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Rhys Webb speaks about his future after his family return home to Wales.

Big call from the Webb’s

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Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Wales scrumhalf Rhys Webb is having to say goodbye to his family as they return home after struggling to settle in France.

Webb signed a 3 year contract for French side Toulon in the summer which ultimately ends his international career as he has yet to reach the required caps to play outside of Wales and still represent his country.

The news was confirmed by Webb’s fiancée, Delyth Hewitt  in an emotional blog in which she confirms she will head back to Wales with their three children, Regan, 8, Jesse 3, and baby Remi. Webb will remain in Toulon further highlighting the pressures that players and and their families face when moving abroad.

In her blog she stated:

“Of course, there are moments where I have doubts: is this really a realistic idea? Leaving Rhys here and taking the boys back? But the truth is, I don’t really know what it’s going to be like.

“I know it’s going to be amazing being around family and friends again and it’ll be lovely to not have to stare blankly at someone who speaks rapid French to me in the supermarket or remember ‘passenger to pavement’ whenever I find myself driving on unfamiliar roads and my instinct is to come off the roundabout the wrong way (again). But it’s going to be horrible being away from Rhys.

“Now I’m ok with my own company, I’m a bit of a hermit anyway, and we’re only 7 hours door to door away, but still.. it’s that extra pair of hands around; the company you enjoy sitting in silence with after a long day of finding responses to satisfy Jesse’s constant intrigue; a different (and apparently more authoritative) voice for the boys to hear telling them to “LEAVE EACH OTHER ALONE” or him being there take the boys outside to practice rugby drills in the garden. Either way, what we both know is that their happiness and their fulfillment is paramount, and we’re so so proud of the effort they and their friends have put in trying to adapt to their new lifestyle.

“So (in a few weeks) we go again, on another little adventure. Only this time to more familiar territory…..”

But Webb will stay where he is. He is in the first term of a three-year contract on the Cote D’Azur and says his commitment to Toulon will remain full-on.

“We made the decision for Delyth and the kids to go back to Wales because we thought it would be in the boys’ best interest,” said Webb.

“It hasn’t been working out for one of my sons, Regan, in particular, and when that happens you take action to improve the situation.

“I’m under contract with Toulon and I am going to do my best to make the new situation work.

Webb is unavailable to Wales and Warren Gatland under the rule that bars exiled players from featuring for their country unless they have 60 or more caps. But he isn’t thinking about that right now.

“Playing for Wales always meant a huge amount and I still feel sad that particular privilege has been put out of my reach,” he said.

“But it’s not something I can afford to think about at this point.

“Family issues are to the fore now and have to take all my attention.”

Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

International

New Springboks Head Coach Announced

The Springboks have confirmed their new coach and his coaching staff

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(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

The Springboks have confirmed that Jacques Nienaber has been promoted from assistant coach to head coach.

Nienaber takes over from World Cup winning coach Rassie Erasmus, who has moved to the director of rugby role and the new head coach will report directly to Erasmus in his new position. 

Speaking on the unveiling Erasmus believed that Nienaber is the perfect man to take over from him due to his experience with the side already. 

“Jacques is highly experienced and has worked with the Springboks on three separate occasions now so knows exactly what the job is about. Jacques will be responsible for the Test match preparation and day-to-day team operations but, as the director of rugby, I will be with the team for the majority of the time and in the coaches’ box with Jacques at matches. I’ll still be responsible for the strategy and results with Jacques taking operational control. The structure allows the director of rugby to spend more time on other aspects of the role,” he said. 

Nienaber himself is delighted to have the chance to manage the reigning World Cup holders and is looking forward to the challenge ahead. 

“This is a massive honour and responsibility, but I have a good understanding of what it entails, especially in this new structure. I’ve worked with Rassie in a coaching capacity for nearly two decades now and we have a very good idea of how each of us thinks and as I’ll still be reporting to him our working relationship won’t be changing. It’s a big step-up for me in terms of carrying the day-to-day leadership role and there will be other adjustments but in many ways, it will also be business as usual. We’ve built up a good culture over the past two years and we’ll simply be looking to extend that,” he said. 

Elsewhere, there is a tactical shuffle of coaches with Nienaber’s promotion as Mzwandile Stick coming into the assistant coach role, while former Ireland international Felix Jones remains in the set-up, but is now a European-based coaching consultant. 

There are two new appointments as well in the coaching set-up with Deon Davids and Daan Human, the Bulls scrum coach, sharing the role of the forwards coach, taking over from Matt Proudfoot. 

The changes are at a minimal to try and keep the harmony with the current squad following their incredible season last year and they will be hoping to continue where they left off later this year.

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Borthwick Confirms New Job Already

Steve Borthwick confirmed his departure from the England set-up yesterday and less than 24 hours his new role has been announced

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(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Leicester Tigers have confirmed that England assistant coach Steve Borthwick will take over as head coach once his current commitments to the national side conclude.

It is a move that has been rumoured for some time and with Borthwick announcing his departure from the England set-up yesterday after over four years with them, many expected that he would be heading in the Tigers direction. 

However, the speed at which the confirmation has come about is the only surprise, but the former England international is delighted to be given the chance to manage the Tigers after learning so much from working with Eddie Jones since 2012. 

“The last four-and-a-half years working with the England team has been an incredible journey. I have worked with some brilliant players and staff. In particular, I would like to thank Eddie Jones. To have worked with one of the greatest head coaches in the world for so long has been an unbelievable experience. I’m delighted to be joining Leicester Tigers as head coach. The Tigers have such a long and successful history and are one of the greatest rugby clubs in the game. Welford Road, with the special atmosphere created by the club’s incredible supporters roaring their team forward, is a very special place to be. We must now work to build upon that great history and create our future to get this club to the top of European rugby. It is a brilliant challenge and I am excited to start working with the players and everybody associated with the team. Geordan provides a link with the club’s greatest teams and we will be working together to ensure that there are many successful days ahead for this club, and for our supporters to enjoy,” he said. 

He will be welcomed into the club with open arms after being part of the Japanese national set-up that stunned the world at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, before switching to England where he has won two Six Nations titles and reached a World Cup final. 

His arrival sees current head coach Geordan Murphy changes his role at the club, taking up the position of director of rugby and club chairman Peter Tom believes that the two former stars can build back a Tigers team that has struggled lately. 

“The appointment of Steve Borthwick as head coach and Geordan Murphy in the role of director of rugby provides an exciting combination of leadership, expertise and experience to drive the club forward in its desire to challenge for major honours again. The club has enjoyed many of its greatest successes with a blend of the Tigers DNA alongside fresh, innovative ideas from outside, both among the players and the coaching staff, and we look forward to Geordan and Steve leading that in their respective new roles,” he said. 

Both Borthwick and Murphy will be hoping to bring the Premiership side back to the top level of the game come next season, but before then they have their separate tasks, with Borthwick guiding England through the upcoming Six Nations, while Murphy attempts to take the Tigers further up the Premiership table.

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International

England Coach Set for Departure

England have confirmed that one of their coaches will leave at the end of the season and they already have his replacement sorted

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(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

England have confirmed that assistant coach Steve Borthwick will leave his role come the end of the season.

The 57-cap former England international has been involved with head coach Eddie Jones since 2012, having previously held the role of Japan’s forwards coach. 

However, in 2016 the two left for England, during which time they have picked up two Six Nations crowns and made it to the Rugby World Cup final last year, but Borthwick admits following the tournament in Japan he made the decision to call time on his current role. 

“I am very proud of what we have achieved as a team since 2016, culminating in a Rugby World Cup Final last year. Having come back from Japan, spent time with my family and reflected on my time with England, I have decided to step away from the role towards the end of the season,” he said. 

As well as his time with England, Borthwick was also part of the coaching set-up during the British and Irish Lions drew with New Zealand in 2017. 

Speaking on his departure head coach Eddie Jones praised his assistant’s impact and confirmed he will be missed around the camp. 

“I have had a great seven years with Steve. He is a loyal, hard-working and analytical coach but I understand he needs now to get out on his own following this campaign. He’s made that decision and we are really pleased for him. He created a great lineout for England and really developed the young guys. If you look at someone like Maro Itoje, he’s become a world-class lock under Steve. He has also turned our maul into a weapon for us and he’s done brilliant work co-ordinating the England programme. We will miss him greatly,” he said. 

The Rugby Football Union have already announced that Jason Ryle will take on the position in November and he is delighted to have the opportunity. 

 “I am really excited about the opportunity to work in a world-class programme with the England national team and someone like Eddie with his experience is very appealing for me. It will be a real honour to work with some of the best coaches and so many quality England player,” he said. 

Ryle is currently the assistant coach at Australian rugby league side Melbourne Storm, where he has been since 2016, but this will be a huge step up for him. 

Meanwhile, it is expected that Borthwick will head to Leicester when he does leave the England team, in what would be a massive boost for the Premiership outfit. 

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