News and comment from around the clubs and what the papers say.
The 27-year-old Fiji winger is expected to join the Bristol squad in time for their opening pre-season fixture, against Agen in France on August 3, subject to being granted a visa.
Tagicakibau, brother of London Irish star Sailosi, made 32 Aviva Premiership appearances in his three seasons with Saracens, including seven last term.
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Bedford Blues, Bedford Athletic and Junior Blues have been working for some time to produce a plan which will see all three organisations working closer together for the good of rugby in the town.
The relationship will provide an opportunity for rugby players to continue playing in a safe environment whilst having access to a high level of coaching, to act as a structured feeder system to ultimately provide the opportunity to play for Bedford Blues.
From the start of this season, 2012/13, the Junior Blues Under 17s and 18s squads will combine to create a Colts team which will play under the name of Bedford Athletic Blues, based at Bedford Athletic. The new team will also take a spot in the National Colts Cup – a competition that the Blues Academy can no longer participate in.
It is hoped that the new venture will create the opportunity and a clear pathway for players to continue playing the sport in Bedford by progressing into the Blues Academy and then on to represent Bedford Athletic, Bedford Blues, or even both.
Speaking about the new endeavour, Bedford Blues chairman Geoff Irvine said: “This new approach between three Bedford clubs will create a sustainable future for local rugby talent and ensure that the town’s fine rugby tradition continues.
“I think that the Bedford Athletic Blues will offer the opportunity for youngsters to continue playing at a strong level and hopefully go on to become rugby stars of the future.”
Marcus Buckle, Director of Rugby for Bedford Junior Blues, added: “This new approach means that there will now be a pathway for youngsters to continue playing rugby and for volunteer coaches to further their careers. This is a massive step forward for rugby in Bedford.”
Bedford Athletic Blues – which will be registered in two National Leagues - will benefit from the support and coaching staff of the Blues Academy and Bedford Athletic while being headed by Chris O’Dell who was Head Coach of the Under 16s Junior Blues last season.
Leicester Tigers will take on Jersey at St Peter on Saturday 11th August
Tigers’ Director of Rugby Richard Cockerill said his club’s preparations for the new season were moving towards top gear.
“We’ve been working on conditioning work in the opening phase of pre-season – we’ve got six new players to settle into the squad, however there are still a lot of players enjoying a break after their international commitments in June,” said Cockerill.
“When we get everyone back together we’ll step up the work again, and we’ve got a one-week training camp before our first game against Jersey.
“Tigers have some strong links in the Channel Islands, such as those established through the annual Ashburton-sponsored Leicester Tigers rugby development camps, and we’re delighted to be able to make the trip to Jersey.
“We’ll be taking the whole squad over for a few days, it’ll be good to keep the boys together as a unit, and we’ll also be hoping to do some coaching with some local kids, as well as kicking off our pre-season fixtures with the game on the Saturday.”
Cockerill said he had been very impressed with the way the Island side had made their mark on the UK rugby landscape.
“As a club Jersey have enjoyed some great success in the last few seasons and now they’re a Championship team which says a lot for their set-up and their ambitions,” he added. “They’ve come up through the divisions and they’ll want to get a good start to the new season.
“Rugby is clearly an important part of the community on the island and it’ll be good to have the opportunity to go there and be a part of that. I’m sure it’ll be a great start to the season for both sides.”
Tussac has begun pre-season training this week with his new team mates and has immediately made an impression on the squad. Weighing over 20 stones, the tight head prop has played in the Top 14 competition in France.
He has been capped seven times by Germany, who he qualifies for via his German grandmother.
Commenting on his signing Director of Rugby Chris Gibson said, “We are very pleased to have secured Damien for next season. He is a player with great potential and will add to our group. He has family in Yorkshire and so was keen to come and play in England. He is an imposing figure and is very determined to learn the language and make his home here in Leeds.”
Tussac commented, “I am very pleased to be joining Leeds Carnegie. Our trainer at Toulon, Steve Walsh, knows the club very well having worked for Leeds Rhinos previously, and he recommended to me to come here. I am excited about playing in England and being part of a successful team at Leeds Carnegie.”
The signing of Sam Twomey, Joe Trayfoot, Harry Allen and Miles Mantella were announced on Tuesday.
Director of Rugby Simon Amor said “Our experiences last year with dual registered players is very positive and we’re delighted to continue that this season. These four players from the Premiership champions are fantastic. They’ll add depth to our squad and each one will be pushing for a starting position to further their own development as well as the team.”
21-year-old flanker Joe Trayfoot has played for England at U16 level, as well as England U18 in the 6 Nations. Trayfoot made his Harlequins debut in the special Abu Dhabi fixture against Wasps in 2011.
20-year-old winger Miles Mantella spent last season on loan at Rosslyn Park. His blistering pace has caught the eye of the England Sevens squad which he played for in 2010.
20-year-old, 6’6” lock Sam Twomey has represented England at U16, U18, U19 and U20 levels. He made his debut for Harlequins against London Irish last season in the LV= Cup.
20-year-old hooker Harry Allen originally came through the Saracens Academy before joining Harlequins. Impressive performances in the Aviva A League have already caught the attention of England coaches.
Meddick started his career at Bath before spending most of his time in senior rugby playing for Dings Crusaders.
Last season he played in the Federale 1 League in France for Figeac before injury curtailed his stay and returned home to finish the season with Dings. He was also involved in Guinness A league rugby for Bristol in 2008.
Moseley Coach Kevin Maggs said “He is a good lad with great pedigree and he deserves a chance to prove himself at Championship level’
In other news at Moseley, successful businessman Adam Warren has joined the senior management team and as a Director of Moseley Rugby Ltd.
Adam is the major shareholder and CEO of Greenworks Solutions, one of the club’s major sponsors over the last four years.
Previously he ran Greencare Environmental, which was in the 100 fastest growing UK Companies, and in The Sunday Times’s “Best 100 Companies to work” for in 2011. He also set up and is active in running the Greencare Foundation – supporting water and sanitation projects in rural communities in Ghana.
Adam will specifically be assisting with operational matters by taking over the “day to day” duties as Chief Executive from his cousin David Warren who will now concentrate on other specific areas of the club’s activities.
James Fitzpatrick has revealed to the Journal how Newcastle Falcons have been put firmly on the straight and narrow during a brutal pre-season.
The squad are already completing their sixth week of a gruelling schedule following relegation to the Championship, with the centre stating: “We have been in early, we have worked extremely hard and with every week the load has got tougher and tougher.
“It was a proper old-school beasting, and they really don’t mess about. From that day on everyone has been quietly getting on with their work in the gym, and I think we needed the kick up the back-side to be honest”
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