Former All-Blacks fly-half Nick Evans is to retire at the end of the season, once his commitments with Premiership side Harlequins come to an end.
Evans, 36, won 16 caps for New Zealand and has been one of the most successful overseas imports to the Premiership since moving to the Stoop in 2008.
He won a Premiership title in 2011-12 and holds Quins’ scoring record, having amassed 2,217 points in 206 games.
“I couldn’t think of a better place to finish my career,” Evans said.
“This game has taught me everything, showed me things I could never imagine and introduced me to people that are not team-mates but family.
“I need to thank the clubs I have represented, the coaches – who have helped shape the player I am today – and the fans, both in New Zealand where it all started, and here in the UK, for their support and cheers.”
Tighthead prop WP Nel is among four changes to Edinburgh Rugby’s starting XV to face Harlequins in Saturday’s round five European Challenge Cup clash at Twickenham Stoop (kick-off 1500 GMT, 1700 SA Time).
Scotland cap Nel – who has been out of action with a neck injury since October – comes in to take the number three jersey in one of two changes to the starting pack.
The other amendment comes in the back-row where Hamish Watson – who this week signed a new two-year deal with the club – starts on the openside flank.
In the backline, experienced operator Phil Burleigh returns at inside-centre, with club centurion Tom Brown set to start on the left wing.
Acting Head Coach, Duncan Hodge, said: “There’s a lot at stake for both sides tomorrow, which makes for an exciting tie. Harlequins’ home record speaks for itself, and we have no doubt about the size of task ahead, but there is a good buzz in camp and a belief that we can go down to London and do what is required of us.”
Harlequins (3) 16 / 14 (7) Sale Sharks (Final Score)
Harlequins and Sale Sharks did battle in the Aviva Premiership at
Twickenham Stoop, England at 21:45 SA Time (19:45 UK Time & GMT).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & CSN on TV in SA.
Former Stormers and Sharks flyhalf, Tim Swiel has signed a full-time contract with Premiership club Harlequins after a highly successful 4 month loan deal in October 2014.
The 21-year-old English-qualified pivot returned to the Sharks academy in February 2015 but will rejoin the English club for the 2015 / 2016 season.
During his short, but memorable time at The Stoop, Somerset-born Swiel made 10 senior appearances across the Cup, Premiership and European Rugby Champions Cup – which included impressive performances in the back-to-back fixtures against Leinster and Big Game 7 at Twickenham Stadium in December.
Sharks flyhalf Tim Swiel says he has settled in nicely at English club Harlequins, who he joined on loan last year.
Swiel, 21, will stay with the London club until the end of February before returning to Durban.
In an interview, Swiel said he’s learnt a lot in the few months at Harlequins.
Queensland Rugby has announced James Horwill has signed a three-year contract with English Premiership giant Harlequins.
Horwill will make the move to the famous London club following the 2015 Rugby World Cup, which concludes in October next year.
He is currently the most-capped Queensland captain, having led the Reds on 69 occasions.
A modern-day champion of the Reds who led Queensland to the 2011 Super Rugby title, Horwill will make the 2015 Super Rugby season his 10th and his last and is determined to achieve success when he pulls on the Reds jersey for the final time next year.
Harlequins lock Charlie Matthews could face a ban of up to one year after he was cited for allegedly making contact with the eye area of Leinster flanker Dominic Ryan in last Saturday’s European Champions Cup match.
The 23-year-old – who was sin-binned by French referee Romain Poite for the altercation – will face a disciplinary panel in London on Wednesday.
The panel could impose anything from a low end sanction lasting 12 weeks, mid-range 24 weeks, while in the worst case scenario he could be banned for a year for a more serious offence.
Bath’s cross-code signing Sam Burgess has been named on the bench for Friday’s Premiership game against Harlequins at The Rec. The 25-year-old arrived in the West Country a month ago but only recently resumed training after fracturing a cheekbone in his final rugby league game for South Sydney Rabbitohs. Coach Mike Ford has said Burgess is likely to come on at centre.
Quins, meanwhile, hand a start to Danny Care at scrum-half. Care, who was on the bench for the defeat by Sale last week, has been released from the England squad after again failing to make the cut for the final autumn international against Australia on Saturday.
Bath backs Semesa Rokoduguni and Kyle Eastmond will also start on Friday after falling out of Stuart Lancaster’s plans.
A win over Quins will see The Rec outfit move to the top of the Premiership table, but all the attention is likely to be on Burgess’s imminent union debut.
Cell C Sharks back, Tim Swiel will play for Harlequins Rugby Club in the UK on loan for four months. He joined the team on Saturday and will return to Durban at the end of February 2015.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for Tim and I am certain that this experience at a top club will provide him with great memories and will bode well for him in the future”, said The Sharks CEO, John Smit.
Tim Swiel added: “I am looking forward to playing for Harlequins Rugby Club for a few months during the Cell C Sharks off-season.
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.
Gregor Townsend has named a 26-man squad for Saturday’s pre-season friendly against Aviva Premiership side Harlequins at Scotstoun (ko 15:30 BST / 16:30 SA Time).
James Downey, Rossouw de Klerk, Connor Braid and Alex Allan are all in line to make their debuts for the Warriors.
