Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


PRO14 Round 6: Edinburgh vs Zebre, Cheetahs vs Glasgow Warriors

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Apologies for the lack of coverage this week as I’m in the wilderness on holiday. I’m currently trying to download the Cheetahs game on iPlayer via a borrowed BT Fon connection, and I type this from the bottom of the garden, in the pitch black. I’d get some strange looks if anyone walked past!

With that in mind, there’s still plenty to discuss so here’s a post to discuss Edinburgh’s narrow win over Zebre at Myreside, and Glasgow’s narrow win over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontain, a win that takes them to 6 from 6 and the only unbeaten side left in the league for the second week running.

18 Responses

  1. Gibbins and Johnson were excellent yesterday against a really good team in the Cheetahs. Not many sides will win there and other than a few lazy offences for not moving away late on or brain farts in our own 22 Glasgow deserved that. Warriors look a tough outfit this season. Long may it continue.

  2. Anyone at the Edinburgh game ? any standouts or good performers , real shame quite a few of the match have not been televised or at least streamed.

  3. I watched and rewatched the Glasgow game and I have a few points to touch on;

    – our setpiece was a right state although it did settle down later into the game. It was obvious that it was Brown’s first start in a while but, aside for lineouts, he did ok – just hope his injury isn’t too bad.
    – with ball in hand we still look a bit frenetic at times, but there is real attacking intent and Finn is in amazing form. Plus marks to Jackson and Gibbins again.
    – I was a little disappointed in the Cheetahs. Given how they put Leinster and Ospreys to the sword I thought they would pose more of a threat in attack, especially given they played their strongest team so far, but I felt we dealt with them easily, although that could be more to do with our defence.
    – Clancy was terrible. He pinged Brown for a couple of squint throws but missed a couple of theirs, and in fairness another of Brown’s. Cheetahs were persistently offside at the breakdown., and Gibbins should have been carded for a no-arms tackle. The sooner he is off the IRB Refs panel the better.

    to open the season 6 out of 6 would be terrific at the best of times, but to include Munster, Cheetahs away, and Ospreys in those 6 games is fantastic. Southern Kings at Scotstoun up next which will probably mean a 7th win, then Leinster at home. Ospreys away (who have been a shadow of last years side), Blues at home then Edinburgh home and away. Glasgow could conceivably be undefeated at the end of 2017.

  4. Frazer – I thought the Cheetahs put in a good performance. They were only 5 minutes from the win, and must have thought they were home and dry. What I felt made the difference was Glasgows fitness. For the last score Harley and Swinson were maintaining width on the touchline, and there were players inside them if the ball had been put through the hands. If you look at where the Cheetahs players were, there were none of them more than about 5m from the posts – they just didn’t have the legs to get back in their defensive alignment.

    Also Glasgow limited the opportunities for the Cheetahs to work off broken play by working their socks off to slow the ball at the breakdown, and tackle players as close to the gainline as possible. The effort put in was tremendous, especially given the effects of altitude – you could see that the players were exhausted as they left the pitch.

    Which other teams are going to be fit enough to beat the Cheetahs in SA? Scarlets probably, Munster maybe, but I doubt anyone else will get close. So I think Glasgow have laid a marker with that win.

    As for Brown – yes, he looked rusty from the touchline, but that will improve. Just hope he is not crocked so soon after returning from injury.

    Clancy, well, he was consistent at least. Neither side got an obvious advantage from him. You do have to wonder how a referee, standing at the tail of a line out, looking towards the hooker, cannot spot that the throw in has drifted well off centre. If you cannot get that right then how can you hope to deal with the more complex areas of the game such as the breakdown?

  5. Quite worried about the Glas set piece for next weeks game against Exeter (they are beasts up front). Would pick Brian just for his size and probably Cummings as the guy in form. Allan at LH seems better in the scrum than Bhatti but TH is a worry. Fagerson doesn’t seem to be kicking on Rae, while getting better every time he plays, is not there yet. Anything close to parity and Exeter can be beaten but I do worry about being smashed up front and not having any good play to play from.

    1. I think they’ll only get smashed in the scrum, at the breakdown I think they’ll hold their own.

      1. Exeter are immense at the breakdown – its their ability their that really sets them apart from other teams in the Aviva. For Glasgow to win they need to be just as good as Exeter at the breakdown, be equal in the lineouts and hopefully hang on to win their own scrums and not give away too many penalties when Exeter are feeding.

        That said the key to Glasgow getting a result is whether or not they bring their intense defence and work rate to the table – a long bus journey and a long haul flight back from a grueling Saffa could very well be the straw that breaks the camels back

        If they have it in the legs and can stabilise the set piece, then they could win. I just think the ask is too much and Exeter will win by 10-13 points

      2. I certainly think we can match them at the breakdown, but a lot of that will depend upon the referee and his interpretations. I think you’re right about the result, though. I’m surprised they’re not flying down. Yeah, it costs more, but it’s only a 90-minute flight, and could be the difference.

