Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


PRO14 Round 4: Teams for the weekend

Stuart Hogg
Stuart Hogg and his hair will be back to face the Southern Kings - pic © Alastair Ross / Novantae Photography

Southern Kings v Glasgow Warriors

Glasgow’s second South African adventure comes hot on the heels of the news that Stuart Hogg – sent home from the tour last week without training – required ankle surgery on the injury he picked up against Munster. Bad news for Scotland fans as it means he will miss the autumn internationals out for 10-12 weeks. Good news perhaps for Hogg himself, who will go into an important year refreshed and fighting fit. Good news also for Edinburgh’s Blair Kinghorn, now likely to fill the 15 shirt against at least some of South Africa, Argentina, Fiji and Wales.

Zander Fagerson also came home following surgery (his took place in RSA) and will be out for a similar length of time. His place anchoring the scrum for the Warriors goes to D’arcy Rae, while Ruaridh Jackson is an unsurprising understudy for Hogg having done well at fullback last season and in the last game. The backline has had a shuffle following a comfortable win over the Cheetahs, Huw Jones getting his first start and Pete Horne moving to 10 for the first time this season.

This game’s location has been moved to the Nelson Mandela Metro Uni pitch, which from photos posted by the small band of Warriors fans over in SA looks like Scotstoun before they put the other three stands up, so perhaps the Warriors are not a big draw in that part of the world. Definitely has the feel of a backup side but there’s plenty heft on the bench if things go poorly, as well as a chance to get Robbie Nairn into action.

Southern Kings: Masixole Banda, Yaw Penxe, Harlon Klaasen, Berton Klaasen, Bjorn Basson, Martin du Toit, Rudi van Rooyen; Schalk Ferreira, Mike Willemse, Luvuyo Pupuma, Bobby de Wee, JC Astle, Henry Brown, Andy Ntsila, Ruaan Lerm.
Replacements: Alandre van Rooyen, Justin Forwood, Martin Dreyer, Stephan Greeff, CJ Velleman, Godlen Masimla, Ntabeni Dukisa, Mikey Botha.

Glasgow Warriors: Ruaridh Jackson, Tommy Seymour, Huw Jones, Nick Grigg, DTH van der Merwe, Pete Horne, Nick Frisby; Jamie Bhatti, George Turner, D’arcy Rae, Greg Peterson, Scott Cummings, Ryan Wilson, Chris Fusaro, Adam Ashe.
Replacements: Fraser Brown, Alex Allan, Kevin Bryce, Rob Harley, Callum Gibbins, Ali Price, Adam Hastings, Robbie Nairn.

Referee: Andy Brace (IRFU)

Sat 22nd September 2018, KO: 15:00, Nelson Mandela Metro Uni

Leinster Rugby v Edinburgh

Big news for this fixture is probably that it’s one of the rare occasions the Sainted Sexton will make an appearance in the PRO14. Well okay, it’s his 150th Leinster appearance so he must have had a few at the start of his career. Edinburgh shouldn’t feel too respected by this though, he’s most likely just getting his eye in for Europe. At home it’s a strong team the Dubliners have put out and Edinburgh could find the going tough at the Showground.

Dell and Ford get a start alongside Simon Berghan whilst new cult hero Pierre Schoeman (pronounced Skoo-man, in case you were wondering) sits on the bench ready to unleash his brand of merry mayhem. The backline sees both Kinghorn and Matt Scott rested and with Mark Bennett long-term injured it has a little more of a “last season” – or before – feel, even with a first chance to get a good look at Juan Pablo Socino in the centre. I’m also a fan of Sevens squad member Jamie Farndale who’s been out of the XVs game quite a long time but always impressed at age grade level.

With 9 changes, the one area that still looks pretty impressive is the back row, with Magnus Bradbury back to full fitness and looking to lay down a long term claim now Bill Mata is out injured. One of last season’s break out stars for the capital side, Luke Crosbie, is on the bench.

Much was made in the big boy papers of Ospreys’ second string side getting thumped over at Munster last weekend; let’s hope a similar grisly fate doesn’t await our plucky lads.

Leinster Rugby: Jordan Larmour, Fergus McFadden, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, James Lowe, Johnny Sexton, Luke McGrath; Cian Healy, James Tracy, Michael Bent, Devin Toner, James Ryan, Max Deegan, Josh van der Flier, Jack Conan.
Replacements: Sean Cronin, Peter Dooley, Tadhg Furlong, Mick Kearney, Dan Leavy, Jamison Gibson-Park, Ross Byrne, Joe Tomane, image:

Edinburgh Rugby: Dougie Fife, Jamie Farndale, Chris Dean, Juan Pablo Socino, Duhan van der Merwe, Jaco van der Walt, Sean Kennedy; Allan Dell, Ross Ford, Simon Berghan, Fraser McKenzie, Ben Toolis, Luke Hamilton, Jamie Ritchie, Magnus Bradbury.
Replacements: David Cherry, Pierre Schoeman, Murray McCallum, Callum Hunter-Hill, Luke Crosbie, Nathan Fowles, Simon Hickey, James Johnstone

Referee: Daniel Jones (WRU)

RDS Arena, Saturday 22 September, kick-off 7.35pm) – live on Premier Sports

51 Responses

  1. Sad to see Hoggy and Fagerson go under the knife. Both seem to be on a run of injuries. Hopefully they make a good recovery and a good run in the new year, there will certainly be plenty of opportunity. I suspect Glasgow will miss Fagerson in a scrum that has gone well so far this season.

  2. As an aside, with one eye in glasgows euro opponents, that is a VERY impressive win by Cardiff over a v strong Munster outfit last name night.

  3. They should have put Price/Hastings and Gibbins on 20 minutes in, Frisby is getting read like a book and Horne is having a shocker and should not be allowed in the 10 jersey based on this.

    Breakdown is a shambles also.

    1. Yep. And what happened to Bhatti?! He was good last season. Easily the worst performance I’ve seen. Can’t see some contract negotiations going well, or Horne for Scotland again.

      1. P45 time for Rennie? Under his stewardship they only seem to be getting worse. Is he another Solomon? This is just atrocious. Utterly unacceptable standards of accuracy by Glasgow here.

        Really concerning how inaccurate our Scottish players are, both in defence and ball in hand.

      1. Nope – wrong again Stu2. I’m asking the question – should he be sacked after such a dismal performance and gradual decline in general form since his arrival? Perfectly reasonable question.

        Perhaps you should calm down and apply some consideration, before throwing petty keyboard warrior abuse.

  4. Wow just seen the score – grim.

    The line up looked easily strong enough, what on earth went so badly wrong. Lots of new combos but also lots of experience in that team.

    1. Really bad from Glasgow.

      Frisby/Horne didn’t work at all.

      Huw Jones was anonymous.

      Putting aside individual performances the lack of accuracy was the issue.

      They looked terribly complacent. Back row didn’t secure the ball.

      Really disappointing lack of professionalism from this squad. I would imagine a few won’t be near the 23 for a couple of months now.

      Positive note- Hastings looked good, Price improved the tempo, Grigg was direct, Alex Allan carried well again, eh that’s about it…

      1. Huw Jones is one of these players that only appears to shine in test matches and even only 50% of them. His form for Glasgow is dreadful.

  5. Congrats to the Kings, though. I really hope they use this as a springboard to knock things up a notch.

    Rennie has yet more lessons learned, it would appear. Why he didn’t make those changes – especially at half-back – much earlier is beyond me. When you consider that we only really played for 15 mins, 28 points isn’t bad. Until you remember all those points were scored against 14 men (although Kings were lucky not to get another YC).

    We won pretty much every stat bar the score line and TCs, of which we conceded 22. Criminal.

    Based on last night’s Blues game and the other teams in our group, there’s not much point watching the ERCC games.

  6. Neils Official Player Ratings.

    1. Bhatti – 2
    2. Turner – 6
    3. Rae – 4
    4. Cummings – 6
    5. Peterson – 4
    6. Wilson (C) – 2
    7. Fusaro – 5
    8. Ashe – 5
    9. Frisby – 2
    10. Horne – 0
    11. DTH – 6
    12. Grigg – 5
    13. Jones – 5
    14. Seymour – 5
    15. Jackson – 5

    16. Brown – 5
    17. Allan – 7
    18. Bryce – 5
    19. Harley – 6
    20. Gibbins – 6
    21. Price – 7
    22. Hastings – 8
    23. Narin – N/A

    Hastings transformed that game and should have been brought on alot earlier.

    Allan is starting to look quality and could be in with a shout of a Scotland call up.

    The kings stepped up but that has to be considered the worst 40 minutes of rugby glasgow have ever played taking all things into consideration.

    Wilson disappointed me as a captain today he should have lit a fire up his teams arse.

  7. 1st half was terrible, numerous unforced errors. Horne/Grigg @10/12 doesn’t work, is it any coincidence that H.Jones gets nothing with Grigg @ 12 (Grigg isn’t a bad player but IMO never a 12 & not a “top” player).
    Where’s B.Thompson?
    The missed touch from Horne was particularly galling.
    Fraser Brown should’ve played 7 -the breakdown is crucial & FB is brilliant at the breakdown.
    Scrum was good but the mistakes in the loose from the forwards were poor.
    More positive – Hastings looks good.
    As big Vern said re Scotland – “its hard to get a handle on the team”

  8. An atrocious performance. Why Rennie persists with Horne at fly half or for that matter centre is beyond me. Jackson or Frisby have top level experience there. Dunbar needs a run and in form is one of the top inside centres in the NH. Touted with Jones as a potential Lion prior to the Twickenham debacle. Something isn’t quite right. Lessons from last season? Don’t put out an inexperienced front row. Rae, Bhatti, Turner need to learn alongside experience. And Peterson? Oh dear. Perhaps this game was a welcome wake up call, but it was an excruciating watch.

  9. Well Glasgow have dragons at home next week at least.

    Hastings is due a break which is why i would not include him from this squad.

    1. Allan (Earned a shot)
    2. Brown
    3. HalaNukonuka
    4. Gray
    5. Harley
    6. Wilson (C)
    7. Gibbins
    8. Fagerson
    9. Horne
    10. Jackson
    11. Nairn
    12. Dunbar
    13. Jones
    14. Matawalu
    15. Seymour

    16. Turner
    17. Kebble
    18. Nicol
    19. Cummings
    20. Smith
    21. Price
    22. Thompson
    23. DTH

    Rennie should read this and start to pick winning Selections.

  10. God that was bad. First 50 – 60mins was utterly inept, nothing positive to say at all, no leadership, no accuracy and no plan. When Price and Hastings came on we changed for the better and got some forward momentum, although it was against 14 men. Particular mentions for Horne who had a howler and Jones who was anonymous other than all the handling errors. Didn’t think Ashe and Grigg played too badly but Grigg isn’t a 12, stupid idea to play him there. Serious lack of leadership on the park, looked like they weren’t trying and weren’t taking the game seriously. This was the complete opposite of the cold, clinical destruction of the chiefs last week.

  11. A huge performance by a second string Cockers outfit. Rennie needs to understand that playing an expansive game needs solid foundations. Yet he had a nipper front row. Bonkers. Ive no doubt we will rebound and pump the Dragons, then maybe the in form Zebre. But Sarries? With that pack? Damage limititation at best. We are going backwards. Rennie will fail unless he understands NH rugby, albeit how anti rugby it is.

    1. Yep hard to criticise Edinburgh given where the team is at. Gave it everything. Leinster are looking very, very good, but despite winning by a good margin in the end will have felt they were in a real battle.

  12. Can’t say I’m too worried about this result. Pretty much a second string, away from home at the end of a tour in South Africa. Jones and the wingers aside it was a pretty uninspiring first XV and rested key players.

    With Hogg out be good to see more of Matawalu and Jones; hopefully Hastings keeps firing.

    Edinburgh, what’s happened to Darcy Graham and Damian Hoyland?

    1. Graham’s just returned from injury I think. Hoyland out of favour for a long time.

      Can’t say I’m so sanguine about Glasgow’s result. Plenty of talent and experience in that line up and Glasgow are going to have to rely on lots on those boys during test windows and they’re going to be getting lots of minutes over the season. I suppose better to get a kick up the behind at this stage of the season, but we hoped Glasgow has solved their soft underbelly over the summer. Obviously not.

      Genuine question as I didn’t see the game – have Kings improved? Last season they were a proper shambles.

      1. Sotonsaltire

        They were generally only commiting 1-2 people to the ruck which was ok at times as the kings where smartly keeping players out knowing glasgows expansive gameplan.

        I think better ball presentation would of helped alot, making a real effort to shorten the amount of space that the defenders can come over from at ruck time.
        And of course the ball carrier actually holding on tight to the ball until he has presented it correctly…

    2. I believe Hoyland and Graham are both still injured. Cockers said last week that Darcy was out and no time was given as to when he would be back. Hoyland was in a moon boot a couple of weeks ago, so the assumption is he’s still out.

  13. Can anyone with decent playing/coaching experience what went wrong at the breakdown? Why was the ball bouncing about/squirting out the back and side of the ruck? Is this just pressure of counter ruck?

    I am no expert but Glasgow looked as if they were not clearing out the first man and seemed to not be committing enough people to the breakdown. Is this a structure issue? Presumably to have more options to go wide?

    Rennie seems like he has a fairly clear long term plan in developing Scottish players but in some games the tactics seem totally wrong. There can’t be a learning northern hemisphere rugby excuse as it is season 2 and Southern Kings are ostensibly a team that play Southern Hemisphere rugby.

    Also, go forward remains a huge issue. There was a desperate need for someone to take a grip of the game, slow it down and go through phases. Horne and Wilson needed to take responsibility and didn’t.

    Having said all of the above, all is not lost. A few players to come back in and other guys such as Matawalu, Lee Jones, Matt Smith should get a chance this week after playing club rugby whilst the others were in SA.

    Fagerson and Hogg injuries are a blow. However, for me it is finding the right blend to play direct rugby (ie reliable ball carriers) when needed is the problem.

    A team of Kebble,Brown,Rae/Nuke,Gray,Cummings,Harley,Gibbons, Wilson, Price, Hastings, DTH,Dunbar, Jones,Seymour, Jackson would be my choice against Sarries. Not perfect as lack of second distributor unless Jackson steps in but P Horne is struggling. I am no expert though and for now I think we need to get behind Rennie- one away loss, even a very poor performance, is not the end of the world.

  14. Edinburgh, knowing they would probably lose even with their strongest team out, wisely saved key players for winnable battles. The team Glasgow lost to are rubbish, they’re going backwards under Rennie. Huw Jones has got butter fingers. On the plus side Price was decent and Adam Hastings is beginning to remind me of Dan Parks with the game management he exhibits.

    1. Remind you of Dan Parks?????

      Apart from him not being a pea-heart, making his tackles, has an attacking game, good hands, pace over 10m, not bottling every collision.

      Apart from all that he reminds you of Dan Parks.

  15. Imagine Billy Vunipola running at a Pete Horne / Nick Grigg channel. Terrifying. Glasgows defence showed exactly why the big boys don’t really take us seriously. Too much time spent on tourist jollies and in the West End of Glasgow and not enough time working on tackling and defensive allignment

  16. Rennie’s job is to make the most of Glasgow. He played a second string,the Kings were up for it and Glasgow were not committed. Strange , that the early season concern over the forwards is not the current issue . They got it together too late.

    1. I think this is pretty squarely at Rennie’s feet…could have picked a stronger team (didn’t), could have got the team in the right frame of mind (if he tried the message didn’t get through), could have had a plan b (I didn’t see it), could have made changes sooner (didn’t)…

  17. Not the best Warriors team that could have been selected, but they clearly thought they could just show up and win. No respect was shown to the Kings and fair play to them for taking their chances, of which there were plenty.

    The performance of most of the Warriors team was poor, and Horne in particular was awful. I don’t think he’s a bad player, but he is obviously way off form this season. He should not be starting and he should have been quickly removed from the field in that match yesterday. I can’t think of many of the starting players who had a decent game, in fact, I have yet to see Huw Jones have a decent game for Warriors. Frisby had a shocker too. So what with the poor handling, poor defence, lack of urgency, misfiring lineouts, and lack of leadership it was probably not a surprising result, and one that’s been waiting to happen. Let it be a wakeup call.

    On the positive side: Price seems to be getting back to form and Hastings is doing very well, particularly with his spot-kicking. They both should have started or been on far sooner yesterday.

  18. Seemed to me the problem was big forwards going into collisions too upright, so ball had to be wrestled to ground, so slow delivery. That was exacerbated by Frisby always taking 2 steps before passing. Harley came on to sort the first problem and Price was whipping it away. Yes, Horne had a poor game but no 10 in the world could’ve played off that rubbish ball.

    1. Frisby is a journeyman Aussie scrum half.

      Oz have one decent scrum half in their whole country – if he cant make it there, why on earth did Glasgow think he was good enough to play in Scotland?

  19. Haven’t yet watched the game but reading all the comments about an issue at fly-half, interesting to note former Weegie Duncan Weir made another big impression with Worcester today. Maybe Dunc is making a good case for his consideration in the autumn tests?

  20. Well done Duncy Weir on a match winning points haul – playing himself back into Scotland reckoning for the autumn?

  21. I still persist in my opinion that Dunbar is absolutely crucial to this Glasgow team, his physicality challenges the gain line, putting Glasgow on the front foot (a place they NEED to be). Hogg a huge miss to.

    1. agreed , you need a balance in the backline regardless of style, Dunbar is the only center who offers strong defense and direct Power running. Cant go all skills and speed because it becomes predictable

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion