Edinburgh Rugby v Bordeaux-Begles
Date: Fri 22 November 2019
Venue: BT Murrayfield Stadium
With the nominal second-string picking up a bonus point win (just) over at Agen, Cockerill restores a large international contingent to the first XV for the visit of a powerful looking Bordeaux-Begles side. Maybe they’re not as completely focused on the PRO14 as they are maintaining. A decent win here puts them in prime position going into the break with the head-to-head matches against struggling Wasps to come.
Darcy Graham and Nic Groom are unavailable so that aside it looks like the first choice backline on show, and a hefty looking pack. Stuart McInally is back in training – as is Hamish Watson – but neither are ready to play just yet. With Nick Haining picking up a 2-week ban for striking with the head, Bill Mata starts his first game since the World Cup in a back row well-shuffled from last weeks unit but no less useful looking for it.
Edinburgh Rugby: 15. Blair Kinghorn, 14. Eroni Sau, 13. Mark Bennett, 12. Matt Scott, 11. Duhan Van Der Merwe, 10. Jaco van der Walt, 9. Henry Pyrgos (c); 1. Pierre Schoeman, 2. Mike Willemse, 3. Pietro Ceccarelli, 4. Ben Toolis, 5. Grant Gilchrist, 6. Magnus Bradbury, 7. Luke Crosbie, 8. Viliame Mata.
Replacements:16. Cameron Fenton, 17. Jamie Bhatti, 18. Simon Berghan, 19. Murray Douglas, 20. John Barclay, 21. Charlie Shiel, 22. Simon Hickey, 23. George Taylor,
Bordeaux-Begles: 15. Romain Buros, 14. Santiago Cordero, 13. Semi Radradra, 12. Ulupano Seuteni, 11. Blair Connor, 10. Matthieu Jalibert (c), 9. Maxime Lucu; 1. Thierry Paiva, 2. Adrien Pélissié, 3. Lekso Kaulashvili, 4. Kane Douglas, 5. Alexandre Flanquart, 6. Beka Gorgadze, 7. Cameron Woki, 8. Scott Higginbotham.
Replacements: 16. Clément Renaud, 17. Ravai Kovekalou, 18. Zakaria El Fakir, 19. Jandré Marais, 20. Marco Tauleigne, 21. Jules Gimbert, 22. Ben Botica, 23. Seta Tamanivalu.
Referee: Christophe Ridley (England)
Edinburgh Players Unavailable: Darryl Marfo, Dave Cherry, Jamie Ritchie, Ruan Steenkamp, Hamish Watson, Darcy Graham, Jack Stanley, Nic Groom, Damien Hoyland, Rory Darge, WP Nel, Fraser McKenzie, Chris Dean
Exeter Chiefs v Glasgow Warriors
Date: Sat 23 November 2019
Venue: Sandy Park
Live on BT Sport
Which feels stranger: typing “15. Tommy Seymour” or the fact that “15. Stuart Hogg” doesn’t follow the word “Warriors” in the team lists? There’s no mistaking the key talking point of this game, with Scotland’s full back facing off against his old club and sure to get plenty of stick from old muckers like, well, Ryan Wilson.
Hogg told the Rugby Pod (the flash one) this week that he’s finally playing rugby “with a smile on his face” which he hadn’t been for a few years, which begs further questions about the environment he was in before. He seems to be loving life down in Exeter and would like nothing more than to show the ex he’s moved on. No sign though of fellow Scot Sam Skinner, who is still on the injury comeback trail.
Glasgow, on the other hand, will be looking to show they have enough about them without the likes of Hogg and Russell to still mount a credible European challenge in Dave Rennie’s last season.
They still suffer from something of a makeshift feel looking at the team, but there is a steely spine of quality there in the pack from Brown through Cummings to Fagerson while Horne and Hastings are often worth the price of admission alone. Whether it can stand up to an Exeter pack including Jacques Vermeulen and Sam Simmonds and where Don Armand only makes the bench is a different question.
Huw Jones fans will again be disappointed, but they can always buy a cushion.
Also, it’s worth taking a look at our old friend Jamie Lyall’s piece on Ratu Tagive’s journey to get where he is today, finally earning some game time. It’s a good read (via Rugbypass), and explains a lot about why he’s taken so long to come to the fore.
Exeter Chiefs: 15. Stuart Hogg, 14. Jack Nowell, 13. Henry Slade, 12. Ian Whitten, 11. Tom O’Flaherty, 10. Joe Simmonds, 9. Nic White; 1. Alec Hepburn, 2. Jack Yeandle (c), 3. Harry Williams, 4. Dave Dennis, 5. Jonny Hill, 6. Dave Ewers, 7. Jacques Vermeulen, 8. Sam Simmonds.
Replacements: 16. Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17. Ben Moon, 18. Marcus Street, 19. Jannes Kirsten, 20. Don Armand, 21. Jack Maunder, 22. Gareth Steenson, 23. Sam Hill.
Glasgow Warriors: 15. Tommy Seymour, 14. Ratu Tagive, 13. Nick Grigg, 12. Samuel Johnson, 11. DTH van der Merwe, 10. Adam Hastings, 9. George Horne; 1. Oli Kebble, 2. Fraser Brown, 3. Zander Fagerson, 4. Robert Harley, 5. Scott Cummings, 6. Ryan Wilson (c), 7. Chris Fusaro, 8. Matt Fagerson.
Replacements: 16. George Turner, 17. Alex Allan, 18. D’Arcy Rae, 19. Kiran McDonald, 20. Tom Gordon, 21. Ali Price, 22. Peter Horne, 23. Kyle Steyn.
Referee: Pascal Gauzère (France)
Exiles in Action:
Luke Hamilton and Alex Dunbar (Brive v Bristol Bears), Blade Thomson (Toulon v Scarlets), Duncan Weir and Cornell du Preez (Castres v Worcester), Jack Owlett (Wasps v Agen), Jake Kerr (Cardiff v Leicester). Ben Blain referees Pau v Calvisano.
Greig Laidlaw (Ulster v Clermont), Duncan Taylor (Saracens), Rory Hutchinson and Mitch Eadie (Benetton v Northampton, ref Mike Adamson), Richie Gray (Toulouse v Connacht) , James Lang (Quins v Bath), Finn Russell (Munster v Racing), Chris Harris and Alex Craig (Montpellier v Gloucester).