That was the month that was: September 2021

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

Former Australia wing Nick Cummins rescuing a sheep.
Former Australia wing Nick Cummins rescuing a sheep.

Luca heads for father’s homeland

Scotland age group international Luca Alessandri has left Cartha Queens Park for a season in Italy. The 20-year-old prop will play for Serie A club Borsari Rugby Badia. Alessandri, who started out at Cambuslang before joining Cartha when he was 10, is relishing the opportunity to play in the country where his father was born and where he still has family.

World Rugby looking to boost revenues

World Rugby has appointed a chief revenue and fan engagement officer, whose task is to exploit new revenue streams while making rugby accessible for more people. Richard Heaselgrave, who has previously worked for the National Basketball Association (NBA), English Football League (EFL) and Australian Tennis, will be responsible for World Rugby’s commercial, broadcast, marketing and digital activities.

Mixed response for World 12 plan

Plans to introduce a 12-a-side tournament in England next year have received a mixed response. The competition’s organisers plan to involve 192 players from tier one and tier two nations to compete in eight franchises. Squads will be chosen by auction and the competition will be played on a round-robin basis over three weekends. The organisation committee features Ian Ritchie, Gareth Davies and Steve Tew, who were previously executives with the England, Wales and New Zealand federations respectively. A women’s tournament is planned for 2023.

Sebastian Cancelliere among Argentinean squad members banned from Rugby Championship

Super6: top two clash at Millbrae with play-off qualification up for grabs

Schools/Youth Rugby: Positive start to season as GHA look to recapture pre-pandemic form

The Guy with the rugby-themed hotel

There’s a new destination for anyone who fancies a pint or a meal in a rugby museum and a trawl through memorabilia including sculptures in the gardens, a replica of the Bouclier de Brennus French Championship shield, 180 shirts worn by global stars over the past five decades, replica trophies and iconic photographs. A themed Ibis Styles hotel has opened in Castelnaudary, an hour outside Toulouse. It’s the brainchild of Guy Spanghero, one of six brothers who played for the RC Narbonne club – Walter and Claude represented France.

Players urged to get vaccinated

The Professional Game Board in England has taken steps to encourage players and staff to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Clubs are permitted to adopt less stringent measures in their daily operations once they reach a threshold of 85% of employees who have been vaccinated. At that point, social distancing will no longer be essential and masks will only be necessary in the medical room, although they are still recommended. Testing requirements are unchanged, with a minimum level of two per week.

Sheen shines in promotional video

As club rugby resumed in Wales, the people of Aberavon were urged to support their local club. Nothing new in that, except that the promotional three-minute video was a heartfelt plea from a high profile supporter. The moving words of the actor Michael Sheen imploring locals to attend ‘The Cauldron’ have been backed up by a good start to the season, with wins over Llanelli and Swansea leaving Aberavon top of the Indigo Premiership Cup West table at the end of September.

Nico settling in to new surroundings

Former Glasgow Warriors favourite Nico Matawalu is now wowing a new audience in France and he endeared himself to Montauban supporters with a try in the 37-11 win over Beziers. Montauban, whose former players include former Scotland lock Scott Murray – who also coached at the club – ended September occupying fourth spot in the ProD2 table, with four wins from five matches.

Jamaica makes sevens history

Fijian sevens legend Waisale Serevi helped Jamaica create a piece of history at the HSBC Vancouver tournament in Canada. Serevi was involved in preparing the side that recorded a first ever win when they beat Chile 10-5 on the way to a 10th place finish. Jamaica’s pool matches included a 24-5 loss against eventual third-place finishers Great Britain, who had a strong Scottish representation, with Jamie Farndale, Paddy Kelly, Robbie Fergusson, Freddie Roddick and Ross McCann all involved.

Long ban for Ludo

Provence scrum-half Ludovic Radosavljevic has been suspended for 26 matches spanning seven-and-a-half months by the French disciplinary commission for making racist comments to Christian Ambadiang of Nevers. The entry point for the offence is a 52 week suspension, but this was reduced after he admitted the offence, apologised immediately after the game and on social media, and after taking the 32-year-old’s clean disciplinary record into account.

Rhona ready French challenge

Scotland winger Rhona Lloyd has signed up for a new challenge by switching from Loughborough Lightning to French club Bordeaux Lionesses. The 24-year-old features in a rebuilt squad that has 18 new signings as the club steps up its bid to challenge for honours. Renowned for a searing turn of pace, Lloyd has been a regular in the Scottish squad since making her debut in 2016, and is also a sevens international.

Honey Baaadger to the rescue

Former international winger Nick Cummins is a cult figure in Australia, where his post-match comments, his larger-than-life personality and his laid-back approach to life have made him a character worth watching. A recent contribution to social media provided further evidence that Cummins has not lost the ability to tackle a livewire opponent:

Super6: top two clash at Millbrae with play-off qualification up for grabs

About Colin Renton 288 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!