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Team news: McGuigan captain against Worcester



Friday 23 September 2022

George McGuigan captains Newcastle Falcons on Saturday when they make the Gallagher Premiership trip to Worcester Warriors.

The prolific hooker, who has scored three tries in his two games this season, forms part of a side which sees Callum Chick returning from injury.

Will Welch misses out due to illness, while Carl Fearns is absent with the knee injury picked up last weekend at Leicester Tigers. Connor Collett starts at open-side flanker after returning from the bench last time out, with Sean Robinson sliding back to blind-side in a move which sees Sebastian de Chaves recalled at lock.

Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti replaces Josh Barton at scrum-half, with the only other change seeing Mateo Carreras starting on the left wing in place of Nathan Earle – Carreras scoring at Leicester last weekend after a shoulder injury forced Earle’s departure.

On the bench there could a first outing of the season for fit-again prop Adam Brocklebank and full-back Tom Penny, with Newcastle aiming for a repeat of the 45-10 victory they enjoyed on their last visit to Worcester back in April

Head coach Dave Walder insists he and his squad are ignoring all the background noise around Worcester’s off-field situation, saying: “It’s been pretty straightforward from our side in the sense that the game has always been on, and that’s how we’ve approached it.

“The players are only human and will have seen the various bits and pieces floating around the media, but our messaging to them has been really consistent in terms of just preparing for the game as usual.

“There is the possibility as some pundits have mentioned about any points we might get from the game being scrubbed from the record if the situation escalates at Worcester, but as the head coach of Newcastle there’s nothing I can do about that. What will be will be in terms of whether or not the result stands, and of course nobody is taking anything for granted in terms of the outcome on Saturday.

“Worcester will come out fighting and we can’t worry about any of the stuff going on in the background, though of course we sympathise with all the staff down there who are getting put through the mill.

“We know they’ll be fired up for the game given everything that’s gone on, and any team with Steve Diamond in charge is going to be up for the physical challenge. We’ve got to be ready for that, control the things we can and approach it like any other game.”

Determined not to allow the off-field situation to affect matters on the pitch, Walder said: “I’d be lying if I said nobody has been talking about it and thinking about it, but in reality there’s not a lot we can do other than turn up, be professional and give a good account of ourselves.

“What happens after that, it happens, but as head coach of Newcastle I’m not involved in those decisions. If we get injuries we get injuries, but you’re more likely to get injured if you go into a game half-cocked.”

Asked about the wider situation, he added: “I’m not an expert on rugby finance so I can’t comment too much on what goes on at other clubs, but what I can say is we’ve always cut our cloth at Newcastle Falcons.

“Semore Kurdi is a great owner who has supported the club brilliantly, and makes good decisions on that side of things. We have a very strict budget which we stick to, and for the long-term good of the club that’s the way it has to be.

“I’ll admit it can be frustrating sometimes, but we know that that’s our budget and we have to stick to it. I’d love to go out and make a superstar signing, to upgrade certain facilities or what have you, but a lot of the time we can’t and I fully understand that.

“I believe we’ve got a great ethos about doing things the right way, building through our academy and promoting local talent, although yeah, I’ll admit it’s frustrating when you make an offer for a player but you get blown out of the water by clubs who then go on to experience financial difficulty.

“You just have to accept that at times you’re going to miss out on certain players, and when you hear the supposed figures they’ve gone for it can blow your mind.

“We’re lucky with Semore to have a fantastic owner who from day one always talked about the long-term sustainability of the club, and he’s consistently backed that up by his actions. I’ve obviously got a lot of sympathy for the staff and supporters of other clubs who are having tough times at the moment, but without knowing the ins and outs of what’s gone on I can’t really say any more than that.”

Saturday’s game is not on TV but is being streamed on PRTV Live.

Click here to buy your stream for £4.99.

Newcastle Falcons team v Worcester Warriors (Saturday, 3pm, Sixways Stadium)

15 Alex Tait, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Ben Stevenson, 12 George Wacokecoke, 11 Mateo Carreras, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti; 1 Phil Brantingham, 2 George McGuigan (captain), 3 Trevor Davison, 4 Greg Peterson, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 6 Sean Robinson, 7 Connor Collett, Callum Chick.

Replacements: 16 Charlie Maddison, 17 Adam Brocklebank, 18 Mark Tampin, 19 George Merrick, 20 Jamie Blamire, 21 Josh Barton, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Tom Penny.

Not available for selection: Luke Coulston, Matthew Dalton, Nathan Earle, Carl Fearns, Gary Graham, Ewan Greenlaw, Pete Lucock, Matias Moroni, Logovi’i Mulipola, Chidera Obonna, Matias Orlando, Guy Pepper, Vereimi Qorowale, Charlie Smith, Sam Stuart, Josh Thomas, Philip van der Walt, Will Welch, Michael Young.

Worcester Warriors: 15 Jamie Shillcock, 14 Alex Hearle, 13 Ollie Lawrence, 12 Francois Venter (C), 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Billy Searle, 9 Gareth Simpson, 1 Murray McCallum, 2 Curtis Langdon, 3 Jay Tyack, 4 Joe Batley, 5 Andrew Kitchener, 6 Fergus Lee-Warner, 7 Cameron Neild, 8 Tom Dodd.

Replacements: 16 Hame Faiva, 17 Kai Owen, 18 Jack Owlett, 19 Graham Kitchener, 20 Matt Kvesic, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Oli Morris, 23 Noah Heward.

Referee: Adam Leal.

Source – Newcastle Falcons Rugby


Cokanasiga confirms future



Bath Rugby can confirm England international Joe Cokanasiga has committed his future to the club.

The 25-year-old has been in fine form this season, scoring four tries in nine Gallagher Premiership matches to date, and joins Tom Dunn, Will Stuart, Sam Underhill, Cameron Redpath and Ben Spencer in extending his time at The Rec. 

“Joe has been excellent for us this season and we’re delighted he will be staying with us,” Head of Rugby Johann van Graan said.

“He has great physical attributes which he uses to great effect, and his offloading ability in contact has provided us with fantastic attacking opportunities.

“He is an exciting player for us and we have no doubt he will continue to be an integral member of our squad.”

Cokanasiga has flourished under van Graan and has had a notable influence in games due to his power and pace. 

Since arriving in the West Country, the bulldozing wing has featured over 50 times for the Blue, Black and White whilst also making a significant impact on the international stage.

Debuting in 2018 against Japan, Cokanasiga has scored 12 tries in 14 Test matches, adding to his 21 in Bath colours. 

“There are goals I still want to accomplish here,” he said. 

“I really want to mark my time at the club by winning trophies; that’s a big ambition of mine. 

“A lot of change has taken place over the past few years, but this season I’ve found consistency in my performances. I feel I’ve positively contributed to the club’s progression and I’m excited by what’s to come in the next chapter.”



Bath Rugby return to action on Saturday 18 February against London Irish before hosting Bristol Bears on Friday 24 February.

Exeter Chiefs head to The Rec on Sunday 26 March in our penultimate home outing.

Whatever takes your fancy, get your tickets!




Content & Images from – Bath Rugby

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Chiefs fullback agrees new deal



Exeter Chiefs

By Mark Stevens

Josh Hodge says he’s ‘over the moon’ to have agreed a new long-term deal with the Exeter Chiefs.

The gifted full-back has pledged his future to the Devon club and believes an exciting period lies ahead for him and everyone at Sandy Park.

Signed in the summer of 2020 from Gallagher Premiership rivals Newcastle Falcons, the 22-year-old has to date made 37 first-team appearances, scoring 39 points in all competitions.

He is seen by many, including Director of Rugby, Rob Baxter, as one of the crown jewels in Exeter’s exciting vision for the future and news that he is staying put for the foreseeable future will be welcomed by everyone connected with the Chiefs.

“To be honest, it wasn’t a hard decision to sign a new contract with this fantastic club,” said Hodge. “Personally, I’m over the moon and I’m looking forward to my future here in the sunny county of Devon.

“There has been a lot of effort, good business decisions and hard work, both in training and on the pitch, to achieve the results the club has achieved in recent years.”

Alongside Hodge, the Chiefs are investing heavily in bringing through their next crop of young talent, such as Dafydd Jenkins, Christ Tshiunza, Marcus Street, Richard Capstick, Sam Maunder, Will Becconsall and Greg Fisilau to name but a few.

“I’m looking forward to working with the team to help the club attain its rightful position towards the top of all the competitions we take part in and justify the efforts of past players and trainers,” added Hodge.

“All the building blocks have been put in place by the board, backroom staff and coaches and it’s up to the team to work tirelessly to put the cherry on the cake and deliver the results the Chiefs and our fans deserve.”

Others within the current Chiefs ranks are expected to confirm they are also extending their stays with the club in the coming days and weeks.

Content & Images from – Exeter Chiefs Rugby

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Tigers sign Brown on short-term contract



Leicester Tigers can confirm the signing of Mike Brown on a short-term contract.

The outside-back joins Tigers after previously representing Harlequins, where he won two Premiership titles, and Newcastle Falcons.

Brown has made 72 Test appearances for England and featured in three Six Nations winning campaigns for the national side.

Speaking about the addition of Brown, Leicester Tigers Head Coach Richard Wigglesworth said: “Mike is an experienced Premiership player, who has represented his country and won trophies at club and Test level.

“His experience and his knowledge is vital during this Six Nations period where we have a number of players away.

“Mike is hungry to prove himself out on the pitch and impressed us with not only what he’s saying and doing off the pitch, but his efforts on the field and willingness to help those guys around him.

“Above all, Mike is a competitor and wants to be successful. We want those attributes in our players and he offers that.”

Discussing the move to Leicester Tigers, Brown said: “To join a club like this with all of its history and players who have been here before, it is amazing.”

“When Leicester Tigers offer you the chance to go into the environment, it is a hard one to turn down.”

Brown joins after a trial period at the club, about which he added: “To get the chance to come into the environment has been great so far and a really positive experience for me.”

“It has just had a great impression on me, led by enthusiastic coaches – one of which in Wiggy I have played a lot of rugby with – and then equally, all of the players have welcomed me in.

“I have felt sharp and it has been really good out on the field with this group of Tigers players.”

Brown recently featured for The Barbarians and, looking ahead to a potential return to professional rugby, said: “I still believe I have a part to play in the game. I didn’t believe it was my time to stop because I felt good and I still feel good.”

“I have been staying fit, wanting to be ready and not just hanging on to hope but being best prepared if it did.”

Brown joins the club effective immediately.

Content & Images from – Leicester Tigers Rugby

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