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Pro14

Ulster Eying Up Springbok Prop

Ulster are looking at signing a versatile South African forward as cover during the Rugby World Cup according to reports

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Ulster are looking at bringing in Springbok prop Thomas du Toit as cover during the Rugby World Cup according to the BBC.

The 24-year-old has missed out on the Rassie Erasmus’ South African squad for the tournament in Japan despite making his first start and 10th appearance for the side last month.

However, it is believed that due to his omission he is seeking a short-term deal in Europe and Ulster head coach Dan McFarland appears ready to offer him a contract.

McFarland has been busy bringing in players to the Irish province this summer with Sam Carter, Matt Faddes and Jack McGrath all coming in along with prop Gareth Milasinovich.

Former Worcester Warriors player Milasinovich was touted to be a star this season for Ulster before suffering a cruciate ligament injury earlier in the summer and being ruled out for a long period of time.

That situation has left Ulster a little short in the front-row and du Toit, who can play at loosehead or tighthead could be a perfect fit for the club.

If he does move he will more than likely challenge Marty Moore and Tom O’Toole in the tighthead position, as Jack McGrath’s omission from the Ireland squad means he will more than likely take the loosehead jersey over the next season.

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Pro14

Glasgow Warriors Sign Highlanders Prop

Glasgow Warriors have confirmed the arrival of an experienced Super Rugby loosehead

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Glasgow Warriors have announced the signing of Highlanders prop on a two-year contract ahead of the 2019/20 season.

The loosehead’s move is subject to visa and a medical with the club, which he is expected to pass, and he is excited to make the move to Scotstoun.

“I’m really looking forward to moving to Glasgow. It’s going to be a new challenge for me and I’m excited about the opportunity to play in Europe. The coaching team’s reputation speaks for itself – Dave is highly regarded and I can’t wait to work with him. I also know Siua from our time at the Highlanders, so I’m sure he’ll help me settle in. Glasgow Warriors have a very strong squad and made it to the Guinness PRO14 final last season, so I know I’ll have to get my head down and work hard to compete for my place in the team,” he said while speaking to glasgowwarriors.org.

Seiuli will bring a huge amount of experience to the Glasgow set-up having notched up 38 appearances for the Highlanders and featuring in the side that defeated the 2017 British & Irish Lions.

His shear power and size is something that head coach Dave Rennie is looking forward to having in his side and believes he will fit in well.

“Aki is a hell of an athlete. We identified him as someone with that point of difference around his ball carrying and physicality. He’s a good man and someone who we believe will fit in really well into our environment. He knows he’ll need to come over and work hard because we’re going to have a lot of competition in that loosehead spot this season,” he said.

The 26-year-old will be helped to settle in by former teammate Siua Halanukonuka whom he spent time with previously. If he does settle in quickly it will be a massive prospect for the Warriors fans ahead of the new season as they look to go one step further and win the PRO14 title as well as competing in the Champions Cup.

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Pro14

Owens retains Scarlets captaincy for new season

2019/2020 Season.

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With Owens set to play an integral part in WalesWorld Cup campaign outside centre Steffan Hughes and former Springboks prop Werner Kruger have been named as vice captains along with Wales squad members James Davies and his brother Jonathan.

The six consecutive seasons at the helm is a record for the Scarlets in the regional era and brings Owens alongside the great Phil Bennett, the Scarlets president, who captained Llanelli RFC between 1973 and 1979. “Ken is an outstanding leader,” said new Scarlets head coach Brad Mooar.

“I heard the other night Alun Wyn Jones refer to him as the heart of any team he is in, such high praise from a legend of the game and something that has been really clear to me from the time I have been involved in this Scarets journey. Ken’s heart beats Scarlets.

“I first met Ken about a year ago. He is held in such high regard, is such a genuine Scarlets person and an outstanding rugby player. Without exception, everybody I have spoken to – players, management, staff, the board – everyone speaks highly of Ken and his leadership abilities.

“He has played for and captained the British and Irish Lions, has been part of the leadership group for Wales. It is an absolute no-brainer that he is the right man to lead this team, club and its people.

“It is a World Cup year so we have got four vice-captains who are superb leaders in their own right, players who lead in different ways and contribute greatly to the group. That allows us to have a leadership group that is seamless throughout the year.

“With Cubby, Werner, Steff and Fox it is an awesome group to help Ken lead us. We had a launch here at Parc y Scarlets and their involvement and engagement has been outstanding.

“It is not just about the boys who are physically here now; Ken, Fox and Cubby’s connection and involvement with me, with the group and with the players, player to player, you can see that is there, as it has been with all the guys who have been involved with Wales.

“They are Scarlets at heart, they live and breathe it, and there is a huge amount of IP that will lead us throughout the season.”

Owens, who won his 67th cap for his country against Ireland last weekend, said: “It is a huge honour to be again named captain of my home region and, as I said when I was first appointed captain, a privilege to follow in the footsteps of some legends of the game who have led the Scarlets in the past.

“It is an exciting season ahead for the Scarlets and we have a strong leadership group to take us forward.”

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Premiership

London Irish Omit Jackson from Squad

London Irish have decided against handing Paddy Jackson his debut this week to avoid controversy

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London Irish have left Paddy Jackson out of their traveling squad for this Friday’s pre-season game against Munster at Irish Independent Park.

It had been previously reported that Jackson could be in line for his debut for the Exiles against the men from southern Ireland. However, a number of people had expressed plans to protest if he played on Irish shores once more leading to the Premiership clubs’ decision.

Jackson, who was found not guilty during his high-profile court case in Belfast last year, was also left behind for a trip to Ireland by former employers Perpignan when they travelled to face Connacht in Galway during the Challenge Cup.

The fly-half’s move to the English side has also sparked debate among fans and has seen long-term sponsors Diageo cancel their deal with them.

Only last week the club’s head coach Declan Kidney backed Jackson for success with his new side but there is no doubt that whether that happens or not there will be bumps along the way.

In his absence Irish have selected Stephen Myler and Jacob Atkins as the options at out-half for the annual Jack Wakefield Memorial Trophy match.

While Jackson will have to wait until at least the 21st of September to play in his first game when they head to Kingsholm to face Gloucester.

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