In September 2008 the rugby club, the oldest sporting club in the University, celebrated its 150th Anniversary. The celebrations were centred round the week of 10th-14th September 2008 when the rugby club were privileged to host the South Africa Rugby Legends and the Scottish Rugby Legends.
The South Africa Rugby Legends Association (SARLA) is an organisation in South Africa founded by John Allan, ex Scotland and Springbok international. The organisation raises money to fund rugby clinics for underprivileged children and also aims to improve the standard of living of these children through various programmes and life courses.
As part of thanking the ex-Springboks and premier South African rugby players who offer their services to the SARLA, John Allan brought a team of eLan Rugby Legends on a short tour of Scotland in September 2008 in order to defend their World Champions title.
SARLA had previously won the World Champions Trophy in Durban in 2006 and went on to win the World Rugby Classics in Bermuda a year later, in what turned out to be a phenomenal year for South African rugby. In 2008 the eLan Rugby Legends took to the field once more as part of the 17th Air New Zealand Golden Oldies World Rugby Festival in Edinburgh, kicking off their Scottish Tour in style. Up to 3,000 players took part in the festival with 121 teams all signing up. Global heroes from yesteryear subscribed to the philosophy of 'fun, friendship and fraternity', the message being spread by Gavin Hastings, the Festival Ambassador and Scottish Rugby Legend.
The Golden Oldies donned their boots at the home of Scottish Rugby, Murrayfield as the 17th Golden Oldies festival stopped over in Scotland for the first time, marking the 30th anniversary of the Golden Oldies tournament. The biennial tournament permits the more 'experienced players' who are over the age of 35 to participate.
Games were played on 2nd, 4th and 6th September with social activities and clinics planned for the days off. On the 6th September the eLan Rugby Legends took part in a social game against the Wooden Spoon Legends which boasted a sterling line up of international capped players.
From the 17th Air New Zealand Golden Oldies World Rugby Festival the eLan Rugby Legends travelled to St Andrews where they were invited guests of the oldest University in Scotland and its oldest sports club. The University Rugby Club, celebrating 150 years of rugby in St Andrews, hosted the Legends from the 10th - 14th September 2008.
The South Africa Rugby Legends arrived in St Andrews after a tour of the Glenkinchie Whisky Distillery, apart from six rebels of the touring party who spent the afternoon playing golf on the Championship Course in Carnoustie. Upon their arrival in St Andrews, the Legends were greeted by members of the University Rugby Club who helped them check into the David Russell Apartments Halls of Residence, where they were to stay for the duration of their visit.
SESQUICENTENNIAL WINE RECEPTION
After settling in to their accommodation, the Legends were transferred to Lower College Hall where they were welcomed to the University and St Andrews at a Wine Reception held in their honour, hosted by the University Rugby Club.
The Wine Reception was hosted by Giles Smith (Club Captain 2007-8) and Fergus Knight (Sesquicentennial Events Coordinator) and gave the Legends the opportunity to meet the University Principal and other members of the University.
Other guests included Stephen Stewart (Director of Sport and Exercise) and John Scott (Assistant Director of Sport and Exercise), members of the Sports Department and Athletic Union, Chris Reekie the University 1st XV Coach and the new 1st XV Captain Cammy Dickie and Club Captain for the 2008-9 season Ian Salter.
Also present were former members of the University rugby club including Mr Ian Ross who was a member and played in the 1940s and Kim Elgie one of the clubs internationalists who would be later inducted into the University Sports Hall of Fame. Mrs Pauline Swan the wife of the late John S. Swan (St Andrews Alumni, Scotland Internationalist and also to be inducted) was also in attendance.
Dr Bob Tooze from SASOL UK, based in the School of Chemistry at the University, was also able to join us and we would like to thank him for his kind sponsorship during the 150th Anniversary.
The Sesquicentennial Celebration Wine was kindly sponsored by James McKenzie and was produced at his Nabygelegen Winery which is situated in Wellington, South Africa. All the bottles were labelled with the University Rugby Club's Logo and proceeds of the sales goes towards the club funds. The touring members of the 1st XV who travelled to South Africa in the June 2008 were privileged to have visited James and been treated to his hospitality.
Speeches were made by the Principal, Dr Brian Laing and a reply for the South Africans was made by the 1995 World Cup winning Springbok and SA Legends Captain Joel Stransky.
JUBILEE GOLF DAY
The following day, the SA Legends golf team took on the Jubilee Golf Course whilst the remainder of the squad took in the sights of St Andrews. Dinner in the evening was held at Ogstons on North Street before the Legends toured the town's bars.
SESQUICENTENNIAL GOLF CHALLENGE - DUKES COURSE
The Dukes Course in St Andrews was the venue for the Rugby Club's Sesquicentennial Golf Challenge where the South Africa Legends took on the Scottish Legends whilst playing rounds with guests and alumni of the club.
The whole day was superbly run and organised by George, Geraldine and Scott Finlayson from Scotland For Golf.
Among those representing South Africa were John Allan, Joost Van Der Westhuisen, Joel Stransky, Attie van der Linde, Robbie Fleck, Breyton Paulse, Neil Penrose, Bennie Nortjie, Chris Kruger, Rob Lowe and Ian McIntosh.
The Scots were represented by Scott Hastings, Craig Chalmers, Graham Sheil and Cammy Little whilst Alumni and guests included Damian Hopley, Dr Michael Dalton, David Watt, Giles Smith, James McKenzie and John Heslop.
Following their rounds the Legends enjoyed a three course lunch before the prize ceremony took place, with items donated by James McKenzie and golf organisers Scotland For Golf.
SESQUICENTENNIAL COACHING CLINIC
The main day of celebrations began at 10:30 on Saturday morning with over 100 local school children taking part in a training clinic at the University Sports Centre in St Andrews, hosted by the South Africa Rugby Legends and the University Rugby Club. The session was led by Ian McIntosh (National Selector of the Rugby World Cup winning Springbok team in 2007 and Springbok Coach in the 90s) with the help from his coaching consultant, 2007 World Cup Winning Springbok Coach Jake White.
The mini rugby players who turned out were not put off by the cold, wet morning and were rewarded for their efforts by not only meeting two World Class International Coaches, but also 8 Springboks including Robbie Fleck, Rob Lowe, Garth Wright, John Allan, Breyton Paulse and 1995 World Cup Winners Joost van der Westhuisen and Japie Mulder. The children were taught many new skills before they put it all in to practice running against the Springbok Legends.
The majority of the children were members of the local rugby club Madrascals and along with their coaches enjoyed a thoroughly memorable days rugby.
SESQUICENTENNIAL GRADUATES MATCH
Following on from the coaching clinic, the days rugby celebrations continued in fine style with the Graduates Match, which took place on University Park in front of hundreds of spectators. The Graduates managed to win 17-14 in what turned out to be a very competitive and thoroughly enjoyable match, with commentary provided by Super Sports Commentator and South African Legend, Garth Wright and refereed by 1st XV Coach, Chris Reekie.
Alumni from the 70s through to the previous year's graduates took part in the match including Cameron Glasgow, Scotland International and Scottish Legend.
The match was played over 4 quarters with both teams using all their squad of thirty to full effect. The Graduates started with the youngest side and progessively got older as the match progressed and finally managed to pip the students in the last quarter. The Graduates match was a great success and many of those who took part hoped it would be the first of many such gatherings in the future.
SOUTH AFRICA LEGENDS V SCOTTISH LEGENDS
The highlight of the days celebrations saw the South Africa Legends take to the field against the Scottish Legends in front of the largest crowd ever to gather for a fixture on University Park. The match, refereed by St Andrews alumnus Gregg Davies, turned out to be closer and more competitive than some had predicted before the game, but the South Africans eventually ran away with a convincing 43-28 victory.
SOUTH AFRICA LEGENDS SQUAD:
President: Gavin Varejes
Team Manager: John Allan - 12 CAPS (SCOT), 13 CAPS (SA)
(Born in Glasgow, Scotland but grew up in South Africa, Glenwood High School, Natal U20, North Tvl Defence 1st XV and the South African Defence 1st XV3, Natal 1987-1997, Natal Sharks, South African Select XV, 13 tests for South Africa between 1993 and 1996 and 12 for Scotland between 1990-1, coached London Scottish, coached the Natal Sharks forwards, Director of Coaching for the Glenwood Falcons, currently CEO of the South African Rugby Legends (SARLA))
Head Coach: Ian McIntosh
(National Selector of the Rugby World Cup winning Springbok team in 2007, on the International Rugby Board Experimental Laws Committee, head coach Springboks 90s, Natal Sharks coach, former Rhodesia coach 7yrs, coached the SA National sevens side)
Coaching consultant: Jake White
(Former coach of Springboks: 2007 Rugby World Cup and the 2004 Tri Nations titles, coached u-21 Springboks Rugby Union World Cup winners in 2002)
Assistant Manager: Rob Louw - 19 CAPS (SA)
(Played in the Western Province sides that won the Currie Cup five consecutive times, nominated as South African Rugby Player of the Year in 1979 and in 1984)
Dan Mfuko (Over 100 caps for Border Bulldogs)
Rod Blew (Natal Sharks)
Wessel Lightfoot (Orange Free State)
Evert Ferreira (Double provincial sportsman who represented Boland & Border Cricket at provincial level and played Currie Cup rugby for the Border Bulldogs, part of the ECB (English Cricket Board) development program Kwick Cricket that promoted cricket at grassroots level in England)
Charl Marais - 12 CAPS (SA) (Western Province, Sale, Springboks)
Carlo van Zyl
Joe Beukes (Free State Cheetas)
Steyn Swart (Border Bulldogs)
Brad Macleod-Henderson (Natal Sharks, former Natal Sharks U21 Coach, Natal Sharks Coach 2013)
Piet Joubert (Northern Bulls, Pumas), Andile Nyembezi (Development officer for the South African Rugby Legends Association, SA Schools, Eastern Rugby Football Club, PE Harlequins, Eastern Province Rugby Union, junior Springbok, SA Development Team, Eastern Province)
Tobile Mtya (Border, Black Springboks)
Gromingo Mzunga (Free State Cheetahs)
Bennie Jacobs (Border Bulldogs)
Joost van der Westhuizen - 89 CAPS (SA) (Blue Bulls, Springboks)
Bennie Nortjie (Natal Sharks, Pirates in Johannesburg, Pumas, Bulls, Lions, Emerging Springboks, Sharks)
Garth Wright - 7 CAPS (SA) (Eastern Province, Springboks)
Gareth Wright (Border, Leeds Tykes. Elephants)
Robbie Fleck - 31 CAPS (SA) (Western Province, the Stormers, Bath, Springboks)
Japie Mulder - 34 CAPS (SA) (Lions, Leeds Tykes, Cats, Springboks)
Chris Kruger (Blue Bulls, Cheetahs, South African Barbarians, South Africa 7s)
Breyton Paulse - 64 CAPS (SA) (South Africa Schools champion at 200 and 400 m, Western Province, Clermont Auvergne, the Stormers, Springboks)
Christie Noble (Sharks Pinetown Rugby Club)
Attie van der Linde (Transvaal U19, Transvaal U21 President XV, Gauteng Lions U21, Gauteng Falcons U21, SASSU XV, Gauteng Falcons A, Lions 7ís, Lions Amateur, South Africa Touch Rugby (World Cup 2003 - Japan)
Neil Penrose (Natal Sharks)
Quintin Daniels (Western Province)
SCOTTISH LEGENDS SQUAD:
Team Manager: Rowen Shepherd - 20 CAPS (SCOT)
(Melrose, Glasgow Caledonia, Sale, Scotland)
(Edinburgh Accies, Caledonia Reds)
Stewart Campbell - 17 CAPS (SCOT)
(Dundee HS FP, Glasgow Caledonia, Benetton Treviso, Leeds Tykes, Scotland A, Scotland)
Craig Chalmers - 60 CAPS (SCOT)
(Melrose, Glasgow Caledonians, Worcester Warriors, Harlequins, Pertemps Bees, South, Scotland, British & Irish Lions)
Gordy Dickson - 9 CAPS (SCOT)
Cammie Glasgow - 1 CAP (SCOT)
(St Andrews University, Heriot's FP, Edinburgh, Scotland)
Scott Hastings - 65 CAPS (SCOT)
(Watsonians, Edinburgh Reivers, Scotland 7s, Scotland, British & Irish Lions, Barbarians)
Duncan Hodge - 26 CAPS (SCOT)
(Watsonians, Edinburgh Reivers, Edinburgh Rugby, Leeds Tykes, Scotland, Scotland A)
(Watsonians, Glasgow Caledonia, Scotland A)
(GHK, Glasgow Hawks, Glasgow/Reds, Scottish Students, Scotland 7s, Barbarians)
(Boroughmuir, Edinburgh, Scotland A)
(Edinburgh Academicals, Watsonians)
Stuart Reid - 8 CAPS (SCOT)
(Boroughmuir, Leeds, Narbonne, Scotland)
(Edinburgh Academy 1st XV Coach)
(Dundee HSFP, Glasgow Caledonia, Scotland 7s, Scotland A, Scottish Silver Thistles, British and Irish Lions Tour 2005 New Zealand Performance Analyst, Scotland Rugby Performance Analyst)
Graham Shiel - 19 CAPS (SCOT)
(Stewart Melville FP, Melrose, Edinburgh Reivers, Scotland, Edinburgh Rugby Academy Manager, Scottish National Academy Coach)
Gregor Townsend - 82 CAPS (SCOT)
(Gala, Northampton, Brive, Castres, The Borders, Scotland)
(Currie, Edinburgh, Currie 2nd XV Coach)
Ian Jardine - 18 CAPS (SCOT)
(Stirling County, Glasgow, Scotland)
(Watsonians, Scotland A)
SESQUICENTENNIAL CELEBRATION DINNER
The Sesquicentennial Celebrations culminated at the Celebration Dinner which was held in the Fairmont Hotel just outside St Andrews. Over 260 people attended the event which turned out to be the greatest evening in the University Rugby Club's history. Guests included both South Africa and Scottish Legends squads, Jim Stevenson (Former President of the SRU), JPR Williams, Ian McLauchlan (Former President of the SRU), alumni from the centenary squad from 1957/8 right through to the previous year's graduates, University Staff, friends and family.
Speeches were made by the event organisers, Giles Smith and Fergus Knight, John Allan from the SA Legends and Scott Hastings replied on behalf of the Scots, 2007 World Cup Winning Springbok coach Jake White and Welsh and British Lion JPR Williams. Entertainment was provided by the very talented classical singer Adam Smith who was accompanied on the piano by Malcolm Forbes-Peckam.
Assistant Director of Sport and former coach of the University Rugby Club John Scott then took over proceedings in order to introduce the induction of 6 former members of the rugby club into the University's Sports Hall of Fame. Damian Hopley (Wasps, England), Kim Elgie (Scotland Rugby, South Africa Cricket), John Swan (Scotland), Jon Petrie (Scotland), Chris Rea (Scotland) and David Bell (Scotland Rugby and Cricket) were then inducted by the University Principal, Dr Brian Laing. John Swan's award was recived by his son Mark, who had flown over from Australia especially for the 150th Celebrations, whilst Jon Petrie's award was gratefully received by his father.
The newly inducted members of the Hall of Fame were kindly introduced by Scott Hastings (Scottish Legend), Ian McIntosh (SA Legend), Prof Allan Hood (Alumnus/Prof of Mathematics), Cameron Glasgow (Alumnus/Scottish Legend), Cammy Dickie (1st XV Captain) and Roger Leslie.
Following the auction, run by alumnus Damian Hopley, some traditional South African songs were sung, led by South Africa Legend Dan Mfuko, which brought a close to the official proceedings and an end to the 150th Anniversary Celebrations.