That was the month that was: January 2023

Byron McGuigan eyes Namibia switch, Adam Ashe heads back to the States and Liberton Ladies find a new home

Could Byron McGuigan end up playing for Namibia at the World Cup later this year? Image: © Craig Watson -
Could Byron McGuigan end up playing for Namibia at the World Cup later this year? Image: © Craig Watson -

Liberton Ladies offered a new home

A new ladies team at Leith Rugby Club has delivered positive news for members of Liberton, whose women’s side was disbanded. Jess Sandham, captain of the women’s team claimed that players had been subjected to racist and homophobic abuse in the Liberton clubhouse and had raised the issues in the past. No action was taken by the club and, in January, the committee made the decision to disband the women’s section, stating that it was unable to support the additional needs this entailed. Leith moved quickly to create a side that offers a new home for some of the displaced players, including Sandham, who has been appointed captain. Leith already has successful age group sides for girls.

Ashe heading back to MLR

Former Scotland back-row Adam Ashe has returned to America to take up a position as forwards coach at Major League outfit Chicago Hounds. The 29-year-old retired as a player last summer as a result of a neck injury. Ashe came through the ranks at Hillfoots, Stirling County and Ayr before joining Glasgow Warriors then spending the final season of his playing career with LA Giltinis. He was latterly assistant coach at the Stirling Wolves Super6 team.

McGuigan could feature at World Cup

It may be three years since Byron McGuigan won the last of 10 Scotland caps, but the 33-year-old is contemplating the possibility of appearing at the World Cup in France this year. McGuigan is now on the radar of his native Namibia, who will face France, New Zealand, Italy and Uruguay. He will qualify for Namibia in February and could make his debut against Italy, the nation that provided the opposition for his final Scotland appearance in 2020.

Glen Tippett leaves Ayrshire Bulls to take up commercial role with Glasgow Warriors

Cattigan family direct a forceful reminder at Scottish Rugby

2022-23 Premiership Leaderboard – after 17ish rounds

Bears pay the price for registration error

Bristol Bears suffered a hefty punishment for breaching the rules of the EPCR Challenge Cup. The club had five match points deducted and received a €10,000 fine suspended to the end of the 2023-24 season after naming an ineligible player for the opening two matches of the competition. Elliott Stooke, who had been made redundant by Wasps, was properly registered as an additional player for Bears and satisfied the requirement of having signed a contract of at least three months. However, he received an offer to sign for French outfit Montpellier within the three-month period, meaning the club had inadvertently broken the tournament rules.

Dallaglio charity targets excluded youngsters

Former England captain Lawrence Dallaglio has set an ambitious target for his charity, RugbyWorks, to work with more than 7,000 young people over the next five years. Dallaglio launched the charity to use teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship to support those who have been excluded from education, with the longer-term goal of helping them find a place in employment, education or training.

White takes time out to recover

Bulls coach Jake White is recuperating following abdominal surgery after becoming unwell during his side’s URC match away to the Dragons. On his return to Pretoria, White was admitted to hospital where he underwent a stomach operation. He will be out of action until early February, with backs coach Chris Rossouw taking charge in the meantime.

Lightning strike produces record-breaking try

Scotland international Helen Nelson had a key role to play as Loughborough Lightning No 8 Daisy Hibbert-Jones scored what is believed to be the world’s fastest try. According to the Linebreak Rugby Twitter account, the 20-year-old’s touchdown after seven seconds against her former club Sale Sharks appears to have beaten the previous best. She raced onto Nelson’s kick off and profited from a fumble by the opposition to score.

Rees-Zammit attracts NFL attention

Louis Rees-Zammit is the latest rugby union player to hit the radar of NFL scouts. The Gloucester and Wales winger caught the eye when he spent last summer at the Triple H Tackling Academy in Atlanta, where he worked on his leg speed. He is believed to be out of contract at Kingsholm this summer, fuelling speculation that he may be lured across the Atlantic.

Warriors women secure their future

While work continues towards rescuing Worcester Warriors from the financial meltdown that cost the club its place in the Gallagher Premiership, the women’s team has had its future secured. Warriors women have entered a partnership with Cube International for the next 10 years. The deal depends on the club securing a place in the Allianz Premier 15s.

North Berwick mourns founder member

Members of North Berwick have paid tribute to Andrew Combe, a founder and the first captain of the club in 1952, who has died at the age of 92. During his rugby career, he also played for East Lothian Schools and Haddington.

Scots enjoy Catalan hero status

Scots who made the trip to Stade Aime Giral to watch Glasgow Warriors beat Perpignan in the European Challenge Cup will have noticed some familiar faces in the montage around the stadium showing some of the French club’s greatest moments. Chris Cusiter and Nathan Hines featured in several images dating back to 2009 when the club won the Top 14 title. And Al Strokosch – now Scotland Under-20s strength and condition coach – was prominent in several of the photographs.

Shot clock trial in Premiership

A trial in the Gallagher Premiership used a countdown clock to time kicks at goal in an attempt to speed up the game and improve the spectator experience. The shot clock ticked down from 60 seconds for a penalty and 90 seconds for a conversion, and in some cases appeared on a big screen. If deemed a success, the addition could become permanent.

Glen Tippett leaves Ayrshire Bulls to take up commercial role with Glasgow Warriors

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!


    • Think that Leslie still holds the record for fastest international try, quoted at 10seconds….

      So if 7, then it may be fastest, but the club game worldwide is extensive so there could be quite a few I’m guessing…

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