Former England Saxons captain George Skivington has extended his contract with London Irish.
The lock, 30, joined Irish from Leicester last summer; his new deal ties him to the Exiles until 2016. Prior to his spell with the Tigers, he spent eight seasons at Wasps.
“George has been enormous for us this season,” Irish rugby director Brian Smith said. “He’s had a huge impact in many of our big wins, leading from the front and setting a great example for the rest of the pack. His commitment to the club for the next three seasons gives us another key player to build our new team around.”
The 6ft 6in Skivington will captain London Irish in today’s Premiership game against Worcester at the Madejski Stadium.
Versatile Wallabies back Adam Ashley-Cooper has turned down offers from abroad and signed a new deal which will keep him in Australia until after the 2015 World Cup.
The 28-year-old, who has won 77 caps since his debut in 2005, said he still had ambitions at both international and Super Rugby level after signing up for another two seasons with the New South Wales Waratahs.
“I’m not done yet,” said Ashley-Cooper. “I’d like another crack at the Rugby World Cup if I can. I wouldn’t mind winning Super Rugby either.”
Meanwhile, Super Rugby defending champions the Chiefs retained top spot in the New Zealand conference after full-back Gareth Anscombe kicked 14 points to help beat the winless Otago Highlanders 19-7. Each team scored one try but Anscombe’s kicking – a conversion and four penalties from eight attempts – tipped the balance.
Anscombe kicked a third-minute penalty and centre Tim Nanai-Williams scored a brilliant runaway try from a Highlanders error in the seventh minute to give the Chiefs an early 10-0 lead. Aaron Smith replied for the Highlanders with a try in the 19th minute, converted by fly-half Colin Slade, who missed both his penalty attempts.
The Chiefs now have four wins from five matches this season while the Highlanders remain at the foot of the championship table without a win from four games.