Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


PRO14 Round 18: Teams for the Weekend

Edinburgh forwards
Most of the pack who faced down Munster will return again this week- pic © ALASTAIR ROSS | Novantae Photography

Richard Cockerill’s Edinburgh side travel to Galway looking to keep their strong run going and it’s a full strength team that travels. Can they replicate the dogged win in Ulster from a few weeks back? Having played down talk of competitiveness at season’s end when he took over, Cockers is now having to face the fact that the transformation of the Edinburgh team has perhaps been quicker than expected. No one’s saying they are title contenders but they are very much in the race for playoff spots and Champions Cup rugby next season.

Connacht are without Bundee Aki but Edinburgh have most of their fringe internationals and a few front liners back too, including Grant Gilchrist and Simon Berghan. Unsurprisingly Hamish Watson and Stuart McInally are rested but WP Nel features on the bench, and there’s a welcome return for Darryl Marfo.

Cornell du Preez could make his 100th Edinburgh appearance should he be used as a replacement.

Connacht: Tiernan O’Halloran, Niyi Adeolokun, Eoin Griffin, Tom Farrell, Matt Healy, Jack Carty, Caolin Blade; Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney (Capt), Finlay Bealham, Gavin Thornbury, Quinn Roux, Eoin McKeon, Jarrad Butler, Sean O’Brien.
Replacements: Dave Heffernan, Denis Coulson, Dominic Robertson McCoy, James Cannon, Eoghan Masterson, James Mitchell, Craig Ronaldson, Darragh Leader.

Edinburgh: Blair Kinghorn, Dougie Fife, Mark Bennett, Chris Dean, Duhan van der Merwe, Jaco van der Walt, Nathan Fowles; Darryl Marfo, Neil Cochrane, Simon Berghan, Ben Toolis, Grant Gilchrist (capt), Magnus Bradbury, John Hardie, Bill Mata.
Replacements: 16. Cameron Fenton, 17. Jordan Lay, 18. WP Nel, 19. Lewis Carmichael, 20. Cornell du Preez, 21 Sean Kennedy, 22. Duncan Weir, 23. Phil Burleigh.

Referee: George Clancy (IRFU)

In the first double Van Der Merwe team announcement post on the site in living memory – and a “triple Van Der” – Glasgow welcome back another cult favourite in the shape of DTHVDM who returns from Newcastle via Scarlets to more than likely a hero’s welcome. The grass isn’t always greener – although the other missing member of the dream team, Uncle BigNaks, is probably making up for it by sleeping on a big pile of money in France and hasn’t shown any sign of a return to Glasgow.

Several of Glasgow’s Gold Coast bound 7s contingent will play including Ruaridh Jackson and Lee Jones while George Horne is on the bench.

There’s a welcome return for the grunt of Callum Gibbins who also captains the side.

Glasgow: Ruaridh Jackson, Lee Jones, Nick Grigg, Sam Johnson, DTH Van Der Merwe, Adam Hastings, Henry Pyrgos, Oli Kebble, George Turner, Zander Fagerson, Tim Swinson, Scott Cummings, Rob Harley, Callum Gibbins (capt) Matt Fagerson.
Replacements: Grant Stewart, Jamie Bhatti, Siua Halanukonuka, Kiran McDonald, Chris Fusaro, George Horne, Peter Horne, Lelia Masaga.

Not available due to injury: Adam Ashe (ankle), Fraser Brown (ankle), Ryan Grant (groin), Pat MacArthur (shoulder), D’arcy Rae (neck), Leo Sarto (shoulder), Brandon Thomson (knee) and Lewis Wynne (hip).

Zebre: Edoardo Padovani, Gabriele Di Giulio, Serafin Bordoli, Faialaga Afamasaga, Giovanbattista Venditti, Carlo Canna, Guglielmo Palazzani (capt); Cruze Ah-Nau, Oliviero Fabiani, Eduardo Bello, David Sisi, Leonard Krumov, Derick Minnie, Johan Meyer, James Tucker
Replacements: Tommaso D’Apice, Andrea De Marchi, Roberto Tenga, Valerio Bernabò, Jacopo Sarto, Riccardo Raffaele, Maicol Azzolini, Rory Parata

Referee: Craig Evans (WRU)

At Scotstoun, Friday 7.35, not on TV

90 Responses

  1. edinburgh game is on ALBA. 7:30pm (can’t see it mentioned in the artical)

    Strong Edinburgh team, should have enough to beat Connacht even in Galway.

  2. Imagine how strong Edinburgh’s pack will be next season with Dell, McInally, Nel, Toolis, Gilchrist, Barclay, Watson and Mata starting with Bradburry, Ritchie, Crosbie, Ford, Berghan, Sutherland, Dickinson, Hunter-Hill, McCallum and Marfo all desperate for game time as well. Incredible the options Edinburgh have there as well as having Kinghorn, Fife, Van Der Merwe, Bennett, Scott, Socino, Hickey in the backs as well as the promising Graham and Shiel.

    Just looks at Edinburgh’s Strongest 23 for next season;

    1. Dell
    2. McInally
    3. Nel
    4. Toolis
    5. Gilchrist
    6. Barclay
    7. Watson
    8. Mata
    9. Shiel/Kennedy
    10. Hickey
    11. Van Der Merwe
    12. Scott
    13. Bennett
    14. Fife
    15. Kinghorn

    16. Ford
    17. Marfo
    18. Berghan
    19. Ritchie/Crosbie
    20. Bradburry
    21. Kennedy/Shiel
    22. Socino
    23. Graham

    That’s not even including Van Der Waalt, Sutherland, Dickinson, McCallum etc.

    Definitely a strong enough side to challenge for the Pro14 and possibly even the champions cup next season

    1. I think Barclay will be on Sexton/O’Brien style schedule next season. Edinburgh are very strong in the back row so there’s not much point in him slogging it out in the Pro14.

      By far his two best performances in the 6nations were against England and Ireland after rest weekends. I’m not sure he has it in to perform at the top level for 2 or 3 weeks in a row.

    2. Stuart – Cockerill isn’t an idiot and will look after his international stars and rotate the squad well now he has so many options. You’d imagine Barclay will be saved for the champions cup and the most important/difficult Pro14 fixtures.

      It’s important he is not used on weekly basis so he is at his best Scotland but I don’t think around 6 european matches and 10 Pro14 matches is too much to ask of him.

      What I do know is having a man of his quality and experience for the Pro14 alongside Watson (especially during the play-offs) and champions cup is going to massively improve our chances of silverware.

      I expect Cockerill throughout the season to rotate our squad well and only use our very strongest 23 in the most difficult/important games and the Pro14 play-offs and champions cup but you’ve got to admit having a 23 of that quality will give Edinburgh such a massive chance to win silverware.

    3. Selecting next season’s side already, you must be desperate to get this season out the way. I love this Edinburgh side and dont care about next season.

      Glasgow are coming over the M8 next month , maybe they will play the incredible talent of Nairn that day. Be careful what you wish for !

  3. The Pyrgos-Hastings axis for Glasgow doesn’t exactly inspire confidence but the pack looks strong.

    Edinburgh have shown a lot of character in recent months and if they grind out the win here they are set for a good end to the season.

    1. 40 – 0 at HT. HB partnership may not inspire confidence in the armchair pundits, but it’s a very satisfactory HT score.

      1. An excellent score.

        Hopefully Henry regularly gets back to his form of a couple of years ago and Hastings pushes on from here.

    1. The Pro 14 (Pro12 as was) has used home country refs for several years now, mostly without comment except that refs are sometimes useless as opposed to biased. I do, however, remember Nigel instructing an Irish touch judge on where to stand when he tried to claim that Glasgow had kicked a pen “touch in goal” when it was obvious to everyone that it was a great kick into the corner. Surprise! Surprise! Glasgow were playing an Irish team in Ireland.
      In my experience the touch judges tend to be more parochial than the refs. It’s a shame Scottish refs aren’t currently cutting the mustard.

  4. Nathan Fowles box kicks are an embarassment. 100% of the time it is easy possession for Connacht. Is he being instructed to give the opponent the ball? If not then why is he doing it?

      1. Add in his brainless penalty too.

        A good win considering Edinburgh were terrible for a large period of the match. Well done Duncy Weir.

  5. Duncy Weir take a bow.

    Missed the try feat at Scotstoun due to work so nice to see Weir turn the game. Has he got a club yet?

      1. Go, Duncy! Always been your biggest fan.
        Actually, I haven’t, well not at Test level anyway in the last couple of years. But well done, son, for a terrific 20 minutes of stand off play tonight – added to the drop goal v Ulster. I hope you pick up a lucrative contract soon and maybe play your way back into international contention.

  6. Well done Embra as long as they stay in the fight with 10 minutes to go they seem to turn the screw.

    Why are we getting rid of SHC and Weir again ?

  7. Another win ground out by Edinburgh, and the momentum keeps going. Ulster in two weeks is an enormous game that could seal the play-off and Champions Cup qualification.

    But…Weir’s try should’ve been reviewed by the TMO. Unless the law has been changed without me noticing, and you can ground the ball with your belly, then it probably shouldn’t have stood.

    And…does anyone know how Fowles has been anywhere near a Scotland squad. Absolutely dreadful tonight. Constantly kicking away possession. Slow slow service. And the “pass” at the free kick in the first half. My 3-year old can pass better than that.

    1. Think the ball can be grounded between the knees and the forearms (though Cummings scored a try with his forehead last year). Given how much leeway Connacht were given for offside, that their first try was subsequent to two forward passes, and their third was offside from the kick, i’m happy with the win.

    2. Ball can be grounded by any part of the upper body. Many a close range “forwards” try has been grounded by “the belly” while the hands / arms hold the ball in against the body as the scorer goes to ground.

  8. As others have said, Fowles was awful – aimless kicking, slow passing, no threat around the fringes….. Edinburgh need a new scrum half for next season quickly. Not seen anything from him that suggests he should be playing next season

    Other than that, another great Edinburgh display I thought. Nothing flashy but aggressive in the forwards, particularly the back row, and gritty determination to get the win.
    The backs were pretty good – VDM has proved a great signing, Fife looks like a different player this season and Bennett is showing flashes of previous form – but this was mainly won by the forwards and, obviously, Duncan Weir. Hope he gets a contract soon as there are few better when it comes to games like this. Same with Hardie, who was immense

    1. Agree on Hardie. He was everywhere last night. Of course he’s had a nice mid season rest to recharge the batteries….I wonder where he’s playing next year.

  9. Not complaining but why didn’t Glasgow just give the incredible talent which is Robbie Nairn a run in the side instead of bringing back Van Der Merwe. Great showing from both Scottish teams this season but would have loved to have seen Robbie Nairn and Darcy Graham get more chances

    1. I suspect because Cockers and Rennie are hard nosed coaches and think they aren’t ready. Plenty of youth has had a chance.

  10. Another gritty performance on a typical pishy wet night in Galway!Lots of mistakes by both sides but agree with comments re Fowles-box kicks were woeful and kicked possession away all night not to mention giving away the dullest penalty you have ever seen! How he got anywhere near the Scotland squad is beyond me.
    Back row were immense and all credit to Dunky Weir – almost got MOM after 20 minute demo of how to close out a match. Hope he gets sorted with a club for next year.

  11. Weir and the backs will get lots of credit and rightly so, however for me, the stage belonged to John Hardie from the opening seconds. In fact the forwards were solid though WP is not back to his best and is visiably not enjoying himself. That has to be RC’s priority IMO. WP is not the kind of man who is happy to make up the numbers and take the coin.

  12. After tonights display I dont know why Edinburgh are getting rid of Hardie. The Man of the Match in my opinion. He would have been good for Glasgow if Edinburgh don’t want him. Duncan Weir done well too.

    1. Hamish Watson is one of the best opensides on the planet and Edinburgh have such an array of back-row talent that he is a dispensable commodity. Having said that he is without a shadow of a doubt Scotland’s 2nd best 7 so would love him to stay in Scotland and feel he would be a fantastic signing for Glasgow. A back-row of Matt Fagerson, John Hardie and Ryan Wilson would be awesome.

      1. Wee Dunc was class. A quality player with gifted skills and accuracy with it. Think it’s a mistake no keeping him. My Scotland No 2 and a great bench player for Scotland if Russell having an off day.

      2. Think you forgot Callum Gibbins in that backrow Blake, the dude has been the form player in the pack for glasgow when not injured and has turned games around by himself, certainly better than M.Fagerson at this stage of his career and is slightly better than Wilson also. A back row of Gibbins/Hardie/Wilson or Gibbins/Hardie/Ashe is more powerful and exciting for me.

      3. I hope that Hardie’s release is not part of SRU punishment for his 3 month ban. Hardie to Glasgow and release Favaro etc. More benefit to Scotland

      4. Rob: I suspect there is a lot we do not and should not know about Hardie’s ban and circumstances.

        He was back to his finest last evening and someone will give him a contract. I hope not a PRO 14 side or we may well regret it.

        I am not sure how well it is known that Hardie had the choice of either pro side and chose Edinburgh. I suspect nothing has changed. Let us hope he is in a good place.

  13. Hardie signed for Edinburgh on the back of a very good reputation in Super Rugby and excellent World Cup, presumably he’s been on good money and it’ll be a budget issue. Surely nobody doubts his committment and quality. I personally prefer Watson and Hardie at 6 and 7 over Watson and Barclay. I’d have kept John instead of signing John. As long as he stays in Europe and remains available for Scotland.

    Can we assume Edinburgh have a new scrum-half lined up. Unthinkable otherwise. Rest of the team is looking really solid and Cockerill is doing a brilliant job, seems to have instilled real durability both physically and mentally.

    1. One of the 3 Glasgow SH could move over to Edinburgh. Which one would suit Edinburgh style of play the most? Splitting Horne and Price as clear 1/2 will mean both are No 1’s at their respective club.

    2. Hardie 29 Barclay 31, replacing one old dog with an even older one is not on the face of it, a great move.

  14. Perhaps RC had instructed his scrum half to put on a pedestrian display over the last few games, before completely changing the tactics for the rest of the season. Certainly Edinburgh’s next few opponents will ruthlessly exploit the box kicks and slow service. Do you think?

  15. I can’t remember Weir being able to read the game like that – it was a great come back!

  16. What are peoples thoughts on Magnus Brabury being starting No. 8 by the world cup?

    He was excellent last night and seems to be exactly what we’re missing in the back row. More powerful than Wilson but got a decent all round game and work ethic as well. Provided he keeps his head down (and away from pavements) he could be a great player in a couple of years. Playing with Barclay and Watson at Edinburgh next season can’t hurt either surely.

    1. How well Scotland do at the world-cup will largely depend on how well Townsend integrates some of our younger talents who have impressed at their clubs such as Matt Fagerson, Magnus Bradburry, Scott Cummings, Bhatti, George Horne, Finlay Christie, Adam Hastings and Blair Kinghorn into the Scotland squad over the next 18 months (World Cup may be to soon for Darcy Graham who has barely got any professional rugby experience but looks a talent).

      Matt Fagerson and Magnus Bradburry both look like the sort of big physically strong ball carrying number 8’s who also have an all-round game to boot which we’ve been dearly missing from our team and they also both play at 6 regularly so can cover Barclay.

      Finlay Christie and George Horne are the sort of scrum-halfs which could be the key to allowing us to play our fast paced quick attacking game.

      Adam Hastings could be the reliable fly-half back up we need heading into a world-cup.

      And Blair Kinghorn is an incredible talented quick athletic fullback who is not just a great back-up to Hogg as a genuine 15 but with his pace, trickery, skills and try scoring ability may just add a bit of a class to one of our wings in place of Maitland or Seymour.

      Those six players especially could be vital in improving our squad and team heading into the world-cup but will need chances to impress. Hope to see them all get plenty of game-time in a Scotland jersey this summer and to be able build on that experience before the world-cup

      1. Thanks I will try them out in the cup final later today and let you know how it goes.

  17. Agree about Hardie. He seemed to me to be the best back rower out there in Galway. Would love to see more of him an a Scotland jersey. Brilliant win by Edinburgh. Like others I thought Fowles was a liability. I wish BBC Alba would learn how to pronounce Van der Merve. It is Fan der Murver, not Van der Mairv.

  18. Im excited for the 1st choice glasgow team next season

    1. Kebble
    2. Brown
    3. Fagerson
    4. Cummings
    5. Big Brian
    6. Wilson
    7. Gibbins
    8. Fagerson
    9. Matawalu
    10. Hastings
    11. Jones
    12. Johnson
    13. Dunbar
    14. DTH
    15. Hogg
    16. Turner
    17. Bhatti
    18. Rae
    19. Gray
    20. Ashe
    21. G.Horne
    22. Jones
    23. Seymour

    1. Seriously hate it when “fans” come on here just looking to rile people up. Don’t get me wrong we’ve all had ridiculous opinions (me as well) in the past but it was out of passion for Scottish rugby and not just wanting to annoy people. Leaving out Price/George Horne, Jonny Gray, Seymour and Huw Jones from your starting line-up and Peter Horne and Grigg from your 23 is just ridiculous.

      My best Glasgow 23;

      1. Kebble/Bhatti
      2. Brown
      3. Zander Fagerson
      4. Cummings
      5. Jonny Gray
      6. Matt Fagerson
      7. Gibbins (or Hardie if he signs from Glasgow but heard great things about Gibbins from the Glasgow fans (not seen too much of them this season) so maybe they can find room for him elsewhere in the back-row.
      8. Ryan Wilson
      9. George Horne/Price
      10. Peter Horne/Hastings
      11. DTH
      12. Grigg/Dunbar
      13. Huw Jones
      14. Seymour
      15. Hogg

      16. Turner
      17. Bhatti/Kebble
      18. Rae
      19. Swinson
      20. Ashe/Smith
      21. George Horne/Price
      22. Hastings/Peter Horne
      23. Jackson

      As you can probably work out not seen enough Glasgow games so am struggling with the 50/50 calls. But that is an incredibly strong Glasgow team and the pack looks great as well. Should be another great season for Glasgow and wouldn’t be surprised to see them pick up another Pro14 championship this summer or the next and maybe reach the champions cup semi’s

      1. The 5.43 post was a ‘ridiculous option’, I wonder who Lacey is ! Best leave the selection to a big lad like Rennie.

      2. To give some explanation to my line-up as it is serious Blake “i have not watched many glasgow games” Westwood, who btw cant seem to even pick a first choice 15 .

        The Front Row picks itself.
        Brown Clearly
        Kebble is a physical beast and Bhatti requires a few years of development to become ‘class’
        Fagerson in because the nuke has not lived up to promise and Rae is not great either.

        Cummings and Big Brian offer good go forward which John Gray does not and that is why he does not start for me. All he can do is tackle.

        Wilson and Gibbins are clear Starters and bring leadership and experience to balance with Matt Fagerson who is a young dynamic 8 (not a 6 as you laughably placed him)
        I seem to recall you not mentioning Gibbins in an earlier post btw so you clearly cant make your mind up on a team and just like to post for the sake of it.
        Matawalu at 9 is practically George Horne but with experience and he was our first choice 9 by a mile and a fan favourite there back in his first signing with us and took us to the pro12 Final which us real fans remember.
        Harsh on Ali ? Sure but he has only had 1 good season which was last.
        Hastings/Horne at 10 was a challenging one but we need somone to be developing in that role quickly and he has all the tools to make it at the very top.
        Centres – Huw Jones has not been that impressive (for club so far) so that is why he does not start. Rennie said Sam Johnson was his best performer in the centre so far this season so he starts.
        Dunbar brings a good balance to a lightweight backline so he has to come in for his defensive abilities and also to give that crash ball option which leads to space out wide for our flashy backs.
        Hogg at 15 picks himself
        DTH is a legend at glasgow and proved it in his first game back, gives the team confidence.
        Lee jones vs Seymour on the other wing and i believe Jones is the in form player and does not get bounced off tackles.
        Please … Explain why you picked that team which you posted.

  19. Fowles – abysmal.

    Duncy Weir – what a 20 minutes!

    Hardie – some monster hits.

    I also thought Bradbury carried well and Bennett looked good in defence if given no chance in attack due to poor service from Fowles.

  20. Some results for Edinburgh today. They’ve a real chance of getting 2nd in their group and a home playoff.

    1. Bit to go yet for second. Play offs are entirely in their own hands though. All credit there.

      1. 2nd is now in Edinburgh’s hand and must be their aim. Finish 3rd and they have an away quarter final against Munster whereas if they come 2nd they have a home tie against the Cheetahs or Cardiff. Coming 2nd will also mean that should Edinburgh progress past the quarter finals they will set-up an all Scottish semi-final with Glasgow which will be a great advert for Scottish rugby.

        Just 2 points separate the Scarlet’s and Edinburgh and with the Scarlets still to play Glasgow and come to Murrayfield you’ve got to say Edinburgh are favorites on current form to finish 2nd. So long as Glasgow beat the Scarlets Edinburgh only have to beat Scarlets at home and win one of their other 2 remaining Pro14 fixtures – which are both at home- and they will finish 2nd.

        I’m sure Cockerill will be making sure his players only have their minds set on winning their home Challenge Cup quarter-final and then focusing them on securing 3rd place against Ulster a week later but as a fan it’s more than fair to start getting excited about coming 2nd and playing in the play-offs and champions cup rugby.

      2. Lot of ‘Ifs’ in there Blake. That said, the level of results since the turn of the year makes it not wholly unlikely. Scarlets don’t lose too many at home, so the Scarlets v Glasgow game is pivotal in that scenario. Glasgow themselves aren’t quite over the line yet in heading their conference.

      3. Mikelinds If Edinburgh win their final 3 games they will come 2nd so 2nd is in their hands. Having said that at this stage of Edinburgh’s development it will be difficult to win 3 matches in a row against Ulster, Scarlets and Glasgow. Whereas you’d be far more confident of Edinburgh beating the Scarlets at home and one of Glasgow or Ulster so Glasgow beating the Scarlet’s is imperative

      4. Blake Westwood. If Edinburgh get 3 x 4 point wins it would take them to 71 points . If Scarlets win 2 of their 3 games with a BP they would also be on 71 points , through in a LBP v Edinburgh and that puts them on 72 points. So no , it is not entirely in Edinburghs hands just yet.

  21. Miles off topic, but as I’m sitting in Cornwall ready for Pirates / Scottish tomorrow, can I just say that Scottish are now safe from relegation – if Dodson or anyone at the SRU who are so desperate to shovel money south of the border is at all interested ?

    1. We have been abysmal this season, that said you only need one team poorer and you stay up.

      Given the total upheaval at all levels not wholly surprising. Especially with a coaching staff totally inexperienced at this level. Good to see Mosses commit for another year. Enjoy The Mennaye!!??

      1. Cheers – looking forward to the Pirates meal deal. Pint of Tribute & a big pasty for a fiver ! Travelling more in hope than expectation . . .?

  22. Not sure quite how Edinburgh won in Galway, have to admit that I thought Connacht played the better rugby on the whole. A couple of charge-downs – which Embra seem to be becoming experts in this season – really got them over the finish line, though started getting the better of a tiring Connacht in the last quarter. Not much ball for the backs to work with due to sooo many box-kicks. Can only imagine that was the intended tactic from the coaches due to the weather and hope the Irish recipient dropped the ball. Didn’t work so why wasn’t it changed, surely a message could have been got out to the players. Having said that, a number of the kicks were at least contestable but keeping ball in hand could have been a better option. Think VD Walt needs to practice his kicking both from the tee and from hand – Dunc certainly gave a miniature masterclass in that in the last quarter and I agree, does make you think it’s a mistake to let him go, along with SHC in my opinion. Both could be in contention for 3rd/4th in line for their respective positions for the national team and you need depth like that at that level. Not sure how many penalties any individual can commit before deserving a yellow card but thought Connacht’s Roux must have been pushing his luck. But then there were a number of strange decisions all through the match, a number of which favoured Edinburgh so probably evened out a bit – some referrals for forward passes in build-ups to a couple of Connacht tries and also Fife’s and Weir’s groundings might have been justified. However, will definitely take the win, a lot of effort from the back-row – I like Bradbury playing at 6 – and now a run of home fixtures for Embra to try and get that important 2nd spot.

    1. There was nothing wrong with either Fife or Weir’s groundings. I think you need to review the laws.

  23. Im excited for the first choice Edinburgh side also btw .

    1. Dickinson
    2. Mcinally
    3. Berghan
    4. Gilchrist
    5. Toolis
    6. Ritchie
    7. Watson
    8. Bradbury
    9. Fowles
    10. Van Der Walt
    11. Van Der Merve
    12. Burleigh
    13. Bennett
    14. Fife
    15. Kinghorn
    16. Ford
    17. Sutherland
    18. Mcallum
    19. Carmichel
    20. Barclay
    21. Kennedy
    22. Scott
    23. Graham

    1. Fowles. Lord help us ! And I’m becoming increasingly bemused that Duncy Weir is leaving Auld Reekie at the end of the season and VDW is staying.
      Fingers crossed for young Shiel at 9 and Hickey at 10.

      1. I think Weir, Hardie and SHC are probably all leaving for the same reason – capped players who command a fee that Edinburgh seem poor value for various reasons (injury, failing to nail down first team place etc.)

        It is a shame as all are seriously good players but Cockerill does not have a huge budget to play with and he has to be pretty ruthless about how it is spent.

        Sounds like a new SH might be coming in. I think the big gamble is FH where it isn’t clear VDW or Hickey are going to be an improvement on Weir who is now on top form.

      2. Weir has never produced in an Embra jersey – the last couple of games have been after him going. SHC clearly thinks he’s better than he is and Hardie behaviour would have got you sacked from most jobs.

      3. Weir has been dogged by injuries and was brought in during Solomons’ nadir – I think he’s now proving his ability, albeit too late.

        SHC might not be as good as he thinks he is but he’s easily Edinburgh’s best SH and unless we can bring in someone better as suggested, this will be a huge weakness until Sheil steps up as hoped.

        Hardie is the second best 7 in Scotland. And no, in most jobs if someone contacted your employer and alleged you’d been seen using Cocaine, it is highly unlikely you’d be dismissed. Let’s remember he didn’t fail a test and has faced no charges. He’s certainly not getting preferential treatment as a high profile sportsman.

  24. Interesting run home…on paper its simple for Glasgow-win 1 game of 3 to make the semi -but Scarlets, Ulster, Edinburgh all away leaves room for doubt.

    Edinburgh’s run home is tougher and more interesting…2nd is in their sights with the same opponents (all home) and it’s obviously appealing to avoid an away QF in Limerick (or Bloemfontein!), but they also have the Challenge cup to consider…will Cockerill put out his best XV next week or hold a few back?

    Some key forwards (Gilchrist Watson McInally in particular) have played a lot of rugby of late…

    I feel the Challenge Cup is quite achievable, moreso than Pro14 title (or final) so I’d be tempted not to spare the horses…

    1. I agree – Cockerill has over achieved by reaching pro-14 play-offs he should pull out all the nigh guns for CC and remaining league games and see where the cards fall. Further progress in either tournament would be hugely exciting, CC probably more likely.

    2. Alanyst how paranoid can you be to still worry about Glasgow failing to finish top of their group. Get a grip.

      Could understand having a few doubts at the start of January about Glasgow throwing top spot away if Munster were able to put on an incredible run of form and Glasgow went on a losing frenzy but Glasgow have had their conference sown up since before the start of the six nations and to be still worried about Munster catching them is quite frankly ridiculous.

      Munster are 12 points behind Glasgow with a far worse points difference than Glasgow so even if Munster win all of their final 3 games and Glasgow lose all of their final 4 games – a near impossible scenario in in itself considering Glasgow play Connacht at home in one of those 4 fixtures – Munster will still likely be behind Glasgow on points difference.

      So Munster must not only win their final 3 games whilst hoping a side who have lost twice all season lose 4 in a row but also obtain more Bonus pts in 3 games than Glasgow get in 4 games.

      It’s beyond ridiculous to suggest there is anything more than a 0.1% chance of all of these things happening so to suggest there is still “room for doubt” as to whether Glasgow will top their group is beyond silly.

      1. Now , now the tone is far too strong, albeit you have a case it has flaws. You are completely dismissing 2 important matters.This is the business end of the season and your response is missing human factors.

        Other then Connaught at home, that is three tough fixtures and if we slip up with Connaught it will be pressure to win away. Getting Glasgow back together , picking the best team and getting them to work together like a team is the next challnge at Scotstoun.

        We got humped at Munster last season, Ulster are handy. Edinburgh need the win and right now Edinburgh have a great team spirit .

        The man is right to point out it is not over till it is over.Rugby is played on the pitch , not on paper .

  25. Sorry FF, people are not suspended for 3 months based on an accusation from someone with no evidence.

    Has anybody considered that Hardie might want to go – he’s got a chance to cash in on a fading career in France.

    1. Unfair to describe it as a fading career. True, Hardie’s international prospects have been overshadowed by Hamish Watson’s excellent form, compounded by his three month break on a disciplinary.
      He’s still class though, and at 29/30 he must have two or three years left in him as a first rate open side if he stays fit and wants to continue to play for Scotland. Hoping he picks up a contract with a top European club to keep him in Test selection contention for Scotland.

      1. OK fading is maybe unfair – he’s in the final stage of his career.

        Go to France and cash in.

    2. John Hardie is the kind of guy I would want in my side anyday. He puts his body on the line and has had some brutal injury’s.

      John Hardie does not deserve to be second best to anybody.

      I am wondering if he might be glad to leave Scotland for a number of reasons.

      It feel’s like it has been a miserable time, came to the other side of the world to play rugby and spend most of it in recovery.

      Ultimately banned from playing and we dont know all the facts or how sensitvely it was handled.

      I agree with Stu. At 29 JH should look to securing a lucrative contract (if not now then when) and anything from Scotland is a bonus.

      I suspect a bit of distance from the SRU might be what both sides need for now.

    3. Having spoken to someone in Murrayfield, their understanding is that Hardie came forward saying, “Look, this is what I’ve been up to and now I’m worried”. The SRU have then gone through process but making sure they help along the way and don’t make this harder for the player than necessary.

      From what I understand, the whole thing has been a very grown up affair.

      1. Well that is what you would expect from a caring employer and that is what we would hope for him so well done the SRU. Not easy being on the others side of the world.

        They must have decided it was better to go with a ban and be public than keep him playing or if he was unfit to play , hide it under an injury label. Get it out and give him peace to recover. As I say we dont know all the facts however it may still be his choice to move on for numerous reasons. I personally feel for him and see the personal side, he may be gifted on the pitch but as fragile as the rest of us off it.

      2. I think, if true, it reflects credit on both. It would explain the sequence of events nicely.

  26. Firstly, I think it’s great that Duncy has found a vein of form. He’s a decent 10 but in all honesty 3 performances doesn’t justify a new contract. He’s shown flashes but overall his time with edinburgh has been underwhelming. 2nd VDW is a good squad 10 who gives you a solid performance, so what is he’s got a square foot from the tee? I’d rather have Kinghorn do that anyway, but his kicking from hand is decent, his distribution is great and he’s not afraid to play at gain line. Something which Edinburgh have needed for years… Edinburgh will have 4 fly half’s next year Hickey, VDW, Baggot and this young kid McCelland… where is Duncy going to fit in playing wise? Let alone in the budget?

    1. Edinburgh have plans and Weir is not part of them. An amazing 20 mins on Friday, we have seen him do it for Glasgow and Scotland before, it is no fluke, he is a brilliant impact player.

      He did himself no harm and let’s hope he finds a club. I can see him being a backup player for any side who have long term injury problems if he is willing to accept that designation, he could earn and enjoy the experience of many clubs before returning to Scotland and being part of a coaching staff somewhere.

      Great lad, loved by all, just not in fashion.

  27. Re Lacey’s team

    1. Dickinson – is probably going to be forced to retire – Marfo/Sutherland
    2. Mcinally – No issues
    3. Berghan – Like the big man but a fully fit WP Nel is still a better tighthead
    4. Gilchrist – no issues
    5. Toolis – no issues
    6. Ritchie – I don’t imagine Edinburgh bought JB to sit on bench
    7. Watson – of course
    8. Bradbury – Bill Mata is better & can actually pass
    9. Fowles – should be nowhere near this team. Awful SH
    10. Van Der Walt – no issues
    11. Van Der Merve – fantastic player, an absolute unit with afterburners
    12. Burleigh – is leaving, This will be Matt Scott or a much improve Dean
    13. Bennett – yup
    14. Fife – Yup – hugely improved player
    15. Kinghorn – Of course. Nailed on
    16. Ford – agree
    17. Sutherland – may start
    18. Mcallum – Will be in contention
    19. Carmichel – also good BR cover
    20. Barclay – nailed on starter
    21. Kennedy – probably
    22. Scott – starter
    23. Graham – as it stands nowhere near ready at this level either at FB or wing.

    No mention either of Fraser McKenzie who has been a stalwart for us this season. vastly underrated and a great pro. I would also suspect that Simon Hickey will be in the squad.

    Duncan Weir – the bottom line is that had he shown this form in the early part of the season Edinburgh might not have signed 3 new Fly halves and he might have been able to stay. His form now as welcome as it is has the smell of – look what I can do, please give me a contract someone.

    Hardie – Whilst it may be slightly more complicated than he is just paid too much I expect that’s at the heart of it. He is also injury prone. Back row options for next season include Watson, Ritchie, Bradbury, Barclay, Crosbie, and Bill Mata.

    We need a SH. Preferably one that can kick penalties as well.

    1. Where has Callum Hunter-Hill gone? He was an absolute beast for the u20’s last year – would be a tidy bit of business for Glasgow if we could nick him.

  28. Agree with Sandy, my Edinburgh 1st XV would be:

    1. Marfo
    2. McInally
    3. Nel
    4. Toolis
    5. Gilchrist
    6. Barclay (c)
    7. Watson
    8. Mata
    9. Kennedy
    10. van der Walt
    11. van der Merwe
    12. Scott
    13. Bennett
    14. Fife
    15. Kinghorn

    16. Ford, 17. Dell, 18. Berghan, 19. Carmichael, 20. Ritchie, 21. Shiel, 22. Hickey, 23. Dean.

    In the mix:

    To improve:
    Fowles – think he is as good as he will ever be
    Graham – Needs more 15 a side time away from 7’s circuit to really improve
    Harries – just don’t rate him

    Shiel (makes squad anyway as Fowles is gash!!)

    Hooker – Ford, Cochrane both at wrong end of career. Surprised they let Turner join Glasgow.
    Scrum Half – Finlay Christie maybe?
    Fullback – Kinghorn will be with Scotland a lot and needs good cover. Fife is good but a better winger and needs consistency of position to make Scotland squad again.

    1. Hoyland, Johnstone and Bryce all in the mix for the backs as well. Probably none starters on current form but decent cover.

      Agree that we really need a scrum half. Don’t think we’ll ever be able to consistently compete with Fowles/Kennedy there.

      Excited by the prospect of Hickey. Comes highly rated at both Bordeaux and Blues and supposedly a natural ball player. So long as someone else can take the kicks…

  29. Toonys Advisor – like that side. One I had forgotten about for your Prospects selection – Calum Hunter-Hill. Think he has a good future but it’s quite a congested area and Lewis Carmichael has come back from his time in Oz looking pretty good.

    I actually thought Dougie Fife looked the business at FB in Kinghorns absence so that’s a great option to have but whilst we are talking wingers how far off the radar has Hoyland fallen?

  30. wow completely forgot about Hoyland, he was going so well and then nothing. I think he can come back to some form but even when he has been playing for Boroughmuir this term he hasn’t shone.

    Calum Hunter-Hill is a very good player, he’ll make his mark soon enough. another one I had forgotten about.

  31. Really pleased to see wee Weir has been making a big impact off the bench in his last couple of cameos. I think Edinburgh seriously underestimated him but his long time out injured didn’t help his prospects. Hopefully he can stay fit and get a good run with a top club.

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