European teams for the weekend

Richard Cockerill has been denied the chance to register an extra prop (Elliot Millar-Mills or Jordan Lay) for European action which means that any injuries to props this week could even see the return leg next weekend feature uncontested scrums from very early on.

They face Stade Francais at BT Murrayfield in the knowledge that a decent win will net them a home quarter-final with a round to play. If Stade don’t turn up – Krasny-Yar have beaten them this season – Edinburgh should make short work of them but things are never quite that easy with the capital side.

It’s a strong team and having survived the full 80 last weekend, Mark Bennett will relish the open spaces and better surface of Murrayfield, hosting the game to spare the Myreside pitch. Phil Burleigh is injured so Bennett partners Chris Dean in the midfield.

Neutrals will be praying for a clean bill of health for, well, most of the pack.

Edinburgh Rugby: Blair Kinghorn; Damien Hoyland, Mark Bennett, Chris Dean, Duhan Van Der Merwe; Jaco van der Walt, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne; Rory Sutherland, Stuart McInally (c), Murray McCallum, Ben Toolis, Grant Gilchrist, Magnus Bradbury, Hamish Watson, Viliame Mata
Replacements: Neil Cochrane, Matt Shields, Kevin Bryce, Fraser McKenzie, Jamie Ritchie, Nathan Fowles, Darcy Graham, Junior Rasolea

Stade Français Paris: Tony Ensor; Romain Martial, Waisea Vuidarvuwalu, Jonathan Danty, Julien Arias; Jules Plisson, Charl McLeod; Heinke Van der Merwe, Laurent Panis, Paul Alo Emile, Paul Gabrillagues, Alexandre Flanquart (c), Mathieu De Giovanni, Matthieu Ugena, Sekou Macalou
Replacements: Craig Burden, Zurabi Zhvania, Giorgi Melikidze, Steevy Cerqueira, Bakary Meïte, Clement Daguin, Shane Geraghty, Jimmy Yobo

Friday, 12 January , kick off: 19:35, BT Murrayfield Stadium
Referee: Tom Foley (England)

Coverage on BBC Radio

Glasgow have far less interest in Europe now, so some of their key names are rested ahead of a tricky visit to Leinster who are now a far cry from the stuttering side Edinburgh failed to beat earlier in the season. At the start of the season this might have been seen as a pool decider, but Glasgow have long since put that idea to bed.

It gives plenty of encouragement to some of the young names who will fancy – and face – a real challenge. The two Matts Fagerson and Smith are in a young back row unit with Adam Ashe while Jamie Bhatti gets a chance to pack down against Tadgh Furlong. Something to prepare him for March possibly… Rob Harley captains the side from the second row.

Leinster have a strong team out and if Glasgow aren’t switched on, this could become more than just a battling away defeat. A strong performance is needed to earn a bit of respect if nothing else. Most of these players will get the chance to back it up again next week, perhaps minus the likes of Price and Huw Jones. Good to see George Turner back, a strong game from him should see him into the Six Nations squad.

Of more concern is the absence of Stuart Hogg, who is still shaking off the hip flexor injury he picked up before the Australia game. He now could have just the one game – another dead rubber, this time against Exeter – to get his match sharpness up going into Scotland camp.

Leinster: J Larmour; F McFadden, R Henshaw, I Nacewa (capt), J Lowe; J Sexton, L McGrath; J McGrath, S Cronin, T Furlong, D Toner, S Fardy, J Murphy, J van der Flier, J Conan.
Replacements: B Byrne, C Healy, A Porter, J Ryan, D Leavy, N McCarthy, R Byrne, R Kearney.

Glasgow: Ruaridh Jackson; Lee Jones, Huw Jones, Nick Grigg, Niko Matawalu; Pete Horne, Ali Price; Jamie Bhatti, George Turner, Siua Halanukonuka, Rob Harley (capt), Greg Peterson, Matt Fagerson, Matt Smith, Adam Ashe.
Replacements: Grant Stewart, Alex Allan, Darcy Rae, Kieran McDonald, Chris Fusaro, George Horne, Brandon Thomson, Henry Pyrgos.

Sunday, 13th January, kick off: 13:00, RDS
Referee: Marius Mitrea (FIR)

Coverage on Sky Sports

In case you were feeling good about life, here is the Warriors injured list:

Brian Alainu’uise (knee), Fraser Brown (head), Scott Cummings (hand), Alex Dunbar (knee), Zander Fagerson (foot), Callum Gibbins (achilles), Stuart Hogg (hip), Rory Hughes (shoulder), Sam Johnson (jaw), Pat MacArthur (shoulder), Lelia Masaga (knee), Leonardo Sarto (shoulder), Tommy Seymour (foot), Tim Swinson (hand) and Ryan Wilson (ankle).

Alan Kerr is a long time rugby lover and occasional player for Broughton FP RFC. Site co-founder Al prides himself on offering the "man on the bus" view of Scottish Rugby!

45 comments on “European teams for the weekend

    • Fraser on

      Presumably Hastings has pee’d in Rennie’s coffee….
      Who is the back up 10 here – Pyrgos?

      If Hogg isn’t 100% then it’s right he doesn’t play. Would be nice to see him get a run out next week though to at least get some game time before the 6N. From what they have been saying he is nearly there, so would hope not likely to miss the Wales game.

      Suspect Leinster will win this comfortably.

      • Jock in Paddyland on

        Brandon Thomson would be the back up 10 I think. It’s a shame that Hastings is getting so little game time. I don’t understand why there are 3 scrum halves either; in fact there are 4 if you count Matawalu.

        I can’t see Glasgow winning this one given how strong Leinster are – they tore Ulster to shreds last week.

      • TeamCam on

        Yeah, they seem to really lack belief, structure and leadership. CWorse still, the commentary team are truly awful, especially the Northern Irish fella, so I’ve just given up on it.

    • Stuart on

      There is a Champions Cup squad and the 23 is basically the fit members of it minus Russell and Gray.

      Hastings wasn’t in the CC squad.

  1. CptDnt on

    This game would be a perfect chance to get Hastings a bit European experience. Absolute madness that Horne is ahead of him. Horne isn’t the answer to Russell leaving. He isn’t a first choice FH. Hastings could be if given the chance.

    • Dave on

      Hastings is about to enter a 6-8 week run of likely being first choice in the Pro14; it would have been madness to risk him in this game IMO.

  2. iMac on

    I am guessing pyrgos has thrown his toys out of the pram now he is number 3 scrum half and insisted as he is part of the leadership group of players that he should be involved? With Nico on the field arguably we already have a back up scrum half and could have had none on the bench.. we must have some other fit backs?!

  3. Bulldog on

    Here we go , with a name like McLeod the Stade Francais Scrum Half must have a scottish granny … Wouldnt that be a headache if he looked the part.

  4. Mikelinds on

    Well, that was by the skin of their teeth, but a WIN. Top the group, and guaranteed a home QF by my reckoning. Very well done to Edinburgh. ?

    • Bulldog on

      Bath made some shocking decisions and very out of sorts however the scarletts looked like a side who are peaking just in time for the 6N.

      • Bulldog on

        Well James, Barclay spent time in the bin , so you tell me ?

        The ref in Cardiff is Pascal Gauzere who refereed last nights Scarletts game, he was also the guy who sent Hogg off initially on a yellow and then on a red when he saw the screen.His decision was a good one, it was a red IMO.

        Scarletts never put a foot wrong , bath were dreadful .

      • James on

        There’s time in the bin and then there’s time in the bin. If it was a necessary sacrifice for the greater good perhaps it’s ok? I didn’t see the game so no idea. You’d hope the Scottish management are reviewing the refs and working out how to play them.

        Worrying if the Welsh players are starting to fire just at the right time.

      • Andrew McGavin on

        Barclay’s sin bin was a blatantly offside/from the side steal from a ruck one metre in front of Scarlets’ line. Textbook professional foul. It worked out for him as Bath kicked 3 points then went on to lost the sin bin period 5-3.

      • TeamCam on

        Scarlets won the sin bin period 3-12, so I think it was a calculated risk. He looked enraged about being subbed around 60 mins in, too! I was glad, though – we need him next month.

      • Bulldog on

        Indeed it was everything you all say and I really dont care either way, I will, in three weeks time.

        I think all professional fouls have a stigma to them, but that is just me, I have opinions and dont ask you to accept them as gospel.

        It was a blantant foul , against a team in meltdown, several scores down , a side who could not even turn the game against 14 men. It was one of those moments that can win or lose a game and it turned out well though probably unnecessary.

        Lets talk stigma. 4th February he wont be playing a side in meltdown but a welsh side with a chip on its shoulder and they are blatant , self important cheats , to a man.

        Its those 50/50 referee calls that anger us and I dare say Gauzere will remeber that blatant professional foul and note the character of the man who is to captain Scotland on that day. With a biased crowd and lots of prematch conditioning by the welsh, could it influence Gauzere on a 50/50 ? He is a human, referees are not robots, some are influenced by other factors as we know from the RWC.

        So club or country , perhaps a rash decision given in 3 weeks , same ref but this time , the blatant fouler is protesting innocence of his teammates in the capacity of captain, the role model and responsible adult.

        I am just putting the other side of that argument , I make no judgement, just saying was it really a good call ! Me, I am a jock and all things welsh are not in my interest.

      • Bulldog on

        oops – just ignore me, too much benelynch, thought it was same ref. He is free to commit a professional foul if he choses anytime he fancies, his call. I would prefer it if they avoid and take the consequences in the 6N, 14 v 15 always takes its toll on the others.

  5. FF on

    Just seen the Glasgow score in twitter for the first half. What a miserable euro campaign this has been. Rennie needs strong showing on the PRO14 playoffs (final appearance really) to stave off talk of a crisis. Glasgow fans distinctly unhappy online.

    • Matto on

      Grim viewing on a Sunday afternoon. 1st up tackling very poor and Leinster scoring at will putting it out wide. Sadly looks like a huge gulf in class. Glasgow not poor to a man, but collectively on a lower level in most aspects.

