That was the month that was: June 2023

Colin Renton reports on Premier 15s runners-up, Sam Johnson on the move and Stevie Scott and Andy Robinson reunited

Sam Johnson has moved to Brive after leaving Glasgow Warriors. Image: © Craig Watson -
Sam Johnson has moved to Brive after leaving Glasgow Warriors. Image: © Craig Watson -

Silver for Scots in Premier 15s

Scotland hooker Eilidh Sinclair and her Exeter Chiefs colleagues – including fellow Scot, Mairi McDonald, who started on the bench – had to settle for runners up medals in the final of the Premier 15s after going down 34-19 to Gloucester-Hartpury.

Johnson set to boost Brive bounce back bid  

Scotland centre Sam Johnson has penned a two-year deal with Brive. He is among 11 new signings at the club, which is looking to bounce back instantly after suffering relegation from the Top 14. Among the other new arrivals is another player with URC experience in the shape of Welsh back row Ross Moriarty, who joins from Newport Gwent Dragons.

Return of a convicted drugs cheat  

Springbok winger Aphiwe Dyantyi is returning to professional rugby after serving a four-year doping ban. The 28-year-old, who has 13 international caps, tested positive for banned substances during a training camp with the South African squad in 2019. He has signed for the Sharks and will feature in the URC and Champions Cup after his suspension ends on August 12.

Russell signs off with tidy points haul

Finn Russell ended his final season with Racing 92 as second top points scorer in the Top 14. The Bath-bound Scot scored 235 points in 20 matches, leaving him 10 points behind leading marksman Joris Segonds, who featured 23 times for Racing’s Parisian rivals Stade Francais.

Scots seek new challenges south of the border

Edinburgh’s Scottish-qualified prop Harrison Courtney – who has been a regular in the Watsonians Super6 side – has agreed terms with Doncaster Knights, while Southern Knights scrum half Callum Davidson joins Darlington Mowden Park where he will come under the coaching eye of Garry Law, who started out at Hawick before a professional career that featured spells in Scotland, Italy and England, and is now director of rugby at Darlington. Meanwhile, Scotland age group cap Cameron Anderson has signed for Harlequins. The 23-year-old joins from London Scottish, where he has played this season after spending four years at Wasps, initially as a member of the club’s academy.

Exiles close to resolving futures

The demise of London Irish cast uncertainty over the future for all of the club’s players and staff. Among those who have managed to find alternatives are Scotland scrum half Ben White, who has reportedly agreed to join Toulon providing contract details can be ironed out, Logan Trotter, who is understood to be set for a return to Glasgow Warriors, and former Edinburgh hooker Mike Willemse, who has signed for Ealing Trailfinders.

Scott and Robinson reunited

Stevie Scott, who announced his departure from the Watsonians Super6 outfit after a brief period at the helm, will renew his links with former Scotland coach Andy Robinson at Bath. The pair were coaching colleagues with the Romanian national side, where Robinson was the senior man. Scott will be scrum coach and Robinson will be in charge of contact, as well as heading up the club’s academy, with Johann van Graan continuing as overall head of rugby.

Haouas dropped from French squad

France coach Fabien Galthie omitted Mohammed Haouas from his World Cup training squad after the Montpellier prop was found guilty of domestic violence. Haouas, who has credited former Scotland coach Vern Cotter with helping him to build a rugby career after a youth in which he was involved in gangs, will still join Clermont Auvergne after a tribunal rejected the club’s attempt to withdraw its contract offer.

Kleyn cleared to play for Springboks  

World Rugby has cleared Jean Kleyn to play for the Springboks under the game’s new eligibility rules which allow players to switch countries after three years, provided there is clear evidence that they satisfy birthright requirements. The Munster lock was born in Johannesburg and played for Stormers and Western Province before moving to Ireland in 2016.  He has earned five Irish caps after qualifying on residence grounds but has now been named in the Springboks squad for the Rugby Championship.

Macron crashes the Toulouse party

Never shy when it comes to grasping a photo opportunity, French president Emmanuel Macron talked his way into the Toulouse changing room at the Stade de France to join the Top 14 winners as they celebrated a record 22nd title victory following a tense final against La Rochelle. Macron was filmed downing a bottle of beer, known in French as a ‘cul sec’. It earned him criticism from a doctor who accused him of hypocrisy over his criticism of binge drinking. Other observers were negative only on the pace at which he despatched the beer.


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!

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