Women’s 7s Report- Emma Lunney, Women’s 7s Convenor

After a tense week of steadily worsening weather forecasts leading up to the day, the rugby gods finally decided to give us some much needed sun for the 2016 Sevens. The tournament has and continues to be a great event, particularly for the growth of women’s rugby,and 2016 was another successful year, for that thanks must go to my Sevens Subcommittee; Katerina, Comfort, and Mimi.

The day was a great success for the women’s half of the tournament, attracting new and returning teams to University Park for a close fought competition. This year saw the Melrose and Dundee University clubs return, as well as the Manchester University Women’s Rugby Team travelling to compete with St Andrews Senior and Fresher teams. It was great for us to welcome back returning teams, as well as creating friendships with the Manchester rugby girls, establishing a relationship both clubs wish to continue in the future.

The entry of an all Fresher women’s team was a first for the tournament this year, and I have to say the seniors were scared pride was definitely at stake! The Seniors managed to maintain a winning streak, however a huge congratulations has to go the St Andrews Freshers who really stepped up to be serious competitors throughout the tournament, things are definitely looking promising for next season!

The whole tournament was, as always, in the spirit of both great fun and great

Competition with matches on R2 offering the women’s teams more spectators, giving them a great chance to show off some ‘champagne rugby’. After a close fought

round robin tournament it came down to a knockout final between previous champions Melrose, and St Andrews Seniors. St Andrews Seniors put in some amazing team work, and after an incredibly close game came out as St Andrews Rugby Sevens Champions 2016. This is the first time St Andrews have won the Sevens, and I know I speak on behalf of all the outgoing 4th years when

I say it was the best way we could have ended our time at Saints rugby victorious

And covered in champagne!

All in all the Sevens continues to be a great event for the showcasing and growth of

Women’s rugby, with this year’s tournament being no different, and I am confident that it will continue to expand in years to come.

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Alumni- We need you!

A call to all our alumni to help us grow our network of former players that can help create a stronger alumni network and through that a more sustainable club back here in St Andrews.

We have alumni from all across the world but since our creation of a more formalized alumni engagement, our database only has around 220 contacts. There are literally thousands of people missing from our list and who are missing out on catching up on news, attending events and engaging with our great club.

We are in need of some proactive former players to help spread the word and fill our network to where it should be and help create engagement through the generations.

There was no greater example of how our club can impact off the pitch than having Ian ‘Gaffer’ Ross, the captain of the 1948 team attending The Royal Bank of Scotland Scottish Varsity Match. We believe that he is our oldest living club member and who still gets out supporting the club whenever he can. Here he is celebrating with The Scottish Varsity Match Trophy.

Please contact as at: 1858club@st-andrews.ac.uk

Once a Saint, always a Saint.

The Royal Bank of Scotland Varsity Match

The Royal Bank of Scotland Scottish Varsity Match will once again take place at BT Murrayfield, this year on Saturday 24th September. Last season, an unbelievable crowd of over 10,000 people watched an unbelievable game that saw the Saints win the match with the last kick of the game.

There will be a host of alumni events built around the game which will be announced shortly but in the meantime, please put this date in your diary.

Director of Rugby Report- David Ross

A season of euphoric highs and depressing lows has finally come to an end and with it time to reflect, review and plan for next year knowing that the trials and tribulations of this season will ultimately make us stronger for next year. Whilst things on the field have not gone the way of the 1st XV, both the 2nd XV, 3rd XV and Women’s 1st XV have all be competing strongly for their respective league titles, all with young teams who will be returning next season.

A huge thank you to both committees under the leadership of Tom Hyams and Kylie Courtney who have guided efficient and hardworking committees who are leaving the club in a better position from which they found it. The hard work of our coaches must be commended and thank you to Burhan Torgut, Gary Anderson, Gavin Kerr (who unfortunately had to leave us at Christmas due to family reasons) and Andrew Durward as well as Luke Birmingham and Allan Gartshore from the S/C team. As always, Club president Chris Reekie has been supporting on the sidelines, high powered camera in hand, and doing a host of unseen and unheard of work behind the scenes on behalf of the club, thank you Chris!

