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Premiership

Solomons commits to Worcester Warriors until 2022

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Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images

Warriors Director of Rugby Alan Solomons has committed himself to the club until the end of the 2021/22 season.

Solomons’ existing contract expires at the end of next season but he has now signed a two-year extension.

“Jason Whittingham and I both think Alan has done a great job of managing the team and rugby department since starting at Warriors,” said Warriors co-owner Colin Goldring.

“We both support his vision and plan to achieve a sustainable top flight team with the Three Pears Warriors Academy at its core, supported by top-class talented and experienced players.

“We are delighted that Alan has signed his contract extension which ensures continuity and stability.”

Solomons joined Warriors in October 2017, initially as a consultant, and was appointed Director of Rugby two months later.

Solomons helped Warriors secure their Gallagher Premiership status in his first season in charge and to a record-equalling nine Premiership wins, a place in the European Challenge Cup quarter-finals and the Premiership Rugby Cup semi-finals this season.

“I am honoured to be afforded the privilege of being part of Warriors’ continuing journey and look forward to working with Colin and Jason and all concerned to realise our vision for the club,” Solomons said.

Solomons, a former lawyer, was Head Coach of Western Province and The Stormers Super Rugby team and took the Stormers to their first-ever home semi-final in 1999. He was also part of South Africa’s coaching team that guided the Springboks to a record-equalling 17 consecutive Test wins and finished third in the 1999 Rugby World Cup.

During Solomon’s time in charge of Ulster Rugby they won the Celtic Cup in 2003 and in the same year were runners up in the Celtic League. He was voted Northern Ireland Coach/Manager of the Year in 2003.

Solomons was then High Performance Consultant for the International Rugby Board from 2007 to 2010 and in 2009 coached the Southern Kings in their debut match against the British and Irish Lions.

He coached the Eastern Province Kings to three successive Division One finals, lifting the trophy in 2010 and 2012 before taking the Southern Kings into Super Rugby in 2013.

Solomons then coached Edinburgh,taking them to a first ever European Challenge Cup final and winning back-to-back 1872 Cups against Glasgow.

Solomons has also been Director of Rugby of USA Eagles and coached Northampton Saints and the Barbarians.

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Premiership

Newcastle Sign Tongan Winger

Newcastle Falcons have continued their rebuild to gain instant promotion back to the Premiership with the signing of a Tongan international

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Newcastle Falcons have announced the signing of Tongan winger Cooper Vuna from Bath ahead of the 2019/20 Championship season.

The 31-year-old has put pen to paper on a two-year deal having spent time at both Bath and Worcester Warriors previously earning 47 Premiership caps.

The winger, who has turned out for both Australia and Tonga at international level admitted that the move was unexpected, but he is looking forward to the challenge ahead.

“The main things that attracted me to Newcastle were the attacking style of play that the Falcons are known for, and the chance to work with a quality director of rugby like Dean Richards and his coaches. I’ve played up at Kingston Park a few times, I know a few of the boys and I like the unpredictability they bring to the game. The move has come from out of nowhere, really, but as soon it was on the radar I knew it was a challenge I wanted to take up,” he said.

Due to his time with Tonga and having turned out for the other Premiership clubs, Vuna is friends with several players in the squad already and is excited about getting to know the rest of the team.

“I’m mates with Tane Takulua and Sinoti Sinoti from our Pacific Nations Cup rugby, likewise with Darren Barry from our time at Worcester, but other than that I’m really looking forward to coming up to the North East and forging some new friendships. I’m still in the Tonga picture for the Rugby World Cup but because I’m still in the UK I’m going to come up to Newcastle next week for the start of pre-season, just to get a couple of weeks’ work in before I head off,” he added.

Vuna hopes to be involved with Tonga at the Rugby World Cup later this year and following that he hopes to lead the Falcons to promotion.

“We’ll have to see what happens in terms of who makes the final squad for the tournament, but I’m excited about starting with the Falcons and seeing what contribution I can make. We’ve obviously got one big hurdle this season in terms of earning promotion back into the Premiership, but if we can achieve that then the club is in really good shape for many years to come with the talent we have in the squad,” he finished.

Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards confirmed that he has been trying to sign Vuna for some time now and is happy to have finally got his man.

“Cooper is a player I’ve admired for some time and I’m delighted to have finally got him up to Newcastle. He has fantastic footwork, great power and handling ability and he gives us another dangerous attacking option,” he said.

Vuna brings a wealth of experience to the club having also played Rugby League, as well as union, while his father, John, also represented Tonga’s international side.

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Premiership

London Irish Sign Up Experienced Coach

London Irish have added to their coaching ranks by claiming the signature of a key man

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(Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)

London Irish have secured the services of Brad Davies for the 2019/20 Gallagher Premiership season. 

It was confirmed in May that Davies would be leaving his post at the Ospreys in the Guinness PRO 14 and he is looking forward to working with the big spending club.

“I’m really excited at the opportunity to join London Irish. The club is steeped in history and is on an exciting journey as it moves into the Premiership next season. Having spoken at length with the club, I am excited about the vision and look forward to working in London Irish’s coaching team,” he said.

The 51-year-old Australian has previously spent time in the Premiership with both Bath and Wasps and will join up with the club on July 1st.

Director of Rugby Declan Kidney is excited to add Davies to his ever-improving side.

“He has a wealth of coaching experience working with some very good sides and has experience of playing in Europe. Brad will add a vast amount of knowledge to our coaching set-up and will complement the already great work our current coaches do. I know that Les (Kiss), George (Skivington) and Dec (Danaher) are really looking forward to having him on board,” he said.

London Irish are preparing for life back in the Premiership following their promotion from the Championship last year and have already spent a lot of money on new players. The addition of former Rugby League player Davies is another step in the right direction for the Exiles.

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Premiership

Leicester Tigers Put Up for Sale

Leicester Tigers have confirmed plans to sell the club with a view on making them the dominant force they once were

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Leicester Tigers announced earlier today that they plan to sell the club with a full strategic review to try and create a long-term project that will see them become a dominant rugby force once more. 

Following CVC Capital Partners’ acquisition of a minority stake in Premiership Rugby Limited, CVC plan to develop the sport and replicate the successes they have created in both Formula One and Moto GP.

Since CVC invested there has been huge interest in Leicester from new investors and this has caused the board to run a formal sale process. Claiming that the sale is in the best interests of the club, players, fans and stakeholders.

Leicester Tigers chairman Peter Tom believes that CVC’s investment in the Premiership has given them a unique opportunity.

“CVC’s investment in Premiership Rugby has created a unique opportunity – catapulting the sport into the public consciousness like never before and broadening its appeal to potential investors. It is our duty as a board to explore the club’s strategic options and assess the best possible ownership structure to benefit from the changes ahead on and off the pitch,” he said.

Meanwhile Tigers CEO Simon Cohen confirmed the club plan to not only become the most successful one in England but Europe too.

“The investment and changes in English Premiership rugby present a huge opportunity for the club and a new investor. As the most prestigious club in English rugby, this development will further support Leicester Tigers in its ambition to be the most successful club in England and Europe, to the benefit of our players, the club and our loyal supporters,” he said.

By CVC claiming a stake in Premiership Rugby, Tigers were given a pay-out which actually meant that they ended up with no debt.

Coupled with Leicester’s greater incremental revenues as CVC’s marketing and as commercial strategy grows has made them very attractive for potential investors.

This comes as good news to fans who watched their team fall to its lowest finish in the Premiership, 11th last season, since the Premiership turned professional in 1997.

Leicester are the most successful English team in the professional era, but clubs have been catching up, and it will be interesting to see how all this plans out as the Tigers plan to bounce back.

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