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Wigglesworth previews Premiership trip to Sale



Richard Wigglesworth says, like his players, he is focused on finding improvements in his own performance ahead of the second fixture in charge of Leicester Tigers.

Speaking mid-week from Mattioli Woods Welford Road, where the side held their final squad session ahead of Friday night’s trip north to face Sale Sharks in Round 14 of the Gallagher Premiership, Wigglesworth said he had taken learnings from his debut match in the top job.

“I just want to learn as quickly as I can, properly, so I can be as good as I possibly can for this group,” he said.

“I am so fortunate to have such good people around me and having had learned from a great coach in Steve [Borthwick] and watch him do his thing.

“There is definitely stuff I could have done better at the first game and, like when you are a player, you look at your performance, learn and improve for the next game.”

Discussing the different challenges he now faces from the coaches box, which weren’t as prevalent on the pitch, he added: “There are some very different and some very similar challenges, I am fortunate to have had the period of being both player and coach so it isn’t all a surprise for me in this role.”

“I mean one example is that we are now out on the road for a month without a game at home for four weeks, which I probably wouldn’t have considered as a player – living so week to week – but as a coach need to ensure we’re planning around that.”

Tigers trip north in the final fixture of 2022 is followed by an away game against Newcastle Falcons in Round 15 before a return to European action in France against Clermont, before hosting Ospreys in Leicester 27 days after the last appearance at Mattioli Woods Welford Road.

Asked about the lengthy period in between home games, the Tigers Head Coach said the Leicester support made it easier.

“We haven’t had many games at Mattioli Woods Welford Road this season, but it’s another challenge and as a group, we take them head on and we’ll do the same for the next four weeks on the road,” he said.

“Luckily, our travelling support is like no other and so it won’t feel like we are alone in the next four weeks – wherever we are playing.”

Having recorded a victory in his first game in charge – against Gloucester on Christmas Eve – Wigglesworth was quizzed on whether he would be trying to add more of his personality to the squad as he got more comfortable in the coaches chair.

“It’s not about my personality being all over the team,” said Wigglesworth.

“It’s about our personality as a coaching group, as players, all having an influence on who we are and what we do.

“The team are going to take this club forward in the best way we can, as a group, it will not be about any individual.”

His first Tigers side was missing a few familiar faces, ruled out through injury, of which the Head Coach said could be the case on Friday night but – like every week – each playing carrying an injury would be assessed “individually” and managed accordingly. 

“We don’t send anyone out before they’re right, it’s an absolute non-negotiable for us,” said Wigglesworth.

“Everybody has got the challenge, across the league, of blokes with bumps and bruises, so we aren’t any different in that regard.

“We’ll continue to assess all those who have got knocks, on an individual basis and make the call with each player once they are good to go.”

A Premiership winner with Friday night’s opponents, Wigglesworth said he had “fond” memories of his time at the club and was not surprised by their impressive form so far during the current league campaign.

“I have incredibly fond memories of my time at Sale Sharks and some of my best friends are from that time I spent at the club,” he said.

“They are a very well-organised team, who are well coached and it’s no surprise to me that they are one of the form teams of the Premiership.

“I think we can all see that they are going to be up there this season at the top of the pile.”

Content & Images from – Leicester Tigers Rugby





Sale Sharks have agreed a deal to sign Fiji captain Waisea Nayacalevu from French Top14 side Toulon. 

The explosive centre, who starred for his country during the recent World Cup, has signed a one-year contract with an option for a further year. 

He will join up with Alex Sanderson’s Sharks squad ahead of the start of the 2024/25 Gallagher Premiership season. 

Waisea, 33, said: “I’ve watched the Premiership for a long time and it’s always been in the back of my mind that I would love to play there one day and experience rugby in England. 

“Now that opportunity has arrived and I’m really, really happy and grateful. I’m so excited to get over there and join the boys and see how I can contribute to the team. 

“I have spoken to Telusa Veainu and he only has positive things to say about the club and about Manchester. 

“I’m looking forward to playing with some of the guys I’ve played against, like Tom Curry and George Ford. But I also know there are a lot of really talented young players in the Sale Sharks squad and I’m excited to share my experience and help them develop as much as I can.  

“I told Alex that it’s what I’ve been doing for the last few years of my career and it’s something I’m passionate about.” 

Nayacalevu, who stands at 6’4” and weighs in at 16st 7lb, spent ten years at Top14 side Stade Français before making the switch to Toulon in 2022.  

He has won 34 caps for Fiji, slotting in at both centre and on the wing, and captained his country at last year’s World Cup, where the Pacific Islanders made the quarter-finals, losing 30-24 to England in Marseille. 

He also famously scored for Fiji in their memorable pre-World Cup win against England at Twickenham. 

Images & Content from Sale Sharks Rugby

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Falcons star to join Saracens



Phil Brantingham to join Saracens

Tuesday 05 March 2024 Written by: Tom Grisedale

Prop-forward Phil Brantingham will leave Newcastle Falcons in the summer to join Saracens.

The 22-year-old has played 25 games for his home town club, and leaves with the thanks and best wishes of everyone at the Falcons.

Chairman of rugby Matt Thompson said: “Phil has done well for us and we made him a good offer to stay here.

“We respect his decision and wish him all the best for his move in the summer, but between now and then he will be fully committed to finishing the season strongly for Newcastle Falcons.”

Source – Newcastle Falcons Rugby

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Sale Sharks can confirm that forward Cobus Wiese will leave the club at the end of the season to return to South Africa. 

The 26-year-old lock has played almost 80 games for the club and scored five tries since joining from the DHL Stormers ahead of the 2020/21 season. 

He played a key role last year as Sale reached the Premiership final, and this season he has featured a further 13 times for Alex Sanderson’s side. 

Alex said: “Cobus will be missed by all of us on so many levels. He’s the most polite and courteous of people off the field, but the most wildly excitable man on the field, and on a night out. 

“To say Cobus wears his heart on his sleeve is to do him a disservice with regards to his emotional commitment for which his body has paid the price on occasion.  

“He leads by example and has earnt the respect and adoration of the group both on a professional and a personal level. We wish him every success and happiness with his move back home.” 

Everyone at Sale Sharks would like to thank Cobus 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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