The relationship between Rory Lamont and rugby has always been uneasy. When it was good, it was really good: 29 Scotland caps, two World Cups, and stints in Europe’s top leagues with Toulon, Sale and Glasgow.
When it was bad, it was really bad: whispering campaigns about his attitude, 16 operations, “double figure” concussions. By the time the game ran out of uses for him, the feeling was entirely mutual.
Three years ago this week, Lamont announced his retirement. The last of his many injuries, a lower leg fracture from the previous year, hadn’t properly healed and the end came as a relief.
“I was thinking, ‘finally it’s over’. I felt like an animal being put out of its misery. I’d had a miserable year, people questioning my integrity, and I couldn’t wait to crack on with my life and all the amazing things I was going to do.”
Never did he picture becoming a recluse, battling severe depression and suicidal thoughts. Nowhere in the retirement brochure did it say he’d lose 25kg in four months and be unable to stomach solids for a further five. The bit about being so low he hoped he’d be run over by a bus? Not what he’d signed up for either.
Montpellier head coach Jake White cannot wait to return home triumphant for their European Rugby Challenge Cup semifinal, after beating Sale Sharks in their own backyard.
The side sat 2nd in the Top 14 turned on the power in the 2nd half after a tight 1st half. Benoit Pallaugue hit 6 penalties to steer his side to a 25 / 19 triumph, despite a late solo score from Sale centre Sam James.
The victory for Montpellier has set up a last-4 clash against either Challenge Cup champions, Gloucester, or the Newport Gwent Dragons. White is targeting a pair of victories on home soil in their pursuit for European glory.
He said: “I’m obviously very happy, it wasn’t that pretty, we didn’t play that well and we made a few mistakes which allowed them field position, and they put us under the pump. But it’s a new squad and Montpellier have never got themselves in positions like these, so I’m very happy that we can take another step forward.
Glasgow Warriors have signed Georgian international Shalva Mamukashvili on a deal until the end of the season.
The 25-year-old has 35 caps for his country and featured in all 4 of Georgia’s Rugby World Cup pool games in England.
He played 11 matches for Sale Sharks last season, including 3 European Rugby Champions Cup games.
The experienced hooker goes straight into the Warriors 41-man European squad, replacing Kevin Bryce. Glasgow visit Racing 92 on Saturday and then host Northampton Saints the following weekend, in front of a capacity crowd at Scotstoun.
Mamukashvili joins as cover at hooker, with both Kevin Bryce and Fergus Scott set for lengthy spells on the sidelines, while Fraser Brown is currently recovering from foot surgery.
Bryce and Scott have both undergone shoulder operations, following scans at BMI Ross Hall Hospital, and are expected to remain on the sidelines for several months.
Harlequins (3) 16 / 14 (7) Sale Sharks (Final Score)
Harlequins and Sale Sharks did battle in the Aviva Premiership at
Twickenham Stoop, England at 21:45 SA Time (19:45 UK Time & GMT).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & CSN on TV in SA.
With the new English domestic season kicking off on Friday, we take a look at the prospects of each of the 12 clubs competing for the Premiership title. Let’s get started.
The pioneers of modern English rugby, Saracens have established themselves as one of Europe’s leading teams over the last few years.
Making three Premiership Finals in the last five years along with contesting Europe’s showpiece last season underlines their rise to the top of the game. Unafraid to experiment off the field, 2013/2014 saw Saracens revolutionise their play on it by throwing off the shackles and producing attacking rugby that was hard to resist. More of the same please.
Edinburgh Rugby are pleased to announce that Scotland A lock Fraser McKenzie has returned to the club where he began his professional career.
The lock, who can also play on the blind-side, made his Scotland 7s debut in November 2008, represented Scotland A in 2010 and 2011, and was included in the extended Scotland squad for the 2012 RBS 6 Nations.
Moving from Edinburgh Rugby to Sale Sharks in 2011, McKenzie then joined Newcastle Falcons last summer, making a total of 41 English Premiership appearances before earning a move home.
Sale Sharks captain Dave Seymour insists the prospect of qualifying for the European Champions Cup drove them to a 55-12 victory over Exeter Chiefs, and not the opportunity to impress England coach Andy Farrell.
Sometimes it seems you have only to say things are going better for events to make you look a fool. Last Saturday I wrote that Edinburgh’s coaches had successfully tightened up their defence, and then their team concedes six tries to Munster.
Leicester Tigers boss Richard Cockerill accused Sale of “cheating” at the scrum following their 30-23 victory over the Sharks at Welford Road.
Exeter Chiefs might have just got one over local rivals Gloucester Rugby in their own back yard, but head coach Rob Baxter insists there is plenty more to come from his side this Aviva Premiership season.
Leicester Tigers may have started the new Premiership season with a bonus-point victory but flank Julian Salvi insists the reigning champions are gunning for an even more ruthless performance next time out.
This weekend sees action in the penultimate round of the league stage of the Aviva Premiership with the first match of the round being between Gary Gold’s Bath and Leicester Tigers. The final match of the weekend is scheduled for Sunday afternoon with London Wasps at home to Exeter Chiefs.
There was good news for clubs on both sides of the Central Belt as the services of two valuable loose forwards were announced. Glasgow Warriors have managed to secure the services of prodigal son Richie Vernon once more while Roddy Grant has extended his contract with Edinburgh Rugby.
With an exciting weekend of Premiership rugby the focus seems to be on the clash between table-topping Harlequins and fourth placed London Wasps.
Struggling Sale Sharks have been boosted by the arrival of All Black Dan Braid, who have signed to play for the Premiership club until the end of the current season.
Former All Black coach John Mitchell quit as Sale Sharks head coach on Saturday after just a month in charge of the English Premiership club.
Leicester Tigers will play host to Gloucester at Welford Road on Saturday in the key clash of the last round of the Premiership in 2012.
A bit late sorry but we take a look at an interesting weekend’s action in the Heineken Cup. This weekend saw some very close games as well as a few run away wins and perhaps most significantly saw Ulster lose their first competitive match of the season in one of the weekend’s close affairs.
It will be a bottom-of-the-table clash when Sale Sharks take on London Irish to kick off the Premiership action on Friday.
The Golden Lions Rugby Union are locked in renewed discussion with lawyers, after the unpleasant John Mitchell saga took an intriguing new twist this week.
Former Scotland international Bryan Redpath has been sacked as director of rugby at Sale Sharks.
This weekend saw an action packed start to the Heineken Cup. All twenty four teams were involved in the round which started on Friday and ended on Sunday.
Former All Blacks coach John Mitchell will be at Sale Sharks soon, according to chief executive Steve Diamond.
Wing Mark Cueto admits it is easy for Sale Sharks to get bogged down with the negatives of their start to the Premiership season, but he insists only a positive frame of mind will bring a change of fortune.
The second round of Aviva Premiership games take places this weekend and while it may only be Round Two, Saracens have laid down an early marker in the 2012/13 Premiership season.
Various pre-season friendly matches have taken place this weekend, ahead of the start of the Aviva Premiership and RaboDirect Pro12 competitions. Furthemore, there has been news of player injuries as well as some player transfer news.
Early last month Edinburgh Rugby announced they had acquired the services of former England and Lions star flanker Neil Back; as forwards coach.
Yesterday, Edinburgh indicated they had bolstered their hooking options by signing another former Lions player, and one time Sale Sharks stalwart, hooker Andy Titterrell.
English Premiership Rugby club Sale Sharks have announced that 24 year old Melbourne Rebels fly half Danny Cipriani has signed a three year deal with the club.
I thought I would start to post titbits picked up during the week, but probably don’t deserve a full article.