That was the month that was: July 2023

Scotland Under-20s slip to 15th in the world and eighth in Europe, behind Georgia and Spain

Pietro Ceccarelli and Federico Ruzza were psyched up for Italy's World Cup warm-up match against Scotland at Murrayfield. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Pietro Ceccarelli and Federico Ruzza were psyched up for Italy's World Cup warm-up match against Scotland at Murrayfield. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

Simon crosses the Atlantic

Former Scotland age group coach Simon Cross has signed a three-year deal to lead Old Glory, the MLR franchise that is partly owned by Scottish Rugby. Cross, whose playing career included a spell with Wasps and Edinburgh, represented Scotland sevens before moving into coaching. While in charge at Edinburgh Accies, he also took the reins of the Scotland Under-20s side. He moved south of the border to take on the role of defence coach at Worcester Warriors then moved to a similar position with Dragons in the URC. He is a replacement at Old Glory for Josh Syms, the Kiwi who has moved to Zebre.


A Rae of French sunshine for D’Arcy

Scotland prop D’Arcy Rae has agreed a short-term deal with French Top 14 outfit, Montpellier. The 28-year-old who started out in the pro ranks at Glasgow Warriors, has also featured at Benetton and, latterly, Bath, who released him at the end of last season. Rae has signed as a ‘medical joker’ and will provide cover while the Georgian, Lasha Macharashvili, is out injured.


Youngsters slip further in global rankings

Scotland Under-20s’ win over Samoa at the World Junior Trophy competition means the national side now occupies 15th spot in the global rankings and eighth in Europe. That is likely to increase the debate over promotion and relegation in the Six Nations, particularly at age group level, with Georgia – the leading contenders for a Six Nations berth, currently eighth in world terms and fifth in the European standings.


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Matt adding gloss to Namibian effort

Matt Proudfoot, who won four caps for Scotland, has moved on after a short period as head coach of University of Stellenbosch and has taken on a new role helping Namibia in the run up to the World Cup. Proudfoot was part of the coaching set-up when the Springboks landed the Webb Ellis trophy four years ago. He became an assistant to Eddie Jones at England the following year and left after a short time as assistant to current incumbent Steve Borthwick. He then took up the Stellenbosch post but wasted no time in finding a new job after that position came to a premature end.


Crisis causing Cardiff cash conundrum

In a move that is being seen by supporters as further evidence of the Welsh Rugby Union’s financial plight, Cardiff Blues have been asked to move the date of the URC derby against Scarlets on December 2nd. The WRU wanted to use the Principality Stadium as the venue for a money-spinning English Premiership match between Bristol and Gloucester on the same day as the URC fixture scheduled for the Arms Park next door. Blues refused the request and negotiations are believed to be underway to play both matches at the Principality as a double-header.


Hastie hits the heights in Germany

Fraser Hastie, who played for Glasgow Hawks before spells in Super6 with Ayrshire Bulls and Heriot’s, has tasted trophy success with SC Frankfurt 1880. Hastie left Scotland earlier this year to take up a full-time contract with Frankfurt, who beat SC Neuenheim 30-16 on home turf in the play-off final to lift a third successive German title.


Cotter heads home

Vern Cotter has returned to his native New Zealand to take up the role of Blues head coach. The 61-year-old former Scotland coach recently stepped down after a spell in charge of Fiji. But Cotter, who also worked with Clermont Auvergne and Montpellier while living in Europe, was not idle for long. He has already started work ahead of next year’s Super Rugby Pacific campaign, and will be joined in the coaching set up by Jason O’Halloran, who fulfilled the same role while Cotter was at the helm of the Scotland side.


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The Eagle has flown

Samoa’s 40-strong World Cup training squad includes several players who have switched from other countries, reversing a trend of Pacific islanders being lured away. Among those swapping allegiance is prop Titi Lamositele, who was born in America and made 32 appearances for the US Eagles – the last at the 2019 World Cup – while playing for Saracens and Montpelier. The squad also includes 36-year-old Charlie Faumuina, Steven Luatua, and Lima Sopoaga, who have All Black caps to their credit, and ex-Wallaby Christian Leali’ifano.


A new home for Harley

Rob Harley will remain in France after agreeing terms with Colomiers. The 33-year-old Scot, who was capped 23 times while with Glasgow Warriors, moved to Carcassonne at the start of the season and made 27 appearances, including two as a substitute. However, the club’s relegation to the third tier of French rugby led to a series of departures, and Harley was released, despite having signed a two-year contract. He has now moved on a temporary deal to nearby Colomiers, a club that also features on the CV of former Warriors chief executive, Jonny Petrie.


The scrum-half now arriving on the global platform

Generally perceived as a man of few words, France captain Antoine Dupont will be heard by people across the country during the World Cup. Dupont will be the voice of the state-owned railway company, SNCF, announcing train departures and arrivals. He will also appear on the side of trains in hologram form.


RWC23: Scotland v France: “I’ve still got another two World Cups in me” – Finn Russell

About Colin Renton 288 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!