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Wales Online
Wales Online
Jon Doel & Simon Thomas

Tonight's rugby news as England appoint Welsh coach and All Blacks superstars to quit

Here are the latest rugby headlines on Tuesday, February 7.

England appoint Welshman to coaching team

England have recruited Welshman Aled Walters and interim Leicester Tigers boss Richard Wigglesworth to their coaching staff.

On the day it was confirmed Richard Cockerill would step down at the end of the Guinness Six Nations to join Montpellier, the Rugby Football Union announced the new appointments.

Wigglesworth joins as an assistant coach, most likely overseeing the attack which is currently being directed by Nick Evans, while Walters will become head of strength and conditioning in the wake of Jon Clarke's departure.

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Walters, from west Wales, is viewed as one of the best conditioning coaches in world rugby and previously won the World Cup with South Africa in 2019.

Both men will join the England set-up at the end of the season.

It lifts the number of coaches taken from Gallagher Premiership champions Leicester to four with Borthwick and his number two Kevin Sinfield also prised away from Welford Road.

The duo will take up their posts at the end of the club season, making them available for the build-up to this autumn's World Cup in France.

Wigglesworth had only just been appointed to the interim head coach's role with Leicester which was vacated by Borthwick when he replaced Eddie Jones in December.

All Blacks superstars to leave

All Blacks superstars Beauden Barrett and Aaron Smith will join Japanese side Toyota Verblitz after this year’s Rugby World Cup and potentially both end their international careers.

Barrett and Smith will move at the start of 2024 after this year's World Cup to join former All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen who is the director of rugby at Toyota Verblitz.

Smith, 35, has signed a long-term contract and is almost certain top end his New Zealand career for good.

New Zealand Rugby are working with Barrett in the hope he will return after 2024,but the 31-year-old has yet to make a decision on his future.

“I’m looking forward to taking up this opportunity with Toyota alongside a good friend and long-term team-mate in Aaron,” Barrett told New Zealand Rugby.

“My agent Warren Alcock is in communication and negotiation with New Zealand Rugby, the Blues and Toyota about my future beyond the Japan One 2024 season.

“I want to give myself time to ensure I make the right decision and once I gain clarity on that I will be able to give an update on what my future looks like beyond 2024.”

Scots motivated by Doddie Weir memory

Scotland coach Gregor Townsend says his players will have the added motivation of wanting to honour the memory of Doddie Weir when they face Wales at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Former Scotland and Lions lock Weir died in November, aged 52, having bravely battled motor neurone disease and campaigned to raise awareness and funds.

“This is our first home fixture since Doddie passed away and we are playing Wales for the Doddie Weir Cup in front of our own supporters,” Townsend told the Daily Mail.

“Doddie did so much for rugby and for research into MND and he will never be forgotten. This weekend, when we play for the Doddie Weir Cup in his memory, it will be an honour and a bit of extra motivation for everybody.”

Scotland will go into the game full of confidence having recorded a thrilling 29-23 bonus point victory in the Calcutta Cup clash with England at Twickenham on the opening weekend of the Six Nations.

Cummings joins Scotland

Glasgow lock Scott Cummings has joined up with the Scotland squad this week as he closes in on a return from injury.

The 26-year-old has been sidelined since picking up a foot injury just before the Autumn Tests and has not played since turning out for his club in a United Rugby Championship match away to Sharks in mid-October.

Cummings - who has 23 caps, the most recent of which came in last summer's tour of Argentina - is now back in contention and will train with the squad ahead of Saturday's Guinness Six Nations match against Wales at BT Murrayfield.

Saracens flanker Andy Christie has dropped out of the Scotland squad due to injury.

Read more:

Wales' new defence coach tells players to cut out 'nonsense'

Warren Gatland needs to go for broke and plan for World Cup with younger, new-look Wales team

Alun Wyn Jones now fit to play against Scotland as HIA situation clarified

Wales press conference news: Francis in contention and Jones now fit to play

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