About me

I am a rugby journalist about to complete my BA Hons degree in Sports Journalism at the University of Gloucestershire.

My main passion is rugby union and I can often be found on the touchline during a grassroots match or on the press bench at a professional game.

I have had a love for rugby my entire life and have been lucky enough to attend numerous matches across many levels of the game and have written a range of articles from match previews to analysis, sharing my opinions and providing readers with the facts of the game.

Since starting my university degree, I have found a passion for presenting, feature writing and writing opinion pieces on vital topics surrounding sport and the game of rugby.

My love for writing has grown, and with this, I have a desire to write interesting articles relating to sport that also can hold a deeper societal meaning.

I am also interested in bringing match content to readers in the form of player ratings, talking points from the game and match reports.

My long-term career plan is to secure a role in presenting but I understand how difficult this. Therefore, I hope to reach this goal in the next 10-15 years after establishing myself as a written journalist first.

I was fortunate enough to present ‘In conversation with Harry Redknapp’ when he visited my university in late 2019. It was a fantastic opportunity and has reiterated my desire to go into the broadcast sector.

For the duration of the 2019/2020 season I have been working alongside Gloucestershire Live as an assistant match day reporter for Gloucester rugby fixtures. For this, I am producing player ratings, live in game tweets and transcribing the post match press conferences, as well as writing the occasional additional article about the game. The experiences I have gained from my internship have been invaluable and I will use them throughout my journalistic career. I have truly loved every second of the rugby I have watched and reported on and have been heart broken that the season ended early due to COVID-19.

I am also fortunate enough to be working alongside @FABrugby to bring you all the latest rugby news and content. They are a social media company promoting rugby for a younger audience and since they launched in the 2018/19 season they have received over 30 million social media impressions.

Some of the work seen on this blog has been published on various websites, such as Gloucestershire Live, Last Word on Rugby and the University of Gloucestershire’s student newspaper – UniVersal, of which I am Sports Editor for.

For the 2018/2019 season, I worked alongside Worcester Warriors U18’s team covering their fixtures, both home and away games and gave in match twitter updates. This was a fantastic experience that gave me an insight of the runnings of a professional rugby club.

I have covered my university’s XV, writing match reports throughout the BUCS league and for their varsity fixtures. Reporting for a university rugby team has taught me so much about myself as a journalist and has given me the confidence to grow my journalistic and interviewing techniques.

My dream job would be travelling the world following, writing and presenting rugby wherever it takes me! Whatever the level, whatever the weather I’ll try and be there.

I’m always tweeting away so why not give me a follow?

@_katyhomewood 

Or follow my facebook page

@katyhomewoodrugby 

If you’re keen on photos, then snap up my instagram

@katy.homewood.rugby

Gloucester Rugby player ratings v London Irish

Back at Kingsholm and back on a winning streak as Gloucester beat London Irish 36 to 23

In a game that changed hands multiple times, Gloucester’s star attacking players showed their worth towards the final quarter of the match as the Cherry and Whites opened up. Tries from Lloyd Evans, Ollie Thorley, Louis Rees-Zammit, Jack Stanley and Stephen Varney. The younger players made a name for themselves as Gloucester start to find their form again.

Here’s how I rated George Skivington’s men in their bonus point win:

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15. Jason Woodward 6

Very good under the high ball and beautiful offload to Thorley for second try. Limped off with an injury at the start of the second half.


14. Ollie Thorley 8

Touched the ball a few times in the first half, and had his time to shine just after 30 minutes scoring the team’s second of the afternoon. Was lucky not to be penalised more after a deliberate knock-on. 


13. Chris Harris 7

Good defensive effort throughout and had some nice little carries across the first half. Was strong throughout the game and a valuable link in attack.


12. Mark Atkinson 8

Didn’t have much ball in the first half, but made a good break and took advantage of the ball when he had it creating space for the second high.


11. Jonny May 8

Knock on early in the game, didn’t have as much ball as he could have in the first half, but had a good game in defence. Opened up the attack during the second half with some lovely phases of play and controlled the game well with his experience.


10. Lloyd Evans 8 

Scored Gloucester’s first try and converted. Some clever kicking trying to open up the game. Had some big boots to fill in the absence of Cipriani but did well to match Paddy Jackson in play. Limped off with an injury midway through the second half.


