Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Weekend Roundup

Ali Dickinson - pic © Al Ross
Ali Dickinson - pic © Al Ross

It was only a matter of time.

You have probably been looking at England’s mounting injury list ahead of the Six Nations and thinking, hang on a second, that might even things up a bit (even with their strength in depth).

Of course, these things never occur in a vacuum and Scotland were unlikely to escape the next couple of weekends of high-intensity rugby unscathed. The first such snippet comes from the Scotsman who have reported Al Dickinson will likely not recover in time from a foot injury sustained in the match against Glasgow. With Rory Sutherland also still injured, it’s over to Allan Dell to survive intact to play loosehead. Vern may be picking up the phone to Duncan Hodge as we speak…

Gordon Reid is also experiencing a good spell – a Reidnaissance if you will – and has made Peter Jacksons’s All Star Pro12 XV this week. Which does sound a little like a TV Special made by a bearded Kiwi. Expect Dell and Reid to be the looseheads named in the Scotland squad when Vern announces it next Wednesday (18th).

Glasgow’s long list of contract negotiations got another couple of ticks this week, with Tommy Seymour and Tim Swinson signing 2 and 3 year deals respectively to keep them with the Warriors well into Dave Rennie’s tenure. Word is that Pete Horne has also put ink to paper (not yet confirmed), while up the M8 Hamish Watson has signed a 2 year extension. Some other big names not yet announced from across the pro teams include Josh Strauss, John Hardie and WP Nel.

Italy have announced their Six Nations squad, and both Tomasso Allan and Simone Favaro made the cut. Warrior Leonardo Sarto is still injured:

Forwards: Pietro Ceccarelli (Zebre Rugby), Dario Chistolini (Zebre Rugby), Lorenzo Cittadini (Aviron Bayonnais/FRA), Andrea Lovotti (Zebre Rugby), Sami Panico (Calvisano), Tommaso D’Apice (Zebre Rugby), Ornel Gega (Benetton Treviso), Leonardo Ghiraldini (Stade Toulousain/FRA), George Fabio Biagi (Zebre Rugby), Joshua Furno (Zebre Rugby), Marco Fuser (Benetton Treviso), Federico Ruzza (Zebre Rugby), Andries Van Schalkwyk (Zebre Rugby), Marco Barbini (Benetton Treviso), Simone Favaro (Glasgow Warriors), Maxime Mata Mbanda (Zebre Rugby), Francesco Minto (Benetton Treviso), Sergio Parisse (Stade Francais/FRA), Abraham Jurgens Steyn (Benetton Treviso).

Backs: Giorgio Bronzini (Benetton Treviso), Edoardo Gori (Benetton Treviso), Marcello Violi (Zebre Rugby), Tommaso Allan (Benetton Treviso), Carlo Canna (Zebre Rugby), Tommaso Benvenuti (Benetton Treviso), Tommaso Boni (Zebre Rugby), Michele Campagnaro (Exeter Chiefs), Luke McLean (Benetton Treviso, 84 caps), Giulio Bisegni (Zebre Rugby), Angelo Esposito (Benetton Treviso), Giovambattista Venditti (Zebre Rugby), Edoardo Padovani (Zebre Rugby).

Glasgow lock Brian Alainu’use has had his 3 week ban reduced to 2 weeks. Having already served 1 week, he’ll be free to play from 16th Jan. With that in mind here are your teams for the weekend’s European action:

Glasgow team to face Munster at Scotstoun: (live on Sky Sports 2, k.o 5.30pm) Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour, Mark Bennett, Alex Dunbar, Lee Jones, Finn Russell, Ali Price; Gordon Reid, Fraser Brown, Zander Fagerson, Tim Swinson, Jonny Gray (capt), Rob Harley, Ryan Wilson, Josh Strauss.
Replacements: Pat MacArthur, Alex Allan, D’Arcy Rae, Matt Fagerson, Chris Fusaro, Grayson Hart, Nick Grigg, Peter Murchie
Not available due to injury: Scott Cummings (shoulder), Simone Favaro (ankle), Jarrod Firth (neck), Peter Horne (knee/ankle), Rory Hughes (knee), Sean Lamont (back), Greg Peterson (shoulder), Henry Pyrgos (knee), Sila Puafisi (concussion), Leonardo Sarto (shoulder), Matt Smith (shoulder), Tjiuee Uanivi (shoulder) and Richie Vernon (shoulder).

WP is back! He must have seen the Jon Welsh chip and chase…

Edinburgh team to face Harlequins at the Stoop: (not on TV) Blair Kinghorn, Damien Hoyland, Chris Dean, Phil Burleigh, Tom Brown, Duncan Weir, Sean Kennedy; Allan Dell, Ross Ford (capt), WP Nel, Fraser McKenzie, Ben Toolis, Magnus Bradbury, Hamish Watson, Cornell Du Preez
Replacements: Neil Cochrane, Jack Cosgrove, Simon Berghan, Lewis Carmichael, Viliame Mata, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Jason Tovey, Michael Allen
Players unavailable due to injury: Felipe Arregui (calf), Nick Beavon (neck), Kevin Bryce (shoulder), Alasdair Dickinson (foot), John Hardie (ankle), Nasi Manu (shoulder), Alex Northam (Achilles), Rory Scholes (Achilles), Rory Sutherland (groin), Kyle Whyte (knee)

57 Responses

  1. Glasgow’s bench looks very weak – no second row cover and Fusaro and Fagerson Jnr unlikely to bring any late-game impact. Glasgow need to start well and get their noses in front early – which they haven’t done in either of their previous matches against Munster. Feeling a lot of trepidation about this match now even if the starting XV looks pretty formidable (every player capped by Scotland!).

    1. I agree. I think Munster may nick this one. High hopes (but invariable let down) for an Edinburgh win. Looking at the team, its playing well below itself and is better than the league position suggests. Great backrow! Hopefully they can sort the coaching situation out soon.

    2. The bench might be the second string. But it’s not inconceivable that exact Glasgow XV could line up for Scotland with a few injuries (loosehead, wing). It could be a cracking game…

      1. Think you will need more than injuries to the LH and wing for that to happen. Unlikely that Bennett , Price , Brown , Swinson , Harley or Strauss will start for Scotland in addition to the aforementioned Reid and Jones.

  2. Good to hear that Nel’s back, hopefully he has a good game and he isn’t rushing back in.

    I don’t have the luxury of sky sports, does anyone know where I can get a stream of the Glasgow match, or even radio commentary?

  3. 1.8T: I’m the same as you. Don’t have Sky Sports. So i’ll either go to the pub and watch, or I might do what I’ve done once or twice in the past and take a ‘Now TV’ sky sports day pass. gives you 24 hours to watch sky sports across all their channels for 7 quid.

    Think the game tomorrow night at Scotstoun will be a cracker! Could go either way.

    1. I’ll be using NowTV, but I’ve heard of a morally reprehensible site called Wiziwig that streams sporting events to those willing to risk breaking copyright laws and vast amounts of malware. Probably best just to fork over the £7…

    2. I just normally use CricFree as a way to stream, haven’t incurred any problems despite using it for the last 2 years.

  4. Good to see Nel is back. Didn’t know the Gunners game isn’t to be broadcast. So it’s just as well my brother and I have got tickets for the Stoop. The afternoon of dreams would consist of an Edinburgh win (against the odds I have to concede) followed by a dash to a pub to watch the Warriors turn Munster over. Hope both sides go well tomorrow, with no injuries affecting the 6N, and Nel getting through it all without mishap.

  5. As to the Italian squad selection, whatever happened to Luca Morisi?

    He looked like a high quality centre when he first burst on the scene but seems to have gone the way of Tom Philip et al injury wise.

    Italian backline is starting to look not bad: Gori, Canna, Esposito, McLean/AN Other, Campagnaro, Venditti, Padovani will cause problems if they can all stay fit!!

    1. The trouble with the Italians is that without Parisse driving them on they lose heart very quickly. When he finally retires, unless they can improve mentally they will always struggle.

  6. Glasgow front row is their strongest scrummaging unit, so no surprises there.
    A big back row favoured to compete with Munster, but no true open side. Favaro is a big miss. Surprised that Fagerson junior is on the bench as back row replacement.
    There are no locks on the bench, so Hartley would need to move here for any back row subs.
    The backs are as expected, although such a shame Sarto is missing. Lee Jones is a good player, but too small for me and Sarto would have been a big weapon in a game like this.
    I’m not expecting a fast flowing game here, and I suspect it will be dirty from the off. I hope Glasgow are up for a war.

    1. Ashe wasn’t in the original European squad due to injury but I thought you could add players…it would be good to have him come off the bench. Hope Fagerson is ready for a baptism of fire!

      1. Young fagerson is the best product to come out of the youth game since Finn Russell. He’ll perform regardless of the level asked of him. ITF

  7. I think Glasgow will win, they have 3 players of the highest order & bang in form namely Hogg, Seymour & Russell. I’d like to see Harley politely remove errant Munstermen fron the ruck fromthe off. The bench is very mobile agree with FF re Ashe. Big games for guys looking to be in NZ in 5 months – Dunbar, Russell, Brown. I’d be very surprised if Edinburgh win, there’s an ordinary look about the backs

    1. Yes it’s the relative weakness of the Edinburgh back line that worries me a lot. I’m a critic of Chunky’s Test level ability, but really hope he can play a tune at club level tomorrow and that those around him in the threes can sing along. It’s a good pack, and with enough ball tomorrow used well, Edinburgh could just sneak this. He said optimistically!

  8. The referee is Luke Pearce (Eng). I hope he is willing to deal with foul play appropriately and that we are not on the receiving end of cards. All 4 officials are English.

    Our backs look capable in attack and adequate in defence.

    Its a big day for the home crowd to make their presence felt and intimidate the referee . Munster will have started influencing him long before the kick off. We need the crowd to be knowledgable and vocal.

    1. Need strong touchline officials to spot the sneaky obstructions and holding in that Munster do around and beyond rucks.

  9. I think Munster might just pinch this one, my prediction is within 10 points! Hope Edinburgh do a good job though!

    1. How many ? About the same number as the number of referees that have ever played at a respectable level…

  10. Another poor red card under the new directive in the Leinster v Montpellier game. Sexton was ducking into the tackle and despite what the commentators said I don’t think Steyn could have pulled out (although he did himself no favours going for the big hit).

    I wonder if this is going to be a new tactic, duck into tackles and hope for a yellow or red for the tackler?

    1. Disagree, Steyn forcefully swung his arm straight into Sexton’s head, Sexton was not ducking much. However I was surprised Sexton was allowed back on.

    2. Disagree, Steyn forcefully swung his arm straight into Sexton’s head, Sexton was not ducking much. However I was surprised Sexton was allowed back on.

      1. Right enough, it would have been a red under the old regime IMO for some refs and a yellow for others. They discussed the ‘ducking in’. So it was taken into account.

    1. Nobody takes you seriously now Neil after all the outbursts, even look at the one earlier in this post, just go somewhere else will you?!

      1. james dont know where this is coming from but its annoying now as it’s happened a few times in the last week. i have not posted anything rude or offensive or silly in my opinion. Fyi that moon comment in an above statement is not me.

  11. The new tackle laws are worrying me.
    I’m hoping that Glasgow don’t shoot themselves in the foot by getting a red card(s).
    They will be provoked by some of the best organised cheating in the European game, but they need to channel their aggression in a way that the referee won’t penalise.
    Also, no rushes of blood. Remember Puafisi last year.
    Although I love the way Glasgow usually play, I can’t see them playing that kind of game today. I think it’ll be tense and tight, and that whichever side is able to build scoreboard pressure will win. Come on Glasgow.

  12. Ducking no sound in this island pub. Ref seems to be making a few strange calls. 6 all, all to play for. No room out there

      1. Dont pan him , he is the best thing to come out of the academy , he is young and will learn.

  13. happy with the effort shown, i think russell seemed uncharacteristly nervous from the start. think price showed up well against murray. the yellow card to hogg for minimal contact to the head was a joke.

    1. In saying that i dont think russell had a bad game and was happy with the majority of his decisions, just feel the pressure got to him at a few key moments. Strauss, Swinson, Fagerson, Harley were the standouts in the pack for me.

  14. Intense match, only saw the second half but there wasn’t a lot in it. Munster’s defence was brilliant but Glasgow fronted up excellently and certainly weren’t bullied. Foolish trailing arm by Hoggy and the try against 14 from that position was guaranteed. Should Russell have tried the drop goal? Difficult one, say you get the drop goal that’s still 7 mins a man down against a team desperate to score, hind sight says he should have tried it. Shout out to big Tim Swinson, I’m often critical of him but hats off he played a blinder, that break and dummy was something any winger would have been proud of!

    Anyone see the Edinburgh game?

