Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Edinburgh 48-0 Treviso

With conditions somewhere on the wrong side of rotten at a damp and empty BT Murrayfield, it was therefore surprising that Edinburgh sprung into life from the kick off for an opening try before even a minute was on the clock.

Jack Cuthbert fielded a high kick, broke a few tackles and a nice offload with Greig Tonks and a great take and give from the fullback-cum-standoff put Sam Hidalgo-Clyne into enough space to run round his man for the try. The young scrum-half continued the vein of form that had seen him Man of the Match last time out against London Welsh by converting his own try.

With Italian teams often barely getting off the plane – especially if they look out the window and it’s dreich – Edinburgh had a clear chance to put their season back on track, and they maintained pressure patiently with some nice kicking from hand, powerful running and surprisingly deft handling in the rain that Treviso found hard to live with.

By the half an hour mark Edinburgh had a good lead thanks to two penalties from Hidalgo-Clyne and another try, this time from a lineout drive that Mike Coman bundled over the line. That one represented the dominance Edinburgh had up front even with a fairly new-look front row. Dave Denton was back carrying ball and Roddy Grant being a typical nuisance to the miserable looking visitors.

Tonks was marshalling his back three of Cuthbert, Tim Visser and Dougie Fife well, even if the midfield continues to frustrate. Matt Scott sat this one out with a short-term injury and Strauss/Beard is probably only Alan Solomons’ idea of a good time. Luckily the plan was to get it wide as quickly as possible, which seemed like lunacy. But Edinburgh have always thrived when they’re a little bit silly.

Half Time Edinburgh 17-0 Treviso

Andries Strauss didn’t come back out after half time giving Joaquin Dominguez a chance to make an impression, but the biggest impression was the dent that the Edinburgh front row of Ali Dickinson, Neil Cochrane and John Andress were making on their opponents. Edinburgh have a number of front-row “bubbling-unders” in Cochrane, Nel, Grant Shiells who will view the 1872 Cup as an ideal platform to push for higher recognition next year.

They were giving Denton a good platform to run off and Hidalgo-Clyne kept the tempo high, possibly the exact opposite of what Treviso would have wanted. Tonks was guilty of a few misjudged kicks, but Treviso didn’t really look too interested in capitalising and Edinburgh should have been thinking bonus point even with half an hour to play.

WP Nel got them on the road with a short barreling dive from a ruck close to the line. The early work had been done by the pack, who seemed to break 2 or 3 tackles with every run. Hidalgo-Clyne duly converted to make it 27-0 with twenty to play.

The bonus point try came moments later with Grayson Hart – on for Clyne – supporting Visser who broke through one of those gaps only he seems to get through and made enough space for Hart to run it in.

By that point with Treviso yet to score a point it was job done, but with the likes of Hart and Tom Heathcote looking to stake a claim for starting spots the bench still had plenty to prove.

Unfortunately there wasn’t much rugby that followed as replacement Treviso prop Romulo Acosta decided to throw three vicious punches into the back of the pinned Fraser Mackenzie’s head. Hart – understandably – took offence to this and sparked off a brawl that saw him yellow-carded and red for Acosta after some deliberation by the ref.

Luckily Edinburgh were able to restore some cheer to the largely empty BT Murrayfield crowd with another pushover try. Sam Beard came up with it, but only after Roddy Grant gave him an early Christmas present.

At that point Treviso even thought about scoring some points – possibly out of embarrassment, but Edinburgh’s scramble defence coped with the belated workout and responded up the other end with a well-worked try for Denton on the final whistle.

You wouldn’t learn much from this performance, heartening though it was. Edinburgh didn’t need to hit top gear but the real test will come against title contenders – and most of the Scotland team – with the 1872 Cup derbies against Glasgow Warriors over the next two weeks.

SRBlog Man of the Match: Denton was very good deserved his late try, while Fife put in plenty of work around the park. Hard to disagree with the official verdict and go for Roddy Grant though. Tireless tackling and was appearing everywhere he needed to be, and often where Treviso didn’t want him. Time on the Sevens tour has added back spark in attack too.

52 Responses

  1. Well you can only beat what’s in front of you, but Edinburgh should not get carried away here, Treviso were truly dreadful. Good points were the scrum and the driving play by the forwards in general. The defence as well was very solid, the nil scoreline probably worth more kudos than the try bonus point, which quite frankly was there for the taking and should of been wrapped up by half time.

    Less impressive was the line out, with two 5 metre line wasted when a catch should have been pretty much a certain try. The lack of vision and inability to see the space by the half backs and midfield is still there. Tonks did not have a great game after his immediate impact in making the first try, some of the kicking from hand was terrible, including by the props!

    Still the first five pointer of the season and three wins on the trot. Take the positives and move on!

  2. I agree that Edinburgh should not get too carried away but a good result against a bunch of no hopers in any case.

  3. Good performance by Edinburgh. The 1872 match on Saturday will give some indication on where the teams are relative to each other. Glasgow misfiring in attack, Edinburgh on form. Should be a good game.
    I’ve been seriously impressed by Tom Heathcote’s kicking. He has to be the most in-form kicker out there at the moment. (and I include the English and French leagues when I say that)
    He has a great kicking action and has not looked like missing at all when I’ve seen him.

  4. As a neutral Fifer I predict Glasgow to stuff Edinburgh by arround 25 points or more. Seriously, Edinburgh look good against poor opposition but they have been found wanting against the bigger teams. They field far too many second or third rate overseas players who cant get a game for anyone else. It would be far better to follow the Glasgow model- find the best home grown talent you can and then coach these players and make sure they get plenty of experience playing against the better teams in pro 12 or Europe.
    Am I right or am I right?

    1. I think Edinburgh will surprise people, positive results no matter the opposition breeds confidence. But Glasgow will win over the two. Edinburgh WILL start to play more homegrown players (eventually) the imports have been brought in on short term contracts. Edinburgh A just beat Glasgow A comfortably last night with young homegrown players such as Bradbury, Ritchie, Dean, Hunter-Hall and Hoyland all looking good. Its a shame the SRU pulled out of the B & I cup as I think both the Edinburgh and Glasgow A teams would have been competitive and given good exposure to the young players.

  5. I didnt know about the A team fixture but it is an interesting fact that the Edinbugh team fielded a team full of homegrown players and won. I wish their senior squad would take note- it is by far the best strategy for long term success. Scottish teams will never have enough funding to attract the worlds best players so, if non-Scots are brought it, they are normally second or third thier players- has beens or, more often than not, never weres. These players lack skill and loyaty. They often see teams like Edinburgh as their retirement plan- a place to wind down before hanging up the boots. Alternatively they see Edinbugh as a springboard to better things so they will never show the loyalty or commitment required at this level. Its diffrent in France and England where the clubs are much larger and better funded but that does not hold true for Scottish clubs. The best, and in my opinion only, solution is to rely on home grown talent with perhaps one or two very carefully chosen non scottish players. I predict a scoreline of 28:8 in favor of Glasgow. Lets just hope that Edinburgh will learn their lesson and get rid of their foriegn trash but the problem is their coach- he seems intent on bringing second rate non-Scopts to the club. Maybe he has to go too.

    1. Its mystifying how two teams effectively owned by the same body, who I assume have the same goal (success in Pro12 and Europe and supply a pipleine of players to the National team) can have such a different approach.

      Glasgow have their fair share of imports, but seem to be able to get the quality right (Niko, Naka, DTH) for guys who might be considered “starters” then have “back up” of Holmes, Yanuyanu (and varous now departed) who do a job when selected butare never seen as “first picks”.

      Edinburghs approach seems to be to recruit a raft of the latter and hope some of them become “first picks”.

      I suppose Glasgow lucked out on the Strauss + WP Nel deals by getting the guy who has really stepped up whilst Nel has struggled to hold down a place.

      Niko, Naka and DTH wont have been massive earners when recruited (although Nico has probably just changed that for himself) and Glasgow also seem to have an ability to pick up players that really add something (sometimes at Edinburgh’s expense). I’m thinking Euan Murray, alex allan, Lee Jones etc.

      One thing that MUST have an impact on this is that Glasgow have had relative continuity of coaching staff for 10 years. Lineen was involved from 2003 to 2012 (with a small break for Hadden assistant duties)then handed over to Townsend, who much to the embarrassment of 95% of the Scottish Rugby public who hounded him whilst in the Scotland set up, has been a revalation. Shade Munro has been there since 2001!!.

      How many coaches have passed through the exit door at Edinburgh in that time??

    2. I agree we needed experience to mix with youth but why not bring in Scots players who know there international career is winding down but would play with more passion? I’m thinking Hines, Ally Hogg, Strokosch, Euan Murray (Glasgow already had decent options), de luca should have been kept on, Alex Grove etc. These guys mixed with the young lads i’m sure would have given good account of themselves.

      1. Hmmmm…whilst Murray is doing well for Glasgow, none of the guys mentioned would be “the future” for Edinburgh. Forgotten men like Groves and Hogg, have been forgotten by consecutive coaches now. There must be something there and not just a clash of styles/personalities.

    1. 2. Jade Te Rure (stand off) and Huge Blake (no 7). Blake went off injured. Both Scots qualified but as per usual didn’t look head and shoulders above anything we don’t already have in Scotland,but its early days.

  6. So the result was a bit closer than I expected- a 10 point margin between the teams instead of my predicted 20 point, thought I understand Glasgow had a second try dissallowed so, in real terms a circa 20 point margin is more realistic. I come back to the point again but I really dont see much benefit in employing more than 5 or 6 foreign players and these have to be very carefully chosen. Lets face it, they only come to Scottish teams for one or two reasons:

    1. A retirement plan. Has beens that were once good players but are no longer required by their former clubs in France, England or Wales but still want to play rugby
    2. Never weres that are not good enough to play for teams in England, France or Wales but still want to be paid to play rugby.
    3. Stepping stoners- players that havent quite managed to find a team in England, wales or France but are close to it. Thier viewpoint is that if they play well they will be noticed and then may end up playing at a higher level. I cant remember his name but I believe the scrum half for Glasgow is to leave the club for Bath after spending just 2 seasns there. He certainly fits that category. The problem with these players is that they show no loyalty to the club or obligation to stick arround. Moreover, Scottish teams cant afford to keep them, nor should they in my opinion.

    The far better solution is to rely on home grown talent- there is an abundance of this in the Scottish borders and Edinburgh but the management of Edinburgh dont seem to realise that fact, hence the reason their club struggles. The Glasgow model is a far better one in my opinion, particularly if long term success is a priority. Let the overseas garbage go to Italy or lower league clubs in France, England or Wales. We can have a model more akin to OZ, NZ and SA, where the best home grown players gravitate to the best clubs in their respective countries. When was the last time a player from the home nations ended up playing for club sides in any of these countries? In fact, has this ever happened? I rest my case.

    1. So you didn’t see the game, don’t know who Matawalu is despite him being one of the most exciting and popular imports into Scottish rugby in recent years, and want a discussion about foreign players but omit to mention the controversial and widespread policy of project players and SH-born Scottish qualified players that account for the greater number of these imports?

      Enough said really, although I’d be delighted if you would name the 30 or so club players you think should be offered professional contracts.

    2. Most of the poorer players on display were certainly most of the non scots – Coman, Strauss, Bresler, Andress. But Scott and Denton hardly covered themselves in glory and they’re supposed to be some of Scotland’s better players. Think the game plan by the coaching team was more at fault. I really would like Dean, Bradbury and Ritchie given a go. Maybe not full 80 mins but at least some appearances from bench. Don’t think Tonks is the answer at 10 either although a lot of people would disagree. Matawalu was/is been a great servant for Glasgow, why shouldn’t he leave? He could have left earlier such was his impact (a few super rugby teams, the chiefs?, were apparently miffed he turned them down for Glasgow) but he chose to stay. He’s always given 100% and I for one wish him all the very best.

  7. No I did not see the game. being based in the Middle East does not allow me to watch too many rugby games except the internationals. I just feel that there are lots of players in the borders who may not be the final product at present but their talents could very easily be developed with the correct coaching. having spoken to some friemds in the UK who did watch the game, the imports for Edinbuburgh did not exaxctly cover themselves in glory- Mike seems to take a similar view. Lets just offload them to Italy and concentrate on home grown talent- You know it makes sense.

    1. Interestingly off the back of your comment regarding sending them to Italy.I noticed Darcy Rae, young scottish tighthead on loan to Treviso, made his debut off the bench against Zebre.

      1. Mike, I didnt know about this (unfortunately being based in the Middle East makes it difficult to keep track of events so thanks for keeping me updated) but I dont think it is a good thing for our young scots to be playing for mediocre club sides in Italy. Given that the club are so average its unlikely to do his skills/prospects much good. Ideally I would like to see players like this staying in Scotland but, with the somewhat pathetic situation of having only two pro teams, one of which is filled with second or third rate non-scots players (and there are no plans to change this at Edinburgh), the propects are bleak.

        Maybe the young lad felt that the only way he could progress was to move abroad (I may have done the same thing if it had been me). I cant think of a better advert for having another two pro teams but the SRU could not care less. They got arround 21 Million GBP from BT- easily enough to set up two pro teams. However, noboday seems to know where the money is being spent. I suspect it will be used as a slush fund to help SRU buffoons go on ‘fact finding’ missions/free holidays to the southern hemisphere- flying first class and staying in 5 star hotels for several weeks at a time.
        If anyone knows what the SRU are doing with this money please reply to let our readers know. My own feeling is that BT should take them to task over this as it seems like a very grey and extremely dodgy area.

      2. D’Arcy Rae is a first year professional with Glasgow who played Sco U21 last year.

        There are 10 or 11 props in the Glasgow squad and he is probably 10th or 11th choice. Treviso needed a prop and he has been sent on loan )for a month or 6 weeks I think) from Glasgow to get some first XV pro experience.

        A great move for the player and the club in my book.

        Your post above bemoans the fact that we have an Edinburgh team full of second rate foreigners yet you think we should have more than 2 pro teams! What will the third pro team be made up of???

      3. I’ve spent many hours debatinmg the pros and cons of a third or fourth pro team but such teams would be made up of the following players:

        1. Players like Darcy Rae who are on the fringes of Glasgo and Edinburgh. Instead of going abroad to play, they could play for a borders team.
        2. Take the best 6 or 7 players from the top club sides in Scotland such as Melrose, Hawick, Gala, Herits etc.
        3. youth development- identify the top players at under 16 level- bring them into the side and give them proper coaching
        4. Occassional imports but these shoudl be carefuly chosen and there should not be any more than 5 or 6 in the entire squad.

        There you go- the perfect solution.

      4. The SRU received a SINGLE payment from BT Sport which was, i understand, primarily used to finally clear the massive debt the SRU has been paying off since redeveloping Murrayfield.

        This debt was at around 15 million pounds which would probably have been eating up around half a million quid servicing charges each year. This leaves around 6 million, based on your figure of 21 million pounds. Which brings us back to your (Neil) ludicrous suggestion of running two pro sides on a million pound each per season. Even if that was feasible (which it isnt) the money would be gone in three years. Then what? You can’t build a house on sand. The SRU have made some catastrophic blunders in the past yes, but i genuinely see some light at the end of the tunnel. It will take a few years to sort out the league structure (primarily because of the selfishness of some of the clubs), youth and schools rugby etc, but it will build a solid base for the pro game and international team to build on.

      5. Allan,

        I’m blue in the face mentioning this but the figure of 1 million per annum was a start up for the first year. It takes some cash to get things going initially.What you fail to understand is that the club could generate much more than 1 million GBP through ‘bums on seats’, sponsorship, sale of merchandise etc. I think it is crazy that the Borders don’t have a pro team- it is like stopping Liverpool having a football team. There is definitely enough support for a pro team there. In addition to this, just look at the economic strongholds of Aberdeen, Stirling and Perth- similar in size and economic stature to Bath and Leicester. The trouble with you is that you cannot see the potential for these cities to run a pro team. All the SRU had to do was to donate a small proportion of their BT money (probably equivalent to SJ’s salary for the year for doing nothing) to start things off as a one off payment. The salaries and other expenses would have then been covered by sponsorship, bums on seat and sale or merchandise. Why is it so difficult for you to understand this.
        The problem is that the SRU have the oney up the wall. If what you say is true the money has been used to pay off crazy depts and for fat useless Ozzie coaches to fly business class on live in 5 star hotels for monthsat a time. If one theye had used the money more sensibly and invested it in the future of our game. Oh if only I was head of the SRU. I would sort out their problems in a matter of a few days. I think the first thing I would do is to get shot of a certain useless former coach- send him back to OZ. The next thing I would do is send the second rate non scots players back to their homelands. I would set up pro teams in the Borders, Aberdeen and Perth. In 5 years we would be competing against NZ for the world cup, not against Italy for the wooden spoon. Judging by your various messages, however, you seem to want the latter.

  8. FF- to follow up on your comment, I definitely do not agree with bringing in second rate SH players and then puting them in a Scotland Jersey after a few years, except perhaps under very rare exceptional circumstances. If these players were not good enough to make the OZ, AB or SA national teams then we dont want such B or C (or even worse) rate players in Scotland, either at club or international level. You did not answer my question- when was the last time a home nations player made a name for himself in the southern hemisphere? I have another question- why do the NZ, OZ or SA teams not import foreign players and then promote them to their national teams. The reason is that these countries have the winning formula of identifying players in the lower leagues and youth players, nurturing their talents and offering coaching at the highest level. I dont mind seeing the odd import in our club and national teams but please lets keep this to a minimum. There is a very good reason why SA and NZ are so good- they rely on home grown talent. They develop this from an early age and they have the best coaching techniques. You mention that we have some exciting imports- you obviously watch alot more club rugby than myself but, from what I have seen and heard, one or two imports are good but the majority are very average and probably no better than some of the more capable players in Melrose, Heriots, Gala etc. Am I right or am I right?

    1. Who was the last “second rate” SH player to pull on the Scottish jersey??

      I for one cannot wait to see Johan Strauss in the Thistle.

      1. Thankfully we have moved away from puting second rate SH players in Scotland Jerseys, probably because we have a decent coach at last. Or maybe because they can find a Welsh or English great grandmother more easily. It all started with Sean Lineen in the 90’s- clearly not good enough to even make the C team in New zealand but good enough for us. I wonder if the same thing would have happened in reverse. A second rate Scots player turning out for Kirkcaldy B team yet good enough to be chosen as an All Black? Answers on a potcrd please. Lineen was only one player but I seem to remember a glut of these guys arround the time of the 2003 WC or possible just before opr after it. They didnt do too much for our team so I didnt care to remember their names. What the SRU need to do now is to create 2 more pro teams. Its the only way that up and coming youth players will reach the dizzy hights of pro rugby. Otherwise they will become dispondant and choose another sport to participate it. Our nation team will suffer because of it. Lets just send the second rate on scots to Italy. They seem to like hiring these gauys and thats why their club and national teams are so poor- even worse than Scotland.

    2. AndyK – judging from Neil’s earlier comments that would be Nathan Hines.

      Personally, I think the residency rules should be tightened up but they are what they are and Johan Strauss deserves a place in the Scotland squad as easily the best 8 we will have available to us at the World Cup. He is the player Johnnie Beattie should be but rarely manages to be.

      1. Agreed…apart from the fact we have both called Josh Strauss Johan!! (to be fair I did it first!!)

  9. Neil, I don’t remember a single SH player playing for Scotland being a ‘second rater’. The possible exception is possibly Brenadan Laney, who ws parachuted in with a gret amount of hoopla, but who was bit of a duffer. I remember the Leslie Brothers, Glenn Mecalfe and also Cameron Mather. All did their bit and were very good for Scotland, particularly the first three mentioned.

    1. All those second rate kilted kiwi’s… that helped Scotland win their last piece of meaningful silverware.

  10. To reply to the various messages:

    1. Sean Lineen was part of the 1990 squad when we won the grand slam but there were far better home grown players in the squad at the time such as Scott Hastings, Gavin Hastings and Tony Stanger to mention but three. He was an OK player without being outstanding- nowhere near good enough to make the All blacks C team never mind their top squad. To be honest I was a bit ashamed at my nation accepting him but it was no big deal as he was only one player.

    2. Of the other players mentioned Laney was absolutely rubbish- we must have been so desperate to accept him in our team. I vaguely remember the other three or four players mentioned by Pragmatic Optomist. They were all rubbish and played at a time when Scotland could not even buy a win. It would have been a far better strategy in the medium to long term to develop genuine home grown talent. Sure it would have taken a couple of years but, with the right coaching (I believe this is key) we would have had a team to be proud of. Instead out tema has been a pathetic joke over the last 14 years. I believe we have turned a corner because we now rely on home grown talent and have a superb coach. The work being done by Gregor Townsend at Glasgow also has to be commended. However we still need to do much more. Edinburgh seem intent on taking us back to the dark ages by employing second or third rate non scots who cannot get a game for anyone else. They should be offloaded to Italy because we dont want them here.

    3. Strauss seems like one of the few exceptions- a great high impact player but he is one of possibly one 3 or 4 non scots players playing for our club teams that are any good. The others are really no better than some of the top players in Melrose. Heriots, Gala etc. Some would seriously struggle to get a game for Kirkcaldy. The problem is that these one or two exceptional non scots players generally do not show much loyalty and are likely to end up at Bath Leicester or at a top French team. We simply cant afford to keep these players at our clubs.

    4. Going onto Allans point about the BT money. He is under the impression it was used to pay off debts. Personally I have no idea but there must have been one hell of a debt to pay as BT gave them 21 million GBP. If I had shares in BT I would be extremely p.ssed off that they money could not have been used one more pressing matters such a youth development, creation of a third pro team etc

    1. I take it they don’t have google in the Middle East! The sponsorship money from BT was for naming rights for Murrayfield and sponsoring the league and the sevens for four years. Anyone with the flimsiest knowledge of scottish rugby knows that the SRU have been crippled by the debt of redeveloping Murrayfield for years. They didn’t get any assisted funding like the IRFU of the WRU. They paid it all themselves and as a result have been struggling to pay it off ever since. The BT deal was a great bit of business and finally allowed this debt to be cleared.

    2. Just how well do you know your Rugby? You say I “vaguely remember the other three or four players mentioned by Pragmatic Optomist. They were all rubbish and played at a time when Scotland could not even buy a win.”

      Ok lets look at these players:
      John Leslie, often considered by many in NZ to be the best player never to have worn the black Jersey. When combiening with Townsend, and Tait the best Scottish midfield combo I have ever seen.

      Martin Leslie & Glen Metcalf both played for the last Scottish team to win the 5 nations in 1999 so much for not being able to buy a win, but hey don’t let your Parochial bias stand in the way of fact.

      1. If these players were so good why did they not get into the NZ team. Answer- because they were absolutely S’it but still good enough to make it to the Scotland team. OK we were a bit fortunate to win the 5 nations in 1999 but look at what happened after that- we were a joke for 15 years and, in all bar one or two years, fought for the wooden spoon against Italy. Both nations became laughing stocks and that was down to poor coaching and the philosophy or selecting second raters from the SH. I stand by the fact that we could hardly buy a win from 2000 until October, 2014 it was SH’T being a fan of Scotland and the SRU have a lot to apologise for. Check the history books from 2000 to 2014 matey- I just wonder if you really know your rugby.
        Fortunately I feel we have moved away from that rubbish and lets just hope we have now turned a corner.

      2. FF- I now know the result. A surprise but possibly not given the injuries that Glasgow have and the number of changes made for this game. In any case I stand by two points. Firstly Edinburgh are only 9th in the pro 12, Glasgow are 2nd. Secondly, I feel our game is better without the imports for reasons I have already given
        Regarding the so called dribble- check your history books matey- you will notice we were bad between 2000 and 2014- do you agree?

  11. Allan- So there we have it- poor business sense of the SRU resulted in massive debts. I would far rather have a decent team than a decent stadium. Sure we deserved a better deal and assisted funding but did they really fight for it. I suspect they sat on their fat backsides and let the world go by, paid for fat Ozzie coaches to tour the world and stay in 5 star hotels etc. So they spent loads of money they didnt actually have in the first place on a stadium- the d.ckhe.ds! So why cant they spend a bit of that BT cash (only a small amount of the 21 Million GBP) on developing a third pro team that would be self sufficient in a couple of years. Anyone who knows anything about rugby and has aspirations beyond a dogfight with Italy for the wooden spoon each season would realise that our national team can only develop if we have more scots born players playing at the highest level. With only two pro teams, one of which is filled to the brim with second/third rate non scots the prospects are not great. DO YOU UNDERSTAND or do I have to explain in more simple terms. The reason Ireland and Wales have been outperforming us for the last 14 years is that they have double the number of pro teams and home grown players playing for top teams.
    Lets just hope that our messiah- the great Vern Cotter- sticks arround for a few years. Without him we are genuinely stuffed as the SRU dont have very many plans for our game and most of the fans could not give a damn and are happy to watch us play Italy in a wooden spoon contest or loose by more than 50 points to NZ, SA and OZ. Is that what you want- please be honest in your reply.

    1. So, your solution is to create a 3rd Pro team, filled with the guys who cant get a game for Glasgow and (a stuttering) Edinburgh and people from the amateur leagues in Scotland.

      Two Questions:

      Which league is this team going to play in?

      If the Pro12 accepted them (highly unlikely with that “business” plan), how many times could this team keep theri defeats down below 50 points in a season??

      Its clear from your posts that you have no clue on various levels (why on earth would BT shareholders have any concern with how sponsorship money is spent??). I fear debate with you is pointless!

      1. To be fair Connacht have long been whipping boys (maybe not by 50pt) but certainly seen as a development team. They’re only now starting to see the fruits of their labour, they’ve stopped sending their best players to the other provinces (Henshaw) for a start. If and when a 3rd pro team does appear I think we’d have to expect they wont be challenging for a play off places.

      2. AndyK

        1.Which league?- pro 12 of course to make it pro13. If Ireland and wales can submit 4 teams then why not Scotland? Also, even Italy has more pro teams. Wake up and smell the cofee and dream big.

        2.Sure in the first year it would be dificult and I would not expect a newly formed team with limited funds to compete for the championship but I would still expect easy wins against the Italian teams and maybe one or two others so a basement finish would not be guaranteed. There are seriously good players playing for Melrose, Gala, Heriots etc that are always oveerlooked and good B team players in Glasgow and Edinbugh that would cherish the opportunity to develop their skills in a pro team.

        3. Why should BT care- I can tell you exactly why but I cant believe you didnt spot it. BT want their name associated with success. The best way to achieve this is to have a strong pool of players. The only way this can be achieved is to have four pro teams as an absolute minimum.

        To be honest I dont know you but I suspect you may be like some of the other fans and contributers to this blog- lacking in ambition and happy to watch our national team descend into disgrace. Do you think BT would be happy about their product being associated with an embarassment or a national disgrace? Answers on a postcard please.

        I come back to the point that we have only got slightly better in recent months due to the excellent efforts of Vern Cotter and Townsend. Without these guys we would be stuffeed. The SRU have no plans to introduce a third or fourth pro team and, all that would have to happen is for Vern Cotter to leave and we would be a laughing stock once again- hoping to beat Italy in a wooden spoon dogfight in last last game of the 6 nations, having lost by 40 points or more to every other team (does this sound a tinty bit familiar). Dont even get me started about the WC- if we will be competing in a 14 vs. 15 playoff against Portugal. Is that what you want? You must know I am right.

  12. Some pretty strong views, I think Andy is right we’ll probably end up going round in circles. My final thoughts are. 1) we do need a 3rd pro team but the finances have to be sound. And Ed & Glas have to be consistently top 6 with at least 1 in the playoff each season. So for me a 3rd pro team is at least 6 or 7 yrs away. 2) I don’t mind bringing in quality foreign players if they add to the development of the team, its worked in Ireland especially Ulster incidentally coached by Solomons who’s been brought in off his back with them.3) The current SRU regime is trying. The finances have been ruined by previous incumbents, and its only now that the ship is being steadied. Its a balancing act but they’re doing ok, not perfect, hiring of Johnson was a strange one and i’d like to see less top brass appointments but enough to give them some slack. 4) We do need another way go give fringe players more game time, the welsh have the LV cup. I’d like to see the A teams compete in the B & I cup like the Irish teams do. 5) On kilted kiwis (and Strauss), if they’re good enough and give 100% then i’m for it, just have to be careful that we don’t alienate the home grown youth. Finally 6)…for the love of Jesus get Edinburgh out of Murrayfield and find them a new home please!! : )

  13. I agree with most of your points but I still recon a third and fourth pro team can be achieved in less than 4 years so we probably have to agree to disagree on this one. We should not hire too many kilted Kiwis- I dont think there should be a complete ban on them but lets face it, we will never be able to attract the likes of Dan Carter and we generally end up with the has beens or never weres, though there are one or two exceptions.

    My point is that the number should be limited to an absolute maximum of 5 players per pro team at any given time. I am also against these guys, as a matter of principal, being chosen to represent our national squad. If they werent good enough to make it to the squads of OZ, SA or NZ then we dont want them. Lets give our own boys a chance to develop by playing at the highest level. We certainly dont want a repeat of Bernard Laney etc- we would have been better off with Bernard Mathews!

    I also think you raise an interesting point about Edinburgh playing at Murrayfield as I dont think this is a great idea either- playing in a massive stadium filled with less than 5000 fans. I think they should use one of the many good quality but smaller stadiums in the city- what about Myreside- being a Watsonian I am biased but I hope you get the point.

  14. Good to see a healthy discussion.

    I’m pretty sure Dodson has said the money will not be used to wipe out the debt in one go, they get it in instalments and will apply it to grass roots and pro-team funding. Only I can’t find the article to back this up…

    1. Some is being used to fund the four new regional academies over the next 2-3 years (incidentally, Dodson said this was a pre-requisite to establishing a new pro-team as in 5-6 years we’ll have the number of players to fill a new squad and a need to place them in pro-teams). I think money was earmarked for the new semi-pro club premiership which was stillborn last year. The Herald also recently reported the SRU would be unveiling plans for a new school tournament structure although details were very hazy.

      I think the reason the debt isn’t being wiped out immediately (as explained by a previous BTL poster) is that historically low interest rates mean it is cheaper to pay some interest and let inflation reduce the real value of the debt than to pay the entire current real value of the debt as soon as possible. Or something like that.

  15. Neil given you haven’t taken the time to research any of the “fact” you use to back up your “theories” I expect you also haven’t taken the time to take in the fact the contributors to these threads are in the main the same people in each thread

    I can’t speak for the others but I will personally say I a totally over you banging the same drum in every post that is made in this forum.

    We have heard all your “arguments” in multiple threads already and the other contributors, me included have in turn given our views, so any chance we can move on now and discuss what has actually been posted by the authors of the articles as opposed to the same @#$% different thread that we seem to be getting at the moment. There is not one view point you have put forward on this page that you haven’t put forward in at least 2 other pages and in some case 4, 5 or even 6

    Thank you

  16. Obviously I have no idea who most of the contributors are, nor do I have any idea or inclination to find out The site is merely a blog to express personal view on our game. To be honest it allows me to pass a bit of free time in the Middle East, though I do have very strong views on our game. Nevertheless, the point you make is really quite interesting. I seemed to answer FF and others only to be faced with a barage of criticism by others. To me it was like a red rag to a bull and I felt duty bound to respond but it would not surprise me if many of the contributors are actually the same person- FF, Allan, other Neil. It also would not surprise me if that person has a position on the SRU. I have to admit that I dont particularly care, nor do I have any obligation to find out. If they are so sad that they have to make up different names to answer me then they are the ones with the problem.
    I take your point that I may come across as a bit of a broken record so I will close at that but I will answer an replies directed at me.

    1. Paranoid much?

      I can assure you Neil that i am my own person, i do NOT work for the SRU and despite being a resident of Buckinghamshire, probably attend more rugby matches in Scotland than you do, based on your knowledge of the current state of play. Also, this is NOT an SRU website my friend, as you seem to believe. i have to agree with Angus that i am tired of you trotting out the same anti-SRU lines over and over and as for your opinions on certain players, i am frankly staggered by them. I would go as far as to say that you are borderline trolling. I hope not as it would be a shame if your passion was channeled in such a way. No response is required by the way. Lets move on to other matters please!

      1. Allan- Youre going to get a response regardless. I really hope you are who you say you are. Judging by the comments of Angus, More than one person is going by different names in their response to my various comments. I dont mind if people disagree with me as we live in an open free society and I always welcome debate. I dont care what you think about the SRU as you know what I think and I wont change me mind in a hurry unless I actually see tham changing things.
        I am definately not an internet troll and I dont care if you watch more rugby than me- how the devil do you think I can watch much rugby being based in the Middle East. You probably live 350 miles away from Scotland, I live almost 5000 miles away. Thats my excuse and I’m sticking to it but it does not and should not stop me airing my views. I’m sorry if that upsets you.

      2. For clarification I never intimated that anyone posted on here with more than one name and I have never entertained such a thought

        My comment was to say that when you look on each page and in each topic you tend to see the same names coming up each time.

        Meaning the same bunch of hardcore followers like to chat on this site complemented by other less regular visitors

        The more contributors we have the better so that we can have more and varied chats and discussions

        If we are comparing sizes I live in Aus which is 16,000 km away ;)

        Neil your input like everyone else’s is welcomed by me. All I ask is that it is not the same thing in every thread and that threads are not hijacked as opposed to having at least a loose focus on the article it relates to

        Your passion is unquestioned and long may it continue. I personally use this forums as a means of staying in touch with current events in Scotland that I don’t’ get news of in Oz and I encourage you to do the same


  17. Angus,

    I have no intention of comparing my situation to yours or anyone elses. When Allan replied to me in his usual agressive manner it was not in my nature to back down. He eluded to the fact that he watches more rugby than me even though he lives in Buckinghamshire. I therefore had to reply to point out that I live in the Middle East- it is honestly very difficuclt to watch any sort of rugby where I am (I might as well be living on the Moon). I play touch rugby every Monday evening and watch the autumn internationals and WC. However, the 6 nations are not shown and neither is the pro 12 or any UK club matches. I actually get to see some OZ, SA and NZ club games but thats about it. However, this does not mean that I dont have strong views on our game and how it should develop, ideally following a similar type of madel to NZ and SA where I believe rugby is streets ahead of us.
    I did not mean to hijack this post and completely change the subject. My earlier posts were entirely related to this until Allan decided he was going to slag me off about a completely different subject (running a pro side on a tight budget). FF then jumped in and, I guess before the three of us knew it, were were debating lots of different things. However, I also believe debate is a good thing and shouold not me stiffled (just look at what happens to nations when free speech is abolished), so I will continue to contribute this site. I will endevour not to go over old ground but will always defend my viewpoint even if I have to revisit old arguments/viewpoints from time to time.

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