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Premiership

Saracens Chairman makes statement.

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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

Saints Eye Another Fijian Star

Fresh after announcing the arrival of Sam Matavesi Northampton Saints are set to land another Fijian ace according to reports

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Northampton Saints look set to sign Fijian front-rower Eroni Mawi according to RugbyPass.

The Premiership side confirmed the signing of his international teammate Sam Matavesi and now appear close to agreeing the signing of the 23-year-old loosehead. 

Mawi was a part of the Flying Fijian squad that played in the Rugby World Cup this year and was a part of the squads that played against Australia, Uruguay and Wales, part of his 14 caps to date. 

The English side have been able to add players to their squad in the middle of the season due to the retirements of both club captain Dylan Hartley and Heinrich Brussow with a major space in the salary cap opening up with their departures. 

If Mawi becomes a Saints player he will have to fight for his place in the side with captain Alex Waller currently occupying the loosehead position in the squad, with back-up from both Francois van Wyk and Toby Trinder. 

Having been available since the end of the World Cup Mawi has been playing in Australia for the Fijian Drua outfit and this would be a big step-up for the youngster. 

It would also add to Northampton’s Fijian presence in their pack with Api Ratuniyarawa already in the squad. 

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Premiership

Bristol Star Signs Contract Extension

Last week Bristol secured the services of one of the world’s most exciting players and today they have confirmed that one of their key men will be staying on too

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Bristol Bears have confirmed that ace back-liner Charles Piutau has signed a new contract extension with the Premiership club.

The deal sees him extend his stay with the club until at least 2022, which is an exciting prospect for fans who have seen him dominate the league over the past year, scoring six tries in eleven appearances for the Bears last season. 

However, he is only getting better it seems having already made a total of 551 metres in five games and beating 24 defenders in that time, both chart-topping stats. 

The news follows last weeks’ announcement that Fijian star Semi Radradra will join the club next season and the thought of the two linking up will have fans watering at the mouth. 

Speaking on the extension Piutau has admitted that he had no hesitation to put pen to paper as he is loving life in Bristol. 

“My family and I are loving our time in Bristol and it was an easy decision to stay. There’s a brilliant environment and a group of boys who are all giving everything for the jersey and the community. It’s always an honour to play alongside my brother (Siale Piutau) and to represent the Bears in front of the awesome fans at Ashton Gate. Pat Lam has been a massive influence on my career and I’m loving my rugby here. There’s a collective belief that we can win silverware if we continue to keep moving forward and I’m excited about the future at Bristol,” he said. 

Meanwhile, the club’s director of rugby Pat Lam is delighted to have the 28-year-old continue on and is impressed with how he has taken to life in Bristol. 

“Charles is an outstanding team man and a world-class talent. He has the ability to create opportunities out of nothing for the team, so we are delighted that he has committed to the Bears and our vision. What has been most pleasing is how enthusiastic Charles is about the Bears, his team-mates and the city. He applied for, and was appointed to, the role of community leader in the player leadership group this season, which underlines how much he cares about the community,” he said. 

While fans may be excited for the next couple of years, Lam couldn’t hide his own excitement at the combinations of players that Bristol will have come next season. 

“On the field, Charles brings an invaluable attacking threat, but also a calm head and a wealth of experience. His game understanding and leadership at the back brings a lot of comfort to his team-mates and it has allowed a lot of the young players around him to flourish. To be able to select a Bristol backline next season that will combine world-class talents such as Charles Piutau, Semi Radradra and Luke Morahan alongside a host of young, English talent shows the exciting direction and growth that we are showing as a team,” he added. 

It is a major boost for the Bears who have started this season well and are building towards something special come next season.

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Premiership

Launchbury Signs Contract Extension with Wasps

England international Joe Launchbury is set to continue his career with Wasps despite interest from elsewhere

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England international second-row Joe Launchbury has put pen to paper on a contract extension with Wasps despite having interest elsewhere.

The club’s captain since 2016, Launchbury has been with the Premiership side since 2009 and has made well over 100 appearances since his debut in 2011 and is delighted to continue his career with the club, and hopes they will be competing for titles soon. 

“Wasps have been great to me and I will forever have an association with the club. There have been some special moments during the past ten years and I want to create more of those over the coming seasons. We have a good young squad and we’re now starting to see young players coming through the system which a crucial cog in any elite club.  With a fantastic home ground at Ricoh Arena and our own high-performance training base being built, the future certainly looks very bright. Hopefully as a club we keep developing and growing more and more Premiership-class players, and compete for silverware moving forward,” he said. 

There were reports that several clubs were looking into the possibility of signing the England ace including reports of a move to fellow Premiership outfit Sale Sharks.

Having signed up to the club once again, Wasps director of rugby Dai Young complimented Launchbury’s loyalty to the team. 

“Joe has been a tremendous servant to the club and we’re thrilled he has agreed to sign a new deal. He is a born leader, who adds a lot to this team. Having someone of his ilk pledging their future to the club is a real statement of intent,” he said. 

Launchbury has picked up more than 60-caps for England and was part of Eddie Jones recent Rugby World Cup squad in Japan, and at 28 it looks as though he has plenty still to offer to both club and country of the next few years. 

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