The revelations of the last few days that the SRU don’t want to tour the big southern hemisphere nations because it will stifle our developing players has, understandably, been met with disdain from some quarters. Robbo says “as far as our overseas tours are concerned I do not believe it would be beneficial for us to play a series of three Tests against the individual SANZAR countries at the end of our season. What I believe works for us, from a performance perspective, is a mix between SANZAR and Tier 2 unions as that gives us the opportunity to develop players which is part and parcel of touring”. Meanwhile, a great number of Scottish fans will be saying, “WOW! Look at him spin!”
…As well as a few old ones. Ally Hogg continues the rehab of his playing career and he will be one of the old heads relied on to guide the younger players through the tournament. I would also look for hooker Fergus Thomson to make a big push here for senior selection in the autumn too, cementing his end of season form for Glasgow, with hulking winger Rob Dewey also on the comeback trail.
Interesting to see the two junior Blair brothers as the only real candidates at 10 in the absence of Ruaridh Jackson, although there are a couple of other fresh(ish) faces in the backs selection like former Watsonian Bryan Rennie and Bath youngster Jack Cuthbert.
Scotland A squad
Forwards: G Cross (Edinburgh), J Eddie (Glasgow), C Forrester (Glasgow), C Fusaro (Heriot’s), Roddy Grant (Edinburgh), Ryan Grant (Edinburgh), A Hogg (Edinburgh), A Kelly (Edinburgh), S MacLeod (Edinburgh), F Thomson (Glasgow), K Traynor (Edinburgh), S Turnbull (Edinburgh), R Vernon (Glasgow), J Welsh (Glasgow)
Backs: A Blair (Edinburgh), D Blair (Edinburgh), B Cairns (Edinburgh), J Cuthbert (Bath), R Dewey (Glasgow), J Houston (Edinburgh), G Laidlaw (Edinburgh), M McMillan (Glasgow), B Rennie (Exeter), M Robertson (Edinburgh), C Shaw (Scotland 7s and Glasgow), N Walker (Ospreys)
Sorry for the belated piece, guys; I’m currently playing rugby in Canada and have been enjoying, *ahem*, what North America has to offer. That is a report for another day, though…
So the Premier 1 season is done! Over! Finito! And what a surprising and refreshing season it has been for Scottish Club Rugby. With all the grumblings about the proposed changes to structure and format for the top divisions and whether it is what ‘amateur’ rugby needs, and a rumoured step away from an allegedly ailing cup competition perhaps it is a good time to reflect on the positives of this season.
Breathe it all in Glasgow fans….this is probably the highest we’ll ever go.
Osprey’s were a class apart from Glasgow in the Friday night semi-final fixture in Swansea. Although the Warriors effort was phenomenal in the first half, when the teams came back out, Ospreys class began to show and Glasgow looked like boys against men.
The only new face is Jim Thompson, although it’s good to see Alex Grove back challenging for the centre spots. The Scotsman touts rumours that he may be set for Edinburgh which would be interesting as they already have Houston, Cairns and De Luca all competing in the midfield. Cairns has (again) missed out here though. Big Nathan has been granted compassionate leave to return to Oz, with the option of joining up at a later date – we wish him and his family well.
Scotland squad for Argentina tour:
Backs: Blair (Edinburgh), Cusiter (capt, Glasgow), Danielli (Ulster), De Luca (Edinburgh), M Evans (Glasgow), Godman (Edinburgh), Grove (Worcester), S Lamont (Scarlets), R Lawson (Gloucester), Morrison (Glasgow), Parks (Glasgow), Southwell (Stade Francais), Thompson (Edinburgh).
Forwards: Barclay (Glasgow), Beattie (Glasgow), Brown (Glasgow), Dickinson (Gloucester), Ford (Edinburgh), Gray (Glasgow), Hamilton (Edinburgh), Jacobsen (Edinburgh), Kellock (Glasgow), S Lawson (Gloucester), Low (Glasgow), MacDonald (Edinburgh), Murray (Northampton), Strokosch (Gloucester).
Edinburgh battled valiantly at the RDS last night – securing 4 tries but not the victory – but were unable to sneak into the play-offs, leaving Glasgow as the sole Scottish representation and confirming that their play-off opponents will be the star-studded Ospreys. The other play-off will feature an all Irish clash between Leinster and Munster.
Glasgow have added to the gaps in their roster left by the departure of several second row players at the end of the season. And yes folks, new man Aly Muldowney is Scottish qualified. Anyone had the pleasure of watching Mosely this season?
Will there be a few more hidden exiles unearthed in the coming weeks, as the pro-team squads near completion?
Former Scotland and Lions cross-code legend Alan Tait is to take over control of the Newcastle Falcons following the departure of his long time partner in crime. Great to see another Scottish coach being given a chance to cut his teeth at the highest level of club rugby. Hopefully the policy of using the Borders as something of a feeder area for their academy that he and Bates seemed to espouse will continue under the new regime.
In other news:
- Ian “Mighty Mouse” McLaughlan will be the new SRU President
- Houston, Cairns and Cross have all signed new contracts for Edinburgh. Hoggy has an offer in but it is rumoured to be less than he’s currently on. Aren’t Cardiff in the market for a number 8?
- Aberdeen Asset Management have also renewed their shirt sponsorhip of Edinburgh.
Sorry I’ve been a bit slack lately but hopefully we can get some coverage sorted of the games this weekend in the run up to the playoffs…
UPDATE: Tait has revealed a little of his plan for taking over at Newcastle here on the BBC.