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Scotland

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Reuben Norville

Winger Reuben Norville starred with a hat-trick of tries

The touring Scotland Under 19 development side opened their two-Test account with a convincing, five-try win over their Romanian counterparts at the Arcul de Triumf, Bucharest on Wednesday (31-3).

After what would turn out to be a relatively slow start, in which the side created a lot but finished little, the young Scots quickly found their feet and kicked into gear.

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IRBThere has been no change in the Top 12 of the IRB world rankings following the opening round of The Rugby Championship.

Despite seeing their 17-Test win streak end in Sydney thanks to a 12-12 draw with the Wallabies, New Zealand continue to lead the way on 93.42 points.

The Wallabies, courageous in their efforts – and perhaps a little unlucky – remain in third position on 87.32.

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Richie Gray

Richie Gray

Richie Gray has described working with the Springboks for the past year as an “honour” and admits he does not know if he will return to coach at Murrayfield.

The 44-year-old from Galashiels is breakdown skills coach at South African Rugby Union, having made his name developing rugby training equipment.

He said: “I cannot fault this country – the supporters, the players and the management have been outstanding.

“For me even to be down here, it’s a real honour to work with this country.”

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ScotlandScotland are continuing their trend of taking international rugby to pastures new. The Autumn Test match against Tonga on Saturday 22 November (kick-off 2.30pm) will be staged at Rugby Park, Kilmarnock, home of Kilmarnock FC, it was announced this afternoon.

It will be globally ground-breaking too, as an international involving a Tier One country is held on an entirely artificial pitch for the first time.

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Glasgow 2014Some four years of hard work, of highs and of lows, have led to this weekend. Today (Friday 25 July) marks the eve of the rugby sevens tournament at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

During the past 1,460 days, a full-time sevens programme has been implemented, beginning at the outset of season 2011-12, the abbreviated national team’s most successful head coach, Stephen Gemmell, was reinstated in January 2013 and the Emirates Airline Edinburgh Sevens Festival was transported along the M8 to Scotstoun Stadium, where the Emirates Airline Glasgow 7s has taken place for the past three years.

It was in the host city, only two months ago that Scotland 7s matched their best ever finish in a HSBC Sevens World Series event, finishing in fourth place

Now, it is the belief of many that Gemmell has picked the best ever 12-man squad to pull-on Scotland’s short game jersey and that this is a squad who can make sevens history.

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Glasgow 2014There is a palpable level of excitement in the country ahead of the Commonwealth Games which will be held in Glasgow this year. Driving up the road over the weekend one was reminded by overhead sign boards long before reaching Glasgow of the need to plan ahead  and potential difficulties in travelling as a result of the Games.

The online search engine Google has the theme of the games on its page, there is a lot of coverage in the media both online, in print and of course in audio and visual. Radio schedules have already been changed on some stations providing coverage already ahead of the Games which are due to get kick started with the opening ceremony tonight. In advertising it’s radio coverage the national broadcaster has even made a pledge to bring all the action of Scotland’s medal winning events live to the public. Colleagues have members of their family involved on a voluntary basis as ambassadors for Glasgow 2014 with some having already been helping out in the Athletes Village for the last two weeks.

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Glasgow 2014Stuart Hogg has been named in the Scotland 7′s squad to compete at the forthcoming Commonwealth Games in Glasgow (Ibrox Stadium, Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 July).

Scottish Rugby and Commonwealth Games Scotland can confirm Scotland’s 24 times capped full-back and British & Irish Lion will replace Tommy Seymour.  Seymour sustained a neck injury during the Scotland summer tour that will rule him out of the Games, however he will return to the care of Glasgow Warriors to recover and prepare for the new season.

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Heyneke Meyer

Heyneke Meyer

Lood de Jager

Lood de Jager

The joke is going around that Heyneke Meyer describes everything the Bokke does as “AWESOME“!

Well, the South African public have reason to be AWED by the AWESOME display of the Springboks and their AWESOME coach!

Not only are the Springboks playing a very well-rounded and balanced game, 2 and a half years into Heyneke Meyer’s tenure, but it appears that the Springoks can now call on 40 odd players to do National duty for them at any given time.

Not only do the Springboks have locks of absolute world class to burn, the looseforwards are equally impressive, the midfield options have been greatly bolstered… and the flyhalf stocks are suddenly no concern anymore, with well-rounded performances by Handré Pollard and Marnitz Boshoff.

The biggest problems still for the Springboks, seem to be adequate depth at both loosehead and tighthead prop.

