Fixr St Andrews 7s Preview

This year’s 7s will take place on Saturday 15th April, and everything is coming together very nicely for the headline event of the University’s Alumni Weekend.

Following the success of last year’s Performance Tournament we have decided to continue with the same format, welcoming back clubs such as the ISC Red Kites and university sides from Durham, Manchester and Edinburgh. Excitingly, for the first time this year the University will be entering a competitive side in the Performance Tournament under the alias of the St Andrews Cavaliers. As in previous years, the Cavaliers will play in memory of Steve Sims, the former St Andrews 1st XV captain who tragically passed away in 2012.

In addition to this, we are expanding the Social Tournament this year to 32 teams, allowing for a wide range of rugby talent to grace University Park. Among this assortment are returning alumni, with both the Dambusters and Kite Runners due to take part alongside the four current St Andrews teams.

The Women’s Tournament keeps growing this year, with an unprecedented amount of teams from across the country participating. For the second year in a row, an English team is making its way up to St Andrews and we await playing Durham WRFC with great anticipation. Women’s Rugby keeps getting the recognition it deserves on the international stage and our Sevens Tournament is set on celebrating that.

Further to this, we’ve partnered with the student events platform Fixr as our headline sponsor, producing the USTARFC Fixr 7s. This has allowed us to expand the after party; this year, the evening entertainment will take place in a marquee housing 1500 guests on North Haugh. Having moved to a new location, a great deal of work has gone into the event to ensure it is the biggest 7s after party to date.

Everything is firmly in place for what promises to be yet another successful St Andrews 7s. As always, the weather remains the only true uncertainty, but we still hope to see you there rain or shine.

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Director of Rugby Report

As the XV’s season comes to an end and we move into the final phase of the year, I reflect on what has been a very good season for the club. Whilst the final league positions of all 4 teams might not be as high as we would like, there is so much to be positive about from the 2016/17 season.

Last season saw the men’s 1st XV take the leap to premier league which saw us take a significant step up in competition on a weekly basis. Alongside the logistics of travel for the team across the U.K, the club struggling for coaches and the attitude of the some of the players the season was disappointing and the club had to take stock and have a good look at itself as it finished 2015/16.

Fast forward 12months and the club has been transformed to a really positive, encouraging and growth focused environment where everyone involved is enjoying their experiences. A large part of this is our large coaching team of Luis Arola, Burhan Torgut, Chris Martin, Cameron Pringle and Fraser Clark with the men’s programme and Gary Anderson, Mandy Palmer-Norrie and Burhan Torgut in the women’s programme. Thank you for your hard work, enthusiasm and passion to improve our players.

One of the most significant developments we have made this season is creating a new vision for the club to become the best student rugby club in the world. This ambitious goal is not focused on winning leagues, trophies or games but creating a club that provides the very best experience possible for its members from our socials and events to how we recruit new students internationally with the priority being that all our members enjoy themselves in all aspects of club life. Our strategy focuses primarily on off the field initiatives but we have also identified ways in which we can improve the rugby programme and each individual player to become the best player they can possibly be.

The future looks healthy for the club both on and off the pitch as we head to the end of the season but still some great events to look forward to with our invitation to The Melrose 7s and our own annual 7s tournament which is always guaranteed to be a sensational event.

 

Women’s President Report

It has been a pleasure this year to welcome over 30 new girls in to the club. Off the back of a massive recruitment drive at the beginning of the year, we saw numbers at training and socials increase massively, a trend which has remained throughout the season, meaning we have consistently had competitive team selection and a strong bench for all games. Despite a few disappointing results in our league fixtures, we finished the season with a strong performance away against Glasgow University, losing 15-5 but showing vast improvements in our line speed and tackling. Irrespective of the score, it was a rewarding end to a difficult league season, and a particularly emotional one for myself and our other leavers, Comfort Ogbonnaya (C) who made her season debut in this game after a difficult season recovering from a knee injury, Imogen Hooper (VC) and Eileen Igboanugo.

Despite underperforming in the league, we beat Durham in the BUCS Trophy to reach the last 16. We then lost to Edgehill, who travelled up for the fixture, but performed well and learnt a lot from playing such a strong and fast-paced side. National Development League fixtures hosted by Scottish Rugby were once again beneficial for our Freshers, giving game time and improving their confidence in contact immensely. We now look forward to supporting the boys at Melrose 7s, hosting our own Sevens Tournament on 15th April, and a tour to Copenhagen at the end of the summer exam period.

This season, we have developed not only as a team, but as a club, in keeping with our vision to become the ‘Best Student Rugby Club’ in the world in the next few years. I believe that the future is promising for the club, and for the Women’s 1st XV, as membership numbers continue to increase, and the standard of rugby and level of performance continues to rise.

I would like to thank our coaching team; Gary, for his constant support and dedication to the team, David’s enthusiasm and proactive attitude towards the running of the club, Burhan, for his coaching, S+C and video analysis, and Mandy, our new forwards coach, for her wisdom and enthusiasm.

As always, we love to welcome alumni back, so if you are in town for Alumni Festival Weekend and Sevens (14-16th April) get in touch on wrsta7@gmail.com, or at any other time drop us an email on rugbyw@saints-sport.com and let us know what you are up to!

Naomi Boon

Women’s President

Men’s Club Captain Report

Having ushered in the New Year, a sizable proportion of the club returned 10 days earlier than the rest of the student body, to run off what rapidly became evident as a glutinous festive period. Contending with extremely cold conditions, and even a lashing of snow, the mid-season camp proved a resounding success for all involved. Notably the new forward’s coach, Luis, wasted no time in implementing a selection of new scrummaging exercises – much to the amusement of the returning backs.

Following on from a very strong first-half of the season in BUCs Premier North B, the team narrowly went down 32-33 to a spirited Durham side, before bouncing back with powerful win over Worcester (78-0). Further mixed results in the league with victory over Manchester, but defeat away to a tough Strathclyde side saw the Saints finish the season securely in fourth position. This should be considered a remarkable turnaround from last year’s bottom of the pool finish. With the club beginning to implement their new vision, the returning players are firmly focused on winning the league in the coming season.

There were a number of other exciting developments amongst the playing squad, as confirmation came that the Saints would be reigniting their Varsity rivalry with Edinburgh at the Melrose 7’s this year. The team will have the wonderful opportunity of showcasing their flair on the main pitch as a showpiece game for student rugby, immediately before the Melrose final commences. To compound this, six Saints were selected to represent the Scottish Students XV at their inaugural match against the Scotland U19 squad. This involvement proved decisive as they led the team to victory, outscoring the U19’s by four tries to one. We strongly hope that this acknowledgment of student rugby persists into the future. Meanwhile the ever-expanding numbers of the club helped the 2nd XV to a third place league finish, a feat that was matched by the resilient 3rd XV.

The social side of the club is very much alive and thriving, with usage of the Saint’s honorary clubhouse Madras continuing wholeheartedly. The much-anticipated return of the USTARFC ‘Beach Party’ was a hugely successful night, and added to the club’s reputation for throwing some of the towns more lively events. Perhaps of even greater excitement is the social calendar on the horizon. The St Andrew’s Seven’s looks to be set for its largest incarnation to date, with a 1500 capacity marquee set to host this year’s after-party. As always, Sevens represents a great opportunity to welcome Alumni back to St Andrews, and I actively encourage anyone near town on the 14th April to join us for the annual Alumni curry.

Overall the lads can reflect extremely positively, across all facets of club life, on an immensely successful year. At the point of writing this summary the season is far from over. With sevens undoubtedly representing the largest club event of the year, and the newfangled excitement of representation in Melrose, there promises to be much to report back on in the coming months.

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