Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


PRO14 Round 7: Zebre vs Edinburgh

Bill Mata
Viliame "Bill" Mata finds space on the wing for Edinburgh Rugby - pic © Alastair Ross / Novantae Photography

The return of new cult loosehead prop Pierre Schoeman is one of ten changes made to the capital side fresh from European success.

The changes are probably not all voluntary, as Richard Cockerill’s hand has been forced by the availability of his top players currently in Scotland camp ahead of next weekend’s extra International against Wales. Some of the squad have been released back to Edinburgh including Henry Pyrgos who will captain the side, Luke Hamilton – who was a late call up after Magnus Bradbury’s injury – and interestingly Simon Berghan, who you might think was the first choice tighthead given recent internationals and Zander Fagerson’s injury. Pickings might be even slimmer next week as the full test window approaches.

Cockerill hands a debut to Fosroc Scottish Rugby Academy product and second-row Jamie Hodgson who partners Callum Hunter-Hill in a very callow second row pairing, while Italian international prop Pietro Ceccarelli along with Callum Atkinson, Mungo Mason and Jason Baggott all stand to make their competitive debuts from the bench.

It might seem like a second string team but there is still plenty of good news in terms of the development of squad depth, such as the appearance of Luke Crosbie who was impressive last season, and more game time for Darcy Graham who has been impressive in this one. The first XV should all be capable enough and Bill Mata alone could be enough to win the game before he heads off to Fiji camp…

Good luck to all who make their debut.

Zebre Rugby Club: Francois Brummer, Mattia Bellini, Giulio Bisegni, Tommaso Castello, Gabriele di Giulio, Carlo Canna, Guglielmo Palazzani; Andrea Lovotti, Oliviero Fabiani, Dario Chistolini, Dave Sisi, George Fabio Biagi, Jacopo Bianchi, Johan Meyer, Renato Giammarioli.
Replacements: Luhandre Luus, Daniele Rimpelli, Giosue Zilocchi, Leonardo Krumov, Apisai Tauyavuca, Riccardo Raffaele, Tommaso Boni, Paula Balekana.

Edinburgh Rugby: Dougie Fife, Darcy Graham, James Johnstone, Chris Dean, Duhan van der Merwe, Simon Hickey, Henry Pyrgos (capt); Pierre Schoeman, Ross Ford, Simon Berghan, Jamie Hodgson, Callum Hunter-Hill, Luke Hamilton, Luke Crosbie, Viliame Mata.
Replacements: Dave Cherry, Rory Sutherland, Pietro Ceccarelli, Callum Atkinson, Mungo Mason, Sean Kennedy, Jason Baggott, Juan Pablo Socino.

Referee: Andy Brace

Friday, kick off 20:00, Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, coverage on FreeSports

69 Responses

  1. Excited to see what Graham, Crosbie and the other youngsters can do. Hopefully they all have big performances to get more game time this year and allow further rest for the big guns.

  2. Looks good, surprised to see Hamilton at 6 and Crosbie at 7. I’d have thought it would have been the other way about.

    Interesting to see Jason Baggott get a run out, heard he is a class operator but never seen him play.

  3. Italy also have a joke of a 4th test in USA and the squad are already out there so the Zebre side is going to be beyond poor. The Edinburgh side looks strong considering the call ups. Should be a BP win.

    1. Zebre have announced their team and it’s pretty strong. Although Italy have, incredibly, already named their side for the Ireland game on 3rd Nov, a fair few of them are playing for Zebre tomorrow. Biagi and Canna off the top of my head to name just two.

      I still expect Edinburgh to win, but it likely won’t be as easy as many would like to suggest imo

      1. Yes, 10 internationals in starting line-up. It is basically their strongest team – only two changes to team that beat Bristol Bears recently and that includes the addition of a test SH. They’re obviously targeting this game for a win, and have actually beaten Edinburgh 3 out of the last 5 games in Parma. So I’m not hugely confident of the win. I suppose it’ll be a good test of our squad depth and resolve and also test how much the Italian sides have actually improved as should be a banker for the home team under these circumstances.

