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Joseph and Watson pen new Bath deals

Watson and Joseph are staying with Bath. Credit: PA

England backs Jonathan Joseph and Anthony Watson have signed new contracts with Bath that will keep them at the Aviva Premiership club until 2019.

Both players, who were present throughout this year's Grand Slam triumph and the 3-0 series whitewash of Australia, left London Irish for the Recreation Ground in 2013.

"Jonathan and Anthony are exceptionally talented and since gaining greater international experience, they are having much more of a positive effect on the group - on and off the pitch," Bath first-team coach Toby Booth said.

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Youngs appointed Leicester Tigers captain

Tom Youngs is the new Leicester captain. Credit: PA

Aviva Premiership club Leicester have announced the appointment of England international hooker Tom Youngs as club captain for next season.

Youngs, 29, has made more than 100 first team appearances for the Tigers, in addition to winning 28 England caps and featuring in the British and Irish Lions Test series against Australia three years ago.

"Tom is a Leicester man through and through and has special links with the club, where his father and brother have also played. He is a world-class player who leads by example," Leicester rugby director Richard Cockerill told the club's official website.

"Tom is supported by a good strong group of leaders within the squad, including Ed Slater, who has done an excellent job as club captain over the last couple of seasons, and experienced players like Mathew Tait, Dan Cole, Tom Croft, Manu Tuilagi, Ben Youngs, Owen Williams and Freddie Burns."

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George Ford back at fly-half for second Test in Australia

George Ford. Credit: PA

England will restore George Ford at fly-half for Saturday's second Test against Australia at AAMI Park.

Eddie Jones will reunite the Grand Slam-winning 10-12 axis of Ford and Owen Farrell as the tourists target the victory that will complete an historic series in the southern hemisphere.

Ford was brought on in the 29th minute of the 39-28 victory in Brisbane with Luther Burrell, who had been exposed in defence on several occasions, making way.

The reshuffle saw Farrell, the starting fly-half, replace Burrell at inside centre and the change in personnel provided the catalyst for England's fightback.

A bold early substitution by Jones was rewarded with arguably Ford's best performance in 24 caps after the 23-year-old's vision set-up tries for wings Marland Yarde and Jack Nowell.

It is hoped the twin playmakers will offer England the direction they need if they are to seize an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series.

"Australia will be desperate because they will be disappointed with the first result," Ford said.

Johnny Sexton to miss Ireland tour of South Africa

Sexton has been ruled out of Ireland's tour of South Africa. Credit: PA

Johnny Sexton has been ruled out of Ireland's tour of South Africa.

The 30-year-old Leinster fly-half suffered a shoulder injury during Saturday's 20-10 Pro12 final defeat by Connacht and needed minor surgery.

Coach Joe Schmidt has also lost Luke Fitzgerald and Dave Kearney to injuries sustained at Murrayfield, and in a further blow Rob Kearney pulled up in training on Wednesday with a hamstring strain which will rule him out of the tour.

Ireland have called up Craig Gilroy, Matt Healy, Ian Madigan and the uncapped Tiernan O'Halloran as replacements.

The squad depart on Sunday and will play Tests in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth on their first tour of South Africa since 2004.

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