    2. Agree with you about set piece concerns. Rennie is quite conservative selection wise, so will probably choose Gray\Swinson. Although they supply good weight in the scrum, I agree that Big Brian and Cummings would be a better option for weight in scrum and height in the line-out. I’d expect Cummings to win more than his fair share of line-out ball. Swinson and Johnny are on the small side at line-out time, and with a hooker who doesn’t have an accurate throw, we could have issues. We have to be smart and mix up our play.
      The scrum we just can’t fix in time. The new boys are simply not solid enough yet at scrum time. Kebble and Halanakanuka might have made a difference.
      I just hope we cam find tactics that enable us to win some ball, as Exeter are very big on the set piece.

  6. I was at Myreside on Friday night, for the first time this season.

    I’m not going to faff around: Edinburgh were dreadful. Yes, there was some dubious refereeing – and I’m beginning to wonder if Cockers’ pronouncements may become counter-productive – but the difference in pace, running angles and attacking strategy from the two teams was very stark. Against a better team, this would have been a very embarrassing thrashing.

    Time and time and time again, Edinburgh simply kicked the ball back to Zebre. Who then ran it back at pace. It didn’t help that Fowles telegraphed his intentions from the base of every ruck. I just don’t think he’s good enough at this level.

    Admittedly, we were unlucky with injuries. King Blairhorn would have added more urgency in attack, but had already been at fault for the first Zebre try, when his Will O’ The Wisp attempt at a tackle was astoundingly poor. One scintillating run from Dougie Fife aside, and obviously Rambo’s try, were the only bright sparks all night.

    I said six months ago that Edinburgh needed to invest in quality at 9 and 10. They didn’t, and it shows.

    1. Completely agree. That was my second visit of the season and having seen us play both Italian sides, it is worrying how much we were outplayed for the vast majority of both games. Both zebre and Treviso looked very creative in attack and were crucially willing to try things to invent opportunities. Edinburgh have looked woefully short of ideas in both matches, the axis of fowles, weir and burleigh is completely robotic and is never, EVER going to lead to exciting attacking rugby. Why has fruean not been playing? Why was SHC dropped after a good performance in doubling? In the matches fruean has played he has created things with minimum fuss. Like you say the 9 and 10 are not good enough but you have to also look at the coaches and wonder what they are asking the players to try and produce on the pitch.

      Few positives so far this season. Berghan has performed very well IMO and can conceivably compete with Nel and Fagerson for the Scotland tighthead spot. McInally has been much better also.

      1. It certainly wasn’t a classic performance from Edinburgh but I don’t think we should underplay the effect of the referee.

        There were some frankly inexplicable decisions at the expense of Edinburgh. Don’t recall the line judges intervening at any point to assist the referee. The offside rule was not enforced at all against Zebre. Why exactly did the Pro14 pay for three match officials to be flown over from Italy? I swear there were 5 or 6 decisions in a row that all went against Edinburgh including a line out throw that was practically sent straight to the scrum half by the Zebre hooker without punishment.

      2. It’s clear now that both Italian clubs have vastly improved this season. Someone said on here that it might be due to O’Shea’s influence. If so, good on him and on them. No one wants to see perennial whipping boys in any league.
        Early season, Glasgow are looking very good indeed and it’s going to be fascinating how they get on against Exeter. I think if they’re not overpowered at the scrum they can do it. Actually, even if overpowered I think they are good enough to win it because they have other options.
        As to Embra, they’re miles behind Warriors but better than last season. Cockerill still has a huge challenge here, something he’s not played down in post-match interviews. I’m convinced he’s the kind of yin we need to Rennie’s yang to help build a strong Test side.

      3. No doubting we have not had the rub of the green with the ref’s. hopefully that may change at some point. However, the lack of creativity in the backs Cannot be overlooked as a referring problem. There needs to be more imagination in there, it’s fair enough playing a kick chase game against the big guns away from home and keeping it tight but at home we need to be more expansive. I’d like to think over the course of the season we are looking at options to recruit a new 10 for next season and maybe a 9 as well. i actually think cockerill is the right man for the job and is correct in saying it’s not an easy fix. He didn’t over recruit this summer which is fair enough as he has given the majority of guys here a chance, come the end of the season I’m sure he will have a much better idea of the areas he wants to Improve.

        Hoping to see a few of the academy guys get a run in the next couple of games. Don’t think the challenge cup should be a priority this year and should be used to give guys experience and try and get the likes of Nel etc back into some form for the league.

      4. I wonder if there is pressure from above to keep Weir with regular starts? It was obvious from Tovey’s appearance last time that national team issues aside, he’s better equipped to get Edinburgh moving.

  7. I think Rae is a much better scrummager than Z-Fag at the moment so should get the nod with the heft of big Bri behind him. Loosehead is a tough choice either way.

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