That was the month that was: December 2022

International sprinter donates prize money to Hearts + Balls, Andy Robinson on the move and French football star showcases his rugby skills

Sam Grove-White had a busy month culminating in being the whistler during Friday's 1872 Cup clash at Murrayfield. Image: © Craig Watson -
Sam Grove-White had a busy month culminating in being the whistler during Friday's 1872 Cup clash at Murrayfield. Image: © Craig Watson -

Gourley pays tribute with prize donation

The death of Jim Taylor MBE drew tributes that underlined how widely respected and admired he was. Among those offering their respects was international athlete Neil Gourley, who runs for Giffnock North Athletic Club and is currently based in the US. He has been in excellent form recently and posted an impressive win at the Merrie Mile in Hawaii. He formerly played mini rugby at GHK and is the son of club stalwart Ronnie Gourley. Immediately after the race, the 27-year-old middle distance star announced that he would donate his $4,000 prize money to Hearts & Balls, the rugby charity close to Jim Taylor’s heart.

Robinson quits Romania role

Among the coaches leaving their posts after the autumn international window was Andy Robinson. The Englishman, who was at the helm of the Scotland team for three years to 2012, stepped down as coach of Romania after disappointing results in recent months, despite having secured a place in next year’s World Cup, when the Romanians are drawn in the same pool as Scotland. Robinson has been replaced by the former Romanian international Eugen Apjok, while ex-Scotland assistant Steve Scott will remain as forwards coach.

Georgians retain Rugby Europe Super Cup

The Georgian side, Black Lion, retained the Rugby Europe Super Cup with a 29-17 victory over Tel Aviv Heat in Tbilisi. The second playing of the competition was contested by eight teams and is expected to grow next season, with two more sides set to be added.

The Offside Line’s End of Year Awards for 2022

1872 Cup: Warriors blow away Edinburgh to claim silverware and five URC league points

Emiliano Boffelli signs new two-year deal with Edinburgh

Scots set for Six Nations duty

Scotland will have four officials involved at the upcoming Guinness Six Nations. Mike Adamson will take charge of the match between Italy and Ireland. Ben Blain and Sam Grove-White have been appointed to assistant referee roles, while Hollie Davidson will have the whistle for two games in the Under-20 competition.

Schoolboy bids for drop goal record

A nine-year old schoolboy with a strong sporting pedigree will attempt to break a world record in a fund-raising exercise for research into motor neurone disease (MND). Dominick Armstrong, the grandson of Sir Ian Botham and cousin of Welsh flanker James Botham, will take on the challenge in January, seeking to beat the existing mark of 36 drop goals in three minutes. He announced his intention to make the record bid days after Doddie Weir died as a result of MND.

Pau coach gets off lightly

Pau coach Sebastien Piqueronies received a 10 week suspension after being cited for physical abuse of Scottish referee Sam Grove-White after the European Challenge Cup tie against Toyota Cheetahs. Piqueronies admitted that he had made contact with the official but the disciplinary committee accepted that the case was misconduct involving words and actions rather than physical abuse, reducing the top end ban from 96 weeks. He was handed a sanction of 20 weeks, reduced to 10 given his clean disciplinary record and guilty plea.

Melrose docked points for prop error

Melrose have had a two-point deduction applied for failing to have sufficient front-row cover in the squad that faced Biggar on 22 October. This caused a problem when the tight-head was injured and the replacement was only experienced as a loose-head. The penalty means that the Borderers enter the New Year in third spot, with the gap to the leading two sides, Kelso and Ayr, now five points.

Heineken kick off move rejected

Castres coach Pierre-Henry Broncan hit out at the Heineken Champions Cup organisers, EPCR, after a request by the French team to move the kick-off time of their opening tie was rejected. Officials at the club, which is among Edinburgh’s Pool opponents, had asked to play the game against Exeter Chiefs at an alternative time to avoid a clash with the FIFA World Cup tie between France and England. However, the request was rejected and the game went ahead as scheduled, much to Broncan’s anger.

Falcons and Knights in Doddie funder

Newcastle Falcons and Southern Knights will play twice in February, with the proceeds of ticket sales going to the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation. The first match will take place at the Greenyards on 4th February, with the return game at Kingston Park a week later.

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Shake up for women’s league

Sale Sharks, Darlington Mowden Park, Wasps and Worcester have been dropped from the Women’s Premier 15s competition with effect from season 2023-24. The RFU decision to cull that quartet means that only eight teams have been guaranteed a spot. The final number will grow to ten, with Ealing and Leicester favourites to secure the remaining places.

Refs create global body

Match officials around the world have created a body that will represent their interests and provide support. International Rugby Match Officials (IRMO) aims to provide input into discussions on law changes and implementation, as well as promoting refereeing as a career choice. The new organisation will hold its first AGM in January and will elect Board members.

Griezmann shows his handling skills

France scrum-half Antoine Dupont offered his support to footballing compatriots ahead of their World Cup Final defeat against Argentina in Qatar. Dupont also praised Antoine Griezmann’s rugby skills after seeing the following clip, although the Toulouse No 9 is unlikely to feel that his place in the Six Nations squad is under threat.

The Offside Line’s End of Year Awards for 2022

About Colin Renton 281 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!

1 Comment

  1. Always felt he was right coach at wrong time…..had nothing to work with in backs but had forwards bullying others at set piece and contact area….he must find it weird that we pick dross like Harris when we have Bennett Scott Dean Hutchy Jones etc etc available n do everything we can to alienate Finn….

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