With the festive season in full swing we bring you a tale about a rugby club – Leith RFC- who are standing up for what they believe is right and doing their bit for their community. Leith RFC are from a coastal village in the east of Scotland, just north of Edinburgh, who play in the East League Championship. In a statement released by the players on Friday they confirm they are going ahead and honouring a commitment they have made even if it will cost them from a rugby point of view, as they face a points deduction in their league.
Leith Rugby club are supporting Bethany Christian Trust’s Caring Christmas Tree Project, which raises money for Edinburgh’s Winter Care Shelter, giving homeless people in our community an opportunity to come in from the cold this Christmas. As well as promoting the project, we the playing squad volunteered to sell Christmas trees pre-ordered from the Caring Christmas tree website, at Ocean Terminal this Saturday 20th December, the last shopping Saturday before Christmas.
Unfortunately due to inclement weather, our fixture with Forrester RFC was postponed last weekend (13th), and rescheduled for this coming Saturday (20th), one of the standby dates in East League 2. It was, and is our error as a club that we did not initiate a dispensation request at the point of arranging to volunteer on the 20th, it being an published standby date for postponed fixtures. Our request for dispensation, made on Monday was rejected by the East Region Championship Committee, and we have been instructed to fulfil the fixture against possible sanction, normally a 2-point deduction, should we refuse.
New Zealand and their All Blacks will lose a large number of experienced campaigners and key players after the 2015 Rugby World Cup, next year.
This was highlited due to the announcement this week by Dan Carter that he’ll be joining French Top 14 club Racing Metro after the Rugby World Cup next year, in England and Wales.
Carter, 32, signed a three-year deal with the Paris-based club which will basically mean the end of his All Black career.
However, Carter may not be the only one to leave New Zealand shores.
It appears that captain Richie McCaw, midfielders Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith, veteran front-rowers Tony Woodcock and Keven Mealamu, loose forwards Jerome Kaino and Liam Messam and even Ben Franks, Cory Jane and Charlie Faumuina could also be considering high-paying, late-career stints overseas.
Sam Hidalgo-Clyne showed his promise in an Edinburgh shirt from minute one as he scored his first Guinness PRO12 try for the club in a thumping 48-0 victory over Treviso.
The 21-year-old, who has featured predominantly off the bench for Edinburgh this season, went over inside a minute, with Mike Coman, WP Nel, Grayson Hart, Roddy Grant and Dave Denton also touching down in the bonus-point win.
Treviso finished the game with 14 men after Romulo Acosta was shown a straight Red Card for punching, while the result means they are still without a win in this season’s competition.
Zane Kirchener’s late try at the RDS Arena made sure Leinster got revenge for their early season defeat to Connacht with a 21/11 win in the Guinness PRO12 last night.
Leinster – who were beaten 10-9 at the Sportsground on the opening day of the season – were in control from the off but struggled to kill off a spirited Connacht side who made the home team sweat.
The hosts went into the final stages ahead but a late try from George Naoupu moved the visitors to within three points, setting up a nervy finish.
But Kirchner showed quick thinking to steal in and dot down with moments left to ensure Leinster picked up their sixth win of the season.
Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika is unfazed about a possible mass exodus of players after next year’s World Cup, following the departures of veterans James Horwill and Adam Ashley-Cooper.
Lock James Horwill, captain at the 2011 World Cup, agreed to a three-year contract with English club Harlequins as he prepares for his first spell in English rugby.
On the same day, French Top 14 side Bordeaux announced they had agreed a two-year deal with wing Ashley-Cooper.
Queensland Rugby has announced James Horwill has signed a three-year contract with English Premiership giant Harlequins.
Horwill will make the move to the famous London club following the 2015 Rugby World Cup, which concludes in October next year.
He is currently the most-capped Queensland captain, having led the Reds on 69 occasions.
A modern-day champion of the Reds who led Queensland to the 2011 Super Rugby title, Horwill will make the 2015 Super Rugby season his 10th and his last and is determined to achieve success when he pulls on the Reds jersey for the final time next year.
Daniel Carter, world rugby’s leading points scorer and one of the greatest players to ever don the All Blacks jersey, is to leave New Zealand rugby at the end of the 2015 season.
The All Blacks and Crusaders flyhalf has announced he has signed a three-year deal with French Top 14 club Racing Metro. It will be Carter’s second stint in France after he played five games for Perpignan in 2008-09 during his sabbatical from New Zealand rugby.
32-year-old Carter said it was exciting to confirm his future post 2015.
“It’s going to be an awesome adventure for me and my family. Having visited France many times, including my time with Perpignan, I know what the French culture and their rugby culture is like and it’s something I really love.
“Having said that, it’s the immediate future that is exciting me at the moment. 2015 is going to be a big year and I’m looking forward to getting into it, firstly with the Crusaders and then hopefully with the All Blacks.
French Top-14 side Bordeaux-Begles have announced on Wednesday that they had agreed a two-year contract with Australian international Adam Ashley-Cooper to join them after next year’s Rugby World Cup.
“Apart from being the great player he is, Adam Ashley-Cooper particularly impressed us with his extraordinary competitive spirit and his willingness to embrace our ambitious plans,” Bordeaux club president Laurent Marti said.
The 30-year-old Wallabies centre or wing has won 104 caps for Australia and is expected to play a leading role in their World Cup campaign in England next October.
George North has insisted he is not planning to return to regional rugby any time soon but backed the new dual-contract system which has attracted Dan Lydiate to return from France.
The Northampton wing hailed Welsh union and regional bosses for finally agreeing a “feasible option” that will boost chances of top stars remaining in the domestic game.
Lydiate capitalised on the new contracts by return from Racing Metro to the Ospreys and will make his debut against Ulster this Saturday.
North believes more top stars could follow suit but stressed his current situation at Northampton suits him “down to the ground”.
The Saints release North for all his Wales commitments, a situation he admits allows him to gain the best of both worlds.
Harlequins lock Charlie Matthews could face a ban of up to one year after he was cited for allegedly making contact with the eye area of Leinster flanker Dominic Ryan in last Saturday’s European Champions Cup match.
The 23-year-old – who was sin-binned by French referee Romain Poite for the altercation – will face a disciplinary panel in London on Wednesday.
The panel could impose anything from a low end sanction lasting 12 weeks, mid-range 24 weeks, while in the worst case scenario he could be banned for a year for a more serious offence.
The Barbarians will round off their 125th anniversary year by tackling Argentina at Twickenham in November 2015, organisers announced on Tuesday.
After a chastening 2013, the invitational side proved themselves credible opponents for the world’s elite teams this year, going down 49-39 to a youthful England team in June and narrowly losing 40-36 to Australia last month.
They are scheduled to play Ireland in Limerick on 8 May and will play England three days later before finishing the year against Argentina.
England hooker Dylan Hartley has rejected a mega offer from Top 14 club Montpellier to sign a new deal with Northampton.
The 28-year-old has revealed that he was given a ‘very generous offer’ by the club to move to France.
However, Hartley has opted to remain with Premiership champions Saints and outlined his reasons today.
Hartley stated that the move would have had no impact on his England career ahead of next year’s World Cup, while turning down the possibility of ‘300 days of sunshine’ was not easy.
“It’s no secret I was offered a deal to join one of the leading French sides, Montpellier, which would have been worth significantly more. But money isn’t everything,” Hartley wrote in his column in a newspaper.
“I don’t want to come across all ‘holier than thou’ over this, but I do believe the world loyalty has gone out of fashion a bit – and for me that really means something.”
The Wales squad will face temperatures ranging from 42 degrees to minus 150 degrees, will sleep in normobaric hypoxic chambers and will train in surroundings ranging from the deserts of Qatar to the peaks of the Swiss Alps as part of their gruelling preparation for next year’s Rugby World Cup.
Wales’ full schedule for 2015 will see Warren Gatland’s squad undergo intensive training camps in Switzerland, Qatar and Poland as well as face home and away ties against Ireland before concluding their preparations against Italy at the Millennium Stadium.
The rigorous schedule has left no stone unturned in order to ensure Wales arrive at the world’s showpiece tournament in peak condition with leading facilities at home in Wales and across the world utilized.
The programme is the culmination of months of research and planning and WRU head of physical performance, Adam Beard, who also designed the 2011 schedule, is delighted to formally announce the squad’s plans.
Former Wales and Llanelli flyhalf Phil Bennett has questioned Scarlets’ move for Welsh-qualified flanker Jack Payne from Queensland Reds in Australia.
Payne, 20, has arrived in Wales, but any move cannot be made official until passport issues have been resolved.
Scarlets president Bennett would prefer to see local players at Scarlets, but admitted importing Welsh-qualified players from abroad could help Wales.
“There’s a lot of mixed feeling from Llanelli,” he said. “We’re kind of old fashioned here. People still go back to the great Llanelli days . . . they all want to be Welsh, Welsh-speaking if they had their way,” joked 66-year-old Bennett.
“But let’s be honest, look at the Australians, the All Blacks and how they’ve milked the situation of getting players from Fiji, Samoa and different places. You’ve got to get and live with the very best in the world.”
French club Racing Metro are reportedly winning the race to sign All Blacks star Dan Carter in a deal that is tipped to make him the highest paid player in the game with a £1 million contract.
European media is awash with speculation around Carter as the veteran No 10’s future beyond next year’s World Cup continues to grab headlines.
All the various sources were tipping glamour Paris outfit Racing Metro to lure Carter back to the French competition after his painful previous experience of an injury-plagued sabbatical in 2009 with Perpignan.
The Times suggested Carter ‘is close to becoming rugby’s first £1 million man’ with Racing Metro owner Jacky Lorenzetti prepared to ‘break the bank’ for a move that would finally end Carter’s All Blacks career.
As Edinburgh strive for four wins from four in Europe this Sunday, Greig Tonks will be running out for his 50th cap for the club.
There are seven changes to the starting 15 that beat London Welsh in the opening double-header, at BT Murrayfield last Sunday. Jack Cuthbert comes in at fullback with Dougie Fife, a late injury withdrawal last weekend, returning on the right wing.
A changed halfback pairing sees Greig Tonks at flyhalf and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne in the scrumhalf berth.
Meanwhile in the pack, with Ross Ford still out, Neil Cochrane gets a start at hooker, while John Andress and Anton Bresler move up from the bench to start at tighthead and lock respectively.
Richie Vernon will start at outside centre for Glasgow Warriors, when they host French Top 14 side Toulouse at Scotstoun Stadium tomorrow lunchtime (kick-off 13:00 BST, 15:00 SA Time).
Vernon impressed from the bench in the narrow 19-11 defeat at the Stade Ernest Wallon on Sunday and replaces Peter Horne for the European Rugby Champions Cup encounter, with Alex Dunbar moving to inside centre.
There are two other personnel changes with Tim Swinson coming in for Leone Nakarawa in the second-row and Ryan Wilson replacing the injured Chris Fusaro in the backrow. Wilson starts on the blindside, with Rob Harley moving to openside.
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer will be pleased to see two of his stalwarts returning to the rugby field in the European Cup this weekend.
Bath’s Francois Louw is set to make his comeback after a ten-week stint on the sideline following surgery on his neck for nerve damage.
The flank last played for the Springboks in their Rugby Championship Test against the All Blacks in Wellington on 13 September.
Bath assistant coach Toby Booth has indicated that Louw may be thrown straight into the action and could start for the English team when they face Montpellier at home on Friday.
After climbing into the top four after two rounds of the HSBC Sevens World Series, Australia and New Zealand know it’s far too early to rest on their laurels with Olympic qualification also up for grabs this season.
As the 16 captains assemble for the Cell C Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens in Port Elizabeth, Australian skipper Ed Jenkins and his New Zealand counterpart DJ Forbes reflect on their respective team’s elevation to the all-important top four after the first two rounds of the HSBC Sevens World Series.
South African referees Jaco Peyper, Craig Joubert, Stuart Berry and television match official (TMO) Shaun Veldsman will all officiate in the 2015 Six Nations competition, World Rugby has announced.
Peyper will take charge of the match between France and Wales on 28 February at Stade de France in Paris, while Joubert will officiate the clash between Ireland and England at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on 1 March, with Veldsman in the role of TMO.
Berry, meanwhile, was named as an assistant referee for the matches between Italy and Ireland at Stadio Olimpico in Rome on 7 February and Ireland and France in Dublin on 14 February respectively.
Leinster skills coach Richie Murphy has confirmed reports that Jimmy Gopperth is talking to other clubs and will leave the province at the end of the current season.
Ireland’s first-choice flyhalf Jonathan Sexton will return to Leinster next season after a stint with Racing Metro and utility back Ian Madigan – Sexton’s understudy with the national team – is contracted until 2016.
It is understood that Wasps are favourites to sign New Zealander Gopperth, who would move at the end of the current season, but that he is talking to a number of clubs across Europe.
“Jimmy was given a heads-up early on about Johnny [Sexton] coming back and he feels he still wants to be a first-team player,” Murphy said.
Western Province have brushed off reports linking lock Eben Etzebeth with a move to French giants Toulon.
