Rugby Union: Summer News Round-Up - Part 1

With the new season approaching, Ball in Touch recaps all the big rugby news stories over the summer to bring you back up to speed.

@ballintouchMayHarlequins hold off Leicester Tigers to win the Aviva Premiership 30-23 on a sunny day at Twickenham having topped the league table for most of the season England give a good show against the Barbarians, winning 57-26 with Chris Ashton grabbing a hat-trick and Jonathan Joseph helping himself to a brace The Ospreys sneak a 31-30 victory against Leinster to take PRO12 league glory with Shane Williams scoring a late try to give himself yet another fairly tale send off Former Gloucester stalwart John Brain passes away aged 51 Phil Vickery hung up his apron and is appointed assistant forwards coach at Worcester, his first proper coaching role Cornish Pirates find out that Cornwall Council still won€™t financially support the Stadium for Cornwall plans on the eve of their crunch RFU Championship Play-off Final Second Leg Scottish legend Tom Smith became the latest prop to become a forwards coach. This time for French Pro D2 side, Lyon The Barbarians beat Ireland 29-28 at Kingsholm, much to the frustration of coach Declan Kidney London Welsh beat Cornish Pirates 29-20 at a sunny if slightly deserted Kassam Stadium at their new €˜home€™ ground in Oxford to win the RFU Championship on aggregate 66-41. However they had been told earlier in the month they would not be promoted and thus Newcastle Falcons would now not be relegated. Unless they win an appeal Mathieu Rourre joins Vickery on the touchline as attack coach at Worcester Warriors Northampton Saints' Andy Long is forced to retire with a neck injury. The 34-year-old was due to join Gloucester for the new campaign Meanwhile Bryan €œI€™m not quitting Gloucester to join Sale Sharks€ Redpath joins Sale Sharks June The IRB reveal a new concussion assessment procedure to be trialled during the summer. The procedure allows players to leave the field for five minutes, blood bin style, for assessment Andy €œI don€™t want to leave Saracens for England€ Farrell resigns from Saracens and eventually joins England Nigel Davies takes over as Rugby Director at Gloucester Former captain Simon Easterby becomes Head Coach at Scarlets With twenty points from James Hook, Wales defeat the Barbarians in Cardiff 30-21 in a hard-fought game Newcastle Falcons appoint New Zealander Peter Russell as their new Head Coach Scotland upset the apple cart with a 9-6 win in Australia against Australia. The game was wetter than your average water polo match and some of the Scottish players were so excited to win they decided to head butt themselves! London Welsh launch their appeal to try and gain promotion to the Aviva Premiership Wales U20s defeat the Baby Blacks 9-6 in the Junior World Cup Championship, New Zealand's first defeat in four years (21 games) in the championship As threatened, Gloucester announce they will take legal action against Sale for allegedly approaching ex-coach Bryan Redpath while he was still under contract at the Cherry and Whites New Zealand decimate Ireland 42-10 in Auckland, with debutant Julian Savea getting a hat-trick in just 43 minutes Australia recover from their loss to Scotland by beating Wales 27-19 with Will Genia having a memorable game An inexperienced South Africa finished off England 22-17 with a third quarter surge of power proving too much for the tourists Toulouse beat Jonny Wilkinson€™s Toulon 18-12 to win the Top 14 for the second year in a row. Coming soon, the rest of the Summer Tours and more. Feel free to comment below about what you think were the big stories over the summer.

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Follow @BallInTouch on Twitter to keep up to date with all the latest rugby news and columns. Jeff Ball is a Geordie with a Newcastle Falcons season ticket, a rugby coaching badge, a bias for Newcastle United on Playstation games and was terrified by Jurassic Park as a child. For more of his personal musings following him on Twitter @JeffreyBall If you have any comments about this story please post a comment.