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Rugby

Gatland to be Announced as Lions Coach Tomorrow

Here’s a small reason to be excited by the prospect of Warren Gatland being named as Lions coach for their 2021 tour of South Africa

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(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Warren Gatland is set to be confirmed as the head coach of the British & Irish Lions for a third time tomorrow.

Gatland is expected to lead the Lions on their tour of South Africa in 2021.

Having lead the Lions to a 2-1 series win over Australia and a series draw with New Zealand in 2017 this will complete the cycle for the Kiwi.

Gatland is currently on Wales duty as they prepare for this year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan as they look to build on their Six Nations Grand Slam success from earlier in the year.

He has also been announced as the Barbarians coach for a November test against current side Wales.

Gatland will hope to put right the wrongs of the Lions 2009 series defeat to the Springboks and keep his unbeaten record going.

Check out the video below to see some highlights of the Lions victorious tour in 2013 against Australia to get yourself hyped for 2021.

Video Credit: RugbyVidsOfficial

Rugby

Rugby World Magazine Confirm Top 100 Players

Rugby World magazine have confirmed their top 100 players for the past year

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(Photo credit PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Image)

Rugby World magazine have named Alun Wyn Jones as the best player in the world.

The Wales international captained his nation to another Grand Slam earlier this year and is looking to lead them to further glory come the World Cup in Japan later this year.

The 33-year-old has held off competition from New Zealand fly-half Beauden Barrett and England prop Mako Vunipola who have been named second and third respectively.

The list is made up by a panel of Rugby World experts including the likes of Olympic sevens winning coach Ben Ryan, who gave the reasoning behind their choice of Jones being number one.

“He’s like superglue for any team he plays for – unbreakable in the toughest of moments – and that simultaneously elevates those around him too. He leads from the front with the highest level of guile, intellect and bravery that is a rarity even among the greats,” he said.

Jones is yet to commit himself to the WRU and Ospreys ahead of the 2019/20 season and is thought to be considering moving on.

Elsewhere, Brodie Retallick is fourth on the list, with Liam Williams fifth and last year’s table topper Owen Farrell sixth on the list this time around.

The top ten is rounded up by Ben Smith, Finn Russell, Viliame Mata and Ireland’s Tadhg Furlong.

Just outside the top 10 is women’s rugby player Pauline Bourdon in 11th and is the highest ranked from the women’s game.

New Zealand have 21 players within the top 100, while England have 17, South Africa 12, Wales 10, Ireland nine and Scotland five.

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Rugby

English Coach to Sign New Deal

England look set to hand one of their key coaches a new contract according to reports

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(Photo by David Rogers - RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

England assistant coach John Mitchell is apparently set to sign a new two-year deal with the Red Roses according to the Telegraph.

Mitchell’s future has been under speculation along with most of the England coaching staff with most expected to part ways with national side after the World Cup in Japan later this year.

Head coach Eddie Jones has signed a new two-year extension which will see him continue until 2021, but it rumoured now that defence coach Mitchell is in line to become Jones’ successor.

It was thought that Mitchell and other assistant coach Neal Hatley were to leave after the World Cup, with the latter looking set for a return to Bath as their new forwards coach.

If Mitchell does sign on the other possibility being discussed is a potential role with the British & Irish Lions with previous defence coach Andy Farrell likely to be occupied by Ireland duty as head coach.

The belief is that Mitchell has helped the development of star youngsters Maro Itoje and Tom Curry among others and it would be ideal for the country for him to continue developing them.

The only one of the coaching group to commit to the RFU so far is Steve Borthwick. The former Bath and Saracens forward has a long-term deal with the RFU and now we will have to see if he is joined by Mitchell.

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Premiership

London Irish Dropped by Sponsor

London Irish have been dropped by Cash Converters following the signing of one of their new players

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(Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

London Irish have been dropped by sponsors Cash Converters following the club’s decision to sign fly-half Paddy Jackson.

Jackson has been one of a number of signings by the club who hope to stay up next season following their promotion to the Premiership.

The former Ulster player’s contract was terminated by the Irish province and the IRFU after he was acquitted in a rape trial last year.

However, their sponsors have decided that they can no longer associate themselves with the club due to the incident that Jackson was involved in.

“As a company, we are committed to the highest possible standards when it comes to our investments in any sponsorships and collaborations. As a result of a detailed and thorough review of our support for London Irish, we have decided to discontinue our association with the club,” they said on Twitter.

The company buys and sells second-hand goods and only signed a three-year sponsorship deal with London Irish in September of last year but will not be involved anymore due to the values that they stand for.

“Our sponsorships and collaborations are incredibly important to us and we always strive to partner with companies who reflect our ethos and values. After careful consideration and a detailed analysis of our support for London Irish, we have decided to discontinue our association with the club. We would like to wish London Irish good luck with their future endeavours and thank their fans for welcoming our company since 2018,” a spokesperson for the company said to RugbyPass.

The company will continue to sponsor both rugby league side St Helens and Scottish Premiership football team Motherwell.

The signing of Jackson was always going to be controversial with fans being the first to show discontent when many threatened to boycott games on social media and used the #IBelieveHer hashtag associated with the trial in 2018.

Irish will now have to cope with one less sponsor as the backlash continues from their signing.

Update: London Irish have since come out and stated that ‘Cash Converters’ decision to no longer sponsor the club was made prior to announcement of signings made in May.

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