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Premiership

Vunipola Sets Out Future Plans

There has been plenty of speculation regarding the future of Billy Vunipola since Saracens relegation was confirmed, but now the man himself has set the record straight on his plans for the future

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(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

England ace Billy Vunipola has confirmed that he hopes to remain with Saracens beyond this season despite their relegation to the Championship.

The No 8 is one of the stars of English rugby and the Saracens side that has dominated club rugby in recent seasons. However, there were questions raised about his future with Sarries, when the club were relegated from the Premiership for breaching salary cap rules. 

Although contrary to many reports Vunipola has admitted that he wants to stay with Saracens for the foreseeable future, while speaking to Jim Hamilton for RugbyPass and is even taking positives from the situation. 

“There way I see, it’s part of the journey of the club. Some boys have had to try and further their careers, as they are at the start of their careers. I’m kind of in the middle of it. Boys are in different situations, and I can understand that. They’ve got families and things to look after. From my point of view, I’m just trying to sit still and play it out, see where we end up next year,” he said. 

At 130kgs, Vunipola is one of the most powerful and explosive back-rowers in the game, but has had his fair share of injuries in recent months and years and believes that time in the Championship could actually benefit his body in the long run. 

“I can’t see a negative in it. I’ve haven’t spoken directly to the powers at the top, when it comes to England or at Sarries, as to what will happen in terms of international recognition but if there’s one positive to take out of it, is I hope that my body will take less of a battering. With no disrespect to the Championship, it will give my body a chance to heal. I don’t think they play as many games in the Championship. They don’t have Champions Cup or those big games. You (Jim Hamilton) know what it’s like, they just keep coming. I’m excited for next year. I reckon I’ll play as much as I can, try to help the team as much as possible and hopefully we’ll come straight back up,” he added. 

It remains to be seen how time in the Championship will affect his international career as he mentioned above, but when pushed on his club career he was very clear to state that he will be at Sarries next season. 

“All the reports coming out, the club have looked after me, and not just me, my family. It’s time for me to dig my heels in and scrap with the boys and hopefully come up next year. There lots of examples of clubs going down, like Northampton going down and coming up and doing well, same thing goes for Quins, so, it’s kind of a good point in our journey as a club to reset some of our goals and accelerate. Yes, I’m definitely staying,” he continued. 

It is a major boost for Saracens to know that their key man will remain loyal to their cause despite recent set-backs within the club. However, with the British and Irish Lions tour around the corner next year the hope will be that time in the second-tier doesn’t impact his chances of making the trip to South Africa

Although reports have claimed that the club are trying to set-up high profile sides such as the Springboks themselves in order to allow their test-level players to compete against the best of the best.

Premiership

Gloucester announce departure of Head Coach Johan Ackermann

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(Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)

Gloucester Rugby today announced the departure of Head Coach Johan Ackermann, who will be joining Japanese club NTT DoCoMo Red Hurricanes in July.

Gloucester Rugby Chairman Martin St Quinton said “I’d look to put on record our thanks to Johan for the significant contribution he’s made to the Club over the three seasons he’s been with us. His infectious enthusiasm for the game, as well as his in-depth rugby knowledge, made him not only a fans’ favourite, but a strong leader of our playing department. I wish him every success in his new venture.”

David Humphreys, Director of Rugby, added:

“While I’m sorry to see Johan leave Gloucester Rugby, I fully understand his reasons for doing so. Johan approached Martin and me to say that he had received a number of coaching opportunities which, for personal reasons, he would like to consider and we agreed to his request.

In his 3 years at Gloucester, Johan transformed the way we play the game and his “play to inspire” philosophy will leave a lasting impact from his time at the Club. I know it was a difficult decision for him to leave Gloucester and I’ve no doubt he’ll make a real difference with the Red Hurricanes in Japan.

Ackermann joined the Cherry and Whites at the start of the 2017/18 season, and took the team to the final of the European Challenge Cup in his first season. The following season ended with the Club in third place in the Premiership, thus qualifying for a second successive season of European Champions Cup rugby.

Johan Ackermann had this message for the Gloucester fans, staff and players: “Being Head Coach of Gloucester Rugby has been a tremendous privilege for me, and I have loved every minute of it. Working with such a fantastic group of players and coaches has been a great experience. I would especially like to thank Martin [St Quinton] for the faith that he has shown in me. His support and friendship have meant a lot to me. Gloucester Rugby fans are a truly unique group, and I will always cherish the memories I have of being at Kingsholm. I wish the Club nothing but the best.”

Gloucester Rugby today announce the departure of Head Coach Johan Ackermann, who will be joining Japanese club NTT DoCoMo Red Hurricanes in July.

Gloucester Rugby Chairman Martin St Quinton said “I’d look to put on record our thanks to Johan for the significant contribution he’s made to the Club over the three seasons he’s been with us. His infectious enthusiasm for the game, as well as his in-depth rugby knowledge, made him not only a fans’ favourite, but a strong leader of our playing department. I wish him every success in his new venture.”

David Humphreys, Director of Rugby, added:

“While I’m sorry to see Johan leave Gloucester Rugby, I fully understand his reasons for doing so. Johan approached Martin and me to say that he had received a number of coaching opportunities which, for personal reasons, he would like to consider and we agreed to his request.

In his 3 years at Gloucester, Johan transformed the way we play the game and his “play to inspire” philosophy will leave a lasting impact from his time at the Club. I know it was a difficult decision for him to leave Gloucester and I’ve no doubt he’ll make a real difference with the Red Hurricanes in Japan.

Ackermann joined the Cherry and Whites at the start of the 2017/18 season, and took the team to the final of the European Challenge Cup in his first season. The following season ended with the Club in third place in the Premiership, thus qualifying for a second successive season of European Champions Cup rugby.

Johan Ackermann had this message for the Gloucester fans, staff and players: “Being Head Coach of Gloucester Rugby has been a tremendous privilege for me, and I have loved every minute of it. Working with such a fantastic group of players and coaches has been a great experience. I would especially like to thank Martin [St Quinton] for the faith that he has shown in me. His support and friendship have meant a lot to me. Gloucester Rugby fans are a truly unique group, and I will always cherish the memories I have of being at Kingsholm. I wish the Club nothing but the best.”

In light of Johan’s departure and the implications arising from Covid-19, The Board of Gloucester Rugby has discussed a new coaching structure for the playing department, and will make an announcement about it once the appropriate consultations have taken place.

In light of Johan’s departure and the implications arising from Covid-19, The Board of Gloucester Rugby has discussed a new coaching structure for the playing department, and will make an announcement about it once the appropriate consultations have taken place.

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Premiership

Jonny May to rejoin Gloucester Rugby

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(Photo by David Rogers - RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

Official Gloucester Rugby Press Release:

Gloucester Rugby is delighted to announce that Jonny May will be rejoining the Club from July 1st.
A product of the Gloucester Rugby Academy, Jonny played 121 times for Gloucester before moving on to Leicester Tigers in 2017.


He is a key part of Eddie Jones’ England set up, and has already earned 53 caps for his country. He is rightly considered by many to be one of the best wingers in world rugby.
David Humphreys, Director of Rugby, was very pleased finally to be able to let everyone know about Jonny rejoining the Club. 


“We’ve been talking to Jonny for a little while, and were very close to an agreement before the Premiership was postponed and our discussions had to be put on hold. With the changing landscape in English rugby and beyond, we very much appreciated Jonny’s pragmatic approach to our discussions. 


“Our supporters will have watched his performances for England over the last couple of seasons, and will be looking forward to watching him back playing at Kingsholm for Gloucester Rugby. There’s no doubt he’s a world class player, who would be an asset to any side.
“He will not only, I’m sure, be a great player for us again, but also a great mentor to our young wingers like Ollie Thorley and Louis Rees-Zammit. It’ll be a tremendous help for them to have someone with Jonny’s experience to learn from.”

Jonny May was understandably excited about his move.

“Once I had made the decision to leave Leicester there was only ever one club I really wanted to play for. I’m grateful to David Humphreys and everyone at Gloucester Rugby who have found a way for me to rejoin. I’m very excited about being back in Cherry and White playing at Kingsholm again.”

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Premiership

Bristol Looking at Uruguayan Star

Bristol Bears are set to be ready to sign another key player ahead of next season as they look to build a Premiership title challenging side

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(Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

Bristol Bears are looking into the possibility of signing Uruguay back-row Manuel Diana according to Americas Rugby News.

The Bears have already been active in the transfer market ahead of the 2020/21 season, securing the signatures of the likes of Semi Radradra and Kyle Sinckler, as well as Saracens’ Ben Earl on loan. 

However, they now appear to be eying up Diana, who is currently playing for Major League Rugby side Toronto Arrows. 

The regular No 8 was part of Uruguay’s Rugby World Cup squad and played in all three of their pool stage matches, including their incredible 30-27 win over Fiji, in which he scored one of his team’s tries. 

With the rugby calendar up in the air due to the coronavirus outbreak it is unknown when exactly players will be able to move from club to club, but in the case of Diana, the remainder of the MLR season has been called off so it would seem ideal for him to be signed up. 

Although, a move to Bristol would mean he would have a fight on his hands for minutes on the pitch with players such as Nathan Hughes, Stephen Luatua and Jordan Crane already on the Bears’ books. 

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