Scots caught out as Jersey unravels
Several Scots have been left seeking new clubs after Jersey Reds ceased trading. Sam Grahamslaw, Stevie Longwell, Adam Nicol and Lewis Wynne feature in a squad that has been plunged into uncertainty, with liquidation the likely outcome. The catalyst for the failure was a cut in RFU funding for clubs in the second tier, and the situation has been exacerbated by the refusal of the governing body to reintroduce promotion to the Gallagher Premiership. The uncertainty this has created is believed to have deterred potential investors. Jersey won the Championship title last season and have started well this year, with early results including a victory over Bath in the Premiership Rugby Cup.
Chalureau rejects racism claims
The call-up of Bastien Chalureau to the French squad as replacement for his injured Montpellier colleague Paul Willemse created quite a stir. Coach Fabien Galthie came under pressure from politicians to exclude the lock, who was found guilty in 2020 of violent acts which were deemed to be racist, and handed a six-month suspended prison sentence. The player acknowledged the nature of the events but denied accusations of racism and is appealing against the guilty verdict. Galthie stated that the circumstances were already in the public domain and refused to bow to the pressure. Chalureau came off the bench in the second half of France’s 27-12 win over Uruguay.
Gaffney earns Barbarians honour
Megan Gaffney flew the flag for Scotland when Barbarians women lined up for matches against South African in Cape Town and Munster at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Heriot’s winger retired from international rugby at the end of 2022, having earned 45 caps, and also represented the national sevens side.
Hooper eyeing Olympics after Jones snub
Overlooked by Eddie Jones for the Wallabies World Cup squad, Michael Hooper is set to switch his attention to sevens rugby with the aim of competing in next summer’s Olympics. The Waratahs flanker, who has 125 international caps to his credit, is the latest star to reveal plans to change focus and play in Paris. French skipper Antoine Dupont has already hinted that he is also keen to contest the Olympic event.
Harley and Hoyland heading for MLR
Rob Harley will continue his rugby adventure in the US after signing for Washington-based Old Glory DC. Harley, who holds the appearance record for Glasgow Warriors spent last season in France with PROD2 outfit Carcassonne but was released after the club suffered relegation and moved to Colomiers as World Cup cover. He will be joined cross the Atlantic by Damien Hoyland. The 29-year-old, whose career has been held back by an unfortunate series of injuries, was released by Edinburgh at the end of last season after making more than 100 appearances. The duo will now join the MLR side, which has Scottish Rugby as a partner and recently unveiled ex-Edinburgh flanker Simon Cross as head coach.
Scottish officials named for women’s tournament
Scotland’s Hollie Davidson features on the list of referees for the opening two rounds of the WXV women’s tournament which starts in October. Davidson will take charge of the host nation New Zealand’s match against France. Another Scot, Andrew McMenemy, will be a TMO for the event.
Argentina set for Super Rugby return
Media in Argentina claimed that the national side has been invited to rejoin the Super Rugby tournament in 2026. Los Jaguares played in the competition until 2020 before joining the South American Super League and subsequently being replaced by two teams, Los Pampas and Los Dogos. Super Rugby featured 12 teams in 2023 – six from New Zealand, five from Australia and one from Fiji. Los Pampos and Los Dogos will feature again in the South American competition this year, and will make a decision on whether to return to Super Rugby. Another possibility would be to follow the example of the South African sides who now play in the URC, with some media proposing an Argentine franchise based in Spain.
Controversy over UK politicians’ stance on mixed teams
Alongside the Rugby World Cup, France was the venue for global tournaments contested by parliamentary and military representatives. Eight teams battled it out for the political trophy, but the competition, originally introduced by Nelson Mandela in 1995, attracted controversy when the United Kingdom and South Africa refused to play against mixed teams, insisting that it was on grounds of safety. This created ill feeling among some of the other teams and meant the matches they played were male only. New Zealand beat Ireland in the final, while the UK finished outside the top four with results that included a defeat against the European Parliament in the first meeting between the sides. Meanwhile, the British Army beat New Zealand in the third-place play-off at the World Military Championships in Brittany, with France edging out Fiji in extra time to take the title.
Dramatic finale in Championship clash
The clash between Darlington Mowden Park and Cinderford in the RFU Championship produced a dramatic finale. Mowden Park, with Yaree Fantini – the former Ayrshire Bulls flanker who left Scotland for a year in Italy before joining the Darlington outfit – among the try scorers, led for much of the game but Cinderford battled back and had a chance to nick the win with an injury time penalty.
The story unfolds in the following video:
Meanwhile in Nat 1…
⏳ Clock in the red
🔒 Scores locked at 20-20
🚀 @cinderfordrfc penalty to win it
— Championship Rugby (@Champrugby) September 16, 2023