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Saracens Set to Sign Springboks Out-Half

Saracens have agreed a deal to sign a Springbok fly-half ahead of the new season

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(Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images)

Saracens have agreed to sign Stormer and Springboks No 10 Damien Willemse as a World Cup cover player if he fails to break into Rassie Erasmus’ 31-man squad.

The out-half, who can also play centre, winger and full-back is currently playing in the Currie Cup but has been given the opportunity to play for Saracens according to Western Province coach John Dobson.

“If he doesn’t go to the World Cup, Damian could have an opportunity to go to Saracens on a short-term loan. If that does come about it will be a good thing for him as he can learn a lot through a short stint in the UK. Saracens, as you know, have a very good kicking game. If he goes there he will learn a lot about the game management that is expected of fly-half and he will come back better equipped to do well for us in Super Rugby. Our WP captain Chris van Zyl played for Saracens last year, enjoyed it and learnt a lot from the experience and was then back to take part in our pre-season,” he said.

As well as gaining experience Willemse could get some vital game time and be match-fit should an injury occur to someone in the 31-man squad and he would therefore be available to slot in.

Having come back from a knee injury Willemse is preparing for Western Province’s final Currie Cup game this weekend against the Cheetahs. Dobson is sure that Willemse could cut it at the reigning European and Premiership champions, but nothing is confirmed that he will head to England.

“Damian is a special kid off the field as well as on it and is a deep thinker on the game so I don’t think he’s going to be too badly knocked if he isn’t in the World Cup squad, but he does want to make a point to the national selectors. In his mind, he is still playing for a chance to be in the World Cup squad. Damian showed us last week when he came on against Griquas what a good attacking fly-half he is and we are expecting a lot from him against the Cheetahs. He is really motivated to do well for us and hopefully push our season out by another few weeks, but if he is not in the World Cup squad when it is announced on Monday he will then give some thought to Saracens,” he added.

The Springboks’ World Cup squad is set to be announced on Monday and it seems unlikely Willemse will be involved which would open the door for him to cover for the likes of England’s Owen Farrell while they go to Japan.

Premiership

London Irish announce signing of Creevy

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Argentina international Agustin Creevy has agreed to join London Irish with immediate effect.

The former international captain made 89 appearances for Los Pumas, including playing at two Rugby World Cups. His impressive number of international caps ensures that Creevy is currently the most capped Argentinian international player of all time.

Over half of Creevy’s international appearances saw him captain Argentina, proving his leadership qualities on the highest stage.

The hooker’s career has seen him develop his game in France with Biarritz, Clermont and Montpellier before joining Worcester Warriors. More recently, Creevy has been plying his trade with Super Rugby’s Jaguares, helping the Argentinean franchise to the 2019 Super Rugby final.

Creevy’s arrival at London Irish sees the Exiles’ amount of different nationalities grow to 10. The squad currently has players from England, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Scotland, Fiji, Zimbabwe, Samoa, Tonga and now Argentina.

Commenting on the latest addition to the squad, Declan Kidney, Director of Rugby, said: “Agustin comes to London Irish with a fantastic amount of club and international experience.

“Hopefully he can help to continue the journey that the club is on.”

“I am looking forward to joining London Irish and playing in England once again,” explained Creevy.

“Declan spoke very highly of the club, the people and the direction they want to go. I can’t wait to join up with my teammates and to get stuck in.”

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Premiership

Saracens star signs 2 year extension

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(Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images)

Saracens is delighted to announce Scotland international Sean Maitland has committed his future to the club.

The 31-year-old has penned a two-year contract and will remain in north London until at least 2022.

Maitland has played his part in some of Saracens’ biggest moments over the past four years, scoring crucial tries in last season’s Heineken Champions Cup and Premiership final successes.

In total, the winger has crossed the whitewash 29 times in 73 Sarries appearances and feels at home in NW4.

“I’m very happy to extend my Saracens; it was a bit of a no-brainer for me,” Maitland said.

“My family love it here, we’re settled and I wanted to stayed because I love being here and I love what the club is about and the people that are in it.

“We’re one big family. That comes right from the top, from the owner, into the group and the Academy. We’re all aligned, one big family, and for me that’s important.

Director of Rugby Mark McCall said: “Sean has made an outstanding contribution to our club over the last four years both on and off the field.

“He has taken his game to a new level during that time and has had a great influence on some of our younger players. To have a player of Sean’s quality and experience commit his future to the club is a huge boost.”

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Gloucester announce departure of Head Coach Johan Ackermann

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(Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)

Gloucester Rugby today announced the departure of Head Coach Johan Ackermann, who will be joining Japanese club NTT DoCoMo Red Hurricanes in July.

Gloucester Rugby Chairman Martin St Quinton said “I’d look to put on record our thanks to Johan for the significant contribution he’s made to the Club over the three seasons he’s been with us. His infectious enthusiasm for the game, as well as his in-depth rugby knowledge, made him not only a fans’ favourite, but a strong leader of our playing department. I wish him every success in his new venture.”

David Humphreys, Director of Rugby, added:

“While I’m sorry to see Johan leave Gloucester Rugby, I fully understand his reasons for doing so. Johan approached Martin and me to say that he had received a number of coaching opportunities which, for personal reasons, he would like to consider and we agreed to his request.

In his 3 years at Gloucester, Johan transformed the way we play the game and his “play to inspire” philosophy will leave a lasting impact from his time at the Club. I know it was a difficult decision for him to leave Gloucester and I’ve no doubt he’ll make a real difference with the Red Hurricanes in Japan.

Ackermann joined the Cherry and Whites at the start of the 2017/18 season, and took the team to the final of the European Challenge Cup in his first season. The following season ended with the Club in third place in the Premiership, thus qualifying for a second successive season of European Champions Cup rugby.

Johan Ackermann had this message for the Gloucester fans, staff and players: “Being Head Coach of Gloucester Rugby has been a tremendous privilege for me, and I have loved every minute of it. Working with such a fantastic group of players and coaches has been a great experience. I would especially like to thank Martin [St Quinton] for the faith that he has shown in me. His support and friendship have meant a lot to me. Gloucester Rugby fans are a truly unique group, and I will always cherish the memories I have of being at Kingsholm. I wish the Club nothing but the best.”

Gloucester Rugby today announce the departure of Head Coach Johan Ackermann, who will be joining Japanese club NTT DoCoMo Red Hurricanes in July.

Gloucester Rugby Chairman Martin St Quinton said “I’d look to put on record our thanks to Johan for the significant contribution he’s made to the Club over the three seasons he’s been with us. His infectious enthusiasm for the game, as well as his in-depth rugby knowledge, made him not only a fans’ favourite, but a strong leader of our playing department. I wish him every success in his new venture.”

David Humphreys, Director of Rugby, added:

“While I’m sorry to see Johan leave Gloucester Rugby, I fully understand his reasons for doing so. Johan approached Martin and me to say that he had received a number of coaching opportunities which, for personal reasons, he would like to consider and we agreed to his request.

In his 3 years at Gloucester, Johan transformed the way we play the game and his “play to inspire” philosophy will leave a lasting impact from his time at the Club. I know it was a difficult decision for him to leave Gloucester and I’ve no doubt he’ll make a real difference with the Red Hurricanes in Japan.

Ackermann joined the Cherry and Whites at the start of the 2017/18 season, and took the team to the final of the European Challenge Cup in his first season. The following season ended with the Club in third place in the Premiership, thus qualifying for a second successive season of European Champions Cup rugby.

Johan Ackermann had this message for the Gloucester fans, staff and players: “Being Head Coach of Gloucester Rugby has been a tremendous privilege for me, and I have loved every minute of it. Working with such a fantastic group of players and coaches has been a great experience. I would especially like to thank Martin [St Quinton] for the faith that he has shown in me. His support and friendship have meant a lot to me. Gloucester Rugby fans are a truly unique group, and I will always cherish the memories I have of being at Kingsholm. I wish the Club nothing but the best.”

In light of Johan’s departure and the implications arising from Covid-19, The Board of Gloucester Rugby has discussed a new coaching structure for the playing department, and will make an announcement about it once the appropriate consultations have taken place.

In light of Johan’s departure and the implications arising from Covid-19, The Board of Gloucester Rugby has discussed a new coaching structure for the playing department, and will make an announcement about it once the appropriate consultations have taken place.

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