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Aviva premiership

Aviva Premiership LogoNorthampton SaintsAlex Waller’s try in the last minute of extra time won Northampton their first Premiership title with a dramatic victory over Saracens.

Saints led 7-6 at the break through Ben Foden’s converted try, with Owen Farrell replying with two penalties.

Farrell added a further penalty before George Pisi crossed for Northampton’s second converted try.

Marcelo Bosch’s try levelled the scores but Charlie Hodgson’s kick hit the post to send the game into extra time.

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Aviva PremiershipNorthampton Saints have named captain Dylan Hartley among their replacements for Saturday’s Premiership final against Saracens at Twickenham.

But the hooker’s England team-mate Mako Vunipola is missing for Sarries having had surgery on a dislocated patella.

Saints are aiming for their first-ever Premiership title, after losing to rivals Leicester in last year’s final.

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Saracens RugbyNorthampton SaintsAlistair HargreavesSaracens booked a place in the Aviva Premiership final at Twickenham when they beat Harlequins 31-17 in the Premiership Semi-final at Allianz Park.

Saracens gradually saw off Harlequins to keep their dreams of winning the double alive.

The lead was evenly shared up until the 60-minute mark, with the league’s best side stretching away in the late May sunshine as Harlequins faded in a bruising encounter. Saracens scored 20 unanswered points in the second half.

A total of 14 possible points went begging as kickers Owen Farrell and Marcelo Bosch toiled with the conditions and their accuracy, but they were not made to pay in the end.

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Mike BrownAviva PremiershipEngland and Harlequins fullback Mike Brown has been named Aviva Premiership Rugby Player of the Season at the Aviva Premiership Rugby Awards.

Brown has enjoyed a breakthrough season for both Harlequins and England and was acclaimed by his Director of Rugby, Conor O’Shea, as “a model of consistency, and also a match winner.”

The Harlequins man beat a stellar list of Aviva Premiership Rugby players to the award. He was joined on the shortlist by Vereniki Goneva (Leicester Tigers), Samu Manoa (Northampton Saints), Chris Pennell (Worcester Warriors), Jacques Burger (Saracens) and Dan Braid (Sale Sharks).

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WalesEngland’s leading clubs will not allow players to take part in the Wales trial on Friday, 30 May.  The availability of some Wales stars was in any case in doubt because the Aviva Premiership final takes place a day later.

A spokesman said Premiership Rugby’s Wales players would not be free for the trial as it falls outside the International Rugby Board (IRB) window.

But Wales remain hopeful of reaching a deal over England-based players.

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Alesana TuilagiAnitelea TuilagiAviva Premiership Rugby club Newcastle Falcons have signed Tuilagi brothers Alesana “Alex” and Anitelea “Andy” on two-year deals ahead of the 2014-15 Aviva Premiership season.

Samoan internationals Alesana, 33, and Anitelea, 27, who both play at either wing or centre, bring the Falcons’ tally of new signings up to eight as Dean Richards continues to mould his side for next term.

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UlsterIan HumphreysIan Humphreys is back at Ulster after the fly-half left London Irish to sign a two-year deal with his home province.

The 32-year-old former Leicester Tigers player moved from Ulster to the Exiles in 2012.

“I have loved my time at London Irish but when the unexpected opportunity to come home arose, it was a very easy decision to make,” said Humphreys. ” It’s exciting to be part of a squad that’s challenging in Europe and is at the top of the Pro12 every year.”

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top14logoFrench club rugby’s governing body, the LNR (Ligue Nationale de Rugby) has announced radical new plans (entitled the ‘New Deal’, showcasing France’s bizarre love of anglicised naming devices) designed to improve the Top 14, and by proxy the French international team, from the start of next season.

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Aviva PremiershipAfter brokering the deal for a new European Cup, starting next season, bosses of Aviva Premiership clubs are understood to be working on plans for a World Club competition.

It has been reported that the English clubs will test the resolve of the IRB by proposing plans to create a new worldwide club tournament for the summer of June 2018 which, as it stands, is currently a designated international rugby window.

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Saracens RugbyHarlequinsSaracens beat the world record attendance of a club match in their 39-17 Aviva Premiership clash at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.

A clinical first-half display from Saracens saw them go in at half time 27-10 up, through tries from Chris Ashton, George Kruis and Owen Farrell, with Karl Dickson’s try and Nick Evans’s penalty keeping Quins within touching distance.

The second half was a more low-key affair, with Sam Smith’s converted try putting Harlequins within 10, but Jacques Burger and Marcelo Bosch sealed the victory for Saracens.

The game had a staggered start as David Strettle was on the receiving end of a swinging arm from Maurie Fa’asavalu, leaving the winger unconscious for a lengthy period of time, forcing him to be carried off on a stretcher.

Soon after, Nick Easter tried to make the most of a poor pass, but could only palm it into the path of Ashton who, after fending off Ugo Monye, dived over to score a 70-metre try, with Farrell converting.

Saracens vs Harlequins - Premiership Crowd Record

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ERCA new European Cup accord will be signed this week after nearly two years of fraught negotiations and stand-offs. The six unions involved in the tournament, together with officials from competing sides in England, France and Wales, met in Paris on Monday to finalise the details.

It was hoped the stakeholders would be able to sign the heads of agreement at the meeting but the translation of the document into Italian was completed only over the weekend and their rugby federation said it had not had time to fully scrutinise it.

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WhistleWhilst South African and Southern Hemisphere referees are sitting with their feet up or bare feet in the sand at the coast this Festive Season, their Northern Hemisphere counterparts are still at work.

So where do you really want to live, in leisurely summer time in the Southern Hemisphere or in the cold gloom and doom of icy winter in the Northern Hemisphere?

Here are the referees doing duty till 29 December 2013.

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Aviva PremiershipIt will be the Premiership leaders against the defending champions when Saracens host Leicester at Allianz Park for the first time on Saturday.

Saracens have lost just one match this season, leaving them ten points ahead of the Fifth-placed Tigers, but Leicester flank Jamie Gibson believes that things are beginning to click at the right time.

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LondonIrishLondon Irish are set to announce a takeover of the club by a group of Irish businessmen on Thursday. The club have called a news conference at their training ground in Sunbury for 10:30 GMT, where they will announce further details of the takeover.

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TVThe season may have ended for International sides like the South African Springboks and the New Zealand All Blacks, but we still officially have one Test weekend left on the End Of Year Tours in 2013, and it is this weekend!

The Barbarians take on Fiji at Twickenham on Saturday afternoon at 16:30 SA Time (14:30 GMT), with a number of prominent Springboks and All Blacks in the Barbarians side and Wales host the Wallabies from Australia at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff at 19:00 SA Time (17:00 GMT).

But that’s not all folks, we have some quality Sevens Rugby on Friday and Saturday (HSBC Sevens World Series, Dubai Tournament) and we also have the Varsity Sevens on Friday, Saturday and Sunday… all broadcast live. In addition we have Aviva Pemiership Round 9 rugby betwwen Gloucester vs Leicester Tigers and French Top 14 Round 13 rugby between Perpignon vs Clermont Auvergne on Friday night and an Aviva Premiershpi Round 9 rugby match between Newcastle Falcons vs Harlequins on Sunday

Here are the broadcast times for Friday, Saturday and Sunday:

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