Wales centre Jamie Roberts has left Bath to sign with South African Super Rugby franchise the Stormers.

British and Irish Lion Roberts, who joined Bath from Harlequins in 2018, moves to Cape Town with immediate effect after the Stormers received the financial support of a corporate partner.

The 33-year-old earned the last of his 94 Wales caps in November 2017 and will also act as a mentor for his new team.

"It has long been a goal of mine to play in the Southern Hemisphere and I cannot think of a better place to do so than in the Western Cape, where people are so passionate about their rugby and also staying in Cape Town which is such an amazing city," said Roberts.

"While I am looking forward to wearing the shirt, my key drive is to perform on the pitch, win week in week out and to help to drive success.

"Having toured South Africa with my school, sevens, club and Wales, then playing in the 2009 British and Irish Lions series as a young player which was a highlight in my career, to spend some time down here and contribute to the fantastic rugby culture will be a special privilege.

"Every time I have been to South Africa, it has always struck me as a beautiful country with rugby at its heart, which reminds me very much of home. It feels very special to be able to come and play rugby in South Africa.

"While I am looking forward to pulling the Stormers jersey on, this will also be a fantastic opportunity for me to help impart some knowledge and insight on the many talented youngsters that we have here."

The Stormers finished bottom of the South Africa Conference last season and begin their 2020 campaign at home to the Hurricanes on February 1.

Bath have replaced Roberts by signing Fiji international and utility back Josh Matavesi from Newcastle Falcons.

Johnny Sexton will be Ireland's captain under Andy Farrell, who has named five uncapped players in his first squad for the Six Nations.

Ex-defence coach Farrell replaced Joe Schmidt as head coach after the 2019 Rugby World Cup, when Ireland suffered a quarter-final exit at the hands of New Zealand.

Skipper Rory Best retired after that tournament and Farrell has opted to name 88-cap fly-half Sexton as his replacement for the leadership role.

Ulster duo Billy Burns and Tom O'Toole, along with Leinster trio Max Deegan, Caelan Doris and Ronan Kelleher are the uncapped players in Ireland's squad, which also includes Devin Toner after his World Cup omission.

Those not to make the cut include Rob Kearney, Jordi Murphy and Jack Carty, as well as the injured Joey Carbery.

"We have appointed Johnny as captain for the Six Nations Championship, you can see what it means to him and the enthusiasm he will bring to the role," Farrell said on the Irish Rugby Union's website.

"He has been developing as a leader for a number of years with Ireland, Leinster and the [British and Irish] Lions and he will be a positive voice for the group."

Ireland finished third in the 2019 Six Nations after being beaten by England and eventual winners Wales.

Farrell's first game in charge will come in their Six Nations opener against Scotland on February 1, with Sexton a doubt to play due to a knee injury he sustained last month.

 

Ireland squad: Max Deegan, Caelan Doris, Ultan Dillane, Tadhg Furlong, Cian Healy, Dave Heffernan, Iain Henderson, Rob Herring, Ronan Kelleher, Dave Kilcoyne, Jack McGrath, Jack O'Donoghue, Peter O'Mahony, Tom O'Toole, Andrew Porter, James Ryan, CJ Stander, Devin Toner, Josh van der Flier; Will Addison, Bundee Aki, Billy Burns, Ross Byrne, Andrew Conway, John Cooney, Keith Earls, Chris Farrell, Robbie Henshaw, Dave Kearney, Jordan Larmour, Luke McGrath, Conor Murray, Garry Ringrose, Jonathan Sexton, Jacob Stockdale.

Teenage wing Louis Rees-Zammit is among five uncapped players in new Wales head coach Wayne Pivac's squad for the Six Nations.

Rees-Zammit has earned rave reviews following his performances for Gloucester and the 18-year-old flyer is set to be unleashed on the international stage.

Prop WillGriff John, second-row Will Rowlands, centre Nick Tompkins and versatile New Zealand-born back Johnny McNicholl will also be hoping to win their first caps for the defending champions.

Lock Seb Davies and wing Jonah Holmes are among the 38 included by Pivac along with fit-again back-row Taulupe Faletau and scrum-half Rhys Webb, who is set to re-join the Ospreys from Toulon.

"We are really excited to be naming our Six Nations squad and kicking the campaign off," said Pivac.

"A lot of time and effort has gone into selecting the squad, all of the coaches have been out and about, seeing players in training, speaking with them and we are pretty excited with the group we have got.

"Looking back to the Barbarians week, that was hugely important for us. We got a lot of 'firsts' out of the way, getting to meet and get in front of the players and having a game together was hugely beneficial.

"We do have a couple of injuries but we flip that into seeing it as an opportunity for some new players to impress, with not only the Six Nations in mind but also longer term and 2023."

 

Wales squad in full:

Forwards: Rhys Carre, Rob Evans, Wyn Jones, Elliot Dee, Ryan Elias, Ken Owens, Leon Brown, WillGriff John, Dillon Lewis, Jake Ball, Adam Beard, Seb Davies, Alun Wyn Jones (captain), Will Rowlands, Cory Hill, Aaron Shingler, Aaron Wainwright, Taulupe Faletau, Ross Moriarty, Josh Navidi, Justin Tipuric.

Backs: Gareth Davies, Rhys Webb, Tomos Williams, Dan Biggar, Owen Williams, Jarrod Evans, Hadleigh Parkes, Nick Tompkins, Owen Watkin, George North, Josh Adams, Owen Lane, Johnny McNicholl, Louis Rees-Zammit, Jonah Holmes, Leigh Halfpenny, Liam Williams.

Stuart Hogg has been named Scotland captain for the Six Nations and Gregor Townsend has included six uncapped players in his squad for the tournament.

Full-back Hogg will lead his country after Greig Laidlaw announced his retirement from international rugby last month.

As well as appointing a new skipper, head coach Townsend has also brought in some fresh faces following Scotland's failure to advance from their pool at the Rugby World Cup.

Tom Gordon, Kyle Steyn, Ratu Tagive, Luke Crosbie, Nick Haining and Alex Craig will be hoping to win their first caps.

Matt Scott and Rory Sutherland have been recalled to a 38-man squad along with Cornell du Preez.

Townsend said: "We've put a bigger emphasis on form as a guide for our selection, with those picked backed to go out and grab their opportunity.

"A number of young players have broken through at their clubs, while the bulk of the squad [23/31] from Japan has been reselected based on some strong individual performances and huge effort throughout our World Cup camp.

"We're on to our next campaign now and it’s going to be very tough given the competition we face. Ireland have only lost one championship game at home in the last five years, and England were in great form in Japan."

Scotland face Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in their first match of the Six Nations on February 1.

 

Scotland squad:

Forwards: Simon Berghan, Jamie Bhatti, Magnus Bradbury, Fraser Brown, Alex Craig, Luke Crosbie, Scott Cummings, Allan Dell, Cornell du Preez, Zander Fagerson, Grant Gilchrist, Tom Gordon, Jonny Gray, Nick Haining, Stuart McInally, WP Nel, Jamie Ritchie, Rory Sutherland, Ben Toolis, George Turner, Hamish Watson.

Backs: Darcy Graham, Chris Harris, Adam Hastings, Stuart Hogg (captain), George Horne, Rory Hutchinson, Sam Johnson, Huw Jones, Blair Kinghorn, Sean Maitland, Byron McGuigan, Ali Price, Henry Pyrgos, Finn Russell, Matt Scott, Kyle Steyn, Ratu Tagive.

South Africa scrum-half Cobus Reinach will leave Northampton Saints at the end of the season.

The 29-year-old pivot has been a revelation since arriving at Franklin's Gardens from Super Rugby franchise the Sharks in 2017. 

Reinach, a World Cup winner with the Springboks last year, has decided to move on after three campaigns with Northampton and is reportedly set to join Montpellier.

The pacy playmaker said: "I love playing for Saints and living in Northamptonshire. We have a fantastic group of coaches and staff, and an exciting squad that I believe can challenge for the major honours, so this has not been an easy decision for me to make. 

"I'd like to thank everyone for making the last three seasons so memorable; I'll be sad to leave some great friends and team-mates. 

"Saints will always have a special place in my heart and I look forward to giving everything I've got to make sure we finish the season with some silverware."

Chris Boyd, Saints' director of rugby, said: "While we're disappointed to lose a player of Cobus' quality, we respect that in the final years of his professional career he’s made a decision with the long-term future of his family in mind.

