That was the month that was: October 2022

International call-ups and snubs, plus clubs in trouble both sides of the Atlantic and Ukraine return to action

Finn Russell
Finn Russell is set to leave Racing 92 and sign for Bath. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

by COLIN RENTON

Russell data showing good form

Finn Russell’s exclusion from the Scotland squad elicited mixed views in Scotland. The respected website www.statsperform.com also showed a balance of good and bad, although most of the news was positive for the 30-year-old Racing 92 man. The numbers, covering the current Rugby World Cup cycle, showed that, among Tier 1 players, Russell has the best combined output in terms of try assists and break assists. That places him ahead of French pair, Antoine Dupont and Matthieu Jalabert, with Irish duo, Jamison Gibson-Park and Johnny Sexton completing the top five. However, Russell also conceded more turnovers than the others during the same period.


Selkirk star back in Pole position

Zenon Szwagrzak has been named in the Poland training squad, showing that playing in the Tennent’s Premiership is no handicap to his international aspirations. The Selkirk prop linked up with his colleagues for a camp in Wales, which includes matches against Cross Keys and Cardiff Metropolitan University. The get together is the first step towards the Rugby Europe Championship which kicks off in February.


Mental coach takes up SRU role

Aaron Walsh, a mental skills coach with the Chiefs in New Zealand has been appointed by Scottish Rugby on a 12-month agreement. But his arrival was not without its difficulties after he apparently acted prematurely in making the news public. Walsh tweeted that he had been appointed to the role then deleted the tweet before deleting the tweet that said he had deleted the first message. However, he was eventually confirmed in the post and made the trip to Edinburgh in time to attend the match against Australia.


Exiles ditch Super8 plans

A piece of news that may have slipped under the radar was the decision made a couple of months ago by London Scottish not to pursue the possibility of playing in an extended Super8 tournament. The club had previously indicated that it had been offered a place. However, the minutes of a summer meeting were recently published ahead of the AGM and this noted that the option to participate will not be pursued, with the club’s focus remaining on the English leagues and its new “strategic partnership” with nearby Harlequins.


International call-up for big Brian

Former Glasgow Warriors lock Brian Alainu’uese has broken through into international rugby after being named in the Samoa squad for their autumn tour of Europe. The 28-year=old could make his debut against Italy in Padua on 5th November. Samoa’s other opponents over the coming weeks are Georgia and Romania.


Premiership Dream Team for weekend of 29th October

Jack Dempsey ready to repay Scottish rugby for resurrecting his career

Squads for Under-19 1872 Cup clash announced


RFU criticised for hijacking video

The RFU has attracted some less than favourable news reporting over recent months, with bonuses for the England women’s team and apparent inaction over the bankruptcy of clubs topping the list of criticisms. The governing body also attracted some negative reaction from a media company that provides coverage of school rugby. Via its Twitter account, @NextGenXV took aim, alleging that the RFU had hijacked a video and removed the company’s logo before passing off the work as its own.


MLR axes two teams

Major League Rugby in the US has dropped two of the teams that contested the most recent championship. Both Austin Gilgronis and Los Angeles Giltinis have been excluded for the new season because of uncertainty over ownership. One new team will be added, with Chicago apparently leading the way, leaving Eastern and Western Conferences each featuring six sides for a programme that will incorporate 16 matches and a play-off phase. Among the players who have played for Giltinis in recent years are Scotland cap Adam Ashe and his fellow ex-Glasgow Warriors Djustice Sears-Duru and DTH van der Merwe.


Scots saved from Premiership wreckage

Former Edinburgh prop Robin Hislop has returned to Saracens on a short-term contract after losing his job at Wasps when the club went into administration. The 30-year=old had a loan spell with Sarries in 2020, having played for Rotherham and Doncaster Knights after leaving Edinburgh. Meanwhile, another victim of the Wasps situation, ex-Glasgow lock Kiran McDonald, has also secured his immediate future after joining Munster for three months. Both clubs have seen positive progress in attempts to rescue them.


All Blacks under fire for fixture clash

New Zealand Rugby came under fire for arranging the match between the All Blacks and Japan in Tokyo at the same time as the country’s women went head to head with Wales in the World Cup quarter final. Critics of the decision pointed to the fact that the World Cup schedule had been confirmed several months ago and that, provided they made it out of the qualifying group, the women’s Black Ferns team, as tournament hosts, knew they would be playing at that time.


Ukraine return to the international arena

Almost a year after their most recent international outing, Ukraine’s men returned to action when they travelled to Zagreb for a match against Croatia in the Rugby Europe Trophy. With several players unavailable as a result of serving in the army, Ukraine fielded an inexperienced side, but still had enough to post a 27-22 win. Selectors had to obtain permission from President Zelenskyy to allow the team to leave the country. The squad also had help with coaching from Englishman Grant Hathaway, and the Penguin Rugby charity which provided financial backing for the trip.


Premiership Dream Team for weekend of 29th October

About Colin Renton 235 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!

3 Comments

  1. Toony has a Life of Brian mindset, Finns not the messiah, he’s a very naughty boy. Its clear from the data that the issue was not his form. I thought LS would do well this year, they looked decent against Edinburgh but their season to date has been a washout. Some great snippets in the rest of the article.

    • Like you I just don’t understand how a Club like Scottish appears to have no direction or affiliations to the SRU. Last season a win a draw and 18 lost and this season despite connections to Harlequins they are on the bottom having lost every game, although I think someone mentioned most of the side that came up to Edinburgh were ‘borrowed’ for the day, but I’ve no idea if that was a fact. Very sad.

  2. Interesting statistics regarding Russell especially looking at his peers on the list. And then there is London Scottish, week in week out I check out the Greene King Championship for the teams that I have an interest in, that on average gives me a 50% satisfaction rate based on the fact that Ealing are as has been the case for the past few seasons at the top but unfortunately Scottish are at the bottom.

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