With the south going to sleep for two months and little bit more we have our friends up north in full swing during the festive season. As many South Africans are waiting to hear if Springbok coach Coetzee will stay things are heating up in the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup

Here is the news doing the rounds this week…

Bath have announced that they have acquired the services of highly-rated Argentina prop Lucas Noguera, who has joined them from the Jaguares.

A destructive force at the scrum and effective carrier around the field, the 24 year-old loosehead will arrive at the club this week.

“I can’t wait to start this next stage of my career with Bath,” said Noguera.

“Bath are a very ambitious club, which will be exciting to be part of, and I know I will improve as a player here.”

An athletic, intelligent player, Noguera made his international debut in 2014, and has become an integral member of the los Pumas squad, earning over 40 caps to date. He was most recently in international action in Argentina’s Autumn Internationals earlier this month.


England Rugby have confirmed the appointment of three U20 coaches for the 2017/18 season.

Anthony Allen, Richard Blaze and James Ponton will all join for 18 months as part of the new coach development programme agreement signed between the RFU and Premiership Rugby.

The programme will run alongside the coaches’ current club duties and will include the 2018 Six Nations as well as the World Rugby U20 Championship.

“The coaches will gain experience from working in a different environment with people who have different ideas and approaches to them,” said head of international player development Dean Ryan.

“We have a stronger idea now of how we want England U20s to play so they will have to amend their own philosophies but they will also gain experience of coaching at two international tournaments – the Six Nations as well as the World Rugby U20 Championship. We believe that experience will stand them in good stead in the future.

“The opportunity to be a senior coach in an international environment doesn’t come around too often so this is a unique experience for them with a group of very talented young rugby players.”

The U20 coaching team will be led by RFU performance manager Steve Bates and the trio will receive an individually designed coach development programme, which commenced on 15 November with a visit to Pennyhill Park to observe the England senior team’s preparations.

It follows a successful trial last year which saw Louis Deacon, Tom Williams and Ian Vass, who has gone on to coach at Montpellier, lead the U20s to Six Nations glory as well as into the final of the World Rugby U20 Championship.


Ulster Rugby have confirmed that Ireland back row forward Jordi Murphy will join the province next summer on a two-year deal from Leinster.

There was significant competition to secure the services of Murphy, but the 26-year-old has agreed to move to Kingspan Stadium ahead of the 2018/19 season. The announcement follows last month’s confirmation that Wasps prop Marty Moore will also join the province.

“It’s been an incredibly hard decision to leave Leinster, where I have made some great friends and enjoyed some fantastic times, but I am excited by the prospect of moving north and linking up with some familiar faces,” said Murphy about his impending move.

“Having considered my options at length, I realise that this represents a great opportunity for me to challenge for a position at Ulster and hopefully become a more regular feature in the national set-up.

“Ulster is building a strong squad for next season and I’m really looking forward to the new challenge. However, I am fully focused on contributing as best I can for Leinster for the remainder of the current campaign.”

Scarlets have confirmed that Wales international back Rhys Patchell has committed his playing future to the region for the next few years.

Patchell has made 34 regional appearances since joining ahead of the 2016/17 season. He started all of his 21 competitive games in his debut season at the region and to date has amassed 274 points.

He made his home international debut at the Principality Stadium on Saturday, coming off the bench against South Africa, winning his sixth cap for Wales.

Commenting on the news head coach Wayne Pivac said: “We’re delighted to confirm that Rhys has committed his future to the Scarlets.

“He’s been very good for us over the last couple of years and you can see that the move has been a success. He was seen as a fullback before his move and now he’s being picked as an international 10. We feel very pleased about that, there’s been a lot of hard work put in by Rhys. He’s not the finished product, he knows that, but he’s a diligent worker and you’ll continue to see him develop.”

London Irish hooker David Paice has received a five-week ban after pleading guilty for dangerous charging and making contact with the head of a player.

Paice appeared before an independent disciplinary panel on Wednesday after he was shown a red card in the clash with Gloucester last week.

The incident occurred in the first-half of the Premiership match and is free to play again on January 9.

The chairman of the panel Aidan O’Brien said: “The panel found that this was a reckless challenge in which contact was made with the head of the Gloucester player causing an injury. The entry point was mid-range, one week was added on to reflect the player’s previous disciplinary record and, after allowing mitigation to reflect the player’s guilty plea, remorse and conduct at the hearing, the final sanction is five weeks. The player is free to play on 9 January 2018.”

The independent disciplinary panel comprised of Aidan O’Brien (chairman), Becky Essex and Tim Grey.

Meanwhile, the charges against Sale Sharks wing Byron McGuigan were heard on papers with the player’s consent. McGuigan was shown a red card following two yellow cards – Law 10.4(m) – in the match against Worcester Warriors on December 1.

The first yellow card (issued in the 32nd minute of the match) was for a technical offence – deliberately knocking on the ball – and the second yellow card (issued in the 67th minute of the match) was for foul play (dangerous tackle, contrary to law 10.4(e)).

The detail set out at Appendix 1 to RFU Regulation 19 here determines that the sanction for two yellow cards (where one is given for a technical offence) is sending off sufficient.

The player is free to play again immediately.

Here is this weekend Championship Cup Schedule.

December 2017
8 Glasgow Warriors v Montpellier Scotstoun Stadium 21:45
9 Scarlets v Benetton Parc Y Scarlets 15:00
9 Toulon v Bath Rugby Stade Félix-Mayol 17:15
9 Castres v Racing 92 Stade Pierre-Fabre 19:30
9 Northampton Saints v Ospreys Franklin’s Gardens 19:30
9 Munster v Leicester Tigers Thomond Park 21:45
10 Harlequins v Ulster The Stoop 15:00
10 La Rochelle v London Wasps Stade Marcel Deflandre 15:00
10 Saracens v Clermont Auvergne Allianz Park 17:15
10 Exeter Chiefs v Leinster Sandy Park 19:30


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