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Premiership

Three Signings in One Morning for Leicester

Leicester Tigers have confirmed the signing of three new players, in what has been a busy morning for the club

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Leicester Tigers have announced the arrival of three new players ahead of their 2019/20 Gallagher Premiership campaign.

Back rowers Hanro Leibenberg and Jordan Coghlan join from Super Rugby outfit the Bulls and Championship side Nottingham respectively. While EW Viljoen comes into the side from the Stormers.

23-year-old Leibenberg is able to play across the back row and has plenty of experience having represented the Bulls in the Currie Cup and also captaining the South African U20’s at the World Junior Championships.

The South African is delighted to be joining Leicester and is looking forward to life in the Premiership.

“The opportunity to play in the Premiership is one I am very excited about and to do it at a club of Leicester’s tradition and standing is a huge honour. The Tigers fans are well known around the world as some of the best in rugby and I am looking forward to playing at Welford Road in front of them, alongside my new team-mates,” he said.

Head coach Geordan Murphy noted the experience and leadership skills Leibenberg possesses despite his age.

“Hanro is an aggressive ball-carrier and a physical player around the field, in the best traditions of South African back-row players. He has gained a good level of experience already for a 23-year-old and has good leadership qualities too. His best years in the game should still be ahead of him and we look forward to welcoming him for next season,” he said.

Meanwhile fellow back rower Coghlan, who has spent time with both Leinster and Munster previously paid tribute to the club’s history when discussing his decision to move.

“This is Leicester Tigers – the most successful club in English history. For me, to be part of that is a huge honour. Geordan Murphy is working hard to build something special here and get Tigers back to the top of the Premiership, where they belong, and I’m happy to be a part of that. I’m just looking forward to getting stuck in,” he said.

Murphy is glad to have another experienced player on board and is looking forward to working with the 26-year-old Irishman.

“Jordan is a physical, athletic and experienced player who we are looking forward to welcoming into the club. His junior career speaks for itself and achievements in Ireland as a young man has served him well in his career. He is an exciting talent and he has earned his spot with impressive showings for Nottingham over recent seasons,” he said.

Viljoen, who has played Currie Cup rugby for the Western Province as well as also representing the Springboks at the U20’s Junior World Championships believes that there is nowhere better for him than Welford Road.

“The chance to represent a club like Leicester Tigers is one I could not pass up and I’m very excited about the challenge of playing in Premiership rugby. I want to play my role and make a contribution to getting Tigers back to where a club of their history and tradition belongs, which I believe Geordan Murphy is building towards. It’s an exciting chance to experience northern-hemisphere rugby and I can’t think of a better place to be able to do that than Welford Road,” he said.

Murphy is also excited to have the 24-year-old in his ranks and thinks that he will provide more depth in the squad.

“EW is a versatile, skilful and exciting player to have as part of our group. He has an impressive resumé for a young man and, at only 24, it’s encouraging to know he still has plenty of improvement left in him. He adds a lot to our outside-back stocks and provides valuable depth in the squad,” he said.

Leicester are looking to bounce-back next season following a poor showing in the Premiership last year which saw the, narrowly avoid relegation and with signings like these they can only improve.

Premiership

Exeter Sign Former Scotland Scrum-Half

Exeter Chiefs have confirmed the signing of a former Scotland international, with the move being his sixth in two years

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Former Scotland scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne has signed for Premiership side Exeter Chiefs the club have confirmed.

The 12-time capped Scot has put pen to paper on a two-year-deal starting next season and will be a replacement for departing Wallaby Nic White. 

Hidalgo-Clyne is looking forward to linking up with his new teammates and believes that Rob Baxter has created a brilliant environment for the team to thrive in.

“Like a lot of people, I’ve watched how the Chiefs have done and how successful the club have become over the last few years. They are one of the great teams, not just in England, but across Europe, and it will be great to be part of their set-up. Even looking in from the outside, you can see Rob has created a fantastic environment for the players. They play a great brand of rugby, everyone appears to enjoy themselves and they are a team who clearly want to win things,” he said. 

The move comes as the No 9’s sixth in a two year period, having lined-out for Edinburgh, Scarlets, Harlequins, Racing 92 and most recently Lyon as he secured a series of short-term deals. 

Having featured for the Scots during the 2015 Rugby World Cup as well he is delighted that there will be some fellow countrymen in his new club and is looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead. 

“Obviously, they have a quality squad already assembled there and with guys like Jonny (Gray) coming in as well, it’s only going to get better. I’ve played a lot with Jonny, not only as a youngster, but also with him and Stuart (Hogg) at international level, so it will be good to have a few friendly faces on arrival. When you look at Exeter as an opponent, they are one of the toughest teams out there. They have strengths all over the pitch and they are a team who like to keep hold of the ball and play for long periods. The way they attack, their defence, their physicality, they have some many areas of their game that are so strong. They rarely have off days! Alongside all of that, the support they get down at Sandy Park is incredible. I remember it was not only pretty noisy, but it was probably one of the windiest days ever for me on a rugby pitch. It’s a great place to go and play, though, and as I said at the outset, I’m looking forward to the challenge ahead,” he added. 

The Chiefs currently sit top of the Premiership standings and have progressed to the Champions Cup quarter-finals in what has been a good season to date. 

However, Hidalgo-Clyne will be hoping that he can add to their ranks come next season and who knows maybe stay longer at Sandy Park then he has done at recent club grounds.

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Premiership

London Irish Star Nearing Full Fitness

One of London Irish’s star signings from last summer is nearing full fitness according to reports

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London Irish and former Leinster star Sean O’Brien is said to be nearing full fitness according to rugby outlet RugbyPass.

The former Irish international moved to the Premiership side last summer as one of a number of eye-watering newcomers, but has yet to feature for the club due to a hip injury that required surgery before he had even officially lined-up with the team. 

There was a fear that after a number of high-profile injuries in recent seasons that this time the 33-year-old wouldn’t bounce back and would be forced to retire. 

However, after missing the Rugby World Cup in Japan with Ireland and the start of the new season with London Irish he now appears set for a return to action in the near future according to head coach Les Kiss. 

“Sean (O’Brien) is coming along and has done some full-on contact work and hopefully over the next month we should get some clarity about the timeline. He is getting closer,” he said to RugbyPass. 

O’Brien has a wealth of experience under his belt winning several league titles during his time with Leinster, as well as four European Champions Cups and a Challenge Cup medal to add to his international honours. 

Irish could do with his power and presence on the pitch as they look to climb up the Premiership table over the remainder of the season, with the club currently sitting in 10th above only Leicester Tigers and the already relegated Saracens side.

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Premiership

Young Eying Up New Job

Wasps director of rugby Dai Young could already have his next job lined up according to reports

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Wasps director of rugby Dai Young could be in line for a return to the Ospreys according to RugbyPass.

Young was relieved of his duties as the Premiership side’s director of rugby earlier in the week with Lee Blackett taking up the role on an interim basis the club confirmed. 

“Director of rugby Dai Young will be stepping back from first-team duties for an interim period. Lee Blackett will step up to interim head coach. Further announcements will be made in due course,” a statement read on Tuesday. 

However, it now appears as though the 51-year-old could make his absence permanent with a shock move to take over as Ospreys head coach. 

The PRO14 outfit have struggled so far this season and have already got rid of one manager in Allen Clarke, who was replaced at the end of 2019, with Mike Ruddock coming in on an interim basis. 

It is unknown how long his contract runs for, but if Young became available and was interested it would seem likely that the former Osprey’s player would be a prime candidate to take control on a full-term basis. 

There are other reports from Wales Online claiming that the Welsh side are checking out Springboks attack coach Swys de Bruin as well. 

Although it would appear as though Young’s experience in bringing clubs to the top would be exactly what Ospreys need and after nine years at the Ricoh Arena hw might like a new challenge.

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