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Regan Grace snubs Super League return to stay in union

By Ian Cameron
Regan Grace of Bath Rugby looks on after a Bath Rugby training session at Farleigh House on March 20, 2024 in Bath, England. (Photo by Patrick Khachfe/Getty Images)

Former Super League star Regan Grace will be staying with Premiership title hopefuls Bath for another year after signing a contract extension with the West Country outfit.

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Grace, 27, spent last season on the books of Top 14 giants Racing 92 but was released in the summer after an Achilles tendon injury prevented him from playing a game. Since then, he has been living in Bath and working on regaining his fitness.

The ex-St Helens and Wales League international was signed by Bath on a rehab-based contract in February until the end of the season and proved himself to Johann van Graan in friendly games against Gloucester and Leinster.

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Ultan Dillane and Donnacha Ryan review Stade Rochelais’ win over the Stormers

Former Irish forward Ultan Dillane and compatriot Donnacha Ryan review Stade Rochelais’ win over the Stormers and a rematch with Leinster.

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Ultan Dillane and Donnacha Ryan review Stade Rochelais’ win over the Stormers

Former Irish forward Ultan Dillane and compatriot Donnacha Ryan review Stade Rochelais’ win over the Stormers and a rematch with Leinster.

Grace starred in three successive Super League Grand Finals before his injury nightmare started scored 89 tries in 143 games for the Saints and caught the eye of the Gloucester coaching staff on his first outing against them.

“Regan Grace showed that he has something special inside him with that last break of his, but he also was able to bump off Albert Tuisee, which was great,” van Graan told Gloucestershire Live after the 59-19 win.

Even though Grace – who turned down several approaches for a return to Super League – hasn’t appeared in the Premiership yet. Bath registered him for their Champions Cup campaign which ended at Exeter Chiefs last Saturday.

He could also make his competitive debut for second-placed Bath when they return to Sandy Park for a top-of-the-table Premiership clash on Saturday week, as they are without a game this weekend following their exit from Europe.

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Bath have been busy with Joe Cokanasiga, Sam Underhill, Ethan Staddon, Orlando Bailey, Tom De Glanville and Jaco Coetzee all putting pen to paper on contract extensions in the last couple of weeks.

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Jon 1 days ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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