9. Stephen Varney 9Stand out player

Coped well at the breakdown and offered Gloucester with some quick thinking at times. Irish put pressure on him a lot but he cleared his lines well. Ran in a nice try for the Cherry and White’s fifth of the afternoon. Constantly tried to keep Gloucester moving with some quick ball.


1. Val Rapava-Ruskin 7

Challenged the ball well at the half hour mark and got Gloucester a turnover perfect for an attacking opportunity. Was solid in defence and set-piece.


2. Franco Marais 6

Gave away a penalty at the breakdown which caused quick defensive effort from the rest of the team. Threw well at the line-out and had a good success rate and protected the ball at the breakdown.


3. Fraser Balmain 7

Had a very good defensive game, 10 tackles in the first half and was in and around the breakdown constantly throughout. Brought some good experience.


4. Ed Slater 6

Good performances at set-piece but quiet throughout the first half. Went off early in the second half with a nasty head injury. 

5. Matt Garvey 8

Always in and around the breakdown holding the defence for Gloucester. Did some good unseen work throughout and made some big hits. Earned a great attacking opportunity for the cherry and whites.


6.Jack Clement 8

Some powerful carries for the young back-row and put in a good defensive shift with some big tackles and protected the ball well at the breakdown throughout the game.


7. Lewis Ludlow © 7

Gave away penalty at lineout early in the first half. Defensively was good, but not his best performance in a Cherry and White shirt.


8. Jake Polledri 8

Conceded two early penalties, but made lovely intercept and carry for Gloucester’s first try. Was constantly hunting for the ball at the breakdown and trying to turn the ball over for Gloucester.


Replacements: 

16. Jack Singleton 6

Confident in set piece and was good in attacking support for the Cherry and Whites and protecting the ball. 


17. Corne Fourie 6

Gave away a penalty for offside late into the game. Made a couple of good hits. 


18. Jack Stanley 7

Within minutes of him being on the field he scored Gloucester’s bonus point try with a lovely carry to the line.


19. Ruan Ackermann 6

Played as lock in the scrum, which unsettled Gloucester’s scrum. Offered some good experience into the side and kept the defence in check.  


20. Jordy Reid 7

Starting to find his feet in a Cherry and White shirt with some big tackles and high energy defensive work. Had a beautiful break for the Cherry and White’s fifth try. Starting to fit the Gloucester mould very well.


21. Joe Simpson 6

Played on the wing as Varney kept the control at scrum half. Had a couple of touches with the ball but mainly spent time in sport for attack.


22. Billy Twelvetrees 9

Made some good tackles and held well in defence. Offered some experience to the side and guided them well in the absence of Cipriani 


23. Louis Rees-Zammit 8 

 Had a few carries and showed his pace to full advantage when scoring Gloucester’s try and outran Hassell-Collins. Showed how vital he is in attack for Gloucester. Played well at full-back, which could appear to be his preferred position.

Is it time the Premiership Rugby Cup had a makeover?

The one thing I absolutely love about rugby is seeing the next generation make a mark on the big stage, trying to, and sometimes successfully competing with those internationals who have held their place for so long. But with the rugby calendar ever increasing and the demands on rugby player’s bodies getting more intense, isn’t it time for the Cup to get a revamp? 

Monday night A league, or now as it’s known, Premiership Rugby Shield. A perfect opportunity for those senior academy players pushing for a spot in the first team to stretch their legs and get some valuable game time. The main objective of this league is to develop those young players in the Premiership. However, turnouts can be sketchy and sometimes the stands only reach the few very loyal supporters and friends and family, whilst some clubs could see a few hundred supporters.

Cast your minds to the Premiership Rugby Cup. The same principle of a platform for the younger players, but sometimes overlooked when clubs play big names to ensure silverware is on the cards. A much higher turn-out of fans and some fast flowing, no regrets rugby.

So why not merge the two? 

Merging the Premiership Rugby Cup and the Shield is a big call; let alone the steps it would take to make this merger work. Nevertheless, surely it would be better for the game? Less rugby played in what is already a jam-packed schedule and an opportunity to showcase some of the best young talent. 

Gloucester warming up for a Premiership Rugby Cup fixture

But what about the senior players that play in the Cup? Well this is where I think it could come quite interesting. A lot of Sheild games feature some very good players who are coming back from injury, and this I think could be a strong point for the merger. Only senior players who are coming back from a lengthily injury should be available for selection or those who have played less than five games for their club across the Premiership and Europe.

The onus then being, that teams must pick senior academy talent to play, so that they can get some experience and know what it is like to compete for silverware.

There are already so many weekends taken up by the Gallagher Premiership, Europe, Six Nations and World Cups, so let’s keep this new league on the same day A league takes place – Monday night but have the television perks of the Cup. These games must be televised, let us see the talent that is coming through English domestic rugby. 

Who wouldn’t like to go and see their clubs best young talent on display after work on a Monday? Something to lighten up the week. The majority of Shield fixtures are scheduled for a Monday evening, so there would be little change to the calendar in that respect.

Not only does this give young players an opportunity to showcase talent on a bigger stage, but it allows them to have a potentially rare opportunity of playing in front of a TV audience –  something that is already present with the Cup, so it clearly can work.

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Arguably, there will be limited leaders on the pitch, making core decisions in crucial moments. However, allowing these young players to take on leadership roles and responsibilities can only benefit them for their future career. Give them a platform to really work upon and towards, to show to other players and coaches they have the ability to play really good rugby and push for a place in the starting team in the not so distant future.

That being said, some of these players will miss out on an opportunity to sign a senior contract, so why not give them something to pride themselves on and work towards before they get told they won’t make it in the Premiership.

So, what does this merger that I am so fond about actually mean? Well, the Shield is technically taken away, but with not only the incentive, but the rules that the academy players are the only players allowed to feature unless senior players have had a sustained injury or has played under five games for their club across the Premiership and Europe. 

Essentially, Monday night Shield games turn into a new revised Premiership Cup. Better for the rugby calendar, more chances for young players to play in big matches and a great way to start your week. What’s not to love?

“We can’t wait for the first match of the 2021 season, whenever that might be”, London Scottish just one of many Championship clubs eager to start playing again.

COVID-19 has disrupted life as we know it and many of us across the world are sitting patiently inside until the horrible pandemic passes. Sport, often a leisurely activity for most, has stopped in a way like never before. 

The Rugby Football Union recently announced that competitions below the Gallagher Premiership would have their season ended, a month before the ‘usual’ end. The IPA Championship can be known as the Premiership’s baby brother, sat in the background of the shining lights of top-flight English rugby. Their 2021 season will be changed like no other, not just with COVID-19, but also with their funding from the RFU being cut. 

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So how are Championship clubs coping with the hold on rugby, and what position does it put the clubs in ready for next season? London Scottish’s Media Manager, Jessica Tolkien spoke about the impact the abrupt end of the season has had on the London club. 

“It is quite difficult not having those final four matches at home, we haven’t played at home since February and the boys haven’t played a game since March.

“We haven’t won at home this year; our last home win was in November so as a team we wanted to come out for those last four matches at home and put out quite dominant displays and come away with some final wins.” 

Across the country many businesses have placed large parts of their workforce on furlough and London Scottish have had to make the call to do so as well. 

“My job as a Media Manager and doing things such as announcing coaches and players and keeping the social media running means that I haven’t been put on furlough.

“My work hasn’t changed too much because I am still proudcing content throughout the week, it’s mainly just on weekends where we now don’t have any games.

“Currently, all our playing squad have been furloughed and the majority of our staff.”

Jessica interviewing Billy Harding

The Championship clubs now have time to focus ahead to next season and arguably have more time to put plans in place to ensure that they are doing the best for their playing squad, supporters and members of staff. 

“The early end to the season has given us the opportunity to look ahead to next season and put in a plan; especially with the RFU announcing their funding cuts to the Championship for next season we have had to come up with a new plan of action. 

“We are going to be going part time next season but it has given us an opportunity to plan; we have recently announced our coaching team and in the forthcoming weeks we will be announcing our playing squad, so it is difficult but we have been able to cope with it.” 

It is never an easy option to make the difficult decision to cancel games, but London Scottish were one of the first clubs to announce a game cancelation at the start of the pandemic. 

