Scottish Student Sport Award for Saints Rugby

Friday 1 July 2022

Saints Sport Rugby Club was awarded Club of the Year at the Scottish Student Sport (SSS) awards last month (Wednesday 18 May).

Director of Rugby, Scott Lawson, who is about to take up a post with Scottish Rugby, said he was immensely proud of the Club’s achievements.

Aimed at the all-round best performing Club, on and off the field of play, Club of the Year is not aimed at clubs that have had a successful competition year only but those that can demonstrate impact in the 2021-2022 season. The judges were looking for increased memberships and participation, innovative projects, developing volunteers, promoting the role of officials, fundraising and creating community links.

Having not played for over a year, the Men’s 1st XV opened their pre-season in August 2021 by winning the Fife Cup. Following successful pre-season victories against the Universities of Durham, Strathclyde and Glasgow the Men’s 1st XV went on to win the Scottish Varsity (18-5) for the first time since 2016 against the University of Edinburgh. Since then the team has dominated the BUCS Scottish League 1, losing only one gain before gaining promotion into BUCS Premier North for academic year 2022-23, following victories against Loughborough 3s and Newcastle 2s in the playoffs.

Alongside the Men’s 1st XV successes, the Men’s 2nd XV won Scottish League 3 and the Men’s 3rd XV won Scottish League 4, resulting in the top three men’s teams finishing the season top of their respective leagues. On top of these successes, and due to increased membership numbers, the Men’s section was able to set up a 4th XV, which recorded its first victory over Aberdeen 3rd XV.

The Women’s team has seen a 50% increase in membership from the previous year and club membership doubling in the last two years, allowing the club to set up a development team for the first time. The development of the club has been a focus this year, with St Andrews hosting a Women’s Development Event in partnership with the Scottish Rugby Union at the Sports Centre. More than 100 women come to gain ‘Confidence in Contact’ through a series of games and drills coached and refereed by members from the Men’s 1st XV. The event helped to build relationships with local clubs, such as the Howe Harlequins, who recently joined the Women’s 1st XV for a joint training session.

The Club has also seen successes off the playing field, raising a record amount of £19,833 for Movember, the highest amount raised by any UK student club, and winning the Movember’s ‘Big Moustache on Campus Challenge’ Award. Club and 1st XV member John Paterson raised over £5500 by setting fitness challenges alongside club teammates, and finished top student fundraiser in the UK. The Rugby Club also organised a Movember ball, raising more money for the charity through ticket sales, an auction and a raffle, and helping to increase awareness for men’s health.

The Club also raised money for Stonewall UK this February, with a bake sale and laces being sold to raise £180 for equality in sport, has actively supported Breast Cancer Awareness and the Trans Community, and campaigned for ‘St Andrews Big Night In’ last October. The Club also works alongside GotConsent to ensure all club members are well educated about critical information regarding sexual conduct.

Members of the Rugby Club regularly help on Sundays at St Andrews local rugby club Madras, refereeing, coaching or running the barbecue at their mini rugby festivals. The men’s players have also been on hand to represent Madras and Waid Academy FP for Saturday fixtures when the local clubs needed the support of additional players. Women’s players also regularly support local clubs, such as the Howe Harlequins RFC and Dundee Women’s Rugby Club

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