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Team news: Jamie Blamire starts against Bath



Friday 4 November 2022

Jamie Blamire comes into Newcastle Falcons’ side for Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership visit of Bath Rugby, starting at hooker for the first time this season.

The 24-year-old started the first two games of the campaign in the back row but takes over the No.2 shirt from George McGuigan, who is named on the bench following his midweek release from England’s training squad.

Elliott Obatoyinbo starts at full-back after scoring in the Falcons’ Premiership Rugby Cup victory at Leicester Tigers last time out, while Michael Young captains the side from scrum-half.

Matthew Dalton continues in the second row having made his Premiership debut at Northampton three weeks ago, when Newcastle took a pair of bonus points from a dramatic 32-31 defeat.

That was followed by a bye weekend and then the cancellation of their away game at Wasps, head coach Dave Walder saying: “Not having a league game for three weeks is challenging from a preparation point of view, especially when it’s at short notice, and it forces you to think on your feet.

“The first week we knew about because that was our scheduled bye week, and you have plans in place with your conditioning coaches to manage the guys through that period. Having the Wasps game cancelled only a few days before has obviously forced us to change our plans a little bit, but every club is in the same boat and you just look to keep the boys as battle-hardened as you can even when they haven’t played for three weeks.”

Sean Robinson misses the 3pm kick-off after being retained by England, who face an Argentina squad including Mateo Carreras, Matias Orlando and Matias Moroni. Greg Peterson, meanwhile, is away in Dubai helping his USA side try to qualify for Rugby World Cup 2023.

Saturday’s visit of Bath will be the 250th Premiership game to have been held at Kingston Park Stadium, with Walder having played in a significant number of those fixtures during his own playing days.

“It’s nice to reach that kind of milestone, and having appeared in a fair few of those I know how much of a factor it can be in our favour,” said the Falcons boss.

“There have been a lot of great games here over the years, we love the atmosphere that our fans create and we know it’s a ground that opposition teams don’t like coming to. It’s our home, we love it and we hope to be celebrating the 250th Premiership game here with another good win.”

Unperturbed by the absence of his international contingent, the former England fly-half added: “It’s great for us as a club having guys involved at international level, even if it does leave us a little bit thin in certain areas.

“You want your players to be operating at the top level because they will learn from being in that environment, and it helps get Newcastle Falcons’ name out there when people see our players representing their countries in major internationals.

“It’s an opportunity for the guys coming in to show us what they can do and drive that competition within the squad, and as much as I would want them to be here I’m delighted they will be playing for their countries.”

Up against a Bath side who recorded their first win of the season last time out against Northampton Saints, Walder said: “Bath have got a new coaching team so it takes a while for your ideas to bed in, as we’ve found ourselves to some degree.

“We’ve only actually had Mark Wilson as a new addition to our coaching group but a couple of guys have had a change in role, and we’ve brought in a reasonable amount of change to how we do certain things.

“Bath have also been closer in games than maybe some of their score-lines have suggested, and they’ve obviously had their win against Northampton in their last game. They’ve gone back to a simple game plan to build from the bottom up, they’ve got some really good players and it will be a good test.

“We’ve had games where we’re one bounce of the ball or a referee’s decision away from winning, but it is what it is and we’ll just continue working hard.

“We’ve identified as a group of coaches where we want to be and how we’re going to get there, and we’ve started along that road. We’re pleased with some of the performances, we just need to cut out those periods in games where we’ve not been at our best. If we can just hang in there, those tight moments will start to turn for us.”

Click here to buy tickets for Saturday’s game.

Click here to buy the PRTV live stream for £4.99 if you are unable to make it in person.

Newcastle Falcons team v Bath Rugby (Saturday, 3pm, Kingston Park Stadium)

15 Elliott Obatoyinbo, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 George Wacokecoke, 12 Pete Lucock, 11 Ben Stevenson, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Michael Young (captain); 1 Adam Brocklebank, 2 Jamie Blamire, 3 Richard Palframan, 4 Matthew Dalton, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 6 Freddie Lockwood, 7 Connor Collett, 8 Callum Chick.

Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Phil Brantingham, 18 Mark Tampin, 19 George Merrick, 20 Guy Pepper, 21 Sam Stuart, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Tom Penny.

Not available for selection: Mateo Carreras, Sam Clark, Trevor Davison, Carl Fearns, Gary Graham, Conor Kenny, Matias Moroni, Logovi’i Mulipola, Matias Orlando, Josh Peters, Greg Peterson, Sean Robinson, Oliver Spencer, Philip van der Walt, Will Welch.

Bath Rugby: 15 Matt Gallagher, 14 Gabriel Hamer-Webb, 13 Ollie Lawrence, 12 Max Ojomoh, 11 Ruaridh McConnochie, 10 George Worboys, 9 Max Green; 1 Valeriy Morozov, 2 Tom Dunn (captain), 3 D’Arcy Rae, 4 Fergus Lee-Warner, 5 Quinn Roux, 6 Ted Hill, 7 Miles Reid, 8 Richard de Carpentier.

Replacements: 16 Niall Annett, 17 Arthur Cordwell, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Tom Ellis, 20 Josh Bayliss, 21 Tom Carr-Smith, 22 Billy Searle, 23 Jonathan Joseph.

Referee: Hamish Smales.

Source – Newcastle Falcons Rugby


John Muldoon to rejoin Connacht as Forwards Coach



Bristol Bears - Image Credit - Bristol Bears

Muldoon, who made 320 appearances for Connacht before joining the Bears as Defence Coach in 2018, returns to his hometown club as Forwards Coach ahead of the 2023/24 campaign.

The 40-year-old was appointed Forwards Coach at the Bears in 2020, helping the club to a maiden European title and a first-place finish in the Gallagher Premiership.

Director of Rugby, Pat Lam, said: “When I arrived in Connacht in 2013 and began working with Mul as my captain, it was clear to me that he would be an excellent coach when his playing days were over and in years to come with his passion and love for his home province a possible great homegrown Head Coach for Connacht Rugby.”

“Originally the plan was to join me at Connacht but after moving to Bristol, I was able to bring him into our coaching team in 2018 for his first coaching role. After five years of experience in the Premiership working and developing players from all over the world, I am so pleased he now returns home as an established Forwards Coach.

“I know all too well how highly respected and regarded he is in Connacht, and I believe he will continue to grow and learn under Head Coach Pete Wilkins and he will add real value to the players, staff and supporters of Connacht.

“Mul has made a significant impact during his time with the Bears and we’re grateful to him for his hard work and commitment for the last five years. We wish him and Lorna and their young boys Scottie, Lucas and Robbie all the very best for their next exciting chapter back home in Galway.”

Muldoon added: “I’m hugely grateful to Pat and the Lansdown family for giving me the opportunity to begin my coaching career. I’ve learned so much during my time with the Bears and have met some incredible people along the way.

“We’ve built our family over here and built some strong relationships on and off the field. I’m excited about what the future holds but there’s obviously a tinge of sadness around leaving the Bears.

“I’m looking forward to signing off my time here with a strong finish to the season.”

Content & Images from – Bristol Bears Rugby

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Hassell-Collins to depart



London Irish can confirm the departure of Ollie Hassell-Collins from the Club at the end of the 2022/23 season. 

Hassell-Collins progressed from the Exiles’ Academy earning his first senior appearance in the 2018/19 season. 

The 24-year-old has since made 101 appearances for the Club and amassed 215 points and 43 tries scored as an Irish player, including to help lift the 2018/19 Championship to gain promotion to the Gallagher Premiership. He achieved his first caps for the England Senior team in this year’s 6 Nations Championship.

Director of Rugby Declan Kidney thanked Hassell-Collins for his immense efforts in his time with London Irish.

“I know that alongside his contributions for London Irish, Ollie as a person will always be remembered fondly by everyone at the Club and our supporters too. I have learned a lot from Ollie as a person.

“That is down to his personality and the hard work he has put in through the years to become the player that he is today, Leicester have gained a very valuable man on and off the field.

“I’d like to take the opportunity to thank Ollie and his family for their time and effort over the years and wish them well for the future.”

Describing London Irish as “very special Club”, Ollie Hassell-Collins expressed his gratitude for the support received during his time in west London.

He said: “A decision to leave a place like London Irish is never an easy one, they have provided me with more than I can put into words in my time here, but I feel the time is right for a new challenge.

“Throughout my years with Irish and to this day, I have always been surrounded by excellent coaches, staff and players and I want to thank them for playing a very important role in my journey.

“There is still a lot to play for this season, and rest assured, I will do my utmost to repay the work put in and play my part in the really important games coming up for London Irish. 

“Finally, I want to thank the supporters of this very special Club for their support of me and the team through good times and bad, and I am confident that they will be rewarded for their continued faith in the Club very soon.”

Content & Images from – London Irish Rugby

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Staying in Tigers Town: Mike Brown



Leicester Tigers have agreed a new deal with Mike Brown which will see the outside back remain at the club beyond the current season.

Brown joined Tigers on a short-term contract midway through the current campaign and, to date, has made 5 appearances and scored two tries.

The England international made the move to Leicester after stints with Harlequins, where he won two Premiership titles, and Newcastle Falcons.

Brown made 72 Test appearances for England between 2007-2018 during which he won three Six Nations titles.

Speaking about the new deal for Brown, Leicester Tigers Interim Head Coach Richard Wigglesworth said: “I am really pleased for Mike, who has earned the new deal with not only his performances in games but in the way he has come into the club and added to our group.”

“His experience has been invaluable and the professionalism he has is something that we have seen help improve his team mates here at the club.

“The circumstances in which Mike returned were unique and challenging, but you would never known by the way he has approached each day and this contract is just reward for that hard work.”

Discussing the new deal, Brown added: “Since arriving, I have been really impressed with the environment here at Leicester Tigers and feel that they fit with the values I have as a person and a rugby player.

“I have really enjoyed working the quality of players in this squad and coaches, which I want to continue to do and am excited to keep doing.

“The opportunity to play at Mattioli Woods Welford Road with the supporters this club has was something I wasn’t, admittedly, quite sure about after being an opposition player for so long, but they have welcomed me so well and it is great that I can keep doing that.

“It means so much to me to be able to represent a club of this magnitude and, hopefully, people have seen just how much I appreciate that opportunity.

“From the very first conversation I had with Wiggy, I said I wanted to contribute to the environment on and off the field; I want to set examples to the young lads and help them, but also make sure that when I get that chance to pull on the shirt, I am ready and can help the team be the very best it can be.”

Content & Images from – Leicester Tigers Rugby

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