Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Southern Kings v Edinburgh: the teams

Southern Kings vs Edinburgh
© Scottish Rugby Blog

Much like the Glasgow announcement, the players released back to Edinburgh for their trip to South Africa – welcome at this chilly time of year you imagine – give some insight in terms of narrowing down the Scotland team we might see next week.

While Ross Ford continues to warm the bench, Dave Cherry; Luke Crosbie and Chris Dean return from the national squad and start. Dean’s usual centre partner has been moved to the wing which gives George Taylor a chance to start at 13.

Not using Dean suggests that Townsend will opt for either Sam Johnson or Pete Horne to partner Huw Jones – or maybe each other?

In the pack, Luke Hamilton is a welcome return from injury after 4 weeks off and EPCR Player of the Year nominee Bill Mata packs down at Number 8 as usual. Jake Kerr is looking increasingly like the choice to understudy Stuart McInally while Crosbie’s return means Gary Graham or Ryan Wilson could be the most likely to join Hardie and Ritchie in the back row. The Tombola will tell all next week!

Isuzu Southern Kings: Masixole Banda, Yaw Penxe, Harlon Klaasen, Tertius Kruger, Bjorn Basson, Ntabeni Dukisa, Stefan Ungerer, Schalk Ferreira, Mike Willemse, Luvuyo Pupuma, Dries van Schalkwyk, JC Astle, CJ Velleman, Tienie Burger, Andy Ntsila.
Replacements: Alandre van Rooyen, Lupumlo Mguca, Alulutho Tshakweni, Stephan Greeff, Henry Brown, Sarel Pretorius, Bader-Werner Pretorius, Meli Rokoua,

Edinburgh Rugby: Dougie Fife, Tom Brown, George Taylor, Chris Dean, James Johnstone, Jaco van der Walt, Henry Pyrgos, Pierre Schoeman, Dave Cherry, Pietro Ceccarelli, Fraser McKenzie, Callum Hunter-Hill, Luke Crosbie, Ally Miller, Viliame Mata.
Replacements:Ross Ford, Darryl Marfo, Murray McCallum, Jamie Hodgson, Mungo Mason, Nathan Fowles, Simon Hickey, Juan Pablo Socino,

Sat 26th January 2019
KO: 17:15
NMU (Madibaz) Stadium
Referee: Stuart Berry

Unavailable due to injury: Rory Sutherland; Lewis Carmichael; John Barclay; Magnus Bradbury; Senitiki Nayalo; Hamish Watson; Matt Scott; Mark Bennett; Damien Hoyland

Unavailable due to international selection: Allan Dell; WP Nel; Simon Berghan; Stuart McInally; Grant Gilchrist; Ben Toolis; Jamie Ritchie; Darcy Graham; Blair Kinghorn

28 Responses

  1. Umm…how is Luke Hamilton a welcome return when he’ll be watching from the stands or on TV?

  2. The 15 nominees for EPCR Player of the Year includes Finn Russell, well done Finn. Nakarawa (last years winner) and Mata both nominated.

  3. Christ the refereeing is this game is awful. Kings should have had two YCs by now. Ref is very weak. This game is as bad as the Warriors one yesterday. And how bad is Edinburgh’s decision-making?! They should have four tries by now… This is awful. And the whistling from the crowd obnoxious and annoying.

  4. Why is this game widely being reported as a 17.15 kick off, have missed most the match now due to this.

    1. Believe me, you’ve not missed anything. “Shambolic” is something this performance can only dream of aspiring to.

  5. Can’t decide what is worse – referee, premier sports B team coverage or Edinburgh’s decision making.

    Criminal that Kings have had no cards and Edinburgh should be several scores up.

    1. Absolutely the refereeing, closely followed by the decision-making. How he can give Kings warning after warning after warning before eventually and begrudgingly yellow carding them (then failing to do so for later YC offences) but YC JJ for his first infringement which wasn’t even in Edinburgh’s red zone is criminal. It genuinely would not surprise me if he was later found guilty of match-fixing, which is something I’ve joked about before but never believed. Dan Jones is either massively crooked or hugely incompetent. Or both. I mean how can he award a penalty try but not YC the offending player?! Edinburgh have been POOPY, but Kings do not deserve to win and Dan Jones should be banned from refereeing at any level ever again.

      As for Edinburgh’s decision-making? Laughable. Cockers must be fuming. Bet there won’t be many articles about him being a potential England coach this week…

    2. Prem Sports need to up their game for matches in SA and Italy. Understand they have to rely on local broadcasters for feeds but can’t they employ their own local freelance presenters/commentators or at least do a bit of remote studio analysis?

  6. Ross Ford really making a difference here, a calm head keeping everything controlled and moving forward.

    Leniency of ref almost beyond belief for the first hour.

  7. What a farce – Embra deserved to lose that. Spent the week thinking they are brilliant.

    I know they ref was a joke and totally out of his depth, but WTF was Mackenzie doing – not once did I see him having a word with the ref. It took him 60 odd mins to YC a Kings player and then he YC Johnstone for an offence 20m from his line. They then score down that wing with a forward pass that Mackenzie never asked the TMO to have a look at.

    What is the point of him being a capt when he’s quite clearly not even doing the fundamentals of the job.

    What a comedy performance.

  8. Unbelievable – yellow for Edinburgh for a single infringement not particularly in a scoring position after Kings got away with murder for an hour.
    Suspiciously forward pass for the last try as well.

    Referee was clearly out of his depth in this game.

    Edinburgh also have to take responsibility for not putting the game to bed earlier on. They will need to do a lot better if they have serious hopes of reaching the play-offs.

  9. A phenomenal and exhilarating (for Kings’ fans) final try, even with the marginal forward pass. But no coincidence that the try was scored right down Johnstone’s wing where he would have been if not yellow carded. Johnstone’s YC ‘offence’ could easily have been a penalty to Edinburgh for holding on. Unacceptable difference between the penalty/card treatment of the two teams by the ref…

    1. I only saw the last 13 minutes and thought the ref looked like Joubert, I was furious to think anyone let that rogue near a whistle.It appears he is in the same mould , shameless.

  10. Atrocious, frustrating game, the likes of which I thought we’d banished from our repertoire.

    I never usually criticise referees because so many decisions are marginal in modern rugby but that was truly dreadful. Kings should have been down to 13 men at one point and no way did James Johnstone deserve a card.

    There are those who, foolishly, keep campaigning for a third Scots pro team. If the games of this weekend prove anything, it is that we have a number of journeymen already in the squads of our two sides – where on earth would we find the players for a (half decent) third side? Pretoria?

    A dreadful performance, lacking control, purpose, skill level and, most worryingly, decision making and leadership.

    As for the gentleman who regularly campaigns for Daryl Marfo….a clearly exhausted Pierre Schoeman wasn’t replaced in this game – I wonder why?

  11. Some thoughts.

    Edinburgh 2/3 rd string side against 1st choice kings side away.

    Inconsistent refereeing in huge favour of kings, desicions dont always have to be right but consistency to both sides is rule number 1 for refs.

    Mata looks burned out- needs a well earned break.

    Bad gameplan by Cockerill in build up and during game, not enough respect was given early on playing it from anywhere, this is excactly what Glasgow did from the start also and look what happened.

    Cockerill (in my humble opinion) should of used more subs, the kings where faltering on 55 mins and thats the time to kill the game off. how many unused subs ?

    Ford looked decent when he got on taking abit of control with the pack.

    Im not going to comment much on glasgow game, i fell asleep after 50 mins, Matawalu, Mcdowall and Thompson looked good.

  12. Unbelievable on several fronts……..
    1.How Edinburgh conspired to lose
    2.The lack of yellow cards for the leathered Kings scrum.
    3.Schoeman is unbelievable
    4.The referee, woeful
    5.Lack of core skills
    6.Decision making, woeful

    Ben Robbins went on the McPhail Scholarship to NZ, has pace, scoring tries for Currie. Surely he is worth a chance?

  13. After the plaudits, a major fall for an Edinburgh team which should have been good enough to put away the bottom team in the conference. If they had put in any form of performance, then the failings of the officials would have not been a factor.
    There is a major fall-off in quality once the national team players leave for training camp which doesn’t bode well for the fixtures during the 6 Nations. Mata and Schoeman are being flogged and will be burnt out unless rested for future key matches. While Cockerill has built a top starting XV, a lot of work remains so that the second & third tier at the club buy into the ethos and are straining at the bit for their chance to get on the pitch and show that they are worthy of a starting place. More leaders need to emerge to ensure debacles, like yesterday, don’t recur.

    1. It seems that when you take away a few of the key players, Edinburgh struggle as they did away at the Dragons recently.

      Edinburgh should have won this match against the Kings, but the following conspired against that happening:

      – Diabolical, inconsistent refereeing. Kings should have had more yellow cards for their repeated offences , and Johnstone hardly deserved his.

      – Inability to capitalise on a dominate scrum and what was actually a solid lineout.

      – Poor decision making/lack of leadership

      – Far too many handling errors. For example, Mata looked well out of sorts and really Taylor should have touched the ball down for a try.

      – Poor re-starts .

      – The relatively hot weather didn’t help either. I don’t know how hot it was, but it was obviously a far cry from Edinburgh in January.

  14. No pace in the backs compounded the whole thing, I’d still have a wee look at Hickey @ 10 & VdW @12.

    Jock – it was 73d in Port Elizabeth yesterday, not that hot.

  15. There have been a lot of comments here and elsewhere about how Edinburgh should’ve been able to outplay the referee, and I agree with it (and may have even advanced such an agenda), but I think what these posts are generally missing it that ref did an awful job. RU has been a professional sport for 20 years, how is it that a performance such as this is allowed?! Yes, Edinburgh’s performance was toilet-level, but Kings’ was worse, yet, despite the massive disparity in almost every statistic, Kings won. Not through determination or skill or nous or anything that we might celebrate, but as a result of a spineless refereeing performance. The fact that Edinburgh could and should have won is irrelevant, despite what Cockers says: Such a patently awful refereeing performance should not be allowed at any level in the game. Awful as they were, Edinburgh were the better team and that would have been reflected on the scoreboard – despite their handling and decision-making – were it not for Dan Jones’ insane and inexplicable decision-making.

    If referees are above criticism during such a… faeces show, then how will they ever improve?!

    1. The problem from the ref was inconsistency in two ways.

      Firstly, inconsistency with current expectations of reffing standards; i.e. almost every other ref on the planet would have given at least 1-2 yellow cards or penalty tries in that first hour that would almost certainly have secured Edinburgh a deserved victory, given their total dominance.

      Secondly, inconsistency in the match itself. Having been so extraordinarily lenient with cards against the Kings, to dish one out against Edinburgh so quickly (in a decision that could arguably have been a penalty to Edinburgh for holding on) was seriously out of whack.

      So, at one level, the ref absolutely cost us the game. However, regardless of the ref, there is also no way Edinburgh should have allowed that game to be lost having got two scores ahead. The number of mistakes and the toothless attack, combined with admirable spirit from the Kings’ defense also led to the result.

    2. While I’m at it, talking about reffing decisions, it’s always grated a wee bit that Ali Price got pinged by Pascale Gauzere for a crooked feed at a 5m scrum in the Wales match in Cardiff last year. It was only 7-0 at that point and Ali Price was already having a tough time after the interception try. That decision led directly to Wales’ second try and seemed to confirm it was going to be a nightmare match for Scotland.

      No ref before or since has penalised crooked feeds that I’ve observed. To be fair to Pascal Gauzere, he was the only one observing the World Rugby directive on it. He then realised no-one else was penalising it and went back to ignoring the directive like everyone else.

      Of course, there were a 100 other reasons why Scotland lost heavily that day, so not an excuse for the result, but who knows how Scotland might have rallied if they’d just cleared their lines?

      Okay, I’m done now on any discussion of reffing. Usual sunny disposition re-engaged…

      1. Pascal has been a bad referee for Scottish teams in general. I remember his incorrect interpretation of the ruck laws against Ireland a couple of years ago resulted in Johnny B being yellow carded, during which time Ireland scored two tries, and he took an age to card Ireland for cynically slowing the ball down in their red zone.

        He also didn’t punish any other crooked feeds in that match. I can kinda accept inconsistency game-to-game, but within the same match?! As you say above, comparing how quick he was to YC JJ – and I still can’t work out how it was even a penalty given that he’d released, re-entered through the gate, was on his feet and released when instructed to do so – to how reluctant he was to YC Kings, it’s hard to understand how he could possibly justify the decision.

        I appreciate that referees have an almost impossible job, but they can at least strive to be fair and consistent within the match, and remember how many ‘final’ warnings they’ve given.

  16. It was a difficult game to watch. I was worried that, because of the squad depletion we would struggle. We did, but not because of that. Who knew Bill Mata could drop a ball? He wasn’t the only one but it was easily the most frustrating. At least when Ross Ford came on, I thought the ship would steady. And it did.
    The fact that Edinburgh should have won the game and only have themselves to blame is immaterial.
    1. Any referee at any other match of the season would have yellow carded one of the Kings props in the first half for persistent infringement.
    2. Given what happened in the first half, the first scrum penalty in the second half should have earned a yellow card.
    3. The second or third scrum penalty should have been a penalty try and yellow card.
    The yellow card he did give was for coming into a maul from the side – as this was in the red zone this should have been in addition any other yellow.
    Penalising Johnstone for killing the ball when it should have been against Kings for holding on was just stupid. Carding him was SO inconsistent I couldn’t believe it and was just rubbing salt into the wound. The fact that Kings scored their last down that wing meant the ref cost us the match. If it wasn’t for my upbringing (the ref’s decision is final) I’d sue Dan Jones for incompetence.

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion