Daily Round Up – 02/03/2021 – New Deals For Sexton & Smith
Aaron Smith Signs On With NZR Till 2023
All Blacks and Highlanders Scrum Half Aaron Smith has signed a new deal, that will keep him with NZR, the Highlanders and the Manawatu Turbos, through till 2023. The 32 year old is still the premier Scrum Half in New Zealand and will have one eye on the 2023 World Cup. He faces competition from the usual faces but also a bunch of young guns like fellow Highlander Folau Fakatava. Aaron Smith is a real team man and this is great news for all three sides. He is also the type of character that will help bring Fakatava through, rather than hinder his development too much.
“I guess I have to adapt and work a little harder than I did back in 2011, but one thing that hasn’t changed is my love for the Highlanders, the All Blacks and Manawatu,”
“The decision to stay is based on a number of things, but I’m very keen to see the Highlanders do well, we have a good environment here and some great, young players so I think the next few years will be exciting for us and it’ll be great to be part of it.”
“Last year was a tough one for sport, but hopefully we’ll soon see the world rugby calendar start to take shape and there’ll be plenty of exciting, new challenges to look forward to.”
Scottish Qualified Ben Vellacott Joins Edinburgh Rugby
Edinburgh Rugby today announced the signing of former Scotland age-grade scrum-half Ben Vellacott, from English Premiership side Wasps. The livewire half-back, 25, represented Scotland from U17 through to U20 while coming through the ranks at Hartpury College, featuring in the same Junior World Championship side as several of Edinburgh’s current crop in 2014. Vellacott has been unlucky in recent times, with a bad run of injuries. He will hope for a clean run as he chucks his name in the international ring and help Edinburgh to challenge for titles. Vellacott’s pace will be a real asset and he could rip it up, if given the right platform.
“I’m really excited about joining Edinburgh. The recent signings and re-signings show the direction the club want to go in and I’m delighted to be a part of that – as well as exploring a new area with my partner and Frenchie [French Bulldog].
“I believe it’s the perfect time and opportunity for me personally and I’m excited to play for the club and be part of the Guinness PRO14. It’s important to face new challenges in order to grow as person, which excites me.
“My main focus is to play rugby for Edinburgh and hopefully help the team as a whole to progress further.
“I absolutely love attacking rugby but a huge personal progression over the last couple of seasons has been my game management. This is something I believe has really developed and hope to put to good use.”
Another Year Extension For Johnny Sexton
35 year old Ireland and Leinster Fly Half Johnny Sexton has signed a new deal with the IRFU to keep him with both Ireland and Leinster, for the 2021-22 Rugby season. It is unclear how much longer Sexton will go on for, but he is still a top class player and in great shape. Fans of both sides will be very happy to hear the news. Sexton has 97 International Caps and will be looking for more.
“I am really enjoying my rugby and I want to keep learning and adding value to both the Ireland and Leinster environments,”
“My appetite for success is the same as it ever was and the ambitions of both the Ireland and Leinster squads match my own.”
Archie White Signs New Quins Deal
Harlequins Back Row Archie White has signed a new deal with the London side. White has made 36 appearances to date and has become an established member of their first team squad this season. His performances of late have been well rewarded, with a new deal and Quins will be keen to reap the rewards of his continued development.
“It’s great to be able to re-sign with the Club. I’ve been with Harlequins for six years now and have loved every moment in the jersey.
“There’s huge competition in our back row, competition that drives myself and the other back rowers here to the next level.
“We’re in a good place at the moment and I’m looking forward to continuing in pushing for a strong finish to the season.”
Leicester Tigers Appoint Leigh Jones As General Manger Of Rugby
Leicester Tigers have appointed experienced Welshman Leigh Jones as their General Manger of Rugby. Jones, who is currently General Manager of Rugby Performance with the Hong Kong Rugby Union, will commence with Tigers on May 1. The Welshman has previously held senior coaching roles with Ebbw Vale, Newport Gwent Dragons and the Welsh Rugby Union, including leading the Wales ‘A’ programme under Sir Graham Henry. Jones was also a senior member of the Japanese support team at the 2015 Rugby World Cup alongside now-England head coach Eddie Jones and Leicester Tigers head coach Steve Borthwick
Elliot Dee Signs New Dragons Deal
Wales and Dragons Hooker Elliot Dee has signed new terms with the PRO 14 side. The 26-year-old follows the likes of Ollie Griffiths and Sam Davies in signing a new contract at Dragons.
“I’m really pleased to sign and be staying,”
“I grew up watching the Dragons, it’s close to my heart and I’m proud every time I pull on the jersey.
“As a kid who used to sit in the stand and dream about playing for the Dragons,”
Prop Ben Harris Signs On For More At Wasps
Wasps Prop Ben Harris has signed an extension to stay at the club. The 31-year-old has made 72 appearances for Wasps since joining permanently from Newcastle Falcons ahead of the 2017/18 season. Last season the powerful prop appeared 21 times in Black and Gold and crossed for tries in the Gallagher Premiership away wins at London Irish and Northampton Saints.
Wasps Head Coach Lee Blackett:
“We are extremely happy that Ben has agreed a new contract with us.
“Ben is a key member of our squad, who’s experience and work rate is pivotal to where we want to go as a team. He had an outstanding last 12 months and shows a daily desire to keep improving.
“We are all looking forward to working with him further in the coming years.”