Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


PRO14 Round 17: Teams for the weekend

[Glasgow, UK. March 23, 2018] Adam Hastings in action for Glasgow Warriors vs Zebre in the Guinness Pro14 at Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow. (c) ALASTAIR ROSS | Novantae Photography Photo Credit: ALASTAIR ROSS | Novantae Photography

Benetton Rugby v Edinburgh Rugby

Date: Sat 2nd March 2019
KO: 16:00
Venue: Stadio Monigo

Edinburgh are in a bit of a fix with Cockers saying they’ll probably need 4 wins out of the remaining fixtures to get a decent playoff spot, but of the two Scottish team coaches he’s probably in slightly better shape in terms of the talent coming back onstream either from light international duty or long term injury. Both teams are far from full strength but are peppered with internationals.

In Edinburgh’s case that means he has Ben Toolis available on the bench and Chris Dean and James Johnstone back in harness, but quick injury turnarounds for WP Nel and Hamish Watson provide a further boost for Cockerill, and more than likely Gregor Townsend if they make it through the weekend. Mark Bennett continues his long term recovery on the bench and the picture has changed a little in the Edinburgh midfield since he was injured.

Youngster Jack Blain is set to make his Edinburgh competitive debut on the wing, holding the distinction of being the first player born in the 2000s to play for Edinburgh.

Edinburgh will be targeting this as a possible win but Treviso is an increasingly hard place to get a result as the rise of Italian credibility in this competition slowly continues.

Benetton Rugby: Luca Sperandio, Iliesa Ratuva Tavuyara, Marco Zanon, Alberto Sgarbi, Monty Ioane, Ian McKinley, Dewaldt Duvenage, Nicola Quaglio, Tomas Baravalle, Marco Riccioni, Irne Herbst, Niccolo Cannone, Marco Lazzaroni, Giovanni Pettinelli, Toa Halafihi.
Replacements: Hame Faiva, Derrick Appiah, Tiziano Pasquali, Robert Barbieri, Marco Barbini, Giorgio Bronzini, Antonio Rizzi, Tommaso Benvenuti.

Edinburgh Rugby: Tom Brown, Damien Hoyland, James Johnstone, Chris Dean, Jack Blain, Jaco van der Walt, Henry Pyrgos; Pierre Schoeman, Dave Cherry, Willem Nel, Fraser McKenzie, Callum Hunter-Hill, Luke Crosbie, Hamish Watson, Ally Miller.
Replacements: Ross Ford, Rory Sutherland, Pietro Ceccarelli, Ben Toolis, Senitiki Nayalo, Nathan Fowles, Simon Hickey, Mark Bennett.

Referee: George Clancy (IRFU)

Unavailable due to injury: Lewis Carmichael; John Barclay; Luke Hamilton; Viliame Mata; Matt Scott; Dougie Fife; Duhan van der Merwe

Unavailable due to international selection: Simon Berghan; Magnus Bradbury; Allan Dell; Grant Gilchrist; Darcy Graham; Blair Kinghorn; Stuart McInally; Jamie Ritchie

Zebre Rugby Club v Glasgow Warriors

Date: Sat 2nd March 2019
KO: 18:15
Venue: Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi

Ruaridh Jackson will make his 150th appearance for Glasgow in a team that also features Adam Hastings starting at standoff, with a perhaps an outside chance to start next week against Wales if Finn doesn’t make it through another weekend of Top14 – assuming he’s even fit to play for Racing.

It’s a far cry from Glasgow’s top back division otherwise, with a lot of young guns looking to make their names while the stars are away.

Up front it is a bit more familiar and certainly more experienced courtesy of Rob Harley and Tim Swinson, with Zander Fagerson like Hastings (and Watson and Nel for Edinburgh) looking to get back into that Scotland squad quickly.

Hopefully Glasgow will get the away win and keep that momentum going despite considerable disruption to their team.

Zebre Rugby: Francois Brummer, Gabriele di Giulio, Giulio Bisegni, Tommaso Castello, Jamie Elliott, Carlo Canna, Josh Renton, Daniele Rimpelli, Oliviero Fabiani, Roberto Tenga, Samuele Ortis, Dave Sisi, James Brown, Jimmy Tuivaiti, Renato Giammarioli.
Replacements:Massimo Ceciliani, Danilo Fischetti, Matteo Nocera, Apisai Tauyavuca, Jacopo Bianchi, Guglielmo Palazzani, Tommaso Boni, Paula Balekana.

Glasgow Warriors: Ruaridh Jackson, Robbie Nairn, Kyle Steyn, Stafford MacDowell, Rory Hughes, Adam Hastings, Nick Frisby, Oli Kebble, George Turner, Zander Fagerson, Tim Swinson, Scott Cummings, Rob Harley, Chris Fusaro, Matt Fagerson.
Replacements: Grant Stewart, Alex Allan, D’arcy Rae, Bruce Flockhart, Adam Ashe, Nikola Matawalu, Brandon Thomson, Patrick Kelly.

Referee: Andy Brace (IRFU)

Unavailable players: Siua Halalnukonuka (head), George Horne (shoulder), Callum Gibbins (ankle/knee), Stuart Hogg (shoulder), Huw Jones (knee), Lee Jones (knee), Lelia Masaga (illness), Matt Smith (shoulder), DTH van der Merwe (shoulder), Ryan Wilson (knee).

Unavailable due to international selection: Fraser Brown, Jonny Gray, Nick Grigg, Pete Horne, Sam Johnson, Ali Price, Tommy Seymour (all Scotland). Tevita Tameilau (USA)

Also in action this weekend around the leagues: Sean Maitland (Sarries), Byron McGuigan and Josh Strauss (Sale Sharks), Jake Kerr (Leicester Tigers), Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Scarlets).

Still injured: David Denton (Leicester), Blade Thomson (Scarlets), Sam Skinner (Exeter)

38 Responses

  1. I’d missed Mata being injured for Edinburgh. When did that happen and how long is he out for? Watson and Nel being back is good news, hopefully they come through unscathed. And that Bennett recovers some of his form.

  2. Is it really better for Scottish Rugby to have fit players resting in camp?

    For Edinburgh, I’d say the now desperate pursuit of the playoffs, and a second year in Champions Cup does more for Scottish Rugby than cotton-wooling players. Glasgow are more secure in the league and arguably less in need of their missing men.

    Would have been a reasonable case to argue for Bradbury & Graham into Edinburgh line up, and to have Toolis starting…I don’t think any of those three are critical for the Wales game.

    Ritchie, Rambo, Gilchrist and Kinghorn all now too valuable, and Dell and Berghan not first pick at Edinburgh anyway, so they can stay in camp.

    Congrats to Jack Blain.

    Also hoping the doctors were able to “slow” Finn’s protocol assessments enough to keep him out for another week.

    On Glasgow, has Masaga ever actually played? Seems permanently injured, except when he’s not picked.

  3. Just to call out, in case anyone is confused, the KO times in the article are local times (Italian)

    The Edinburgh game is at 15.00 GMT and the Glasgow game is at 17.15 GMT

      1. No worries. I think the pro sides websites have them listed at local times, which just seems odd. I could obviously be wrong but the pro14 site has it listed at GMT, so that’s the times I’m working from.

    1. Thought Racing resigned Carter till end of season? Ridiculous that they are going to use Russell ..again… mid 6 nations…after a head injury too.

  4. Why is darcy graham not available? He’s played a handful of minutes off the bench in th six nations and Edinburgh desperately need a result here. I’m assuming he’s starting against wales because if he isn’t then makes no sense to let him sit out another week.

    1. Not being helped by a typically disgusting display from Clancy. Both Benetton tries have come from ‘contentious’ officiating. Edinburgh have been inconsistent this season, but they’ve been let down by officiating so many times…

      “Time off!”
      [clock doesn’t stop]
      “Time on!”
      [time marches relentlessly forward]

      Also, how great is it to hear the crowd in such full voice? Throughout the game they’ve sounded great.

      1. And all of a sudden he’s penalising not rolling away! That is insanely capricious! Classic Clancy. What a dirt bag.

      2. Andrew Brace: I’ve penalised [Glasgow] twice for off-the-ball, do you want me to do the same to you? [N.B.: he didn’t penalise Zebre for any off-the-ball shenanigans]

        Brace has generally been good – especially in comparison to Clancy – but he gave so many sympathy decisions to Zebre… still a work in progress, but there’s hope at least. He’s a good communicator, too, so even if you disagree with him you can understand his reasoning.

        Also a work in progress: Glasgow. What a dreadful second-half performance. So rudderless and confused. Abysmal, really. Only scoring 7 points against a team down to 14 men for 25 minutes is pathetic.

    2. Pyrgos not helped either by the green shirted folk “accidentally” ending up on the wrong side of every ruck after the tackle (even before!). He was hurdling like Colin Jackson (without the pace, admittedly).

      Treviso did a good job on Clancy: challenge the ref, make him make you change your ways, cast doubt and rely on his weakness of mind and the strong home support…job done.

      Never have I seen (or at least remembered) any Scottish team work-over a weak-minded ref.

  5. On a more positive note:

    -Glasgow’s first half was ace
    -Both Fagersons looked very good and survived unscathed
    -Glasgow’s scrum is looking good again
    -Hastings, Swinson, McDowall and Steyn looked good
    -Stewart, Thomson, Ashe and Flockhart looked good off the bench
    -Glasgow are top of their conference again
    -Zebre really upped their game in the second half
    -Benetton should be in next year’s Champions Cup and no-one will be able to say they don’t deserve it
    -Both Italian teams seemed to have great support
    -Munster lost.

    1. How did Flockhart look size wise? He’s a bit of a tower so it would be nice to see Glasgow bring through a big carrier if he’s added the bulk to match his height.

      1. I was watching on a laptop, so couldn’t really see that clearly, but he didn’t seem out of place. Like Cummings, Kinghorn and McDowall, he could do with bulking up a bit, like CHH appears to have.

      2. Thanks for the reply TeamCam. It’s good to see players like Ritchie, Bradbury, Crosbie, Flockhart, CHH, McCallum, Z.Fagerson, McDowell, Nairn, Kinghorn, Blain, Nicol and others coming through who are just that bit bigger and often bulkier at a younger age than some previous players. There is some excellent S+C work going on too (See Bradbury bulking up to 115kg and still looking dynamic).

        I know size isn’t everything and attitude is essential but I hope in the future we will see less claims of powderpuff packs and avoid seeing our forwards bullied up front.

      3. Agree with all that! Just imagine where we’d be if we’d wised up a decade earlier…

  6. Does Oli Keeble qualify for Scotland for the 6N – 2020?, he’ll be a tremendous asset.

    Quite a performance in the 1st half by Glasgow, main difference between Glasgow and Edinburgh is the physicality & skills displayed by the backs, McDowall looks a proper talent (best clearing kick I’ve seen this season).

    Both Fagersons were good, Hastings looked confident, Jackson is playing some of the best rugby of his career. Glasgow hitting form at key time.

    Edinburgh losing form at crucial time, Chris Dean was really poor, been decent this season but not sure if he’s answer at 12 for Edinburgh, I’d still try Hickie @ 10 & VDW @ 12.

  7. Something strange with Edinburgh today. Just not there all round. Some players, in fits and starts were good ~ young Blain for example, but our seasoned pros, WTF? Toolis made an impact though.

  8. Have to applaud what Rennie has done with the youngsters over the last 3 games. 14 points is a great return for this time of the season especially given what happened over Christmas. Some of the internationals will struggle to get back in. Have to say the youngsters were good in November too.

    Really impressed with Stafford MacDowell today. Has a great future ahead of him if he keeps this up. Brilliant long clearance to touch. He could get a few games at full back with that boot. Also the determination he showed in the choke tackle was inspiring.

      1. Yes at 13 with Pete Horne at 12. Not sure that he is quite ready for 12 outside Monsieur le Finn.

      2. McDowall plays 12, not 13. I’d like to think Toonie’s learned his lesson about playing players out of position in internationals…

  9. Last night’s result makes it extremely tough for Edinburgh, but if they manage to beat Leinster at home (who have already guaranteed top spot so may rest their better players), I think they’ve got a chance of getting 3rd spot. They play all their main rivals for that position, which means they’re harder games but give the opportunity not only to gain points but deny their rivals points at the same time.

    Glasgow will hopefully take points off Ulster at Scotstoun and Edinburgh play Ulster at Murrayfield. Scarlets definitely have the easiest run-in so the crunch game for Edinburgh will be away against them, which will be very tough. Benetton seem too far ahead (8 points), but even they are technically catchable given they play Connacht away as well as Leinster and Munster.

    I fear any hopes may come down to the Glasgow-Edinburgh game. Ideally (unlikely I know), Glasgow have already secured top spot by that point.

    1. Even if we haven’t secured top spot, if Edinburgh need the points to qualify I’ll be hoping that they win because: a) having both teams in the Champions Cup is important, and b) Leinster are so laughably far ahead of everyone else it was be a travesty if they didn’t take the title.

  10. There should be no chance McDowall plays anywhere but 12. Looks like he can play – pass, kick & is a very big laddie.
    Interesting situation @ 12 – Glasgow have #1,#2,#3 choices for Scotland’s inside centre jersey – Johnson, P.Horne, McDowall where as Edinburgh have no-one who will trouble GT…..
    Surely a swap – something like Bradbury for McDowall makes sense for all concerned.

  11. Has McDowall the pace to play 15?
    Socino = journeyman, Bennett and Scott both excellent but rarely fit. That’s 3 serious leg injuries Bennett has had now.
    Dunbar – is he broken? (a fully fit Dunbar is 3rd name on the teamsheet for me)

      1. Also emailed the SRU about Dell’s weight and had this response:

        ‘Allan is 106kg and was actually 104kg when he signed. The 112kg came from the Sharks, which was his weight when he left school.’


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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion