Results thus far

Men’s 1st XV

vs University of Edinburgh, BT Murrayfield, 27-26, win

vs University of Birmingham, Away, 24-14, loss

vs Durham University 2s, Home, 24-12, loss

vs University of Worcester, Away, 32-31 loss

vs University of Aberdeen, Home, 44-12 win (cup)

Women’s 1st XV

vs University of Edinburgh, BT Murrayfield, 40-7, loss

vs University of Aberdeen, Home, 40-0, win

vs Glasgow Caley, Away, 27-20, win

vs Dundee University, Home, 40-24, win

Men’s 2nd XV

vs University of Edinburgh, BT Murrayfield, 78-7, loss

vs Dundee University, away, 18-0, loss

vs Glasgow University, home, 30-17, loss

vs University of Aberdeen, away, 22-19, win

Men’s 3rd XV

vs University of Edinburgh, BT Murrayfield, 64-14, loss

vs University of West of Scotland, Home, 50-6, win

vs Glasgow University, away, 13-8 loss

Director of Rugby’s Report

Last season was undoubtedly one of the most successful in the club’s long history with the men’s 1st XV winning The Scottish Varsity, Scottish BUCS 1A (for the 2nd year in a row) and then gaining promotion to BUCS Premier leagues whilst the women’s 1st XV also managed to win BUCS 1A for the first time in many years. Whilst the achievements of last season are still fresh in the memory, no one at the club can rest on those past joys as new challenges and a sea change in players bring the excitement of a new season.

Pre-season was hugely successful with the highest numbers of both men’s and women’s players taking part since training camps were introduced 6 years ago. There is no doubt that the carrot of playing at BT Murrayfield in front of thousands of supporters captured the imagination and focus of the players to be selected for that occasion and what an occasion it was!! BT Murrayfield in front of 10,000 people was special enough but to win the game in such dramatic fashion with a try and touchline conversion with the last play of the game is the stuff of Hollywood movies. For Finn Murphy to knock over that kick and be presented with the Steven Sims man of the match award was also a poignant moment for all at St Andrews and for anyone who watched the match, there is no doubt that Finn encapsulated all that Simsy was about as a player and as a man in his match winning performance.

The women’s 1st XV faced an extremely strong Edinburg h side with many full and age grade internationals but competed well and will be better players and team as a result of the experience. The 2s and 3s struggled against Edinburgh’s strength in depth each playing against teams who are above them in BUCS leagues and the score lines reflected this. A great experience none the less for all who was involved and planning has already started for next season.

The start of BUCS brings a host of new challenges for the club, the women’s 1st XV look to retain their title whilst the 2s and 3s look to try and build a team full of new players and provide consistency in selections despite the academic commitments that they all face. The 1st XV have the greatest of challenges however after losing some sensational rugby players who have been the bedrock of the team for the past 4 years, notably Max Campbell, Sam Bergius, Ciaran Harries,  Henry Baylis, Alasdair Pollock, Lewis Scott, Jack Hannay, Danny Clink and Tom Gold. The 1st XV becomes an extremely young team full of 1st 2nd and 3rd years which bodes well for the future.  The challenge of a young team playing premier league rugby is one that the club has embraced and working hard to be successful in and whilst there will be loses along the way, the team will learn, grow and develop into a better team as result.

I would like to thank the many alumni, parents and friends who came and supported The Scottish Varsity Match and special mention to those who have donated to the 1858 club and to our target of raising funds for a new full time coach. The university provides so much support for the rugby programme that we have to ensure we look at our network of alumni and supporters to help with the sustainability of the club moving forward. Coaching support is essential to this aim and to get a new full time member of staff coaching within the programme is key to our success moving forward and would encourage you to help with that process by making any possible donation here:

https://sparc.st-andrews.ac.uk/giving/current-projects/sports/rugby1858

Men’s Alumni Update

Despite a shaky start to the season the Club is undoubtedly in a healthy state, retaining the Varsity title for the third year in a row was a hugely successful moment in our long history.

 

Varsity presented a perfect opportunity for Alumni to make the pilgrimage back to see the current 1st XV in action, and we couldn’t have wished for such a fantastic performance from The Saints. I am happy to report the presence of retuning Alumni from the 1948 captain Ian Ross as well as a cohort of 2014 leavers, this intergenerational support for the Club by Alumni is key for us and I hope to see many of you back next year.

Interaction between Alumni and the current members is a hallmark of a successful Club, your participation and support in the numerous events we hold throughout the year is both heartily encouraged and warmly received. By hosting the annual Movember Ball the Club is again expecting to make a significant contribution to the Movember charity. Donations as well as photographic evidence for any moustache attempts, however dubious (Scott Docherty) are heartily encouraged.

http://moteam.co/university-of-st-andrews-rugby-football-club

Men’s Varsity Report

On an overcast Saturday evening almost 10,000 eager spectators crowded into Murrayfield stadium to witness the return of the world’s oldest varsity match to Scotland. Trepidation surrounded the travelling supporter’s ranks, having witnessed the St Andrews women’s side valiantly go down to a strong Edinburgh team 36-7 in the earlier warm up match. With the threat of rain looming overhead, and the teams having taken their positions on the field, the stage was set for what promised to be a pulsating game of student rugby.

 

From the kick off St Andrews proved to be the sharper team. Successive waves of thunderous carries forced Edinburgh ever closer to their own try line, and after an opportunistic snipe down the blind side, St Andrews first year Ruari Bell dived in at the corner. The successful conversion from scrum-half Finn Murphy put the saints 7-0 up with five minutes on the clock.

 

The intensity from St Andrews continued off the restart, with Edinburgh evidently shaken by the ferocity of the opening encounters. A strong mid-field carry released fly-half Scott Doherty, who having darted past numerous defenders, offloaded to Murphy for the second try of the match. The conversion drifted wide with the score standing at 12-0. Further incursions into Edinburgh’s half culminated in a third try to The Saints, this time Docherty scoring himself after some superb footwork. Going into the second quarter of the match St Andrews had forged a commanding lead.

 

However Edinburgh courageously rallied, adeptly slowing the pace of the game down and launching their first foray into the saints half. A scrappy period of play resulted in St Andrews winger Brodie Hunter receiving a sin bin, the momentum turning in Edinburgh’s favor. After a sustained period of pressure Edinburgh broke through, Callum Simpson driving the ball over from short range. With the wind in their sails, Edinburgh’s forwards forced their way towards the St Andrews try line. On the stroke of half time they succeeded in crossing for their second try, the pressure reducing the saints to 13 men following flanker Rob Lind’s booking defending his try-line. The score 17-12 going into the break.

 

The second half picked up where the first had left off, with Edinburgh capitalizing on their numerical advantage. A converted try brought the score to 19-17, with the men in green leading for the first time in the match. A penalty from Murphy restored The Saint’s to a tenuous lead despite Edinburgh beginning to look the more positive of the two sides. With less than ten minutes left on the clock Edinburgh inflicted what looked to be the decisive blow as replacement Ian Vance scored off the back of a strong scrum. Edinburgh 26-20 to the good going into the closing stages.

 

Facing down the barrel of a gun, The Saints rallied to their captain George Hailstone’s call and raised their intensity significantly. Having secured the ball, the men in blue launched assault after assault at the hardy Edinburgh line, until winger Roland Walker burst through the centre of the defense. Despite Walker having being pulled down ten meters short, some quick recycling allowed substitute Rory Gardener to bulldoze his way in at the corner, the match would go down to the final kick. A bruised and battered Murphy stepped up to the tee, serenely slotting the conversion from the hardest of angles. St Andrews had grasped victory from the jaws of defeat. A superb advert for Scottish university rugby resulted in a 27-26 win for the saints, their third successive varsity victory and closest to date. The team now looks ahead to their first season in the BUC’s Premier North B league.

Women’s Varsity Report

This year the Scottish varsity match was ‘coming home.’ An extremely exciting prospect for all team members, particularly the Scots, who were getting the opportunity to play in the BT Murrayfield Stadium. For the women, playing a fifteens game against Edinburgh was a daunting prospect despite the fact that the match would only last for 40 minutes. Training for Varsity started long before match day as team members worked hard on fitness from homes around the world. When we returned to St Andrews, an intense preseason awaited us. We knew that this year, with the opportunity to play full fifteens rugby, we were going to give our all.

The night before the game we walked onto the pitch, through the tunnels, like so many legendary players before us, it truly hit just how spectacular an opportunity this was. The game itself was unbelievable. Playing in front of ten thousand people is an experience that none of the girls will ever forget. On top of that, scoring a try against Edinburgh for the first time in three years felt like finally all our hard work had paid off. The Edinburgh team had some fantastic players and it was a brilliant opportunity to put our defence to the test. The Saints played a strong team game, dominating the scrums and line outs along with expert plays from the back line. It pushed everyone, and although it was only forty minutes it certainly felt like longer, highlighting just how much effort went into every second of play.

The after party was also an experience, however mostly reminded us how much we love the Union on a Wednesday night Sinners. All in all, the entire varsity trip was something that is sure to be remembered for the rest of our lives. A once in a lifetime experience that, for a lucky few, will hopefully happen for years to come.

President’s welcome, Kylie Courtney

In case you missed the previous newsletter, I am Kylie Courtney, the Women’s Club President. Despite numerous injuries, our season has started off fantastically for such a young team. Beginning the season playing against the University of Edinburgh at Murrayfield Stadium was incredible experience for everyone and we’d like to thank all involved who made it such an enjoyable event.

It was such an exciting game; with two Saints freshers making their debut at Murrayfield while the Saints won many of the scrums. Rhiannon Fox-Rothwell, one of our first years, took the quick penalty, passing it on to Fiona Cooper to score. Fiona converted her own try off a dropkick. Fiona has also been selected to attend Scotland Under-20s Training camp where I’m sure she’ll make an impact. The game ended with a final score of 36-7 to Edinburgh, making it the first time the St Andrews’ women have scored on Edinburgh in three years.

We won our first game of the BUCS Scottish 1A Season against Aberdeen, 40-0, and won our most recent game against Glasgow Caley, 27-20 (where we had only two fourth years on the pitch!). Our first game against Aberdeen was played on R1 and had beautiful moments of ‘champagne rugby,’ with a multitude of offloads taking place in quick succession to score on Aberdeen. Playing against Glasgow Caley meant uncontested scrums, which was a shame considering how strong our scrums are. With Glasgow Caley scoring the first try, the Saints did a great job at keeping their heads up and fighting through. Both sides brought great effort to the game and it was great to have such a competitive match for our new girls to gain experience.

Having such a young team means a lot of training to make sure they are safe and they know what they’re doing, whether they play as a forward or back. Even though there is always some anxiety at putting new players on the pitch, it also means that the Saints women’s team will continue to have a strong team for the years to come.

We hope to continue winning so wish us luck!

Sincerely,

Kylie Courtney

Captain’s welcome Tom Hyams

First and foremost, on behalf of the entire club, a huge thank you to everyone who came out to support at last month’s Varsity. It was the culmination of a preseason that had begun in late August, with [Dave will have the right number to insert here] boys making the trip back to the Auld Grey Toon early in an effort to build on the successes of last year. While the challenges of English opposition this season will be a test, the work ethic and commitment shown by everyone so far, from freshers making their first appearance as a 1st XV Saint to seasoned veterans in the 3rd team, has been fantastic and has put the club in a great position for the year ahead. Both on and off the field, the club will continue to improve and the constant support we receive from alumni is always hugely appreciated.