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Premiership

Wasps Sign Another English Speedster

Wasps have confirmed the signing of a “lightning” quick winger from Newcastle Falcons

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(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Wasps have announced the signing of English winger Zach Kibirige from Newcastle Falcons ahead of the 2019/20 Premiership season. 

The move has been in the pipeline for some time now, but it has been confirmed that the 24-year-old has become the 11th signing of Wasps’ summer.

Kibirige has been at Newcastle for seven seasons and is excited by his move to the Black and Golds.

“I’m looking forward to making the switch to Wasps and continuing to test myself at the top level. Hopefully I can show what I can do and drive standards across a competitive back three. I’d like to say a huge thanks to my hometown club Newcastle and the supporters for the past seven seasons and wish them all the best of luck in the future,” he said.

The signing of Kibirige comes less then a week after the club signed youngster Paolo Odogwu and Wasps director of rugby Dai Young believes they have now replaced departed winger Christian Wade.

“We didn’t expect a player of Zach’s calibre to become available at this stage of the season and it was simply too good of an opportunity to miss. Zach has lightning speed and power and has proven himself at the top level so I have no doubt he will add some real firepower to our flanks. Since the departure of Christian Wade, we’ve been looking to inject some raw pace into the side and with the signings of Zach and Paolo Odogwu, alongside Callum Sirker graduating into the first-team set-up, we have three exciting, young English-qualified players with a huge amount of potential,” he said.

Kibirige has represented England at Under 17, 18 and 20 levels and made his debut for the Falcons at only 17. During the last season he scored nine tries in 12 games for the club and will certainly add to Wasps’ ranks come next season.

6 Nations

Six Nations and Premiership Could Lock Horns

The prospect of further complications in the Six Nations due to the Coronavirus could cause a backlash from Premiership clubs

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(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Premiership clubs could lock horns with the Six Nations as they may recall players due to the uncertainty surrounding the tournaments conclusion due to the Coronavirus.

Six Nations officials will be at the World Rugby meeting that is set to take place on Monday, with the threat of the Coronavirus to the championship among the topics to be discussed. 

As of the time of writing only one game has been officially postponed with Ireland’s clash with Italy next weekend being called-off due to the threat of the spreading of the virus. 

However, there have already been discussions surrounding England’s trip to Rome to face the Italians a week later with the game appearing another likely casualty with Italian Rugby already cancelling all PRO14, national championship and youth games for this weekend, with further disruption anticipated. 

With that in mind, Premiership clubs could ask for their players to be released from international duty as the uncertainty over the rescheduled dates hanging over the Six Nations. 

The clubs have an agreement with the England set-up whereby players can be released for international duty during out of window periods, however, there is no such agreement with other nations. 

Meaning the likes of Italy, Wales and Scotland could be forced into releasing players back to their clubs. 

There are a number of key men involved in those nations that play in the Premiership, but with Italy the most likely to be in unclear waters over when their fixtures will be played the likes of star man Jake Polledri could be asked to remain with Gloucester should they have a game around the time of the rescheduled Six Nations games. 

It appears unlikely with the congested fixtures pile-up for several clubs in the final months of the season making rescheduled Six Nations games more likely to be played in the Summer or Autumn meaning they wouldn’t disrupt the club calendar. 

Although it is all in the air at the moment and it could cause a massive headache for the Six Nations depending on the timing of their rescheduled games.

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Premiership

Exeter Closing in on England Starlet

Exeter Chiefs are reportedly set to sign one of England’s most exciting young stars as they build towards the future

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(Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Exeter Chiefs are interested in taking exciting back Josh Hodge from the Newcastle Falcons following a number of starring performances in the Championship this season.

Hodge has played a role in the Championship club’s rise to the top of the table, leaving them likely to be promoted back to the Premiership after a one year absence. 

His performances have left Premiership sides looking at his situation and taking him to their club, however, RugbyPass believe that the Chiefs are closing in on a deal for the youngster. 

As well as his fine club form he has featured prominently for the England U20’s side and received a call-up to Eddie Jones’ England senior squad to train with the team during the Six Nations campaign. 

Hodge plays mostly at full-back and Exeter see him as a successor to Stuart Hogg, who they signed from Glasgow Warriors last summer. 

Hogg has been incredible so far this season, but the Chiefs would be able to ease Hodge into the squad while Hogg is on international duty with Scotland over the coming seasons, while he could also lean on the Scottish ace to help him develop as a player. 

The Chiefs have already started building towards the future by snapping up Wales U18 star Christ Tshiunza, and were reported to be chasing the signature of Cameron Redpath before he signed for Bath

Hodge looks set for big things in his future and would be another clever signing for the Chiefs, who hope to capitalise from Saracens relegation by dominating the Premiership over the next couple of seasons and currently sit top of the table with an eight-point cushion to second.

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Premiership

Northampton Quartet Extend Deals

Northampton Saints have confirmed that four of their players have agreed contract extensions with the Premiership club

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(Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images)

Northampton Saints have announced that Harry Mallinder, Ahsee Tuala, Tom Collins and Paul Hill have signed contract extensions with the Premiership side.

With almost 400 appearances for the club between them the players extensions are a major boost for the Saints and the club’s director of rugby Chris Boyd is delighted with the business. 

“We’re absolutely delighted to sign these boys on. They’re four Saintsmen who’ve been here for a long time and are all an important part of the fabric of our organisation. They’ve all played a good chunk for us, but a few of them are still young too and they’re all important cogs in our machine. We’re not completely finished in terms of our recruitment and retention, but we’re getting very close to getting the balance we want,” he said. 

Mallinder is a Saints academy product and the utility-back has become a key man for the club, while Tuala is the most capped player of the lot with 113 appearances to his name and like Mallinder is a star for the team from full-back. 

Fellow back Collins was their second highest try-scorer last season with 16 tries and at only 25 he looks set to only get better. Hill is the only forward of the lot and like Collins is young at 24, which for a prop makes his future bright. 

It is a major boost for the club who are looking to battle at the top of the Premiership table this season, but sit in fourth following last weekend’s battering at the hands of league leaders Exeter Chiefs and face another tough task this weekend when they head to Saracens.

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