That was the month that was: December 2021

Colin Renton provides his monthly round-up of some of rugby stories from around the world which may have passed you by

Jordan Venter - in action here for Watsonians Super6 side - left Edinburgh to join Bath. Image: © Craig Watson -
Jordan Venter - in action here for Watsonians Super6 side - left Edinburgh to join Bath. Image: © Craig Watson -

Italian job for Fantini

Yaree Fantini has left FOSROC Super6 side Ayrshire Bulls to join URC outfit Benetton Treviso. The England Sevens cap caught the eye with a string of outstanding performances and bagged four tries to help Bulls to the title, beating Southern Knights in the final. His deal with the Italian outfit means he joins a growing list of players to have graduated from the semi-pro competition.

Dupont demands sevens clause

When you’ve just been voted the world’s best player, it’s possible to demand special terms in your contract. And that appears to be what’s happening with French scrum-half Antoine Dupont, who is currently in discussions over a new deal with Toulouse. The 25-year-old is keen to test himself at sevens, and is believed to have asked for a clause that will allow him to represent his country at the 2024 Olympics.

French dates for Scots

Scotland’s build up to the 2023 World Cup will include two matches against France. The schedule revealed by Les Bleus will see them face Fiji and Australia as well as having two matches against Gregor Townsend’s men – one in Edinburgh and the other at a stadium in the South of France.

Blair Kinghorn signs new contract and predicts ‘something special’ at Edinburgh

Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors: 1872 Cup return leg is postponed

President’s Caps would be the ideal way to recognise Scottish rugby’s war heroes

Pocock plans political path

Former Wallabies skipper David Pocock is moving into politics and proposing to stand as an independent candidate in Canberra. Pocock wants to work for the people rather than pursue vested interests, restore integrity among politicians and push for improved climate policies.

Sponsor wants global games

Gallagher, the title sponsor of the English Premiership, wants league fixtures to be played overseas. There is a precedent, with matches having taken place in the US in 2016 and 2017, and the company’s chief marketing officer, Christopher Mead, has floated the idea of staging games in places such as Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Last month, Gallagher signed an extension to its sponsorship deal, which started in 2018.

Perpignan suing pitch invader

Officials at French Top 14 outfit Perpignan have announced plans to sue a supporter to recover a €5,000 fine imposed on the club by the French League. The spectator invaded the pitch during Perpignan’s league match with Clermont Auvergne to celebrate a late try that gave the Catalan side a 26-24 win. Club president Francois Riviere stated that steps were being taken to identify the individual and take legal action against him. The pitch invader will also be banned from the Aime-Giral stadium for the rest of the season.


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Trials target increased involvement

World Rugby has given the green light to law variations aimed at increasing participation levels. The changes, under the ‘Game On’ title, which come into effect on 1 January, allow governing bodies to apply some or all of the 10 proposals. These include having as few as 10 players, matches lasting less than 80 minutes, weight categories for youth rugby, variable ball and pitch sizes, and variations on the rules for scrums, line-outs and kicking.

Venter heads south for game time

Teenage centre Jordan Venter has moved from Edinburgh to Bath after signing a deal until the end of the 2022-23 season. The 19-year-old South African has spent the past 12 months in the Scottish capital but is one of eight centres at the club and has failed to secure game time. He will hope that changes at the Gallagher Premiership outfit.

Henning handed top role

Recently departed Scottish Rugby referee commissioner Tappe Henning has been appointed as Head of Match Officials for the United Rugby Championship. He succeeds Greg Garner. The South African took up his post at BT Murrayfield in 2013 and during his time in the role, Scottish officials emerged onto the international scene, having been out of favour for almost two decades. Mike Adamson was the first Scot in 19 years to take charge of a Six Nations match, while Ben Blain, Sam Grove-White, Neil Paterson and Hollie Davidson have also now been involved at the highest level.

Bo’ness big on community links

Many clubs have found innovative ways to work with their local communities during the pandemic. Among those who have been particularly busy in the lead up to Christmas is Bo’ness, whose players have helped the local food bank – The Food Pantry – and have handed over lunch bags to ensure children are fed during the school holidays.

Polling opens for The Offside Line’s 2021 Game Of The Year vote

About Colin Renton 296 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!