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.
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.