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​Edinburgh confirm signing of Exeter lock



(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Edinburgh Rugby today confirmed the signing of European Champions Cup and two-time English Premiership winning Exeter Chiefs and Scotland lock Sam Skinner.

Skinner – who will join the capital club next season – has started nine of his 15 Test caps to date since he burst on to the scene with a player of the match winning international debut against Fiji at BT Murrayfield in 2018.

The signing provides Edinburgh Rugby with a significant boost ahead of the upcoming 1872 Cup derbies – with the first leg hosted at Scotstoun this coming Monday 27 December – and sees the capital club continue its business for next season, with up-and-coming Scotland locks Jamie Hodgson and Marshall Sykes both putting pen-to-paper on new deals in the past week.

Skinner, said: “I’m massively excited to make the move north next season. The URC is an extremely competitive league and I’m really looking forward to testing myself in a new environment with a great group of lads.

“I want to challenge myself and grow as a player and Edinburgh is the perfect place to do that. I can’t wait to get stuck in, help the club to success while really experiencing Edinburgh and Scotland.

“I’m really looking forward to working with Mike [Blair]. I obviously worked with him for a period of time at Scotland and I like how he communicates and connects with players, while motivating them at the same time. He has Edinburgh playing an exciting brand of rugby and I believe it will suit my own playing style too.

​“Having spoken to a lot of the boys at Scotland, there seems to be a really strong culture at the club, while it’s an exciting time with the new stadium, which I’ve heard has been fantastic so far with a brilliant atmosphere.”Sam Skinner

“I can’t wait to get started next season. It’s such an exciting time for Edinburgh Rugby and I’m really looking forward to being part of the journey moving forward.”

A product of Torquay Boys’ Grammar School, Skinner finished his secondary studies in 2013 and set his sights on travelling the world on a gap year but a late growth spell encouraged him to give rugby one last go.

Skinner featured for National League Two South side Taunton Titans in 2014 – a period in which he was involved in the then Scottish Exiles (now Scottish Qualified) programme – before he was picked up by the Chiefs in the 2014/15 season.

He then became an increasingly prominent part of the Exeter squad that won the English Premiership title in 2017 and 2020 (runners-up in 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2021), completing the double with European Champions Cup glory in 2020.

As well as being part of the Exeter Chiefs squad, Skinner has, for the last few years, combined his work at Sandy Park with that of studying for a degree at the University of Exeter – whom he captained to BUCS Championship success in 2016 – with the lock recently achieving a first in business and economics.

A Scotland debutant against Fiji in 2018, Skinner – who is equally adept in the back-row – has featured in a plethora of memorable games for the national side, including the 38-38 draw at Twickenham in 2019 and the 2021 win over France in Paris, the team’s first such result since 1999.

Head Coach Mike Blair, added: “We’re absolutely delighted to secure the signature of a player of Sam’s quality and reputation. His signing really adds to what we’re building at the club and I’ve got no doubt supporters will enjoy watching him pull on the Edinburgh jersey at DAM Health Stadium.

“He is a proven winner, while at 26-years-old he still has plenty of years ahead of him to develop and grow as a player.

“I’ve obviously worked with Sam during my time with the national team, so I’ve seen first-hand how dedicated he is to his craft, while his leadership and experience will bring added strength and depth to what is an already exciting forward pack.

“We’re really looking forward to welcoming Sam to the club next season and I’m sure he’ll be relishing a new and exciting challenge at Edinburgh Rugby.”

Source – Edinburgh 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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