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Tighthead Ryan signs for Dragons

IRELAND's tighthead situation received a surprise boost yesterday when the Dragons confirmed the signing of former Munster man Tim Ryan.

The Cork native had been plying his trade in Italy's club game with I Cavalieri Prato, but now has signed a two-year deal with the Welsh region, who have also signed Ian Nimmo from the Cornish Pirates as a replacement for departing international Luke Charteris.

With a shortage of props playing at the top level, the return of Ryan to the Pro12 will boost Ireland's options and Declan Kidney will be hoping he gets plenty of action at Rodney Parade.

Players' body agree new deal with IRFU

THE IRFU and players' union IRUPA yesterday confirmed details of a new three-year agreement between the bodies.

The union has committed to increase its funding towards IRUPA initiatives such as their Player Services Programme and education, personal development and financial planning courses for professional rugby players in Ireland.

In turn, IRUPA have pledged to introduce an agent accreditation scheme by the end of this year that would regulate the industry.

Cockerill pledges

future to Tigers

RICHARD COCKERILL has pledged his future to the Leicester Tigers after signing a new three-year contract.

The former England hooker took over as director of rugby at Welford Road in 2010 after serving a year as head coach when he guided them to the Heineken Cup final and the English Premiership.

Cockerill, who played 262 times for the club, guided his side to this year's Premiership final where they came up short against Conor O'Shea's Harlequins.

Meanwhile, Championship winners London Welsh will launch an appeal against the RFU's decision to block their entry into England's top flight.

The Exiles were denied promotion on the basis of their ground situation, but they hope their agreement with Oxford United over Kassam Stadium can see them go up at the expense of Newcastle Falcons.

Irish Independent