Tag Archives: props

Rugby news: Alex Corbisiero signs for Northampton

Corbisiero to leave Irish as England prop agrees summer switch to Northampton

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'There is a great culture and hopefully I can help the team succeed while continuing my progression as a player, and I am sure that Franklin's Gardens will be a good environment for me in that regard.'

Northampton have also announced new contracts for props Tom Mercey and Alex Waller.

Saints rugby director Jim Mallinder added: 'All three players have plenty of experience, and because they are still in their early-to-mid 20s we believe that there is plenty more to come from them.

'I am that all three props have put pen to paper to be a part of the Saints squad going forward.'

Martin Castrogiovanni is linked with a move to French side Toulon

Cash-go-giovanni: Toulon must stump up if they want Martin



22:01 GMT, 28 December 2012

French big-spenders Toulon must stump up a transfer fee if Leicester to part with Italian tight-head Martin Castrogiovanni.

Speculation in France has pointed to Castrogiovanni joining the likes of Jonny Wilkinson next season, but the Argentinian-born forward has a year still to run on a three-year deal at Leicester.

The 31-year-old is on the bench Saturday in Leicester’s Aviva Premiership match at home to Gloucester having returned from a trip back to Argentina for family reasons before Christmas.

Heading for the exit Italy and Leicester prop Martin Castrogiovanni (right) has been linked with a move away from Welford Road

Heading for the exit Italy and Leicester prop Martin Castrogiovanni (right) has been linked with a move away from Welford Road

But Leicester’s director of rugby Richard Cockerill said the player had not asked for a move though he was aware of the interest from a French club who also said to be chasing Bath scrum-half Michael Claassens.

Cockerill added: ‘He’s under contract for another season.

'We have accepted transfer fee for our players in the past but at this time the player hasn’t come and seen me and said he wants to leave and we have had no official approach from Toulon.

‘So at this point Castro is our player and is here for another season. If Toulon have enough money to buy him out of his contract with us that might be an option, but at this point he is our player and we are more than happy to have him.’

Or not: However, Leicester Director of Rugby Richard Cockerill (pictured) has said that the player has not asked for a move as yet

Or not However, Leicester Director of Rugby Richard Cockerill (pictured) has said that the player has not asked for a move as yet

Castrogiovanni has made himself a popular member of the Leicester squad since he joined in 2006 and has always given full credit to the club for helping him become one of the most powerful props in the world.

Leicester might be interested in off-loading him in an effort to keep within the Premiership salary cap budget of 4.5 million a season.

When Castrogiovanni signed his latest deal two years ago, it was reported he was on a deal of well over 200,000 per season.

Since then, however, Leicester have developed Dan Cole into a tight-head of international repute and have high hopes that Fraser Balmain, a recruit from Newcastle, will also become another top-class prop.

The rise of Cole: The emergence of Dan Cole (pictured) as a world-class prop has limited the popular Italian's playing time in recent seasons

The rise of Cole: The emergence of Dan Cole (pictured) as a world-class prop has limited the popular Italian's playing time in recent seasons

Cockerill has admitted that he faces a fight to keep all his top players, including England lock Geoff Parling who has yet to agree a new deal.

Gloucester, who are losing Scotland lock Jim Hamilton to France, are reported to be heading the queue.

Parling starts today against Gloucester having had to do substitute duty in last week’s win over London Irish. But there is no place yet in the Leicester squad for Tom Croft, the England flanker, who is poised to make his comeback from a serious neck injury sustained last April.

Cockerill said: ‘When you have been out for that amount of time you have to be careful coming back into big fixtures. Tom will have to wait another week or so maybe which won't hurt him.’

England fly-half Toby Flood faces battle to keep No 10 shirt at Leicester

Flood dilemma for England as fly-half faces battle to keep Leicester No 10 jersey



17:07 GMT, 28 August 2012

Fifty-cap England fly-half Toby Flood
has been warned that he may have to accept a job-share arrangement with
rising star George Ford when Leicester's Aviva Premiership campaign
opens on Sunday.

Flood regained the England No 10
jersey during the summer Test series against South Africa but, as
Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill reminded him, nothing is
guaranteed at Welford Road.

Warning: Toby Flood of Leicester

Warning: Toby Flood of Leicester

Ford, a member of the England Saxons squad, spent his summer in the gym and the 19-year-old is now in a position to compete with Flood to be Leicester's first-choice fly-half.

Cockerill believes both men are good enough to be in the senior England squad – but only one can start for the Tigers.

'At Leicester in particular, nobody's spot is guaranteed,' Cockerill said.

'We have seen in the past that guys have been left out of the side, when on paper you would have picked them.

'Toby reacts to it very well. He knows that he needs to play very well to be in the side because he wants to play for England.

'George Ford is younger but he is a very good player too. I am hoping he will kick on and be really good for us. Toby the same.

'Both need to play for us. We want to keep them both long term.

'Like we have with (tight-head props) Dan Cole and Martin Castrogiovanni. They are both playing Test matches, they are both playing for their club.

'They understand that not playing every week is beneficial. The difficulty is if they are both playing well.

'It is a great headache to have, two really good fly-halves.'

Rival: George Ford

Rival: George Ford

The situation is both good and bad news for England coach Stuart Lancaster, who will be excited to hear that Ford has developed his physique and is in form after a summer of conditioning.

But Lancaster could have only one of his top four fly-halves – Freddie Burns of Gloucester – playing regularly in the pivotal position during the Premiership season.

Lancaster's back-up Test fly-half Owen Farrell is expected to spend most of the coming campaign in the centres for Saracens.

Outside of Lancaster's two elite squads, Danny Cipriani has returned to the Premiership with the stated ambition of regaining his place in the England set-up for the 2015 World Cup.

Cipriani will need to prove himself to Lancaster but, fitness permitting, he will have that stage at Sale Sharks while Bath's Tom Heathcote has to compete with Stephen Donald.

Last summer, Ford helped the England Under-20s to the final of the Junior World Championship and he was named the International Rugby Board's young player of the year for 2011.

After a debate between club and country, Ford did not tour with an England representative team in June and instead worked on bulking up to meet the rigorous demands of the Premiership.

'It was the right thing to do,' Cockerill said.

'It is perfect. He is 88-89 kilos. When he came home from the Junior World Cup last summer he was 79 kilos.

'He is quicker and more powerful and more robust than he has been before.

'It was a sensible decision from both club and country because if George kicks on this year he will not have another off-season for a long time.

'England have two fly-halves in the senior squad. George and Freddie Burns are in the Saxons. If there is an injury you would imagine one of those guys will get roped into the first team.'

SIX NATIONS 2012: Jonathan Davies tells England: You"ll get smashed!

You'll get smashed! Wales hero Davies in blast at England pack ahead of showdown

Big hitter: Dan Lydiate slams into Scotland

Big hitter: Dan Lydiate slams into Scotland

Jonathan Davies has ignited cross-border tensions with England ahead of Wales's visit to Twickenham on Saturday week by boldly declaring that the visitors can defy a long tradition and 'smash' their rivals up front.

The former Wales fly-half and BBC commentator – rather than his namesake, the current centre – has dismissed England's new-look pack as overwhelmingly inferior to the more experienced unit which Warren Gatland will unleash.

While the established routine is for creative Welsh sides to find themselves besieged by a big, tough set of English forwards, Davies is adamant the pattern can be overturned this time.

He feels that if it comes to an arm-wrestle in the next round of the RBS Six Nations, when the two unbeaten nations go head to head, it will be Wales who prosper.

'I don't think we've gone to Twickenham and out-muscled them before, but the side we've got now could go to Twickenham and absolutely smash them physically,' said Davies.

'That English pack does not strike fear into anyone. They are a good club side who are growing together, but there isn't anyone outstanding in there.

'Tom Croft will have a go at our lineout but our back row is better, our second row is better, our front row is bigger and our centres are bigger.

'We could absolutely go to town on them. I don't think the England forwards are as dominant as they have been.'

As was the case in the recent clashes with Scotland and Italy, England's forwards will face a major experience deficit against Wales, whatever the exact make-up of the two packs.

Growing together: England have won twice under captain Chris Robshaw (left)

Growing together: England have won twice under captain Chris Robshaw (left)

In particular, Gatland can call upon ample Lions pedigree in the front row, through props Gethin Jenkins and Adam Jones, while Matthew Rees is in contention for a comeback at hooker.

Aside from what he sees as an unusual imbalance up front, Davies cannot identify any way in which Stuart Lancaster's team can hope to contain and overcome Wales, adding: 'England are a young team and they have shown a lot of spirit. Defensively they are solid, but offensively they haven't created anything yet.

'I spoke to Stuart Lancaster before the tournament and he wanted to play an expansive game with Ben Youngs dictating play, but that hasn't happened.'

Echoing Davies's confident mood ahead of the match, former Wales scrum-half Robert Jones was equally underwhelmed by what he saw from England during their away win over Italy, which was high on spirit but low on dash and daring.

Namesake: Wales centre Jonathan Davies (right) shares a name with a legend

Namesake: Wales centre Jonathan Davies (right) shares a name with a legend

'England did show character, but the game was very poor – the first half in particular was dreadful,' he said. 'The rugby from England had no conviction. I appreciate that it was wet and cold but you still just expect a bit more from them. They are a young side looking to impress with a coach who is trying to stamp his authority on the game.

'Looking ahead, I wouldn't be too worried from what I saw (of England).'

England have added Northampton prop Paul Doran-Jones to their squad as injury cover for Bath's David Wilson, who has been sidelined with a broken jaw.

One player who has made a strong impression for England is their new No 8 Ben Morgan. Now the Scarlets rookie appears destined to sign for Gloucester, enabling him to return to the county where he grew up.

The West Country club have been in talks with the Welsh region for some time and it is understood that a deal will soon be finalised.

Joel Moon could be sidelined until April

Tough break for Moon as Salford centre faces spell on sidelines

Salford centre Joel Moon could be sidelined until April after breaking a bone in his hand during his side's 38-10 defeat at St Helens on Friday.

Moon, who missed the chance to play for New Zealand Warriors in last October's Grand Final because of a broken ankle, was making only his second appearance for the City Reds.

'His hand is currently in a cast and he's seeing a specialist today,' said a Salford spokesman.

Sidelined: Moon could be out until April after breaking a bone in his hand

Sidelined: Moon could be out until April after breaking a bone in his hand

'We expect he could be out for up to two months.

'It's obviously it's a big blow for us and for Joel so soon after his ankle break.'

Another new signing, utility player Stuart Howarth, sustained a broken nose and a badly-bruised thumb in the same game, while debutant forward Shannon McPherson had stitches in two separate head wounds, although both are expected to face Widnes on Sunday.

he Reds also expect former Wigan props Iafeta Paleaaesina and Jordan James to return from injury against the Vikings but hooker Wayne Godwin remains sidelined with rib cartilage damage.