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.
Irish name side for west London derby
Declan Kidney has confirmed the squad for Sunday’s derby clash with Harlequins at the Gtech Community Stadium in Round 16 of the Gallagher Premiership (3pm kick-off).
Will Goodrick-Clarke, Agustin Creevy and Oliver Hoskins are in the front row, with Rob Simmons and Adam Coleman in the second row.
Matt Rogerson captains the side from the six jersey and is joined in the back row by Tom Pearson and Chandler Cunningham-South.
Ben White and Paddy Jackson link up to form the halfback duo, and Rory Jennings partners Benhard van Rensburg in the centres.
Michael Dykes, Lucio Cinti and James Stokes complete the line-up as the back three.
“Whenever these two clubs pitch up against one another, it always creates a good game of rugby,” said Declan Kidney, Director of Rugby.
“I know that we are expecting a good crowd at the Gtech Community Stadium on Sunday, and they will inevitably create a great atmosphere.
“We need to make sure that we put in a full 80-minute performance to give our supporters a reason to show their voice. Harlequins are a well-drilled side, and we know it will be a difficult challenge this weekend, but one we look forward to.”
15 James Stokes, 14 Lucio Cinti, 13 Benhard van Rensburg, 12 Rory Jennings, 11 Michael Dykes, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ben White, 1 Will Goodrick-Clarke, 2 Agustin Creevy, 3 Oliver Hoskins, 4 Rob Simmons, 5 Adam Coleman, 6 Matt Rogerson (c), 7 Tom Pearson, 8 Chandler Cunningham-South.
16 Mike Willemse, 17 Danilo Fischetti, 18 Ciaran Parker, 19 Api Ratuniyarawa, 20 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 21 Joe Powell, 22 Luca Morisi, 23 Henry Arundell.
Baxter issues Moon injury update
By Mark Stevens
Rob Baxter says he cannot give a timescale as to when prop Ben Moon will return to the Exeter Chiefs match-day squad.
The 33-year-old forward is currently Exeter’s longest-serving player, having made his debut in 2008 away to Sedgley Park, and is the last remaining member of their 2009-10 promotion squad.
The England international, however, has not featured for the Devon club since coming off the bench against Munster in last April’s Heineken Champions Cup clash at Sandy Park.
Asked by the media this week about Moon, the Chiefs’ Director of Rugby said: “I wouldn’t hold out hope that he’s going to be appearing soon. It’s been a challenge for Ben for a little period of time now, it’s not just been this season.
“He’s had periods in and out with it, it’s something that’s been affecting him for a little while and because of what it is we just have to be very careful with it.”
Moon has featured in all six of Exeter’s Premiership final appearances at Twickenham – and he also played in the 2020 European Champions Cup final win over Racing 92, and Exeter’s first major final when they beat Northampton Saints to win the 2014 LV Cup.
Moon won eight England caps in the 2018-19 season, but did not make the squad for that autumn’s World Cup in Japan.
“He’s still active around the club, he’s still here, he’s in training, he’s continuing very hard with his rehab and getting everything else he can right, but we’ve just got to be really careful around that neck.
“It’s probably one of those things where it’s getting to the stage where there’s not a lot more we can do. I can’t talk for Ben about his future, but you’re not going to see him in the immediate future on the pitch.”
TEAM NEWS – Sale Sharks v Bath Rugby
South African talisman Rob du Preez is set to make his 100th Sharks appearance whilst Alex Groves is in line for his Gallagher Premiership debut as Alex Sanderson names his side to face Bath Rugby at the AJ Bell Stadium tomorrow night. (Kick-off 7:45pm – Live on BT Sport)
Sanderson makes seven changes to the Sale starting line-up as his squad returns to Gallagher Premiership action following defeat at the hands of Ulster in the Champions Cup.
In the forwards, there is a complete change of the Sharks front-row as Simon McIntyre, Tommy Taylor and Nick Schonert all return to face Bath.
Cobus Wiese links back up with Josh Beaumont in the second row following a one-match suspension for a dangerous tackle in the Sharks’ clash with Toulouse two weeks ago.
Jono Ross captains the side in the absence of Ben Curry, whilst Sam Dugdale steps in to replace the flanker after his England call up to Steve Borthwick’s England squad. Jean-Luc du Preez retains the number 8 shirt with twin-brother Dan remaining on the side lines due to an ongoing hand injury.
Gus Warr continues to provide a platform for success at scrum-half and links up with centurion Rob du Preez, who is named at fly-half.
The ever-present Sam James retains the thirteen shirt with Ryan Mills picked at inside centre in the absence of Manu Tuilagi. The former Wasps centre is one of two changes in the Sharks’ back line.
Sanderson’s second change in the backs comes in the form of Tom Roebuck, who replaces Arron Reed on the wing after an impressive cameo in the Champions Cup. Tom O’Flaherty is named on the other wing, with exciting academy graduate Joe Carpenter at full-back.
On the bench, Ewan Ashman, Ross Harrison and Joe Jones are named as front-row replacements, with Alex Groves and Rouban Birch providing further cover for the forwards. Raffi Quirke, Luke James and Arron Reed cover the backs.
Sale Sharks Starting XV:
15. Joe Carpenter, 14. Tom Roebuck, 13. Sam James, 12. Ryan Mills, 11. Tom O’Flaherty, 10. Robert du Preez, 9. Gus Warr; 1. Simon McIntyre, 2. Tommy Taylor, 3. Nick Schonert, 4. Cobus Wiese, 5. Josh Beaumont, 6. Jono Ross (c), 7. Sam Dugdale, 8. Jean-Luc du Preez
16. Ewan Ashman, 17. Ross Harrison, 18. Joe Jones, 19. Alex Groves, 20. Rouban Birch, 21. Raffi Quirke, 22. Luke James, 23. Arron Reed
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