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Scottish Rugby

Josh Strauss

Josh Strauss in action for Glasgow Warriors

Josh Strauss admits he must deliver another sterling season for Glasgow Warriors in the Guinness PRO12 – and only then can he turn his attention to winning a Scotland cap.

Strauss, 27, made the move from South Africa to Glasgow in 2012 and will be eligible to play for Scotland on September 19, 2015 – four days before their opening World Cup match.

The back-row has been a formidable force for Gregor Townsend over the last two years, starting in 31 domestic games including last season’s final.

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Heriots Winners

Heriots celebrate winning the BT Scottish Rugby Charity Shield

The inaugural BT Scottish Rugby Charity Shield, hosted by last season’s Premiership winners, Melrose, against Cup winners Heriot’s got the new rugby year off to a flying start in a nine-try thriller.

The visitors edged the victory, leading by just one point going into the final minute with the win nailed by a converted try in the closing seconds.

After picking up the shield Heriot’s head coach, Phil Smith, said, “Last season our games were fairly similar, hotly contested, and in my opinion, this fixture showcased Scottish club rugby. There were some really good tries and it showed that the players are really trying to win games by scoring tries, rather than kicking penalties, which is what people want to see.”

An enthusiastic crowd cheered on both sides at the Greenyards, entry to the game free with donations invited for Melrose RFC’s designated charity this season, Breast Cancer Care.

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Rossouw de Klerk

Rossouw de Klerk

Glasgow WarriorsGregor Townsend has named a 26-man squad for Saturday’s pre-season friendly against Aviva Premiership side Harlequins at Scotstoun (ko 15:30 BST / 16:30 SA Time).

James Downey, Rossouw de Klerk, Connor Braid and Alex Allan are all in line to make their debuts for the Warriors.

Prop Euan Murray and scrum-half Murray McConnell are also included in the squad after returning to the club in the summer.

The Warriors will confirm the starting line-up on Saturday.

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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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Edinburgh vs LeicesterEdinburgh Rugby’s pre-season clash with Leicester Tigers at the Greenyards on Saturday 23 August (kick-off 2pm) will be followed match between two of Scotland’s top clubs, to herald the start of the 2014/15 campaign.

Melrose, Scotland’s champion club, and Heriot’s, holders of the National Cup, will meet later this month in the inaugural BT Scottish Rugby Charity Shield. Richard Mill (left) and Jack Turley fromt he respective clubs are pictured above at today’s launch.

The game will crown a feast of rugby at The Greenyards on Saturday 23 August, the week before the new BT Premiership season kicks-off.

Starting the action on 23 August will be a pre-season clash between Edinburgh Rugby and Leicester Tigers, which will kick-off at 2pm.

Then the BT Scottish Rugby Charity Shield will follow with a 5pm kick-off.

The initiative came from Melrose and was discussed with Scottish Rugby and the Premiership Forum.

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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 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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glasgowlogoGlasgow Warriors will host Harlequins in a pre-season friendly at Scotstoun Stadium on Saturday 23 August, kick-off 15:30 BST.

Gregor Townsend’s squad will take on the Aviva Premiership side two weeks before the start of the new season.

Harlequins hosted the Warriors at Twickenham Stoop last summer and this year travel north after finishing fourth in the Aviva Premiership.

Conor O’Shea’s squad includes the likes of Mike Brown, Danny Care, Ugo Monye, Chris Robshaw and Nick Easter.

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frasermckenzie

Fraser McKenzie

EdinburghEdinburgh 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.

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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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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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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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EdinburghEdinburgh Rugby’s vision to build a sustainable club founded on young home grown talent emanating from the academy took a step forward today with the recruitment of three Scots into the senior squad.

Elite development players Hamish Watson (back-row), George Turner (hooker) and Jamie Farndale (wing) have all been awarded extended, senior contracts at the club.

With young Scottish centres Michael Tait, Chris Dean and wing Damien Hoyland also among the coming summer’s new recruits, head coach Alan Solomons believes the foundations of his long-term strategy are beginning to take shape.

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RaboDirect PRO12 balls 5/8/2011Peter Murchie scored twice as Glasgow Warriors climbed to second in the RaboDirect PRO12 table with a dramatic 37-34 win over Edinburgh that also sealed them the 1872 Cup for a fifth year in a row.

In their rescheduled clash after January’s fixture was washed out, the Warriors ran in three tries in the first half through Murchie, the departing Ruaridh Jackson and Mark Bennett.

WP Nel barrelled over for the visitors who struggled with ill discipline as they lost a man in each half to the sin bin but Murchie bagged a second soon after the interval to put the Warriors in control.

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frankhaddenIn the second part of his analysis of what needs to be done to save Scottish international rugby former national coach Frank Hadden explains the need to make the most of its raw material, drawn from a tiny talent pool.

Having coached in Australian and English schools rugby in the ’80s, then had the longest involvement of any coach in the Scottish professional game before, more recently, travelling the globe as a coaching consultant, Hadden has campaigned for many years for changes to the Scottish youth system.

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ScotlandFrank Hadden has highlighted the urgent need for unique solutions to be found to Scotland’s problems if the national rugby team is to have any chance of regaining its status among the global elite

The former Scotland coach, who has worked at all levels across the world, has outlined how a “laughable” approach to strategic planning ultimately led to claims that the World Cup can be won next year.

Rather than apportioning blame, Hadden’s aim is to highlight constructively the fundamental changes that need to be made to the professional teams, the junior structure and in the provision of the right facilities to help Scottish teams to be competitive.

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glasgowrugbyWe brought the news last week of two of Glasgow Warriors loose forwards, Tyrone Holmes and Rob Harley, extending their contracts with the Scottish club. Both players signed two year extension to their contracts which will see them featuring for the Scotstoun based team until at least May 2016.

It has since been confirmed that two more back rowers who were approaching the end of their contracts have signed on for further terms for Glasgow.  These players are Ryan Wilson and James Eddie.

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Edinburgh RugbyglasgowrugbyOne of the advantages of having the national rugby union in control of its clubs was highlighted by today’s announcement by the Scottish Rugby Union of the loan of Edinburgh tight head prop Geoff Cross to Glasgow Warriors for the rest of the season due to injuries to two of Glasgow’s props.

Glasgow Warriors are currently in fifth position on the RaboDirect PRO12 log, 3 points behind the forth placed Ospreys,  with two games in hand over the teams above them. This loan arrangement indicates that Glasgow reaching the knockout stages of the PRO12 must be considered priority by the Scottish Rugby Union, and as such they and Edinburgh Rugby need to be applauded for this decision.

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ScotlandFranceScotland were boosted by the availability of stalwart tight head prop Euan Murray for this Saturday’s RBS 6 Nations encounter against France at Murrayfield.

Murray has yet to feature in the tournament this year due to an injured thumb.

Meanwhile, France hooker Dimitri Szarzewski has become the latest in a long list of French players who will be unable to play in the match. He misses out due to an ankle injury.

This means that France will fielding their third choice hooker on Saturday.

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Edinburgh RugbyLong-serving Edinburgh Rugby duo Ben Cairns and Steven Lawrie have been forced to retire from rugby due to long-term knee injuries.

The news ends the tenure of the long-serving local lads, both capped for Scotland, who will now pursue careers on the other side of the white paint.

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