Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter believes new signing Niko Matawalu can add some real ‘X-Factor’ to his backline after he today agreed a deal until the end of the season.
The Fijian international will head to Sandy Park from Aviva Premiership rivals Bath Rugby and will join up with his new team-mates once the current autumn internationals are concluded.
Equally at home either on the wing or at scrum-half, Baxter believes the 27-year-old is a great addition to the Chiefs make-up and is excited at what he can bring to the club moving forward.
“Initially Niko’s joining until the end of the season,” said Baxter. “Initially we want to have a good look at him and then we’ll see if there is an opportunity beyond that.
“As a club we’re really looking forward to bringing him here. We had a good look at him previously when he first decided to move on from Glasgow to Bath, but now the opportunity has arisen for us to sign him and it’s come at the right time for us.
We’re not expecting him to be 100 per cent straight away as he has had a relatively lengthy injury, but he’s fully fit now, he’s ready to play, and we’re hoping he will get some good game time during these autumn internationals to help get him right up to speed.”
Former England coach Sir Clive Woodward says English rugby union is a “laughing stock” after Sam Burgess returned to Rugby League.
Burgess was part of the England squad which went out of their home Rugby World Cup in the group stages.
He will now leave Bath and rejoin South Sydney Rabbitohs in Australia.
Woodward, who led England to 2003 Rugby World Cup success, said he did not blame Burgess “for this mess” but the English game was at one of its “all-time lows”.
Burgess, from Dewsbury in West Yorkshire, played 21 games for Bath after joining them just over a year ago, scoring 4 tries.
Having made his England debut in August, he was selected for the Rugby World Cup ahead of Northampton centre Luther Burrell, who had looked to have established himself in the team after playing in all 5 of their Six Nations matches earlier in the year.
Burgess, who had been playing at blindside flanker for his club, was picked at centre for the hosts against Wales in the Rugby World Cup and his selection sparked much debate.
The build-up to one of Europe’s greatest sporting weekends is almost complete as the clock ticks towards the Cardiff 2014 finals kick-off.
With a galaxy of international stars ready to take the stage at the atmospheric Millennium Stadium for tomorrow’s Heineken Cup decider between RC Toulon and Saracens, and at Cardiff Arms Park for this evening’s all-English Amlin Challenge Cup confrontation featuring Bath Rugby and Northampton Saints, fans from all over Europe are flocking into the Welsh capital to savour a unique celebration of club rugby.
Both matches – which will feature players from as many as 15 nations including luminaries of the global game such as Jonny Wilkinson, George North, Matt Giteau, Schalk Brits and Bryan Habana – will be broadcast in more than 150 countries worldwide.
Bath director of rugby Gary Gold has left the Premiership club. The 46-year-old South African took over at the Rec in May 2012, replacing Sir Ian McGeechan.
Leicester Tigers may have started the new Premiership season with a bonus-point victory but flank Julian Salvi insists the reigning champions are gunning for an even more ruthless performance next time out.
As pointed out by Scrumdown, one of our knowledgeable contributors, yesterday Saracens played their first Premiership game at their new home ground, the Allianz Park, in Barnet Copthall. The match was played on an artificial surface and although it is the second game that has been played there it was the first one that they played in front of ten thousand people which is a capacity crowd for the stadium.
Uncapped, Inverness-born stand-off Tom Heathcote has tonight joined the Scotland squad in Aberdeen in preparation for Saturday’s EMC Test against Tonga. Heathcote, 20, who has already featured in the Heineken Cup for Bath Rugby, has previously played age-grade for England but is “delighted” to accept the call-up from the land of his birth.
Scotland head coach Andy Robinson said: “Tom has worked his way into the Bath first team squad from the academy and we’ve been monitoring his progress for the last couple of years.”
It will be a bottom-of-the-table clash when Sale Sharks take on London Irish to kick off the Premiership action on Friday.
The second round of the 2012/2013 season’s Aviva Premiership was completed this weekend. In the first match of the weekend London Welsh were comprehensively beaten by Harlequins, who scored six tries to none. In the last game, which was played on Sunday, Northampton Saints managed to scrape through against a brave Exeter Chiefs outfit.
The second round of Aviva Premiership games take places this weekend and while it may only be Round Two, Saracens have laid down an early marker in the 2012/13 Premiership season.
The tournament organizers couldn’t have wished for a better start to the season with an action packed game between London Wasps and Harlequins at Twickenham. Harlequins secured a narrow victory after being more than twenty points behind with twenty minutes left to play. Ten tries were scored in total in this match.