Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Pro14 Round 15: Teams for the weekend

Tim Swinson - pic © Al Ross/Novantae Photography
Tim Swinson - pic © Al Ross/Novantae Photography

Richard Cockerill has 3/4 of his end of term leavers – at least the ones we know about – in the team to travel to Ulster this weekend, with Sam Hidalgo-Clyne and Cornell du Preez starting and Duncan Weir recalled from exile at Worcester to cover standoff. Hidalgo-Clyne is in decent-to good form which gives him a shop window, but also makes the decision to let him go ahead of the more underwhelming Fowles or Kennedy slightly baffling. Best of luck to him wherever he pitches up.

There are not too many international faces appear although it’s a chance for more game time for Rory Sutherland, Murray McCallum and Mark Bennett all of whom may yet have a part to play in the Six Nations campaign. There’s also the curious case of John Hardie who has undeniable pedigree, even if he isn’t involved with the squad at the moment. He starts at openside.

Welshman Jason Harries makes a rare appearance on the wing, having not started since Round 4, but Fife and the midfield are the same as last week, along with the two South Africans who have impressed since pitching up in Scotland.

Ulster haven’t been playing all that well this season and Edinburgh will fancy their chances of nicking something, but may lack a little experience in the pack to cope with Fortress Ravenhill.

Edinburgh team to face Ulster: 15. Dougie Fife, 14. Jason Harries, 13. Mark Bennett, 12. Chris Dean, 11. Duhan van der Merwe, 10. Jaco van der Walt, 9. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne; 1. Jordan Lay, 2. Neil Cochrane, 3. Murray McCallum, 4. Fraser McKenzie (capt), 5. Lewis Carmichael, 6. Bill Mata, 7. John Hardie, 8. Cornell du Preez.
Replacements: 16. Cameron Fenton, 17. Rory Sutherland, 18. Eliot Millar Mills, 19. Magnus Bradbury, 20. Luke Crosbie, 21. Nathan Fowles, 22. Duncan Weir, 23. Glenn Bryce

Ulster: L Ludik; C Gilroy, L Marshall, S McCloskey, T Bowe; J McPhillips, J Cooney; A Warwick, R Herring, W Herbst, A O’Connor (Captain), K Treadwell, M Rea, N Timoney, J Deysel.
Replacements: J Andrew, K McCall, R Ah You, M Dalton, C Henry, J Stewart, D Cave, D Busby.

At the Kingspan Stadium on Friday 16 February (kick-off 7.35pm) – live on BBC NI (and possibly BBC Website)

For Glasgow, Tim Swinson is another player who may yet hope to feature in the Six Nations although that might depend on the fitness of Richie Gray as the three locks at the moment are doing well enough. He joins Scott Cummings in the boilerhouse as part of a decent looking Glasgow side that will be captained by Rob Harley.

It’s also another chance to get a look at young Grant Stewart from the bench who has impressed on limited showings – could he be next year’s Jamie Bhatti?

George Horne and Adam Hastings continue to develop what could be a long term partnership at half back and while the back division isn’t perhaps the first choice it’s still packed with useful characters who have plenty of tries in them.

With the Scotstoun faithful behind them, it should be enough to see off the Toyota Cheetahs who could feel a long way from home in this weather. Still the last game between these two sides was a cracker, so more of the same please!

Glasgow team to face Toyota Cheetahs: 15. Ruaridh Jackson, 14. Lee Jones, 13. Nick Grigg, 12. Sam Johnson, 11. Niko Matawalu, 10. Adam Hastings, 9. George Horne; 1. Alex Allan, 2. James Malcolm, 3. Siau Halanukonuka, 4. Tim Swinson, 5. Scott Cummings, 6. Rob Harley (capt), 7. Chris Fusaro, 8. Matt Fagerson.
Replacements: 16. Grant Stewart, 17. Oli Kebble, 18. D’Arcy Rae, 19. Matt Smith, 20. Adam Ashe, 21. Henry Pyrgos, 22. Brandon Thomson, 23. Ratu Tagive.

Not available due to injury: Brian Alainu’uise (knee), Fraser Brown (head), Alex Dunbar (thigh), Zander Fagerson (foot), Callum Gibbins (achilles), Rory Hughes (shoulder), Pat MacArthur (shoulder), Leo Sarto (shoulder) and George Turner (knee).

