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2 Irish Internationals re-sign & new singing announced by Ulster

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Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Irish internationals, Rob Herring and Ian Madigan, will continue to call Ulster home for at least the next two years, with former European Player of the Year, Leone Nakarawa, set to make his presence felt in the province.

Hooker, Rob Herring, who continues to be a familiar presence in the Ireland set-up, has signed an extension that will keep him at Kingspan Stadium until at least June 2023. Known as a leader within the squad, Herring, who is within touching distance of his 200th cap for the province, said:

“I’m delighted to sign a new contract with Ulster – there’s a great atmosphere at the club at the moment. We are all pretty close mates here, working hard to make memories and win silverware for the province. That’s definitely something I want to be a part of for as long as I can.”

Ulster Rugby Head Coach, Dan McFarland, said: 

“Rob is an established international in the Ireland team, as well as one of our most-capped Ulster players. An integral part of this team, he is a natural leader both on and off the pitch, and I’m really pleased that Rob has committed his future with us for another two seasons.” 

Having already made his presence keenly felt since signing with Ulster last season, Ian Madigan, has put pen-to-paper on a new two-year deal. The fly half, who has delivered some heart-stopping performances – most notably when his 80th minute long range penalty secured Ulster’s place in last season’s Guinness PRO14 Final – will continue to bring a wealth of experience to the squad in the years ahead. On his contract extension, Madigan, said:  

“I’m delighted to extend my contract with Ulster – it was an easy decision for me, and my partner Anna, as we have loved our time in Belfast so far. I’ve really enjoyed playing under the current coaching team, as well as working alongside some of the younger players in the squad as they break through into the senior team, which is very exciting for the club. I believe the team are good enough to win trophies in the near future, and that is my number one goal. I also can’t wait to experience a packed-out Kingspan Stadium and get the opportunity to meet the supporters in-person sometime soon.” 

McFarland added: “Ian has bags of big-game experience and he has delivered for us on a number of occasions already, with the Guinness PRO14 Semi-Final against Edinburgh and the recent win over Connacht springing to mind. He also massively contributes to our squad off the pitch, passing on his experience to our young half-backs. I’m delighted he has extended his time with us for another two years.” 

Completing today’s announcement is a new face set to join the ranks of Ulster in the shape of 6ft 6in Flying Fijian forward, Leone Nakarawa. The 32-year old Olympic gold medal winner was crowned European Player of the Year in 2018 and will make the move to Kingspan Stadium from Glasgow Warriors on a one-year deal. With an ability to play in both the second row and back row, Nakarawa is known for his devastating offloads, as well as being no stranger to the try-line. 

Of the new signing, Dan McFarland, said:

“It’s an exciting time for Leone to be making the move to Ulster for the upcoming season as we look to continue to build on our ambitions as a squad. Given his broad skillset and experience, as well as some impressive accolades to his name, I’m confident that he’ll be a valuable addition to the team, and we look forward to welcoming Leone to the province.”

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

International

Barbarians announce coaching ticket

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Image Credit: Simon Smith - Barbarians Rugby

YAPP AND TAYLOR REUNITE FOR BARBARIAN WOMEN v SPRINGBOK WOMEN’S XV

With just under two months to go until the historic Killik Cup Double Header, Barbarian FC are thrilled to announce leading coaches Jo Yapp and Rachel Taylor will join forces again as Barbarian Women prepare to face Springbok Women’s XV.

Yapp and Taylor reprise their coaching roles with Barbarian Women following the team’s win over Wales in their last fixture in November 2019.

Yapp brings with her a wealth of coaching and playing knowledge after an international playing career, making 70 appearances for England including three successive Women’s Rugby World Cups between 1998 and 2006, in which she captained the side.  

She began her coaching career with the University of Exeter and also counts England Women U20s amongst her experience. She joined her former club, Worcester Warriors Women, as skills coach in 2019 before being promoted to Director of Rugby of the Allianz Premier 15s side in the same year.

Former Wales captain Taylor brings similar experience, moving from national skills coach with the Wales women’s team to join Sale Sharks ahead of the new Allianz Premier 15s season as women’s performance coach.