With almost 30 frontline Springboks out with injury and / or not available due to the International Window having closed before the start of the Test on the weekend, the mix-and-match Springboks certainly excelled on the weekend.

The 5 Springbok debutants, Handré Pollard, Marnitz Boshoff, Marcel van der Merwe, Stephan Lewies and Teboho ‘Oupa’ Mohoje also distinguished themselves on the field of play.

At the end of the June Internationals, the Springboks and Heyneke Meyer finally have reason to smile!

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ashe

Adam Ashe (picture SNS/SRU)

Never can a nightmare have turned good as quickly as Adam Ashe’s. He spent almost the entire season fighting a recurring hamstring injury and though he did recover in time to win the chance to go training at the Canterbury International High Performance unit in Christchurch, New Zealand, everything was in reality geared to trying to make an impression next season.

He has not had to wait that long for his chance. Even though he had hardly played any rugby during the Scottish season and had managed only 36 minutes of pro play as a replacement for Glasgow, he has been propelled from the fringes of the game to centre stage as the starting No 8 against South Africa.

The magnitude of the step up is huge. For example, among the Springbok back row is Schalk Burger. Ashe was just ten when Burger started playing for South Africa in the 2003 Rugby World Cup, scarcely any older when Burger won the World Player of the Year award. No wonder that, with his strong ball carrying and kamikaze tackling style, Burger was one of teenage Ashe’s heroes.

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Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium

A capacity crowd is expected at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday when the Springboks take on Scotland.

EP Rugby CEO, Charl Crous, said there were roughly 3 500 tickets left by Thursday afternoon and tickets were selling fast.

“We have seen an upsurge in ticket sales this week and we are encouraging those who have not yet got tickets to please get them as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.”

Crous said it would be great to be able to put up “sold out” signs ahead of the Test match and called on Nelson Mandela Bay residents to come out and support the Springboks.

He also advised people to come early to ensure that everyone would be able to get into the stadium before kickoff at 17:00 SA Time.

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Phil Burleigh

Phil Burleigh

Edinburgh’s backline resources for the new season were boosted with the signing of Highlanders utility back Phil Burleigh.

Burleigh signed a two-year deal with the Scottish outfit.

The 27-year-old playmaker came through the ranks with Bay of Plenty, before becoming a regular star in the Southern Hemisphere’s top flight Super Rugby competition.

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Handré Pollard

Handré Pollard

South AfricaJunior Springbok captain Handré Pollard is one of five uncapped players who have been named in the Springboks’ match-23 for Saturday’s final encounter of the Castle Lager Incoming Series against Scotland in Port Elizabeth.

In total, the Springbok starting team shows six changes from the side which beat Wales by 31-30 in Nelspruit last weekend.

The four uncapped players on a new-look bench are Marcel van der Merwe (prop), Stephan Lewies (lock), Teboho “Oupa” Mohoje (loose forward) and Marnitz Boshoff (flyhalf). Also on the bench are Adriaan Strauss, Trevor Nyakane, Francois Hougaard and Zane Kirchner, none of whom have played any Test rugby yet this season.

Two players, Pollard and Marcell Coetzee, have not yet featured for the Springboks this year, while four of these are replacements who have been promoted to the starting team, namely Lwazi Mvovo, Schalk Burger, Lood de Jager and Coenie Oosthuizen.

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ScotlandAdam Ashe, the 20-year-old Glasgow Warriors No 8, will become the seventh new cap of Scotland’s summer tour when he takes to the field against South Africa in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

Ashe, a product of the Hillfoots and Stirling County clubs, was preparing for club training at Lincoln University in Christchurch one week ago, having been domiciled for a couple of months in New Zealand’s South Island as recipient of the John Macphail Scholarship.

Others have graduated to full international honours and have cited the “invaluable” experience the scholarship has bequeathed them, for example, John Barclay, Grant Gilchrist, Jonny Gray and Kevin Bryce.

The match is played at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth at 17:00 SA Time, 16:00 BST, 15:00 GMT.

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Dan Parks

Dan Parks

Former Scotland international flyhalf Dan Parks has announced his retirement from all forms of rugby after retiring from international rugby in 2012.

Australian born Parks played for Scotland over an eight year period in which he won 67 caps.

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ScotlandSpringbok defence coach John McFarland says they have taken note of the dangerous back three of Scotland ahead of their Test in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

Scotland head into the Test on the back of three consecutive away wins – against Argentina (21-19), Canada (19-17) and America (24-6).

They also have a new coach in Vern Cotter, but it was in particular the performances of Stuart Hogg (fullback), Sean Maitland (wing) and Tommy Seymour (wing) that caught the eye of the Springbok management.

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Heyneke Meyer

Heyneke Meyer

The Springbok team to face Scotland in Port Elizabeth will be markedly different from the one that edged Wales in Nelspruit, by necessity rather than design.

With seven European-based players unavailable for selection and at least another two starters ruled through injury Heyneke Meyer’s hand will be forced when he names his team to face an under-strength Scotland.

However, the idea that Meyer should completely overhaul the team and give promising youngsters a shot because the match falls outside the June Test window and Scotland will not have their best team on the park is a little bit misguided.

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TyroneHolmesGW

Tyrone Holmes

ScotlandScotland head to South Africa this week on the final leg of what has been an arduous tour which has seen them play games in the USA, Canada and Argentina.

They set out with two squads selected for the tour, one which contained players for the North America leg and one for the Southern Hemisphere leg with some players there for the whole tour. There have been various changes made on the way though and now the Glasgow Warriors trio of Tyrone Holmes, Adam Ashe and Euan Murray have been added to the squad for the final test against the Springboks in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

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South AfricaIt is understood that French-based players in the Springbok squad are unlikely to be available to play Scotland in next week’s Test in Port Elizabeth.

This means the likes of Morne Steyn, Gurthro Steenkamp, Bakkies Botha and Bryan Habana will all have to report back to their clubs.

It’s understood the clubs will invoke International Rugby Board (IRB) Regulation Nine, which governs the release of players for the June test window.

The regulation stipulates that releases are required for the second, third and fourth weekends of June, or for three matches.

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ScotlandArgentinaGrant Gilchrist will captain an inexperienced Scotland side against Argentina in Cordoba on Friday.

The 23-year-old Edinburgh lock will be playing in his seventh international, having scored a try in last Saturday’s 19-17 win over Canada.

Stuart Hogg, Sean Maitland and Peter Horne also keep their places as 13 new faces joined the tour party this week.

Scrum-half Grayson Hart, lock Jonny Gray and back-row forward Kieran Low all make their first starts.

With scrum-half Greig Laidlaw among those returning home after victories against USA and Canada, Gilchrist becomes Scotland’s youngest captain since Gregor Townsend led the team against Australia 18 years ago.

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David Denton

David Denton

The already depleted Scotland team suffered another big blow, with back row forward David Denton out of their mid-year tour.

The 24-year-old Edinburgh player, Denton, will play no part in the tour matches against Argentina in Cordoba on Friday and for the closing match against South Africa in Port Elizabeth a week on Saturday.

Scotland team doctor James Robson explained that Denton suffered a concussion in his last game of the season for Edinburgh against Leinster in the Pro12 last month.

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ScotlandPeter Horne will make his first Scotland start in Saturday’s Test against Canada in Toronto.

The Glasgow centre replaces the injured Duncan Taylor in one of four changes to the side that beat USA 24-6.

Grant Gilchrist takes Jim Hamilton’s place in the second row, while prop Moray Low is in for Geoff Cross.

Kelly Brown returns to the back row for his 64th cap, with scrum-half Greig Laidlaw retaining the captaincy and Finn Russell staying at fly-half.

Russell, 21, enjoyed a promising debut in Texas along with Glasgow team-mate Gordon Reid, who also keeps his place in the front row. Brown’s inclusion means Blair Cowan drops to the bench after winning his first cap.

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WalesThe Springboks completed a successful first match of their season on Saturday against Nick Mallet’s World XV at Newlands but the first proper international action for them starts this weekend as the Castle Lager Incoming Series gets underway with a Test against Wales in Durban on Saturday.

There often is debate and criticism about the make up of squads that Northern Hemisphere countries send on these mid-year tours which take place after their taxing domestic seasons. This year though the two teams due to play against South Africa have got good reason to be fielding teams which are going to be under strength in certain areas. The Test against Scotland falls outside the international window and so their players who ply their trade outside Scotland will not be making the trip over. The tour for Wales has been made much harder due to numerous injuries, no least to inspirational captain Sam Warburton.

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New ZealandScotlandAll Blacks U20 (21) 54 / 7 (0) Scotland U20 (Final Score)

New Zealand Under 20 and Scotland Under 20 did battle in the Junior World Championship at

ECOLight Stadium, Pukekohe at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 08:35 BST, 07:35 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & SHD on TV in SA.

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USAScotlandUSA (3) 6 / 24 (17) Scotland (Final Score)

The USA Eagles and Scotland did battle in the June Internationals at

BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston at 02:30 SA Time (01:30 BST, 00:30 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast by Universal Sports and streamed Live online on dailyrecord.co.uk.

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USASaracens forward Hayden Smith has been restored to the USA side to face Scotland, while Seattle fly-half Shalom Siniula will be handed his first start.

Siniula is rewarded for a try in the second leg after earning his first two caps in the World Cup qualifying victory over Uruguay.

Seattle lock Louis Stanfill was preferred to Smith for the second leg.

But Smith returns alongside Stanfill in a XV that includes six players who ply their trade in England.

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ScotlandHead coach Vern Cotter has named three starting debutants in his first Scotland selection for this Saturday’s summer Test match against USA in Houston, Texas (7 June, kick-off 7.30pm local time, 1.30am BST, 2.30an SA Time). The match will be streamed live on dailyrecord.co.uk.

Glasgow Warriors pair Gordon Reid (prop) and Finn Russell (stand-off), and London Irish back-row, Blair Cowan, will start their first international outing at the BBVA Compass Stadium, while prop Alex Allan (Glasgow Warriors) and scrum-half Grayson Hart (Edinburgh Rugby) could debut from the bench.

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tomheathcote

Tom Heathcote

Edinburgh RugbyEdinburgh Rugby are delighted to announce the signing of 22-year-old Scotland stand-off Tom Heathcote, from Bath Rugby, on a one-year deal to 2015.

Born in Inverness, Heathcote won his first cap for the nation as a replacement in the 2012 EMC Test against Tonga at Pittodrie Stadium in Aberdeen.

He was selected in Scotland’s 2013 RBS 6 Nations squad and subsequently started at stand-off for Scotland A, kicking eight points in the 13-9 win over England Saxons, the side’s first win on English soil.

He then went on to make two starts for Scotland in the 2013 summer quadrangular tournament against Samoa and Italy, and is considered one of the brightest young contenders for the national number 10 jersey.

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btmurrayfieldScottish Rugby is delighted to announce today that it has secured a long-term, multi-million pounds deal with global communications and broadcasting giant BT.

The four-year partnership, unveiled at the home of Scottish Rugby this afternoon, sees BT

  • Secure the naming rights for Murrayfield Stadium, which becomes BT Murrayfield Stadium.
  • Become sponsor of the Scotland 7s side from the outset of the 2014-15 HSBC Sevens World Series.
  • Become principal and exclusive sponsor of Scotland’s domestic league and cup competitions from next season.
  • Become sponsor of Scottish Rugby’s four new academies which will drive forward standards for young players who have aspirations to play professionally.

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ScotlandScotland will be without key players when they play the one-off Test match against the Springboks in Port Elizabeth.

New Scotland coach Vern Cotter has announced a double squad in order to cope with an arduous travel schedule, leaving some of the bigger names to play the North American leg of their tour only.

Players such as Chris Cusiter, Greig Laidlaw, Sean Lamont, Tim Visser, Kelly Brown, Richie Gray, Jim Hamilton and Alasdair Strokosch will only find themselves involved in the first squad to take on the United States and Canada.

Cotter’s reason for this is that some of his players will still be duty bound to French and English clubs with the Springbok match falling outside the Test window.

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EnglandIrelandScotlandWalesThe reluctance of the Home Unions to come to the party is what is preventing a more acceptable global season to be implemented.

It has long been suggested that the selfish nature of Home Union officials – those from England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland – has been at the heart of the troubled and scattered international and domestic calendars.

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HughMcLeodScottish Rugby is immensely saddened to learn of the death on Monday night of the former Hawick, Scotland and Lions internationalist Hughie McLeod. He was 81.

Hugh Ferns McLeod was a pioneer, ahead of his time. His achievements as a player were the stuff of legend but, arguably, it was the manner in which he moulded future success in Hawick that marked him as a truly special character.

Hugh drove himself very hard as a player. He set high standards and expected the same of others. Into retirement he still followed a fitness regime which might have proved – no, would have proved too onerous for younger folk. Whether it was cycling, swimming up in Edinburgh or walking, Hughie loved to be active.

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ScotlandEdinburgh RugbyTim VisserWhen the curtain finally comes down on a long, hard and ­ultimately disappointing season for Edinburgh tomorrow night, it will surely come as a blessed relief to almost everyone associated with the club.

Coach Alan Solomons has made it abundantly clear that these last run of games have been an exercise in damage limitation. His focus has already moved on to next season, and he has apparently completed the planning and recruitment process (with announcements impending) which he believes will ensure that his troops hit the ground running.

The players are either exhausted after having to adapt during the heat of battle to a whole new way of doing things, or completely demotivated after being brutally apprised of the fact that they are no longer part of the club’s future.

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