Prop Euan Murray and scrum-half Murray McConnell are also included in the squad after returning to the club in the summer.
The Warriors will confirm the starting line-up on Saturday.
Glasgow Warriors will host Harlequins in a pre-season friendly at Scotstoun Stadium on Saturday 23 August, kick-off 15:30 BST.
Gregor Townsend’s squad will take on the Aviva Premiership side two weeks before the start of the new season.
Harlequins hosted the Warriors at Twickenham Stoop last summer and this year travel north after finishing fourth in the Aviva Premiership.
Conor O’Shea’s squad includes the likes of Mike Brown, Danny Care, Ugo Monye, Chris Robshaw and Nick Easter.
Fiji’s Aseli Tikoirotuma has signed for Harlequins on a two-tear contract, the English Premiership side announced on Thursday.
“Aseli is one of the most exciting backs in world rugby, and we are delighted that he has signed for us,” said Harlequins rugby director Conor O’Shea.
Saracens 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.
Premiership Rugby have confirmed that four Semi-finalists for the 2013 /2014 Aviva Premiership Semi-finals later this month.
Now that the final Round of Premiership league matches have been completed the Semi-finalists have been determined.
Saracens 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.
Harlequins (13) 13 / 16 (3) Clermont (Final Score)
Harlequins and ASM Clermont Auvergne did battle in the Heineken Cup at
The Twickenham Stoop at 15:35 SA Time (13:35 GMT).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & SHD on TV in SA.
It is crunch time in Europe’s premier club tournament, as we enter Round Five of the Euro Cup. The build-up this week may have shone the spotlight on the heavyweight Anglo-French clashes – between Toulouse and Saracens, and Harlequins and ASM Clermont Auvergne – but two other French giants will also be in crucial matches. Defending European champions Toulon host Cardiff Blues in Nice on Saturday, while French champions Castres are at home to Leinster on Sunday.
Harlequins (14) 17 / 3 (0) Racing Metro (Final Score)
harlequins and Racing Metro did battle in the Heineken Cup at
Twickenham Stoop at 14:45 SA Time (12:45 GMT).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1, SHD & CSN on TV in SA.
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.
Marketing men rub their hands as Sevens format quickly gains ground around the world. “Get on the train and see where it takes you,” is how Mark McCafferty of the Aviva Premiership described this past weekend’s inaugural World Club Sevens.
DHL Western Province and the Vodacom Blue Bulls are scheduled to face each other today at Twickenham on day two of the World Club 7s tournament. Both teams will be looking forward to improve on what was a disappointing first day for them at the inaugural tournament. Western Province lost all three of their games while the Blue Bulls lost two and drew one game.
This is Saracens fourth successive Premiership semifinal and their fifth overall, however they have lost their last three semifinal encounters in all competitions.
Guy Mercer is under no illusions about the importance of Bath’s final match of the season, and insists the players are ready to end their Premiership season on a high.
Bath second row Dominic Day admits that it is win at all costs when they welcome West Country rivals Gloucester to the Rec on Friday. Day and co will be itching to return to winning ways after their run of six straight victories in all competitions came to an end with their narrow 23-25 defeat at Northampton Saints.
With an exciting weekend of Premiership rugby the focus seems to be on the clash between table-topping Harlequins and fourth placed London Wasps.
Harlequins, Clermont Auvergne, Ulster and Toulon have all qualified for the quarterfinals of the European Cup, but who will join them in the last eight?
Unbeaten English champions Harlequins are the only ones so far guaranteed home advantage in the quarterfinals, so with plenty to play for in Round Six here is the state of the Pools going into the final weekend of group games.
Undefeated Harlequins and Clermont can book European Cup quarterfinals this weekend with Toulon also close to securing their spot in the last eight. English champions Harlequins, bidding to make the knock-out stages for just the fifth time, already have 19 points from four Pool Three wins and on Saturday tackle Connacht where just a losing bonus point will be enough to see them through.
Leicester Tigers will play host to Gloucester at Welford Road on Saturday in the key clash of the last round of the Premiership in 2012.
Today we had 2 Aviva Premiership games on TV, and we had this Live Game Article… but with a difference.
We were more casual, giving updates whilst talking nonsense inbetween.
How’s that for a nice mix?
Two-time defending European Cup champions Leinster host Clermont in the fourth round of the competition this weekend in the knowledge that they will have to dig deep for a “vital” bonus-point victory.
This weekend was a busy one for the Heineken Cup as twelve matches were played in the third round of the competion. The weekend started on Friday night with a comprehensive win for Ulster over Northampton and a win by Connacht against Biarritz. Following Munster’s win over Saracens on Saturday it looked as if there may be a clean sweep of wins for the teams from Ireland and Northern Ireland.
However, Leinster stumbled to a narrow loss in their game against Clermont Auvergne on Sunday. This ended Leinster’s amazing 17 game unbeaten run in the Heineken Cup.
After two emphatic European victories Worcestor Warriors will be keen to give their home crowd something to cheer about in the Premiership against Sale Sharks on Friday.
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.
It is the fifth round of Premiership action this weekend and it sees Saracens make the trip across London to Harlequins to face the reigning champions at The Stoop.