“The supporters that we have at London Scottish and age demographic is quite elderly, we don’t get as many youngsters coming to matches or signing up as members so that is something that we as a club have taken into consideration. 

“One of the reasons that we cancelled our match against Hartpury was because we didn’t want to put our members at risk.” 

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🚨 MATCH POSTPONED 🚨 Statement on London Scottish v @hartpuryrugby Greene King IPA Championship Fixture – 14 March 2020. The Greene King IPA Championship match between London Scottish and Hartpury due to take place tomorrow Saturday 14th March, has been postponed. This is as a result of the wider issues surrounding the coronavirus outbreak. This is a decision that has been taken in the best interests of our members, players and coaching staff from both sides; plus all fans that would have attended tomorrow’s fixture. Discussions on rescheduling the game will take place in due course and an update provided when possible. Regarding refunds for tickets and hospitality booked for the match tomorrow please contact Laura Price at laura.price@londonscottish.com.

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The Premiership season could potentially restart in the coming months and play out fixtures behind closed doors. Even with this small-scale continuation of matches, the Premiership will still receive financial benefits, something that the Championship sides won’t be party to. 

“I think that all clubs will feel frustrated at the prospect that we won’t be able to finish our season, not only for the players, but we could have improved our final position in the table; and also, the financial aspect of playing the remainder of the games.

“It would be frustrating that the Premiership might get to continue to make money if their season would be re-started, but the Championship wouldn’t and we will have to wait until next season.” 

No one knows when the 2021 season will begin and many of us are waiting in anticipation for the joyous announcement of when that first fixture will be. 

“The club cannot wait to be back out on the pitch and playing matches again. We share a pitch with Richmond and they have been promoted back into the Championship so now we will have a really good derby with them. 

“With Saracens also coming into the Championship, there will be quite a few London based clubs so it will be nice having some more local matches.

“We are all looking forward to the closeness that the game has and all the players mingling and having a good time and having a pint together; I know the boys can’t wait for their first game back!” 

London Scottish, like all sporting clubs and fans across the country are excited to enjoy their sport again and one day, hopefully in the not too distant future, rugby will continue. 

In a society where we are trying to ‘be kind’, why are we still hounding sports stars and celebrities?

After last year’s tragic news that Caroline Flack had taken her own life, following a whirlwind of press hounding and police investigations, people started to respond and become ‘kinder’.

High profile celebrities and close friends of the 40-year-old pleaded that things must change within the press and social media after she paid the ultimate sacrifice in taking her own life. Those friends and celebrities joined hundreds of thousands of people campaigning for ‘Caroline’s Law’. The law they were proposing was to look at the way that tabloid journalism reports on celebrities.

The TV presenter’s former boyfriend and close friend, Danny Cipriani took to social media to express his sadness and show his raw emotions. In the video he hoped to encourage everyone to be more sensitive and kind, but especially those in the public eye.

Following the fly-half’s social media post, Gloucester Rugby launched their ‘be kind’ campaign in the hope of raising awareness for mental health within society and rugby. The quick response by the club was praised throughout the rugby community as they tried to help people understand the importance of having good mental health. They also spread information on how to help those suffering from mental illness and the importance of understanding general mental health issues.

On Friday 28th February, Gloucester Rugby players carried the be kind message with them for their fixture against Sale. Printed across the back of all their shirts was one important message, be kind.

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The mental health conversation isn’t just lacking within the game of rugby, it is lacking across society and in all sports. In a year where the world has been hit by a pandemic that no-one could have comprehended, the mental health conversation and positive message should be something happening daily. Sadly it is not.

How many times over the last few months have you seen nasty, spineless comments across social media directed at the Prime Minister, his cabinet and various MP’s?

Mental health in numbers

  • One in 10 children will suffer from a mental health issue
  • One in four adults will suffer from a mental health issue
  • One in six people are reporting they are suffering from a common mental health issue (depression or anxiety) every week
  • An average of 20.6 people out of 100 have had suicidal thoughts
  • In 2018, 6,507 people in the UK committed suicide
  • In the UK men are three times as likely to commit suicide than women
  • Suicide is the highest killer of men between the age of 45-49

If you type into the search bar of twitter, #bekind, thousands upon thousands of posts appear encouraging people to start to be kinder in the hope that less will suffer in silence or suffer at all from mental health.

But how can we continue to spread awareness for mental health and encourage people to start being nicer if tabloid press still produce celebrity gossip? Typically on how much weight someone weighs, whether they are wearing their wedding ring, or what they eat during the day.

Take a look at some of the tabloid headlines below that criticises a person for the way that they look, for what they are doing or may have said… These are the ‘normal’ headlines, not ones that have particularly been dug up to showcase my point. These are actually quite mild to some headlines that have been used in celebrity ‘news’.

It is easy to see how being in the public eye with so much pressure to do things ‘right’ that celebrities can often feel trapped, especially when these tabloid headlines coincide with internet trolls.

Take a look at some of the sports stories that have been printed by the British press. Ask yourself, what could these headlines do to the readers perception of these athletes and how could that effect not only a players mental health, but how it can provoke online abuse directed at that individual.

So what needs to happen?

If COVID-19 isolation can teach us one thing, it would be to start being nicer. Thousands of us have thanked the NHS, donated to care workers or phoned a friend to make sure they are ok.

One of the only ways for mental health illness figures to drop, or for suicide rates to decrease is if society starts excepting that no one is ever perfect. Being kind shouldn’t be something we strive to do, it should come naturally.

This relates back to rugby and every sport in many ways. Before you start shouting at a player because he has thrown a poor pass, missed a kick, given away a penalty or lost a match point, sit and think. This person is someones son, daughter, sister or brother. Would you like it if someone shouted abuse at you or your relation?

If you write abusive, racist, condescending messages on social media, sit and think again. If someone took to their keyboard the way that you do telling you that you are not good enough and should die, would you like it?

However, the public cannot take all the responsibility for deteriorating a public figure’s mental health. There needs to be a change on how tabloid media reports on sports personalities and celebrities. If this change doesn’t come, then we are in fear of living in a society that will never understand the effects that words can have on our mental health.

Ring-fencing, why give the IPA Championship no fight?

Ring-fencing for many seasons has been a much-debated topic within the Gallagher Premiership. Some argue that a tighter more invested league will benefit English rugby. Whilst some, like myself, believe that ring-fencing will only deteriorate the game and take away the competitiveness that is found within the sport. 

Before it was found that domestic and European champions, Saracens broke the salary cap for four consecutive seasons, there were cries that ring-fencing the Premiership would prevent clubs from over reaching beyond their means. 

However, now that the reigning champions have been automatically relegated at the end of this domestic season, the calls for ring-fencing have gone quiet. 

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Following Premiership Rugby selling a minority stake to equity firm CVC Capital Partners in late 2018, there were suggestions that the £200m jackpot would be spread across shareholders in 13 teams to create a new era for the elite English clubs. 

However, with the RFU announcing in February that they will be slashing the second-tier funding following the targets that were given to the league not being met.

This means clubs will see funding income fall from £534,000 to £288,00 per club, mimicking the funding figures from the 2015 season.

Many players start their rugby career in the Championship and blossom into the international or Premiership player that they are through the core values and skills they learn in the second devision.

The hashtag, #iplayedchampionshiprugby was started in response to the funding cuts to show the importance of the second-tier division. The success of the hashtag has been seen across social media, with many players calling for the RFU to change their decision.

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Some players return to the Championship to re-find the game and fall back in love with the reason they started playing rugby. This is something that Bristol Bears and former Wasps Hooker, Tom Lindsay spoke to me about.

“In the Championship I think player culture is the drive, that’s why you’re seeing so many players coming out of the woodwork and going Championship the best thing I ever did.

“Personally for me Championship gave me a year of playing rugby week in week out and fell in love with rugby again.”

Tom Lindsay, Bristol Bears

Many Championship clubs dream of entering into the Premiership and closing the door on their aspirations could cause upset across the Championship. Clubs such as the Cornish Pirates are fully committed to making the Premiership a near future goal. The Pirates are hoping to have a new ground by 2020 to ensure that when they do make their Premiership dream a reality they can meet the requirements with a 10,000-seater stadium. 

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Many former players and coaches have been vocal on where they stand in the ring-fencing debate. Former British and Irish Lion, Matt Dawson spoke on his BBC Radio 5 Live podcast about being in favour of the ring-fencing. He said: 

“For the welfare of players, it would extend their careers. I think they will play fewer games. Overall, we will have a better national side.

“At the moment, players are not played because of the risk of relegation” 

Matt Dawson, Former British and Irish Lion

Whilst current players, such as Saracens back-row Will Fraser spoke to BBC sport about his rejection for ring-fencing. He said: 

“If we want to keep generating young English players, we need to have the Championship as a league as a method and progression pathway for young players to use to come through to the Premiership.” 

Will Fraser, Saracens

I think that the stance on ring-fencing is very clear. If ring-fencing is in place then future Championship clubs will never be able to thrive in top flight English rugby, nor will they have the success of clubs such as Exeter and Bristol and bring excitement to their fans with their players, coaches and ability to put on an experience day, rather than just a rugby game. 

Why give the Championship no fight? They are the clubs bringing up the next generation that want a shot at the big stage. Who are we to stop clubs reaching their full potential?

What is the NFL free agency and which players do you need to know about?

Arguably, American Football is the closest sport to rugby, so whilst there’s no rugby being played let’s go across the Atlantic and find out how the NFL is getting on.

Not many sports are continuing during the COVID-19 period, but the NFL free agency is booming and becoming very interesting with many players switching between franchises. This free agency has been marketed as the craziest in NFL history. So what is the free agency and who are the players we need to know about?

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What is the free agency?

The free agency is the movement and signings of players across the NFL. Essentially, their version of the football transfer window.

For a player to become a ‘free agent’ they have to be legible to sign freely with any franchise, i.e. Is no longer under contract with any club.

What happens during the free agency?

As we already know, the free agency allows players to move to different franchises (clubs) once their contract has expired. There are many ways that a player can sign for a new franchise.

Released

Being released is the same as any other sport. The player has been released by his current club and his contract is terminated. This usually comes with a small punishment to the salary cap and allows movement within a clubs budget.

Traded

Trading players in the NFL means that two clubs trade a player for a player OR trade for picks in the upcoming draft or future draft. Trading draft places usually indicates that the team will get a better draft pick if they trade their current player.

Contract Expiration

The player has come to the end of his contract and will now be known as a free agent. He can be picked by any franchise for the upcoming season.

Franchise tagging

Tagging can become a little confusing, but once you understand it, you start to realise how important it is.

Franchise tagging means that when a player is reaching the end of his contract, his club can keep him even if the player wants to leave for an extra year by paying him the average salary of the top five players in the squad.

Who are the players you need to know about?

Now that we understand the various ways a player can move during the free agency, lets look at some of the big names and what method they have used during this free agency.

Derrick Henry – Franchise tag

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The Tennessee Titans have placed a franchise tag on Derrick Henry for a 2020 salary of $10.278 million. The Titans have until July 15th to sign Henry to a long-term deal or he will be payed the $10.2 million during 2020.

Henry has led the NFL last season with a career-best of 2,540 rushing yards, as well as 303 carries. Not only this, but he was the only running back in the NFL to average more than 100 rushing yards per game throughout last season. Not only this but Henry single handily carried the Titans to the AFC Championship (one game before the Super Bowl) and ended the New England Patriots 20 year dynasty.

Tom Brady – Free agent

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After a poor season for Tom Brady the Bill Belicheck and the Patriots announced that they were not going to extend Brady’s contract any further. Following this news, he has now signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Brady is known across the NFL as the G.O.A.T. At the age of 24 he won his first Super Bowl with the New England Patriots and went on to win six throughout his time with them and playing in nine. Not only this, but he has won four MVP awards for Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII, XLIX and LI. He has helped Patriots win 249 games and going to more Super Bowls than any other team in NFL history.

The 42 year old Quarterback has signed a two year $50 million contract with Tampa Bay. Given his age, and already impressive record within the NFL it is most likely that he will end his playing career with Tampa once his contract is up, however, the the Quarterback has previously said he wants to continue playing until he is 45.

Philip Rivers – Free agent

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Philip Rivers is another free agent big name, however his lengthy career with the Los Angeles Chargers is over. It was mutually agreed by both the club and the 38 year old quarterback that he would enter the free agency and not return to the club for the 2020 season.

