Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Season begins: Glasgow Win, Edinburgh Lose

Greig Tonks
Greig Tonks - pic © Al Ross

Glasgow 22-15 Cardiff Blues

Glasgow took on Cardiff on Friday night in poor conditions that meant handling errors aplenty and one try settling the affair. Luckily for Glasgow it came from a great solo effort by Tommy Seymour. Sean Lamont, Tim Swinson and Seymour (on for the injured Byron McGuigan were all impressive while Chris Cusiter added pace and direction when he made his return from injury in the second half.

Also worthy of note were young centre Mark Bennett’s long-range penalty kicks that kept the scoreboard going upwards in Glasgow’s favour. It’s facets of his game like this that mean Bennett could get more and more match time if he becomes ever-more useful to Glasgow this season. His ideal partner may be Alex Dunbar at 12 who had a quiet game, but the young man fits in very well with Glasgow’s style of play, and he had an impressive (/lucky?) end to last season that will give him undoubted confidence.

Due to the heavy rain, Glasgow didn’t get much of a chance to showcase the hectic running game that was Townsend’s hallmark last season but the backs still tried on the odd occasion Cardiff’s defence opened up. It was the kickers though in Scott Wight and Bennett that built Glasgow’s win although Cardiff had their own weapon in the boot of Rhys Patchell that kept them in it for most of the game and earned them a losing bonus point.

By the end Glasgow were down a man and the TMO spared their blushes by denying Cardiff’s effort over the line.

Positives then for Glasgow but a bit of a worry with vital skipper Al Kellock going down with an ankle injury. His replacement was the young Jonny Gray who, while not quite the same size – or shape – as his big brother, looked a lot more like the sort of physical lock Al Kellock would mould in his own image. Another one for the future potentially, and Glasgow also have Tom Ryder, Swinson, Andy Redmayne and possibly Rob Harley as cover should Kellock’s injury turn out to be serious.

SRBlog Man of the Match: Sean Lamont

Munster 34-23 Edinburgh

On Saturday, Edinburgh succumbed to Munster following a second half fightback that went some – but not all – of the way to erasing the memory of a lacklustre first half that saw them down 22-6 at the break.

Edinburgh’s two penalties had come from the boot of Piers Francis, taking the kicking duties over from the injured Greig Laidlaw. There were a lot of penalties conceded by Edinburgh also, which had allowed Munster to build their lead and a fairly unnecessary yellow card as winger Lee Jones took out his man in the air did not help matters.

Edinburgh were facing the new-look, running Munster who kept ball really well and put some nice moves through the hands but their early tries were largely a result of luck, and some sloppy defending. They were the usual active force at the breakdown and in the tackle, which made it hard for Edinburgh – who looked a couple of weeks behind the Irishmen in terms of preparation – to make much of an impression on the game.

Edinburgh of course compounded it with lack of concentration in the opposition 22.

The new scrum interpretation and enforcement of straight feeds produced at least one hook against the head – with Stuart McInally switching to the middle of the front row, Ross Ford will now have to add actual hooking to his list of hookers skills to master, to stay top of the heap.

Other than that it was a fairly mixed bag for the Edinburgh set-piece. Lewis Niven (playing out of position) and WP Nel were both industrious.

When Edinburgh finally got themselves back in the game it was Nick De Luca who powered through a tackle from the Munster Number 8 James Coughlan before stepping his way nicely to the line. It wasn’t necessarily slack defending that got Munster straight back into it with a try of their own but as coach Alan Solomons said afterwards, Edinburgh’s failure to control the momentum of the game allowed Munster to snatch their bonus point with a try straight away when Edinburgh should have been concentrating harder on controlling the ball and evening up the scoreboard further.

New signing Jack Cuthbert got Edinburgh moving again combining with Greig Tonks for a good break and there was a further try for each side, Lee Jones making the most of some blindingly simple – and effective – take and give from Greig Tonks. Basic skills showing how simple it can be done right, and basic systems from Munster showing Edinburgh the way.

SRBlog Man of the Match: WP Nel

4 Responses

  1. Great to have the season underway again. Planning to make it down to the Dragons game on Friday, which may give more of an indication of where Edinburgh are at. I thought there was a substantial gulf in intensity and execution between Munster and Edinburgh, although Munster’s style did remind me of Edinburgh at their HC best two seasons past. Munster possibly took their foot of the gas a bit in the second half. Not to detract from Edinburgh’s efforts though, which kept the game alive. I expect Solomon’s South African ways to inject a bit of steel into the squad over the next couple of months. With Denton, Jones and De Luca on form and Visser and Scott coming back in we should not be short of attacking options, so who knows… I think 6th with a solid home record would be a very good result for the season end though. Glasgow did well to grind out a hard win. They need to give no quarter this season. Not going to be easy with a resurgent Munster and an ever strong Leinster to contend with. Really hope they do a double on Leinster this season though. I was sick for them missing out in pretty unlucky/dubious circumstances to the Dubliners last season.

  2. Hard to read a huge amount in to the first games when you consider who was missing from all teams. Would the tema below who didn’t take part at all for a number of reasons be considered stronger than the Glasgow team that started? Fantastic to see over 5000 attending Scotstoun on a wet night with a football international being played!

    Grant Hall Welsh
    Ryder Eddie
    Strauss Ashe Wilson

    Horne Hogg
    DTH Hughes

    1. Andy I think you’re missing a few players there. Hard to read in to it but important the warriors get a winning habit started early on I think.

  3. A bit more fire power in the Edinburgh back line for tomorrow. Glasgow squad looks very strong. Where the hell is Sean Maitland though? Not heard him mentioned since the Lions and he doesn’t seem to be on the injury list….

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion