That was the month that was: April 2024

Georgia underlines its credentials as a coming force in rugby with some big performances and results at the Men's U18s Six Nations Festival in Italy

Members of the Georgia team celebrate after defeating France in the 2024 Six Nations U18s Festival in Italy. Image: Federico Zovadelli/Actionpress
Members of the Georgia team celebrate after defeating France in the 2024 Six Nations U18s Festival in Italy. Image: Federico Zovadelli/Actionpress

by COLIN RENTON


Lions cash will fund coaches

Scottish Rugby will use money from the British & Irish Lions Women’s Team partnership with Royal London insurance company to recruit two performance pipeline coaches. The funds will also support Under-18 and Under-20 camps and training matches, as well as hosting residential camps for a national academy. Each of the home nations will receive a share of the £3 million payment from Royal London. England will use the grant to boost its pathway, Ireland will seek to accelerate age group player development, and Wales will appoint five new coaches as well as investing in talent identification.


Growth in player numbers mean league place for Panmure

At a time when much of grassroots rugby is struggling, Panmure reversed the trend by announcing that the club will field a second team in the regional leagues next season. The thriving Broughty Ferry outfit is benefiting from the infrastructure it has in place to develop players of various ages. The new side will play in Caledonia Midlands Division 3.


Les Bleus go green

The French Federation has shown its green credentials with a programme of car sharing for supporters attending Six Nations matches. A collaboration with the lottery company La Francaise des Jeux aims to improve accessibility to matches for supporters, reduce the carbon footprint associated with travel, and introduce supporters to each other. The scheme uses a platform that allows supporters to register their travel plans and match them up.


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Lightning strikes a new deal with Malcolm

Scotland women’s captain Rachel Malcolm has signed a contract extension with her club, Loughborough Lightning. The new deal means the 32-year-old will have been at Loughborough for more than 15 years, having arrived initially as a student and hockey player, then discovering a talent for rugby that has enabled her to make a career in the sport.


Scots chip in to Chinnor challenge

Scots played a big part as Chinnor landed the English National Division One title, and with it promotion to the second tier Championship for next season. Former Musselburgh and Currie hooker, Alun Walker, led the try scoring charts with 23 touchdowns. The 31-year-old has played south of the border since leaving Edinburgh a decade ago. Meanwhile, Grant Hughes, who came through the ranks at Falkirk and Stirling County – at club and Super Six level – then featured for Heriot’s last season, has made a big impression since joining the Oxfordshire outfit, with eight tries in nine games, while former Edinburgh man Nathan Chamberlain has also featured. The club’s director of rugby is former England international Nick Easter who took the reins after losing his job when Worcester Warriors went out of business.


Giant strides from young Georgians

The evolution of Georgian rugby continues at pace, and events at the Under-18 Six Nations provided further evidence of progress. The Georgians pipped their French counterparts 20-19 with a converted try in the final play of the match then led England at half time before going down 26-19 to a last-minute try.

 

 

Silverware stays in Spain

Spain’s women retained the Rugby Europe Championship and secured a place at the WXV tournament later this year. The Spaniards posted a bonus point win over Sweden in the final fixture to secure the title in the second tier competition for the seventh successive year.


Byrne kicks on to fill Fijian role

Former Scotland skills coach Mick Byrne – nicknamed ‘Mick the Kick’ – is the new coach of Fiji. The 65-year-old Australian is currently in charge of the Fijian Drua Super Rugby side. The appointment process included discussions between Fiji Rugby, Fijian government ministers and representatives of World Rugby, including Simon Rawailui, who stepped down from the Fiji job after last year’s World Cup. Byrne was involved in the Scottish set-up during the Matt Williams era from 2003-2005.


Walkerburn Sevens rescued by local community

Walkerburn sevens will go ahead on 25th May after an about turn on the decision to cancel the 1ooth playing of the tournament. During April, the Borders club announced its closure as result of low player numbers, with the sevens competition a victim of that decision. This has provoked a surge of interest in the local community, and the sevens will now go ahead. The club has appealed for help, and anyone who can assist should contact the club by email at walkerburn7s@gmail.com.


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About Colin Renton 294 Articles
Colin has been a freelance writer on various subjects for more than 20 years. He covers rugby at all levels but is particularly passionate about the game at grass roots. As a fluent French speaker, he has a keen interest in rugby in France and for many years has reported on the careers of Scots who have moved across the Channel. He appreciates high quality, engaging writing that is thought provoking, and hopes that some of his work fits that bill!

2 Comments

  1. Congrats to Panmure. Visited there a few times in recent seasons always been a good welcome from a club clearly very well run.

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