Monday 16 December 2013

Programme notes - London Welsh, 14 December

Welcome to Raeburn Place

Today we welcome London Welsh, their Chairman, Clem Davis, and supporters to RP for our B&I Cup match. A big thanks and welcome also to our officials - referee Mr Stuart Gaffkin (IRFU), assistants Mr Rob Dickson and Mr Brian Darling, and Fourth Official Mr Tom McNichol - for without them there would be no game.

As far as I can see, this is the first time London Welsh have played at our historic ground, since they were formed in 1885. Like us, they have a very proud record - over the years they have contributed well over 100 players to the Wales national team and more players than any other club to the British & Irish Lions. Indeed, in the victorious Lions 1971 tour to NZ, seven LW players were selected, and what a bunch of players they were - John Dawes (capt), JPR, Gerald Davies, Mervyn Davies, John Taylor, Mike Roberts and Geoff Evans.

Currently, their 1st XV squad are fully professional, coached by former Cardiff Blues head coach, Justin Burnell and player coach Gordon Ross - who is well known around these parts of Edinburgh. They have suffered some 'ups and downs' in their quest to make the top level of English rugby.

In 2009, the club went into administration shortly after turning professional. They were bought from the receivers in July 2009, and allowed to continue in the Championship, albeit with a five point deduction. Then, in 2012, after a lengthy legal battle, they were promoted to the Premiership, only to be relegated in April 2013, again after legal battles around a points deduction and fine over player registration issues.

Currently, LW head the Championship - 8 points ahead of a chasing group of 4 clubs that includes our other B&I opponents London Scottish - having played 10 and won 9 games.

They have a very strong squad of some 35 professional players to choose from; and they are still strengthening that squad, as only last week they signed a second row (a big man at 6ft 11in and 125kg!) from Exeter Chiefs and a hooker from the Auckland ITM side in NZ.

This is our 1st XV's 14th Premiership or B&I Cup game on the trot since the season began on the last Saturday of August. We have one more to go next week, when we play Melrose in the Premiership at The Greenyards, before we get a short break until 11th Jan. It is some time since we had such a long run of games and the players are feeling it. There is no home game next Saturday, as the 2nd XV are away as well, but we do have our final 'feast' of rugby for 2013 on Friday 27th Dec, when we will put out an Accies XV to play our annual game against the Co-optimists, ko 2pm.

As this is the last programme of 2013, we would like to wish all our players, supporters, sponsors, friends and visitors a very merry Christmas and a happy and successful New Year.

I hope you all enjoy your visit to Raeburn Place, the 'cradle of rugby football in Scotland' and we look forward to welcoming you back soon.

John Wright President, EAFC

Coach's Comments

Last week’s defeat at the hands of London Welsh was a real learning experience for all those involved at the Club. Playing against a fully professional side was a positive experience for all the coaching and playing staff on and off the field. London Welsh are a well-coached outfit, who play rugby with ball in hand and with width and pace. They were very impressive, and they look a good bet to go back up to the Premiership.

I believe we all will be better for our B&I experiences. We have been dealt a number of tough fixtures and harsh results – but the players have all stepped up to the plate and given total commitment and determination to improve. These are valuable qualities – and will stand us in good stead in our fundamental goal for continuous improvement.

Malcy has had his work cut out over the last couple of weeks. With new faces coming in and out of the squad, he has done an excellent job in ensuring that the forwards have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities. However, not all are new faces; it’s good to see the familiar face of Lewis Niven starting at tight head. Throw in Alex Allan and Stuart McInally into the front row along with Alex Toolis and Robert McApline in the 2nd row, and our front five have enough experience and talent to win quality ball.

Today’s back row is also exciting. Callum and Hamish bounce off each other, while the exciting Mike Coman, who is released from Edinburgh Rugby, plays his first club game in Scotland. Although the backs have a familiar look, there is a new face at 10, in Iain Chisholm. Iain has integrated himself well since joining the club. We have thrown him in at the deep end over the last two weeks. However, this lad likes a challenge - and so far he’s risen to every one he’s faced.

I hope you enjoy the game today.

Jonny Else Head Coach, EAFC

The Club would like to thank the following:

Our faithful volunteers, too many to mention, for giving their time so generously

Accies’ Minis P3 Squad - providing our ‘Guard of Honour’ today

  • Ramsay Hodgson (Head Ball Boy)
  • Elliot Drysdale (Ball Boy)
  • Hamish Glashan (Ball Boy)
  • Gordon McNeill (Ball Boy)
  • Jamie Simpson (Ball Boy)
  • Cameron Turner (Ball Boy)

Edinburgh BATs Rugby RUGBY FOR ALL ….. in the North Edinburgh Community

The first half of the season is almost over for BATs and its various feeder sides with the S1 side playing against Watsonians away tomorrow, Sunday 15th December. In the New Year, our U18 and U16 sides will be looking to compete in the Edinburgh and Lothian’s Cup, with our P6, P7 and S1 sides continuing to train and play friendlies/tournaments.

Also in the New Year, BATs are looking to launch a newly formed S2 side, with the first training session scheduled for Sunday 19th January, from 11:00am till 12:30pm. If you are interested in joining this side, please contact me per the below contact info.

Congratulations must go to BATs players Callum Ramm (Trinity Accies & BATs U18) and Ciaran Armstrong (Fettes & BATs U18) on starting for Edinburgh U18s vs. Borders U18s on Wednesday evening.

A massive ‘thank you’ must also go to Hamilton and Inches for their continued support of BATs - the U16 and S1 sides will be receiving a new set of strips in the New Year thanks to them.

BATs Training Times:

  • BATs U16 and U18 squads train on Wednesday evenings @ Raeburn Place from 6.30-7.30pm
  • BATs S1 & S2 sides train on Sunday mornings @ Raeburn Place from 10.30-12.00 noon
  • BATs P6 & P7 sides train on Sunday mornings @ Raeburn Place from 10.30-12.00 noon

 If you would like to join and play for BATs or volunteer and help BATs in any way - be it coaching, fund-raising or just joining the committee - please contact Iain on the contact details below.

Finally good luck to Broughton RFC, Trinity Accies RFC in there league fixtures this weekend and of course Edinburgh Accies who play London Welsh at Raeburn Place.

The BATs are the future of rugby in the community……… and that future is bright.

BATs Web: click; Twitter: click  

Iain Berthinussen, Rugby Development Officer, 0783 469 2823;

EAFC Minis Rugby

It’s hard to believe that we are nearly half way through the season and yet, so far, we have not lost any practice games or matches to the weather! This good fortune means we have even more young Accies training on Sunday mornings with numbers now close to nearly 170 – a record I believe for the Club.

News from the P1 and P2’s is that they are thriving in their new winter training environment at The Edinburgh Academy Junior School Sports Hall which is a vindication of our decision to invest in providing an indoor facility for our youngest members during the winter months.

For the other age groups, I was privileged to accompany the P3-P7 Minis to Dunfermline RFC last Sunday for a development fixture featuring Accies, Dunfermline and Heriot’s rugby clubs; a great event with some super rugby on display from all the boys and girls who attended and who all enjoyed the post-game hot dogs and hospitality in their clubhouse!

Today is a very special match for our P3’s as they have been selected to provide the ‘Guard of Honour’ as the 1st XV players run on the pitch – I know there is much excitement about this and a real opportunity for the mini and senior sections of the Club to come together. I know they will appreciate your support as they line up pre-match.

Good luck today to our 1st XV in what will no doubt be a tough test against our visitors from London Welsh – an overused cliché but let’s hope good rugby is the winner.

Please refer to our website for up to date info: click here  

Remember, ANY player from ANY school is welcome to join the Accies Minis!

David Crawley, President, EAFC Mini Rugby, M 07715 555 005,



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