Month: September 2009

Pro Teams On TV This Weekend

In addition to STVs ever improving highlights package on Sunday, this weekend you can also catch the Cardiff vs Glasgow game on S4C at 1820 on Saturday and Ospreys vs Edinburgh on Sunday at 1550, giving you the full selection of Scottish pro rugby excitement to clog up your social schedule. While to some extent normal service resumed with both teams losing last weekend – you could hear the roars of despair coming out of Murrayfield from down the road at fellow SRBlogger Al’s birthday party – Edinburgh still top the table (what my Australian friends would call the ladder) and will be looking to finish off an Ospreys team that Glasgow should have put away. Roddy Grant, Phil Godman and Ben Cairns continue to look sharp as does Mossy’s play with ball in hand, and I think Nick De Luca may struggle to get off the bench when Houston is making powerful breaks at 12. Much of the Edinburgh back division looks to have kicked on from last year and some of the less well known names may be challenging the overly familiar from recent years (Walker, Webster, Lamont) for Scotland squad places.

Glasgow can put some of their inconsistencies down to a bout of flu running through the squad but still lacked concentration at key moments of the match. Seemingly it was ever thus, so I wonder what more Sean Lineen can do to fix it? He has tried both giving the team a chance to make amends and droppings en masse (as it were) but neither with much success. Cusiter still looks good when not ill, Rob Dewey looked pretty good with a solid break up the middle, and would perhaps merit a run in the centre until either Peter Murchie or Max Evans is fit (which should be pretty soon). Especially as he won’t get much ball stuck out on the wing with Parks kicking inside of him.

Is This The New Scotland Home Strip?

No sign of this anywhere else so it may be something of an exclusive, but blog reader and NYC based Scotland fan David H wrote in with a discovery he made on a US rugby website selling what appears to be the (as of now unannounced let alone unreleased) new Scotland home strip:

Maybe since it’s a US-based company they didn’t get the memo to not sell it yet:

New Scotland Strip

It looks very much like a blue version of the new away kit, which interestingly the site does not sell.

Thanks for the heads up! I quite like the faded bit under the arms, very web 2.0. I still hope they pair it with white shorts like the good old days, but I doubt it. Thoughts, anyone?

Edinburgh Still Top

Congrats to Edinburgh who scraped a win at Ulster over the weekend. Things are looking good if they can still nick an away victory even whilst under the kosh and in front of a partisan crowd. Mossy seems to have kicked well and Mark Robertson continues to look sharp. Good also to see a World Class drop goal from Phil, I hope he’s been practicing as it is one thing (among many) we could use for Scotland. As long as he doesn’t start trying from inside his own half ala Hernandez or Franc Steyn.

Glasgow were beaten by their bogey team the Dragons, while in other more surprising news perennial underachievers Connacht beat Cardiff who now find themselves draped over the bottom of the league table.

Catch the highlights show here (UK only).

Meanwhile in the absence of someone stepping forward to fill the role of Top 14 correspondent, I did a bit of digging on Eurosport site and managed to find that Rory Lamont played at the weekend (at fullback) for Toulon in their defeat of Toulose. Jonny is back to his best, according to Al’s nemesis Freddie Michalak. Speaking of Al, happy birthday for tomorrow big man! While digging I couldn’t see any sign of Hugo at Stade but that is less than surprising given the depth of their squad and recent coaching turnaround. Haskell seems to have been in Stade’s back row while Simon Taylor was MIA (as was Big Jason for Clermont), and Andy Henderson stayed on the bench for Montauban.

I was hoping to catch the Leinster game this week as I will be down in the big smoke and wanted to see if Edinburgh can make it four in a row and stay atop the table, but alas stupid Setanta scheduling has the kickoff at 630pm which clashes with an important social engagement. Whatever happened to 3pm on a Saturday?

Team Line-ups for Tonight

Glasgow Warriors (to face Dragons tonight):

Bernardo Stortoni, Rob Dewey, Peter Murchie, Graeme Morrison (capt), Colin Shaw, Dan Parks, Mark McMillan, Justin Va’a, Dougie Hall, Ed Kalman, Tim Barker, Dan Turner, Calum Forrester, John Barclay, Johnnie Beattie.
Replacements: Pat MacArthur, Kevin Tkachuk, Alastair Kellock, Kelly Brown, Colin Gregor, Peter Horne, Hefin O’Hare.

Edinburgh (to face Ulster tonight):

Chris Paterson; Mark Robertson, Ben Cairns, John Houston, Tim Visser; Phil Godman, Greig Laidlaw; Kyle Traynor, Ross Ford, Geoff Cross, Craig Hamilton, Scott MacLeod, Alan MacDonald, Roddy Grant, Allister Hogg (capt).
Replacements: Andrew Kelly, Allan Jacobsen, Steve Turnbull, Scott Newlands, Mike Blair, Steve Jones, Nick De Luca.

Neither of these games are on TV, BBC Wales having opted for the delights of Leinster vs Ospreys. But we still get the highlights show on Sunday, huzzah! Edinburgh’s test looks the sterner of the two with Ulster welcoming back Stephen Ferris into their team and already operating at somewhere near full strength. The Dragons are a good test for Glasgow though, to see if they can kick on and put last season’s worrying inconsistency behind them.

Oh and here is the squad for the “Gael Force”, the third team that will take part in the new British and Irish Cup that will prove a stern test for this lot, along with existing sides Ayr and Heriots. No word on what will happen to those players like Grant Anderson or young stand-off Rory Hutton who could potentially appear for both.

National Academy players: Grant Anderson (Ayr), Alex Blair (Edinburgh Accies), Chris Bloomfield (Currie), Fraser Brown (Watsonians), Tom Brown (Edinburgh Accies), Tom Bury (Boroughmuir), Nick Campbell (Glasgow Hawks), David Denton (Edinburgh Accies), Struan Dewar (Heriot’s), Michael Doneghan (Stewarts-Melville), Alex Dunbar (Selkirk), Chris Fusaro (Heriot’s), Grant Gilchrist (Heriot’s), Finlay Gillies (Heriot’s), Robert Harley (West of Scotland), Robin Hislop (Boroughmuir), Stuart Hogg (Heriot’s), Rory Hutton (Heriot’s), Peter Jericevich (Glasgow Hawks), James Johnstone (Currie), Nicky Little (Hawick), Ashleah McCulloch (Watsonians), Stuart McInally (Watsonians), Lewis Niven (Edinburgh Accies), Neale Patrick (Boroughmuir), Neil Rodger (Haddington), Joe Stafford (Glasgow Hawks), Steven Wilson (Edinburgh Accies)

Scottish Teams Top Table

http://www.magnersleague.com/matchcentre/table.php

You might not see the likes again! It was also good to see Sean Lamont having a decent game against Glasgow, no doubt Andy Robinson would have been watching. Worrying to see Moray Low and Thom Evans leave injured but hopefully neither is too serious. As for Edinburgh annihiliating Connacht, that was brilliant and glad to be able to watch some highlights on the telly too! Sorry for the brevity but I had a busy weekend of partying with Aussies who have taken steps to explain AFL to me. Without much success.

Also if you are interested in some rugby in Edinburgh check out the comments in the previous post, Queensferry RFC are looking for players…

Oh and I just noticed the Argies are being let into the Tri Nations which was in danger of becoming overblown – hopefully this will turn it into a more rounded competition though it may be hard with the timezones…

Weekend Round Up

So this weekend we had both Edinburgh and Glasgow beating top clubs (if not their top teams) and the arrival of a new TV programme. Marvellous!

First up were Edinburgh who took Cardiff to the cleaners in the first half through some solid forward play from the relatively under-rated talents of Hoggy, Roddy Grant and Alan MacDonald in a bizarro South African style double open-side back row that seemed to go nicely. Edinburgh had fairly comprehensive control of the match save for a ridiculous non-try that put Cardiff back in the match. Turns out the touch judge may have been Welsh (hence why he was looking at the ball grounding, not Czekaj’s foot in touch) so a diatribe against Irish referees may have to wait till Al manages to climb the steps at SRBlog Towers once again… Cardiff came fairly storming back in the second half, but a couple of duff Mossy kicks kept them in a game they barely should have got a bonus point from save for an excellent Alfie try (highlights here on the BBC). Next up they face Connaught, and if they can control the pace of the game again they should be looking for five points. The offloading ALL the time may have to be curbed a bit though…it looks nice but Cardiff soon worked out where to stand to intercept them!
High points: Mossy try from a cross field kick, Roddy Grant, Mark Robertson, Greg Laidlaw’s impressive diving/sliding catch, hanging on for the victory.
Low points: Fitzgibbon not going upstairs for a “try” that even Jonathan Davies said wasn’t legit.

Glasgow of course won also, but that one wasn’t on the telly so we had to wait till STV’s new Sunday night highlight’s show arrived to catch some of the action. Fronted by Andy Nicol and Scott Hastings, the show gave us a decent amount of action and possibly a bit too much chat. Nice to have a round-up of the weekend club results too. Some of the editing of the footage was a bit wonky – penalty offences don’t necessarily count as “highlights” but it was good to see something on our TVs at last! Ditch the chat about the wider game – we can get that on the Rugby Club and let’s keep the focus Scottish and have a few minutes more action, though the Lions chat was interesting. Maybe switch Scott and Andy round, Hastings is a better presenter and Nicol pundit. Much improved on STV’s last effort though.

Up at Firhill, Glasgow were putting Munster into tricky situations thanks it seems to their youthful front row and some placekicking from Parks. Reports were of Graeme Morrison’s barnstorming runs, but on the TV highlights I only saw one of these that led to Jackson’s try and sadly his injury also. Damn shame that, I think we were all looking forward to seeing what Jackson could do this season so here’s to a speedy recovery. I had never heard of Jon Welsh before last week but I suspect we will hear a lot of him this season, Parks apparently said it was the best scrum platform he had ever played behind. Cusiter seemed to show up everywhere too so he’s looking like the excellent signing we all thought he’d be. Anyone actually at the game see how Peter Murchie went in the centre? Glasgow host Sean Lamont’s Scarlets next weekend which I think is on S4C.

Speaking of which, Lamont scored the opening try and looked strong in defence in the Scarlets’ victory over Leinster. Northampton Saints had only Scott Gray on the bench – with (unbanned and uninjured) Best, Wilson and Dowson in the back row I think he might not have quite as many chances to catch Andy Robinson’s eye as he did Hadden’s last season. On the losing end of that game, Worcester’s Alex Grove had few chances to shine but did not badly. Gloucester’s new Scottish coach Bryan Redpath got off to a good start as well, fielding last season’s fringe man Scott Lawson as his starting hooker who repayed him with a solid performance. Rory Lawson and the big Stroker were reliable as usual. No word on the French contingent – anyone with ESPN want to join in?

Onwards and upwards, Scottish Rugby folk!

New Scotland Rugby Away Strip

It seems a new Scotland away kit has quietly sneaked out

New Scotland Alternative Strip (link fixed now thanks Giorgia)

It’s pretty similar to the old one apart from a) they got rid of the stupid patchy bits that made it look grey and the piping and b) they took the Murray logo off that horrible roundel. Although the Murray logo is still pretty rubbish (and too big, does their designer not know about whitespace?) it is much better than it was.

A new home kit is due to be announced in time for the autumn. Could it be back to basics all round – if so can we have white shorts back too please?

Don’t forget to watch the new highlights show tonight at 5.30pm on STV!

STV Will Indeed Show Magners League

Yes indeed the news you have all been waiting for has arrived. Everyone can watch the 1872 cup games live on terrestrial TV, plus highlights from Edinburgh and Glasgow’s Magners games this season. Huzzah, perhaps STV has pulled out of all the national ITV dramas to bankroll this. Whatever, as I never watch anything on STV anyway now that Ultimate Force is no longer, suits me fine!

Enough from me, here’s the press release – it seems they may have poached Andy Nicol from BBC and Scott Hastings from Sky but I reckon they will more than likely pop up in their old stomping grounds as usual, there are only so many Scottish pundits to go round…

SRU Release

SUNDAYS, 5.30PM. Starts on the 6th. Better get writing those witty links now, Andy.

EDIT: I wanted to see what was jerked from the schedules, but the Radio Times already has it listed! I have updated the TV page now too. Also anyone out there got ESPN keeping an eye on the Top 14? Get in touch we’d love an update…

Glasgow team to face Champs

Sean Lineen announced his first Glasgow Warriors squad of the season, fresh from a narrow pre-season victory over Kelly Brook’s boyfriend and the rest of the Wasps. They take on champs Munster who may play more of their big guns early on in the season (rather than save them for Europe) now that a top four place is all that is required…  Pity we won’t get to see Max Evans match up against De Villiers till later in the season though… No, I’ve never heard of young prop Jon Welsh either but I think Scottish rugby may have finally woken up to the reality that young talent needs to be brought “on stream” earlier than was previous to keep the level of depth and competition for places strong. Chuck ’em in at the deep end – it seems to have worked for Ruaridh Jackson last season. I’m particularly excited to see what impact Chris Cusiter can bring to a Glasgow backline with a fair amount of potential with newcomer Peter Murchie, Rob Dewey and Thom Evans (especially with the likes of Jackson, Colin Shaw, Peter Horne, Max Evans and Colin Gregor challenging  too). After many of us thought he had disappeared without contract, Dan Parks continues his career resurrection, holding off Jackson’s challenge at 10 for now. Consistency is the watchword for this season – if they can find that, Glasgow can do better than many expect.

Glasgow team to face Munster:
Bernardo Stortoni, Rob Dewey, Peter Murchie, Graeme Morrison, Thom Evans, Dan Parks, Chris Cusiter, Jon Welsh, Dougie Hall, Moray Low, Tim Barker, Alastair Kellock (captain), Kelly Brown, John Barclay, Johnnie Beattie

Substitutes: Pat MacArthur, Kevin Tkachuk, Dan Turner, Richie Vernon, Mark McMillan, Ruaridh Jackson, Colin Shaw

It’s not on TV this one, but you can catch Nathan Hines’s new team Leinster in action against Sean Lamont’s new team the Scarlets on Saturday evening on S4C (Lamont starts, Hines is rested).

UPDATE: you can now see highlights on Sunday, 5.30pm, STV though!

Dutch Rugby’s Finest To Start for Edinburgh

A new look Edinburgh team under new coach Rob Moffat will seek a return to winning ways in Cardiff on Friday. Some of the changes are enforced by injury – Edinburgh still have a long list of injured including Jim Hamilton, Dave Callam and Ross Rennie – while others like Lions Ross Ford and Mike Blair are rested. While the bench looks a little youthful/undercooked, look for sevens man Roddy Grant to lay down a marker, while Scott Macleod will look to continue his road to redemption in the second row. We also have Holland’s sole pro rugby player and new signing from Newcastle Falcons Tim Visser hoping to pin down a wing spot. And let’s not forget the return of Chunk!

Given performances in the pre-season it’s difficult to tell if the players will be able to live up to last seasons results but I reckon Cardiff may be too strong for them, especially as they will be smarting after home defeat to Edinburgh at the end of last season. Hope Moffat’s boys can prove me wrong though.

Edinburgh team to face Cardiff Blues: Chris Paterson, Mark Robertson, Ben Cairns, John Houston, Tim Visser, Phil Godman, Greig Laidlaw, Allan Jacobsen, Andrew Kelly, Geoff Cross, Craig Hamilton, Scott MacLeod, Alan MacDonald, Roddy Grant, Allister Hogg (captain)

Substitutes: Sean Crombie, Kyle Traynor, Steve Turnbull, Fraser McKenzie, Ross Samson, David Blair, Nick De Luca.

The game will be shown live on BBC2 Wales – see our Scottish Rugby on TV page for details of how to view this (basically have Sky or live in Wales).