    • TeamCam on

      Rightly so, even taking Mitrea’s typical homerism out of the picture, it’s another embarrassing game, and I’m sure it’ll have a psychological impact if we make it to the play-offs. I’m questioning if Rennie was the right choice, and not for the first time this season. Seems like Warriors have had two good games so far this season, both played by and against weakened sides. Not exactly the level of performance you’d expect from a world-class coach, short pre-season or otherwise. And seeing Sexton both smug and feigning injuries is just skin-crawling.

      Also makes me even more nervous for the 6Ns: steeling myself for another buttload of nasty ‘false dawn’ comments…

      • TeamCam on

        Christ, and that’s a disallowed try within 30 seconds of the second half for Leinster. 100-pointer anyone?

      • Pio on

        Absolutely feeble performance from Glasgow. Shameful. Matt Smith the only one in the pack to come out with any credit.

  6. Pio on

    Think we’ve seen the end of the Peter Horne at 10 thing. And Peterson and the Tongan prop will probably not feature much from now

  7. TeamCam on

    Glasgow have conceded 6 more tries in 5 pool games as they have in 13 Pro14 games. Along with Treviso, they are the only team who haven’t won a game in the competition, and that’s not going to change next week. Unless Treviso beat Bath, I guess.

  8. pragmatic optomist on

    Glasgow appear to have 4 x assistant coaches, but it’s not clear who the ‘defense’ coach is. Leinster looked able to score at will today, and the Glasgow 1st up tackles were especially poor. Today was always going to be difficult but that performance was poor.
    When you look at the Leinster pack, you see a very experienced, gnarlly and top quality pack. Glasgow just can’t compete currently. (Neither can Edinburgh before anyone says they can. Edinburgh faced a weakened Leinster team recently and a fairly unmotivated one, while Glasgow have faced the 1st choice pack minus O Brien in top gear.)
    After this weekend, Leinster must be favourites for both Euro and Top 14. Scarlets do play like Glasgow but without the endless knock-ons and mistakes, so are rightly 2nd favourites.
    Glasgow only 3rd favourites at best. Although Glasgow have a lot of firepower to come back, you have to ask whether they capable of that kind of ‘pack/defence improvement’ needed between now and April?
    The continued beatings taken by the Glasgow pack, suggest that a change in forwards/defensive coach should be a considered?
    Extrapolating todays performance to to a Scotland context, is fairly meaningless , but a lot needs to be done, and I hope Rennie and Townsend are up to it.

  9. Matto on

    Glasgow at their best under Toony had an incredible intensity in defence, with great 1st tackle success, which was the essential yin to the heads up attack’s yang. The weakness then seemed to be an inability to cope with the mass of steam roller packs. However, there was undoubtedly grit, physicality and determination. This was worryingly absent in today’s display.

  10. Matto on

    Yeah not sure how much inference can be carried over to Scotland. Toony and his team have shown an ability to get high intensity performances out of the players, even with relatively unfamiliar personnel. Having watched Leinster and Munster today I think one thing we ‘can’ take is that the visit to Dublin is going to be very testing indeed.

    • Alanyst on

      Leinster were close to an international side…Glasgow far from it.

      5 things I took away from that game…

      1- Rennie seems to be struggling with the complexities of euro rugby..e.g 2 very different concurrent competitions, longer season, losing 6N players.

      2 – adventurous play carries risks, but Glasgow have drifted into pointless risky play. This does not make for a good adventure…some of those passes were downright dumb. Glasgow have the cart before the horse here.

      3- forwards well beaten but largely excusable on the grounds of opposition quality, experience power and guile.

      4- Midfield defence was frankly shocking…Nacewa waltzing through a massive gap and 3 or 4 half-tackles to score sticks out…no excuse for such disorganisation even in a fairly scratch team.

      5- I’ll be watching Edinburgh more from now on…Edi not “better” (yet) but at least they have good intensity and are usually beaten by the opposition, not by themselves.

      • JackP on

        Re: point 1- I wouldn’t say Rennie is struggling with the complexities of Euro rugby at all (and frankly its a bit disrespectful to suggest a man with his CV is).

        Glasgow competed right up to the whistle in the first two games of the campaign and lost out. On another day, they could have been 2 from 2 at that stage.

        0 from 2 and the priorities for the team change and thus the campaign suffers.

        We saw Ali Price having to pass an HIA yesterday. Would you rather there was another 7 or 8 Scotland starters out there yesterday in a meaningless game taking that risk?

      • Alanyst on

        Well for starters struggling in this context means losing to very good teams, with big budgets, all supported by top notch coaches…so of course it doesn’t mean he’s rubbish, but results are almost certainly below expectations going in.

        I think there is a difference between “coaching” and “management”. In SuperRugby he had a group of players for two distinct periods with one competition to worry about.

        The way things are with European rugby, players are periodically in and out with international commitments, the euro squad limitations have to be managed, as well as injuries…Its quite a convluted process to manage well and team cohesion I think has suffered this time around.

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