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Fissler Confidential: Saracens sign ex-England hooker as Leinster prop deal edges closer

By Neil Fissler
Saracens' head coach Mark McCall arriving at the stadium during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Play-Off Semi Final match between Northampton Saints and Saracens at cinch Stadium at Franklin's Gardens on May 31, 2024 in Northampton, England.(Photo by Andrew Kearns - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Saracens have completed a deal that will see former England hooker Rob Webber join Mark McCall’s coaching staff as their new scrum and maul coach for next season.

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Webber, 37, is working as interim head coach of the Chicago Hounds in America’s MLRand had been forwards coach and then head coach of Jersey Reds after calling time on his 16-year playing career.

Webber, who played for Leeds Carnegie, Wasps, Bath, and Sale Sharks, knows another Sarries assistant coach, Ian Peel, from his England days. The club had been looking for someone to replace Juan Figallo, who has left the staff.

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Mzwandile Stick dissects new Springboks coaching ticket

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Harlequins rugby director Billy Millard is on the NSW Waratahs’ radar to fill their vacant Director of Performance role less than six months after being overlooked by Rugby Australia to become their new Director of High Performance.

It now appears that he is on the Tahs’ shortlist along with former Quins and Connacht boss Andy Friend and former Wallabies forwards coach Simon Raiwalui, who was Fiji’s coach until the World Cup.

Meanwhile, former Wallabies and England attack coach Scott Wisemantel is in the running to become the Tahs coach, whom they are looking to recruit once they have a Director of Performance on board.

Stuart Lancaster is set to continue his Racing 92 shopping by making Stormers tight-head Lee-Marvin Mazibuko his tenth signing for next season.

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South African under-20 international Mazibuko, who spent a season in Italy with Viadana 26, is one of 15 players the Stormers confirmed are leaving. He will join his team-mate Hacjivah Dayimani in the French capital.

Mazibuko, who played three times for the Stormers in the URC and Champions Cup this season, has signed a one-year contract with the option for a second season and is a direct replacement for Sharks-bound Trevor Nyakane.

Newly crowned Premiership champions Northampton Saints are set to lose Fiji hooker Sam Matavesi, who has signed a two-year deal to join Top 14 outfit Lyon until 2026.

Truro-born Matavesi, 32, who serves in the Royal Navy, started his career with Plymouth Albion and Cornish Pirates and had a spell with Toulouse before linking up with The Saints, who are well-shocked in the middle of the front row.

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They have Curtis Langdon and Robbie Smith, with Craig Wright coming through, so Matavesi’s 89th and final appearance will be the Premiership Final win over Bath on June 8th.

Former Scotland international Stevie Scott has been rewarded with a new two-year contract after helping Bath reach the Premiership Final earlier this month.

Scott, who has coached Scotland, Sale Sharks, Edinburgh and Utah Warriors, is credited with making the Bath scrum statistically the best in the Premiership, according to many observers.

The former hooker will now be staying at The Rec until 2026, just 12 months after Head of Rugby Johann van Graan added him and former England and Scotland coach and club legend Andy Robinson to his coaching team.

Vannes have suffered a blow in the transfer market after winning promotion to the Top 14 for the first time in their history, with former Wallaby lock Kane Douglas set to join La Rochelle.

Vannes had been sniffing around Douglas, 31, who is leaving Bordeaux. They are also believed to have tabled a two-year contract offer to former All Black Francis Saili, who is leaving Racing 92 when his contract runs out.

Castres and Fiji winger Filipo Nakosi visited the Vannes training facilities and ground last week as they step up their recruitment before the transfer window slams shut.

Lyon have been told to forget any thoughts they may have of making New Zealand Under-20s coach Jono Gibbes their boss after the Junior World Cup ends later this summer.

Gibbes, who is also in charge of the Chiefs Development XV, was wanted by Lyon to return to France. He has twice worked at Clermont Auvergne and La Rochelle before returning home after being sacked by the former.

According to reports in France, the New Zealand Rugby Union has turned down Lyon’s request to make him their new boss ahead of next season, and they expect him to see out his contract with them.

The Sydney Roosters and the Gold Coast Titans will this week make one last attempt to get Rugby Australia to release Carter Gordon and Mark Nawaqanitawase, respectively, early from their contracts.

Wallabies coach Joe Schmidt this week left the pair out of his squad ahead of tests against Wales and Georgia in July and said he wouldn’t stand in the way of the pair leaving before the NRL’s June 30th transfer deadline.

The pair are yet to formally request an early release from their deals to switch codes, which run out later this year, but the talk is that Rugby Australia seem prepared for the time being to play hard-ball.

Stade Francais are keen on taking Toulouse outside centre Pierre-Louis Barassi to the French capital despite his contract at the Stade Ernest-Wallon having another year left to run.

Barassi, 26, played 21 times for Toulouse last season but could be surplus to requirements and could be allowed to leave the club this summer if Stade offers a suitable transfer fee.

The former Lyon man, who has been capped three times by his country, is, according to reports in France, keen on making the move.

Clermont Auvergne tighthead Rabah Slimani is edging closer to securing a move to Leinster, who want him to replace Michael Ala’alatoa, who is moving from Dublin to his club.

RugbyPass understands that Leinster are expected to tie up the deal for the former French International imminently following their signing of RG Snyman and Jordie Barrett for next season.

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1 Comment
f
finn 31 days ago

glad to see Craig Wright mentioned as being part of Northampton’s plans - thought he looked excellent in the u20 6N.

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