"Saints supporters love watching him play; he has provided them with plenty of memorable moments here at Franklin's Gardens. 

"I've been delighted with the form of Henry Taylor since his arrival at the start of the season, and with the emergence of Connor Tupai from our Academy set-up this year – plus getting Alex Mitchell back from injury in the coming weeks will feel like a new signing for us.

"Cobus is putting all his focus and energy into ensuring that Northampton have as much success as possible for the second half of the season, and we will wish him well after that."

Saints sit second in the Premiership table having won six of their first eight games. 

England have revealed a new-look coaching team to support Eddie Jones heading into the Six Nations.

Simon Amor, formerly head of the England Sevens set-up and brought in as attack coach, and Matt Proudfoot have come into the fold.

Proudfoot, who will work as the forwards coach, was part of Rassie Erasmus' staff during South Africa's Rugby World Cup triumph last year.

The duo will work alongside defence coach John Mitchell and former England international Steve Borthwick, who switches to skills coach.

"The Guinness Six Nations 2020 is a fresh start for the team so that is how we have approached our coaching staff," Jones told the RFU website.

"With Neal Hatley moving to Bath we felt we needed to regenerate the forwards coaching area. Matt Proudfoot has had an outstanding coaching career to date culminating in being a World Cup winning coach with South Africa.

"He brings great technical expertise and knowledge having coached in South Africa and Japan and having played in Scotland and South Africa.

"We feel he can take the forwards to another level and build on the great work Neal and Steve have done over the last four years.

"We have had our eyes on Simon for a while. We used him in the run up to the Rugby World Cup in some of our training camps.

"I have been very impressed with his dynamism, his rugby intellect and he will bring a fresh view on how we build our attack. "

Jones remains in talks to extend his England tenure, with his contract set to expire in 2021.

Italy interim coach Franco Smith has named his first squad as he assesses his options ahead of the Six Nations, with Alberto Sgarbi recalled after a six-year absence.

Smith took charge after Conor O'Shea stepped down following Italy's Rugby World Cup campaign in Japan.

With Italy having taken home the wooden spoon from the last four editions of the Six Nations, former Cheetahs coach Smith has a tough task on his hands.

The most intriguing name in his first squad, which includes 35 players, is Benetton Treviso centre Sgarbi, who last appeared for his country in 2014.

"In the squad we have a mix of experienced and young players who want to establish themselves on the international rugby scene," said Smith, who also named uncapped trio Danilo Fischetti, Niccolo Cannone and Michelangelo Biondelli in his selection.

"Everyone's contribution from the start will be fundamental in order to better prepare for the debut in an increasingly competitive and exciting tournament."

Italy begin this year's Six Nations campaign away to reigning champions Wales on February 1.

Leinster maintained their 100 per cent European Champions Cup record with a 42-14 thrashing of Lyon, while Racing 92 left it late to beat Munster and reach the quarter-finals on Sunday.

Last year's runners-up Leinster cemented their spot at the top of Pool 1 with a bonus-point triumph on a day which saw second-placed Northampton Saints produce a comeback to beat Benetton Treviso.

Leinster struggled to shake off Lyon in the first half and only led by seven points at the break, but the Pro14 champions scored 21 points without reply in the second half at the RDS Arena.

Dave Kearney touched down twice, with Josh van der Flier, Max Deegan, Sean Cronin and Andrew Porter getting in on the act in a six-try hammering from Leo Cullen's men.

Leinster have now won nine consecutive pool games for the first time in the competition.

Saints made far harder work of a vital 33-20 bonus-point victory over Treviso, the Premiership side having fallen 17-12 behind heading into the final 25 minutes.

The returning Harry Mallinder, back after more than a year out with a knee injury, got the home side up and running with a try inside five minutes.

However, the rest of the first half belonged to the Italians, who were ahead courtesy of Tommaso Benvenuti's smart score following an interception.

Needing a win to keep their visitors at bay in the race for second spot, Northampton finally sprung to life after the interval as Henry Taylor, Francois van Wyk, Fraser Dingwall and Andy Symons all crossed.

Teddy Iribaren's inventive long-range pass to set up a try for Teddy Thomas was an eye-catching highlight from Racing's dramatic 39-22 Pool 4 home win against Munster.

