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Strettle To Retire: Social Media reaction proves how good he was.

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Saracens and England winger David Strettle has announced he will retire from professional rugby at the end of the current season following an illustrious 17-year career.

The 35-year-old first picked up a ball aged five years has gone on to make over 325 appearances at club level as well as earning 14 caps on the international stage.

Known for his quick feet, electric pace and try-scoring ability, Strettle has crossed the whitewash on 122 occasions to date, the latest couple coming in Sarries’ Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final win over Glasgow Warriors in March.

Starting out at Rotherham Titians in 2002, Strets made a name for himself on the Sevens circuit with England before penning a deal with Harlequins. Soon after, Test recognition in the 15s game came and he made a try-scoring debut against Ireland at Croke Park.

After four years at The Stoop, he found home at Saracens in 2010 and hit the ground running with a try in his first outing for the Men in Black and struck again the following weekend against Leeds Carnegie.

It proved to be a memorable first season in north London for Strettle as Sarries won their first ever Premiership title. The hotstepper ended his four years at the club with a second domestic medal and departed for Clermont Auvergne having enjoyed several trips away with the squad, creating long-lasting memories in the process.

In France, Strettle was adored by the Montferrand faithful and helped them to their first Top 14 triumph in seven years before returning to Allianz Park this season where he has once again made a huge impact on and off the field.

There is no doubt Strets will be a success in whatever he chooses to do post-retirement and everyone at Saracens would like to wish him all the best in his future endeavours.

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Death, taxes….and rugby players’ retirement statements on social media…all certainties of life in this day an age. So, this is it for me. Every journey has its end and every curtain has its call, and I’m now having to admit that I can’t play rugby forever. There’s always that nagging doubt in the back of your mind as a rugby player, that nudges you to say, ‘go on…one more year!’ Sometimes you listen to it, but sometimes you take a step back and realise that now is time. Yet, I won’t gloss over the fact I am leaving a sport and a way of life, that has given me so much opportunity, and in turn, has provided me a wealth of memories, friendships, and life lessons since I first laced up my boots as a snotty-nosed kid in Warrington. From finding so much enjoyment in playing the game at my local club Lymm RFC, to learning the ropes at Rotherham Titans – then being lucky enough to play at three of the elite clubs our game can boast in Harlequins, ASM Clermont Auvergne and Saracens. To play for my country is something that I will look back on with immense pride, on both the Sevens circuit and then for the England national side. I’d like to thank Saracens, who provided me and my family with the opportunity to return to Allianz Park for one more season. I feel incredibly lucky to come back to this Club, and a massive thank you must go to Nigel Wray and Mark McCall, all the coaching and backroom staff, past and present for their support and encouragement, and my teammates, for sharing so many experiences and memories with along the way. My final thanks go to my family. To my Mum and Dad, for doing what every good parent does by believing in me and providing me with the support and dedication to make the world my oyster. Latterly in my life, to my wife, Phoebe, and my two little munchkins, Isla and Leo, for giving me the perfect reason to play rugby, to make them proud. So…from me, thank you. Thanks for all your support, thanks for all the memories, and here’s to making one or two more before I become another one of those grumpy old timers who charge modest sums to speak at your local rugby club to trot out the tired old clichés! Ta, Strets!

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On retiring, Strettle said:

“I spoke to my wife and we decided now is the time to say goodbye to rugby. There are some more adventures for me elsewhere.

“I’m lucky enough to be able to look back, be very proud and privileged to have done some of the things I’ve done.

“There was a time when I was at Clermont I thought I’d retire so everything from that point has been an unbelievable bonus for me and to come back to Saracens has been incredible.

“When I first joined the club there was a saying called ‘ELE’ – Everyone Loves Everyone – it’s very true. There are no prima-donnas, no one is treated better than the others.

“Saracens will always have a special place in my heart and I have some amazing memories to take forward. I’m looking forward to the last couple of months before creating further memories outside of rugby.”

Director of Rugby Mark McCall added: “To watch Strets play, is to forget you are a coach and to be a fan of rugby.

“Competitive in the air, graceful on the run, intelligent in defence, he has produced some of the most memorable moments of skill ever seen in a Saracens jersey; often in big games, often under the greatest pressure. That is the mark of a truly great player.

“Off the field, he is a dedicated teammate and family man. Saracens have been fortunate to have David for two spells at the club and he leaves having made Saracens a better place. We wish him and his family every success in the future.”

Past & Current players were quick to comment and congratulate Strettle on his career:

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Premiership

Steve Diamond to become Director of Rugby at Worcester Warriors

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Steve Diamond will become Warriors Director of Rugby from the end of this season on a two-year contract.

Diamond was appointed Lead Rugby Consultant in November and he will continue in that capacity for the remainder of this season before succeeding Alan Solomons as Director of Rugby when Solomons retires from coaching at the end of June.

Diamond will take charge of the rugby programme immediately with Solomons providing support as needed.

“Having taken the time to work with Steve in his role as a Lead Rugby Consultant it was the logical decision to offer him the role as Director of Rugby for the next two seasons,” said Warriors co-owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham.

“Steve is an experienced and proven Director of Rugby with the qualities needed to take the club to the next level and achieve our ambitions of competing at the top end of the Premiership.

“We have invested a great deal into ensuring we have all the right ingredients for the club to reach its full potential.

“We have unwavering confidence in the strength of the players and the ability of the club to achieve that goal. We will continue to do everything we can to achieve it.

“Alan has built an excellent platform for Steve to take things to the next level and achieve the full potential this club has to offer.

“Alan arrived in a consultancy role four years ago and his recruitment philosophy to develop and invest in a core of home-grown Worcester players and supplement them with x-factor talent has led to the development and retention of an exciting group of young players with more now coming through behind them in the academy.”

In addition to Diamond succeeding Solomons, Warriors can confirm that Head Coach Jonathan Thomas has departed the club with immediate effect.

“Jonathan has given his all to the club. We appreciate everything he’s done in his time at Warriors both as a player and a coach and we wish him all the very best in his future ventures,” said Goldring and Whittingham.

Diamond, who played more than 350 games for Sale in a career that spanned the amateur and professional eras, has a proven track record as a coach with Sale, Saracens and the Russia national team.

He re-joined Sale in 2011, initially as Director of Sport before being appointed Director of Rugby the following year.

Sale won the Premiership Rugby Cup in 2019/20, Diamond’s last full season in charge at the AJ Bell Stadium and they also qualified for the Heineken Champions Cup five times.

Diamond is now looking forward to taking charge at Sixways and helping Warriors to become similarly competitive.

“We have a really exciting challenge in front of us and it’s one that I am relishing,” Diamond said.

“We have enthusiastic owners who have ambitions for the club to be established in the top six of the Gallagher Premiership and playing in the Heineken Champions Cup.

“Clearly we are not where we would like to be at the moment as a club. To achieve our ambitions, our results need to improve and changes need to be made. A key part of my role will be the recruitment of players and staff.

“Worcester is a hotbed of rugby with a fantastic core group of supporters. We want to grow that supporter base and give the city, county and region a successful and sustainable Premiership club that everyone can be proud of.”

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Bath loan English International star from Rivals

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Nathan Hughes will join Bath Rugby on a loan agreement with immediate effect.

The No. 8 makes the switch to the Recreation Ground on a short-term deal, although Bears have a call-back option if required.

Director of Rugby Pat Lam said: “It’s important for Nate to get some regular quality game-time at this stage of the season to enable to get back to his best rugby.  This is a great opportunity for him and one that suits all parties with our neighbours Bath short of back row options at present.

“Although Nathan has missed out on selection in recent weeks, his attitude and commitment around the environment has been outstanding as he’s played his part in ensuring the team continues to grow and improve on and off the field. I will stay in close dialogue with him over the loan period as he could still play an important part in our season.”

Hughes will not be eligible to play in the Gallagher Premiership fixture between the sides on Saturday, March 5 (3pm KO).

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Premiership

Premiership Rugby sign new deal with ITV

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(Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

Premiership Rugby and ITV can today announce a game-changing new partnership to show, free-to-air, live Gallagher Premiership Rugby matches and a weekly highlights programme up until the end of the 2023-24 season.

This season four Gallagher Premiership Rugby matches will be shown on ITV, in addition to the Final which is on ITV4.

The coverage kicks off with Sale Sharks taking on Leicester Tigers on Sunday 30 January at 3pm, with the highlights show starting that evening. Furthermore, for the 2022-23 and 2023-24 seasons there will be seven live games on ITV, also including the Final.

  • All live matches will be simulcast on ITV and BT Sport, who will continue with their comprehensive coverage across the whole season, showing live matches every weekend.
  • The new partnership means that the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Final, at Twickenham Stadium on 18 June, will be shown free-to-air for the first time in the competition’s history.
  • As part of the ITV partnership, there will be a weekly highlights show on ITV4 and repeated on ITV, presented by David Flatman and Topsy Ojo.

New Premiership Rugby Chief Executive Simon Massie-Taylor said: “The return of Gallagher Premiership Rugby to terrestrial TV is the perfect way for us to kick off 2022. It’s great news for the league, our clubs, the supporters and the profile of rugby in England.

“Our ambition is to grow the game and make Gallagher Premiership Rugby available to as many people as possible. BT Sport have done an amazing job in building the core Premiership Rugby TV audience and the ITV partnership allows us to expand our reach into the households of millions of other rugby fans. This season our average match audience on BT Sport has risen 30% year on year, which shows the potential.”

Niall Sloane, ITV Director of Sport, said: “We are delighted to announce this deal to bring regular free-to-air coverage of top-level club rugby to viewers across ITV’s platforms. It has been a pleasure working with BT Sport and our partners at Premiership Rugby in agreeing this deal and we look forward to showcasing the action and the stories from this elite league over the coming years.”

Massie-Taylor added: “We also want to make the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Final 2022 the most-watched in our history and we believe we can achieve that with the match screened on both ITV4 and BT Sport. A phenomenal proposition for English club rugby’s showpiece occasion.”

“We are delighted to have five games, rising to seven next season, live on ITV but it is also crucial for us to have a weekly highlights programme that is accessible to millions of people. This will allow us to showcase the best of Gallagher Premiership Rugby to the widest possible audience. The highlights show gives a significant, regular presence with a broadcaster that will also show the Six Nations and Rugby World Cup 2023.

“With another highly competitive and exciting season, we have seen significant growth in our audiences on BT Sport this season and we see a big opportunity to bring this amazing rugby product to new fans, drive attendances and continue to grow the game.”

In the last round of Gallagher Premiership Rugby on BT Sport we saw:

  • Our highest ever Friday night average audience –252,000 for Bristol Bears v Sale Sharks (peak: 346,000)
  • Our highest ever regular season Saturday average audience on BT Sport – 300,000 for Harlequins v Exeter Chiefs (peak: 374,000)
  • Our second-highest audience ever for a three-game weekend (only eclipsed by Round 10 earlier this season).
  • After 38 matches on BT Sport so far this season the total peak cumulative audience is 9.6 million

The deal further enhances ITV’s portfolio of world-class sports rights, which includes exclusive live coverage of the England men’s and England women’s football team, the FA Cup, the Six Nations, the Rugby World Cup, horse racing and the Tour de France.

Source – Exeter Chiefs Rugby

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