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Skivington makes five changes for Gloucester Rugby’s opening game of 2023 at home to Saracens



The Cherry & Whites begin 2023 with a challenging fixture at home to league leaders Saracens at Kingsholm tomorrow in the Gallagher Premiership.

Head Coach George Skivington has made five changes to the starting XV that narrowly defeated London Irish on New Year’s Eve.

After Santi Socino left the field with a leg injury against the exiles, George McGuigan makes his first start for the club at hooker, after signing from Newcastle Falcons before Christmas. 

Val Rapava Ruskin also come into the front row for Harry Elrington, whilst Kirill Gotovtsev keeps his place at tight-head.

Freddie Clarke returns to the starting line-up with Alex Craig also out with injury. He partners Matias Alemanno, who scored the Cherry & Whites sole try against Irish.

With Albert Tuisue suspended, Ben Morgan returns to the back-row with Ruan Ackermann and captain Lewis Ludlow.

Santi Carreras proved to be the difference between the two sides on New Year’s Eve, his penalty with the clock in red won the game for Gloucester Rugby. He starts at fly-half outside Ben Meehan.

Giorgi Kveseladze is the only change in the back line. The Georgian replaces Seb Atkinson at inside centre alongside Chris Harris.

Ollie Thorley, Jonny May and Lloyd Evans form the back three.

With injuries to Socino and Jack Singleton, promising hooker Seb Blake steps up to the bench. He joins Harry Elrington, Ciaran Knight, Cam Jordan, Jack Clement, Stephen Varney, Billy Twelvetrees and Tom Seabrook.

Gloucester Rugby

15. Lloyd Evans*

14. Jonny May*

13. Chris Harris

12. Giorgi Kveseladze

11. Ollie Thorley*

10. Santi Carreras

9. Ben Meehan


1. Val Rapava Ruskin

2. George McGuigan

3. Kirill Gotovtsev

4. Freddie Clarke*

5. Matias Alemanno

6. Ruan Ackermann

7. Lewis ludlow (c)*

8. Ben Morgan


16. Seb Blake*

17. Harry Elrington

18. Ciaran Knight*

19. Cam Jordan*

20. Jack Clement*

21. Stephen Varney*

22. Billy Twelvetrees

23. Tom Seabrook*

*Denotes academy graduate.

Content & Images from – Gloucester Rugby





Sale Sharks have agreed a deal to sign Fiji captain Waisea Nayacalevu from French Top14 side Toulon. 

The explosive centre, who starred for his country during the recent World Cup, has signed a one-year contract with an option for a further year. 

He will join up with Alex Sanderson’s Sharks squad ahead of the start of the 2024/25 Gallagher Premiership season. 

Waisea, 33, said: “I’ve watched the Premiership for a long time and it’s always been in the back of my mind that I would love to play there one day and experience rugby in England. 

“Now that opportunity has arrived and I’m really, really happy and grateful. I’m so excited to get over there and join the boys and see how I can contribute to the team. 

“I have spoken to Telusa Veainu and he only has positive things to say about the club and about Manchester. 

“I’m looking forward to playing with some of the guys I’ve played against, like Tom Curry and George Ford. But I also know there are a lot of really talented young players in the Sale Sharks squad and I’m excited to share my experience and help them develop as much as I can.  

“I told Alex that it’s what I’ve been doing for the last few years of my career and it’s something I’m passionate about.” 

Nayacalevu, who stands at 6’4” and weighs in at 16st 7lb, spent ten years at Top14 side Stade Français before making the switch to Toulon in 2022.  

He has won 34 caps for Fiji, slotting in at both centre and on the wing, and captained his country at last year’s World Cup, where the Pacific Islanders made the quarter-finals, losing 30-24 to England in Marseille. 

He also famously scored for Fiji in their memorable pre-World Cup win against England at Twickenham. 

Images & Content from Sale Sharks Rugby

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Falcons star to join Saracens



Phil Brantingham to join Saracens

Tuesday 05 March 2024 Written by: Tom Grisedale

Prop-forward Phil Brantingham will leave Newcastle Falcons in the summer to join Saracens.

The 22-year-old has played 25 games for his home town club, and leaves with the thanks and best wishes of everyone at the Falcons.

Chairman of rugby Matt Thompson said: “Phil has done well for us and we made him a good offer to stay here.

“We respect his decision and wish him all the best for his move in the summer, but between now and then he will be fully committed to finishing the season strongly for Newcastle Falcons.”

Source – Newcastle Falcons Rugby

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Sale Sharks can confirm that forward Cobus Wiese will leave the club at the end of the season to return to South Africa. 

The 26-year-old lock has played almost 80 games for the club and scored five tries since joining from the DHL Stormers ahead of the 2020/21 season. 

He played a key role last year as Sale reached the Premiership final, and this season he has featured a further 13 times for Alex Sanderson’s side. 

Alex said: “Cobus will be missed by all of us on so many levels. He’s the most polite and courteous of people off the field, but the most wildly excitable man on the field, and on a night out. 

“To say Cobus wears his heart on his sleeve is to do him a disservice with regards to his emotional commitment for which his body has paid the price on occasion.  

“He leads by example and has earnt the respect and adoration of the group both on a professional and a personal level. We wish him every success and happiness with his move back home.” 

Everyone at Sale Sharks would like to thank Cobus for his contribution to the club and the team during his time here and we wish him all the very best for the future.  

Images & Content from Sale Sharks Rugby

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