Connect with us

Premiership

Wasps team to face Leicester Tigers as fans return to Ricoh Arena on Saturday

Published

on

Lee Blackett has named his Wasps side to host Leicester Tigers, in front of fans at Ricoh Arena, in the final round of the Gallagher Premiership on Saturday.

There are five changes to the starting line-up that won against London Irish last time out.

Malakai Fekitoa returns from injury to partner Michael Le Bourgeois in the centres.  

Josh Bassett will make his 150th Wasps appearance on Saturday, as he forms the back three with Marcus Watson and Rob Miller, who comes in for the injured Charlie Atkinson at full-back.

Jacob Umaga will also make his 50th Wasps appearance on Saturday, as he once again forms the half-back partnership with Dan Robson.  

The front row trio of Simon McIntyre, Tommy Taylor and Kieran Brookes line up for their final appearances in Wasps colours.

Will Rowlands also makes his final outing in Black and Gold in the second row with James Gaskell.

The only other change to the pack sees Sione Vailanu come in for the injured Thomas Young. Vailanu starts at number eight in his final Wasps game, meaning man-of-the-match from last week Tom Willis moves to blindside flanker and captain Brad Shields shifts to seven.

Amongst the replacements there is a welcome return to action for Alfie Barbeary. He is joined on the bench by Gabriel Oghre, Ben Harris, Jeff Toomaga-Allen, Tim Cardall, Jimmy Gopperth, Juan de Jongh and Ben Vellacott, with de Jongh and Vellacott in line to play their last games for the Club.

Wasps team to face Leicester Tigers at Ricoh Arena on Saturday in Gallagher Premiership Round 22 (kick-off 3:00pm)

Wasps (First-team appearances)

15 Rob Miller (125)

14 Marcus Watson (51)

13 Malakai Fekitoa (36)

12 Michael Le Bourgeois (58)

11 Josh Bassett (149)

10 Jacob Umaga (49)

9 Dan Robson (136)

1 Simon McIntyre (183)

2 Tommy Taylor (90)

3 Kieran Brookes (58)

4 Will Rowlands (112)

5 James Gaskell (140)

6 Tom Willis (40)

7 Brad Shields (52) (c)

8 Sione Vailanu (31)

Replacements

16 Gabriel Oghre (45)

17 Ben Harris (79)

18 Jeff Toomaga-Allen (44)

19 Tim Cardall (29)

20 Alfie Barbeary (14)

21 Ben Vellacott (19)

22 Jimmy Gopperth (127)

23 Juan de Jongh (66)

Unavailable due to injury: Charlie Atkinson (Concussion), Lasha Jaiani (Pectoral), Zach Kibirige (Ankle), Joe Launchbury (ACL), Ryan Mills (Foot), Matteo Minozzi (Eye), Paolo Odogwu (ACL), Will Simonds (Groin), Sam Spink (Groin), Theo Vukasinovic (Achilles), Tom West (LCL/Hamstring), Jack Willis (PCL/MCL), Thomas Young (Hamstring).

Source – Wasps Rugby

Premiership

Newcastle Falcons sign former Ulster forward

Published

on

Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

Former Ulster back-five forward Matthew Dalton has joined Newcastle Falcons on a two-year deal.

Standing at 6 foot 6 and weighing 115kg, the ex-Ireland Under-20s international is already on Tyneside, aiming to hit the ground running for the start of pre-season.

“I wasn’t supposed to start until July 1 but I had a bit of a chat with the coaches, and we thought it would be best if I came over early,” said Dalton, the 22-year-old who has played ten times for Ulster.

“I arrived a few weeks back and have been working hard with the strength and conditioning coaches. It’s a chance to meet everyone, see the lay of the land and put in some graft ahead of the start of pre-season. It’s been great so far, and I’ve made some big gains.”

A former international pentathlete for Ireland Schools, with high jump and hurdles as his stronger events, Dalton believes the Falcons’ high-tempo game will suit his own personal attributes as he strives to make his Gallagher Premiership breakthrough.

“I like to bring some speed to the game with the way that I play,” said the former Malone RFC man who has played mainly in the second row, with a handful of appearances on the blind-side flank.

“Looking at the pitch here and the way the Falcons go about their game, I think that could be a good fit.

“Coming into a Premiership team from the Pro 14 – there are definitely a lot of differences, but also a few similarities. Newcastle have got a very fit and dynamic pack, and with the style of rugby I play I think it will marry well.

“I’ve had a bit of time off to do some growing up and self-reflecting, and this is definitely a good move for me. I couldn’t be more excited for the opportunity presented to me over these next two years, and I’m just incredibly glad how it’s worked out.”

Newcastle Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards said: “Matty is a real talent who is blessed with great athleticism.

“He has shown his work ethic by coming over early and laying the foundations for pre-season, and I’m excited about what he can bring to our squad during his time here with us.”

** EXCLUSIVE DAVID LLOYD OFFER FOR ULSTER RUGBY FANS **

Continue Reading

Premiership

London Irish centurion to retire

Published

on

(Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)

London Irish full-back Tom Homer is retiring from the sport with immediate effect following the conclusion of the 2020/21 season.

Homer, who made 126 appearances and scored 785 points for the Exiles across two stints with the Club, has decided that it’s the right time for him to hang up his boots.

Tom had agreed a move to French side US Montalbanaise but has since decided his future is away from the rugby field.

“I suppose my love for life is now beyond the rugby field,” explained Homer.

“I’ve played rugby for 13 years now and have some brilliant memories, but it just feels like the right time to retire.

“There is something poetic about finishing at the Club where it all started. I’m looking forward to the next adventure.”

Looking back at his career, Homer chose not to reflect a particular match, try or conversion, but more so on those fellow players he has shared the pitch with.

“My first year at London Irish and getting to play in the Premiership Final was a massive highlight, but more than anything, I will remember the people that I got to share those types of experiences with,” he said.

“Thank you to all the people that have supported me during my career, you stuck with me through thick and thin. I really appreciate it.”

Declan Kidney, when commenting on Tom’s decision said: “We wish nothing but the best to Tom and his family in the future.

“He has had a fantastic career and should be very proud of everything that he has achieved. I know he will be successful in whatever path he chooses to do next, and I would like to thank him for his generosity, work ethic and friendship during his time at London Irish.”

Thank you for everything Tom. Good luck in your future – you will always be welcome at Hazelwood.

Source – London Irish Rugby

Continue Reading

Premiership

TEAM NEWS | Ealing Trailfinders v Saracens Men

Published

on

(Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images)

Jackson Wray says that matches like these bring the best out of the group, as Saracens Men prepare for their enormous final against Ealing Trailfinders on Sunday.

The Men in Black travel to Trailfinders Sports Club for the first leg of the Championship Play-Off Final, knowing that a big performance is required as they continue their pursuit of a return to the Premiership.

The starting line-up features 12 internationals for the biggest match of the season so far, with a significant amount of experience ready to take on the Trailfinders.

There are two changes to the side that produced a ruthless display in the 73-0 win over Coventry in May, both coming in the forwards.

Vincent Koch returns at tighthead, back after serving a one-match ban to join Mako Vunipola and Jamie George in the front-row.

Maro Itoje and Tim Swinson continue their partnership in the second-row while Michael Rhodes is back at blindside having recovered from an injury that has kept him out since April.

Jackson Wray and Billy Vunipola complete an experienced pack that last played together in the Champions Cup semi-final against Racing 92 in Paris back in September of last year.

Aled Davies and Owen Farrell renew their half-back pairing, the latter looking to add to the 73 points he has accumulated so far this season with the chance to become the league’s top points scorer very much in his sights.

The in-form midfield pairing of Nick Tompkins and Elliot Daly also continue, the Welshman boosted by an international call-up this week for their summer series.

And an exciting back three of Sean Maitland, Alex Lewington and Alex Goode will be relishing the chance to put Sarries in a dominant position in the first leg.

On the bench there is a five-three split that offers plenty of attacking options including Tom Whiteley, Rotimi Segun and the returning Duncan Taylor.

Wray says that the squad are raring to go for Sunday’s play-off in West London. “It’s a massive occasion and it’s the one that we wanted. It’s been a long build up and the longest pre-season ever but it’s finally here which is massively exciting.”

“We’ve got two weeks to dig in and we tend to build well in to these kind of games. This week has felt like we’re in that really focused mindset and we’re thriving on it. Ealing are a very good side who do the basics really well so we know it will be a difficult challenge but it’s the biggest game of the season and everyone brings their best to these games.”

Saracens Men team to play Ealing Trailfinders:

15 Alex Goode

14 Alex Lewington

13 Elliot Daly

12 Nick Tompkins

11 Sean Maitland

10 Owen Farrell ©

9 Aled Davies

1 Mako Vunipola

2 Jamie George

3 Vincent Koch

4 Maro Itoje

5 Tim Swinson

6 Michael Rhodes

7 Jackson Wray

8 Billy Vunipola

Replacements:

16 Tom Woolstencroft

17 Ralph Adams-Hale

18 Alec Clarey

19 Callum Hunter-Hill

20 Sean Reffell

21 Tom Whiteley

22 Duncan Taylor

23 Rotimi Segun

Source – Saracens

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending