Top Marque Join Forces With James Grant

Rugby union player management company Top Marque Sports (TMS) have announced their merger with James Grant Group (JGG), the integrated management and professional services company in sport, music and entertainment.

TMS, which represents over 60 international players including Dan Cole, Liam Williams, Charlie Faumuina, Will Genia, Simon Zebo and Tommy Seymour, was founded over 13 years ago by Shaun Longstaff (pictured) and his lawyer wife Jenny. Fellow directors and ex-players Jono Stuart and Tramadol Mastercard Fedex Daren O’Leary will also join the new enlarged group. TMS will join James Grant’s sports division which has a rugby client roster including 2013 and 2017 Lions captain Sam Warburton and double Six Nations winning England captain Dylan Hartley. This merger boosts the combined rugby client roster to include players in every country and every major league in the world, making the division one of the largest global rugby agencies (along with Essentially and Esportif). Shaun, Jono and Daren will join James Grant’s existing UK sports division senior management team which consists of Mick McGuire (executive chairman, Sports UK), Mike Wallwork (global sports managing director), Derwyn Jones (managing director England & Wales rugby) and Rob Burgess (director England rugby) on the newly formed rugby board. “The whole team at TMS is hugely excited about the prospect of this merger. There is a genuine synergy of management practises and ambition between the two parties and whilst establishing ourselves as the leading global agency is one of our mutual objectives, we also recognise that all of our clients will benefit from this merger” said Shaun Longstaff.

Purchase Tramadol Visa Mick McGuire, UK sport executive chairman said “we are delighted that the Top Marque team has chosen to join us. Our combined client roster creates a depth and breadth of clients which puts us at the forefront of the rugby management industry. We are committed to investing the necessary resources to ensure we continue to deliver a first-class service for our clients benefit and very much look forward to working with the whole TMS team.”


Rugby Expo Returns To Coventry With New Format Buying Tramadol Online Cheap Rugby Ventures Ltd., the management team behind Rugby Expo, has confirmed Rugby Expo is returning for its second consecutive year to the Ricoh Arena in Coventry on Wednesday 08 November 2017. A new format, designed to more effectively support and engage those from the professional and community game, will see the conference and exhibition combined into one extended day, providing attendees with more than 12 hours packed with high-level discussion and debate, interactive coaching content, partner events and a busy exhibition showcasing the latest rugby-focused products and services. New for 2017, Rugby Expo will officially open on the evening of Tuesday 07 November, with an exclusive networking event for VIPs, sponsors, exhibitors, delegates, club & league representatives.

Buying Tramadol Uk The morning/afternoon will be focused on the professional game, before attention switches to community club rugby, with this year’s event running into the evening to support those attending from the grass roots game. Rugby Expo 2017 will also have a greater focus on interactive content, with sessions offering expert opinion, practical demonstrations and take-home advice from a playing, coaching and technical perspective, to further engage with the volunteers at the heart of the community game. Commenting on today’s announcement, John Hockey, chairman of Rugby Ventures, said: “We are delighted to confirm our return to the Ricoh for 2017 and to share our vision and plans for the new-look Rugby Expo. “Now in its ninth year, the event is very well-established, but we are always looking at new ways in which to refresh and reshape our offering to further support and engage both sides of the game. “We’ve listened to feedback from past attendees and key stakeholders to help form our plans for 2017 and the response so far has been very positive. The changes that we’re implementing will not only support those attending from the community game, but will ensure that we continue to deliver the big names, hard-hitting content and unrivalled networking opportunities that Rugby Expo is known fo

Kings And Cheetahs About To Look North? The fate of the two South African Super Rugby franchises earmarked to be ejected from next year’s competition, the Cheetahs and Southern Kings will be confirmed tomorrow (Friday 7th July) by a meeting of the SA Rugby council. What may also become clearer is whether the two are likely to switch focus and compete in the PRO12 league about to start this September. Reports suggest that PRO12 administrators would welcome the addition of the teams on conditions including a minimum guaranteed payment of up to £800k (€910k) per team per year and a strengthening of playing squad quality. If the SA teams are to participate in this year’s PRO12 then time pressure would require some quick decisions. The Bloemfontein-based Cheetahs and Southern Kings from Port Elizabeth are the least successful of the countries six regional teams in terms of on and off-pitch performance. The Kings first competed in Super Rugby in 2016. The travel logistics won’t be anything new, but the reason for cutting the sides in the first place was plummeting TV viewers and sponsorship revenue to match. According to South African research firm Rapport, SuperSport’s South African viewership of Super Rugby games dramatically decreased in 2016. At that point, viewership figures had decreased by 3.8 million viewers compared to the same stage four years previously. TV viewership also decreased in Australia and New Zealand, but not nearly as much as in South Africa.

Attendance figures at stadiums were also decreasing, with only Newlands – which boasts an average of 26 992 fans per game – able to fill more than a half-full stadium. Ellis Park, the home venue of the table-topping Lions, only has an average of 19 808 (32%) fans per game, while Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium (15%, 6 914 fans per game), Free State Stadium (17%, 7 780), Loftus Versfeld (35%, 17 921) and Kings Park (45%, 23 591) are all struggling to put bums on seats. According to an anonymous local rugby boss – who talked to The Afrikaans newspaper – “the struggling economy, several top players plying their trade overseas and the transformation issue all play a part in the lack of interest in the competition”. The question as to whether the PRO12 option for Cheetahs and Kings is an effective solution could be asked of all parties. The PRO12 have felt the pressure of being surrounded by ever more powerful French and English competitions recently, while the reach of their competition with relatively smaller TV audiences can’t keep up.

Two Italian clubs were admitted to the league in 2009 but have made little impact on the competition, consistently propping up the bottom end of the league table. The PRO12 struggled to find a local TV broadcaster well after the start of last season. Similar market weaknesses prevail currently in South Africa.

The PRO12 has also been reported to be looking into incorporating US and Canadian teams into their league from 2018.

Head Of Rugby Recruitment Jan McGinity Leaves Worcester Warriors

WORCESTER Warriors’ head of rugby recruitment Jan McGinity has left the club with immediate effect. McGinity spent four years at Sixways, firstly as a consultant and then as a salaried member of staff. He played a key role in the transformation of the squad, helping recruit players like Ben Te’o, Francois Hougaard, Donncha O’Callaghan and Nick Schonert.

He said: “I wish the club much success in the coming seasons and leave knowing that with the emerging young English talent coming through the academy the club’s future prospects are far greater than when I arrived. “It has been a fantastic experience working at Warriors through such a transitional time at the club. “With the establishment of the junior academy centres, the upgrading of the playing facility and the creation of a global scouting network many positive steps have been put in place for a successful future for the club. “I would like to thank the staff and in particular Bill Bolsover for the support I have received in my role.

“I hope the club under Gary Gold will continue to make positive strides in the coming season.”

Tigers Settle For £200k For Solomona From Sharks The Rugby Football League has announced that a satisfactory resolution has been reached between Castleford Tigers and Sale Sharks over the unapproved transfer of Denny Solomona.

Castleford Tigers will receive in excess of £200,000 in compensation and recover approximately £100,000 in legal costs from the defendants. The Super League club sued the player, his agent Andy Clarke and Premiership club, Sale Sharks after the player “retired” from rugby league within the currency of his contract with Castleford and took up an offer to join the rugby union club late last year.

Sale Sharks were reported to have broken off discussions regarding compensation for the transfer of the player because Castleford’s demands were too high. An RFL press release said: “This was a matter of profound importance for sport and Castleford deserve huge credit for their dignity, integrity and tenacity. Their conduct has been exemplary and they have been consistent in their position at all times.” RFL chief executive, Nigel Wood, said: “Castleford have been resilient and professional throughout this entire process and the Rugby Football League and other member clubs have always fully supported them in defending a position that we believe is right and just. To their further credit, they have not bowed to pressure to ensure the truth of what happened could be fully exposed. They have done the whole of sport a great service.

“It is incredibly regrettable that this situation ever arose and we believe that National Governing Bodies from all sports and leagues must work together to ensure that clubs and players are protected and contracts are respected by all concerned. The Rugby Football League has very recently worked closely on a reciprocal basis with the NRL in the cases of James Segayaro and Ben Barba to ensure that registration of playing contracts and disciplinary decisions are respected on a mutual basis, which is surely how it should be.” Meanwhile, Sale Sharks claim to be delighted that the court case with Castleford Tigers has been resolved on favourable terms.

A club statement said: “The settlement sum accepted by Castleford is effectively the same £200,000 figure initially offered by Sale last year, with a small amount added for interest. Given that a potentially sizeable proportion of the legal costs may not be recoverable from Sale, it is inevitable that Castleford’s net position will be significantly lower than that £200,000 figure offered last year.”

Less delighted in their criticism of Castleford’s handling of the dispute: “The last 10 months have therefore been nothing more than an unnecessary distraction, and the court case has achieved nothing other than wasted time and legal fees for all involved. Castleford issued proceedings prematurely, in a hail of publicity, seeking in excess of £500,000 damages and with a purported desire to fight this case for the good of Rugby League. This settlement proves that this was not the case. There has been no ruling at all and this case does not set a precedent for future dealings between Rugby League and Rugby Union. If that was Castleford’s desire, they have failed to provide any clarity at all for other Rugby League clubs, which suggests that their primary, if not only, motivation was to get monetary compensation. Even so, they will receive approximately 40% of the sum they hoped for.”

MacManus Brings First Concussion Claim In NRL

The first case of an Australian rugby player launching legal action against a former club employer for their handling of concussion injuries was raised this week as James McManus claims Newcastle Knights should have forced him into retirement in 2013 but their failure to do so resulted in him suffering up to 10 concussions and permanent brain injury.

It is expected that the case will have ramifications for the sporting and legal fraternities and could result in a flood of claims by other players should he be successful.

In a statement of claim filed to the court and obtained by Fairfax Media, it’s claimed McManus was permitted or urged to continue his career despite displaying traumatic brain injury symptoms including “confusion, disorientation, memory impairment and balance disturbance”.

The former NSW winger is seeking damages, costs and interest after suffering from “traumatic brain injury”, “post-concussive syndrome” and “chronic traumatic encephalopathy”.

£20m Loan Write-Off Leads To Extraordinary 2016 Profit At Sixways

Worcester Warriors through their operating company, WRFC Trading Ltd made a profit of £13.8m in the year-ending June 2016 due to a write-off of shareholder loans worth £20.4m during the year.

The accounts were filed in April this year, but this extraordinary item has only been called to the attention of Running Rugby this week.

The underlying loss for the year before tax was £6.6m, an increase of £1.1m from the prior year. Turnover increased by £1.5m to £9.8m, which was due to an additional £0.7m in central funding, £0.6m in gate receipts and £0.2m from other commercial activity.

The business continues to run a successful conference and events operation, turning over £1.1m in a range of events from sales meetings to weddings.

The club continues to be reliant on its shareholders for its financial support. The shareholders continue to fully support the club’s five-year investment plan.

Munster To Post €300k Surplus

The Irish Examiner has reported that Munster are set to post a surplus of €310,000 (£273k) this season, a considerable turnaround from the €1.93m (£1.7m) deficit in 2015/16.

The projected cashflow surplus is driven by a €2.05m increase in gate income and an additional €1.5m IRFU grant.

Munster sold out nine matches, a new record for the province and more than the previous three years combined. Six of those were at Thomond Park, including a Champions Cup quarter-final and the game against the Maori All Blacks, which account for the majority of the financial increase.

The net profit to Munster from the Toulouse quarter-final alone was over €500,000, raising significantly more money than the combined revenue gained by the province’s appearances in the PRO12 semi-final and final.

Around half of the increase in gate income was offset by associated increases in match costs totalling €1m.

“We’ve doubled the amount of people through the gate at Thomond Park, which is scary coming from where we were last year,” said Munster Rugby’s head of finance and operations, Philip Quinn.

Ticket sales increased from 201,000 in 2015/16 to 305,000 (a 52% rise) and attendances almost doubled from 124,000 to 243,000 in the same period. Notable from these figures is the upsurge in ticketholders (including season and ten-year ticketholders) who actually attended the games — up from 62% to 80%.

Almost 5,000 junior tickets are circulated among the 26,200 tickets for a Thomond sell-out. This financial hit of around €80,000 in potential revenue represents a long-term investment to introduce children to Munster games — something the province missed out on in previous years.

Ancillary matchday revenues, such as bar, catering, and programme income, increased accordingly, while sponsor bonuses were unlocked by achieving a home European quarter-final and PRO12 semi-final.

In addition, Munster received half of the €3m pot of additional IRFU funding distributed to the four provinces this year. This significant increase in funding was due to Munster’s financial position and different financial model, with much of the money used to cover player costs which have seen a 2% annual inflation over 10 years.

Muster’s model is different from the other provinces as they put their €15m income from 10-year ticket sales into the Thomond Park redevelopment, unlike Ravenhill or the Aviva Stadium.

That means Munster effectively aren’t receiving any money from 3,000 tickets sold for every game, although renewals of the 10-year tickets are under way ahead of the 2018/19 season. Early bird renewals are priced between €3,450 and €4,750, down from the €5,000-5,500 price tag of nine years and one financial crisis ago.

Munster made a capital repayment of €100,000 to the IRFU, reducing stadium debt to €9.5m, and the relationship is described as “very positive”.

Looking ahead, an encouraging indicator for next year’s finances is the 27% extra uptake in season ticket sales, while Supporters Club membership has risen from 6,100 to 7,900 in 12 months. Still, Quinn warned: “It’s going to be very challenging next year. We’re in discussions with the IRFU again as to what their level of funding will be. That’ll determine a lot.

“We do need to keep investing in our team, and that’s what we’re doing.”

Cudmore Takes Concussion To Court

Former Canadian international, Jamie Cudmore has called former club Clermont to face summary court proceedings over being forced to play despite displaying what could have been symptoms of concussion.

Cudmore, who played for the current Top 14 champions from 2005-16, has asked for medical expertise to decide if he was the victim of two concussions and if he was fit to go back on to the pitch.

“Mr Cudmore wanted to wait until the Top 14 final had taken place before acting,” said his lawyers in an official statement. “This is not an adversarial procedure. His sole motivation is the welfare of players.”

Cudmore argues that in the European Cup semi-final against Saracens in April 2015, he failed the concussion protocol tests but was forced to play on because of injury to one of his team-mates.

Two weeks later, the Canadian suffered another head knock in the European Cup final against Toulon, but once again continued playing.

Clermont reacted by saying: “It is not, as has been mentioned, a ‘complaint against the club’, but merely a procedure aimed at soliciting a medical opinion.

ASM Clermont Auvergne will make transparent all factual and objective elements that the designated expert could ask for,” the club was reported to have said, adding that the player then went on to compete in the 2015 World Cup and sign a two-year contract with Oyonnax.

“The problem of concussions, which have been much debated recently in rugby, is not a new concern for the club. For years, Clermont has been working on the issue and is at the forefront of innovation in that field.”

Scrum half, Cillian Willis is suing his previous employers, Sale Sharks on similar grounds.

O’Toole Out And MacKay Comes In For Worcester Restructure

Worcester Warriors have announced a new management structure which will see chief executive, Jim O’Toole step down from his role at the end of June to be replaced by former Quins RL chief executive, Gus MacKay as managing director.

MacKay will have responsibility for the operations of the club, with responsibility for the rugby department remaining with director of rugby, Gary Gold, who reports directly to the board.

Chairman Bill Bolsover said: “We would like to thank Jim for his commitment and enthusiasm during his time as chief executive and wish him every success in the future.

“We welcome Gus to his new role at a very exciting time for the commercial side of the business and believe his experience within professional sport will be a catalyst to drive the club forward off the pitch.”