Not available due to international commitments: Jamie Bhatti (Scotland), Jonny Gray (Scotland), Stuart Hogg (Scotland), Peter Horne (Scotland), Huw Jones (Scotland) Ali Price (Scotland), Finn Russell (Scotland), Tommy Seymour (Scotland) and Ryan Wilson (Scotland).

Toyota Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Craig Barry, 13 Francois Venter (capt), 12 Nico Lee, 11 Malcolm Jaer, 10 Niel Marais, 9 Shaun Venter; 1 Charles Marais, 2 Torsten Van Jaarsveld
3 Luan de Bruin, 4 Justin Basson, 5 Reniel Hugo, 6 Henco Venter, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 8 Uzair Cassiem.
Replacements: 16 Jacques Du Toit, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Johan Coetzee, 19 Carl Wegner, 20 Paul Schoeman, 21 Zee Mkhabela, 22 Fred Zeilinga, 23 Luther Obi.

At Scotstoun, live on BBC ALBA, kick-off 7.35pm.

35 Responses

  1. The Glasgow website has Brown, Fagerson and Dunbar still unavailable due to injury. I guess we shouldn’t expect any of them to make a miraculous appearance in the Scotland squad for the Calcutta cup match.

  2. There must be more to the SHC story than just him asking for too much money. He was consistently playing better than Fowles at the start of the season and Cockerill started picking Fowles over him regularly.
    Either he’s a nuisance in training or Cockerill just doesn’t like him for some reason.

      1. I’ve never really thought that SHC has lived up to his full potential, when he burst onto the scene as a young U17/18 player he was one of the best 9s that I’d seen but I don’t know if its been due to lack of opportunity at Edinburgh with the lasting effects of the Allan Sollomans era (i.e.; Southern Hemisphere imports)

      2. Would Cockerill be picking him if he had a bad attitude? I also think that saying we are letting him go is a bit miss leading. He wants more than Edinburgh can pay. Clubs in England and France can pay significantly more than the SRU can. Also I actually think Fowels is slightly underrated by some people. He’s a more than capable scrum half and Kennedy isn’t bad. So I don’t think SHC is irreplaceable for Edinburgh. He’s at best 4/5 th choice scrum half for Scotland so the SRU isn’t going to push the boat out to keep him. Also Finn is that from club/youth rugby you talking about? Can’t say I saw much of SHC before he broke out with Edinburgh when he was 20.

    1. He’s got some fantastic attributes: excellent goal kicker and a sniping threat around rucks, but for me his passing is unacceptable for any player, let alone a scrum half. The amount of promising positions I’ve seen Edinburgh fail to capitalise on in large part because he’s passed to someone’s head or feet and slowed the attack down as a result is criminal.

      Still, it must be a relatively easy thing to fix (although worryingly it’s not been addressed for seasons), and if he does he can definitely be back in contention for the international squad.

    2. Wasn’t SHC a stand off (at Merchiston) and a full back (for Scotland U20) until he hit the pro’s?

  3. Out of interest can anyone who watched the Glasgow game last week tell me if Adam Hastings was any good. Obviously he comes from one of Scotland’s great rugby families but at 21 going on 22 he has had barely any top level playing experience. So far at Glasgow he has had just 3 starts and 2 sub appearances and at Bath he had 4 starts and 3 sub appearances and i’ve never been one to get excited over a player based on how good that person’s Dad was so can any level-headed person tell me if Adam Hastings performance made him look like someone who could one day be capped by Scotland.

    1. He certainly shows promise and is very composed. I think he’s been unfortunate in that; at Bath he was always going to be behind Preistland and Ford, at Glasgow he’s had slightly more opportunity as arguably he is the second best option but Horne is still the ‘official’ second choice fly-half, though Hastings seems to have leapfrogged Thompson (again a 12-cum-10). I think patience. It’s a competitive position at clubs because it’s one that is so important to get right so younger players don’t tend to get as much of a look in unless there’s a lack of options there (remember how Russell broke on to the scene). To go to Rodney Parade last week and get a draw with a young team is not too shabby at all.

      He’s not as wacky as Russell but can run the ball quite well. I think he will offer a good alternative if he continues to develop.

    2. From what I’ve seen of Hastings, he shows promise. He is decent in all aspects – passing, kicking, running. Probably looks a bit short of x-factor next to Russell, but that’s probably an unfair comparison to make at this stage of his career. He certainly looks a prospect, but it is more about potential at this stage.

      1. Assuming Hastings is capped in the summer then he’ll be at the same position on the development curve as Finn was. He’s doing alright

      2. Interested to see how him and Horne go tonight: my first alarm bell for Horne in particular was that he got skinned for pace by Amos and Morgan a couple of times last week. Hastings looks like he lacks a bit of gas to me too.

        However, I think he has far more potential than Russell as a controlling 10 and therefore could be a good back up option – the role Duncy was meant to play before he went to Edinburgh and his game went to pot.

        On that point, I really hope he gets a full time deal somewhere. He had loads of potential and was a firm favourite of the East Stand Massive at Scotstoun. Hope to see him pushing for Scotland squads again one day.

    3. No offence but you need to make your own mind up ! If you have then say so.

      On the few Bath matches I watched Hastings did a bit of damage. Dave denton got 17 games at Bath over a three year period and he was a mature player and a full scottish cap at the time, maybe appearences is not the benchmark.

      If you thing there is nepotism , just say so, you dont need evidence or others to back you up.

  4. Any reason why we cannot have the “unavailable due to…” lists for Edinburgh? Or is this a Glasgow website?

      1. It’s strange, I have seen them do the reverse in the past. Almost as if they don’t want to but both up at the same time.

        Or maybe it’s because Edinburgh have so many long-term injuries that it would just take too long.

      2. Yeh i’ve noticed they haven’t had it for a while. Would presume there is some reason, but whatever it is is not obvious to me.

  5. Edinburgh can get an injured list when they start winning trophies, until then they are irrelevant Merlot.

      1. It annoys me too that they don’t add it but we get all the other Pro14 clubs PRs and not all of them do it. Hard enough to keep track of who is still at the club!

      2. Yeah I’ve only recently realised Kevin Bryce has gone out on loan. Apparently still faring poorly at scrum time though at Yorkshire.

  6. SHC is an odd one. Very talented player that reads the game well having played at 10 and has plenty of pace. Also very strong defensively which is often overlooked at 9 and a good place kicker. Something changed when Hodge joined Edinburgh in Solomns last year and SHCs game went quickly downhill after the World Cup. He seemed to just stop his strong running game as if he had been told not to run with the ball. The whole emphasis of his game then all focused on his passing. All 9’s throw the odd wobbly one and he is no worse than a lot of others. One bad pass in a game was all you heard about. Edinburgh ( SRU) failed to develop him with no SH coaching / mentoring ( unlike Glasgow).He even lost the goal kicking duties to Tovey and Weir . He must of been getting a bit dishartened with the whole game and his confidence clearly dropped. Losing out to Fowles in the Scotland squad must of been a difficult one. He also had a strong media presence which seemed to suddenly stop for some reason. Someone somewhere obviously simply doesn’t like him. I agree with Fraser in that there must be more to this than we know about.
    Why would you pick someone to start at 9 in possibly the biggest game of the season above a Scotland squad member knowing that that player is also leaving the club ? SHC was the only Edinburgh 9 out of contract if Edinburgh had to lose someone in favour of possibly Frisby or another Southern Hemisphere SH. You make the guy an offer you know he will refuse and then not negotiate so it makes it look like the player who is the problem. CDP obviously going to make room for Barclay,Weir and Tovey to accommodate Hickey,SHC for ? With Price and Horne jnr at Glasgow what happens to Henry P who is on the bench again. Vacancy just along the M8.. Now that would be an issue !

  7. Maybe this is one where both sides need to be careful what they wish for. Only conclusion you can come to.

  8. Genuine question – what happens if the Cheetahs come third in their conference with regard to European qualification? Presumably 4th gets automatic qualification and 5th gore into a play off with 4th in Conference B ?

    1. Yes Jontymo.
      The rules state that it is the top 3 european teams (ie non SA) in each conference and then the 4th ranked european team in each conference play a single play-off (the side with the most league points playing at home).
      So if it finished as it stands Edinburgh would play Connacht at Myreside for the 7th ERC spot.

    2. That’s my understanding. Means Edinburgh, if they don’t overtake Ulster will play off against whichever of Connacht or Cardiff finishes 5th.

      1. I’d back Embra to beat either of those teams, especially as it looks likely that it’ll be a home game. It’s a nice fall back should they fail to get third in their conference. Exciting times.

  9. Great stuff from both teams (if not Matawalu)! Last 10 minutes of Edinburgh’s game looked exhausting, and what a fantastic finish. Excellent stuff boys!

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion