Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


News Update: Watson called up, Weir Leaves Warriors

Duncan Weir - pic © Al Ross
Duncan Weir - pic © Al Ross

It was announced over the weekend that after grabbing his 100th appearance for Glasgow in their win over Racing92, Duncan Weir will play for Edinburgh from next season. Weir is on his way east to increase his game time and allow Phil Burleigh to slide back out to his more natural position of 12. It might also allow Weir to work alongside younger talents such as Blair Kinghorn and bring on their tactical kicking games, an area of core strength for Weir. It will be a wrench for Weir to have been usurped from his home pro team by (the even more gallus) Finn Russell, but having Scotland’s two current main candidates at 10 playing regularly is no bad thing, nor is allowing the queue behind Weir and Russell at Glasgow to loosen up a bit with perhaps more game time for Pete Horne there, and their own youngsters.

It was also announced that Edinburgh openside Hamish Watson and Glasgow prop Alex Allan have joined up with the Scotland pre-Six Nations training camp, perhaps to allow Watson time to get on board with the breakdown tactics that Vern Cotter, Matt Taylor and Richie Gray will be working on for the Six Nations and beyond. Total number of opensides in the Scotland squad, now: Barclay, Cowan, Fusaro, Hardie, Watson – and you could also add in Ashe, Strauss, Ford and McInally who’ve probably all stuck the shirt on at some point.

Alex Dunbar’s thigh strain is still being monitored from the weekend, but news was more positive from Mark Bennett who continues to make good progress. Tommy Seymour’s hamstring held up in an impressive performance that puts him right back into contention for one of Scotland’s fairly open wing spots.

14 Responses

  1. There is a huge difference between the number of opensides in the squad and the number of guys that can play openside.
    I’d agree that Fusaro, Hardie and Watson are all specialist 7s, but Cowan is a 6/7 and Barclay plays anywhere in the back row, regularly. I’m not sure any of the others mentioned would relish playing 7 at test level.
    Still, it’s nice to find we have options in the back row which hark back to the Jeffreys/Calder/White days! Any number of options but Barclay/Hardie/Strauss or Cowan/Fusaro/Denton has a nicely balanced look.

    1. I think I would go Cowan/Barclay, Hardie, Denton, Strauss on the bench. As much as I rate Strauss, he’s not shone for Scotland yet, whereas the others have; I’d have him on the bench with Cowan, Barclay and Denton able to shift around a bit to accommodate, depending on injuries. Cowan, Hardie, Denton are the worthy incumbents for me on the back of the Australia game and ongoing form. It’s good to have a number of options and it’ll be interesting to see who BVC backs going into the Calcutta Cup and whether he mixes it up through the tournament.

  2. No surprise that Weir is off to Edinburgh. No offence to Burleigh, Tonks and the rest that have been tried, but we’ve been struggling without a natural 10 all season. Only surprise is that it’s taken the SRU this long to sort out and that it’s not immediate.

    1. I also find it strange the they haven’t made it immediate. What benefit is served by waiting until the end of the season?

  3. Better than Weir heading off down South for sure. Duncan building a working relationship with SHC will be good for Scotland. He’ll also be able to demand ball from the forwards and his kicking game will prevent Edinburgh’s cluelessness after a few phases.

    Only issue for Glasgow is after Russell, there are no young Scottish fly-halves aligned to us. Indeed, of the latest U20 squad named there are 0!! backs that are or would naturally be Glasgow aligned. The fly-halves in the squad are: Kinghorn (Edinburgh), Hastings (Bath) & Hutchinson (Northampton).

    Whole squad: Edinburgh (20), Exiles (11), Glasgow (5)

    As a Glasgow fan, this is a little worrying…

    Scotland’s bright future would appear to be Edinburgh’s.

      1. Hunter isn’t far off 25 years old and has played just more than a handful of matches. I can’t see him ever making an impact in pro rugby.

      2. Isn’t it usually about now that someone throws Robbie Robinson into the discussion? He’s currently in Japan. A place at Glasgow would also be a step forward for Lee Millar. I’ve not seen him play for LS though – can anyone add anything there?

      3. Hmmm… Having solid options across the board in the Academy prevents rash decision making and poor purchases. Other than Favaro and Allen none of the foreign signings have had hugely positive impacts this last year, though Manu has been injured.

        At one point on Saturday there was a lineout confab between Gray, Malcolm, Fagerson and Cummings (my heart nearly welled out my chest with pride at where Scottish rugby has come to) – add to that minutes before Price and Russell leaving the pitch grinning after a dominant display. The future of Scottish rugby definitely lies with the kids coming out of the Academy but a more even distribution is required to make sure that holes get filled easily and quickly in times of need (or if 3 wingers decide they’re off at the end of a season). I’d love to see a real prospect on the wing moved to Glasgow as we lack any real replacements for Seymour and Naiyarovoro has finally found his true calling at inside centre. We’ve got more than enough young centres to swap.

        Edinburgh’s most pressing issue right now is replacing WP Nel. Murray McCallum has been moved to tighthead at Heriots with this task in mind but it would be great to see him get some game time during the Six Nations as he’s a bit of a unit.

        I also really hope we’ll see Kinghorn, Robbins and Galbraith or McConnell at some point this season but I’m not holding my breath given Solomons’ all consuming desire to finish in the top six.

        Sometimes I feel like Solomons is so hellbent on a top 6 finish that he doesn’t really allow himself to think beyond that. Without a slick, functioning set of backs, Edinburgh could be demolished in the Champions Cup and if Nel does leave, their whole game plan could go to the knackers. Relying on forward dominance feels too much like putting all your eggs in one basket to me.

      4. Lee Millar was, and is behind Dan Newton in the pecking order at LS. Also, as a result of serious injury problems in the squad he has spent quite a bit of time at centre. That said, he did form half of an all Scottish half back pairing with George Horne in our win in Cork vs Munster A and put in a good shift. As well as southbound talent, I expect Lineen to send some north if they make the grade. We will see.

    1. The advantage of having both teams under the SRU mean contracts can be moved where needed. There will obviously be compensation for Edinburgh should their U20s be moved West but it shouldn’t be a cause for concern.

      1. Glasgow have a bigger and better squad than Edinburgh.. I wonder if Edinburgh are getting the bulk of these academy players to replace some of our more journeyman like players in the squad. Solomons said this would be his strategy and so far has kept to his word. Supplanting a Cuthbert, Strauss, Beard, Mclellan etc seems much more likely in the short term than glagow’a frontline players. Saying that – glasgow do need young talent to step in during 6N.

  4. And yet Edinburgh let Tom Heathcote move to Worcester where he’s made a good impact at 10.

  5. Good news that Cochrane and Du Preez have signed for another two years. Cochrane reliable puts in a shift every game and Du Preez is class, one of the best back rows in the league.

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion