That was the month that was: April 2022

Robbie Smith signs for Northampton Saints, Dan Carter completes kickathon and Finn Russell proves he is a man of the people

Former Scotland Under-20s captain, Robbie Smith, has signed for Northampton Saints. Image: ©Craig Watson
Former Scotland Under-20s captain, Robbie Smith, has signed for Northampton Saints. Image: ©Craig Watson

Worcester going green

The commitment of Worcester Warriors to supporting the environment was underlined when the club became the first in Europe to sign up to the United Nations Sports for Climate Action. The Gallagher Premiership fixture with Saracens proved to be the latest opportunity to show support for sustainability. Warriors encouraged supporters to travel to the match by public transport or car share as well as offering an improved shuttle service. Catering at the Sixways ground included locally sourced and vegan food.

Success fuels spectator growth

The benefits of France’s Guinness Six Nations success include a sharp rise in crowd numbers at matches in the top two leagues, as well as bigger support at the Women’s Six Nations games. The National League committee designated the first weekend of April as a ‘Fans Day’ and that paid dividends with several attendance records being set. The average for the Top 14 was 16,000, while more than 160,000 watched the eight second tier ProD2 clashes that included a sell-out 10,000 crowd for the clash between Mont-de-Marsan and Bayonne.

Smith signs up at Saints

Former Scotland Under-20s captain Robbie Smith has extended his stay south of the border after signing for Northampton Saints. The 23-year-old hooker left the Glasgow Warriors Academy in 2019 to join Bedford Blues and subsequently moved to Newcastle Falcons. He will make the switch to Franklin’s Gardens this summer.

Glasgow Warriors announce list of seven leavers at the end of current season

Kings of the Sevens: Jed win at Kelso and Selkirk victorious at Earlston

Edinburgh v Ulster: losing bonus point books URC play-off spot for hosts

Big reveal of World Cup hosts

World Rugby is preparing to announce the hosts of all men’s and women’s World Cups until 2033. England is set to be the venue for the women’s tournament in 2025, with Australia hosting the following editions of both competitions and USA doing the same in 2031 and 2033.

PhD funding from Scottish Rugby

Scottish Rugby is inviting applications for a funded PhD in collaboration with Leeds Beckett University. In addition to a £15,000 payment, the successful applicant will work with the university’s research team and the BT Murrayfield-based physical performance staff. The objective is to build on existing work related to physical testing and player development.

Carter can kick it

Dan Carter proved that he has lost none of his accuracy off the kicking tee when he booted 1,598 goals in a 24-hour kickathon for charity. The number equalled the tally achieved by the 40-year-old during a playing career that included a 112 cap haul for the All Blacks. Carter’s exploit took place at Eden Park in Auckland and by the end of his session he had raised NZ$363,000 for the UNICEF water, sanitation and hygiene programme, a sum that has subsequently continued to grow with further donations.

Women’s URC under discussion

United Rugby Championship chief executive Martin Anayi has hinted at a possible women’s version of the competition. He believes that a strong tournament would have a favourable impact on developing the Women’s Six Nations. Any initial proposal would likely limit the number of teams, meaning that all 16 of those involved in the male version would not necessarily be represented in the women’s championship. Anayi is enthusiastic about the possible introduction of the URC to the women’s calendar but does not expect to see any implementation until at least the end of next season.

Russell’s return thrills Stirling youngsters

Back in Scotland for a weekend, Finn Russell proved that he remains grounded, despite his superstar status. The Scotland stand-off left Bridgehaugh shortly after watching the Stirling County FOSROC Super6 Sprint match against Ayrshire Bulls. A friend called to say that the ballboys and girls had been disappointed not to meet him. The player returned to the ground and spent time playing a crossbar challenge with the youngsters, who are now even bigger fans of the Racing 92 man.  Meanwhile, should Russell and his Racing colleagues reach the Top 14 play-offs, they may be forced to play at their previous home, the Stade Yves du Manoir, as the club’s current ground is being used as the venue for an Elton John concert.

Glasgow Warriors announce list of seven leavers at the end of current season

About David Barnes 3381 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

1 Comment

  1. After Finn joined Glasgow Warriors from Ayr and became a Scotland regular, he would come back to Millbrae regularly (as did other Warriors players) to watch the club. He would never refuse a selfie with a fan or sign an autograph and would spend 30 minutes on the pitch with kids after the game. He has always been rounded and is a true rugby superstar who has not forgotten where he came from.

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