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SaracensSaracens beat Exeter Chiefs to win the Premiership final and become the first English side to complete a domestic and European double since 2004.

Exeter, in their first play-off final, were blown away by a dominant first half from Sarries, who led 23 / 6 through Duncan Taylor and Chris Wyles scores.

Jack Yeandle and Jack Nowell crossed after the break as a rejuvenated Chiefs reduced the deficit to 3 points.

But Alex Goode’s late try secured the title for the defending champions.

Victory also means Mark McCall’s side, who won the European Champions Cup 2 weeks ago, become the first English club since Wasps 12 years ago to win the top-flight and European titles in the same season.

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Springboks

Allister Coetzee has named a new-look Springbok squad, including 9 uncapped players, for the Castle Lager Incoming Series against Ireland, featuring 3 Tests in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth.

The uncapped players who have forced their way into the Springbok squad are Garth April (Cell C Sharks – flyhalf), Ruan Combrinck (Emirates Lions – wing), Faf de Klerk (Emirates Lions – scrumhalf), Nic Groom (DHL Stormers – scrumhalf), Steven Kitshoff (Overseas-based – prop), Jaco Kriel (Emirates Lions – flank), Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers – hooker), Sikhumbuzo Notshe (DHL Stormers – flank) and Scarra Ntubeni (DHL Stormers – hooker).

Coetzee picked 17 forwards and 14 backs to report for duty on Sunday afternoon for the start of a 2-week long preparation camp in Stellenbosch and Cape Town. The squad will gather in Stellenbosch for the 1st week, before they break for 2 days and then reassemble on Sunday 5 June in Cape Town.

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IrelandIreland have included three South Africans for their three-Test tour to South Africa in June.

Loose forward Christiaan Stander, lock Quinn Roux and hooker Richardt Strauss are the three inclusions named in Joe Schmidt’s touring group.

Roux, 25, is one of only two uncapped players included in the squad, with New Zealand-borne Ulster flank Sean Reidy also set to earn his first international stint.

Roux represented Western Province and the Stormers at Currie Cup and Super Rugby level, before signing with Leinster in 2012, making 21 appearances for the province.

He then switched to Connacht in 2015 and earned six caps for the side.

Loose forward Stander has will be looking to boost his international experience as he has already earned five Test caps for Ireland, having made his first international appearance during their 2016 Six Nations campaign.

He previously represented the Bulls at Super Rugby level.

Strauss, the cousin of Springbok and Bulls hooker Adriaan, has racked up 16 caps for the Irish since joining them in 2012.

Richardt played with Adriaan,  who is tipped to captain the Boks for the June fixtures, for two years at the Cheetahs before heading abroad to join Pro12 finalists Leinster in 2009.

The veteran second row has featured 114 times for Leinster.

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ScotlandGlasgow Warriors flyhalf Finn Russell picked up a nasty injury very early on in the Warrior”s match against Connacht in Galway in the PRO12 semifinal on Saturday. He was involved in one of those ‘freak’ events when he and team mate Zander Ferguson ran into each other.

Current Scotland U20 tighthead prop Fagerson had to leave the field but was able to walk off although he didn’t return for the rest of the game.

For Finn Russell however the collision was more costly, as the medics rushed onto the field to treat the two it became clear that Finn had suffered a nasty injury to his face. Early on during the on-field assessment they had him standing up but then lay him on the ground. After what seemed like quite a while he was stretchered off to a sporting applause from concerned fans at the ground and taken to hospital.

Glasgow Warriors put out a short message on Sunday night confirming that Finn was still in hospital undergoing observation. Today the club put out a longer statement with the news that although he remained in hospital he didn’t require surgery and that he may be released later this week.

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EnglandFormer Stormers and current Exeter Chiefs loose forward Don Armand has been included in England Saxons squad for their short tour of South Africa in June. However, flying Saracens winger Chris Ashton has turned down the opportunity of joining the Saxons squad after he had earlier been omitted from Eddie Jones’ England squad for their tour to Australia.

England Saxons are to be coached by Ali Hepher in their two-Test series against South Africa A, with a 27-man squad being named for the tour.

The squad, compromised of experienced names and emerging talent, will play South Africa’s second team in Bloemfontein on Friday 10 June and Outeniqua Park in George on Friday 17 June (7.10pm local time).

England internationals Kieran Brookes, Dave Attwood, Danny Cipriani, Matt Kvesic, Christian Wade, Luther Burrell and Semesa Rokoduguni bring 69 senior caps to the squad and many of the remaining 20 have represented England in age-grade teams in recent years.

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Guinness Pro12Connacht and Glasgow Warriors will be battling it out in today’s Guinness PRO12  semifinal in Galway for a place in the final against Leinster at Murrayfield next weekend. This after hosts Leinster pulled off a comfortable victory against Ulster last night in the first semifinal. The final score in that match was : Leinster 30 / 18 Ulster.

Connacht must surely be heading into today’s match in a very confident frame of mind as the last time they played Glasgow Warriors they ended up on the winning side with a 7 point margin of victory in a low scoring affair. That match took place 2 weeks ago in the last Round of the regular league stage and was also played at Connacht’s home ground in the picturesque Galway.

Today’s match should be played in far better conditions than the last one between these 2 teams and this could help Glasgow who like to play an attractive attacking brand of rugby. The only thing is that Connacht, under Pat Lam, have also developed into a slick unit who have the ability to run with the ball and offload smartly too and are at this stage possibly the more rounded team as they proved 2 weeks ago that they also have the ability to ‘win ugly’.

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Emirates LionsEmirates Lions head coach, Johan Ackermann has named his team to play the Argentinian side the Jaguars at Emirates Airline Park on Saturday Afternoon.

The team sees the coach sticking to his rotation policy with a total of six changes to the side that so convincingly beat the Blues last week, with exciting lock Lourens Erasmus getting a start in the second row.

Herewith the media announcement from the Emirates Lions.

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Emirates LionsEmirates Lions wing Ruan Combrink has certainly raised some eyebrows during the 1st half of Super Rugby 2016.

The hard running winger is undoubtedly one of the form players in the African conferences, and it has to be asked in certain circles whether the new National coach has taken note of his strong performances.

Herewith a short biography of the player as issued by the Emirates Lions.

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World Rugby Under 20 ChampionshipSpringbok Under 20 coach Dawie Theron on Tuesday named his 28-man squad that will do battle at World Rugby Under 20 Championship in Manchester, England, from 7 – 25 June.

Eastern Province centre Jeremy Ward will lead the team in the showpiece, while his provincial team-mate Junior Pokomela and 2015 SA Schools captain, Western Province lock Ernst van Rhyn, have been named as vice-captains.

The squad features 2 players who were members of the Junior Springbok squad that finished 3rd at the international showpiece in Italy last year, namely centre JT Jackson and scrumhalf Marco Jansen van Vuren.

9 Members of the SA Schools team that featured in the Under 18 International Series in South Africa last year have also been included. They are centre Stedman Gans, flyhalves Manie Libbok and Curwin Bosch, scrumhalf Embrose Papier, locks Ruben de Villiers and Van Rhyn, loose forwards Cobus Wiese and Zain Davids and prop Carlü Sadie.

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World Rugby Under 20 ChampionshipEngland Under 20 Head Coach Martin Haag has named his 28-man squad for the World Rugby Under 20 Championship in Manchester (7 – 25 June).

The home side face Italy, Scotland and Australia in Pool B and several players with Premiership experience have been included: Theo Brophy-Clews, Will Evans, Harry Mallinder, Joe Marchant, Ollie Thorley and Johnny Williams.

Jack Walker will play in his 3rd World Rugby Under 20 Championship, while George Perkins and Josh Bainbridge both featured in Italy last year.

England have a strong record in the tournament having reached 6 finals in the last 8 years but this squad have a unique opportunity to play in front of their home supporters.

“This group will only play together for this tournament.  It will be a proud moment when they pull on the white jersey and run out in front of family and friends in a home World Cup,” said Haag.

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ScotlandHead Coach Vern Cotter has named a 27-man Scotland squad for the national team’s 2-Test summer tour of Japan next month.

The Test matches will be played on consecutive Saturdays at J1 League football stadia; the 1st at the Toyota Stadium in Toyota City (18 June), the 2nd at the Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo (25 June), homes of Nagoya Grampus and FC Tokyo respectively.

Cotter also confirmed that Glasgow centre Mark Bennett has not been named to allow him to be considered for extended GB 7s selection ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

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