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RECAP: Thursday’s Rugby Round-Up


Racing 92 and ex-Wales scrum-half Mike Phillips joins Sale Sharks
Sale Sharks have announced the signing of former Wales international scrum-half Mike Phillips from Racing 92 for next season.

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Phillips will join Sale Sharks from French Top 14 Rugby Club Racing 92 who are in the European Rugby Champions Cup final.

Mike started his career at Scarlets at the age of 20 and then moved to Cardiff Blues, Ospreys, and Bayonne before joining Racing 92 where he has played 15 games this season.

Read more: https://www.ruck.co.uk/?p=20485

 England appoints Glen Ella as skills coach
England Rugby has announced that Glen Ella will join Eddie Jones’ coaching staff during England’s tour to Australia as a skills coach.

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England Rugby announced Ella, a former club colleague of Jones’ at Randwick, will be on board for games against Australia in Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney.

He will work as a skills specialist, with responsibility for developing England’s attacking play, in addition to providing backs skills coaching.

Read more: https://www.ruck.co.uk/?p=20516

Northampton and England hooker Dylan Hartley set for return
Hooker was the position causing England coach Eddie Jones the biggest headache as he fine-tuned his plans for the summer tour to Australia.

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Captain Dylan Hartley has not played since he was knocked senseless in the 67th minute of the Grand Slam win over France in Paris on March 19.

“He’s done a full week and has been going through the return-to-play protocols,” said coach Alan Dickens.

Read more: https://www.ruck.co.uk/?p=20490

Nili Latu commits to Falcons with new contract
Nili Latu has handed a significant boost to Newcastle Falcons by signing a new extended deal to remain in the North East at Kingston Park.

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The Tonga captain, who has won 43 caps for his country, was already contracted for next season but has committed for even longer, saying: “It was an absolute no-brainer. I have loved my first season with the Falcons, the fans have been awesome, I love the city, and we have a great squad here.

“I am enjoying my time here and would like to stay longer. The team and the club has been great, I was keen to commit and it is great to have it all sorted.”

Read more: https://www.ruck.co.uk/?p=20510

Quade Cooper’s Olympic dream is over
Wallabies star Quade Cooper has been ruled out of competing with the Australian Sevens team in the Olympic Games in Rio in August.

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Cooper represented the national side in Las Vegas and Vancouver during the World Series.

However, he has also had problems getting the time off from his French club, Toulon, to play more regularly on the Sevens circuit.

“There’s no doubt Quade is a quality player, but put simply, we just haven’t had the opportunity to work with him as much as we would have liked over the past five months,” Australian Sevens coach Andy Friend said.

Read more: https://www.ruck.co.uk/?p=20499

Sale Sharks’ forward Mark Easter to retire
Sale Sharks forward Mark Easter has announced he will retire at the end of the season to take up a teaching role.

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The 33-year-old, who is the younger brother of Harlequins number eight Nick, joined Sale in 2011 after six years at Northampton.

“I’ve enjoyed my time at Sale, I didn’t really want to go anywhere else,” said the back-row forward.

“I’ve had the chance for these last few games just to enjoy and savour them, and I’ve been really lucky.”

He will now take up his teaching position at Wrekin College in Shropshire after the final game of the season at Newcastle on Saturday.


Baa-Baas to play in Belfast for the first time in 59 years
The Barbarians will play in Belfast for the first time in 59 years when they face Fiji at Ulster’s Kingspan Stadium on 11 November.

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The game will be part of the Barbarians’ autumn tour, which also includes a match against South Africa at Wembley six days earlier.

The only time the Baa-Baas had played in Belfast before was a game against an Ulster Invitation team in 1957.


 Leicester Tigers hooker Harry Thacker scoops Forward of the Month award
Leicester Tigers hooker Harry Thacker has been named the Green Flag Forward of the Month in the Aviva Premiership.

The 22-year-old has put in a series of outstanding performances and his try in the win at Northampton will live long in the memory.