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Ross Moriarity & Bill Meakes

Gloucester’s Ross Moriarty (left) and Bill Meakes (right)

Meakes suspended for 2 weeks:

The Gloucester centre, Bill Meakes, has been suspended for 2 weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in Dublin yesterday (Thursday 7 May) arising from the European Challenge Cup final against Edinburgh at the Twickenham Stoop on Friday 1 May 2015.

Meakes was sent off by referee, Jérôme Garcès (France), in the 64th minute of the match for an alleged dangerous tackle on the Edinburgh centre, Sam Beard (No 13), in contravention of Law 10.4(e).

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European Rugby Challenge CupEdinburgh welcome fullback Greig Tonks back into their side for tonight’s European Challenge Cup final against Gloucester.

He is 1 of 2 changes made by head coach Alan Solomons, who also brings Cornell Du Preez in at eighthman.

Greig Laidlaw, who was 1 of a number of players rested for Gloucester’s Premiership fixture against Newcastle, returns to face his former club.

Billy Twelvetrees captains the Cherry and Whites, while Richard Hibbard and James Hook also come back in.

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Willi Heinz

Willi Heinz

Gloucester have added experience and quality to their scrumhalf ranks next season with the capture of Crusaders’ Willi Heinz.

The 28-year-old will join the current Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw and the hugely promising Callum Braley as scrumhalf options for the Cherry and Whites from 2015 – 2016.

Heinz has captained Canterbury in the NPC, represented the Crusaders more than 50 times in Super Rugby, and gained huge popularity with the Canterbury supporters.

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Aviva PremiershipWasps have set the standard and now they must recreate it, says director of rugby Dai Young after watching his side battle to a 20-16 victory over reigning Aviva Premiership Rugby champions Northampton Saints.

A low-scoring first half saw the sides locked at 3-3 going into the break but tries from Ashley Johnson and Tom Varndell meant Ben Foden’s late score for Northampton was nothing more than consolation

And after their heartbreaking 34-28 loss to Saracens at Twickenham in last weekend’s opener, Young admitted he was delighted with Wasps’ response at Adams Park.

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James Simpson-Daniel

James Simpson-Daniel

Gloucester and England back James Simpson-Daniel has confirmed his retirement after failing to recover from an ankle injury.

The 32-year-old winger has been sidelined since last November when he suffered an horrific ankle injury in an LV= Cup fixture against Newcastle Falcons at Kingsholm.

Sinbad, as he is affectionately known by all connected with Gloucester, has battled bravely in an attempt to regain full fitness but has reluctantly been forced to admit defeat.

Despite the desperately disappointing news, Simpson-Daniel preferred to dwell on the positives when he spoke to the club website.

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Aviva PremiershipWith the new English domestic season kicking off on Friday, we take a look at the prospects of each of the 12 clubs competing for the Premiership title. Let’s get started.


The pioneers of modern English rugby, Saracens have established themselves as one of Europe’s leading teams over the last few years.

Making three Premiership Finals in the last five years along with contesting Europe’s showpiece last season underlines their rise to the top of the game. Unafraid to experiment off the field, 2013/2014 saw Saracens revolutionise their play on it by throwing off the shackles and producing attacking rugby that was hard to resist. More of the same please.

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Laurie Fisher

Laurie Fisher will move to the Aviva Premiership to coach Gloucester this season

For all the talk of players leaving Australian shores, the costliest exit may be Brumbies coach Laurie Fisher, who is bound for Gloucester next year. The Brumbies’ lineout, drive, scrum and defence against the relatively new Chiefs tactic of setting up mauls in general play were the difference in an outstanding qualifying final of tiny margins on Saturday. Not only that, but Fisher worked lineout miracles with emergency hooker Ruaidhri Murphy in the few short weeks since he understandably struggled against the Waratahs. Murphy was like Phil Taylor with his arrows when he came on for the closing stages, even hitting Ben Mowen at the tail of one set-piece. Brilliant work

We don’t always get to hear much about our top-level coaches these days, certainly not much beyond the usual ‘this bloke is rubbish’/’this bloke’s a genius’ debate, but often there are stories and insight to be provided that goes well beyond the standard clichés.

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Jimmy Cowan

Jimmy Cowan

Veteran All Black scrumhalf Jimmy Cowan will return to New Zealand after two seasons in the English Premiership.

The 32-year-old Cowan has signed to play for the Tasman Makos in the NPC.

The Tasman Rugby Union confirmed he has signed a one-year deal, after seeing out two injury-affected seasons at Premiership club Gloucester.

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John Muggleton

John Muggleton

Aviva Premiership Rugby club Gloucester have added to their coaching team by signing former Australia defence coach John Muggleton and England Under 20’s coach Nick Walshe.

Muggleton will be taking on the role of Defence Coach. The 54 year old is a former Australian Rugby League international, part of the 1982 touring team which became known as ‘The Invincibles’ when it won all 22 games on its tour of England and France.

Once his playing career was over, Sydney born Muggleton moved into coaching and was Defence Coach with the Wallabies for 10 years. His time in post covered the Rugby World Cup triumph in 1999 and a series victory over the British and Irish Lions.

A two year stint with the Scarlets was followed by a spell coaching Georgia at Rugby World 2011, before taking on the role of Defence Coach with the Melbourne Rebels from 2011 to 2013.

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Richard HibbardRhys PriestlandBritish and Irish Lions hooker Richard Hibbard and Wales flyhalf Rhys Priestland have joined the exodus of Wales players leaving the Welsh regions and joined the growing contingent of Wales internationals playing in England.

Lions hooker Hibbard has agreed to join Gloucester at the end of this season while Scarlets pivot Priestland has agreed to move to Wasps.

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heinekencupMjekevuPerpignan’s strong second-half showing overwhelmed Heineken Cup opponents Edinburgh at Stade Aimé Giral.  Tim Visser’s converted try helped the visitors into a deserved 7-3 lead at the interval. But they were undone by two tries early in the second half as Joffrey Michel and Wandile Mjekevu crossed.

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avivalogo2Newcastle Falcons will be keen to prove they are worthy when they get the 2013/14 Premiership season underway against Bath at Kingston Park tonight.  While the opening round has a number of intriguing fixtures – London Irish v Saracens, Gloucester v Sale Sharks, Northampton Saints v Exeter Chiefs, London Wasps v Harlequins and Leicester Tigers v Worcester Warriors – it is the Falcons that will hog most of the early limelight.

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ScotlandFormer Scotland scrum-half and captain Rory Lawson is to retire from all rugby with immediate effect.  Lawson (Newcastle Falcons), the 32-year-old son of former Scotland scrum-half and immediate SRU past president Alan Lawson, has been advised to retire on account of a chronic wrist injury.

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Gloucester looseforward Andy Hazell was suspended for 14 weeks as sanction following a Disciplinary Hearing in Dublin after being Red Carded and Cited in the Amlin Challenge Cup Pool 1, Round 1 match against Mont-de-Marsan at Stade Guy Boniface on Thursday 11 October.

In one of the more brutal and serious incidents in recent years, Andy Hazell was given a Red Card for an incident in the 55th minute of the match for striking (or rather for bating up) Mont-de-Marsan replacement, Sebastien Ormaechea.

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Champions Harlequins will be out to extend their unbeaten start to the English Premiership when they take on Sale Sharks this weekend. Quins currently head the standings after two rounds, but with five teams still unbeaten there is plenty of pressure to continue their winning ways.

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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.

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There has been a lot of debate on South Africa’s policy around the selection of foreign based players of late, but Peter de Villiers may just have it spot on. Continue reading


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