  4. Good to see some guys getting a game who have been on the periphery so far. Whilst it stretches resources it may also let somebody like Hunter Hill or crosbie really put their hand up for selection. Front row looks very strong, and the back row as well for that matter, hopefully they can help the two young second rows through the game. Good to see schoeman back, he will be like a dog being let off a leash after 4 weeks out! Incidentally, thought Dell has done a very good job in his absence, His scrummaging looks massively improved.

    1. Completely agee about Dell. I met him last year and couldn”t believe he was an international prop. He didn’t look the biggest. Against Toulon he looked like he had packed on at least a stone in muscle and its helped him no end.

  5. The John Hardie saga is over, signed for Newcastle. Delighted for him. Stays fit and he should be right in the mix for Scotland, he’s way better than some of the back rowers in the Autumn squad.

    1. If only he had waited another month this would’ve been great news lol. But in all seriousness the fact of the matter is that if Hamish Watson goes down injured a week before the world cup John Hardie is the only out and out number 7 Scotland have who can replace Watson.

      Only reason Hardie fell down the pecking order for Edinburgh and Scotland because of the brilliance of Hamish Watson but Hardie is still a fantastic no 7 who will save our bacon if Watson does gain a serious injury and it’s vital he plays regularly. Going to be fascinating to see how does against Watson in the Edinburgh games

  6. Pyrgos is mince. Back to slow service, poor kicks ……. he should not be anywhere near Scotland squad!!!!

  7. Poor performance from Edinburgh. A failure to adjust tactics when things didn’t work, combined with some of the slowest players ever to walk on a pitch. Some of these Edinburgh players are only good enough to come on once the game has been won. Good defence from Zebra,

  8. Slow ball, plodding back play made it easy for Zebre to defend. Mistakes, mistakes, mistakes, worst one by Dougie Fife, what on earth was he thinking? Still think we need a 2nd 5/8. Cockerill will NOT be happy.

  9. Couldn’t watch it but caught the second half on radio. 3-13 up at half time, so settled back expecting to listen to a bit of a cruise to finish it off. Unfortunately it sounded like a shambolic second 40 from Edinburgh and Zebre deserved their win. I should have paid more attention to earlier posters who said Zebre’s team selection for this game meant business.
    A very bad day at the office. Thought RC was very calm and measured in his post-match interview, but he must have been annoyed and frustrated by that second half meltdown.

  10. Atrocious. Looking to go in at half time 16-0 ahead, miss a sitter then before we know it’s 13-3.

    That should have been enough complacency given the territory. Zebre double-teamed to great effect, nullifying the likes of Ross Ford, he was pinged back like a rookie. No lessons were learned all night. We’ve seen this before, a lackadaisical, maybe ignorant, attitude predicated on the belief that the opposition would tire. Regardless of individual errors, there was no cutting edge at all although Luke Hamilton demonstrated he has potential.

    This wasn’t what Mr. Cockerill coached or expected. Many missed opportunities by several but some taken by few.

    Strength in depth is stretched but at least lots of experience must have been gained which is never a bad thing, is it?

  11. When it was just grunt v grunt Embra did OK. Then three individual howlers gave the game away, and they never looked to have the quality to get back into it. Thought Hamilton did pretty well, but Johnstone / Dean are too similar, and Socino, who was signed for exactly these games, just hasn’t shown at all. Can’t exactly praise the half backs, but in fairness they got very little go forward ball after the first half hour. Was VDW injured or rested ? And was DVDM playing ?
    As quite rightly pointed out above, pelters for Embra should be balanced with praise for Zebre’s defensive stint – exceptional. Worthy winners.

  12. Well if Saturdays performance against Toulon was the best, I agree, under Cockerill then that has too be the worst? I do believe he is doing a great job at Edinburgh btw

  13. Gutted for Edinburgh… Not a lot to say. Hunter Hill looked capable given more ganme time. Generally , a good test for the newcomers, but no question, better team won.

  14. Expected a better performance but not exactly shocked. We were so depleted and could have put out a far superior 23 with our missing players.

    1. Dell
    2. McInally
    3. Nel
    4. Toolis
    5. Gilchrist
    6. Ritchie
    7. Watson
    8. Bradbury
    9. Fowles
    10. VDW
    11. Brown
    12. Scott
    13. Bennett
    14. Hoyland
    15. Kinghorn

    16. Fenton
    17. Marfo
    18. McCallum
    19. McKenzie
    20. Carmichael
    21. Barclay
    22. Shiel
    23. Farndale

  15. Edinburgh and Scotland need Fowles playing regularly as Pyrgos is a massive imposter, having Fowles coming on for him is like having a cross between Van Der Vesthuisen and Aaron Smith subbing in for my Nan. Pyrgos was a proper Trojan horse sent from Glasgow.

    1. Hm didn’t he just control the game in a victory over Toulon? He played well in the Pro 12 final for Glasgow, how many winners medals does Fowles have?

      1. I agree. Pyrgos was class against Toulon and executed the game plan. Heard he had a poor game last night. He’ll have more good than bad games.

        I am no expert but understand ‘slow ball’ isn’t always the fault of the scrum half. Laidlaw gets this criticism too but if your forwards haven’t cleared out properly or your attackers are not in the set positions, slow ball is what happens, regardless if you are Aaron Smith, George Gregan or Joost Van Der Westhuizen. Alternative is crazy passes and turnovers.

      2. Prygos is criminally underrated by certain people on this blog unfortunately. Namely uneducated people of the game who do not understand game management and following the gameplan.

  16. Cockerill is still building squad depth, so a few things are clear to me which he should do.

    1) need a back up specialist 7. Crosbie is class but he’s a 6. I think last night showed this as Edinburgh got turned over about 5 times.
    Darge will get game time next year at 7, maybe give him a shot now?
    2) need a back up 2, release Ford. Someone who can assist back row and Is dynamic in loose. Play Fenton when fit instead of Ford.
    3) need to sign a starting 9, Henry is best as cover.
    4) need a starting 11, i don’t rate VDM, all brute, no brains. Good for impact sub.
    5) need another back up 10 they are willing to play. 2 guys isn’t enough. Good to have one more option.

    Edinburgh’s first team is great and I do think had Mckenzie, Carmichael, Ritchie and Fenton started up front they might have won this game, Ritchie would’ve secured more ball and turned over more too.

    The loss does make play offs hard now for Edinburgh but not impossible, they can’t reallu afford many more losses for the rest of the year.

    Also, Edinburgh’s most dangerous back is graham. Play him at 15, you want him on the ball as much as possible, he’s already looking international class.

    1. Agree on the specialist number 7 needed. How about John Hardie, he was available until yesterday in fact.

  17. The best team won but for me the standins came through well. Not all negative , but a frustrating spectacle.

    A lot of citicsm of Ford, I dont agree . What do we expect, hooking has moved on since he came on the scene (less technical in the scrum , more mobility in the loose, line out throw remains the key skill and he is still trying hard to be average at it) but another PRO 14 side would sign him as a backup hooker just for his experience . The choice is his.

  18. Some of these comments are hilarious. VDM from best thing since sliced bread to an all brawn, no brains lump scared to tackle in a week. Ford from the renaissance man to past it and in need of imminent release.

    Zebre wanted it much more and had a stormer of a second half and Edinburgh had a raw side that is still not used to winning these games or closing games out. It will come.

  19. Well that was poor from Edinburgh but strong defence from Zebre. It was always on the cards after having 10 changes but even so that performance was disappointing. And it seemed to be the experienced players letting the team down.

    I worry that Mata is going to be poached on a big money deal to France some day soon. He stood out for the right reasons again.

  20. Would not get to carried away with the loss.

    1. We were away
    2. Zebre had pretty close to full strength side which is no longer easy for most teams.
    3. We had alot of new players/First time combinations and first time Captain.

  21. Game between Glasgow and Munster was on another level of intensity. Glasgow miss a high quality place kicker, with four tries should of won that. George Horne played superbly. Scored two, prevented two. Both his interventions and one of his tries relied on some real pace. For all the people saying Pyrgos should be ahead of Horne, ask yourself what the score in this match would be if you had Pyrgos at 9 for the duration.

  22. Much more like it from the ‘mid-week’ team. Robbed at the end.

    Matt Fagerson must be pushing for a start next week.

    G Horne, Grigg, Fagerson and Stafford McDowell all did well. Jacko had a good game too- not dead yet.

    Unlucky Nico, on your feet all day. Game changer…

    This is a Munster scratch side that had 2/3rds of a lions back row and another lion on the wing.25-24, with 2 bonus points is a great result.

    1. I liked the looks of McDowall, big strong lad who carries hard… didn’t look out of place in his first game. Especially given that he wasn’t even supposed to be in the squad.

  23. Many positives in the Glasgow game, despite a few howlers we lost it on last play of the game. They left a few points out there in the wind asssited first half but it was an old enemy , ‘closing out’ that lost it.

    I felt happy taking 2 points, then I checked the table. Ospreys are only 4 behind. Next week is all pressure.

    Whats the story on DTH ?

    1. An ‘old enemy’ indeed. I have lost count of the number of times I have watched Glasgow turn it over literally in the last 10 seconds to either snatch defeat or at best cause a couple of minutes of squeaky bum time.

    2. What’s most disappointing is the points left on the field. Horne Sr had a terrible say from the kicking tee….

      Tbf we were one completed ruck away from ending a 12 home game winning streak, still an opportunity missed to be fair.

  24. So who do you all think is going to be the starting 15 against Wales;

    Here’s my team;

    1) Dell
    2) McInally
    3) Nel
    4) Gray
    5) Gilchrist
    6) Fagerson
    7) Watson
    8) Wilson
    9) Horne
    10) Hastings
    11) Graham
    12) Scott
    13) Jones
    14) Seymour
    15) Kinghorn

    Replacements; Allan, Brown, McCallum, Skinner, Ritchie, Price, Dunbar and Lee Jones

    Graham, Horne, Hastings and Fagerson will probably drop out of the team the following week when Maitland, Laidlaw, Russell and Thomson/Denton come into the squad but for the mean time would love to see them start.

    FYI for those saying Darcy Graham and George Horne are too young would you rather the likes of Lee Jones, Fife, Pyrgos and Price started instead because that’s the choice which faces you.

    1. Probably not far off. I wouldn’t be surprised if Price, Dunbar and Lee Jones start (I don’t necessarily think they should).
      Who is the backup 10 in this team if Hastings goes off? (Kinghorn can cover I suppose, but a pretty big ask). I suspect Peter Horne will be on the bench as backup.

    2. I tend to think Price will probably start but wouldn’t be surprised or disappointed if Horne did. Price still had some demons to face up to at the Principality and a friendly might let him shake away THAT game.

      I’d have Fagerson at 8 over Wilson (who could play 6) as Fagersons carrying from 8 has been an absolute god send for Glasgow.

      I don’t think Skinner will be available until the next week as he won’t be released by Edinburgh so likely to see Big Ben Toolis on the bench.

      Murray McCallum for me isn’t as good as the likes of Simon Berghan.

      Lee Jones has been in impressive form for Glasgow, totally different player than even last year but agree we need a look at Darcy and a dead rubber game at the Principality is maybe the best place to do it.

    3. Darcy Graham isn’t in the squad?

      I would start BBT with Gilchrist as don’t see the point in Gray playing in this game. He’s played a lot of rugby already this season. Skinner can’t play so I would have Harley on bench.

      Fagerson and Wilson will be the other way around, and possibly Ritchie at 7? More of a 6.5 though?

      Think one or both of McInally and/or Brown will be rested. It’s a game for George Turner I think (but he may be needed at Glasgow, Grant Stewart did well on his first start).

      Berghan could start as I have heard he has been out of sorts this season so good to get some game time. Keep Nel for the important games.

      Backs- is Kinghorn going to start at full back in the proper games? I have heard a few times that Toony sees him as a winger (no inside sources btw so could be BS).

      I’d imagine Lee Jones will start. Huw Jones due to lack of options? Not ideal.

      To say this game is a crock is an understatement, no exiles, and Glasgow and Edinburgh both playing too. Does it count for ranking points?

      Any Welsh fans on here- how is this 4th game been received in Wales over the years?

      1. I thought Glasgow played really well, just unlucky with some missed kicks, Stewart was outstanding bar for line out issues, he is going to be some player, as is Mcdowall.

      2. It counts for ranking points as it is a capped test. Not that ranking points are important at this stage in the World Cup cycle.

        The big downside is it is harming Edinburgh and Glasgow’s league efforts – both lost games they might have won will full teams out.

        The big upside is we are reportedly earning over £1m for our appearance. Given our annual tribulations in holding onto the bests SQ players and fans annual whinges about the quality of recruitment this shouldn’t just be disregarded. Personally I don’t agree with the fourth test but supporters can’t have it both ways, complain about the fourth test and the lack of signings/losing guys like Russell, Hoggy etc.

      3. Putting the (contemptible in my view) MND issue aside.

        I really hope the SRU can turn around at the end of the year, and say that this Welsh game did not cost either Edinburgh or Glasgow their chance for league success…

        Building stronger Pro clubs with a core of dedicated supporters (say 7000 or so) is the path to sustainable growth in the top bit of the pyramid…you can’t get very much more from the national team without it.

        Extra SRU money certainly helps, but perhaps not so much when it undermines the ability of the pro-teams to win their league games, and grow themselves.

        Edinburgh in particular have shown good improvement in recent years that needs to be sustained in the public perception…

        For a casual follower, losing to the Zebre (ever improving though they may be) just undoes all the Toulon-beating escapades – “typical Embra” they say, “cannae follow through” and so on…not conducive to season ticket sales

        It’s just a couple of games, but I hope it doesn’t matter come May.

      4. We havent actually lost Russell, he is now playing consistent rugby in France while his replacement is stepping up perfectly . The same will happen when Hogg goes. No one is perfect , no one is forever , not even Stuart Hogg.

        Professsional rugby is costly and Edinburgh have a stadium to build , so take the money.

        I personally feel Wales is for the 6N and RWC , it seems very odd to play them with nothing at stake.

        If the purpose was to raise funds for charity , people should feel angry at supporting something that is now a fundraiser for the Unions. That will cost more than money in the long term.

        I recall the Brabarians played Scotland for the Dunblane Appeal and that is the kind of match we should run for Doddie IMO.

    4. Looks like somone needs to do some research.

      1. Dell
      2. Brown
      3. Nel
      4. Toolis
      5. Gray
      6. Ritchie
      7. Watson
      8. Wilson
      9. Price
      10. Hastings
      11. Jones (L)
      12. Dunbar
      13. Jones (H)
      14. Seymour
      15. Kinghorn

      16. Mcinally
      17. Allan
      18. Berghan
      19. Gilchrist
      20. Fagerson
      21. Horne
      22. Horne (need cover)
      23. Scott

      To suggest Graham is better than Jones at this stage of his career is borderline insanity and he is not even in the squad.

      Brown has been the form hooker this season (No fault of Mcinally), 2-3 genuinely world class performances so far from brown. Deserves a start.

      Toolis will start with Gray, Both of them offer no impact while Gilchrist does.

      Im predicting a very intense Rucking game from scotland for this one and the last thing you want is a welsh team in full flow. Ritchie has to start with Watson and Wilson for that.

      Price will start based on the fact Pyrgos and Horne started this week.

      Props,10, FB pick themselfs.

      Dunbar, Jones at Centre (No chance of Scott going with Jones for this one despite being on great form.

      Dunbars breakdown work is crucial for the gameplan scotland will bring.

      L.Jones and Seymour are the only options on the wing, L Jones im happy with, Seymour or Fife ? after his blunder yesterday i have to stick Seymour in.

      Btw why do people think this will be treated as a dummy game ? Both sides have the majority of the full strength teams. Imagine the confidence it will do the guys heading into the Six Nations with a win here.

      1. I don’t think it is a ‘dummy game’. I think from a player welfare game it is unnecessary, but understand the financial metrics if it is worth £1m.

        I do however think it is a bit like a pre-season game so why risk certain players? Fraser Brown and Alex Dunbar are injury prone to say the least- as examples, why risk them?

        Of course this is just my opinion, and I will be fully supporting whatever team takes the field on Saturday.

      2. I agree – should be used as a chance to give fringe players a run. Games against Fiji, SA and Argentina are more meaningful to me and we don’t really want our best players playing four hard tests on the trot.

      3. Neil stop being so melodramatic we agree with 20 of the 23 players in the matchday squad and agree with most of the starting of the line-up.

        Here is where I disagree with you;

        1) Brown has been fantastic this season but so too has McInally who looks like the perfect modern day ball carrying hooker. The competition for 1st choice hooker is far closer than you make out and with Brown’s injury problems is there any point him starting this match when you have such a quality player in McInally.

        2) Ritchie is a talent but Fagerson has been fantastic this season. Would agree with the comments that I should swap Fagerson and Wilson around.

        3) Horne has been awesome for the past year whilst price has went downhill so deserves a start.

        4) Lee Jones is a decent player but Darcy Graham’s last 4 performances for Edinburgh have been incredible. Some of the best all-round wing play I’ve seen from a Scottish player. Been taking balls in uncomfortable positions, making chances out of nothing, finishing, defensively been strong and even won turnover at the breakdown. He’s in the training squad and I wouldn’t be surprised after his recent form if Gregor hands him his debut. As they say you are never too young to play.

      4. Say what yous like, to me a win over wales in wales and sticking it to Howley, Gatland etc is a bigger achievement than beating in Fiji or Argentina. those should be the Games to blood some new players in, put out the strongest possible sides for Wales and SA.

        I dont see how it is a risk to put in Dunbar and Brown for this game and not the Fiji/SA/Argentina games, both of them have been managed well this season.

      5. Neil – it won’t stick it to Howley and Gatland because they also won’t care about the result and will shrug it off. Beating them in the 6N is the be-all and end-all as far as Wales goes.

        A home loss to Fiji – and make no mistake they are a very dangerous side – will undo any sense we’re building Fortress Murrayfield. Argentina too, with the added incentive we are protecting a good run of results against them. Not too many tier 1 sides we can say that about really.

      6. Blake, worth noting that Graham has been promoted to a full squad member… your prediction might be coming to fruition.

        Good to see James Lang added as well.

  25. I’m sure I’ve read elsewhere it doesn’t count as a world ranking game ?

    Incidentally, absolutely disgraceful that after selling it as Doddie’s game, neither Union is donating a single penny to the charity.

    1. Where’s your source for that, Chiel? I can hardly believe that I’ve just read that no proceeds are going to Doddie’s charity. That was one of the reasons my brothers and I chose this match over other AIs. Simply flabbergasted by this news.

  26. Munster did not deserve to win that game – they were thoroughly outplayed. The ref whistling for a ‘forward’ pass before what should have been our third try, then ignoring the forward pass before their second, then penalising Niko for a perfectly legal turnover that led to their third try (which was short!) gave Munster the game. Nearly as much as their final penalty. The most decisive factor, though, was Horne’s kicking. Other than that, though, Horne and the ref had pretty good games.

    We really should have won that, though. The team must be kicking themselves.

    1. I thought the ref had a pretty good game, communicated well and was fairly consistent at the breakdown (Niko aside who can feel aggrieved). If anything our scrum should of been penalised more in the second half, Du Plessis seemed to be struggling a bit.

    2. The last penalty was a consequence of the man being isolated and it was his mistake (Fusaro I think). One more play and we were at 80 minutes.

      For me the referee should have gone for a card when Munster consistently opted to give away penaltys in their own 22.

      He never got a grip of the thuggery however he made mainly good decisions and was fair or poor depending on how you see it, either way.

      He needs to be coached on dealing with intimidation and Munster were out of order in their consistent challenging decisions.

  27. Have to agree with most posts regarding Peter Horne. He’s a very good player who brings others into he game, but he isn’t a first class kicker. Jackson can be equally flaky with the boot, but it was the difference at the end of the game. Also thought the last Munster penalty was very harsh.

  28. Teamcam’s points about the ref are bang on but there are still a lot of areas where Glasgow should be looking at themselves. No tactical kicking game and they ended up exiting via a box kick at one point rather than getting the ball off the pitch. Munster were making ground on every phase in the last 15 minutes when they had possesion and Glasgow basically stopped playing and tried to hold onto the lead. Kevin Bryce, Du Plessis and Peterson are very poor for this level and having them on the pitch cost us. Not signing a hooker was crazy and it’s as good as season over if Fraser Brown picks up a serious injury. The same goes for the lack of a reliable back up 10 who can kick. If the money isn’t there then the academy is going to have come up pro level players. I’d suggest cutting right back on the long shots like Tagive, Masaga and Tamielu and focus on only signing NSQ players who can play at the level of the league, quality over quantity.

    On the bright side Cummings, Grigg and Rory Hughes all raised their game massively. George Horne, Matt Fagerson, Gibbins and Rob Harley were immense. It seems like Rennie’s ideas have started to come to fruition over the past few weeks.

    1. Kicking : Glasgow never adjusted to the wind against in the second half. The criticism is valid.

  29. I would be grateful if someone could explain the rational behind the extra international away to Wales next weekend. Edinburgh’s league season has had a major set-back due to the non-availability of international squad players in advance of a meaningless friendly. Three autumn friendlies should be more than enough as an appertiser to the 6 Nations.
    If the game is supposed to be for charitable purposes, why is ‘Doddies game’ taking place in Cardiff and why is it a full international? Why is Weir, as a former player, more deserving of such a level of backing by the SRU than other former players.

    Noticed that 4 pre-RWC friendlies have been arranged. The money-men on the SRU are getting greedy and the club game will suffer

    1. SRU gets a million to pay off debt, invest back into scottish rugby, thats the reason, my only gripe is that in future it should be 4 home games and at least one of those should be given to a tier 2 nation so we are doing our part to help grow the sport.

      That or Scott Johnson needs more cash for his next fashion trip to Milan.

      1. No, this was billed as an additional Test that Scotland agreed to play in honour of Doddie Weir. Implying that some of the proceeds would be channeled to Doddie’s charity. This turns out not to be the case, as the WRU and SRU will share all the receipts between them, with nothing going to the charity. It’s a scandalous piece of mis-representation, and both Unions should be ashamed of themselves.

      2. The wales match has turned into a major PR disaster for the SRU.

        I’m pretty sure (not 100% though) that the game was arranged before the charity partnership with My Name’5 Doddie was announced. It should also be noted that the charity has come out in defence of the game and the partnership and that it was nowhere, claimed or implied that match proceeds would go to the MND. If you inferred that, that is down to you – it is made loud and clear at the point of purchase and in promotion when this kind of arrangement exists.

        So while I agree the SRU and WRU could do more by donating a proportion of match proceeds and have benefitted by tagging Doddies name to the match to help sell tickets, I’m not sure all the criticism is justified. Doddie and the charity appear happy in how they are benefiting (they wouldn’t have entered the partnership if not) and with the wider support of the SRU. There are thousands of worthy charities that would love the corporate support MND has.

      3. There are some bloggers commenters here who don’t follow what’s going on.
        1. The game was always about revenue and extra preparation before AIs, 6N and RWC. Neither WRU nor SRU stated they were giving any proceeds to Doddie’s foundation, just that the game would be played in his honour. See
        2. Both clubs sides have known for 9 months they would have games without their SQPs. They should have prepared for this and indeed, if the players hadn’t made the mistakes they did we would have had two wins at the weekend.
        3. Cardiff Blues were in the same position and have just handed the Cheetahs their first win of the season. #itHappens.

    2. Highland Bear, the reason for the game – £1m+ for the SRU. Game was always going to take place once the WRU put that on the table.
      And there’s absolutely nothing for Doddie Weir himself, everything he does is for his MND Foundation. If you grudge supporting that, you’re in a pretty poor place.

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