A second try for recalled France wing Thomas late on was followed by scores from the brilliant Virimi Vakatawa and Juan Imhoff, seeing Racing through and putting Munster down to third with a decisive clash against Saracens to come in the final round of pool matches.

Saracens kept their European Champions Cup defence alive despite Rhys Carre's early red card at Ospreys, while Clermont Auvergne, Toulouse and Exeter Chiefs booked quarter-final spots.

Prop Carre was shown a straight red card for a shoulder-led tackle on Dan Evans just four minutes in, but the reigning champions went on to claim a crucial 22-15 triumph at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.

Fly-half Manu Vunipola was successful with his six efforts from the tee, which consisted of five penalties and the conversion of Alex Lewington's try off Richard Wigglesworth's box kick.

Sarries consequently moved up to second in Pool 4 and three points behind Racing 92, who face Munster on Sunday.

A battling 31-31 draw with Glasgow Warriors was sufficient for Exeter to reach the last eight for just the second time in their history, with only the crossbar denying them the win via a 60-yard Stuart Hogg penalty beyond the 80th minute against his former club.

Tommy Seymour touched down in the opening minute as the Warriors surged into an early 14-3 lead, but Matt Kvesic's double helped ensure the Chiefs got a bonus point and progressed as Pool 2 winners.

Second-half tries from Alivereti Raka and George Moala led Clermont from behind to a 29-13 win at home to Ulster, the Top 14 side taking control of Pool 3.

Toulouse guaranteed a last-eight berth by winning 21-7 at Connacht. Jerome Kaino, Julien Marchand and Pita Ahki cross for the visitors, who were reduced to 13 men in the closing stages when Zack Holmes saw red for a dangerous tackle after Yoann Huget was sent to the sin bin.

Gloucester lost Danny Cipriani to injury after 12 minutes but remained in contention to advance as one of the three best runners-up with a 29-6 bonus-point win against Montpellier.

Ben Morgan, Louis Rees-Zammit and Todd Gleave marked their returns to the starting line-up with tries, the latter coming after Paul Willemse was shown a yellow card for collapsing the maul.

La Rochelle bolstered their hopes of progressing in the European Champions Cup with a hard-earned 30-23 victory over Sale Sharks.

The Top 14 side were trailing 16-15 at half-time but then capitalised on indiscipline from Sale, who had Chris Ashton sent to the sin bin and Valery Morozov sent off midway through the second half.

Tries from Geoffrey Doumayrou and Gregory Alldritt turned the match around in the French outfit's favour as they nudged up to second place in Pool Two, ahead of Glasgow Warriors.

In Friday's other encounter, Harlequins claimed the bragging rights over Bath with a 25-19 triumph at The Rec.

Brett Herron's 10 points with the boot proved to be crucial, with his penalty 11 minutes from time helping see out the win after Jackson Willison's try brought Bath within three points.

The victory moves Quins up to third place in Pool Three, though they trail second-placed Clermont by seven points. Bath sit at the foot of the group after five straight defeats.

England international Sam Underhill has signed a three-year contract to stay at Bath.

Jack Walker and Max Wright joined the 23-year-old flanker in finalising extensions ahead of Friday's European Champions Cup clash with Harlequins.

Underhill has made 15 appearances for England and started the 2019 Rugby World Cup final loss to South Africa in November.

"I am delighted to have re-signed with the club. I am excited for my future with Bath Rugby. It's a club that has a lot of potential. It has been a new set-up this year, and I have been impressed by how everything is gelling together," said Underhill in a statement.

"We have a very young squad with huge potential, and we have a long way to go but that is something to look forward to and I very much want to be a part of it.

"We have a young pack and some really promising youngsters coming through the pathway and added to that a bit of experience and I think it's an exciting blend in the squad."

Bath are sixth in the Premiership with four wins from eight games, while they have been eliminated from the Champions Cup.

Neil Golding has been appointed as Saracens' new non-executive chairman following Nigel Wray's retirement last week.

Long-term chairman Wray stepped away from the club with immediate effect, two months after Sarries were docked 35 Premiership points and fined £5.36million for breaching salary cap regulations.

A statement on Thursday said the "immediate priority" for Golding, a Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer lawyer, was to "oversee new governance measures including steps to ensure regulatory compliance".

Sarries have the joint-best record in the Premiership this term but sit bottom of the table on minus seven points as a result of their punishment.

Golding said: "It is an honour to be appointed chairman of Saracens.

"The success of this great club is rooted in its commitment to the development of talent through its coaches and academy system, player welfare and making a positive impact within its community to create lasting memories.

"I am excited to help build on this wonderful legacy. I also recognise that I am joining the club at a time of significant change.

"We, as a board, are strongly committed to introducing new robust processes and working together with other PRL stakeholders in the best interests of Saracens and English rugby."

The Waratahs have raided Super Rugby rivals the Rebels to sign versatile back Jack Maddocks.

Maddocks, who has seven Australia caps to his name, has agreed to return to New South Wales after spending three seasons in Melbourne.

The 22-year-old, also an Australian Sevens international, will be hoping to force his way into the Wallabies squad in a new era under Dave Rennie after returning to Sydney.

Waratahs head coach Rob Penney said: "First and foremost, Jack is a wonderfully talented player.

"When the opportunity arose to bring him back [to New South Wales] it was one I was really keen on for a number of reasons.

"Jack can play right across the backline, he's got speed, skill and creativity with the ball in hand.

"Bringing him back gives us a range of options in the way we'd like to set up. I'm looking forward to seeing him on the training pitch over the next few weeks as he starts to embed himself into the combinations we've established over pre-season."

Ireland fly-half Joey Carbery has been ruled out of the Six Nations due to a wrist injury.

The Munster number 10 did the damage during a 38-17 Pro14 defeat to Ulster last week and will be out for up to four months.

Carbery was making his first start of the season after recovering from an ankle injury, but now faces a lengthy absence.

RTE quote Munster head coach Johann van Graan as saying: "That's rugby, I'm gutted for Joey as an individual.

"He worked hard to get back into the position, he played the full 80 for the first time for quite a while and now he is out for a considerable amount of time.

"That's rugby, that's life. He'll be back, he's a class man and a brilliant rugby player.

"He'll come back stronger, take his time and I can't wait to have him back in the future."

Carbery posted on Instagram: "Devastation doesn't even describe how I'm feeling. Thanks for all the well wishes. Been a tough couple of months physically and mentally, and thought I was in the clear. But will be back soon, better than ever."

Ireland's first-choice fly-half Johnny Sexton is also out of action with a knee problem and is reportedly unlikely to feature before Ireland's Six Nations opener against Scotland at the Aviva Stadium on February 1.

Charles Ollivon has been named as France captain at the start of a new era under Fabien Galthie, who has named 19 uncapped players in a 42-man Six Nations squad.

Galthie, who replaced Jacques Brunel as head coach after the Rugby World Cup, has selected back-row Ollivon to lead the side following Guilhem Guirado's retirement from international rugby.

Toulon's Ollivon only has 11 caps to his name but is set to skipper his country when they face England in their first match of the tournament on February 2.

"It's an honour to be captain of the France team," said Ollivon.

"It's a somewhat special moment, quite moving. I can't wait to start the adventure."

Galthie has put his faith in youth, with 20-year-olds Louis Carbonel, Jean-Baptiste Gros and Killian Geraci among those called up to a squad with an average age of 24.

Wing Teddy Thomas is recalled after being overlooked for the World Cup in Japan, but there is no place for the likes of Maxime Medard and Yoann Huget.

 

France squad: 

Forwards: Dorian Aldegheri, Cyril Baille, Demba Bamba, Camille Chat, Anthony Etrillard, Jean-Baptiste Gros, Mohamed Haouas, Julien Marchand, Jefferson Poirot, Cyril Cazeaux, Killian Geraci, Bernard Le Roux, Boris Palu, Romain Taofifenua, Paul Willemse, Gregory Alldritt, Charles Ollivon, Dylan Cretin, Francois Cros, Alexandre Fischer, Sekou Macalou, Selevasio Tolofua, Cameron Woki.

Backs: Antoine Dupont, Baptiste Serin, Maxime Lucu, Romain Ntamack, Louis Carbonel, Mathieu Jalibert, Gael Fickou, Virimi Vakatawa, Arthur Vincent, Julien Heriteau, Gervais Cordin, Lester Etien, Gabriel Ngandebe, Damian Penaud, Vincent Rattez, Teddy Thomas, Anthony Bouthier, Kylan Hamdaoui, Thomas Ramos.

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