Rugby rumours and transfer news: Bristol Bears linked with England forward – Bristol Post


The rugby transfer market is in its busiest spell of the year as directors of rugby up and down the land are now allowed by league rules to speak to players at rival clubs.

Deals and departures are being announced all over the league and with Bristol Bears in their second season back at the top table of European rugby, playing in the Gallagher Premiership and European Challenge Cup, we take a look at all the latest transfer news and rumours from them and their rivals.

Here is all the latest.

Ben Earl, of England, who won his first cap on Saturday, poses with the Calcutta Cup after England beat Scotland in the Six Nations

Bristol Bears interested in new England international

Pat Lam’s Bristol Bears side are one of a number of Gallagher Premiership clubs reportedly interested in signing Saracens flanker Ben Earl.

Earl, 22, made his international debut on Saturday in England’s 6-13 win over Scotland.

Earl replaced Bath flanker Sam Underhill in the 66th minute in the Calcutta Cup clash, when the scores were locked at 3-3, and was part of the pod of players that launched former Bristol prop Ellis Genge over the Murrayfield whitewash for the match-winning try.

The Saracens backrower has been in outstanding for this season and stood out in the 47-13 victory over Bristol at Allianz Park before Christmas when the North London club still had a chance of avoiding relegation.

Since then Saracens have been docked a further 70 points and will be relegated into the Greene King IPA Championship next season as punishment for breaking the salary cap this season in addition to the the previous three campaigns.

With Saracens needing to cut wages there will certainly be departures at the club and with Earl looking to cement his place in the England squad he will likely want to continue playing topflight club rugby.

And according to The Rugby Paper, as well as multiple other sources, there is plenty of interest in his services with Bristol and Northampton Saints particularly interested.

Both clubs have repeatedly been linked with backrowers in the rumour mill, with Mitch Eadie switching Franklin’s Gardens for Ashton Gate next season.

The Bears have been linked with Exeter Chiefs’ Matt Kvesic and Osprey flanker Justin Tipuric this season.

Ryan Mills of Worcester Warriors is tackled by Lloyd Ashley and Keelan Giles of Ospreys

Bath leading the chase to sign Worcester Warriors ace

Bath Rugby are reported to be favourites to land Worcester Warriors utility back Ryan Mills

Rugby website ruck.co.uk claims centre Mills, 27, is looking to get out of his deal at Sixways a year early with Wasps also interested in his services.

While Mills can play both centre and fly-half, it is at 12 where he tends to play his best.

Bath director of rugby Stuart Hooper will likely be looking to strengthen his options at inside centre next season following the departure of Wales legend Jamie Roberts last month.

Roberts, who was out of contract at the end of the season at The Rec, has joined Super Rugby side the Stormers with Josh Matavesi coming in from Championship leaders Newcastle Falcons, but only until the end of the season.

The former England U20s back has played seven Gallagher Premiership games this season for Warriors alongside four appearances in cup competitions and has captained the club on several occasions.

Jonny May of Leicester Tigers scores a try

Leicester Tigers ace wanted by Newcastle Falcons

England star winger Jonny May is wanted by Championship leaders Newcastle Falcons according to the latest reports.

Last week it was reported May’s current club Leicester Tigers want to keep the 53 cap international but are asking him to take a paycut by as much as £100,000 a season to stay at Welford Road.

However Ruck.com reports Falcons, who look set for an immediate return to the top flight, are willing to match May’s current reported earnings of £325,000 a season. Offering the 29-year-old a two-year deal.

Newcastle have just handed winger Adam Radwan a new deal but lost Vereniki Goneva to Harlequins when they were relegated last season.

Pieter-Steph du Toit of South Africa runs with the ball while challenged by Aaron Wainwright of Wales

Harlequins linked with world class flanker

Following the announcement former England captain Chris Robshaw will leave Harlequins at the end of the season for an expect switch to the MLR, the Gallagher Premiership club have been linked with a move for South African star Pieter-Steph du Toit.

Du Toit, 27, currently players for Super Rugby side the Stormers and after winning the Rugby World Cup with the Springboks this autumn was named the 2019 World Rugby player of the year.

He currently has 55 caps for South Africa.

The Rugby Paper report Du Toit does not want to move until after the 2021 Lions tour to South Africa.

Jamie George is tackled by Paul Grant
Jamie George is tackled by Paul Grant

Jamie George outlines his future

England hooker Jamie George might be one of the best players in the world in his position but he will be playing in the Championship next season the forward has confirmed.

George, who is a one club man with Saracens, will stay with his side next season despite their relegation into the second tier of English rugby as punishment for breaching the salary cap for the last four seasons.

Speaking to Sky Sports, George said: “I am pretty sure I am staying. The details of it I am not too sure about but I will be staying at the club.

George has 49 caps for England and is favourite to be the British and Irish Lions’ starting hooker next summer in South Africa.

Wales player Nick Tompkins breaks on his way to score

All four Welsh regions in talks with Saracens star

Ospreys, Cardiff Blues, Dragons and Scarlets are all interested in signing new Welsh international centre Nick Tompkins reports Wales Online.

Cardiff Blues boss John Mulvihill and his Scarlets counterpart Brad Mooar say all four Welsh rugby regions want to sign the Saracens star who made his international debut in the opening game of the Six Nations against Italy, and then made his first start last weekend against Ireland.

“All the regions met Nick Tompkins so it’s up to him to make a decision,” said Mulvihill.

Mooar added: “He’s learning his trade in the Test arena and if he needs a home… we’re happy to provide that.”

The Saracens centre is tipped to leave the club this summer after they were relegated from the Gallagher Premiership.

Wilco Louw of the Stormers celebrates scoring a try

South African international prop signs for Quins

Harlequins have confirmed the signing of South African international tighthead prop Wilco Louw, ahead of the 2020/21 Gallagher Premiership season.

Louw, 25, will trade Cape Town for South-West London this summer following the culmination of the 2020 Super Rugby season. The Springbok, who has 13 test caps to his name, is currently embarking on his fifth Super Rugby campaign having debuted in 2015.

Handed his test debut in 2017 against the All Blacks in the Rugby Championship, Louw adds notable scrummaging expertise and international experience to Harlequins’ 2020/21 Premiership campaign.

The Ceres-born front row forward recently returned from a short stint in the French Top14 with former European Champions Toulon, providing cover during the World Cup, and will make his return to the northern hemisphere with Quins.

Tyrese Johnson-Fisher of Bristol Bears evades the tackle of Max Bodilly of Exeter Chiefs

Winger departs Bristol Bears

Young Tyrese Johnson-Fisher has left Bristol Bears to pursue a career in American football again.

The 20-year-old sprint star joined the Gallagher Premiership club in the summer having been in the USA playing American football.

Johnson-Fisher showed flashes of his raw attacking potential while at the Bears, scoring tries in the second tier competition the Premiership Rugby Shield, but did not make a senior appearance in the Premiership or European Challenge Cup.

The former Leicester Tigers academy player made one appearance in Premiership Rugby Shield in October when he came off the bench against Exeter Chiefs.

Enrique Pieretto of the Barbarians

Exeter prop to make Pro14 switch

Glasgow Warriors have bolstered their front-row options ahead of the 2020/21 season, with the signing of Argentina international Enrique Pieretto from Gallagher Premiership leaders Exeter Chiefs.

The 25-year-old has signed a two-year contract, subject to visa and medical.

Argentina international prop Gaston Cortes also joined the club this week on a short-term loan deal from Leicester Tigers.

Pieretto has 24 caps for his country and was involved in the Jaguares’ run to the final of Super Rugby in 2019, making 17 appearances for the franchise en-route to their runners-up finish.

Paul Lasike of Harlequins breaks

New deal for ex-NFL star at Harlequins

Destructive USA international and ex-NFL star Paul Lasike has committed his future to Harlequins.

First arriving at The Stoop in the summer of 2018 from Major League Rugby side the Utah Warriors, Lasike has fast become a first fan favourite and a key cog in the new Quins era, regularly seen punching holes in Gallagher Premiership and European defences.

Lasike, 29, previously played in the NFL with the Chicago Bears between 2015 and 2017 before embarking on a career in rugby union.

Pieretto has 24 caps for his country and was involved in the Jaguares’ run to the final of Super Rugby in 2019, making 17 appearances for the franchise en-route to their runners-up finish.


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