Daily Round Up – 23/07/2021 – Mike Blair Appointed Edinburgh Head Coach
Harry Mallinder Heads To Japan
Northampton Saints back Harry Mallinder has left Saints in order to pursue a playing opportunity in Japan. The club he will be joining has not yet been announced, but Saints have confirmed that they have the opportunity to resign Mallinder in two years time. The 25 year old burst on the scene with the England Under 20s and Saints, while playing at Fly Half. He made his Saints debut in 2014 and went on to make 83 appearances, scoring 233 points. He Captained the England Under 20s side to World Cup victory in 2016 and his control at Fly Half really caught the eye. Mallinder played his part in some crucial games for Saints, including kicking the winning points against Stade Français to help Saints qualify for the 2017/18 Champions Cup.
Saints’ Director of Rugby Chris Boyd:
“Harry is a good man and a very popular and talented member of our group, having come through the Academy here with a number of the current first-team squad,”
“He will certainly be missed around the Gardens, but we understand and support Harry’s decision to pursue more regular playing time after enduring an unlucky run of injuries over the last couple of years.
“I am sure many of our supporters will be disappointed to see him leave Northampton, but this is the right move for Harry at this time in his career.
Marika Koroibete Moves To Japan
Joining Harry Mallinder in Japan is Australian star Marika Koroibete. The star had long been linked with the move, but Panasonic Wild Knights have finally unveiled their new star. The Wild Knights are led by former Wallabies head coach Robbie Deans and this will be the first season of full professional rugby in Japan. This league is growing with every year and has become a very attractive opportunity for stars around the world.
Dragons Sign Full Back Davies
The Dragons have signed Cardiff Blues Full Back Ioan Davies on a full contract, following a successful loan. The 21 year old made four appearances for the Dragons in the recent Rainbow Cup competition and will be looking to nail down a starting spot in the United Rugby Championship.
Dean Ryan: “Ioan is a talented young player with a bright future.”
Ned Hanigan Joins The Waratahs
Following the signing of Jed Holloway, the Waratahs have further bolstered their forward pack by bringing Back Rower Ned Hanigan back to Australian Rugby. Hanigan, currently contracted to Kurita Water Gush in the Japanese Top League, will return to the NSW Waratahs in 2022 after he finishes his commitments in Japan. The 26 year old came through the NSW pathways and made 43 appearances for the Waratahs, always impressing in the shirt. Hanigan went on to debut for the Wallabies in 2017 and was a regular for a number of years. His ability to cover Second Row will be another added bonus for the Tahs.
“I’m very grateful that the Waratahs have welcomed me back,”
“I’m really enjoying my time abroad at Kurita Water Gush in Japan, but as a proud New South Welshman I can’t wait to hopefully get the opportunity to represent my home state and the Wallabies again soon.
“It’s going to be great to reunite with some old faces including Darren Coleman who I played under during the NRC with the mighty NSW Country Eagles, as well working with a few new faces too.”
South African TMO Appointed For First Test
Warren Gatland is reportedly furious with the choice of a South African Television Match Official, for the first Lions Test. South Africa’s Marius Jonker was given the role for this Saturday, after New Zealand’s Brendan Pickerill was forced to withdraw due to Pandemic related travel issues. The Lions are understood to be pushing governing body World Rugby to appoint a neutral TMO for the second and third Tests of the series. Jonker was the TMO for the Lions only loss of the tour so far, against South Africa A; a match that Gatland had many gripes about the officiating. However, he was not the only one to complain in that fixture, with Rassie Erasmus sensationally swiping back over twitter.
Mike Blair Appointed Edinburgh Head Coach
Former Scotland Scrum Half and current Scotland Rugby Assistant Coach Mike Blair has been appointed the new Head Coach of Edinburgh Rugby. The capital side recently parted ways with Head Coach Richard Cockerill and Blair had been touted for the role. The talented and well thought of young coach recently took charge of Scotland, in the absence of Gregor Townsend.
Mike Blair: “The first emotion is one of pride. I’ve lived in Edinburgh most of my life, played 11 seasons at the club and still live in the city, so having that attachment combine with the opportunity to lead the squad is really special for me.
“I’ve learned a lot from working with quality coaches like Dave Rennie, Jason O’Halloran and Gregor Townsend, in particular and over the years, and have been able to develop and adapt a philosophy that I feel should benefit the talent we have at the club.
Glasgow Flanker Steps Away From Rugby
Glasgow Warriors Flanker Bruce Flockhart has decided to step away from rugby to pursue other opportunities. A period of ill health has led to this decision.
“I’m very grateful to have spent four years with Glasgow. My journey has had ups and downs, but all in all I leave with great memories.
“Glasgow Warriors are a very special team to be a part of. Frustratingly for me, countless injuries that started with my back in 2015 – prior to joining Glasgow – mean that it hasn’t always been plain sailing. Naturally, something like this takes its toll on a person mentally, which it has with me.
“I owe a lot to Dave Rennie, who would pull me aside for chats checking that I was coping ok. In the beginning, I didn’t want to admit that I was struggling because I viewed it as a sign of weakness, and I didn’t want it to count against me for selection.
“The day that I finally admitted that I wasn’t coping, he told me something that helped me a lot. He said, “Mental health problems are like injuries so treat them as such. You get injured, you get the professional help from a physio to rehab the injury back to full strength. You have a mental health issue, you see a psychologist and rehab it back to full strength”.
Ealing Sign New Full Back
Ealing Trailfinders have signed young South African Full Back Jared Rees. The 18-year-old, who stands at 5ft 9 inches and weighs in at 85kg, will join the Trailfinders Rugby Academy set up from Paarl Boys High, one of the most revered rugby schools in South Africa. Rees has already represented Eastern Province at Craven Week before moving to Western Cape, and was recently named in website Next Gen XV’s PACS 100 of best young South African players to emerge in 2021. This is another sign of the Trailfinders planning for the long term, as they continue to improve their fantastic academy and attract young talent.
“I’m very grateful for the opportunity presented before me and very excited for the upcoming adventures with the club. It’s going to be an amazing time, filled with lessons but also success, backed with the correct effort I put into my work.”
Worley & Lane Commit For The New Season
Matt Worley and Richard Lane have committed their immediate future to Bedford Blues, by signing for the 2021/22 Championship Rugby season. 27 year old Winger Lane is a Bedford local boy and has scored 28 tries in 79 appearances. He was the joint top try scorer for last season. 23 year old Utility Back Worley is now in his third season with the Blues, having initially joined on loan from Northampton Saints. He has scored 10 tries in 32 appearances so far.
“There’s a nucleus of players who have re-signed for next season which is massively important for knowing the ‘Blues Way’ and will be crucial for driving the culture within the group.
“It’ll be nice to have a longer season this time around to build new partnerships and relationships within the team. Hopefully we can play some really good stuff and entertain the crowd, we’ve really missed the #BluesFamily and hope to reward their support.”