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Premiership

Springbok, Lood De Jager signs with Premiership side.

Huge Signing.

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Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images/Getty Images

Sale Sharks have announced the signing of South African International Lood De Jager from the Vodacom Bulls.

De Jager has signed a 3-year contract with the club and will arrive in Manchester ahead of the 19/20 Gallagher Premiership season following the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

The 26-year-old started his career with the Toyota Cheetahs and quickly burst into the spotlight after a stellar first season. The 6ft 9in powerhouse went on to make 40 Super Rugby appearances for the Bloemfontein based franchise and was rewarded for his outstanding form in 2015, winning the prestigious SA Rugby Player of the Year award.

Known in Super Rugby for his superior physical presence, the 125kg second-row was quickly recognised by the Springbok hierarchy as an upcoming talent and was selected for the national side in May 2014, at just 21 years old. The experienced line-out operator has now won a total of 38 caps for South Africa.

In 2016 De Jager made the switch from Bloemfontein to Pretoria, signing for the Vodacom Bulls ahead of the 2017 Super Rugby Season. He has gone on to make 20 appearances for the Bulls, and was awarded the captaincy ahead of the 2019 season.

Steve Diamond Sale Sharks Director of Rugby Said:

“I am extremely pleased to secure the services Lood for the 2019/20 season. He is a world class line-out operator with lots of experience at the highest level and offers a huge physical presence around the pitch. Lood’s signing is a statement of intent in our endeavour to become a force in the Gallagher Premiership and Europe over the next three years.”

Commenting on the recent announcement Lood said:

“Firstly it is a great honour for me to join Sale Sharks, they are a club with great tradition and really high ambitions and they are building something really special. It’s exciting to be a part of and Im looking forward to joining up with the guys in Manchester later in the year.”

Remember this tussle he had with fellow Springbok Eben Etzebeth?

The club also announced that Dorian West has taken a permanent role as forwards coach at the club.

Dorian joined the club on an interim basis in September 2018 and, working alongside Pete Angelsea had an instant impact on the Sharks set piece.

The former World Cup winner has a wealth of experience both as a player and a coach, having overseen the England U20’s forwards after the conclusion of his illustrious playing career, but most notably guiding Northampton Saints to their most successful season of all time in 2015. The Saints, under West and former Sale captain Jim Mallinder, finished top of the Premiership table that year only to lose out on the title to Saracens in the grand final in May.

Commenting on the news Dorian said:

“I am delighted to have signed a permanent deal at Sale, I have really enjoyed the last 8 months with the Club and I can already see progress being made within the team.”

“The ambition and direction being shown by Dimes and supported by our owners Simon and Ged is second to none and to say I am excited for what the future holds, would be an understatement.”

“I would like to thank Steve for giving me such a great opportunity and we are looking forward to finishing the Gallagher Premiership season on a high, and building on the improvements we have made this year to create a formidable pack capable of challenging at the top of the professional game.”

Sharks Director of Rugby Steve Diamond said:

“Earlier in the season it became apparent that we needed some extra bite within our forwards and some organisation within our set piece.”

“Dorian has an abundance of experience within the game and met all the required criteria we were looking for in a coach.”

“Since joining ‘Nobby’ has fitted into the environment at Carrington seamlessly and his hard work and commitment is already showing dividends.”

Premiership

Murphy leaves Leicester Tigers

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Leicester Tigers have today announced the departure of Geordan Murphy from his role as Director of Rugby at the club.

After discussions with Murphy about his current contract, which was due to end at the conclusion of the 2020/21 season, it was decided that it would not be renewed and, by mutual consent, it was agreed that Murphy would leave the club with immediate effect. 

Murphy joined Tigers as a teenager, making his senior debut in 1997, and went on to make 322 appearances in 16 seasons, including four years as club captain.

After retiring in 2013, having won eight Premiership and two European titles, Murphy moved into coaching and rose through the ranks as skills coach, backs coach, attack coach, head coach and director of rugby.

He is Leicester’s leading try-scorer and appearance holder in European rugby and is 17th on the club’s all-time tryscorers’ chart.

Speaking about his time at the club, the outgoing Director of Rugby said: “First, I want to thank my wife Aneka and my two boys, and our new addition on the way, for everything they have done for me and how they have continued to make me a better player, coach and person.

“As well as my family here in Leicester, and all of our friends, I want to thank my family and friends in Ireland for their support throughout my career at Tigers as a player and coach in the good and bad times.

“I have spent 23 great years at Leicester Tigers and forged great friendships with people throughout that entire period.

“I’m most proud of the respect I earned from my team-mates and colleagues, and I’m grateful to all of them for how they have helped me, supported me and shared in my time at this club.

“Winning has been the easy part. It is when things are not going well, when you are losing and having to get back up every day and put on a brave face, that you know who your friends are and, to all of those who supported me through those times, those are the friends I will have for life.

“I wish the club the very best for the future on and off the pitch, and say thank you to the supporters who have been a part of my life for more than 20 years.”

“His contribution of more than 23 years is unrivalled in the professional era and all of us had the privilege of watching Geordan play for Leicester Tigers before being afforded another privilege in working alongside such a passionate club man” Tigers Chairman, Peter Tom

Tigers Chairman Peter Tom thanked Murphy for his contribution to the club, on and off the pitch, since 1997.

“I want to express, on behalf of everybody at Leicester Tigers, my sincere gratitude to Geordan for all that he has done for our club for more than two decades,” said Tom.

“His contribution of more than 23 years is unrivalled in the professional era and all of us had the privilege of watching Geordan play for Leicester Tigers before being afforded another privilege in working alongside such a passionate club man. 

“I wish Geordan, his wife Aneka and their children all the best for what comes next and I know, when we are able to safely do so, we will afford him the proper send-off he deserves in front of all of our supporters at Welford Road.”

The club will not be recruiting to replace the Director of Rugby role but will now commence a recruitment process to identify candidates for a position in the organisation charged with overseeing the strategic vision and off-field responsibilities at Oval Park.

Tigers Chairman Tom added: “This decision, while difficult, was made to ensure we are as effective and successful an organisation as we can be at Leicester Tigers.

“Steve Borthwick understands the expectations of him, his coaching team and the playing group at Leicester Tigers on the pitch.

“We are determined to see this club back at the top, where supporters expect us to be, competing for trophies and are fully behind the players, coaches and staff on this journey.”

Statement from Leicester Tigers Ends.

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Premiership

Bristol trio sign permanent deals

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(Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

Niyi Adeolokun, Tom Kessell and Peter McCabe have signed one-year contracts with the Bears.

The trio, who joined on a short-term deals at the conclusion of the 2019/20 campaign, extend their stay at Ashton Gate ahead of the new season.

Scrum half Kessell (two appearances) and wing Adeolokun (four appearances) both featured in the Challenge Cup final, while prop McCabe made three appearances in the Gallagher Premiership, scoring his maiden try for the club against Wasps at the Ricoh Arena.

Director of Rugby Pat Lam said: “All three of these guys have settled into the Bears culture well and made some positive contributions on the field, so we’re pleased to have them on board for the 2020/21 campaign.

“With another busy schedule ahead of us, and players set to be away on international duty or undergoing rehabilitation at the beginning of the new season, it’s important to ensure we have plenty of depth and cover in key positions.”

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Premiership

Leicester Tigers halt all training due to COVID outbreak.

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(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Statement from Tigers.

Leicester Tigers have taken the decision to stop all team training and close the club’s Oval Park training ground facility following a COVID-19 outbreak within the camp.

The club returned several positive tests for COVID-19 earlier this week following the latest round of Premiership Rugby’s COVID-19 screening programme, including members of the playing group and support staff.

As well as those players and staff who have returned positive tests being isolated at home, several members of the squad and support staff were also instructed to isolate after being identified as close contacts.

The club is working closely with Public Health England and Premiership Rugby to ensure the protocols in place are being followed across all departments to reduce the risk of any further incidents.

Leicester Tigers takes its responsibility to maintain high standards extremely seriously at this time and is confident in the measures in place.

Additional testing will take place tomorrow (Friday, November 6) for all players and staff ahead of Monday’s weekly testing in line with Premiership Rugby guidelines.

All players will now continue their pre-season programme alone in their household bubbles while the Oval Park facility remains closed.

Health, wellbeing and safety are paramount and all players and staff are being monitored by Tigers medical staff, in addition to their families being offered support where necessary.

Tigers have made the decision to pause all training commitments and close the training ground in a bid to maintain the integrity of the 2020/21 Gallagher Premiership season, which commences for the club on Saturday, November 21, as well as honouring our responsibilities to the Leicestershire community.

Statement ends.

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