That was the month that was: June 2024

Leone Nakarawa loses unfair dismissal case and Namibian player receives lifetime ban for referee attack

Greig Laidlaw caught up with his cousin and Hurricanes coach Clark. Image: Hurricanes X account
Greig Laidlaw caught up with his cousin and Hurricanes coach Clark. Image: Hurricanes X accountImage: X

by COLIN RENTON


Laidlaw’s men bound for Japanese top tier

Greig Laidlaw’s D-Rocks team will play in the Japanese top flight next season after posting a win in a promotion/relegation play-off against Kintetsu Liners. As they had done the previous season, D-Rocks lifted the title in the second-tier competition to secure a place in the two-leg showdown with the Liners, who had survived after winning the decider 12 months earlier. This time, D-Rocks – which was formed from a merger of the Shining Arcs and Red Hurricanes – chalked up a 21-12 win at home before clinching the honours overall with a 35-30 success in the return leg. After that victory, Laidlaw who is an assistant to head coach Johan Ackerman, found time to visit his cousin Clark, who is now in charge at Hurricanes in New Zealand. Meanwhile, Todd Blackadder, who played and coached at Edinburgh, led Toshiba Brave Lupus to the Japanese title with a 25-20 win over Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights 25-20 in front of a crowd of 57000 in Tokyo.


Promotion returns to English Premiership

The RFU has announced plans to reintroduce promotion to the Gallagher Premiership, which will be a two-legged play-off between the team occupying the bottom slot in the top flight and the winners of the Championship. Saracens were demoted in 2020 after a points deduction for breaching the salary cap, while Worcester Warriors and Wasps were automatically relegated last season after they entered administration. However, no club was demoted in the most recent season. In order to secure promotion, the Championship winners must comply with minimum standards criteria such as stadium capacity.


Same again for Euro guests

The Georgian side, Black Lion, and the South African outfit, Toyota Chetahs, will again play in the EPCR Challenge Cup next season. Both made their debuts in the most recent tournament, with the Georgians – who have former Edinburgh coach, Richard Cockerill, at the helm – creating a buzz with an away win over Scarlets. Cheetahs, who will play home matches in Amsterdam, reached the knockout stage of the competition in each of the past two years.


Ewan Johnson: made in France but fiercely Scottish

Scottish Rugby staff start to feel the squeeze

Broadcast details for Scotland’s summer tour announced


Honour for Bob

Bob Easson, one of Scotland’s most respected coaches, was awarded a British Empire Medal in the King’s Birthday Honours list. For more than half a century, Easson has been involved in the game at club, district, professional and international age-group levels, and was also manager for the Scottish Institute of Sport’s rugby programme, as well as working with athletes in other sports. The 77-year-old became an honorary life member of Edinburgh Accies in 2022.


Finlay named among Olympic whistlers

As already reported by The Offside Line, Lisa Thomson is the lone Scot in the Great Britain sevens squad for the Olympic Games in Paris under coaches Ciaran Beattie and Scott Riddell. However, there will be further Scottish representation with referee Finlay Brown among the 11 match officials for the women’s competition.


More funding cuts for Welsh sides

The Welsh Rugby Union recorded an annual deficit of £15 million and revealed a £35 million funding gap for the next five years that threatens the four regional teams. Having had financial support reduced last year, Cardiff, Dragons, Ospreys and Scarlets have all suffered further cuts, taking their payments to £4.5 million for the upcoming season and meaning they must find additional sources of finance to cover a shortfall estimated at £2 million each. This situation has exacerbated major concerns over the state of the game in Wales. Three of the sides ended the most recent campaign in the URC’s bottom five, while the national men’s and women’s teams collected Six Nations wooden spoons.



Nakarawa loses appeal

Former Glasgow Warriors lock Leone Nakarawa has lost his case against Racing 92 for unfair dismissal. The Fijian was sacked in 2019 for returning two weeks late after a post-world cup break, missing the Paris derby against Stade Francais as a result. He sought compensation of €1 million but lost the original court case. He launched an appeal, claiming that he had verbal authorisation to return late. However, the court returned the same verdict as the original case, bringing the matter to an end. Nakarawa is currently playing for Castres Olympique and recently signed a contract extension that will keep him at the club until 2026. He showed his finishing power past some unconventional and ineffective tackling from Camille Lopez to claim the first Castres try in their league win over Bayonne, although the club was pipped in the race for a play-off spot by … Racing 92.


Lifetime ban for referee assault

The Namibia Rugby Union has imposed a lifetime ban on a player who attacked a referee during a match. Grootfontein winger Mischael Marais tackled referee Oscar Lambert during a Namibian premier league match against Reho Falcon. Lambert red-carded the player and halted the game after the incident. In addition to the playing ban, Marais has been suspended from all involvement in rugby until May 2027.


Kinghorn helps seal Toulouse double

Blair Kinghorn scored the sixth of Toulouse’s nine tries in a 59-3 demolition of Bordeaux-Begles in the French Top 14 play-off final at Stade Velodrome, Marseille, on Friday night. The 27-year-old, who completed a mid-season move from Edinburgh to Toulouse in November, was also at the heart of his new club’s EPCR Champions Cup final success over Leinster at the end of last month, kicking 12 of his team’s 31 points in that match. Vindication – if any was needed – of the wisdom of his decision to step out of the comfort zone of playing for his hometown club to challenge himself in a new environment.

Meanwhile, former Glasgow Warriors players Oli Kebble and Tom Gordon have signed for Oyannax and Newcastle Falcons, respectively.


Help tell the story of Murrayfield’s 100 years as the home of Scottish rugby

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!

6 Comments

  1. Could almost be time for a review of the year, but I’ll stick with June. Did not Glasgow just win the URC for the 1st time in 9 years, think that was the month for me, still smiling. Delighted for Kinghorn he has been brought in to a team that just won the EPCR final and the top 14 final and never looked out of place and who would not want to play in the same team as Mr Dupont. A sad adieu to those retirees from the game Fraser Brown , Sean Maitland, and a welcome return to Stuart Hogg??. Roll on next year and a decent performance in the EPCR from Glasgow and some improvement from Edinburgh please.

  2. Kinghorn’s decision to go to France has been entirely vindicated. I do wonder if it will cause some disquiet within the remainder of the Edinburgh squad who might fancy the money and opportunities available in France.

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    • I hope it potentially leads to a few players from both Edinburgh and Glasgow getting the opportunity to head to France. Out the SRU comfortzone and stepping up to a new level.

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      • I hope it wakes up the SRU to realising that there is definitely something amiss with Scottish mindset, probably especially so with Edinburgh. Kinghorn has done really well to slot into the top team in Europe half way through a season and shown what quality he really has. Not sure why the Scottish set-up doesn’t seem to engage in the same way. Really hope we can develop a real hard edge in the national team which means we can put to bed a number of matches that recently we’ve done our best to gift to the opposition.

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    • I would like more of our players to test themselves out with Scotland. I have no doubt most will flourish and if will open the doors for young players to get an opportunity if they’re good enough.

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