News and comment from around the clubs and what the papers say.
Bedford Blues have announced that their squad for the 2012/13 season is nearing completion after second row Alex Rae signed a new one year deal.
Blues Director of Rugby Mike Rayer said: “We are still looking at a number of individuals who have come through the Academy as well as a couple of trialists and we have a strong working relationship with Saracens which will see a number of players being Dual-Registered.”
The 2012/13 squad is as follows:
Tom Armes, Mark Atkinson, Don Barrell, Josh Bassett,
Phil Boulton, Brendan Burke
Neil Cochrane, Ben Cooper, Ollie Dodge, Darren Fearn, Darren Fox, Gregor Gillanders
Ben Gulliver, Sacha Harding, Mike Howard, Mark Kohler, Chris Locke, Ali Price,
James Pritchard, Alex Rae, Ricky Reeves, Dan Seal, Jake Sharp, Henry Staff
James Stephenson, Paul Tupai, Ian Vass, Darryl Veenendaal
Blues skipper James Pritchard has retained his place at full-back as Canada make six changes to the side which defeated the USA Eagles on Saturday for the blockbuster clash with Six Nations side Italy at BMO Field in Toronto tonight.
Full Story www.bedfordtoday.co.uk
Bristol have announced that Will Helu will not be returning to the club next season.
The Tongan winger will be taking time out of the professional game for personal reasons.
"It is with regret that I will not be returning to Bristol for the new season," said Helu, "Due to family reasons, I will remain in New Zealand and take time out from professional rugby.
Full Story www.thisisbristol.co.uk
Doncaster Knights will face Aviva Premiership side Gloucester as part of their pre-season preparations - and also hope to announce a game against Newcastle Falcons.
Brett Davey told the Free Press this week that he also hopes to confirm a game against Newcastle Falcons.
David Lyons is the latest new signing for the Cornish Pirates
6' 6" lock David Lyons is an experienced performer who joins from Moseley.
.Aged 27, it is expected that this latest recruit will provide a considerable physical presence.
Born in Wolverhampton, he has in the past made a number of appearances for Coventry, Worcester and Gloucester.
Commenting on the latest addition to the squad, head coach Ian Davies said: "David is an ambitious player and during the past season we have been impressed with his work rate and physicality while playing for Moseley.
We have no doubt he will add to the competition for places within the forwards which is no bad thing".
Hooker Dave Ward – formerly of Cornish Pirates and due to join Harlequins this summer – appeared before an RFU Disciplinary Panel last night charged with kicking, contrary to Law 10(4)(c), in the RFU Championship match London Welsh v Cornish Pirates on May 30.
The player was given a six week ban and ordered to pay £250 towards hearing costs. He is free to play again on September 20 2012.
The Panel comprised Richard Charles (chair), Dan White and Mike Curling.
Richard Barrington, prop, aged 22. Former Gloucester Academy player from Hartpury College.
Steve Boden, hooker, aged 29. from Doncaster
Tom Cooper, centre, aged 25. from Cornish Pirates
Joel Dudley, scrum-half, aged 20. From Worcester Warriors - also dual-registered for both Birmingham & Solihull Bees and Bromsgrove.
Dave Markham, lock, aged 20. From Gloucester. also dual-registered for both Birmingham & Solihull Bees and Cinderford
Sean McCarthy, prop, aged 21. From Birmingham & Solihull Bees
Coach Ben Harvey said: ""I'm still talking to one or two more players, and hope to be able to finalise the squad before the end of June."
The new players have reported for pre-season conditioning with the rest of the 1st XV squad
Jersey Coach Ben Harvey, who has guided Jersey RFC through the National Leagues and into the Championship, has remained true to his stated preference for young and hungry players.
The quality is there too, of course, with many of them having served time in the best academies in the country. But it is the age of the six England qualified men – four forwards, a scrum-half and a centre – that catches the eye, with only one anywhere near 30 – and most of them not long into their twenties.
Full Story www.thisisjersey.com
Leeds Carnegie have confirmed that former Sale Sharks lock and Preston Grasshoppers Head Coach, Dave Baldwin, will be joining the club as their new forwards coach ahead of the 2012-13 season.
Baldwin, has been Head Coach with National League 2 North side Preston Grasshoppers since 2010 and last season led the Hoppers to a third place finish in the league. Prior to this he was Head Coach at Fylde, Manchester and England Counties for six years.
London Scottish have signed Jim Thompson from Edinburgh Rugby.
Thompson becomes the fifth Scottish player to sign for the 2012/13 season.
London Scottish have worked closely with the Scottish Rugby Union to bring Thompson to the club and he will bring a wealth of experience into the London Scottish backs, having recently been a part of Edinburgh’s impressive 2011/12 Heineken Cup campaign, scoring in the semi final v Ulster.
Director of Rugby Simon Amor said “Jim is a quality player who can play in a number of positions in the backline. His experience will bring a great attacking threat to our backline.”
Scottish have also signed Canada international Tyler Hotson, the 27 year old forward joins London Scottish after several years with Plymouth Albion.
Hotson has 24 internationals caps to his name, and is hoping to feature in Canada’s summer internationals this summer.
Hotson: “I signed for London Scottish because I not only wanted a new challenge in a new city after playing in Plymouth for three seasons, but also because I really believe in the direction that Simon Amor and the rest of the club wants to go and feel that the team can have a serious impact on the league this season."
Director of Rugby Simon Amor is delighted to bring in a player with proven Championship experience as well as international experience.
Amor: “After the success of Adam Kleeberger last season, it’s great to have another Canadian international in our squad.
He is a proven top quality performer and will bring plenty of experience into our forwards and a great deal of physicality to our pack. I am delighted to have him on board.”
London Welsh have given the names of 12 players leaving the club this summer.
Tom French, Liam Gibson, Will Hurrell, Gary Johnson,
Vili Ma'asi, Saul Nelson, Shawn Pittman, Mike Powell
Guillermo Roan, Ben Russell, Ben Stevenson, Edd Thrower
“Rugby is the quintessential team game and because of the physical demands every club needs a squad of dedicated team players who can step up to the plate at any time,” said London Welsh Managing Director John Taylor.
“We are particularly grateful to those who could not always hold down a place in the starting XV for their professionalism throughout the season, and we wish them well as they move on to pursue their careers elsewhere or go into retirement. They will always be a part of the London Welsh family.”
Moseley have experienced a much-needed power surge with the signings of second-rows Mike Powell and Addison Lockley.
Veteran Powell comes from London Welsh having spent four years at Old Deer Park while Taunton-born Lockley joins from Exeter. Both have signed one-year deals.
Lockley, aged 20, has come through the Chiefs academy and played for England Under-20s in 2011
Full Story www.birminghammail.net
According to the Nottingham Post, World Cup-winner Ali Williams wants to return to Nottingham Rugby as their new director of rugby, the Post understands.
The Green and Whites are looking for a new boss, following Glenn Delaney's decision to leave the club to join Premiership side London Irish as a forwards coach, and New Zealander Williams, 31, wants to succeed his compatriot.
Chairman Alistair Bow is only prepared to confirm that he has received a lot of 'strong' applications for the position since the departure of Delaney was announced and that he hopes to make an appointment by the end of this month.
Full Story www.thisisnottingham.co.uk
Twenty nine year old Blackett will renew his association with the South Yorkshire outfit after spending the intervening six years with Yorkshire rivals Leeds Carnegie.
Blackett made his debut for the Titans back in January 2004 against the then top-of-the-table Bath in the Guinness Premiership, a match which was played at Millmoor in front of 6,195 spectators.
Before leaving the Lane for West Yorkshire, Blackett made 53 appearances for the club scoring 11 tries, a conversion and one drop-goal!
Whilst in the Premiership, Blackett achieved a piece of history by scoring the quickest try in the history of the Premiership after eight seconds, against Newcastle Falcons in March 2008.
Twenty-eight years-old Whitehead is a former club captain and is returning to the Titans in the role of player/coach. Mike is experienced at Championship level having spent 5 years previously at Clifton Lane where he made 117 league appearances, scoring 581 points, which sees him sat 3rd in the points list just 15 behind Ramiro Pez.
Mike made his Titans debut back in September 2005, with his finale coming against Coventry two years ago in May 2010. Since then Mike has had spells with Esher and Doncaster Knights.
Romford-born Whitehead is a former London Wasps and England U21 representative and he’s delighted to be linking back up with his former club, “Andre’s brought me in as a player/coach, but I think the preference from everyone is I don’t think I’ll play that much. I see my role as implementing what Andre wants alongside obviously inputting my own ideas and plans.
I may feature quite a bit in some of the pre-season games, but I don’t think throughout the season that Andre sees me as a starter in too many games.
Guy Williams writing in the Star says, Andre Bester, who has signed 15 new players for next season, is expected to recruit another six in the next three weeks.
Bester has brought eight new forwards to Clifton Lane and seven fresh backs for the Championship season which starts at London Scottish on September 1.
Full Story www.thestar.co.uk