    1. Just back home now from the Stoop. Edinburgh thoroughly deserved this. First up defence superb, and winning most of the battles in the loose – even from only three rows up from pitch level it was clear Hamish Watson was rampant as a scavenger and fully merited the MoM. Apart I think from one loose throw in from a line out five yards from the Quins’ line, Edinburgh cleaned up their own throws and stole at least two oppo line outs. Ball carrying was hard and fast and much of the offloading was slick and accurate. Harlequins became increasingly bereft of ideas, finding no way through the Edinburgh defence. They resorted to aimless punting which was easily snaffled up time and time again by the Ed back three.
      Final score didn’t reflect the nature of the match. Edinburgh had it won easily at 6-23 with 15 to go. A bit of sloppiness/tiredness led to Quins’ 12 points in the last few minutes.
      I’m pleased to say Chunky had a fine game. Very few errors and astute tactical kicking.
      Worrying to see AP go off. Seemed to be some kind of collision and it was hard to see from our position where exactly he’d been hurt. Hope it’s not serious.
      I wish Gunners would play like that every week.
      Quins fans throughout the game and afterwards in the bar graciously accepted they were well beaten today.

    1. Indeed, I think, but am not sure it’s been fortress Stoop this season up till now.

      More Embra Dr. Jeykell stuff….

  15. James dont know why im getting abuse of you and im getting sick of it. all my comments have been about rugby whereas your’s have been about rugby but also having ago at me for no reason. if u don’t like what im posting ignore it but please stop with the abuse. What have i done wrong ?

    1. Neil, time after time you make comments with regards to things like rocket ships, song lyrics, insulting other blog users, trolling need I go on? Now you expect people to take whatever pathetic opinion you may have seriously, before anyone else tells you why don’t you just push off somewhere else.

      1. time after time ? i have never done or said anything you just stated so stop with the harrassment, just checked the comment policy in the about us section – read point 1. you have insulted me, consistently harrassed me for no clear reason and you are the only person.

        Give it a break and leave me alone.

      2. James, Neil is bang on here. Unfortunately Neil is not a unique name. Please avoid name calling and insults and let us deal with the troll Neil should he appear again (this is not him). Please also bear in mind James that anyone posting comments under multiple emails or starting conversations/arguments with themselves or others fits a pattern of behaviour and will be kept an eye on… which is why your future comments will be moderated. Neil, please continue as you were.

  16. Excellent Embra performance – two tries in the last couple of minutes for Quins , the first of which had Wilkinson being chased back to the conversion mark by I think Cochrane, makes it look a far closer game than it was. Jackson even had to drop kick the conversion to give time for the re-start.

    In truth the 2 tries took a little of the shine off. But really after Dell coasted home from 30 metres 15 minutes into the second half it was all over. Some excellent running rugby, great tackling and graft from the pack ( Quins line out was ruined ) and worthy winners.

    Big worry is Nel – looked in real distress before being helped off. Times today says he was caught with a leading elbow, although I couldn’t say I saw it. And I doubt the tv footage from one static and one hand held camera will prove much.

    Lovely bit of play late on with Adam Jones being left to do his Usain Bolt imitation to turn and sweep up a good kick through.

    Embra above all need consistency. Quins played a man short for 30 minutes, but even when it was 15 a side never looked like breaching the defence for 78 minutes. Keep that intensity up and they will give a game to anyone.

    1. Clearly Rugby World didn’t have a reporter at the Stoop yesterday. Someone must have seen the score and assumed a ‘squeeze’ past Quins whereas you and I and the other 1o,000 odd people there yesterday know otherwise.

  17. From a national team perspective, there was enough in Glasgow’s and Edinburgh’s performances yesterday – combined with the form of our players outwith the Pro 12 – to make me feel quite positive about the coming 6N. Just can’t see us being bullied around by Ireland on 4 Feb at Murrayfield, and if they can’t bully us we can certainly win that first 6N Test because there’s much more to this squad now than just holding our own in tight and loose and kind of hoping for the best. Spoke to a number of Embra fans yesterday who don’t share my optimism about Round One. They may be proved right, but much as I respect their knowledge and loyalty, I really hope they are wrong.
    Good luck v Leicester, Warriors. Really hope you can do a Gunners and turn over another English Prem side away. You deserve to because you’re a really good side, better than Embra right now I will freely admit.

  18. Aye win in Leicester & Glasgow are through, our their day they can beat anyone.

    To partially answer John Mc’s point I reckon we can beat Ireland.

  19. A win yesterday and they’d have been through already! Such is life but I hope that Glasgow have learnt from their nearly years over the last couple of seasons and get the job done at Leicester.

    Massive congratulations to Edinburgh. I don’t think anyone predicted that! Perhaps they just knew to attack down Vissers wing all game ? Now if they can play like that consistently then perhaps the final is in reach again and we might move out of the Pro12 basement.

    Although I’m still not confident about the six nations…

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion