That was the month that was: June 2021

Colin Renton’s round-up of some of the more colourful stories during the last month from across the rugby world

Pure Sport CBD - suppliers of cannabis-based pain relief products, owned by Adam Ashe (pictured) and his fellow former Glasgow Warriors team-mate Grayson Hart - has gone from strength to strength in recent months. Image: © Craig Watson -
Pure Sport CBD - suppliers of cannabis-based pain relief products, owned by Adam Ashe (pictured) and his fellow former Glasgow Warriors team-mate Grayson Hart - has gone from strength to strength in recent months. Image: © Craig Watson -

Bayonne booted out of top tier

It is rumoured that he may now be London-bound to join Harlequins, but as it stands Huw Jones is on his way to play his rugby in the French second tier PROD2 next season, after Bayonne lost the promotion/relegation play-off in a penalty shoot out. Having finished second from bottom in the Top 14, Bayonne faced Basque rivals Biarritz – runners up to Perpignan in the play-off for the automatic promotion spot. A tense affair played in front of 5,000 supporters finished 3-3 after 80 minutes and was deadlocked at 6-6 after extra time. That meant a penalty showdown. Five players from each side had successful efforts on goal before a miss by Bayonne winger Aymeric Luc presented Steffon Armitage with the chance to secure the victory. The Englishman, the first forward to take a kick, banged over his effort to spark celebrations. While Jones will be plying his trade in the lower division after moving from Glasgow Warriors, former Scotland Under-20s skipper Andy Cramond – an absentee for the decisive match – will be operating at the top level as he continues his adventure with Biarritz.

Ex-Warriors duo see strong company growth

Pure Sport CBD, the company established in 2018 by Scotland internationals and former Glasgow Warriors colleagues Grayson Hart and Adam Ashe, has announced that is on track to achieve sales of more than £2 million for 2021. Aggressive expansion has been boosted by the appointment of ambassadors in diverse sports, including sprinter Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, bodybuilder Obi Vincent, and rugby players including Finn Russell, who is also an investor in the company. Pure Sport uses cannabis extracts to reduce the need for athletes to take painkillers. Its products are an effective, healthier alternative that carries no risk of failing a drugs test.

Forgetful Barnes gets Twitter warning

Polly, the wife of English referee Wayne Barnes, took to Twitter to warn her husband that he was in trouble for ‘forgetting’ to tell her he would be jetting off to South Africa. Barnes is one of three officials assigned to the British & Irish Lions’ tour matches. On discovering this, his wife tweeted:

Veteran scrum half hits milestone

Leicester Tigers scrum half Richard Wigglesworth achieved a feat that will take some beating when he came off the bench in the Gallagher Premiership match against Bristol Bears to make his 300th appearance in the English top tier. The 38-year-old, who has 33 England caps to his credit, achieved his tally through spells at Saracens, Sale Sharks and Tigers.

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Gauzere says au revoir

Pascal Gauzere took charge of his last match when he was in the middle for the British & Irish Lions clash against Japan at BT Murrayfield on Saturday. Gauzere made his first international appearance at the World Under-20 Championships in 2009. He attracted criticism earlier this year when he awarded Wales two controversial tries against England and later admitted that they should not have been given.

Scots out of contract

End of season arrivals and departures are gathering momentum. Several players who moved south after playing with Edinburgh are now looking for a new club. Scotland A lock Ollie Atkins is leaving Gloucester after a brief spell at the club. Darryl Marfo, is moving on from Leicester Tigers after a short-term deal came to an end without the prop making an appearance. Moving in the opposite direction is Juan Pablo Socino, who is joining Tigers from Saracens and will renew the centre partnership he had with Matt Scott while the pair played for Edinburgh. Meanwhile, scrum half Nic Groom has also completed a short-term loan stint and is one of nine men leaving London Irish.

Ireland heading for Olympic debut

Ireland will make their Olympic sevens debut in Tokyo after beating France in the final of the men’s Repechage tournament in Monaco to secure the 12th and final spot in a pool that includes South Africa, USA and Kenya for the tournament and which takes place from 26-31 July. Great Britain will join Fiji, Canada and Japan. France and Russia secured the two remaining places in the women’s competition, where Great Britain are drawn alongside New Zealand, Russia and Kenya.

Uganda captain goes missing

Uganda’s bid for a place at the Tokyo Olympics was derailed by a positive Covid test returned by a member of the group on arrival in Monaco where the qualifying repechage took place. The squad was forced to self isolate and the team withdrew from the competition after another positive test a few days later. The situation took a twist when Ugandan captain James Odongo left the team hotel during the isolation period and was reported to have gone missing. His whereabouts were still unknown when his colleagues made the return journey.

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Mane morale booster for youngsters

Liverpool footballer Sadio Mane used a trip home to Senegal to boost morale in the country’s Under-20s rugby squad ahead of the Africa Cup. Mane accepted an invitation to take part in a training session and motivate the youngsters ahead of their trip to Kenya for a tournament that also features Namibia, Madagascar, Tunisia, Zimbabwe, Côte d’Ivoire and Zambia.

DTH tops the charts stateside

Former Glasgow Warriors winger DTH van der Merwe shows no sign of losing his scoring touch. The Canadian international was the first player in this season’s Major League Rugby to reach a double-figure try tally. The 35-year-old, who is now starring for LA Giltinis, dotted down for the tenth time in the campaign in the 52-15 win over Houston Sabercats. He was joined on the score sheet by his former Warriors colleague Glenn Bryce who marked his return from injury when he sprinted over from long range for one of his side’s eight tries.

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About David Barnes 3821 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

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