Month: April 2011

Chopping and Changing

A lot has been made in recent days of the renewed proposal for restructuring the leagues in Scotland. The ‘Season Structure Working Party’, comprising of representatives from Premier 1 to the Regional Leagues, has put forward its proposal (pretty much identical to that tabled in 2010) and is hoping to implement changes as early as next season.

If applied after the SRU’s AGM then in 2011-12

World Cup Squad Preview: Forwards

As Rory has chosen to focus on the backs he has left me with the slightly easier task of looking at the forwards.

The reason this is easier is because Andy Robinson has a pretty samey starting pack and, barring injury, I can’t imagine it will change too much for the first game in the World Cup. So this means the warm-up games against Ireland and Italy will help pick a bench, and the training sessions before hand are hugely important for individuals.

So who is a dead cert to go, and who “could do better”?

World Cup Squad Preview: Backs

The club season is done. The pro-team season is almost over, unless you happen to be challenging for a playoff place (hint: Edinburgh and Glasgow are not). All eyes turn now to the World Cup, at least in this part of the world.

“Glasgow ’til I Die!”

In modern British sport there is the running joke that there is no loyalty anymore. “It’s not like the good old days when a player kissed his badge and did genuinely love his club”. Yeah, the good old days. Men where men, fights were allowed, divorce was uncommon and players had a club for life.

In contemporary sport, though, with its bonuses and image rights contracts, is there a reward for loyalty?

Pro Teams for the Weekend

Glasgow Team to face Scarlets: Stortoni, O’Hare, Murchie, Morrison, Van Der Merwe, Jackson, Cusiter; Tkachuk, Hall, Low, Muldowney, Ryder, Eddie, Vernon, Beattie

Percentage of these players who will not be in the Glasgow team next year: 30%.
Watch it: Firhill or BBC Alba, Friday night, 8pm.

Edinburgh Team to Face v Dragons: Paterson, Webster, Thompson, De Luca, Visser, Laidlaw, M Blair, Traynor, Kelly, Cross, MacLeod, Lozada, McInally, Rennie, Denton

Watch it: at Murrayfield.

Refresher: What’s Happening On the Club Scene?

Since Melrose won their own 7s Ayr have beaten them to the Scottish Cup 25-21. Highlights here.

However, Melrose are still chasing the Treble of the 7s, the Borders League and the Premier One title while Ayr are looking to come from behind in the title race and claim a Double. This means that Saturday’s match at the Greenyards is a huge one. Can Melrose hang on and avenge the Cup defeat? Kick-off is at 3pm.

In other news, keep your eyes on SRB for our own ‘End of Season Awards’ and a series of ‘interesting’ interviews as we build-up to the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

Teams for the Weekend

Mossy returns to the squad for the first time since the Six Nations, and with Hugo Southwell in try scoring form for Stade Francais Chris’ll be looking to reassert his hold on the Scotland 15 shirt ahead of the summer. In-form inside centre James King keeps Nick de Luca on the bench.

Edinburgh (to face Aironi): Jim Thompson, Simon Webster, Ben Cairns, James King, Tim Visser, Greig Laidlaw, Mike Blair, Kyle Traynor, Andrew Kelly (captain), Geoff Cross, Scott MacLeod, Esteban Lozada, Fraser McKenzie, Roddy Grant, David Denton. Replacements: Alun Walker, Lewis Niven, David Young, Steven Turnbull, Stuart McInally, Nick De Luca, Lee Jones, Chris Paterson.

Live TV Coverage: Friday 15th April 1945 BBC Alba

Meanwhile Chris Cusiter is back for Glasgow after almost a year out of action (unless you count twitter and the BBC Pundit’s box).

Team to follow.

Who’d Be An Edinburgh Fan?

Things are set to get tougher for Edinburgh next year with the news that Fraser Mackenzie is leaving the club to join up with Richie Vernon at Sale Sharks. It seems that no longer is it a case of Edinburgh and Glasgow developing young players until they are established test players, now the bigger clubs are swooping to sign folk after just a season (or less) of decent performances. At the moment it really feels a bit like a closing down sale, and clubs with money are scrabbling for whatever bargains they can find left on the shelves.

Fell On All Black Days

This may be a little premature, but I was looking at the World Cup pools the other day and a nasty question raised itself in my mind. Assuming we play well enough to get out of the group stages, is it worth considering exactly where we come (position wise) in the group? There is one team you want to avoid at all costs if you are not Aussie or France (and we are certainly not): the All Blacks. Warning: contains squiffy fan logic, hypothetical situations and a total dismissal of Argentina as a factor.