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 haven’t beaten the Ospreys this season, and the Welsh team stacked with Lions and All-Blacks has been improving steadily since they were knocked out of the Heineken Cup in bid to shake off the tag of underachieving Galacticos. Byrne, Bowe, Williams, Hook, Phillips, Jerry Collins, Adam Jones: plenty of game changers, and Nikki Walker too.
But there is some good news. All the talk of four-try bonus points and relying on other teams to do you a favour is done. From here until the end it is knock-out rugby, and Lineen’s boys have shown that they are starting to learn about closing out tight games, developing the core of leaders that is what Edinburgh so lack at the moment. The collective confidence gained from Scotland’s performance in Dublin shouldn’t be underestimated, and neither should the man at the heart of that performance, little Dan Parks. And the Ospreys have been known to wobble before, else they would have won a Heineken Cup by now surely?
It is on Friday night, and in Wales. Barring a giant leek appearing in the sky above Caernarfon Castle this match will almost certainly be on the television on Friday night, thanks to the glory that is BBC Wales. Viewers without access to Sky can still I think access the same coverage through their red button on standard BBC2 these days, giving us poor disenfranchised Scottish fans a chance to cheer on Glasgow to greater glory after dinner (I will endeavour to find out).
If all goes well – and that is a pretty big if – the issue thereafter will be: does STV have the stones (or indeed the cash) to step up and show a final if there were Scottish involvement?