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Premiership

Saracens Chairman makes statement.

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(Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images)

Statement below from Saracens Chairman, Nigel Wray.

Saracens today confirms that it is not going to appeal the recent ruling of the independent panel in relation to salary cap breaches.

Any review or further appeal would be a costly, time consuming and destabilising exercise and so for the good of the game, the Premiership and this wonderful club and all its great people, a club which I have loved and served for 25 years, we have decided not to appeal but to take our punishment and hopefully soon put this behind us.

I recognise that the arrangements between myself and players, made in good faith, which comprise the material element of the charges, should have been brought to the attention of the salary cap manager for consultation prior to entering into them.

It is significant that following extensive investigations the independent panel stated that we have “not deliberately sought to circumvent the regulations” albeit we recognise that some of our actions were considered to be “reckless”.

As chairman, I must take full responsibility for the arrangements that led to this outcome. It is important to stress that our excellent coaching staff were not involved in these issues in any way.

In addition, we can confirm that we are complying strictly with the salary cap regulations in the current season and will continue to work transparently with Premiership Rugby in this regard. 

We will shortly introduce robust independent governance measures acceptable to all, including the appointment to the Saracens board of a director, who will oversee a new governance regime. I will continue as always to support the club financially going forwards to ensure there is no financial instability or uncertainty.

This amazing club, which has been such a huge part of my family’s life and indeed of many, many others, has produced an incredible number of world-class rugby players. About ten of our current team have been together for between seven and ten years, as indeed have all the coaches; fourteen players have played over one hundred times for the Club and for me it is the caring and the closeness of everyone in the Saracens Family that achieves success throughout every part of our wide-ranging Saracens activities, both on the field and away from it.

Perhaps we have done the wrong thing for the right reasons, but we must now draw a line and come together as Saracens to fully support our players, our coaches and our hard-working staff.

Q&A

Why has the Club decided not to appeal the decision?

The Club believes that a review or further appeal would be a costly, time consuming and destabilising exercise. So for the good of the game, the Premiership and this club, we have decided not to appeal but to take our punishment and aim to put this behind us.

What does this mean for the season ahead?

The season ahead will be challenging but Mark McCall, his coaches and players will prepare for all of our games in the same focused, committed way and that will continue to be the case. We are a very tight family and this will only make us closer.

Does this outcome affect any of your Premiership titles?

No. The sanctions do not have an impact on any trophies the team has previously won.

Will the Club now be forced to sell players to comply with the salary cap?

No. The Club allocates a set budget for player remuneration which the CEO and coaching staff take full responsibility for. This budget falls within the salary cap and has no connection whatsoever to third party co-investments.

Is the Club now in compliance with the salary cap?

Yes. Under PRL regulations we are in compliance. 

How does this outcome affect the Club’s transfer policy?

It does not prevent the Club from signing new players in the future.

What has the Club done to make sure this doesn’t happen again?

We will now introduce robust independent governance measures acceptable to all, including a new appointment to the Saracens board who will oversee governance.

And longer term, what does this mean for Saracens Chairman Nigel Wray?

Nigel has been involved with the Club for 25 years and his support for the Club remains as strong as ever. He will ensure the Club moves forward from today in the right way as quickly as possible.

Premiership

England Coach John Mitchell joins Premiership side

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Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Wasps are delighted to announce that John Mitchell, currently part of England Men’s senior backroom staff, will be joining the Men’s team coaching set up.

The former Head Coach of the All Blacks has signed a contract with the Club that will see him link up with the squad this season.

Mitchell, England’s Forwards Coach under Sir Clive Woodward from 1997 to 2000, re-joins Wasps having spent time with the Club as an Assistant Coach during the 1999/2000 season.

The 57-year-old’s impressive résumé also includes being United States Head Coach from 2016 to 2017 and two stints coaching Sale Sharks. Mitchell has been in charge of England’s Defence since September 2018.

Men’s Head Coach Lee Blackett said: “We are thrilled to add John to the coaching group for this season. He brings a wealth of knowledge and will only improve our playing department.

“Once we knew John was available, we prioritised getting him back to Wasps.

“Finding somebody of John’s calibre at both an international and domestic level is rare. He fits the profile we have been looking for, adding to our talented group of coaches.

“John’s primary role will be to lead the attack, but his breadth of top-level experience will see him assist on a number of levels. He understands Wasps having worked here before and his passion for the club and improving our players shone through from the start.

“The support from the board in making this happen demonstrates the ambition of this club.”

Source – Wasps Rugby

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6 Nations

World Rugby applies 50/22 law trial globally, bolster concussion protocol

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World Rugby announced on Wednesday five law trials which will start next month, including a so-called “50/22” kicking adaptation.

The 50/22 change allows a team to gain a throw-in inside the opposition’s 22-metre area by kicking the ball to touch with at least one bounce from their own half.

The rule was used in recent Super Rugby tournaments and its primary intention is to “encourage the defensive team to put more players in the backfield, thereby creating more attacking space and reducing defensive line speed”, according to the sport’s governing body.

The other laws to come into force on a temporary basis from August 1 include a goal-line drop-out if the ball is held up in the in-goal area, if there is a knock-on from an attacking player in the same area or an attacking kick is grounded by the defenders in their own in-goal.

There are also restrictions on attacking players latching onto team-mates from a ruck and clean-outs which target or drop weight onto the lower limbs at the breakdown.

Michael Hooper with a textbook tackle close out a certain try

The final trial allows for a one-player latch before contact, but the individual must “observe all of the requirements for a first arriving player, particularly the need to stay on their feet”.

World Rugby has also moved to strengthen concussion protocols, with independent specialists set to review cases when Test players return to action after a head injury.

They will launch a panel of Independent Concussion Consultants (ICCs) to provide expert opinion on whether players are ready to return to action after head knocks.

The global governing body will fully fund the process for Test-level competitions, with ICCs asked to rule when players look to return to action 10 days or fewer after a concussion or on players deemed higher risk due to previous head-injury history.

Source – Australia Rugby

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Premiership

Huw Jones signs for Premiership side after French move called off.

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Harlequins are delighted to announce the signing of Scotland international Huw Jones ahead of the 2021/22 season

Born in Edinburgh and raised in Kent, Jones, 27, has represented Scotland on 31 occasions to date. A versatile player able to cover multiple positions across the backline, Jones made his international debut in 2016 against Japan in Tokyo, with his most recent cap coming during the 2021 Six Nations against France at the Stade de France in Paris.

After moving to Cape Town, South Africa, during a gap year Jones earned his breakthrough within the professional game playing for the Stormers in Super Rugby, where he played alongside current Quins prop Wilco Louw and against centre Andre Esterhuizen and Club Captain Stephan Lewies.

Jones subsequently signed for Glasgow Warriors as his Test career took off, playing for the Scottish side for four years, scoring 12 tries in 49 appearances.

Excited to begin his new chapter, Jones said: “I’m thrilled to sign for Harlequins. To be able to join the reigning Premiership champions and a side that plays such an attractive brand of rugby is a rare opportunity and one that I couldn’t turn down.

“The Quins way of playing was an attractive prospect, but there’s also something unique building here with a special team. There’s a great playing group here and some fantastic coaches and I can’t wait to get stuck in.

“Quins are looking to build upon their trophy win this season, and I’m looking forward to playing my part in that journey.”

Commenting on Jones’ arrival, Attack and Backs Coach Nick Evans said: “It’s great to have Huw signed on with us here at Quins. Huw made a big impact when he burst onto the scene a few years ago and has fantastic instincts for the game.

“Huw is an attack-minded player, and we believe he will fit into the Harlequins way well. We look for players who will suit the Harlequins DNA, and we see that in Huw. We’re excited to see him link up with the squad this summer as we look to build upon last season’s success.”

Source – Harlequins Rugby

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