Director of Rugby report

The season thus far has been a success both on and off the pitch with notable performances by all four teams in their respective BUCS leagues and significantly the 1st XV dominance of University of Edinburgh to claim their 4th Scottish Varsity Match title in a row in front of 11,000 spectators at BT Murrayfield.

The season started with an excellent pre-season training camp with record numbers and improved attitudes and the inclusion of a new coaching team for the men’s program who have made significant impact to the teams. Having former Scotland and British and Irish Lions logistic manager Guy Richardson work with the team on our culture, club values and behaviours meant that the season started off on the right foot in terms of mindset and attitudes that will carry us forward for the remainder of the season.

All four teams have produced strong performances in their leagues with highlights being the 1st XV finishing the first half of the season in 2nd place in the league and into the latter stages of the BUCS trophy. The women’s 1st XV are also into the latter stages of the BUCS trophy and both teams have home ties in the next round.

Term 2 has some big events and games to look forward to including a possible cup 1/4 final against Edinburgh, some exciting news regarding the Melrose 7s and our own 7s tournament which is growing year on year.

Thank you to all our supporters and friends who contribute off the pitch either via donations to the club or by coming to watch our games, wherever they are across Scotland and the U.K. We hope to continue the good work of this season in term 2 and to finish the season strong.

Giving to Saints Rugby

We would like to thank our many alumni, parents and friends of Saints Rugby for the donations that they have made thus far this season.

Your generosity has allowed the club to continue it’s fundraising mission to appoint a new full time coach to work in our rugby program. We still have a long way to go, so any possible donations moving forward would help significantly with our cause.

Your can donate to Saints Rugby here: https://sparc.st-andrews.ac.uk/giving/sports/rugby1858

or if you wish to discuss a donation or options please contact us on : 1858club@st-andrews.ac.uk

Women’s Social report

Social: 

This year the freshers came flooding in to our rugby fam, obviously for our top quality bants, and we kicked off the social season with our fundraiser ‘Back To School’ in 601. Uniform clad and bringing those primary school ties back in to fashion, we raised a great sum of money for the club and set the socials off to a fab start. Next came the infamous Freshers’ Welcome Party, one of the highlights of Semester 1. Thirty innocent little SuperFreshers took over the town in their capes and goggles, battling it out against the super villain seniors including the almighty OnionEater, Dr Pablo and The Gurgitator, completing their missions in order to be officially welcomed into the family that is Saints WRFC. Since then Wednesday nights have continued to be on top form (we don’t fit in anyones house anymore), with #commitmenttothecostume on fleek, and the best themes yet to come. This month we’ve got a cheeky wee trip to Murrayfield to watch Scotland hand it to Australia in the Autumn test matches and the second highlight of Semester 1, Christmas Dinner… I know it’s only November, but I started wearing my christmas jumper long ago. #itslit

 

-Anna

Varsity report:

This past summer, Women’s Rugby social media was inundated with photos, videos and stories documenting our journey towards the Scottish Varsity Match 2016. As a club, from all over the world, tears were shed, muscles built and some bones were, unfortunately, broken, in an effort to present our strongest team on the pitch to face Edinburgh. An incredible push for fitness included club member taking part in a variety of activities including massive HIIT gym sessions, first-ever 10k races and hiking in the Himalayas. When pre-season came around in August, the physical improvement was impressive. Varsity specific training continued right up until the big day with extra training and conditioning sessions. When the big day did arrive, nerves were high and a quick club trip to the health centre with kit presentation from women’s rugby alumni Sarah Thompson helped us prepare our mental strength (however there was a small technical difficulty involving an overly zealous jacuzzi goer and a jersey with no-one to claim it!). Game time came and the agreed focus was on personal bests and an enjoyment of this incredible experience. Edinburgh proved a formidable opponent, controlling most of the first half and putting us on a back foot from the start. However, in true Saints spirit, we never once let our heads drop and in the second half came back with an improved game plan and were able to put up more of a fight. A great learning experience for us and an opportunity to play against female players of a high caliber, Edinburgh showed us a level of rugby that we are not usually exposed to – and a type of rugby that we aim to learn much from. Moving forward, as a club, we have been focussing on developing the huge fresher intake of this year and developing our defensive line, and sense of urgency on the pitch – weaknesses that became apparent on the day. However, the biggest take away from that day was that whatever the situation, however hard the task, Saints stick together – heads held high, with no desire to wear any other jersey on such a momentous occasion.

