Things are quiet round at SRBlog Towers, but there has been a bit of news you might be interested in over the last week or so.
This requires you to cast your mind back well past the current glut of midfield ability Scotland can pick from, to a time when Scotland regularly played like they did in Tokyo but without fatigue or 90% humidity as an excuse. You probably ask yourself at least once a week: I wonder what ever happened to Nick De Luca?
Well he’s just signed for Wasps on a short term deal as injury cover. Following retirements by Andrea Masi, Ben Jacobs and James Downey, and injuries to Alapati Leiua and Kurtley Beale, Wasps have moved to bolster their midfield options by adding the experienced centre to their 2016/17 squad, initially on a short-term contract.
De Luca (32) has 43 caps for Scotland (the last in 2014), and made 20 appearances for Biarritz since his move there in 2014. He was a key component in the creation of many of Tim Visser’s try scoring records for Edinburgh, but often over-compensated at International level resulting in perhaps an unfairly bad reputation from that point of view.
Glasgow have signed second-row Tjiuee Uanivi from Super Rugby franchise the Sharks, subject to a visa and medical. Uanivi was recently on loan at the Southern Kings and has also spent time at Brive in France. The 6ft 7in Namibia international has 14 caps for his country and impressed at the 2015 World Cup, also scoring a try against Romania in the World Rugby Nations Cup earlier this month. The new deal should keep him at Scotstoun until at least May 2017.
Glasgow Warriors also confirmed that former London Irish second-row Kieran Low has left the club. The 25-year-old made three appearances for the Warriors last season, before joining Saracens on loan in December.
Edinburgh Rugby announced the signing of centre Sasa Tofilau on a one-year deal ahead of the 2016/17 season. He can play in either centre berth and has been playing for BT National League Division 2 side, Kirkcaldy, who he joined in October 2015. Following his performances for the Fife club last season, he was soon invited to train with Edinburgh, and boosted his chances with good performances in a training game against Scotland under-20, and scoring the winning try at the Melrose Sevens this year.
European Draws Announced
Last week the European Cup draws were announced for next season. Since the terms of both competitions were rebalanced, one thing is for sure: an easy draw is a lot harder to come by.
Edinburgh were drawn into pool 5 of the Challenge Cup competition, where they will face Tier 1 team Harlequins who feature Tim Visser and Ruaridh Jackson. Simon Taylor’s old muckers Stade Francais and Romanian first division winners, Timisoara Saracens – who are allied to the Premiership’s Saracens – complete the group.
In the top competition there are no longer any pools of death as almost all of them look hard as nails, but Glasgow will feature in one of the most tricky where the “bottom” team are two time cup winners Munster. Fellow two time winners Leicester Tigers are in, along with previous finalists and Top 14 Champions Racing 92 who Glasgow faced (and defeated once in the pool stages) last season.
With the Scotstoun artificial pitch well under construction, Glasgow will be hoping to deploy their intended playing style with more consistency this season; an impact in European competition is the key marker of quality that has thus far eluded the Warriors dynasty. Will this be the year?
If you are the kind that likes to give feedback (and we know you are) there’s a survey doing the rounds on the Guinness Pro12 looking for feedback on the league:
Thanks to the Chiel for bringing this to our attention in the comments.