Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


PRO14 Round 16: Team News

Mark Bennett
Mark Bennett -pic © Alastair Ross / Novantae Photography

This is the crunch weekend, when there is both Six Nations action and PRO14 action. As a result fewer International players than normal are available to either Scottish side but there are still crucial points to be fought over. There is some good news for the coaches in the shape of players returning from injury.

Glasgow vs Connacht

With Nick Grigg now starting for Scotland, it’s a fresh centre partnership for Glasgow although there’s plenty familiarity at club level between Kelly and MacDowell who both play for Ayr. Niko, Jacko and George Horne (back from injury) will look to add the zip and a little more experience.

Up front the pack is largely the same one that has featured in recent weeks but the bench sees Matt Fagerson return as a welcome boost.

Fri 22nd February 2019
KO: 19:35, Scotstoun Stadium (also live on FreeSports)

Glasgow Warriors: Ruaridh Jackson, Kyle Steyn, Patrick Kelly, Stafford MacDowell, Nikola Matawalu, Brandon Thomson, George Horne; Oli Kebble, Grant Stewart, Siua Halanukonuka, Tim Swinson, Scott Cummings, Rob Harley, Chris Fusaro (capt), Adam Ashe.
Replacements: Kevin Bryce, Jamie Bhatti, Adam Nicol, Matt Fagerson, Tom Gordon, Nick Frisby, Rory Hughes, Robbie Nairn.

Connacht Rugby: Tiernan O’Halloran, Stephen Fitzgerald, Kyle Godwin, Tom Daly, Matt Healy, Conor Fitzgerald, Kieran Marmion, Denis Buckley, Dave Heffernan, Finlay Bealham, Cillian Gallagher, James Cannon, Eoin McKeon, Colby Fainga’a, Jarrad Butler.
Replacements: Shane Delahunt, Peter McCabe, Conor Carey, Joe Maksymiw, Paul Boyle, Caolin Blade, Peter Robb, Cian Kelleher.

Referee: Ben Whitehouse (WRU)

Edinburgh vs Cardiff

The big news here is the return to fitness of Mark Bennett and Damien Hoyland after long injury layoffs. James Johnstone has returned from Scotland camp (Chris Dean travelled with the squad) to make this a partly familiar Edinburgh side but with a lot of the big names absent.

Cardiff played some great rugby against Glasgow last weekend, and came back from two-try deficits twice in that game so Edinburgh will need to concentrate fully to keep the home league points.

Sat 23rd February 2019
19:35, BT Murrayfield

Edinburgh Rugby: Dougie Fife, Damien Hoyland, James Johnstone, Juan Pablo Socino, Duhan van der Merwe, Jaco van der Walt, Nathan Fowles, Pierre Schoeman, Dave Cherry, Pietro Ceccarelli, Fraser McKenzie, Callum Hunter-Hill, Ally Miller, Luke Crosbie, Viliame Mata.
Replacements: Ross Ford, Rory Sutherland, Murray McCallum, Jamie Hodgson, Senitiki Nayalo, Charlie Shiel, Simon Hickey, Mark Bennett.

Cardiff Blues: Matthew Morgan, Owen Lane, Rey Lee-Lo, Willis Halaholo, Aled Summerhill, Jarrod Evans, Lloyd Williams, Rhys Carre, Liam Belcher, Dimitri Arhip, George Earle, Rory Thornton, Shane Lewis-Hughes, Olly Robinson, Nick Williams.
Replacements: Ethan Lewis, Corey Domachowski, Scott Andrews, Macauley Cook, Alun Lawrence, Dane Blacker, Steve Shingler, Jason Harries.

Referee: Frank Murphy (IRFU)

25 Responses

  1. Very pleased to see the return of Mark Bennett, and I’m a Glasgow supporter. A better all round player than Huw Jones IMO. Only hope he hasn’t lot any of the pace and trickery, as he’s been out for the bulk of 2 years. Hope Edinburgh win and go on to gain 2nd place in their conference.

    1. I agree re Bennett being better player and reckon he’ll get the 13 jersey back from Jones eventually. Really think he’ll need a full season of playing club rugby to get that form back which wont be easy given how Johnstone’s been playing.

  2. Great news re: Mark Bennett. 3-4 years ago one of our star upcoming players who has since been blighted with a terrible run of injuries. Best of luck to you. May be too late in shove you into the reckoning of the 6N, but given the current injury crisis, who knows.
    Great to see Horne and Fagerson (juniors) back on the field as well.
    Maybe the cavalry is coming over the hill after all.

    1. Absolutely no chance Bennett will play in the 6N. He never really recovered his form before being crocked last time out.

  3. Both pro-sides facing what are almost must-win matches if they have any real aspiration to get to the final in Glasgow. Both Connacht and Cardiff are fielding very strong sides.

    Edinburgh have a tough run-in and are embroiled in a four-way fight for two places. Scarlets have the worst form and are 5 points behind the pack but have an easy stroll across the finish line. It would be a bitter result if Edinburgh did not at least qualify for Europe but realistically, they need to finish second to have much hope of making even the pro-14 SF.

    If Glasgow lose to Connacht suddenly they are fighting to hold onto second place instead of aiming for first. Likewise, they really need to rein Munster in to make the final as no-one will fancy their chances of progressing from a Dublin SF.

  4. A “pre 7s” Mark Bennett was a better all round centre than 97% of all centres. What a fillip it would be to see a top form, healthy MB to be flying to japan in September…..

    1. Almost two years to the day (I think) when he came on, off the bench to another Scotland injury (Was it Hogg?) to rupture his knee within seconds. So many disasters in that match which caused the mauling. Brown’s yellow, two key injuries and nothing to cover full back. We still got three tries that day.

      He’s had two knees and a calf off the bone since then and probably other stuff too. Great to have him back and hoping he can get a good run now. Apparently once you do one knee ligament you are very likely to do the other so he cant do that again I assume. Great unseen work to get back to where he is. Well done Mark.

  5. Superb result las night from Glasgow. Let’s hope Edinburgh match it tonight.

    1pt gap to Munster now but Munster have easier run in.

    Glasgow v (A) Zebre (H) Cheetahs (H) Ulster (A) Leinster (H) Edinburgh
    Munster v (A) Scarlets (H) Zebre (H) Cardiff (A) Benetton (H) Connacht

    We need Munster to lose at Scarlets and Benetton i reckon. We’ll probably lose at Leinster but home tie v Edinburgh looks like a must win. Could easily come down to BP picked up in final 5 games.

    1. Completely agree. The run in looks difficult and every bonus point could count. Glasgow just need to keep building their recent momentum.

      The extra factor is that the run for 2nd and 3rd in League B is so close the likes of Edinburgh will be desperate for points too. So that last game could be crucial for both sides.

      1. Even as a Glasgow supporter, I really want Edinburgh to do well (I guess that makes me primarily a Scotland fan) so I don’t enjoy the conflicted feeling I get if both sides need the points from the same match against each other.

        I’m hoping that Edinburgh are already in a clear second position come the final game so that I can fully support Glasgow (despite living 300 yards from Murrayfield for a few years!).

  6. Brilliant performance from Glasgow last night. They started the way they meant to finish and made very few mistakes. For Connacht it was one of those nights where nothing goes right. From kickers woes to ‘knock-ons’ on the line. I almost felt sorry for them.

    1. They were not sorry for us when they were continuously, I remind you continuously banging the sh!t tin hut they provide for our manager, or cheating it up on the pitch in Galway the year they won the Pro 12 in 2016. Never ever, ever, ever, feel sorry for any irish side. They deserved to go down to 50 points and sorry for them softies Glasgow , spared them last night . Even let them score a few skittery tries . Put them to the sword every time.No offence to you by the way.

  7. Just saw SA have scrapped there 30 cap overseas policy… looks like Duhan, Schoeman and Kebble could be considered now.

    1. They can go if they want , or enjoy their life in Scotland and play for us. Their choice, I feel sure they will chose wisely. No sense in keeping them against their will.

    2. Schoeman is surely the most likely due to the fact that he has a five year qualification period.

      DVDM has spoken about the lack of opportunities in South Africa because of quotas. The way the system works means it’s unlikely that a white winger is going to get in the team.

  8. This is Scotland of old – can’t do basics today & coughing up ball. Not looking good. French errors letting us off the hook time & again & keeping us in the game.

  9. This is the worst I have seen us play since Twickenham in 2017 – we are awful.

    Not help by the French defence being offside but my gawd we need Russell.

    I’d get Laidlaw off now – not the game for him.

  10. I’ve said it before, sadly: absolutely pathetic. Townsend has taken us backwards from the Cotten era. Why we appointed him beats me. He is hopeless as an international manager.

    1. Woe, woe and thrice woe! What a bleak post! Take the right option and shoot yourself now CAVOK.

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion