Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


PRO14 Round 18: Edinburgh v Leinster

John Barclay
Scotland captain John Barclay, warms up - pic © Alastair Ross / Novantae Photography

Date: Fri 22nd March 2019
KO: 19:35
Venue: BT Murrayfield

Richard Cockerill has a host of big names available this weekend as PRO14 action resumes briefly before the European knockout stages.

The Edinburgh coach doesn’t have the luxury of resting players as every league point is now vital to their playoff chances, but in some cases such as the returning Matt Scott and John Barclay, a chance to blow off the cobwebs will be welcome. For Barclay it will be his first game for Edinburgh.

Hamish Watson, Darcy Graham, WP Nel and Ben Toolis are also starters, fresh from retaining the Calcutta Cup.

As a result of the sudden riches in the back row, the downside for (potential) Scotland players in terms of gametime is that there’s no room in the squad for the likes of Jamie Ritchie or Luke Crosbie, with Magnus Bradbury only making the bench after a superb second half for Scotland.

Still, for Cockerill it’s a nice choice to have.

Leinster aren’t at full strength for this one possibly also with one eye on Europe but should never be taken lightly.

Edinburgh: Dougie Fife, Darcy Graham, James Johnstone, Matt Scott, Duhan van der Merwe, Jaco van der Walt, Henry Pyrgos (capt); Pierre Schoeman, Ross Ford, Willem Nel, Fraser McKenzie, Ben Toolis, John Barclay, Hamish Watson, Viliame Mata.
Replacements: Cameron Fenton, Allan Dell, Simon Berghan, Callum Hunter-Hill, Magnus Bradbury, Charlie Shiel, Simon Hickey, Chris Dean.

Unavailable due to injury: Lewis Carmichael; David Cherry; Luke Hamilton; Blair Kinghorn

Leinster Rugby: Ciaran Frawley, Fergus McFadden, Noel Reid, Joe Tomane, Barry Daly, Ross Byrne, Luke McGrath, Ed Byrne, Sean Cronin, Michael Bent, Josh Murphy, Mick Kearney, Rhys Ruddock, Dan Leavy, Max Deegan.
Replacements: Bryan Byrne, Jack McGrath, Andrew Porter, Jack Dunne, Oisin Dowling, Nick McCarthy, Jimmy O’Brien, Conor O’Brien.

Referee: Ben Whitehouse

23 Responses

  1. Whilst I think that Big Bill Mata is probably the most complete No.8 in world rugby I think the SRU need to be ensuring that we build up Magnus Bradbury as an out and out 8.
    Mata should spend some time at lock or 6 against some of the Pro14 teams, thus keeping him in the team whilst exposing Bradbury to more game time at 8.

    Either than or send him across the M8 to Glasgow. They have plenty options at 6 but no real contender at 8. Maybe Ashe but he idn’t seem to get the recogniton that his performances this season have deserved.

    Edinburgh have an abundance of talent across 6, 7 & 8 and Glasgow have been lost without Gibbons at times. Luke Hamilton and Bradbury/Crosbie going there could be just what they need, whilst giving the other players a kick up the backside. Ashe, Fagerson, Wilson, Gibbons, Matt Smith.

    Fusaro is almost done and where will Lewis Wynne play next season?

  2. Must win game for Edinburgh. That leinster back row looks good so no messing around.

    Not a great sign if Cockerill doesn’t think bennett deserves a start. Maybe he is just wary of putting too many long term injured back into the side at once.

    Hope Matt Scott’s form is good. Apparently he has bulked up to over 17 stone so could provide a good alternative 12 for Scotland. We don’t really have a badger at the moment.

    1. Looks like there is a fair bit of ‘protection of players’ in the selection.
      Ritchie definitely should be rested. Its almost like he had a crash course on test level rugby….needs to recover and reflect to grow as a player.
      Bradbury also, we have no one like him…..absolute stick no.1 8 for Scotland…protect him just like Wales , England and Ireland do with their unique players.
      Would have liked to have seen Graham rested or benched too be honest.

    2. Edinburgh’s back row of Barclay, Watson and Mata would be one of the best in international rugby never mind club rugby

  3. Why do we have to play our Internationals immediately after the 6N whereas the Irish rest theirs? We are heading to burn-out for our Internationalists!!!

    1. We rested Mcinally & Gilchrist those are the only onesn who started all the six nations games.

  4. Rob, as the article says. Points are required to keep any chance of making play-offs.

  5. Nel – 173min
    Dell – 313min
    Berghan – 189min

    Toolis – 202 minutes
    Watson – 102minutes
    Ritchie – 302minutes
    Bradbury – 240minutes (3 games)

    Darcy -160minutes

    No ones really requires to be rested other than Gilcho and Rambo.
    Only one to make an argument for would be Dell as hes been around the whole tournament. Magnus on the bench is a sensible call, but Ritchie has been rested last week.
    Watson has hardly played.
    Take this week to put things right together before a big weekend in Europe.

  6. Interesting-Charlie Shiel on the bench (back from 7s duty?) rather than Fowles or Kennedy?

  7. Bradbury and Ritchie are clearly being rested – Ritchie was actually injured for the England match.

    Bradbury is rightly being eased back in after a tough month.

    1. I am not sure if Bradbury is being rested on the bench or if he is just benched?! That backrow is unbelievable and I think Mata offers a bit more than Bradbury. Not ideal when our starting international 8 is not his clubs starting 8 and it means that one of our other international stars doesn’t even make the club bench!

      It is a good sign for Edinburgh as they have a tough run in and need as many wins as possible. All of a sudden Cockers has gone from picking the last backrows standing to having serious selection headaches. It will be interesting to see who he goes with in the champs cup QF as that will show who he thinks really are the best.

      1. Bradburyt is still a 6/8 IMO.

        But Matta is in the top 3 of best 8s in the world at the mo – you cant bench him – he’s also much fresher than the boys who have been slogging away in the 6Ns.

        Ritchie was carrying a knock – happy he is getting a wee rest.

        Selection for the HEC is going to be a nightmare for Cockerill.

      2. I think you would have a better chance of getting Matawalu if you want a 9

        Or sign SHC back up, he has become anonymous since leaving.

  8. Too only have four unavailable through injury is possibly the best any club team could expect at any time. Hoping guys coming back show up well and Edinburgh on paper should win this.

  9. After a slow first 20 minutes, that was a solid performance from Edinburgh. As soon as Leinster weren’t allowed to shove early in the scrum, they were getting smashed. It was a bit of a Wales-esq. performance (except that Edinburgh actually scored tries), and it was frustrating to see huge overlaps being ignored by Pyrgos in favour of pick ‘n’ goes. Still, I doubt anyone’s complaining about a bonus-point win of the most dominant team in the history of the Pro14. I also thought Whitehouse had a good game (although it wasn’t clear to me why there wasn’t a second penalty try when Edinburgh were barging forward in the second-half). This might be unrelated, but since he’s lost weight his performances are improved – I wonder if his increased fitness is resulting in him being less affected by fatigue when it comes to decision-making. Barclay had a good game and seemed to make decent metres, and Scott looked OK but didn’t get to do much. I’m surprised he’s 110Kgs – he doesn’t look it.

    1. Young van der Merwe had a pretty awful game though – 0 carries for 0 metres with 0 defenders beaten and 0 clean breaks, plus 0 passes and 0 kicks. Luckily he managed to nail 75% of his tackles or it’d be a total disaster…

    2. It was 10 man rugby strategy at its best, they knew 100 % they could crush Leinster up front & stuck to that game plan, hard to blame the back on for not getting involved really… they may aswell have chucked VDM into the driving mauls.

  10. What can a winger do though if the ball isn’t going wide? We know VDM is not a rounded player even if ball in hand with a metre of space he’s superb. That said, Graham did get involved and was impressive again. Matt Scott has always been a hefty lump and does look even bigger now. Bennett out the 23? Worried those injuries have robbed him of his test match career and possibly even top class club career.

    SHC is a just a total busted flush, isn’t he? When did he last look really good? Glad to see Shiel picked on the bench ahead of the other 2 who are just short of the required level now.

    1. Like you say, Graham managed to get involved, vdM just looked like he couldn’t be bothered. SHC last looked really good last season during Edinburgh’s run in.

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion