Bristol Bears have agreed terms to bring Scottish international Magnus Bradbury to Ashton Gate Stadium.
The 26-year-old back rower joins Ellis Genge and AJ MacGinty as the Bears’ third international signing ahead of the 2022/23 campaign.
With seventeen caps to his name, Bradbury has made over 100 appearances for Edinburgh Rugby since graduating through the club’s Academy.
“Magnus is a physical, athletic back rower with outstanding work rate and all the attributes to thrive in our system,” said Director of Rugby Pat Lam.
“To be a centurion at Edinburgh at such a young age shows his consistency and attitude and we’ve seen from his performances on the international stage that he can compete at the very highest level.
“Magnus brings further quality and physicality to our back row as we continue our recruitment for the 2022/23 campaign.”
Bradbury made his full Scotland debut in the 2016 November Test victory over Argentina at BT Murrayfield and has featured in all three of Scotland’s Six Nations fixtures in 2022.
He added: “It’s an exciting opportunity to come to Bristol and play in the Gallagher Premiership. This is a massive club with great ambitions and a world class coaching team – I’m looking forward to the challenge that awaits.
“I’d like to pay tribute to Edinburgh Rugby and my teammates, the fans and staff at the club. It’s been an incredible journey and I am grateful for the support I have received over many years.”
Sean O’Brien to retire from rugby
London Irish can confirm Seán O’Brien is set to retire from rugby at the end of the 2021/22 season.
The back-row forward will bring a storied 14-year career to a conclusion this summer after two-and-a-half years with the Exiles.
O’Brien spent eleven seasons with his home province of Leinster, winning four Pro12/ Pro14 league titles, four Heineken Cup/ Champions Cup honours and an Amlin Challenge Cup, whilst also earning the ERC European Player of the Year accolade in 2011.
He was capped 56 times for Ireland between 2009 and 2019 and represented the British and Irish Lions on two tours, firstly to Australia in 2013 and then to New Zealand in 2017.
O’Brien joined London Irish in December 2019 and has played a vital part across three successful seasons in west London, becoming a fan favourite amongst the Exile Nation.
On his decision to retire, O’Brien stated: “After much deliberation and consultation with my family and friends, I can confirm that I have decided to retire from playing professional rugby at the end of the season.
“I’ve had an incredible career and am thankful for every second of my time at Leinster, Ireland, London Irish and the British & Irish Lions.
“As a 20-year-old, I fulfilled my childhood dream by pulling on the Leinster jersey, and when I made my debut against Cardiff Blues in 2008, I never imagined what would then follow over the next 14 years.
“A special mention must go to Colin McEntee for his ‘big brother’ approach when I joined the academy.
“I feel lucky to have experienced so many wonderful highlights over the course of my career.
“At an international level, I feel privileged to have won 56 caps for Ireland.
“I gave everything I could possibly give, and I will always look back with great pride at every time I pulled on the Irish jersey to represent my country, my county, my friends, and family.
“I feel very fortunate to have had the career I’ve had but none of it would have been possible without the support of so many people.
“Firstly, I would like to thank my Mam and Dad for taking me to Ballon Rathoe Community Games and then Tullow RFC when I was 8 years old.
“They took me to every sport in my area which gave me the exposure to all types of sport.
“They were the perfect role models who taught me to not be afraid of hard work, which certainly helped me progress my career and I can’t thank them enough.
“I was lucky to play alongside some great players and under some brilliant managers and coaches during my time at Tullow, Leinster, Ireland, London Irish and the Lions and I would like to thank every one of them.
“I would also like to thank the backroom staff at each of those clubs, they all showed me fantastic support during my time with them.
“I would like to say a special thank you to some people who believed in me early on in my career, who are sadly no longer with us.
“Jim Kealy (Tullow RFC) and David Wilkie (Edenderry RFC) always said the right thing to me and gave me direction when needed.
“Away from rugby, I feel lucky to have had such a close group of friends that I have always been able to count and rely on throughout the course of my career.
“Thanks to all of you, especially James Foley and Daniel Davey.
“Finally, the most important thank you is reserved for my family.
“I can’t thank my Mum, Dad and brothers (Stephen and William) sisters (Caroline and Alex) enough for their unconditional support over the years.
“It has meant everything to me and to have 6 nephews watching means the world to me.
“There is still a lot of rugby to be played this season before the time comes to hang up my boots, and I am fully focused on giving my all in the London Irish jersey until then.
“I’m going to soak up every minute I get on the pitch and look forward to helping the team wherever I can.
“I am excited about the future and feel I still have a lot to offer the game, in whatever capacity that may be.
“I am currently taking my time to consider a number of options and will make an announcement with regards to the next stage of my career very soon.”
Club statement | Gloucester match cancelled
Warriors regret that tonight’s Gallagher Premiership match against Gloucester Rugby at Kingsholm has been cancelled.
COVID-19 cases, illness and injuries mean that, despite every attempt to fulfil the fixture, we are unable to name a team with sufficient front row forwards to comply with the competition regulations.
We currently have 36 players unavailable due to injury, illness or COVID-19, leaving us with only 18 fully fit players, of whom just three are prop forwards.
When the side to face Gloucester was announced on Thursday we named the only four fit props in the club at that stage. The availability of Murray McCallum, who was named as replacement tighthead, was subject to him passing a fitness test on Friday morning. Unfortunately, Murray failed that fitness test.
Gloucester and Premiership Rugby have now been notified that we no longer have sufficient fit and available front row forwards to allow tonight’s match to proceed safely.
We apologise to Gloucester, supporters of both clubs and BT Sport for the inconvenience this will inevitably cause but exceptional circumstances have conspired against us.
An independent Panel will now be convened to decide the points allocation and that decision will be communicated in due course but Premiership Rugby can confirm the match will not be replayed.
• The playing regulations for Gallagher Premiership matches state that:
In the interests of safety each team playing in the Premiership must have at least six fit and able players in the squad who can play at hooker, tighthead prop and loosehead prop who are suitably trained and experienced to ensure that on the first occasion that a replacement in any front row position is required (whether due to injury or consequent to a player(s) being temporarily suspended or ordered off) the team can continue to play safely with contested scrums.
In the event that a club is unable to field those six players, the match shall be cancelled.
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Bath Rugby confirm three new signings
Bath Rugby confirmed three new signings for the 2022/23 season alongside new Attack Coach Joe Maddock.
Niall Annett, Matt Gallagher and Wesley White will join the Blue, Black and Whites in the summer from Worcester Warriors, Munster Rugby and Jersey Reds respectively.
Here’s some more insight on our new recruits.
Previous Clubs: Ulster, Worcester Warriors
Honours: Ireland U20, Emerging Ireland
Annett has been a consistent, outstanding performer in the Premiership since joining Worcester Warriors in 2014.
Known for his strong leadership skills, the 30-year-old came through at Ulster and captained Ireland Under-20s at the 2011 Junior World Championship.
He debuted for the Ulster senior side in the same year and signed his first senior contract ahead of the 2012/13 campaign.
In his first season at Worcester, Annett featured 22 times and helped the Warriors to British & Irish Cup success and it was his last-minute try in the 2014/15 Greene King IPA Championship Final first leg which proved crucial in Worcester’s promotion back to the top flight.
Annett has been Worcester’s first-choice hooker since 2016 and departs Sixways having made over 120 appearances for Steve Diamond’s team including 87 Premiership appearances to date.
Position: Full-back, wing
Previous Clubs: Saracens, Munster
Honours: England U20
Gallagher joined the Saracens Academy at 14-years-old and earned a senior debut for the north London outfit against Ospreys in the 2014/15 LV= Cup before starring for England Under-20s in their 2016 World Rugby U20 Championship-winning campaign.
He made his European bow in 2016/17 and in total, scored nine tries in over 50 appearances for Saracens whilst playing a huge part in their Premiership Rugby Shield success in 2019.
The full-back moved to Munster in 2020 and debuted against Edinburgh Rugby in the United Rugby Championship and crossed for his first two Munster tries against Dragons in November 2020.
A strong and talented individual with an impressive running game, Gallagher is ready to make a successful return to the Premiership and realise his full potential.
Position: Back Row
Previous Clubs: The Sharks, Montauban, Austin Gilgronis, Jersey Reds
During his career to date, White has experienced rugby in South Africa, France, USA and England.
Growing up, he attended Bishops College in Cape Town and represented the school’s 1st XV as a flanker in 2013 and also played for the Western Province Under-18s.
A year out of school, the now 26-year-old moved to Durban to join The Sharks as a hooker before moving overseas to France with Pro D2 side Montauban.
His studies then took him to the United States at Lindenwood University in Missouri and in his three years there, he became a two-time Collegiate Rugby Championship winner and trained with the USA Eagles Sevens team. He also gained gained Major League Rugby experience at Austin Gilgronis.
White earned a trial with the Blitzboks at the National Sevens Academy in Stellenbosch ahead of a switch to the Championship with Jersey Reds.
The talented back row is now eager to seize his opportunity to thrive at the highest level of rugby in England with the Blue, Black and Whites.