England’s Maro Itoje and George Kruis sign new Saracens deals
Saracens have announced that forward duo Maro Itoje and George Kruis have both signed new deals to remain at Allianz Park until 2019.
The England second row pair both progressed through the Saracens Academy system and have now followed the likes of the Vunipola brothers, Jamie George, Will Fraser and Duncan Taylor in signing new deals with the Aviva Premiership champions.
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Bath captain Stuart Hooper retires with immediate effect
Bath have announced the retirement of their captain Stuart Hooper. The 34-year-old lock has quit the game with immediate effect on medical advice after suffering a back injury earlier this season.
The former England Saxons captain made 192 appearances for Bath after joining them from Leeds in 2008. His top-flight career began at Saracens.
“I have had an incredible career, and these last eight years with Bath are ones I will look back on with great fondness,” Hooper said.
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Jean de Villiers set to leave Leicester Tigers at end of season
Richard Cockerill has confirmed that former South Africa captain Jean de Villiers will leave Leicester Tigers at the end of the season.
The legendary former Springboks centre joined the Tigers last December after a four-year spell with Stormers, but has been hampered by injuries during his time at Welford Road.
Tigers director of rugby Cockerill said De Villiers, 35, will move on when his contract expires, with Australia international Matt Toomua set to arrive at the club ahead of the 2016-17 campaign.
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Gloucester v Exeter preview: Team news, kick-off time, line-ups and stats for the Aviva Premiership clash
Gloucester returns to Premiership action at Kingsholm on Friday and makes four changes to their starting line-up for the visit of the Exeter Chiefs.
For the visit of high-flying Exeter, there are three changes to the pack and one new face in the backline.
Up front, Yann Thomas will make his first Premiership start of the season having made 12 appearances off the bench, while Jeremy Thrush and Ross Moriarty return in the second row and back row respectively.
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