After spending 16 years with the LA Chargers, Rivers has chosen that he will play his football with the Indianapolis Colts next season, signing on a one year contract.

Nick Foles – Traded

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The winning Super Bowl Quarterback, Nick Foles has been traded from the Jacksonville Jaguars to The Chicago Bears for a fourth-round draft pick. Foals has had 48 starts over eight seasons with four different franchises and has completed 61.8% of his passes for 11,901 yards and scoring 71 touchdowns.

The Bears received the pick based on a net loss of free agents in 2019, meaning it is the 34th selection in the fourth round of the draft. With Foles departure, Gardner Minshew will step up and replace him as starting QB.

DeAndre Hopkins – Traded

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Houston Texans have traded wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and a fourth round pick for Arizona Cardinals Wide Receiver David Johnson and a second round pick this season and a fourth round pick in 2021.

Hopkins is one of Houston’s most valuable players so the trade came as a shock as he was traded with the often injured running back.

Cam Newton – Released

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The Carolina Panthers have released Cam Newton, who was the teams No 1 overall pick in the 2011 draft. Newton is currently still in rehab following his foot surgery.

It is not known where the quarterback will be playing his football next season, but he says he is ready and hungry for whoever will take him.

Todd Gurley – Released

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The Los Angeles Rams have released their running back star, Todd Gurley. When he signed for the Rams, his four-year deal of a $60 million contract extension with a staggering $45 million in guarantees made him the highest paid running back at that time.

Due to the timing of his release his former club are left with $20.15 million ‘dead-cap’ meaning, that the moment will still go to Gurley despite him not playing for the team anymore.

The running back will play his football with the Atlanta Falcons next season and decided on the move, just a day after he was released.

What it’s been like to report on a university rugby team

Winners of Western 1A

Time has come to hand over my notepad and pen as the season is over for university rugby. It comes a couple weeks sooner than we all would have hoped for courtesy of COVID-19. But my goodness, what a three years it has been.

As a nervous Fresher I stood at The Folly to report on some of the third team fixtures following an email asking for students on my course to report on university sports.

My first year reporting didn’t feature many games as I started to settle into a new way of life, living away from home and adapting to university lifestyles.

Fast forward to my second year and I started to find my feet and introduce myself to Director of Rugby, Chris Downes and embark on reporting on the first team fixtures.

It was during my second season of reporting that the first team were promoted from Western 1A into Prem B in comfortable style and claimed their fourth consecutive varsity win against Worcester University and what a varsity it was.

Throughout that season, all home games were attended and even an away trip to Cardiff with my housemate helped me in building my confidence in reporting and gain more work for my portfolio.

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There were 14 men for the final quarter of the varsity fixture and the scores were all level at 13 all at half time. The sheer belief and determination that the boys in blue showed in the final 20 minutes was something spectacular, and they earned themselves a 14 point cushion. As the game played on it was clear that despite their red card, the result was only heading one way and that was Gloucestershire’s as they claimed a 41-30 victory.

If you have been to university and followed a sports team and experienced varsity then you will understand the electric atmosphere that runs throughout the players, squad, supporters, everyone.

For at least 80 minutes, everyone is incapsulated in the game, enjoying life and forgetting any of their troubles or dissertations they need to submit the next day. This year due to COVID-19 varsity has been postponed and is unlikely to take place in the near future. Although I don’t play, me along with so many others are saddened at missing out on making these memories that last a lifetime.

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In my final season, things got slightly more difficult as the 1XV struggled in their new league, but nevertheless, the determination and desire was still alive within the players.

This season has certainly been a contrast to last year’s from reporting on the ultimate highs to have some tough games to recover from. The experiences that I have had and the lessons I’ve learnt about reporting on a rugby team will stay with me throughout my journalism career.

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University rugby is like no other. Trying to explain it to someone who hasn’t experienced the atmosphere is hard. Though I haven’t played the game, going to fixtures every Wednesday has made me feel part of a team like no other.

It has had its highs and lows, from a nervous Fresher scared to ask for an interview to being the first person on the pitch after the final whistle to get the match reaction. But one thing is for sure, I wouldn’t have changed it for the world.

So, to everyone I have interviewed or those I begged to hold my phone to record the interviews, thank you. Reporting on UGRFC has been the best thing I have done throughout my three years at university and I will always, always remember it.

Gloucester suffer fifth successive defeat to Wasps

Gloucester fell to their fifth consecutive defeat in the Gallagher Premiership losing to Wasps this afternoon, 39-22.

Wasps showed constant threat in attack throughout the match and have left Gloucester with lots to improve on.

A half time score of 29-10 and a bonus point try from Wasps in the first half put Gloucester in a difficult position to recover, especially with Tom Marshall being sent to the sin bin late in the first half. 

To read more of this article please click here to take you to Gloucestershire Live where the match report is published.

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England U20 v Wales U20 match report

Kingsholm welcomed back international rugby on Friday evening as England U20s welcomed Wales U20s to the home of Gloucester Rugby.

The visitors claimed their second win of the tournament after a dominant performance over Alan Dickens side. 

To read more of this article, please click here to view it over on Gloucestershire Live.

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Gloucester Rugby player ratings v Sale

Gloucester Rugby’s game tonight was marketed as their #bekind fixture, due to the sad events of the weekend and Danny Cipriani’s personal connection to Caroline Flack.

It was an emotional game off the field, but Gloucester couldn’t match the emotion with their performance, losing 23-17 to Sale Sharks.

Find out how I rated the Gloucester players for Gloucestershire Live.

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Gloucester Rugby player ratings v London Irish

Gloucester Rugby lost to London Irish 24-20 this afternoon following a difficult game on the road for the Cherry and Whites.

Charlie Chapman scored on his debut, as well as a try from teenage wonder, Louis Rees-Zammit wasn’t enough to get a win.

Find out how I rated the Gloucester players over on Gloucestershire Live.

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Johan Ackermann talks about Gloucester’s ill-discipline following Exeter loss

The Cherry and Whites lost 26-15 to Exeter Chiefs on Friday night and the score could have been much worse if it wasn’t for two late tries from replacement Jake Polledri and teenage sensation Louis Rees-Zammit.

Gloucester Head Coach, Johan Ackermann has re-iterated his frustration with his sides ill-discipline that has arguably cost them on multiple occasions this season.

To the boys, we cannot iterate that enough, we show them that we lost in the discipline stats, we told them that it is unnecessary so don’t go into the breakdowns, we have been hammering it over and over and it is now the individuals and as a team they have to start making better decisions at that breakdown.

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Gloucester have currently conceded 108 penalties in the Gallagher Premiership and worryingly for them, top the unnerving statistic. Many of those penalties have costed the Cherry and Whites on the scoreboard, but Ackermann insists that it is individual errors rather than a team effort.

I think it is individual decisions. Penalties that we gave away, individuals felt that they were correct and the referee was wrong and obviously, it wasn’t that way so it is just individuals that must make better decisions at breakdown.

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Interestingly, Exeter conceded more penalties on Friday night (9) than Gloucester (8), but the visitors took any points that were on offer when the opportunity came their way. Late in the second half, Gloucester conceded three consecutive penalties within seven minutes all from relatively the same area of the pitch and Exeter benefited on the scoreboard.

The thing is, because we are aware of the penalties and make a point of that. It is the individual that goes out of that system if he does get penalised. If you have a referee that is so pedantic on calls then just stay out of the breakdown so that he cannot make that call. 

Gloucester have London Irish to prepare for this week as they travel to the Madejski Stadium on Saturday and will look to work on their discipline as Irish currently sit eighth in the Gallagher Premiership table and come into the game off the back of a convincing away win against Harlequins.

Gloucester Rugby player ratings v Exeter Chiefs

On their heritage fixture, Gloucester fell to a powerful and dominant Exeter side who kept the score board ticking after capitalising on Gloucester’s mistakes.

See how I rated the Cherry and White side over on Gloucestershire Live.

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2019/2020 TV showreel

Presenting and reporting has always been a passion of mine and one that I am hoping to pursue following the completion of my degree.

I strive to bring excitement in my tv work, engaging with the viewer and ensuring that they can gather all the information they need from the stories I am reporting on.

From studio work, PTCs and post match interviews, I am happiest reporting and sharing my work.

Please find my 2019/2020 showreel below.