January Rugby Diary

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Lions, yes or no?

1 January 1st round, Celtic Challenge: Brython Thunder 5 Gwalia Lightning 20, Rodney Parade Newport
1 January IRFU announces plans for its 150th year celebrations
3 January Confusion over representation: England men to end relationship with their union, the Rugby Players Association; most Red Roses remain with RPA, though Women’s Rugby Association (WRA) represents some of them
3 January RPA nominates Carmela Morall (Loughborough Lightning) as their Under 23 Player of the Month
4 January Round Six, PWR; nine of the fifteen Players of the Week are NEQPs
5 January Gloucester-Hartpury hold first ever girls rugby camp
6 January Energia All Ireland Cup; Round One
6 January Netherlands Rugby announces U18 festival at Haarlem on 10 February; to include a combined Exeter-Saracens side
6-7 January Round 7 PWR; concern over likely penalties for using too many NEQPs
7 January Latin Challenge: Iberians Sitges 12 Benetton Rugby 19; Iberians Valencia 13 Zebre Parma 19
8 January Death of the great JPR Williams (Wales and B&I Lions) at 74; to all current full-backs, he was the one who gave you wings
8 January Abi Tierney, CEO of Welsh Rugby, faces urgent calls for funding help from regions
8-12 January 40 players meet at Marcoussis to begin France’s preparation for the 2024 6 Nations 9 January Round Seven, PWR; ten of the fifteen Players of the Week are NEQPs, one more than last week
10 January RFU considers tougher penalties for players and coaches abusing match officials
10 January Kaitlan Leaney (Quins, Australia) is voted the Wallaroos Player of the Year
10 January The Times reports plans for a British and Irish Lions tour of NZ in 2027
10 January Nichola Fryday named Ireland’s Player of the Year by Guinness Rugby Writers
11 January Exeter Chiefs are said to have made a £4.5 million loss
12 January Leicester Tigers sign Claire Gallagher (Canada)
12 January 1st day SVNS Challenger series, Dubai; five continents involved
12 January Lance Bradley, CEO of the Ospreys, says he is thinking about an Ospreys women’s team, amongst other major changes
13 January All Ireland Cup; Round Two: both Old Belvedere and Blackrock College conceded their fixtures, incurring a 0-28 loss; in the remaining game Wicklow lost 10-78 to Railway Union
13 January Round 8 PWR; Saracens and Gloucester-Hartpury remain unbeaten
14 January China win HSBC Challenger series in Dubai; they beat Kenya 19-5 in the final
15 January Joy Neville to retire from refereeing and take on job as Referee Development Manager in Connacht
16 January British and Irish Lions tour of NZ in 2027 confirmed, but few details
16 January FFR completes 3-day conference of Elite 1 staffs plus national coaches and squad players to discuss fine details, especially closer co-operation
16 January Chloe Rollie (Loughborough Lightning and Scotland) asks for a boots sponsor
17 January Chloe Rollie isn’t the only Scot in need of footwear
17 January Scotland announces three U18 teams and four U16 teams for Girls Regional Game Series; starts 21 January
19 January Erica Jarrell (USA) joins Sale Sharks
19 January England training squad announced
19 January Leicester Tigers announce signing of Julia Omokhuale (Canada)
19 January England U18 Women 2024 Elite Player Squad announced
19 January Sarah Bern will miss the 2024 6 Nations with a knee injury
20 January Gloucester-Hartpury beat Saracens to become the only unbeaten club in PWR
20 January Asia Rugby Gender Equity Committee hosts first Women in Leadership forum
20 January All Ireland Cup; Round Three
20 January Makiko Tomita and Riho Kurogi (Japan) both announce their retirement
21 January British Army 0 Sweden 27 at Aldershot
22 January England training squad meets at St George’s Park for 3-day session; 3 changes: Brooke Bradley (Exeter Chiefs), Ella Cromack (Harlequins) and Steph Else (Gloucester-Hartpury) replace Gabriella Nigrelli, Amber Reed (both Bristol Bears) and Ella Wyrwas (Saracens); all injured 24 January Kelsey Jones (Wales and Gloucester-Hartpury) given 3-match ban for dangerous tackle on Jess Breach (England and Saracens)
24 January GB 7s squad for Perth announced: Abi Burton (England and Trailfinders) returns after serious illness
25 January Luke Stratford, forwards coach of Leicester Tigers, given a 7-match suspension for insulting a (male) match official
26-28 January Perth HSBC SVNS; Ireland gain first gold medal
26 January GB7s beat Australia for first time in Perth
27 January Celtic Challenge, Round 4 – Glasgow Warriors 10 Clovers 29, Scotstoun; Wolfhounds 41 Brython Thunder 10, Kingspan, Belfast
27 January All Ireland Cup finals
28 January Gwalia Lightning 19 Edinburgh Rugby 20, Cardiff Arms Park
28 January Elite 1 in France restarts after winter break with Round 5; Pool A wins for Romagnat, Bobigny and Stade Bordelais; Pool B wins for Blagnac and LOU (Lyon)
28-29 January Italy: Serie A play-offs: Milano Rugby 8 Valsugana 25; Villorba 18 Colorno 8
29 January Lucy Wray, CE of Saracens, retires after four years in charge; her father Nigel Wray first invested in the club 29 years ago
29 January Quins train with England Under 20s
30 January Pacific 4 Series – fixtures released, but not venues; 27th April – 25 May 2024
30 January NZR publishes forthcoming Black Ferns’ fixtures
31 January Dream Team Perth SVNS: Kristi Kirshe (USA), Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (Ire), Bienne Terita (Aus), Lucy Mulhall (Ire), Krissy Scurfield (Can), Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea (Aus), Ellie Boatman (GB)
31 January Unconfirmed reports of a Black Ferns tour of Europe, some time after mid-July and possibly to include as many as 5 tests

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