That was the month that was: November 2021

Colin Renton provides his monthly round-up of some of rugby stories from around the world which may have passed you by

Chris Paterson gives Duncan Weir some stick at Glasgow Warriors training. Image: © Craig Watson -
Chris Paterson gives Duncan Weir some stick at Glasgow Warriors training. Image: © Craig Watson -

Fans hear ref’s chat

There was no reason for supporters to complain that they didn’t understand the referee’s decisions in the recent Premiership Rugby Cup tie between Gloucester and Bath. The man in the middle was Anthony Woodthorpe, who used the Kingsholm Stadium public address system to explain TMO decisions. Previously, this type of explanation has only been possible for fans who have bought a radio that broadcasts discussions between players and officials. The trial was repeated in subsequent matches.

Scots thanked for kit gift

Key figures in the Scottish game received warm thanks from the Bolivian Rugby Federation for the gift of kit sent from Murrayfield. Mark Camburn, a Scot working in Bolivia tweeted his gratitude to Scottish Rugby, specifically national team head coach Gregor Townsend and national team manager David Edge, as well as Jeff Glekin, the British ambassador to Bolivia who co-ordinated the delivery.

Mathieu makes his mark at Brens

Brens Olympique, a side that competes in France’s Occitanie Regional League, has introduced a routine of playing an additional five minutes at the end of each match in order to allow a young man with autism to enjoy the game. The 32-year-old, referred to in French media only as Mathieu, and nicknamed The Thunderer by his team-mates, comes on at the end of 80 minutes and, with the agreement of the opposition, scores a try for Brens then takes the conversion.

Rainbow Laces campaign: ‘Rugby is a game for everybody to enjoy,’ says Musselburgh’s Colin Arthur  

Scotland to kick-off Six Nations with home clash against England

Edinburgh v Benetton: big names return to home squad for URC clash

Watkins’ career takes off

Former US sevens player Jessica Watkins has left the rugby field behind to become an astronaut and will spend an extended period at the International Space Station from next April. Watkins will be at the station for six months and will become the first black woman to do so.

Scottish Rugby seeking volunteer coaches

Scottish Rugby appears to be tightening the purse strings after the governing body advertised for age-grade coaches who will operate on a voluntary basis. The seven positions are for the FOSROC Scottish Rugby Academy covering the Borders and East Lothian at Under 16, Under 17 and Under 18 levels. Applicants must have a minimum of UKCC Level 2 or equivalent and experience of working with age grade players, as well as knowledge of Scottish Rugby’s Technical Blueprint. Meanwhile, a Tennent’s Premiership preview, presumably published on the website by someone in a paid position, featured a typo and three factual inaccuracies in the opening seven lines. Perhaps a volunteer proofreader is required.

Coaches keeping World Rugby busy

World Rugby has spent what seems to be a disproportionate amount of time and resources on dealing with the behaviour of coaches in recent weeks. First came a lengthy report on Rassie Erasmus, followed by news that the South African planned to appeal against the findings and then a change of heart that meant he accepted the punishment meted out. That was followed by a warning issued to Dave Rennie of Australia. The former Glasgow Warriors coach criticised the referee after the Wallabies lost to Wales. He subsequently apologised for the words he used but not for the sentiment of his comments.

Racist Rado gets the sack

French PRO D2 outfit Provence have sacked scrum-half Ludovic Radosavljevic for racially insulting an opponent. The player had already received an official ban of 26 weeks from the league’s disciplinary committee, meaning he would not have played again this season in any case. He has now switched to rugby league after signing for Avignon.


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Ashman recalled by Sharks

Just four days after announcing that rising star Ewan Ashman had agreed a loan deal with Glasgow Warriors, Sale Sharks were forced to recall the 21-year-old hooker because of an injury crisis. Ashman is needed as a replacement for Curtis Langdon, who is likely to be unavailable until late December as a result of a calf problem.

Mixed fortunes for Scots Barbarians

Ryan Wilson had his hopes of captaining the Barbarians shattered when the match with Manu Samoa at Twickenham was cancelled because of Covid. Rhona Lloyd, who is now playing in the French Elite Championship with Lionnes Stade Bordelais, showed her pace and finishing power with a try in the 60-5 win over South Africa in the women’s match.

Yuri calls it a day

Russia stand-off Yuri Kushnarev bowed out of international rugby after the autumn Test against Chile in Sochi. The 36-year-old earned the first of 120 caps 16 years ago and featured at two World Cups. That haul places him in the global top 20 for international appearances and meant that he lined up against Chile with a cap total that exceeded the combined tally of the rest of the Russian team. He will continue to play club rugby with Krasny Yar.

Sleepy Joe awake to Irish success

Among the many observers impressed by Ireland’s win over the All Blacks was Joe Biden. The US president, who has Irish ancestry, offered his good wishes in a letter to the IRFU, then followed up after the match with a congratulatory call that also featured his brother and sister.

Scots head south

Gordon Reid signed a short-term deal with Wasps. The 34-year-old international prop spent recent months with Marr in the Tennent’s Premiership. But he was lured back down south by an offer to provide injury cover Ben Harris and Tom West. Reid links up with fellow Scot Robin Hislop, who joined the club at the start of the season. Elsewhere, Roan Frostwick has signed a loan deal with English Championship outfit Ampthill. The 21-year-old scrum half, who is attached to the Edinburgh Rugby Academy, played for Watsonians in the FOSROC Super6 competition and latterly appeared for Marr in the Tennent’s Premiership. He started playing the game at North Berwick and also had a spell at Currie Chieftains.

Rainbow Laces campaign: ‘Rugby is a game for everybody to enjoy,’ says Musselburgh’s Colin Arthur  

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!


  1. So we can fund several overseas signings for Glasgow and Edinburgh and are ready to expand the Super competition which will have significant travel costs. To be met so we are informed by Scottish Rugby.

    But can’t fund coaches for a number of Academy teams. Some confused priorities there.

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