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TRANSFER | Christian Wade could be heading back to the Premiership

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Former England speedster Christian Wade did not make it through Saturday’s cut-down, Chris Brown of the Bills’ official site reports.

Wade was a demon in preseason games last season and ultimately ended up on the practice squad, but with the Bills set at the top of the running back depth chart with Devin Singletary and Zack Moss, the team needs pass catchers and special teams guys to fill out the rest of the group, not a hard-running prospect.

The report added that. the Bills would love to get Wade on the practice squad again, where he’s eligible to come back to the roster as the Bills’ designated international player if he clears waivers.

However, another source in the USA suggests Wade could be heading back to rugby union after he reportedly received a generous offer from Leicester Tigers.

Wade is third in the list of all-time try scorers in the Premiership with 82 tries but has only earned one cap for England, back in 2013, and that was believed to be a big factor in his decision to leave rugby union in 2018.

Wade was also called up to the British & Irish Lions squad as cover on the tour of Australia in 2013, playing one match against the Brumbies.


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LIST | 5 England players who could swap nations for 2023 World Cup

1. Manu Tuilagi (Samoa)

  • Current number of caps: 41
  • Age at the start of RWC 2023: 32
  • Did you know:  He was named Manusamoa, after the name of the Samoan national team

The England centre, who was born in Fogapoa and came to the UK at the age of 13, is one of a clutch of Pacific Island players whose eligibility status could change if the restrictions are relaxed. He is the younger brother of Freddie, Henry, Alesana, Anitelea and Sanele Vavae Tuilagi, all of whom are Samoan internationals and also played for Leicester. It would be fantastic for the powerhouse to complete the set.

CONTINUES ON PAGE 2




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Fifa to introduce concussion spotters in the stands at World Cup in Qatar | World Cup 2022

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Concussion spotters, whose job is to identify from the stands possible brain injuries, are to be introduced at the World Cup next year.

Spotters will work in conjunction with team doctors to help identify “red flags” of potential concussion that might have been missed, Fifa’s medical director, Andrew Massey, has said.

Whereas concussion spotters are standard in the NFL and rugby union, they have yet to be adopted across football and their use in Qatar will be a first at a major international tournament.

Massey, formerly the team doctor at Liverpool, took on his role at Fifa in March. He confirmed all Fifa tournaments would now have video replays for team doctors to study for signs of concussion among players, but also and the addition of spotters – medical staff who sit away from the dugouts.

Massey said it was easy for team doctors not to register key signs in the heat of the moment. “Often in football matches you miss these, even if you’re sitting on the front row,” he said. “You have people walking in front of you, you have the manager, you have the referee’s assistant, you have people warming up. So it’s easy to miss.

“All Fifa competitions will have video replays. All Fifa competitions will have concussion spotters in the stand who can go through all these things and relay information to the team benches if it is needed. It will just make things an awful lot safer.”

The permanent addition of spotters, previously trialled at Fifa’s Club World Cup, is likely to be welcomed by campaigners. It will also put the sport’s tardiness in dealing with the problem back into the spotlight. In the NFL, “ATC spotters” have been in the stands since 2012. Premiership Rugby introduced Hawk-Eye-assisted spotters in 2018. Though the Premier League was quick to take part in trials of concussion substitutes, on the grounds that “player welfare [is] the Premier League’s priority”, it does not have concussion spotters.

In an interview with Fifa’s in-house YouTube channel, Massey acknowledged team doctors were often put in challenging positions when diagnosing concussion, knowing a decision to remove a player could affect the outcome of a match.

He recalled Liverpool’s game against Newcastle in 2019 as being one of the most difficult moments in his career as a doctor, when he removed Mohamed Salah from the field for concussion. The forward subsequently missed the second leg of the Champions League semi-final against Barcelona.

“It would be remiss of me not to say that the thoughts of [the consequences] of taking him off went through my head,” Massey said. “We needed to win the match to win the league and we had the Champions League coming up. That went through my head. It shouldn’t have done because it was straightforward, but that was my experience.”

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Can Saints make the play-offs? We predict the Premiership run-in

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Saints will hope there are plenty more scenes of celebration ahead this season
Saints will hope there are plenty more scenes of celebration ahead this season

Saints have a quintet of matches left as they bid to make the Gallagher Premiership play-offs this season.

It would be the second time in three years they had achieved a top-four finish under the stewardship of Chris Boyd, who arrived at Franklin’s Gardens in the summer of 2018.

And it would be an even greater achievement than the last time they did it.

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Because Saints endured an alarming slump in 2020, dropping from second at the start of the year to eighth as they finished the 2019/20 Covid-affected season in sobering fashion.

The current campaign didn’t start well, either, and by the time they hosted Worcester Warriors on Boxing Day, Saints were staring down the barrel.

But since then, things have started to come together again.

The attacking swagger has returned, so much so that Saints have now racked up close to 200 points across their past five matches.

And defensively they are much more resilient, particularly on the road.

They lost their final seven away matches of 2020 but have won six of their first seven in 2021.

The most recent away-day success came at Leicester Tigers, where Saints gritted their teeth to claim a crucial win.

It came on a day when Harlequins and Sale Sharks also garnered dramatic victories on their travels to keep them ahead of Boyd’s side.

With five games to play, Sale are third, on 55 points, Quins are fourth, on 54, and Saints are fifth, on 50.

Each side has a run-in that will test them to the limit.

Here are the fixtures that each team faces, including our analysis on what lies in wait for Saints as they bid to book that prized play-off place.

Friday, May 7: Leicester Tigers (h)

Friday, May 28: Bristol Bears (h)

Friday, June 4: Harlequins (h)

Saturday, June 12: Exeter Chiefs (a)

May 14/15/16: Leicester Tigers (a)

Saturday, May 29: Bath (h)

Friday, June 4: Sale Sharks (a)

Saturday, June 12: Newcastle Falcons (h)

Saturday, May 8: Gloucester (h)

Gloucester come to the Gardens this weekend in what it’s fair to say has been a mixed season for the Cherry and Whites. Saints were worthy winners against them at Kingsholm back in January, and Chris Boyd’s side will be expected to put on a repeat performance at home this weekend. Gloucester, who are currently 10th in the table, have plenty of attacking threats, including the likes of Jonny May and Louis Rees-Zammit, who will be ready to pounce if given any time or space. But Saints should get the job done to keep their season on track. Prediction: Bonus-point win.

Monday, May 17: Newcastle Falcons (a)

It doesn’t matter where they sit in the table (they are currently 11th) or what their form is like, Newcastle will always give anyone a game, especially at Kingston Park. They possess former Saints centre Luther Burrell, who would love to have his say in this encounter, and with fans set to return to back the Falcons, this will be a really tough task for Saints. They have won there under pressure before, and they can do it again. Prediction: Four points for Saints – just!

Saturday, May 29: Wasps (h)

Wasps will be a real threat here as they are likely to take the pressure off themselves and play some tidy attacking rugby. They are ninth in the standings and recently lost key lock Joe Launchbury to injury so they may give chances to a fringe player or two. But either way, Saints will have to be on their guard if they are to get the win they want. Some fans should be back at the Gardens for this, and they can inspire a home victory. Prediction: Bonus-point win.

Sunday, June 6: Exeter Chiefs (h)

This will very much depend on how Exeter view the game as they may already have secured second spot by this time and they could be using it as preparation for the play-offs. Saints should again have fans behind them for this and they can repeat the win they claimed at Sandy Park back in February to take another step towards the play-offs. Prediction: Four points for Saints.

Saturday, June 12: Bath (a)

A final-day trip to Bath, a place where Saints don’t have the best recent history, is really tough and this shouldn’t be any different. You could see the hosts making life really tough for the black, green and gold, who will be desperate to get the points they need. You feel Saints may slip up here, but edge into the play-offs thanks to what they have done previously. Prediction: Losing bonus point for Saints.

Saints have the belief and the fixtures to make the play-offs this season but they will still need favours from elsewhere. They need to hit the ground running against Gloucester this weekend and then maintain that momentum all the way until the end of the season. If they can do that, which is obviously easier said than done, who knows where they can go at the end of another roller coaster campaign.

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Gloucester Rugby players named in British and Irish Lions squad

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Gloucester Rugby is set to be well represented on the British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa with both Louis Rees-Zammit and Chris Harris being named in Warren Gatland’s squad.

Still only 20 years old, Louis Rees-Zammit’s rise to the summit has been nothing short of remarkable. Making his Premiership debut for the Cherry & Whites aged 18, the flying winger has held his foot firmly on the accelerator ever since, notching up 18 tries in 31 appearances for Gloucester Rugby and scoring five tries in his first nine Wales appearances.

Rees-Zammit’s selection on the Lions tour comes after an impressive Six Nations campaign with Wales and his continued form for the Cherry & Whites, and his lightening power and pace will be a weapon for Gatland’s Lions in South Africa.

Head Coach George Skivington was proud to see two Cherry & Whites in the British & Irish Lions squad.

“Louis has been on an extraordinary journey these last few years, and this call-up is credit to his determination that he brings to training every day to be better than the week before. There’s very few players that have the raw pace that Zam has, and we know he will be extremely excited to pull on a Lions jersey and give it everything he’s got.”

Chris Harris has been a stand-out performer for both Gloucester Rugby and Scotland this season, and his place in British & Irish Lions squad will come as no surprise to anybody who has been watching the outside-centre play. A warrior in defence, Harris will be ready to be the heartbeat of the Lions midfield in what’s set to be a physical battle with South Africa.

“We are all really pleased for Chris,” Skivington said. “He has been phenomenal for us this season and has replicated that form on the international stage as well. Defensively there aren’t many players who lead the line as well as he does, and he really is truly deserving of this call-up.

“It goes without saying that we are extremely proud of Louis and Chris being selected for the British & Irish Lions. It’s is one of the biggest honours in World Rugby and we know they’re make themselves, their families and the Club proud.”

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