by COLIN RENTON
Strokosch closer to bowing out on a high
Scotland international flanker Alasdair Strokosch may be out injured at the moment, but he had the satisfaction of watching his Perpignan colleagues move a step closer to returning to the French Top 14 when they beat Mont de Marsan in the semi-final of the ProD2 promotion play-off.
Strokosch is one of two players who were at the club when the Catalans were relegated for the first time in their 103 year history four seasons ago and is among five of the current personnel who will retire at the end of the current campaign. His stated ambition is to see Perpignan regain their top flight berth before he hangs up his boots and they are now within 80 minutes of doing so, with Grenoble their opponents in the final.
It was a successful month for Conor Hirini and his fiancé, although they enjoyed rugby success on different levels. He signed off from a season in Scottish club rugby after helping Edinburgh Accies beat GHA in their penultimate BT National Division One fixture. The Raeburn Place side went on to secure the title with a win at Selkirk. Hirini missed that encounter because he had flown to Australia to watch his girlfriend Sarah Goss lead New Zealand’s women to gold in the Commonwealth Games sevens tournament.
World Cup qualification shambles rumbles on
Rugby Europe has added further embarrassment to the fiasco surrounding the World Cup qualifying competition to identify the team that play in Scotland’s group in Japan next year. The decisive match between Spain and Belgium was refereed by a Romanian. Defeat for Spain in that encounter meant that Romania qualified. The Spaniards were incensed and abused the official at the end of the match before lodging an official complaint over the referee’s performance.
Rugby Europe analysed the video of the match then twice delayed making a decision on whether the match should be replayed. However, in the meantime, five Spaniards were banned for between 14 and 43 weeks for their behaviour at the end of the game. They are now likely to miss the replay although at the current rate of progress the three men banned for 14 weeks might have served their suspensions by the time a decision is made.
Swedes pick from Scottish clubs
The Sweden squad for the trip to meet Lithuania in the Rugby Europe Conference had a strong Scottish flavour with Sami Paulsson (Hamilton Bulls) captaining the side that also included David Bergvall, and Jonas Grillfors of Haddington started, while Christopher Nilserius of Glasgow Accies was on the bench. However, it was a disappointing afternoon for the Scotland-based players with Lithuania posting a 43-22 win.
Worcester woes worsen
Worcester Warriors, increasingly an outpost for former Edinburgh players, may offer a familiar environment with Alan Solomons, Omar Mouneimne, Simon Cross and Gordon Ross among the coaching staff, while Cornell Du Preez and Duncan Weir will link up next year with Anton Bresler and Tom Heathcote on the playing front. However, the off-field situation at the club, which has been touted as a partner for Scottish Rugby, is less comfortable. Despite increasing its revenue by £1 million over the 12 months to June 2017, the club made a loss of £8.1 million, increasing the urgency to find an external investor.
No stopping Moyano
A contender for try of the month: Ramiro Moyano showed remarkable persistence – and did a fair impression of a dodgem car – as he bagged a try for Jaguares against Rebels in their Super Rugby clash.
Moonlight still serving his country
John Moonlight is hanging up his boots after a career that has seen him capped 21 times for Canada and play in 58 World Sevens tournaments. However, he won’t be following the familiar path trodden by many ex-pros of opening a bar or going into business. Instead, the 30-year-old will still be serving his country as he takes on a new role as a firefighter in Ontario.Error, group does not exist! Check your syntax! (ID: 3)