"Offer on the table" - Bristol Bears close in on London Irish powerhouse - Ruck

“Offer on the table” – Bristol Bears close in on London Irish powerhouse

According to recent reports, Bristol Bears are closely monitoring the situation at London Irish as director of rugby Pat Lam sees a potential opportunity to strengthen his front row.

The Rugby Paper suggests that Bristol may make an offer to sign Lovejoy Chawatama, a 30-year-old tighthead prop from Zimbabwe, if London Irish encounters further difficulties.

The storm clouds over London Irish darkened on Friday with the filing of winding-up petitions by HM Revenue and Customs due to an outstanding tax bill.

This development follows the recent extension granted to London Irish by the RFU, giving them one week to complete a takeover by an American consortium or demonstrate sufficient funding to sustain operations for the entire 2023-24 season, despite a significant £30 million debt burden.

The extension was granted after current owner Mick Crossan paid 50 percent of May’s payroll, totaling approximately £500,000.

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However, the RFU has mandated that the full wages must be paid by the new deadline, which is now set for 4pm on Tuesday, June 6.

Given the highly uncertain situation at London Irish, it is understandable that players and agents are making contingency plans for their careers in the event that the club faces a fate similar to Wasps and Worcester Warriors.

Bath want two Irish stars

RUCK sources suggest that Bath are at the front of the queue to sign sensational London Irish speedster Henry Arundell if he becomes available.

The Exiles, who have debts of more than £30million, were set a deadline of May 30 by the Rugby Football Union to prove that they have completed an approved takeover, or provide evidence that they have the funds to complete next season.

Henry Arundell of London Irish during the Gallagher Premiership match between London Irish and Bath Rugby at The Gtech Community Stadium, London on 1 October 2022 (Photo: Danny Loo/PPAUK)

However, Irish are set now to be granted an extra week by the RFU to complete a takeover of the club.

The Exiles owners have been in protracted talks with an American consortium over the sale of the Premiership side

Mick Crossan, who took over the club in 2013, met last month’s payroll just as players were preparing to hand in breach of contract notices, which would have allowed them to leave the club in the event their wages went unpaid.

Nevertheless, it’s been reported that players are already being linked with moves away from the Premiership club.

While some players are likely to secure new contracts in the coming weeks, others have taken matters into their own hands by reaching out to clubs directly through personal calls and emails.

RUCK understands that Bath, who have previously signed England stars Anthony Watson, Jonathan Joseph and Joe Cokanasiga from the Exiles, are the front-runner to sign Arundell.

Tom Pearson is also thought to have numerous admirers throughout the division.

Mail Online predict the entire England 2023 Rugby World Cup squad

With under six months to go, the Mail Online have had a go at predicting who will make Steve Borthwick’s England Rugby World Cup squad.

In their article, they ran through every position and assessed options in every position, highlighting those who look certain picks, probable picks and outside chances – provided the players in question are fit come selection time at the end of August.

There were a number of surprises omissions, including Joe Marchant, Billy Vunipola, Ben Earl and the in-form Tom Pearson.

Check out their full selection below:

MAIL ONLINE’S PREDICTED WORLD SQUAD:

FULlBACK: Freddie Steward

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Freddie Steward of England during the Six Nations Match between England and Italy at Twickenham, London on 12 Feb 2023 (Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK)

WING: Henry Arundell, Ollie Hassell-Collins, Max Malins, Anthony Watson

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Henry Arundell of London Irish during the Gallagher Premiership match between London Irish and Bath Rugby at The Gtech Community Stadium, London on 1 October 2022 (Photo: Danny Loo/PPAUK)

CENTRE: Elliot Daly, Ollie Lawrence, Henry Slade, Manu Tuilagi

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A frustrated Ollie Lawrence of England during the Guinness Six Nations match between England and France at Twickenham Stadium, Twickenham, London on Saturday 11th March 2023 | Photo: James Fearn/PPAUK.

FLY-HALF: Owen Farrell, George Ford, Marcus Smith

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Owen Farrell, Captain of England during the Six Nations Match between England and Italy at Twickenham, London on 12 Feb 2023 (Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK)

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