With 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.
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.
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.
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.
English club Gloucester want Nick Mallett as their new Director of Rugby after unexpectedly sacking Nigel Davies, the Gloucester Citizen website reports.
Davies was sacked on Monday after the Cherry and Whites lost to relegated Worcester Warriors at the weekend.
Edinburgh Rugby confirmed on Tuesday that scrum-half and captain Greig Laidlaw will leave the club to join English Premiership side Gloucester at the end of the season.
Wales and British and Irish Lions hooker Richard Hibbard is the latest player to leave Wales after signing for Gloucester.
Gloucester (7) 10 / 16 (9) Edinburgh (Final Score)
Gloucester and Edinburgh did battle in the Heineken Cup at
Kingsholm at 17:00 SA Time (15:00 GMT).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1, SHD & CSN on TV in SA.
British 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.
Perpignan’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.
The first round of Heineken Cup 2013/14 matches kick off this weekend in what may be the very last tournament with the European premier club rugby competition going through a much publicised meltdown.
Newcastle 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.
Former 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.
It will be a bottom-of-the-table clash when Sale Sharks take on London Irish to kick off the Premiership action on Friday.
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.
Wing Mark Cueto admits it is easy for Sale Sharks to get bogged down with the negatives of their start to the Premiership season, but he insists only a positive frame of mind will bring a change of fortune.
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.
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.
Highlanders half-back Jimmy Cowan has announced that he will leave the Dunedin franchise in order to join English club Gloucester.
Samoan centre Eliota Fuimaono Sapolu was ordered to appear before an RFU disicplinary panel on Friday after being hit with three charges of “conduct prejudicial to the interests of the game.”
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