Ok it might be wishful thinking, but as my esteemed colleague A.D. said yesterday, Edinburgh and Glasgow have largely been written out of the script for this year’s Heineken Cup. And the TV coverage. So why not turn to achieving small goals, such as finally laying the voodoo this Newport team seem to hold over Glasgow well and truly to rest. The next small challenge from tomorrow should be to scare Wasps at home, and see what can be done after that. A win would stand them in good stead in the group, and we could come up with something else to focus on…like Toulose back to back? Of course with Pool 3 being the group of DEATH (it merits capitals this year), Pool 6 is arguably the Pool of Life if you are a Toulose fan. So Glasgow’s next small goal should be changing the script of this year’s Heineken Cup.
Jackson in at 10 is the only major change from the settled team that only just failed to grab an away win at Ravenhill last weekend – which I suspect this Heineken Cup campaign may prove was no mean feat. Duncan “The Boot” Weir will be on the bench, but last week served notice that his kicking range is mammoth given the right conditions: penalty-conceding nincompoops beware. I really like the way he is already shaping up given his age, and this week Jackson gets to show why he was once considered the golden future of Scottish rugby too, after one good performance – in the Heineken Cup, of all places. If carefully managed, these two could be bloody brilliant in a couple of years, as could the rest of this Glasgow team. But why wait till then boys? Look at the Australia backline, they are all about 11.
Richie Gray is starting to thrive under the added responsibility he has at the line-out given Al Kellock’s absence. And “old-head” John Barclay is starting to look like the player we know he can be. If you can believe Craig Chalmers, Ross Rennie is coming back to challenge him for the Scotland 7 shirt. Fun times ahead, folks.
So let’s see* Glasgow give the Dragons a good old slaying. I met a Welshman in the pub once who told me (during a discussion on English national identity) that St George was a Turk. True story.
Glasgow: B Stortoni; D van der Merwe, M Evans, G Morrison, F Aramburu; R Jackson, C Gregor; J Welsh, F Thomson, M Low, T Ryder, R Gray, R Harley, J Barclay (capt), R Vernon.
Replacements: D Hall, R Grant, E Kalman, A Muldowney, C Forrester, H Pyrgos, D Weir, R Dewey.
* except for viewers in, um, everywhere. Check BBC Radio though for coverage and possibly also Cwpan Heineken on S4C, Monday night for highlights.