A pair of tries from Matt Proctor helped Northampton Saints move top of the Premiership as they made it four wins from five with a 36-13 triumph over Leicester Tigers.

New Zealander Proctor, whose sole appearance for the All Blacks came a year ago, was making his Premiership debut and soon endeared himself to the Franklin's Garden crowd with an early brace in the derby.

Saints were without international trio Courtney Lawes, Dan Biggar and Owen Franks due to injury, yet they were 24-10 up at the interval, Proctor crossing twice and then producing the break that led to Api Ratuniyarawa going over.

There was no way back for Leicester, despite Guy Thompson's first-half score, as Tom Collins and Fraser Dingwall added further tries for Northampton after the interval.

Exeter Chiefs moved up to second, four points adrift of Saints, with a comfortable 38-3 success over Wasps.

Having lost to Bristol Bears last time out in the Premiership, Exeter bounced back in style in a five-try display, with England international Luke Cowan-Dickie among those to go over.

Fourteen-man Sale Sharks were beaten 20-13 by Worcester Warriors as the visitors were left to rue Jean-Luc du Preez's red card for a shoulder-led tackle on the stroke of half-time.

Sale led at the break, Faf de Klerk and Chris Ashton having gone over, but Perry Humphreys and Ashley Beck both crossed in the space of two minutes after the Sharks went down to 14 men, with the boot of Duncan Weir - who kicked two conversions and a pair of penalties - proving pivotal.

Warren Gatland bade an emotional farewell to Wales on Saturday as his successor Wayne Pivac's reign started with a 43-33 win over Barbarians.

New Zealander Gatland spent 12 years in charge of the Wales team, guiding them to a pair of Rugby World Cup semi-finals and three Grand Slams, but he led their opponents in Cardiff, where Pivac was at the helm for the first time.

Josh Adams and Ken Owens both scored two tries apiece as Pivac began life as Wales coach with a victory.

Gatland, who was given a rousing ovation on the pitch after the game, thanked the crowd at the Principality Stadium for their support during the past dozen years.

"It's been brilliant for 12 years," Gatland told Channel 4.

"I love this place, you guys have given me so much.

"My time at Wales has been absolutely brilliant, there's a really special place in my heart for Wales and the people here.

"It's been incredibly special."

Gatland is returning to his homeland to take charge of the Chiefs and, though it came at his team's expense, he was pleased to see Wales get up and running under Pivac.

"I'll be back some day, maybe sitting in the stand," he added.

"It's been pretty cool and it's been brilliant for Wales to win today, and a new regime.

"It's been so brilliant to be able to put smiles on people's faces from time to time and [win] a few Grand Slams."

Barbarians coach Warren Gatland bade Wales farewell on Saturday as his successor Wayne Pivac claimed a 43-33 victory in his first match in charge.

Gatland's glorious 12-year stint as Wales coach came to an end after the Rugby World Cup, where he led the team to their second fourth-place finish of his tenure, but the New Zealander was back in Cardiff to lead his old team's opponents.

His successor Pivac made a winning start, though, as wing Josh Adams and hooker Ken Owens crossed for two tries apiece, though a late BaaBaas fightback meant the margin of victory was only 10 points.

Gatland was afforded a rousing reception when he was shown on the big screen at the Principality Stadium while BaaBaas captain Rory Best, Ireland's most-capped forward, was given a standing ovation when he was substituted in the second half of his final appearance.

Wales led 19-7 at the break as Adams, the World Cup's leading try-scorer, went over along with international debutant Johnny McNicholl and Owens.

Further tries from Owens and Adams after the break put Wales firmly in charge, while substitute Gareth Davies also got in on the act.

The Barbarians scored five tries in total - four of them coming after the break - as Josh Strauss, Curwin Bosch, Shaun Stevenson, Craig Millar and Peter Samu all crossed.

England captain Owen Farrell starred for Saracens as the Premiership champions defeated Bath 25-12 in their first league match since accepting a 35-point punishment.

Saracens initially questioned the £5.36million fine and large points deduction which was handed to them earlier in November as a penalty for breaching salary-cap rules.

However, the defending Premiership and European champions have since accepted the sanction, meaning they dropped to the bottom of the standings.

Farrell led the way as Mark McCall's side made it three successive wins, kicking 20 points in a convincing victory over eighth-placed Bath.

Three penalties from Rhys Priestland had given Bath the edge early on, but Sean Maitland's try and 11 points from Farrell put the away side in control by the break.

Farrell added a further nine points after the restart to wrap up the win, though Maro Itoje was sent to the sin bin late on.

Saracens' win puts McCall's team 22 points behind 11th-placed Leicester Tigers.

Munster's three-match winning streak was halted on Friday as the Pro14 Group B leaders were edged out 18-16 by Edinburgh.

Matt Scott's try and accurate kicking from Jaco van der Walt had visitors Edinburgh 10-0 up by the 20th minute, yet Munster fought back to level the scores heading into the break.

Full debutant Ben Healey kicked five points in Munster's first-half comeback, and two more penalties after the break had the home side 16-10 up.

However, Simon Hickey's penalty moved Edinburgh to within touching distance, with Eroni Sau's try ultimately proving decisive for Richard Cockerill's side as the visitors claimed their first win in Cork since 2004.

Elsewhere, Ulster returned to winning ways in style as they beat Scarlets 29-5 thanks to an exceptional first-half display.

Having been defeated by Munster last time out, Ulster made light work of Scarlets - who are second in Group B - by running in three tries inside the opening 16 minutes.

Robert Baloucoune added a fourth try by the 27th minute, after Uzair Cassiem had been sent to the sin bin, and though Scarlets did grab a consolation try, it was Ulster who had the final say when Matt Faddes went over.

Wales have honoured their former coach Warren Gatland by naming an entrance to the Principality Stadium after him.

Gatland coached Wales for 12 years, ending his tenure following their Rugby World Cup campaign this year.

The defending Six Nations champions were beaten 19-16 by South Africa in the semi-finals, before going down to Gatland's native New Zealand in the third-place play-off.

Wayne Pivac has taken over from Gatland, who led Wales to four Six Nations triumphs and will now go up against his former team when he coaches a Barbarians side in Cardiff on Saturday.

Ahead of the match, the Welsh Rugby Union has confirmed the main entrance to the Principality Stadium has been re-named 'Gatland's Gate' in tribute to the 56-year-old.

"This building will always be a very special place for me," said Gatland, Wales' longest-serving coach, of the Principality Stadium.

"It evokes a host of wonderful memories and has been the location for some of my very best days in rugby. It embodies all the emotion that goes with winning big games, but also the hard work, dedication and passion of everyone involved at every stage from players to staff and to my own family and to the fans themselves.

"This a hugely unexpected honour and one that I am humbled by. I'd like to thank all the staff at the Union, the players, my fellow coaches and backroom staff and everyone throughout Welsh rugby for their passion, respect and belief over the last 12 years."

Harlequins will be without Mike Brown for the rest of the Premiership season, with the England international to undergo surgery on a knee injury.

Full-back Brown, who has won 72 caps for England and made over 300 appearances for Harlequins, is expected to be out for between "six to nine months".

The 34-year-old was left out of England's squad for the Rugby World Cup as Eddie Jones' side made it to the final in Japan, where they were defeated by South Africa.

"Losing Mike is a big loss. He's tried hard to train and play over the past few weeks," Harlequins' head of rugby Paul Gustard said.

"Unfortunately his situation worsened, and it would be damaging to his long-term knee health to try and play."

Brown has played five times for Harlequins this term, having initially sustained the knee issue in pre-season.

Former Italy head coach Conor O'Shea will join the Rugby Football Union (RFU) as director of performance in 2020.

O'Shea this month resigned as Italy boss, having failed to guide the Azzurri out of a difficult Rugby World Cup group that included New Zealand and eventual champions South Africa.

The Irishman's impeding arrival was confirmed after the RFU announced director of professional rugby Nigel Melville will leave the organisation in December.

O'Shea is to work closely with Eddie Jones and will be responsible for the leadership, management and strategic direction of the professional game in England.

"I am privileged and honoured and it is an incredible opportunity to join at a really exciting time for English rugby," said O'Shea.

"I've spent the last four years in Italy, six years at Harlequins and before that 10 years at London Irish, so I feel I know the system pretty well. The good times, the bad times, winning things and being competitive, so I can relate to the people and challenges that happen within our system. I have learned a huge amount internationally in the last few years as well.

"There is an exciting vision at the RFU. It is not just about winning tomorrow, but also about sustaining success and winning long into the future. We can really look forward to rejuvenating and re-energising the performance pathway to help, support and push England rugby on."

RFU CEO Bill Sweeney added: "Conor knows Eddie Jones very well and will be able to integrate with what is happening at the highest level on the elite side of our game and making sure we have a seamless approach to player and coach development will be key.

"He will also work closely with Premiership Rugby and the clubs to make sure we have the right relationships with them.

"There is a lot happening. We are just coming off a very successful Rugby World Cup, the youngest-ever team to compete in a World Cup final so it bodes really well for us going forward.

"We are looking forward to the Six Nations coming up now but that is part of a longer journey through to France in 2023. We look at that and the experience of Japan and that is something we can really build on."

Warren Gatland has joked he does not know how to get to the away coach's box at the Principality Stadium, as he prepares to bid farewell to Wales.

Gatland brought his 12-year tenure as Wales coach to an end with a defeat to New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup third-place play-off, after a 19-16 loss to eventual champions South Africa in the semi-finals.

Fellow New Zealander Wayne Pivac has now taken over, with his first game in charge of the Six Nations champions coming against a Barbarians side coached by Gatland on Saturday in Cardiff.

Acknowledging it will be a bizarre way to say goodbye, Gatland nevertheless said he is relishing going up against his former side, revealing he asked the Barbarians to be their coach for this particular match.

"I have no idea where the away box is. Someone will have to show me so that I do not get lost," Gatland told a news conference after announcing his team for Saturday's match.

"I did not think it was right for it to be my last match with Wales. I was finished after the World Cup and it was a great chance for the new coaching team to come in and get some time with the players to help them build for the Six Nations.

"I thought that was really important and so rather than the Barbarians asking me I had to ask them if I could please coach them against Wales so that I was involved.

"I have enjoyed this week, working with players and coaches for the first time, and it is an opportunity for me to say thank you to the Welsh fans and public for 12 brilliant, amazing years.

"The place has grown on me and I do not think I can lose either way on Saturday, but we are here to play some rugby and give a good performance."

Gatland also added he has not had any contact with his successor, insisting it would be out of place for him to offer any guidance.

"I have not been in contact with Wayne. This is his team now and I have stepped back because it is important that he takes the reins," Gatland said.

"He was at the World Cup for a couple of weeks and had a look. It was funny on Tuesday because I went back to my apartment and drove past when they were training.

"It felt a bit weird so I made sure I did not look out of the car window and my apartment overlooks the ground. I did not watch them train and felt a bit awkward. It was too dark, anyway.

"It is an unusual situation on Saturday but one to look forward to. I am sure both sides will want to play."

Justin Tipuric will captain Wales in Wayne Pivac's first game at the helm as the Rugby World Cup semi-finalists take on the Barbarians, led by their former coach Warren Gatland.

After 12 years in charge of Wales, New Zealander Gatland brought an end to his tenure following their campaign in Japan, which concluded with a 19-16 defeat to eventual champions South Africa in the last four.

Former Scarlets coach Pivac has replaced his compatriot and his first game in charge comes on Saturday against a Barbarians side coached by Gatland.

Tipuric – one of eight players in the team to have featured at the World Cup – has been named skipper and will start in the back row, while Scarlets wing Johnny McNicholl, who has qualified to represent Wales on the three-year residency rule, has been handed a debut.

It will be Wales' first meeting with the Barbarians since 2012, and Pivac is relishing the contest at the Principality Stadium.

"This week has been hugely exciting and hugely important for us as a group," said Pivac. "It has been an opportunity for us as a new squad and management to get together and to set the scene for what the future holds.

"This weekend itself is really exciting. The Barbarians are what rugby is all about. It is the fun element of the game and supporters should be looking forward to some good old-fashioned running rugby and it should be an entertaining afternoon."

Gatland, meanwhile, has named former Ireland captain Rory Best as the Barbarians' skipper. It will be the 37-year-old's final international match.

 

Wales: Leigh Halfpenny, Johnny McNicholl, Owen Watkin, Hadleigh Parkes, Josh Adams, Jarrod Evans, Tomos Williams; Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Dillon Lewis, Jake Ball, Adam Beard, Aaron Shingler, Justin Tipuric, Aaron Wainwright.

Replacements: Elliot Dee, Rob Evans, Leon Brown, Seb Davies, Ollie Griffiths, Gareth Davies, Sam Davies, Owen Lane​.

England lock Joe Launchbury has signed a new contract with Premiership side Wasps.

The long-serving captain was linked with a move to Sale Sharks at the start of this year, but Wasps insisted he was going nowhere.

Launchbury has now committed his future to a club where he has spent 10 seasons, making 142 appearances.

The 28-year-old is optimistic Dai Young's men can challenge for honours after agreeing to extend his stay.

"Wasps have been great to me and I will forever have an association with the club," said Launchbury.

"There have been some special moments during the past 10 years and I want to create more of those over the coming seasons.

"We have a good young squad, and I think we're now starting to see young players coming through the system which a crucial cog in any elite club.

"With a fantastic home ground at Ricoh Arena and our own high-performance training base being built, the future certainly looks very bright.

"Hopefully as a club we keep developing and growing more and more Premiership-class players, and compete for silverware moving forward."

Wasps did not disclose the length of the deal agreed by the uncompromising forward, who has 62 England caps to his name.

Pierre Bourgarit has been hit with a six-week suspension for his eye-gouge on Tom Curry in La Rochelle's European Champions Cup loss to Sale Sharks.

Bourgarit was sent off for the offence, which occurred late in Sunday's first half at the AJ Bell Stadium, where Sale triumphed 25-15.

The La Rochelle hooker inexplicably put his hand into the 21-year-old's eyes during a grapple and was dismissed.

Explaining the length of the ban, a statement from the independent disciplinary committee read: "It was decided that the offence was at the top end of World Rugby's sanctions for contact with the eye area, however, it was also decided that there was no reason to consider a sanction greater than the minimum entry point of 12 weeks.

"There were no aggravating factors, and taking into account the player's guilty plea, clear disciplinary record and timely expression of remorse, the committee reduced the sanction by the maximum of 50 per cent before imposing a six-week suspension."

Bourgarit, who is entitled to appeal, will be free to return on January 6.

Meanwhile, Montpellier's Jacques du Plessis is set to serve a five-week ban after he was sent off for elbowing Gloucester's Gerbrandt Grobler, and Ulster's Will Addison has received a four-week sanction for a dangerous tackle on Clermont's Paul Jedrasiak.

South Africa captain Siya Kolisi says he was so stunned meeting Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp after their Rugby World Cup triumph that he fell off his chair.

Klopp met up with Springboks stars including Kolisi as well as the country's cricket captain Faf du Plessis while visiting Cape Town during the most recent international break.

Kolisi recalled how Klopp spoke with each of the players in turn to congratulate them on their 32-12 defeat of England in the World Cup final in Yokohama on November 2.

The flanker admits meeting the "amazing" coach allowed him to understand why Liverpool players are thriving under his leadership.

Speaking to Sky Sports about South Africa's post-tournament celebrations, Kolisi said: "This was one of the highlights. He's such an amazing human being and I understand why the boys play so hard for him.

"He came and greeted every single person at the table; he came and spoke to me for 40 minutes.

"When I saw him, I fell off my chair! And everyone around me didn't understand. I've got huge respect for him."

The story of Kolisi's rise from an impoverished childhood in post-apartheid South Africa to winning the World Cup as captain of the national team captured huge interest before and during the tournament.

While he admits he never thought such an experience would be possible, the 28-year-old now wants to give back to his country to help those who continue to live in difficulty.

"I even said it to my team-mates: I never dreamed of this in a million years," he said. "But I'm glad that it happened. We all come from different backgrounds as team-mates and now kids can start dreaming about this moment, because we've done it.

"I'd love to hope [that we've changed perceptions] but there is a bit of work to do.

"I don't think I'll ever understand how big it is. It was really tough. Honestly, I wasn't in the worst of circumstances. People are in far worse circumstances. But I had love, support and time given to me by the people that raised me.

"I know we're all celebrating the story, and it's amazing, but kids shouldn't have to go through that. That's why I'm trying to work as hard as I can with some of my team-mates to give back to as many as we can.

"If I can make a difference in somebody else's life… that's the stuff that you want to be remembered for. I knew how much it could mean if we could win, for us as individuals, for the team and for the country."

Kolisi believes director of rugby Rassie Erasmus was a critical part of the Springboks' success, even down to his message before the final about the importance of doing their country proud.

"He's a special human being – I've learned so much from him," Kolisi added. "I've known him since I was a little kid. He's backed me from the beginning. He had a great plan and we all bought into it.

"That's what he told us [that rugby is a privilege] before we warmed up for the final. We know what pressure is: someone dying, something happened to one of your family members or friends, but we had the privilege of putting smiles on people's faces who are going through all that pressure.

"That's what he made us understand before we stepped on that field. We weren't playing for ourselves anymore; we were playing for a nation. Without even knowing it, we touched so many people. When we walked on that field, we knew what we had to do.

"I didn't have to speak – coach spoke, that was it. If that wasn't going to make you ready for the game, you were never going to be ready."

Bristol Bears have signed Fiji star Semi Radradra on a three-year contract.

The 27-year-old wing will move to Ashton Gate ahead of the start of the 2020-21 season.

Radradra lit up the Rugby World Cup pool stages in Japan this year despite Fiji winning only one match, against Georgia, and losing to Australia, Uruguay and Wales.

Formerly of Toulon before joining Bordeaux-Begles last year, Radradra also scored 82 tries in 94 appearances in the NRL for Parramatta Eels.

"I'm looking forward to coming to the Premiership and to be playing under [director of rugby] Pat Lam at Bristol Bears," he told the club's website. 

"They are one of the most exciting teams in Europe right now and the way that they are doing things is making everybody take notice.

"I visited the world-class facilities at Ashton Gate and saw the progress of the new training ground – it's a fantastic club to be joining with a bright future ahead. I can't wait to get started and contributing to the Bristol Bears vision."

"There is no doubt that Semi is one of the best players in the world – he's truly a world-class performer and we are so excited about what he can do for the team," Lam added.

"Every top club across both codes on the planet wanted him, so for Bristol to be able to bring in a player of his quality underlines the fantastic work that the club is doing. Semi has clarity about our vision and knows what the club want to achieve. As a person and a player, he is perfect for our culture which places an emphasis on community and high performance.

"I got to know Semi well at the Barbarians and we were blown away by his professionalism and dedication. He is world-class because of the relentless work and preparation he puts into his game, day in day out. It’s no surprise that he has taken the World Cup and French Top 14 by storm – Semi is the ultimate professional.

"We believe the Premiership is the best league in the world and Semi's arrival into the league will only enhance the product further. He's an unstoppable force and we are looking forward to seeing him light up the competition for the next three seasons."

England full-back Anthony Watson will be sidelined for at least a month after suffering a knee injury in Bath's European Champions Cup defeat to Harlequins last weekend.

There were concerns that Watson could be facing another lengthy lay-off when he was injured in his first game since England's Rugby World Cup final defeat to South Africa.

Bath on Tuesday revealed that the British and Irish Lion will be out until Christmas at least after suffering a medial collateral ligament tear.

That diagnosis will be a relief to England head coach Eddie Jones, with the Six Nations getting under way at the start of February.

Watson returned to action in April after 13 months out with a ruptured Achilles.

Premiership side Bath are waiting to discover how long Charlie Ewels will be unavailable after the lock also injured his knee in Quins' 15-9 victory at The Stoop on Saturday.

Ewels, capped 12 times by England, sustained a slightly higher grade of ACL tear to Watson.

Bath director of rugby Stuart Hooper said: "The collision-based demands of our game are tough and it is never easy to see a player leave the field with an injury.

"We are pleased however that in Anthony's case, his injury is not as serious as first thought. We are waiting for further detail on Charlie and will share an update as soon as we are able.

"Both Anthony and Charlie will now work with our Performance Department in order to come back stronger and perform at their very best when the time is right."

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