That was the month that was: March 2023

Cotter linked to return to France, second-rows on the move, Gordon Ross takes a new job and Ayr congratulate former player on All Blacks appointment

Former Scotland Under-20s star Ewan Johnson is on the move in France. Image: ©Craig Watson
Former Scotland Under-20s star Ewan Johnson is on the move in France. Image: ©Craig Watson

Georgians continue second-tier dominance

Georgia secured the Rugby Europe title for a sixth time with a 38-11 win over Portugal in the play-off final on neutral territory in Spain. The champions were given a stern test, leading only 12-11 at half time before kicking on in the second period to clinch the victory. Romania edged out Spain 31-25 in a tense bronze medal decider.

Teri table-toppers catch the eye

The performances of two Hawick players who contributed to the club’s Tennent’s Premiership title triumph attracted attention from just over the border. Jae Linton and Ethan Reilly played as guests for Newcastle Falcons in a friendly against Ayrshire Bulls, showing up well in the 36-28 win.

Cotter a target for Catalan club

Former Scotland coach Vern Cotter could be heading back to Europe for his next assignment. The Kiwi, who stepped down as coach of Fiji in February, had spells in France either side of his period at Murrayfield. And rumours across the Channel suggest that he is a target for Perpignan. Should he take up the job there, it will be his third French coaching post, having also worked at Clermont Auvergne and Montpellier.

Edinburgh sign Scotland scrum-half Scott Steele

George Horne agrees contract extension with Glasgow

‘Flock to the Show’ art installation will add extra colour to Melrose Sevens weekend

Six Nations boosts Murrayfield coffers

Scotland’s prize money for finishing third in the Guinness Six Nations boosted Scottish Rugby’s bank balance to the tune of £2.5 million. Grand Slammers Ireland earned £6 million, a substantial amount relative to the £3.5 million paid out to runners-up France, while basement side Italy landed a cheque for £1 million according to figures published by various media.

Talent role for Ross

Former Scotland stand-off Gordon Ross continues to work with player development after taking on the Head of Academy Pathway and Talent Development role at Coventry. Ross earned 25 caps in a career that included spells at Heriot’s, Edinburgh, Leeds, Castres, Saracens and London Welsh before moving into coaching where he previously worked with youngsters at Worcester Warriors and Dragons.

Locks are key signings for ambitious clubs

Glasgow Warriors lock, Lewis Bean, is expected to leave the Scotstoun outfit to join Montauban. The 31-year-old has spent three years with Warriors. Meanwhile, ex-Edinburgh second row Anton Bresler has signed for Vannes. Since leaving Scotland, the 35-year-old has had spells at Worcester Warriors and Racing 92. He will move to Brittany as a replacement for Scotland under-20 international Ewan Johnson who will take on a new challenge next season. The 23-year-old has turned down a contract extension at Vannes to join Oyonnax, who currently sit at the summit of PRO D2, meaning a step up to Top 14 rugby is increasingly likely. Meanwhile, 23-year-old Cameron Henderson, a member of Gregor Townsend’s Guinness Six Nations squad, has signed a contract extension with Leicester Tigers.

Wales aiming to overhaul board

Welsh clubs voted for an overhaul of governance structures by passing a special resolution which will lead to an increased of independent non-executive directors on the board, including the position of chair. Among the aims is an attempt to have at least five directors who are women.

Blackburn post record win

Promotion chasing Blackburn chalked up a thumping 190-0 win at home to already-relegated Kirkby Lonsdale in English Northern Regional One North West. The hosts bagged 30 tries and 20 conversions to boost their points difference. However, it was not enough to land the title, with Lymm holding off Blackburn’s challenge to secure the silverware. The score was a British record and fell just short of the world best set in Denmark in 1973 when Comet, a club that no longer exists, beat Lindo 194-0.

Graham flies the Falcons nest

Gary Graham will join French PRO D2 outfit Carcassonne next season. The 30-year-old flanker, who has spent the past six seasons with Newcastle Falcons and has four Scotland caps to his credit, will link up at his new club with another international back-row, Rob Harley.

Global contest under discussion

Media reports suggest that moves are afoot to create a global international league that will pitch the best teams in the Southern and Northern hemisphere against each other on a bi-annual basis. The Daily Telegraph suggested that discussions are underway to create a league structure that will comprise two groups of six teams from each hemisphere, with the leading two going head-to-head to decide the title. The fixtures are set to take place in July and November, starting in 2026, and will have a facility for promotion and relegation.

Kiwi coach recalls Ayr sojourn

Scott Robertson will take up the post of All Blacks coach in 2024. The 48-year-old’s appointment was a good reason for Ayr to remember the time he spent at Millbrae, and as evidence, the club posted the following video excerpt:


About Colin Renton 292 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!