Springbok, Lood De Jager signs with Premiership side.
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.”
Gloucester Rugby sign Cardiff star
Gloucester Rugby is pleased to announce the signing of centre Max Llewellyn, who will arrive at Kingsholm this summer ahead of the 2023/24 season.
Llewellyn, who qualifies for both Wales and England, moves to the Cherry & Whites from United Rugby Championship side Cardiff Rugby, where he has made 40 appearances, scoring five tries.
The 24-year-old also spent time with Cardiff RFC in the Welsh Premiership and represented Wales U20s 14 times between 2018 and 2019.
At 6’5’’ and 105kg, Llewellyn brings a significant physical presence into Gloucester’s midfield options.
Max comes from impressive rugby stock, his father, Gareth Llewellyn, having won 92 caps for Wales.
Gloucester Rugby Head Coach, George Skivington, says the young centre is a welcome addition to the squad.
“Max is a young player that has a huge amount of potential and we’re excited about him seeing him in Cherry & White. He’s been really impressive for Cardiff over the last couple of seasons and we know he’s relishing the prospect of challenging himself in the Gallagher Premiership.
“He’s obviously a big lad and he enjoys that physical side of the game but that’s not the only string to his bow.
“Max will have some experienced Premiership backs to learn from here in addition to the coaching staff, so he’s in a great place to develop, and we’re looking forward to seeing him in Cherry & White.”
“I’m really excited to be coming to Gloucester” commented Llewellyn.
“It’s always been an ambition of mine to play in the Premiership and to do that for a club like Gloucester, it’s something I’m really looking forward to.
“I was fortunate enough to play at Kingsholm in pre-season and the atmosphere there was amazing; it’s somewhere you look forward to playing every week.”
Max is in for 2023/24, are you? Get your 2023/24 Club Membership before 5pm today (Monday 20 March) HERE to secure your early bird discount.
Dave Walder to leave Newcastle Falcons
Thursday 16 March 2023
Dave Walder will leave his role as head coach at Newcastle Falcons at the end of the 2022-23 campaign.
Following the departure of Dean Richards at the end of last season Walder has spearheaded the coaching department throughout the 22-23 campaign, which also comprises Mark Laycock, Mark Wilson, Micky Ward and Scott MacLeod.
While Dave will leave at the end of his contracted period he will step back with immediate effect, handing the reins to Mark Laycock until a successor is officially appointed in the coming months.
Speaking on Dave’s departure, Matt Thompson, chairman of rugby, said: “Realistically we haven’t been where we want to be for a few years now and as a club we recognise the need to make changes to our approach to achieve our goals. Transitional periods like this are never easy, and unfortunately we are going to lose some people along the way.
“A lot has happened, particularly this year, both across the sport and on and off the field at the club, and we need a bit of a reset across the board.
“Our aim is to be a sustainable club that is here for years to come and in line with that it’s important that we invest in the right areas, in the right way at the right time. We want to entertain our supporters and play an exciting brand of rugby, which also means having the right players and coaching personnel in place to take us forward, and that is part of our ongoing recruitment strategy.
“We’ve already made some great announcements including re-signing a number of players such as Ben Stevenson, Jamie Blamire and Adam Radwan. This has been bolstered by some new faces including Tim Cardall, Murray McCallum and Kiran McDonald. We also continue to recruit both on and off the field into the rugby department, including across the coaching team.
“The ongoing support from our loyal supporters and our employees is huge, and we want to thank them for the commitment they continue to show to Newcastle Falcons. We’re really excited for them to come on this journey with us and be part of what is shaping up to be both an exciting and sustainable future.
“On a more personal note, we’re immensely grateful for everything Dave has helped us to achieve. He’s been a massive part of our club for many years and as with all departures it’s been a tough decision, but ultimately the right one for the club as we move forward. We wish him all the best in the future and look forward to seeing what he does next.”
As a player Walder made 110 appearances for the Falcons, scoring the winning try in the 2001 Tetley’s Bitter Cup final and forming an instrumental part of the side which won the 2004 Powergen Cup final.
Going on to earn domestic and European honours with Wasps before finishing his playing career with Japanese side Mitsubishi Dynaboars, Walder joined Newcastle’s coaching staff in 2014.
Initially serving as kicking skills coach, he stepped up as backs and attack coach before being promoted to head coach in 2017, earning promotion from the Championship and helping steer the Falcons to their first Gallagher Premiership semi-final.
Newcastle Falcons is working to finalise the structure of the coaching team for the 2023-24 season, and further announcements will be made once the interview process has concluded.
Ollie Thorley re-signs with Gloucester Rugby
Gloucester Rugby is delighted to announce that academy graduate, Ollie Thorley, has extended his stay at Kingsholm.
The Cheltenham College product became the Club’s youngest first-team try scorer when he crossed against Ospreys in March 2015 in the LV Cup and he hasn’t stopped scoring since.
The explosive winger has scored over 30 tries in Cherry & White, including a chart-topping 11 tries in the 2019/20 season, the highest-ever Premiership total by a Gloucester player.
Thorley represented England at U18 and U20 level, winning the 2016 IRB Junior World Championship with the latter, he later went on to win his first England cap against Italy in the 2020 Six Nations and is widely tipped to gain more international honours soon.
He bounced back from an injury that kept him out of the start of the season and has hit form straight away, winning back-to-back Stowford Press Player of the Match awards against London Irish and Saracens recently.
Gloucester Rugby Head Coach, George Skivington, commented:
“We’re really pleased that Ollie has committed his future to the Club. He’s a leading example of a player that has developed in the Gloucester Rugby pathway and gone on to be a key figure in the first team.
“He’s naturally a very dangerous attacking player, but he’s always working to develop and grow his game which you can see in his performances this season.
“I’m looking forward to seeing Ollie represent this club for years to come.”
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