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Aviva Premiership Rugby Football Union club the Sale Sharks have completed the signing of Jonathan Mills from the relegated London Welsh as they look to strengthen the squad and challenge for a spot in Europe rather than battle to save the drop. Mills was one of the most versatile players in the London Welsh squad and could play either as a back row forward or a lock and he becomes the fourth player that The Sharks have pinched from The Exiles at the close season.
The Sharks have already brought in nine players to add balance to the side, including Mills and Steve Diamond, the Director of Rugby of the club stated that the club is still looking to add more players to the squad. Mills, who signed a new two year contract with the London Welsh in January, spent six seasons at the club and he will be joined at the Sale Sharks by former team mates Kirill Kulemin, Tom Arscott and Phil Mackenzie, who have all been snapped up by The Sharks ahead of the new season.
Mills played a total of 169 matches for the London Welsh in his six years at the club and helped them win promotion to the top flight last season, although he couldn’t keep the club in the Aviva Premiership and the club was relegated after just one season in the Aviva Premiership.
According to Diamond, though, Jonathan Mills is quite an inspirational player on the field and he chooses to lead his team mates by example and it is important for every club to have such a player with leadership qualities in the side. He mentioned that his displays for The Exiles last season were top notch and he is hoping for much of the same this time around as well.
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Lyn Jones, the head coach of the Aviva Premiership Rugby Football Union club the London Welsh believes The Exiles are the masters of their own destiny in the Aviva Premiership as they approach the final game of the season. With just three games of the season left to play, The Exiles find themselves sitting in 12th spot, eight points adrift of safety behind the 11th placed Sale Sharks.
And speaking to BBC Oxford, the head coach stated that the challenge in front of his team is to win the three remaining games and he believes his side is quite capable of that. He went on to state that the final game of the season for the club at home against the Worcester Warriors on the 4th of May would be quite a big occasion for rugby in the region. Having suffered a 25-40 defeat at the hands of Bath Rugby, The Exiles must take on the challenge of the Northampton Saints at home before travelling nearby to take on the London Irish.
The Sale Sharks, on the other hand, will have to take on the Northampton Saints away from home and Gloucester Rugby at home before hosting the London Wasps for their final game of the season. And according to Jones, two wins from their remaining three matches should be enough to guarantee Aviva Premiership rugby next season as well, but he doesn’t want to take anything for granted and wants to go for the win in all three matches.
Jones stated that a club must win six games to remain in the Premiership and they have already won four. The London Welsh are yet to decide whether to appeal against the five point deduction they were given by the RFU for fielding an ineligible player, something that the club brought to light itself.
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Aviva Premiership Rugby Football Union club the London Welsh have been given a sanction of a five point deduction as well as a £ 15,000 fine for fielding Tyson Keats, who was ineligible to play for the club during this season of the Aviva Premiership. The club has also been handed a further suspended five point deduction, which has been kept on hold till the end of next season and which will come into effect if the team breaches the regulations once again and fields an ineligible player.
The New Zealand born Keats has appeared for The Exiles in ten games in the Premiership. It has been revealed by sources close to the London club that they will be launching an appeal against the sanction. The five points deduction mean the London Welsh will now go bottom of the Aviva Premiership table after such a promising start to their first ever campaign in the English top flight, where they trail the Sale Sharks by two points with just five games of the season left to salvage their campaign.
And the difficult part is that the games that are left for The Exiles are not easy ones as well with away fixtures against Gloucester Rugby, Bath Rugby and the London Irish and home matches against the Worcester Warriors and the Northampton Saints and pundits have already earmarked them as the favorites to go right back to the Rugby Football Union Championship after just one season in the top flight.
Keats, who was signed from the defunct Italian club Aironi falsely claimed that he was English and had English ancestry and after the falsity came to light, The Exiles officials themselves brought the matter up with the RFU and their sanction is a direct result of the player’s false VISA application to the government.
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The 34-year-old Nick Easter has fully recovered from his rib injury and will be put down to field to play as a cover for Olly Kohn because the latter player suffered a hamstring tear while on training at the Wales squad and cannot probably play for at least a month. Despite his age, his skills are enough to talk about his position of number 8 in the Premiership; a position every player would want to be in. and Easter himself does not want to call it quits so soon. Right now in Harlequins, Tom Guest has begun to move towards the back row along with All Black Brad Thorn. Both of them say that sometimes sitting back can actually make someone go back to mainstream. Nick Easter has got it that way.
Harlequins could not defend their invincibility since November 23 because they lost to old rivals Wasps only last week and so for them the match against Leicester is going to be a matter of saving their pride. Leicester has got in Toby Flood, Manu Tuilagi and Thomas Waldrom. Danny Care is also back in Harlequin which is a really good thing and this would make a leveled match between Leicester and Harlequin. About Danny Nick said, “Danny is a great ball of energy, he brings so much to this team…He might be disappointed but he shouldn’t be. England have two fantastic scrum-halves, it’s an incredibly close call every week I am sure.”
Nick Easter also said that it had been a bad idea bringing new half-backs in the second half and it did not do any good against Ireland. It is needless to say Saturday is going to witness real rugby that one may not have seen even in the Aviva premiership.