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Ulster confirm return of former coach

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(Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

European Cup winner, and former Ulster Assistant Coach, Jonny Bell, will be making a welcome return to the province on a 3-year deal to take over from outgoing Jared Payne as Ulster’s Defence Coach. Skills Coach, Craig Newby, has also signed a contract extension to remain at Ulster until 2024.

Ulster and Ireland centre, Bell, previously coached at Ulster as Elite Player Development Officer before becoming Assistant Coach from 2011-2015. He then made the move to Gloucester, and spent five years as their Defence Coach before taking over as Attack Coach at Glasgow Warriors for the 2020-21 season.

Bell will return to Kingspan Stadium this summer from Premiership side, Worcester Warriors, where he is currently Defence Coach.

Meanwhile, former All Black, Craig Newby, joined Ulster last summer on a one-year deal as Skills Coach from his role as Director of Rugby at St. John’s School in Leatherhead. Newby also held roles as England U20 Women’s Forwards Coach and was involved in the coaching setup for both Wasps U18s and Harlequins U16s. He has signed on with the province for a further two years.

Head Coach, Dan McFarland, said:

“Jonny’s homecoming to the province is an exciting prospect. Defence has been at the forefront of his game, both as a player and as a coach, and he has a wealth of coaching experience that will be hugely valuable to us.

“I know he will fit in well with our strong group of coaches, and we look forward to welcoming him back into the fold.

“It is also great that Craig has bought into what we are building on as a club, and has agreed to extend his time with us.

“He has integrated seamlessly into our coaching team, and has already done an impressive job of further developing the skills of our Senior and Academy players.“

On his new appointment, Jonny Bell, said:

“I’m really excited to be going back to Ulster Rugby where it began for me all those years ago.

“Ulster are a top-class team, extremely well-coached, and with an exciting crop of young and experienced players.

“They are competing consistently at the business end of domestic and European competitions.

“I am thrilled to be working with Dan McFarland and his coaching team and look forward to adding my knowledge and experience to an already driven and dynamic group.

On his contract extension, Craig Newby, added:

“My time at Ulster has been nothing but fantastic, and when Dan and the club offered me an opportunity to stay on and continue to do what I love, it was a no-brainer to say yes.

“I’ve enjoyed the challenge from Day 1 and I’ve learnt an extraordinary amount about my coaching from the players, the coaches, and the games. I look forward to spending more time adding as much value as I can to keep pushing towards our ultimate goals.

“I’d also love to mention the wonderful city of Belfast, the surrounding countryside, and people of Ulster for making me feel like I’m at home in New Zealand.”

URC

Cardiff confirm captain for 2022-23 season

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Josh Turnbull has once again been named Cardiff Rugby’s captain ahead of the 2022-23 season. 

The versatile forward was named club captain last season, having led the Blue and Blacks on numerous occasions previously.

Turnbull has now made 171 first team appearances for Cardiff, including 14 last season, and is closing in on the URC appearance record of 252.

He retains the captaincy honour once again as Cardiff look to bounce back from a disappointing United Rugby Championship season last time out. 

Turnbull said: “To be captain of this rugby club is a massive honour. There’s a rich tradition of captains here and when I got the job last year, we mentioned all the names who’ve gone before me.

“I’m chuffed to get it again and to lead this group of boys but I’m under no illusions of what kind of job I’ve got to do. First and foremost, I’ve got to make sure I’m playing well and make sure i’m in the squad and playing.  

“We’ve got a real good, strong and competitive back five of the scrum and we’ve made some quality signings in that area as well, so first and foremost I have to get my own my own form right.  

“It was disappointing from my end how last season finished – thumped twice by the Scarlets, beaten well by the Ospreys, Sarries as well and then obviously going out Treviso and finishing that game off was real tough to take.  

“After everything we went through last year, (looking back) I think (subconsciously) we just wanted to get it over and done with as quickly as possible. But what I’ve really pleased about is the way the boys have come back in refreshed, everyone’s been really energised and wants to get into work and get on with the new task in front of us. 

“We have to put a bit of respect back into that jersey and this squad is ready to do that.” 

There are plenty of other players who have regularly led Cardiff in the past, including the likes of Kristian Dacey, Ellis Jenkins, Josh Navidi and Lloyd Williams, while Thomas Young has led Wasps on numerous times.

With these players and the usual leadership roles in key positions, Turnbull believes he has plenty of support in the role and will lead by example rather than being overly vocal.

He continued:  “I probably see myself more as a captain that leads by example and by my actions rather than having to say too much. 

“There’s plenty of leaders within the squad who can do that. The game drivers in terms of nines and your 10s, your defensive captains, your attack captains. So, I’ll try and lead by what I do on the field and what I do in around the environment. Melon was pretty similar to that, he leads by example.”

Cardiff kick-off the URC season against Munster on Friday, September 16 (7.35pm), and will warm up with pre-season friendlies against Gloucester on September 2, and Zebre Parma on September 9.

As pre-season preparations intensify and the focus on rugby sharpens, Turnbull expects the ante to rise continually, and he is relishing the opener against the Irish outfit at what he hopes will be a packed Arms Park.

He added: “It’s very rewarding when you start getting closer to the games because all that hard work starts to come to fruition. We’re going into week six of pre-season and we’re all eager to keep the momentum going and start building towards Gloucester game in a couple of weeks when we have that first pre-season hit out. 

“Friday night under the lights in Arms Park, it doesn’t get much better than that. Everyone wants to be involved in that first fixture, everyone is going to be working real hard now the next couple of weeks to get in there.  

“We had a real good, ding-dong battle with Munster for about 60 minutes last season over there and we’ve got a little bit of form on this pitch against the Irish teams so hopefully, we can take that into the start the season against them.” 

Match tickets for the pre-season friendly against Zebre on Friday, September 9, and the first FIVE home games of the URC season are now available. Click here to purchase match tickets of Season Memberships.

Content & Images from – Cardiff Rugby

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URC

Cardiff Rugby Board Meeting Summary – July 2022

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Corporate | 8th August 2022


Cardiff Rugby Board Meeting Summary – July 2022

The previous minutes were approved and actions discussed.

The board were joined by Malcolm Wall, PRB Chairman, to review and discuss the latest 2022/23 funding model proposal from the WRU. 

Richard Holland’s Executive Summary:

  • WRU Premiership proposal to reduce from 12 teams to 9 was presented and discussed
  • Feedback workshops have been held with all non-rugby staff to review positives and negatives from an off-field perspective. 
  • Ongoing work to further develop a positive and effective culture throughout the organisation
  • The rugby sub-board held a 21/22 season review meeting with Dai Young. 
  • Dai has also been holding ‘think tank’ sessions with the rugby department throughout pre-season
  • Pentwyn and CAP updates were given
  • PRB funding proposal impact was discussed
  • Discussion of issues regarding supporting women’s rugby

 

Neil Bryan’s Finance Summary:

  • 2021-22 quarter 4 (for the 11 months ended 31st May 2022) profit and loss, balance sheet and cashflow 
  • Still awaiting discussions between the PRB and WRU to conclude to establish Cardiff Rugby’s cash position moving forward

 

Rhys Blumberg’s COO’s Summary:

  • Kat Czekaj has resigned from her position as Key Account Manager. Gavin Vaughan-Evans has proven to be an asset to the commercial team and has been promoted to Commercial Manager to oversee the entire department
  • Sponsorship – new agreement secured with JAR Site as Front Row Club sponsor 
  • Two Circles conference feedback and subsequent actions
  • Matchday experience feedback – report from second visit yet to be received

 

Nadine Griffiths’ Foundation Summary:

  • Summer schedule has seen the delivery of 52 events and counting
  • Staffing update and recent individual achievements
  • Commercial, grants and fundraising update, including new commercial agreement secured with BBI and £25,000 donation from the Wasps Legends golf event at La Manga (supported by the Foundation)
  • Delivery and engagement overview

 

Supporters:

  • Representatives would be sought for the Sustainability and Accessible Stadium working groups
  • Pre-board meetings now established involving all supporter groups
  • Potential changes in supporter group structure in autumn
  • Supporter groups tasked to identify KPIs for Supporter Advisor

 

For the May Board Meeting Summary click here.

Content & Images from – Cardiff Rugby

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Glasgow appoint new head coach

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​Glasgow Warriors have appointed Franco Smith as the club’s new Head Coach on an initial two-year contract.

Smith, a former Springbok, made a try scoring debut against Scotland at Murrayfield and won nine caps for his country between 1996 and 1999, and brings with him a wealth of knowledge both as a professional player and coach, with experience working with backs, forwards, and on set piece.

During his playing career he played for Free State Cheetahs, Griquas, Blue Bulls, and The Pumas in South Africa, as well as Newport, Bologna, and Benetton Treviso in Europe.

Smith began coaching soon after retiring, first as backs coach for Free State Cheetahs, before returning to Italy in 2007 as Head Coach of Benetton. In Treviso, he won two National Championship of Excellence titles, prior to the club joining the PRO12.

He returned to Cheetahs in 2014 and led them to two Currie Cup titles in 2016 and 2019, and also spent time as an assistant coach with South Africa during 2017 and 2018.

As Italy men’s national Head Coach, he was responsible for capping a wealth of talent, including the current men’s national team captain Michele Lamaro, and the talented playmaker Paolo Garbisi.

Others that won their first international caps under Smith include Juan Ignacio Brex (centre), Monty Ioane (wing), and Niccolo Cannone (lock) all of whom were involved in Italy’s recent 22-12 victory over Wales in the 2022 GUINNESS Six Nations.

Content & Images from – Glasgow Warriors Rugby

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