Both the pro teams had a winning weekend. Glasgow overcame Connacht with help from a few starry moments from their backline and Edinburgh blasting the Scarlets second string into next week in an 8 try demolition.
Glasgow 35-22 Connacht
On Friday night, Glasgow welcomed Connacht to Scotstoun and after a sticky start where the pack conceded a try in under 2 minutes, Stuart Hogg put them back on track and into an early lead.
In midfield, Alex Dunbar looks to have gained a yard of pace and formed a dynamic pair with Sam Johnson. How Rennie fits Huw Jones and Nick Grigg into this team is anyone’s guess.
In the absence of the more adventurous Finn Russell, Pete Horne ran a steady show at 10, kicking the goals and distributing strongly. A Henry Pyrgos try just after half time was Glasgow’s last score. When the house party twins did appear just after the hour mark it added the expected injection of pace to Glasgow’s play, and while it didn’t bring points, it was enough to keep Galway’s wolves from the door. Discipline was still poor: Glasgow had two yellow cards in a game refereed by former (very recently) Connacht scrum half Frank Murphy. I’m saying nothing.
Also worth noting this may have been the last hurrah for Friday night rugby on BBC Alba which has seen us through since the dark days when BBC Wales was the only Pro-whatever we saw.
Thanks Hugh Dan, it’s been real, and enjoy the Blue Ribands.
SRBlog Man of the Match: Sam Johnson
Edinburgh 52-14 Scarlets
Edinburgh got off to the best possible start with early tries from Kinghorn and the increasingly impressive “other” Van Der Merwe (now that DTH is back in Scotland) giving them an early cushion. After just 23 minutes, Edinburgh had the bonus point tied up with further scores from Hidalgo-Clyne and Magnus Bradbury.
Even absent almost all their first choice XV, the Scarlets proved they were still dangerous with a fightback in the closing stages of the half but when Duhan scored another try minutes after half time the game was all but over. Luke Crosbie took one of his own before a late interception by Duncan Weir (who else) put Mark Bennett clear – Meatball didn’t have the legs this week – and Nathan Fowles took the ball at the front of the lineout to streak away for Edinburgh’s eighth.
It leaves Edinburgh within a hair of knockout rugby – and the Champions Cup. If Ulster, with a game in hand, fail to win their remaining games with bonus points, one of which is against Glasgow, then the capital side go through. Even if Ulster go on a hot streak there are still ways Edinburgh can make it so Saturday went a long way to counteracting the gloom of the last couple of weeks when Edinburgh had matters more within their own control. It leaves Cockerill’s men looking at most likely a quarter-qualifier against Munster to progress into the semi-finals. As Treviso showed at the weekend, beating Leinster in Dublin would be an easy semi final, right?
SRBlog Man of the Match: didn’t see all of this one, but Magnus Bradbury picked up the sponsors award.
In the other half of the knockout competition Dave Rennie will be hoping that this particular version of the Scarlets turn up when Glasgow meet them next, possibly in a playoff at Scotstoun, but it’s unlikely it will be that easy.