 

-Imogen Hooper

Women’s Report

It’s been an exciting start to the year for the girls, kicking off the season with an intense week of preseason and a massive recruitment drive in Freshers week. We had around 25 girls at our Give it a Go session and the first training sessions had over 50 girls present, and these numbers have remained consistently high.

 

At the start of the year, we sat down with the coaching staff to discuss ideas on how we can develop our vision of becoming the “best student rugby club in the world”. This involved new ideas for community outreach, international, and local engagement such as engaging with the elderly in a local care home. Our objective for this year is to strive towards fulfilling our potential both on and off the pitch.

Despite a tough start to the season, with a few losses and quite a few injuries amongst senior players, we are challenging ourselves to up our intensity at training and s&c and go in to next semester keen to perform well in our remaining fixtures, and claim that famous win over Glasgow in the away fixture.

We appreciate your continued support as an alumni, and would love to see you at Sevens in April or at Varsity next September.

It has been an honour for me to be part of this club and see it grow over the last 4 years, so please do get in touch with us and let us know how you’re getting on, we’d love to hear from you! 

Squeezes, Naomi

President

2016 Tour report

Last May, 20 intrepid club members of USTARFC embarked on an unforgettable journey as members of the 2016 South East Asia Touring Squad. The expedition through Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand saw the boys experience a truly diverse set of cultures and customs unique to that corner of the globe.

The adventure began in Singapore just days after many of the boys’ final exams and provided an exposure to one of the cleanest and most thriving city states in the world. While many of the boys’ highlight during our first days away was the all-access tour of Singapore’s Tiger Brewery, the views of a lifetime experienced on top of the Marina Bay Sanda Skypark were ones that will remain engrained in the touring party’s mind for many years to come.

Following our first days of exploration and acclimatisation, we crossed the border into Malaysia, where we were spend the majority of our time abroad. After a brief visit to the smaller city, Melacca, the touring party pushed to the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur. The time spent in KL was packed with a variety of visits, ranging from the World famous Batu Caves, attended by most, to the KL Tower, where we could appreciate the view of the city from over 400 meters in the air. The large sight seeing voyages were flooded with opportunities to visit many local markets, stores and the occasional temple, revered by Tour Veteran, Jack Patterson.

Our stay in the capital allowed us to prepare for our first rugby outing in drastically different conditions than hallowed Uni Park. Scorching 38 degrees and 95% humidity were the conditions against the Malaysian champions University Putra Angels and despite a slow start, the club emerged as Malaysian Varsity Champions 36-24. After the bruising encounter the tourers moved on to Ipoh for a day on the river. While the ‘rafting excursion’ turned into an afternoon of spear tackling, much fun was had by all as we prepared for our departure to our final Malaysian city, Penang. Penang was one of the most lauded destinations of tour. Whether it was the breathtaking views of Penang Hill, the sobering visit to the War Museum or the bottle flipping epidemic, many touring members brought back fine memories from the city. Our final day in Malaysia, and it’s second largest city, was crowned by a day of mountainous hiking and an afternoon on one of Malaysia’s many tucked away beaches. Well over halfway into the tour, the boys had a chance to reflect on all that had happened during our time abroad, accompanied by some homemade refreshments.

Our day of R&R marked the end of our stay in Malaysia, a country packed with endless memories for the squad, and embark on the final leg of our journey, Bangkok. Whilst perhaps not known as a South East Asian rugby powerhouse, our final fixture of tour, versus the mighty Royal Thai Police Force, aimed to be a true test of the team’s resolve. However, before returning to the sweltering tundra we were able to sample the many opportunities available in the tourist hub.

Having exposed Thai culture to the phenomenon known as ‘the kilt’ we were suitable prepared to take on the formidable Thai Police. In a game of 3 thirds, the squad of 60+ Thai police started strong, however, the troops managed to put together some rather spectacular phases to run out eventual victors against the robust coppers. The end of our final match in Bangkok marked the end of activities for the touring squad and following our farewell meal, we prepped for our journey home.

Truly a tour of a lifetime, all members brought back memories that will stay with us forever. While South East Asia may not have appeared as the most obvious rugby destination, the travelling saints could not have asked to have gone anywhere better.