The club could not function never mind thrive without the support of the University and all it does for the club from providing sensational facilities to transport budgets to putting leadership programmes together to develop our student athletes. Their support, vision and drive to make Saints Sport the best it can possibly be is inspiring and our students do not know how fortunate they are compared to other university sport programmes.

Next year we look forward to kicking off the season by defending our Scottish Varsity Match title at BT Murrayfield on 24th September. There is no doubt that you will not want to miss out on that huge event, not only for the University but for the history of our great game of Rugby Union. Whilst the event is fairly significant in the season, our success or failure of the year cannot solely be judged by one game, so we must do better in BUCS at all levels and the way our students need to improve is through their strength and conditioning to be able to perform better and to organize their lives more effectively to be able to excel both in sport and their studies.

I look forward to catching up with you all at the Scottish Varsity Match in September.

Men’s 7s- Jack Patterson, 7s Convenor

Saturday 16th April saw the 2016 iteration of St Andrews 7s. Unfortunately sod’s law hit hard this year as the glorious sunshine, which has greeted the tournament for the past three years was nowhere to be seen. Despite initial fears of a washout the rain left us more or less alone, and we were once again able to witness a cracking day of champagne rugby at the best student rugby tournament in the UK.

2016 saw a slight change to tournament structure, as the usual 32-team tournament was changed to 24 teams, and a new 8-team performance tournament was introduced. This was done as a means of looking to boost the stature and reputation of the tournament. This looked to immediately have paid off, with teams from Durham University, Howe of Fife, and the Black Watch making an appearance in the performance tournament, as well as Scrum magazine coming on board as headline sponsors for the tournament. In addition to Scrum as headline sponsors, we were lucky enough to secure sponsorship from Stonehouse Lettings, Dr. Noodle, Playerlayer, Heineken and Pipers Crisps.

The weekend was kicked off with an alumni dinner the night before in the Balaka with the old adage, Friday – bought the boys a curry, being lived up to in the most literal of ways. Most of the entertainment during dinner was provided by the most enthusiastic performance of the club song by returning Club Captain Lewis Scott that KY16 has ever seen, much to the enjoyment of the older boys.

Some absolutely fantastic displays of running rugby followed on the day and the final stages were reached. The first final to take place was that of the performance tournament, with Howe of Fife triumphing over Durham University in an enthralling back and forth game. Special mention must go to St Andrews Freshers Rob Lind and Toby Hall who participated in the match. It was Lind’s game-changing try and tackle that essentially won the match for Howe. Even more of a special mention must go to returning alumni Sam Bergius, whose ‘special’ commentary over the tannoy for the game represented a highlight of the day for most in the crowd. Bergius’ expert stewardship continued for the following finals, with a team from Strathclyde University ‘The Tech’ beating the ISC Red Kites in the regular tournament cup final, and She Wants The Deen coming out on top over Scotch Pie and Beans in the regular tournament plate final. The two regular tournament finals were punctuated by a performance from the St Andrews Cheerleading team. The tournament was wrapped up and finished by around 5 o clock, meaning that attendees had extra time to go home and get in the right mental place to tackle the legendary 7s afterparty which would be following in the evening.

The afterparty for 2016 was once again being held at Kinkell Byre, with a myriad of musical acts providing the night’s entertainment. Upcoming techno duo Tek-Yes, comprising of 4th Year Rugby Club member Charlie Behan and friend of the Club David Rose, opened the night. Despite being told by the sound and lighting guys that they ‘really had something’ they were unfortunately playing to an essentially empty room, with only the team from Bishop Burton College deciding to attend before 9pm. Guests en masse started to arrive at the venue as Tek-Yes were finishing their set, and as FS DJ Joe Jones took to the stage things were beginning to progress. Returning St Andrews legends Sunta Und Die Klauses followed Joe, and reflected the mood of the evening perfectly with crowd pleaser after crowd pleaser. The emotional breakdown of 3rd Year Rugby Club member James Wardle during a particularly poignant rendition of Piano Man was a testament to this. DJ Flo rounded off proceedings with a slightly edgier end to the night, but by this point I think it’s fair to say everyone in the room just wanted to boogie. Despite initial fears, the evening rounded off without the traditional Kinkell stampede for the buses, meaning that guests were able to return to St Andrews in relative comfort to round off what had been a cracking weekend.

All of us within the Rugby Club would like to thank all who helped make it happen, from Saints Sport, to our sponsors to the ground staff and many more, and just say here’s to next April!

Women’s Section- Kylie Courtney, Women’s President

This year’s season was a great combination of wins and challenges. After a summer of promoting fitness through the Varsity Fit challenge, the Saints’ Women scored their first try against University of Edinburgh in recent history at the Scottish Varsity Match at BT Murrayfield. The girls were very supportive of each other, building the team up to be the fittest they could be, with exercises everywhere from Machu Picchu to Kenya to Hawaii. The team was made up of a great mix of first year students and experienced players. Unfortunately, however, many of our experienced players struggled with a myriad of injuries throughout the year, which provided a great, challenging experience for our first year women.

While we started the season with a few wins, the Saints’ women struggled to maintain success with such an inexperienced team. This only brought the team closer together as we ensured spirits were high despite playing quite a few tough games. As a young team, this year allowed the Saints to grow together and prepare for next year. With strong players at key positions, this team hopes to win the league next year because even though competition might be tough, these girls have gained so much rugby experience and have grown immensely as players and people.

Men’s Club Report- Tom Hyams, Club Captain

The 2015-16 season kicked off tremendously with the 1st XV, for the third year in a row, defeating Edinburgh 27-26 in front of 10,000 spectators at Murrayfield. Few previous encounters in the world’s oldest Varsity match could contest to the scene of Finn Murphy stepping up to slot the nail-biting final kick of the match. The side has adjusted from the success of last year, welcoming a number of incoming Freshers to the ranks.

Varsity was the culmination of a preseason that had begun in late August, with a record number of boys making the trip back to the Auld Grey Toon early in an effort to build on the achievements of last year. While the challenges of English opposition this season have been a test, the work ethic and commitment shown by everyone, 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 moving forward.

It was a difficult BUCS season for last year’s Scottish Champions, though, as a combination of injuries and a step up in class have meant long trips down to the Midlands have yielded only battling losses for the 1st XV, although a recent win at home to the University of Manchester showed that the hard work is starting to pay off. However, both the 2nd and 3rd Teams proudly flew the club’s flag in Scotland. Following an impressive performance away to Aberdeen, back-to-back bonus-point victories at home to local rivals Edinburgh and Dundee meant that the 2s headed towards the end of the season in a three-way battle for the league title. It was not to be, but Patchers’ stalwarts Henry Lawrence, Charlie Behan, Jack Patterson and Sam Ummat’s celebrated nonetheless after finally being able to hang up the boots. It was a similar story for the 3rd Team, who competed well in a tight league, often with a very young team, and narrowly lost out on the chance of the title with the last play of the final home game.

Off the pitch it has been another successful year, with the inaugural Secret Pyjama Party last term proving to be a popular addition to the social calendar. As always the recent Beach Party went down an absolute storm on a particularly cold February night. Kicked off with our termly Friday Night Lights, the club once again led the charge on the Movember front, with members putting their poor facial hair to good use for charitable causes. Our annual Movember ball, hosted by the Scores and generously sponsored by Stonehouse Lettings, was another resounding success, as friends of the club reeled the night away whilst raising a fantastic amount for two charities close to all of the club members’ hearts. These events combined to raise over £3500 for two fantastic causes, which the club is very proud to support. As always 7s and the myriad of end of term shenanigans it kicks off went down an absolute treat as members looked to end the season in style.

For a club that has dominated Scottish University rugby for the last few years, this season was always going to be a challenge, but I have no doubts that next year is looking rosier. From all of this year’s leavers – good luck to Harry and the boys for next season and ‘mon the Club.