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Vesty thrilled by competition for places across Saints’ squad



We sat down with Head Coach, Sam Vesty, ahead of Northampton Saints’ Gallagher Premiership match against Newcastle Falcons this weekend…Q: We’ll start by looking back on last Sunday’s 40-36 victory at Wasps, how exactly did Northampton Saints manage to win that game? SV: We showed a boatload of resolve, a boatload of never-say-die attitude and that’s a massive positive to take out of that game. There were plenty of things for us to work on and get better at – I thought in the first half we lost the territory battle and ended up playing in our own half too much. That always puts you under pressure, but to take the positives out of it, fair play to come back from where we were.Q: Just how big was it to get a win after being on the wrong end of some tight finishes in previous weeks? SV: Obviously, it’s what you want. Ultimately, we’ve played quite well over the course of the season so far. Even though there is plenty for us to get better at, we’ve performed OK, and if we keep performing well and perform for longer periods of time, then by the end of the year we’ll be a good, healthy place, and that’s when the points really do count. Q: Obviously, the circumstances surrounding Fin Smith’s immediate arrival from Worcester Warriors are not ideal, but how happy are you to sign such a promising young fly-half for the long term? SV: Fin’s a cracking young fly-half. I’m really looking forward to working with him and seeing where his game goes, and how he fits in with the Club as well with the group of fly-halves we already have in Dan Biggar, James Grayson and Matthew Arden. We do lots of due diligence on the players we get, we watch a lot of footage, we try and do a bit of a deep dive into them on and off the pitch. That involves speaking to people and getting character references, and all of that. He ticks a lot of boxes off the field and has a lot of talent on the field.

Q: Does he also provide some extra cover at fly-half for when Dan Biggar is on international duty? 
SV: He does, and it will be a really good scrap for that No.10 jersey and who will play the majority of the games. It will be really interesting and I hope that those boys all push each other, as we want in all of our positions, to have that competition for a place and competition for a start to get the best out of each of our individuals. 

Q: Speaking of Biggs, he had to come off at Wasps, can you give us an update on how he is? 
SV: He’s got a knee injury and he’s going to be out for a number of weeks. Fin is not actually fit just yet either – he is coming back from a jaw injury, but we’re looking forward to getting him involved sooner rather than later. Jimmy got through some work in the Cup during the week but we got him off nice and early knowing that he would be involved this weekend, and he’ll be looking to lay down a marker for sure.

Q: Is there also any news on Courtney Lawes’ recovery from the head injury he picked up against Leicester? 
SV: He’s progressing through the GRTP (Graduated Return to Play) and he’s progressing positively. He’s not in full contact training yet, but he is running. 

Q: Looking at the Premiership Rugby Cup games against Saracens and Harlequins, how pleased were you with how those went? 
SV: The boys who were involved have really put their hands up. There is real competition for places in all of the squad to play and people have come through from the PRC to play in the first team. They know there is a pathway there and whilst there is that competition, people will keep pushing and pushing and pushing in training. I thought the boys were good and got a couple of good wins. 

Q: How much has it done for some of the younger players who were involved in those games? 
The young lads have done excellently. George Patten, just off the top of my head, is a guy who, a couple of years ago, I was watching play at fly-half alongside my son at school. Last week he got his first senior scrum penalty against Harlequins! That guy has done very well and shown his character. I was very impressed with that.

Content & Images from – Northampton Saints Rugby


RFU Statement on London Irish



The RFU Club Financial Viability Group has agreed to give London Irish a one-week extended deadline to meet the original conditions as set out below and pay the remaining May payroll to staff and players.

1) a takeover of the club has been completed and approved by the RFU, with the buyers undertaking to provide all required working capital to meet the club’s obligations as they fall due for at least season 2023/24; or

2) the club evidences that it will continue to be funded to operate throughout the 2023/24 season. If the club fails to meet these conditions it will be suspended from participating in the Premiership (and other competitions) in season 2023/24 to avoid a scenario where the club enters insolvency mid-season, with the corresponding and substantial impact that has on players, staff, and fans, as well as on the remainder of the league.

The extension, until Tuesday 6 June, has been given following consultation with staff and players who asked for the deadline to be extended to allow them to be paid 50% of their salaries.

Paula Carter, RFU Board Member and Chair of the Club Financial Viability Working Group said; “It is deeply frustrating for all the staff, players and fans that there have been multiple missed deadlines. 

“We are extremely disappointed that the club has so far only funded 50% of the staff and player wages, however, we have to respect the wishes of those most affected.

“The 4pm deadline on 6 June is final and we have added the stipulation that the club must also fulfil its contractual obligations to its employees by paying the May salaries in full.”

Content & Images from – London Irish Rugby

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Coenie Oosthuizen to leave Sale Sharks



Springbok Coenie swapping Sharks for Sharks

Prop Coenie Oosthuizen leaving Sale Sharks to join South African side Cell C Sharks

Sale Sharks can confirm that prop Coenie Oosthuizen will leave the club to return to South African side Cell C Sharks.

The 34-year-old Springbok, who can play on either side of the scrum, arrived in Manchester in May 2019 from the Durban-based Super Rugby side.

He’s gone on to make 94 appearances for Sale, including 16 this season as Alex Sanderson’s men reached their first Premiership final in 17 years.

Coenie made his debut for the Springboks in 2012 and has since won 30 international caps.

Sharks Director of Rugby Alex Sanderson said: “Since he arrived in Manchester, Coenie has been a massive part of this team and this club and everyone is going to miss him.

“On the field he’s a fantastic player but off it, he’s been a real leader for us in what is a young squad.”

Everyone at Sale Sharks would like to thank Coenie for his contribution to the club and the team during his time here and we wish him all the very best for the future.

Images & Content from Sale Sharks Rugby

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Leicester Tigers 23/24 Coaching Team



Leicester Tigers can confirm the club’s senior coaching team ahead of the 2023/24 season.

Dan McKellar, who was announced as the club’s new Head Coach in February, will oversee the rugby programme and lead on the line out and forwards coaching.

Brett Deacon will lead on the breakdown and contact area, while also assisting McKellar with the forwards.

Deacon made 135 first-team appearances in two spells as a player with Tigers before joining the coaching staff upon retiring in 2015. After working with the club’s academy for two seasons, he joined the senior coaching team ahead of the 2016/17 campaign.

Matt Everard, who joined the club midway the 22/23 season as Senior Academy Coach before taking on a permanent senior role in December 2022, is the Defence Coach.

After representing Tigers, Wasps and Nottingham as a player, Everard moved into coaching with The Archers before returning to Wasps as Academy Coach and moved into the senior coaching team ahead of the 2019/20 campaign.

Alan Dickens, Dan Palmer and Ollie Richardson are the additions to the club ahead of the new season.

Dickens will take charge of the Attack & Backs, Palmer is the Scrum Coach and Richardson joins as Head of Physical Performance.

Read more on the appointments of the trio here:

Matt Smith will be the Skills Coach for the senior squad and take on the newly-created Lead Academy Coach role which sees him responsible for the Senior Academy Squad and transition of players from junior to senior rugby.

Smith made 228 appearances for Tigers before coaching the club’s academy side after retiring from playing in 2019, and joined the senior coaching team ahead of the 20/21 season.

Speaking about his coaching team, incoming Leicester Tigers Head Coach Dan McKellar said: “I am excited by the group we have put together, which has a great balance of continuity and new voices who will bring fresh ideas.”

“It was important to me that there was a mix of people who not only understand the Premiership, but vital that they understand Leicester Tigers and we have got that in Brett Deacon, Matt Everard and Matt Smith, as well as the majority of our performance staff who remain with the club.

“In addition, to have Alan Dickens and Ollie Richardson’s knowledge of the English game, players and competitions we compete in is of great value, and Dan Palmer’s expertise is very exciting for the club moving forward.

“What is most pleasing for me is that this coaching team are excited by the squad we have to work with from next season at Leicester Tigers, because of where they are at currently and work they have done but, importantly, how it can evolve.”

Leicester Tigers 23/24 Coaching Team

  • Dan McKellar, Head Coach
  • Brett Deacon, Assistant Coach
  • Alan Dickens, Attack & Backs Coach
  • Matt Everard, Defence Coach
  • Dan Palmer, Scrum Coach
  • Ollie Richardson, Head of Physical Performance
  • Matt Smith, Skills Coach & Lead Academy Coach

The club can also confirm that Richard Wilks has been appointed General Manager.

Wilks joined Tigers during the 20/21 campaign as a consultant before being appointed Head of Performance Recruitment in November 2021.

Discussing the appointments, Leicester Tigers CEO Andrea Pinchen said: “I believe we have put together a world class coaching team, headed up by Dan McKellar, to lead Leicester Tigers from next season into this exciting new chapter of the club’s history”

“A lot of work has gone on behind the scenes to bring this impressive group who all offer their own unique skills, experience and knowledge from diverse backgrounds in the game.

“Most pleasing for me in this group is a shared desire to see this club continue to be successful but, even more so, strive to reach new heights together.

“After a turbulent year for all involved with Leicester Tigers, to be able to confirm our senior coaching team now is a great pleasure for me and I hope our supporters are as excited as I am about them leading this club into the future.”

The Leicester Tigers squad will commence pre-season training in July ahead of the 23/24 campaign.

Content & Images from – Leicester Tigers Rugby

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