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Premiership

Saracens Set to Land South African Starlet

Saracens have had their struggles of late but it appears as though despite everything they remain active in the transfer market and are preparing to sign one of South Africa’s brightest stars

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Saracens are in advanced talks with young South African forward Cobus Wiese from the Stormers it has been revealed and his signing could benefit England too.

With the South African side struggling with cash at the moment, losing a host of their star players in recent times, the English Premiership giants are preparing to swoop in for another, with it believed that the utility forward to sign a five-year contract. 

At 22, the forward has been a regular for both the Stormers and Western Province over the past two years and if he does put pen to paper on the deal it would see him become available for England during his career. 

The London-based side have had a rough few days being handed a £5.3 million fine and being deducted 35 points in the Premiership for a breach of salary cap rules, but while that is being appealed, the club seem likely to continue their transfer business as usual. 

While for Saracens it would be a massive coup to sign Wiese, for the Stormers it would be a huge loss as they have already lost World Cup winners Eben Etzebeth and Damian de Allende, as well as other players such as Dan Kriel, Michael Kumbirai, Corne Fourie and EW Viljoen among others due to the current crisis at the franchise. 

The Stormers have been struggling through their pre-season so far as a host of their players are on loan abroad and they await the returns of some of their World Cup stars. 

They should be boosted by the returns of captain Siya Kolisi, Steven Kitshoff, Herschel Jantjies, Bongi Mbonambi, Frans Malherbe and recent World Player of the Year winner Pieter-Steph du Toit, who are all set to come back to the franchise come mid-December. 

However, the loss of another player and a rising star could not only be a blow for the club but for the Springboks in the future.

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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