French newspaper Var Matin reported over the weekend that the Springbok lock could join Toulon after next year’s Rugby World Cup.
The 23-year-old Capetonian is seen as an ideal replacement for compatriot Bakkies Botha, who recently retired from international rugby and will leave Toulon at the end of the current European season.
Both parts of Ireland have united to bid for the World Cup in 2023, promising on Friday to rally Catholics and Protestants behind the event.
The Irish Rugby Football Union made the announcement alongside leaders of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom where only the Protestant majority plays rugby.
Underscoring the all-Ireland appeal of their plans, they spoke at a mainly Protestant school in the Northern Ireland city of Armagh, the ecclesiastical capital of the island.
World Rugby plans to unveil the winner in mid-2017, with South Africa considered the early favourite.
Mouritz Botha has been reluctantly released by Saracens to join The Sharks in South Africa, with effect from 1 January 2015.
Mark McCall, Director of Rugby, said: “Mouritz has been a massive part of our squad and our culture for the past five and a half seasons, and we are very sorry to see him leave. However, this is a great opportunity to play for one of the top teams in the Super XV, and we wish him, Natasha and young Joshua well.”
Botha joined Saracens from Bedford Blues in 2009, has played 142 matches for the club and has also been capped 10 times by England.
Glasgow Warriors have received a major boost ahead of Sunday’s European Rugby Champions Cup match against Toulouse, with the news that Josh Strauss and Leone Nakarawa have signed new deals with the club.
Both players have signed two-year contracts, keeping them at Scotstoun until at least May 2017 and have committed their futures to the club just a week after Stuart Hogg and Lee Jones penned deals for the same length of time.
South African-born Strauss arrived in Glasgow in September 2012 and the 28-year-old has made 56 appearances for the Guinness PRO12 side. He has scored six tries and has captained the team.
The powerful No 8 has featured regularly for the Warriors and will become eligible to play for Scotland in September 2015.
Ruan Pienaar and Dan Tuohy are poised to return for Ulster in Saturday’s European Champions Cup tie against Scarlets at Kingspan Stadium.
Pienaar has not played for Ulster this season having suffered a knee injury playing for South Africa in September.
Tuohy broke his arm during a Pro12 match against Cardiff 10 weeks ago.
“Dan and Ruan both trained the last two days and if there is no reaction, they might potentially be involved at the weekend,” said Ulster coach Neil Doak.
While delighted at the prospect of the pair being involved in the back-to-back fixtures against Scarlets, which Ulster must win to keep alive slim hopes of qualification from Pool 3, Doak is not expecting too much from his returning internationals.
“It’s good to have them back on the paddock but let’s see how they react and come through. We just have to see how Ruan’s knee reacts.”
“It is a different kettle of fish when you are training on your own, but when you get in a team environment and it is twisting and turning, it is live stuff now.
“Hopefully both of them can get in the mix this weekend. To have those experienced players coming back in, it is good to have.”
The South African Rugby Union received handy compensation from the Welsh Rugby Union for agreeing to play last weekend’s Test in Cardiff.
The Test at Millennium Stadium fell outside World Rugby’s international window, but was played after both rugby union’s agreed to square off.
According to reports, SARU received £750 000 (about R 13 Million) from the WRU for the Test.
Bakkies Botha could extend his stint at French club Toulon by a few months before calling time on his playing career.
The veteran Springbok lock last month announced his retirement from international rugby after representing his country in 85 Tests.
At the time, Botha said he would see out his contract with Toulon until the end of the current European season, before possibly finishing his playing career at a local Currie Cup team in 2015.
However, it appears Botha could extend his stint at Toulon by a few more months.
The Springboks are likely to head to the World Cup next year without a specialist outside centre, but is that such a problem?
Jaque Fourie’s recent retirement from international rugby and captain Jean de Villiers’ horrific knee injury means that Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer’s midfield options will have to be significantly revised next year.
The two formed the most capped centre pairing in Springbok history, and many had their money on seeing them together for one last hurrah in England next year.
A look at the options available shows that outside centres are in seemingly short supply, which means that the Boks may play with two inside centres as they effectively did throughout 2014.
Two time Heineken Cup champions Toulon have accepted the challenge presented to them by the Cell C Sharks CEO, John Smit, to play the Cell C Sharks in a North vs South pre-season friendly.
The date for this clash has been set for Thursday 5 February 2015, at the Stade Mayol in Toulon.
We believe that in order to be the best you need to play the best. This match against the best European Rugby Club in recent history marks an ideal opportunity to fine tune our preparation for an important Vodacom Super Rugby season ahead.
Springbok captain Jean de Villiers will require surgery on his injured left knee and will be in a race against time to be fit for the Rugby World Cup in England in 2015.
De Villiers left the field in the 58th minute of the Springboks’ final Test of the season, last Saturday against Wales in Cardiff, after twisting his left knee and dislocating his knee cap.
Scans shortly after the match revealed significant ligament damage to the knee. De Villiers returned to South Africa on Monday and was assessed by an orthopaedic surgeon in Cape Town, who advised that the Springbok captain requires surgical reconstruction of the knee.
It’s PUB NIGHT!
I attended a funeral today, my late dad’s wife… my Stepmom… but she was way more than that!
My dad used to say, “They are cutting from my forest now”, meaning that his generation was in the firing line and the ones going one by one… well today a slender old tree with a very kind shadow was layed to rest… may she rest in peace.
I think it would be apt to dedicate PUB NIGHT tonight to memories, so that is exactly what we will do!
The End Of Year Tours are a thing of the past and not the brightest end to the season for the Springboks, not a good End Of Year Tour in fact. What was clear though, is that the Southern Hemisphere players are all tired and quite spent after a long season and that the top Northern Hemisphere countries have crept closer to the biggies of the Southern Hemisphere.
What remains for 2014? Only a month left of the year and only 2 HSBC Sevens World Series tournaments to go, the one in Dubai and the one at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. Then it is that aweful lull in the Southern Hemisphere season, where we have to make do with only some Northern Hemisphere rugby, some cricket and a heap of news in preparation for Super Rugby 2015.
OK, let’s focus on the PUB tonight…. the idea with PUB NIGHT is to lighten up our dull Tuesday evenings with music, comedy and fun.
Rugby takes a backseat tonight as the clan and fellow rugby nutters gather and wheel in their old timer friends…
Read the rules below carefully, or you WILL get burnt!
Just for clarity sake, when someone does not adhere to the Rules of the PUB, EVERYBODY jumps on them and pummels them, right… understood?
Here’s how it works:
Once again the four Rugby Championship teams have been and gone but this time they did not have it all their own way on their annual visit to the British Isles as it ended five wins apiece from the 10 Tests.
Ireland beat both South Africa and Australia, Wales downed the former and England the latter, and Scotland defeated Argentina.
Admittedly, the Pumas are not part of rugby union’s traditional southern hemisphere big three, and the incomparable All Blacks sailed through their Tests unbeaten, but even discounting the Scottish win over Argentina the matches against the three giants from the south only ended 5-4 to the visitors.
Former England and Lions great Jeremy Guscott has been out and about during November and here he selects a XV for both the home nations and the Rugby Championship sides.
South Africa suffered a big blow when Springbok captain Jean de Villiers was injured during their 12-6 defeat to Wales at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday.
De Villiers was forced to leave the field in the 58th minute after twisting his left knee and dislocating his knee cap. The dislocation was reduced on the field and he was sent for scans shortly after the match.
“The scans revealed significant ligament damage to the inside of his knee and the supporting muscles,” said Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts.
“Jean will return to South Africa and see an orthopaedic specialist in Cape Town early in the week. He has had previous surgery on this knee and the further management of the injury is dependent upon the specialist’s recommendations.”
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said losing De Villiers was a massive setback as the team were just beginning to build momentum in a tough encounter against Wales. The home team’s points came via four Leigh Halfpenny penalty goals, while Pat Lambie responded with two penalty goals for the visitors.
“It was a massively disappointing way to end the tour and our season, as we always strive to make our country proud,” said Meyer.
Reigning champions New Zealand remained the team to beat less than a year out from the World Cup in England after yet another successful November campaign in Europe.
There’s nothing new in the All Blacks being the yardstick for the global game and their rivals will take some comfort in knowing New Zealand have yet to win the World Cup on foreign soil.
So the fact they were pushed close by both England (24-21) and Wales (34-16) this month before emerging victorious won’t have done the All Blacks any harm, nor will the success of a virtual second-choice side in preserving their unbeaten record against Scotland.
However, all these matches demonstrated how no team goes for the full 80 minutes quite like New Zealand, who have enviable depth.
England found themselves needing two scores in the closing stages against the All Blacks and managed one while Wales conceded 24 points in the final 17 minutes.