- Partnership to tackle carbon emissions across Scotland, starting with the home of Scottish Rugby, Scottish Gas Murrayfield and its 26-acre estate.
- Driving the growth of the Scotland Women’s team through shirt and stadium sponsorship as well as other female age-grade teams through activities over the course of the agreement.
- Landmark deal gives over 130 clubs a lift with energy bills and could reduce energy consumption by over 50%* through a joint £2m “Club & Community Net Zero Fund”
Scottish Gas, part of Centrica, the largest home energy supplier in the UK, has partnered with Scottish Rugby to help the rugby community across Scotland reduce their energy bills and carbon footprint.
The wider deal will involve more than 130 active clubs in all five playing regions of Scotland and could reduce energy consumption by over 50%.
The partnership is set to act as a catalyst for all communities to start transforming their buildings into healthier, more comfortable, more resilient places to work and play on the journey to zero-emissions.
A central initiative of the partnership is a £2million joint investment in the Club & Community Net Zero Fund across the five-year deal.
Clubs will receive free tailored energy efficiency advice and access grants from the fund to help pay for improvements. Scottish Gas will use Scotland’s largest clubhouse, Murrayfield, as a leading example by providing expert support and advice in order to identify and potentially fund future energy efficiency infrastructure projects.
And it’s not just the nation’s 47,000 rugby players that will benefit – by working directly with clubs, the partnership aims to engage communities across Scotland to deliver on the Scottish Government’s net zero ambitions for 2045.
Douglas Struth, Edinburgh Rugby Managing Director, said: “We’re delighted to announce the new title of our home, Hive Stadium, where we will continue to make great memories, together with a passionate and growing fan base.
“A partnership of this scale if hugely important for the future of the club, is recognition of what has been achieved here so far, and our potential to go and grow much further.
“The Hive is a great fit Edinburgh Rugby, with the associations of a vibrant home and community very much in line with the connection we and our fans have with our relatively new home. I’m sure we’ll all feel right at home at ‘The Hive’.”
He added: “We’re also very excited about partnering with a product rooted in sustainability and where that can take us – both in terms of improving our own actions and decision-making as a host of regular, major events, and in using our platform to promote and showcase sustainable living.”
The deal will support all areas of the game, including the Women’s game through shirt sponsorship for the Scotland Women’s squad as they begin preparations for the new WXV tournament later this year, as well as supporting age grade squads within the women’s development pathway.
Hive, the UK’s leading smart energy platform, will become the naming partner for Edinburgh Rugby’s home, where both they and Scotland Women play domestic fixtures, which will become Hive Stadium.
In addition, Scottish Gas will become naming partners of Murrayfield Stadium and provide a decarbonisation plan and greener energy supply for the entire Murrayfield Estate from solar, wind, hydro power and biogas. Starting with the upcoming international match when Scotland play Italy on 29 July, the stadium’s official name will be ‘Scottish Gas Murrayfield’.
Chris O’Shea, Chief Executive of Centrica, owner of Scottish Gas said: “By partnering with Scottish Rugby, we are supporting communities across Scotland to reduce their carbon footprint and save money on their energy bills, supporting the Scottish Government’s net zero ambitions. Our Club and Community Net Zero Fund gives clubs a much-needed boost, making rugby greener as a sport and freeing up more resources to develop the grass roots game. We are particularly excited about our partnership with Scotland Women.”
Scottish Rugby’s Chief Executive Mark Dodson hailed the deal as“ground-breaking for our sport” and a significant boost to the organisation’s ambitions around the ESG agenda (Environmental, Societal and Governance) to make a real contribution to creating a greener, cleaner and healthier Scotland, where we can look to the future with increasing confidence.
“Scottish Rugby is starting out on an important journey towards becoming even more energy efficient and is ready to take on its responsibility and play its part in the country’s transition to a lower-carbon future.
“This deal is therefore important in both a sporting and societal context. Unquestionably, it helps to future proof rugby in Scotland for the next generation through significant investment and also the contribution and impact Scottish Gas will be having within our community clubs. Our vision, at the time of cost-of-living challenges for clubs and households, is to provide meaningful support and funding to clubs and communities throughout Scotland.
“This partnership with Scottish Gas will help accelerate our ESG strategy and implementation as we work to fulfil our ultimate ambition: to become a leading global rugby union in the path towards sustainability. We are looking forward to working with Scottish Gas and welcoming them into our family of principal partners, alongside BT, Macron and Peter Vardy.”
Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero Mairi McAllan said: “The race to net zero is one that we must all win. It will continue to be driven by government, but it cannot happen without all of us – individuals, communities and businesses – taking steps as part of a national effort to tackle the climate emergency.
“The sporting sector has a significant role to play within this and I welcome the leadership shown by Scottish Rugby and Scottish Gas in setting up this initiative. It’s not only great to hear plans for the home of Scottish rugby to be decarbonised; rugby clubs are an important part of our communities right across Scotland and this partnership therefore offers very exciting opportunities for thousands of people to play their part in increasing energy efficiency and reducing costs.”
Jamie Farndale, Scottish Rugby’s Sustainability Ambassador, and current GB 7s player said: “The scale of the challenge of getting to net zero by 2045 is huge. I believe sport has a big role to play and can use its platform to support people in lowering their carbon footprints. This partnership, working with local clubs, is a perfect way in which Scottish Rugby can act as a trusted messenger and have a positive impact in communities throughout Scotland.”
Squad Update | Munster Prepare For Bayonne At Thomond
The Munster squad are preparing at the HPC ahead of Saturday’s Investec Champions Cup opener against Bayonne at Thomond Park (5.30pm).
Buy match tickets here.
Jean Kleyn will be unavailable until the New Year due to an eye injury suffered in the Leinster match. He attended for a specialist review last Tuesday and Wednesday and will have further follow-up before Christmas.
Jack Daly (ankle) and Liam Coombes (shoulder) both underwent surgery last week and will begin rehabilitation under the medical department.
There is good news for Patrick Campbell (ankle) as he has returned to team training.
Jack O’Donoghue (ankle) will also return to training this week.
Simon Zebo (knee) will continue to rehabilitate early this week.
The availability of Campbell, O’Donoghue and Zebo will be determined later in the week.
Peter O’Mahony (shoulder) is improving but will remain unavailable for the Bayonne clash.
Continuing to rehab: Jack Daly (ankle), Peter O’Mahony (shoulder), Liam Coombes (shoulder), RG Snyman (chest/shoulder), Joey Carbery (wrist), Roman Salanoa (knee), Mike Haley (hip), Cian Hurley (ankle/achilles), Niall Scannell (groin).
There were 11 Munster players in AIL action for their clubs at the weekend.
In Division 1A, Fionn Gibbons, Chris Moore and Keynan Knox helped Young Munster to a win over City of Armagh with Gibbons among the tries.
Ethan Coughlan and Daniel Okeke were in action for Shannon as they were beaten away to Terenure College.
In Division 1B, Jack Oliver, George Hadden and Colm Hogan helped Garryowen beat Blackrock College with Hogan scoring a try on his debut for the club. Oliver also kicked three conversions and two penalties.
Jack O’Sullivan and Ben O’Connor featured for UCC as they were narrowly beaten by Old Wesley.
In Evan O’Connell helped UL Bohemians to a draw against MU Barnhall.
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Peter O’Mahony Steps Down After Over 10 Years As Munster Captain
Munster Rugby can confirm that Peter O’Mahony has made the decision to step down as squad captain after over 10 years leading the province.
O’Mahony first captained Munster in a competitive game on September 3, 2011 at the age of 21. It was just his 12th appearance for the province and he led the side for the opening five games of that season.
He took over the Munster captaincy on a permanent basis ahead of the 2013/14 season following the departure of Doug Howlett.
The 2022/23 season was O’Mahony’s 10th year as squad captain and ended with glory in Cape Town as he lifted the URC title with Keith Earls after a thrilling win over the Stormers.
Along with captaining Munster, he has also led Ireland and the British & Irish Lions.
Head Coach Graham Rowntree and the coaching team will select a new squad captain in due course.
Peter O’Mahony said: “Captaining Munster has been a dream come true for me.
“I grew up watching and idolising the Munster team and in particular the people who were leading the team.
“People like Mick Galwey, Jim Williams then on to the likes of ROG and Paul, who I had the privilege of playing with at the start of my career.
“I can remember the day I was asked to be captain like it was yesterday and discussing it with Paul to get his approval.
“From that day to this it’s been an utter privilege and has never been something I’ve taken for granted.
“However, having given a huge amount of thought to it, I think it is the right time to step back from the role to share my experiences and give the same guidance that I received when I took on the role.
“What an unbelievable honour it has been…and will always continue to be.”
Paying tribute to O’Mahony’s over 10 years as captain, Rowntree said: “You couldn’t pick a better leader than Pete and he has been a fantastic captain for this club.
“To lead Munster from such a young age and for so many years speaks volumes of his ability as a player on the pitch and a person off it.
“He commands huge respect and will still be a massive leader within the group. To have someone of Pete’s experience on hand to help us with the succession process is invaluable.
“We have a strong leadership group within the squad and will confirm a new squad captain in due course.”
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Squad Update | Munster Prepare For Leinster In Dublin
The Munster squad are preparing at the HPC ahead of Saturday’s URC round 6 clash against Leinster at the Aviva Stadium (6.30pm, live on TG4).
Our next home game is against Glasgow Warriors at Musgrave Park on Friday, December 1 (7.35pm). Buy match tickets here.
Following Saturday’s win over Stormers, Peter O’Mahony (shoulder) and Jack O’Donoghue (ankle) will both go for scans on their respective injuries.
Diarmuid Barron has progressed through the return to play protocols and will be available for selection.
Continuing to rehab: Liam Coombes (shoulder), RG Snyman (chest/shoulder), Joey Carbery (wrist), Patrick Campbell (ankle), Roman Salanoa (knee), Mike Haley (hip), Cian Hurley (ankle/achilles), Niall Scannell (groin).
On the AIL front, there were nine Munster players in action for their clubs at the weekend.
In Division 1A, Keynan Knox and Fionn Gibbons helped Young Munster to a win over Terenure College at Tom Clifford Park.
Ethan Coughlan and Daniel Okeke were in action for Shannon as they were beaten by Lansdowne in Dublin.
In Division 1B, Jack Oliver and George Hadden lined out for Garryowen as they were beaten by St Mary’s College with Oliver kicking a conversion and a penalty.
Jack O’Sullivan was a try-scorer for UCC with Ben O’Connor also starting as they beat Queen’s University at the Mardyke.
In Division 1B, Evan O’Connell helped UL Bohemian to a 16-12 victory over Ballymena at Annacotty.
URC Round 7: Friday, December 1
Munster v Glasgow Warriors, Musgrave Park, 7.35pm; Buy tickets here
Champions Cup Round 1: Saturday, December 9
Munster Rugby v Bayonne, Thomond Park, 5.30pm; Buy tickets here
URC Round 8: Tuesday, December 26
Munster v Leinster, Thomond Park, 7.35pm; Buy tickets here
Champions Cup Round 4: Saturday, January 20
Munster Rugby v Northampton Saints, Thomond Park, 5.30pm; Buy tickets here
Saturday, February 3
Munster Rugby v Crusaders, Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 5pm; Buy final tickets here
URC Round 11: Friday, March 1
Munster v Zebre Parma, Musgrave Park, 7.35pm; Buy tickets here
URC Round 13: Saturday, March 30
Munster v Cardiff Rugby, Thomond Park, 7.35pm; Buy tickets here
URC Round 16: Saturday, May 11
Munster v Connacht, Thomond Park, 5.15pm; Buy tickets here
URC Round 18: Saturday, June 1
Munster v Ulster, Thomond Park, 5.15pm; Buy tickets here
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