins Way this season again.

“There’s a heap of hugely talented individuals here that went all the way last year, but, equally, we’ve had some stellar players and people join us over the off season who will help Quins continue that development.

“What’s really impressed me has been how determined everyone in the group is to continue evolving the rugby this year. Staying true to that Harlequins style but improving on any weaknesses. It’s an exciting playing and coaching group to be a part of and we can’t wait to get started on Sunday.”

Forwards
:
Alex Dombrandt
Archie White
Christian Scotland-Williamson
Craig Trenier
David Ofori Manteaw*
Dino Lamb
Fin Baxter*
George Hammond*
George Head*
Hugh Tizard*
Jack Kenningham*
Jack Musk*
Jack Walker
James Chisholm
Joe Gray
Joe Marler
Jordan Els
Luke Wallace
Mak Wilson*
Makeen Alikhan*
Matas Jurevicius*
Matt Symons
Nathan Jibulu*
Sam Riley*
Santiago Garcia Botta
Simon Kerrod
Stephan Lewies – Captain
Tom Lawday
Viliami Taulani
Wilco Louw
Will Collier
Will Evans
Will Hobson*
Will Trenholm*

Backs
Aaron Morris
Andre Esterhuizen
Bryn Bradley*
Cadan Murley
Cassius Cleaves*
Connor Slevin*
Conor Oresanya*
Danny Care
Hayden Hyde*
Huw Jones
Jack Stafford
Jake Murray*
Jamie Benson*
Joe Marchant
Kitan Ojo*
Lennox Anyanwu*
Lewis Gjaltema
Louis Lynagh*
Luke Northmore
Marcus Smith
Nick David
Oscar Beard*
Paul Lasike
Ross Chisholm
Scott Steele
Tommy Allan
Tyrone Green
Will Edwards

*Harlequins Academy

Source – Harlequins Rugby

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Premiership

Team news: Bristol Bears vs Saracens – GP R1

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(Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

Bristol Bears welcome newly promoted Saracens to Ashton Gate Stadium in a mouthwatering Gallagher Premiership opener on Friday (7.45pm KO).

A bumper crowd is expected in BS3 as Pat Lam’s men return to action under the lights in the competition curtain raiser.

Steven Luatua will skipper the side from the back row, while Bears include eight internationals in the starting line-up.

Harry Randall returns from England duty to take his place in the 23-man squad among the replacements.

Bristol Bears team to face Saracens at Ashton Gate Stadium on Friday, September 17th (7.45pm KO):

15. Charles Piutau; 14. Luke Morahan, 13. Piers O’Conor, 12. Alapati Leiua, 11. Ioan Lloyd; 10. Callum Sheedy, 9. Andy Uren; 1. Jake Woolmore, 2. Harry Thacker, 3. Max Lahiff, 4. Ed Holmes, 5. Chris Vui, 6. Steven Luatua (c), 7. Dan Thomas, 8. Nathan Hughes.

System players: 16. Will Capon, 17. Yann Thomas, 18. Jake Armstrong, 19. Dave Attwood, 20. Jake Heenan, 21. Harry Randall, 22. Sam Bedlow, 23. Niyi Adeolokun.

Unavailable: Bryan Byrne, John Afoa, Kyle Sinckler, Joe Joyce, Tom Whiteley, Tiff Eden, Semi Radradra, Henry Purdy, Siva Naulago.

Source – Bristol Bears Rugby  – Tom Tainton 

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