New home for Scottish duo
London Scottish Director of Rugby Bryan Redpath has bolstered his squad for the new season by adding two players who played in last season’s FOSROC Super6 competition. Nathan Chamberlain, who was contracted to Edinburgh Rugby but played most of his rugby for Heriot’s, will be looking for more game time in the coming months. Meanwhile, Robbie McCallum, an age-group international, stand-out for Boroughmuir Bears in the semi-pro competition and a member of Glasgow Warriors Academy, has also signed for the Exiles.
New talk of Russell move
There is renewed speculation in France over Finn Russell’s next move when his contract at Racing 92 ends in 2023. Japan is again being mooted as the likely destination for the Scot, with French media suggesting that All Black Richie Mo’unga is a target as his replacement, should the move go ahead.
Mercer move could boost England prospects
Zach Mercer is quitting French champions Montpellier to join Gloucester next summer. The 25-year-old, who played age-group rugby for Scotland while his father, Gary, was coaching at Glasgow Warriors and later the Scottish Rugby Academy, was man-of-the-match in the Top 14 final against Castres. While playing in France, he has been ignored by England coach Eddie Jones, and will hope to force his way into the thinking of the notoriously stubborn boss.
Bolton extend hand of friendship
Bolton Rugby Club marked its 150th anniversary by welcoming a group of young players from the Italian club Briganti di Librino for a five-day visit. The Sicilian outfit has faced numerous difficulties over the years, including an arson attack on its clubhouse and threats believed to have come from the Mafia. Bolton paid for 51 players to make the trip from Italy and arranged several activities, including a visit to the Sale Sharks’ Carrington ground, before rounding off with games from Under-13 level to seniors.
Taylor steps down
Former Scotland assistant coach Matt Taylor has stepped down from his role with the Wallabies after a run of disappointing results that included a series loss against England over the summer. Taylor played for the Borders professional side and coached in his native Australia before taking on roles at Glasgow Warriors and Scotland. He left the Scottish set-up three years ago to join ex-Warriors boss Dave Rennie. Taylor, whose parents are from Fife, made three appearances for Scotland A during his playing career. He hopes to return to the game at some point in the future, and is understood to have ambitions of filling a head coach post.
McCaw represents players’ interests
Richie McCaw is set to play a key role in off-field activities of the All Blacks. The 41-year-old has been appointed as director of New Zealand Rugby Commercial GP Limited, which was created after the New Zealand federation entered a deal with the private equity company Silver Lake. McCaw will represent the interests of the NZ Rugby Players Association. The deal was concluded in a way that has changed how revenues are generated and distributed.
Players help with business funding
Former Scotland scrum-half Grayson Hart has continued to develop his sports supplement business with a crowdfunding campaign that raised more than £1 million pounds to fund product innovation and enable the company to expand into new markets. Among the 300 backers were Jonny Gray, Greig Laidlaw and Finn Russell. Hart launched the company as a natural alternative to opioid-based painkillers.
Stewart bounces back after Glasgow departure
Grant Stewart, the hooker released by Glasgow Warriors earlier in the summer, has signed a short-term contract with Connacht Rugby. The 27-year-old, who spent five years at Scotstoun and has one international cap to his credit, came through the ranks at Strathaven, Dalziel and Glasgow Hawks. He will provide injury cover for Shane Delahunt at Connacht and is also set to be called upon when Irish squad regular Dave Heffernan is on international duty.
Berti rises to the challenge
Edinburgh Accies coach Iain Berthinussen set himself a tough pre-season challenge of completing the equivalent of a sprint triathlon for 20 consecutive days in August. The former Borders pro was diagnosed with testicular cancer the previous year. Immediate treatment meant he was able to make a rapid return to normality. Berhinussen’s project aimed to raise awareness of testicular cancer and help fund the research activities of the Cahonas Scotland Charity. The 20-day timescale was chosen as it represented the time from his diagnosis to operation. He rose to the challenge of swimming 750 metres, cycling 20 kilometres and running 5 kilometres each day, and in the process exceeded his target of £5000. More details HERE.