Looking ahead to the November fixture against Springbok Women’s XV, Yapp said: “It is such a privilege to coach the Barbarians again. I really enjoyed the experience last time, to coach such talented players alongside Rachel Taylor was a real honour.

“South Africa are an extremely proud rugby nation. Under the guidance of Lynne Cantwell, the new high performance manager, I am sure they will continue to go from strength to strength. I know they will be a challenging opposition and it will be an exciting contest.”

Barbarian FC President John Spencer commented: “We are thrilled to welcome Jo and Rachel back to coach Barbarian Women this November. It will be an historic day as the Barbarians host our first-ever double header as the home team at Twickenham and I know the Barbarians’ trademark style of passion, skill and flair will be out in full force as the men’s team take on Samoa and the women play Springbok Women’s XV.”

The dynamic duo formed an impressive alliance alongside Barbarian’s Women’s Team Coordinator Fiona Stockley to bring together a team of international stars in November 2019, going on to beat Wales 29-15 at the Principality Stadium.

Stockley added: “It’s wonderful to reunite Jo and Tayls. Meeting for the first time when we brought them together for our match against Wales last November, they formed an incredible coaching team and established a thoroughly professional – and enjoyable – Barbarian camp. I’m very much looking forward to working with them to create another squad of exciting international names to play Springbok Women’s XV at Twickenham.

“It’s going to be a brilliant day out for sports fans with some star quality rugby on show.”

The historic double header at Twickenham will offer up a day of high-octane international rugby, with stars from around the globe representing both the men and women’s teams.  Barbarian Women will take on Springbok Women’s XV following the men’s match at 5.15pm.

The ticket prices includes both matches and are selling fast. A big crowd is expected so secure your seats early and be part of the action from £35 for adults and £15 for children (booking fees apply) at www.ticketmaster.co.uk/barbarians. Hospitality packages are available to purchase from £119 per person via www.twickenhamstadium.com

Match information

The Killik Cup Double Header- Twickenham Stadium

Saturday 27th November 2021

Barbarians v Samoa – 2.30pm K.O.

Barbarian Women v Springbok Women’s XV – 5.15pm K.O.

(Matches are subject to licences being granted by the London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames)

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6 Nations

Rugby Stars support NHS Vaccine roll out

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KICKING COVID INTO TOUCH: RUGBY STARS SUPPORT NHS VACCINE ROLL OUT 

  • Rugby stars urge young people to get their COVID-19 vaccine in new short film
  • Sam Underhill, Alex Goode and Dan Robson amongst players sharing personal experiences of COVID-19

Some of the country’s top rugby players have today (Tuesday 28 September) encouraged young people to get their COVID-19 vaccine as they discuss their personal experiences of the pandemic.

Ahead of Round 3 of Gallagher Premiership Rugby this weekend, a new film has been released featuring key players Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby), Alex Goode (Saracens), Nathan Earle (Newcastle Falcons), Ollie Hassell-Collins (London Irish), Marland Yarde (Sale Sharks) and Dan Robson (Wasps) who discuss the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine and the impact the virus has had on them in the past year.

The players also share their thoughts on who to look out for this season. While their player predictions might be different, they all agree that the most important thing everyone can do this season is to get the COVID-19 vaccine. 

The film will be played out at stadiums across the country from this weekend (1st-3rd October) and comes as more than 82% of over-16s in the UK have now received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Earlier this month, the booster programme was also rolled out, with those eligible being invited to book their jab as soon as possible in order to keep the virus under control for the long term and protect the most vulnerable through the winter months.

The latest data (23rd September 2021) also shows that in particular, younger men have been more reluctant than younger women to take up both doses of the jab – in those aged 18-49, 70% of men are double vaccinated vs 76% of women in this group. 

In the film, the players discuss how the pandemic has directly affected their lives. Sam Underhill talks about how his dad was hospitalised with COVID-19, and Nathan Earle’s partner had their first child in the pandemic, meaning he wasn’t able to be in the hospital to support her through the birth.  

The film is part of a wider partnership with the Premiership Rugby League, and follows the “Every Vaccination Gives Us Hope” campaign launched earlier in the year to encourage the public to get their COVID-19 vaccinations. 

Over 48.7 million people have now received a first dose of a vaccine – over 89.7% of the UK over-16s population – with 44.7 million receiving their second dose. This means over 82.4% of over-16s in the UK have now received both doses of a vaccine, with 93.5 million vaccines administered overall.

Phil Winstanley, the Rugby Director at Premiership Rugby, said: 

It’s been so fantastic to have sports fans back in stadiums all over the country, and this couldn’t have been done without the COVID-19 vaccine programme. It’s been so instrumental in getting us back to normal, and as we get going with this year’s season, we need to make sure all our fans are as safe as they can possibly be – and that includes making sure they get the vaccine to protect themselves and those around them.”   

Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid said:

“It is fantastic to have these rugby legends come out and back the life-saving jabs. A massive thank you to Sam, Alex, Nathan, Ollie, Marland and Dan.

“It is thanks to the wall of defence built up by the vaccines that fans of all sports can get back to seeing their favourite players at the grounds. 

“Please get your jab as soon as possible, to protect yourself, your family and your loved ones.”

Vaccines Minister Maggie Throup said:

“The vaccine’s impact in giving us protection against COVID-19 has allowed us to return to doing the things we love – whether that be going out for dinner with friends, taking a trip abroad or watching your favourite sports players live in the stadium.

“It’s brilliant to see so many famous faces pledge their support for the vaccination programme – and we continue to urge all those who haven’t yet had theirs to come forward for the life-saving jab as soon as possible.”

Nathan Earle of Newcastle Falcons said:

“It’s been a really rough 18 months for everyone, but finally we’re seeing light at the end of the tunnel. Having the fans back in the crowd has been incredible – it just gives you that extra boost you need on the pitch. I’d say to anyone make sure you get your jab if you haven’t already – it’s quick and easy and has meant we can get back to the game we love!

Vaccinated people are far less likely to get COVID-19 with symptoms and are less likely to get serious COVID-19, to be admitted to hospital, or to die from it.  

The latest data from Public Health England shows that the vaccine rollout has saved more than 123,000 lives and stopped nearly quarter of a million hospital admissions. 

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine, visit: www.nhs.uk/covidvaccine 

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Rugby

Ulster team named for URC opener v Glasgow Warriors

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Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

The Ulster Rugby coaching team has selected the first match-day squad in the new United Rugby Championship season to face Glasgow Warriors tomorrow evening at Kingspan Stadium (7.35pm).

In the back three, Ethan McIlroy has been named at full-back, and starts with Jacob Stockdale and Robert Baloucoune on the left and right wings. James Hume and Stuart McCloskey will make up the centre pairing, and John Cooney and Billy Burns are the starting half-backs for this game.

Brad Roberts will make his first competitive start at hooker, with Andrew Warwick and Marty Moore packing down either side of him in the front row. Sam Carter will captain the Ulster men and is partnered in the second row with Alan O’Connor. In the back row, Greg Jones is named at blindside flanker, with Sean Reidy at openside and Nick Timoney at Number Eight.

Rob Herring, Eric O’Sullivan, Tom O’Toole, Mick Kearney and Matty Rea are named as the forward replacements, and Nathan Doak, Mike Lowry and Will Addison will provide the back line cover.

Ulster team to play Glasgow Warriors, United Rugby Championship Round 1, Friday 24 September at Kingspan Stadium (kick-off 7.35pm): 

(15-9) Ethan McIlroy, Robert Baloucoune, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Billy Burns, John Cooney;

(1-8) Andrew Warwick, Brad Roberts, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, Sam Carter (Capt.), Greg Jones, Sean Reidy, Nick Timoney.

Replacements: Rob Herring, Eric O’Sullivan, Tom O’Toole, Mick Kearney, Matty Rea, Nathan Doak, Mike Lowry, Will Addison.

Unavailable for selection

Jack McGrath, Gareth Milasinovich, Iain Henderson, Kieran Treadwell, Cormac Izuchukwu, Jordi Murphy, Ian Madigan, Luke Marshall, Rob Lyttle, Aaron Sexton.

Tickets for the game, priced from £20 for adults and £12 for juniors, are still available at ulsterrugby.com/buytickets.

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

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