Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


PRO14 Round 5: All change

Jaco Van Der Walt
Jaco van der Walt shouts instructions - pic © Alastair Ross / Novantae Photography

Both pro teams have welcomed back a number of international players into the fold as Edinburgh look to continue their strong start while Glasgow try to sort out an opening stretch where the scoreboard has gone against them.

Glasgow Warriors v Isuzu Southern Kings

One player who won’t feature for a while is Jonny Gray, who will be rested for 6 weeks including the opening round of European fixtures. Ali Price is hoping to be fit before then, but for now George Horne slots right in at 9 alongside Adam Hastings and brother Peter. Can the new creative axis spark Glasgow into life, or will the issues be up front in the pack as is often the case?

More of Glasgow’s internationals, such as Fraser Brown or Tommy Seymour, are expected back next week.

Date: Fri 1st November 2019
KO: 19:35
Venue: Scotstoun Stadium

Glasgow Warriors: Glenn Bryce, Nikola Matawalu, Huw Jones, Pete Horne, DTH van der Merwe, Adam Hastings, George Horne, Oli Kebble, Grant Stewart, Zander Fagerson, Tim Swinson, Kiran McDonald Seran, Rob Harley, Callum Gibbins, Matt Fagerson.
Replacements: George Turner, Alex Allan, D’arcy Rae, Andrew Davidson, Chris Fusaro, Jamie Dobie, Stafford MacDowell, Ratu Tagive.

Isuzu Southern Kings: Masixole Banda, Christopher Hollis, Erich Cronje, Tertius Kruger, S’bura Sithole, John Jackson, Josh Allderman, Juan Schoeman, Jacques du Toit, Pieter Scholtz, Bobby de Wee, Aston Fortuin, Tienie Burger, Thembelani Bholi, Ruaan Lerm.
Replacements: Alandre van Rooyen, Xandre Vos, Rossouw de Klerk, Jerry Sexton, Elrigh Louw, Gavin Mills, Siya Masuku, Scott van Breda.

Referee: Joy Neville (IRFU)

Benetton Rugby v Edinburgh Rugby

As you’d expect from Edinburgh, a tasty back row for this one with Magnus Bradbury getting a run at Number 8 and Bill Mata poised to kick his PRO14 season off from the bench. There’s a change of direction at fly0-half with Simon Hickey swapped for regular incumbent Jaco van der Walt. Will that curtail Edinburgh’s new attacking style?

Treviso has not always been the happiest hunting ground for Edinburgh and with the Italians also increasing in strength with some well-rested Italian players – they sat out their last Pool game – back in their squad.

Date: Sat 2nd November 2019
KO: 18:15 local (17:15 GMT)
Venue: Stadio Monigo

Benetton Rugby: Jayden Hayward, Iliesa Ratuva Tavuyara, Nacho Brex, Tommaso Benvenuti, Angelo Esposito, Tommaso Allan, Dewaldt Duvenage, Federico Zani, Tomas Baravalle, Tiziano Pasquali, Irne Herbst, Eli Snyman, Sebastian Negri da Ollegio, Braam Steyn, Toa Halafihi.
Replacements: Hame Faiva, Cherif Traore, Michele Mancini, Niccolo Cannone, Federico Ruzza, Giovanni Pettinelli, Tito Tebaldi, Antonio Rizzi.

Edinburgh Rugby: Blair Kinghorn, Eroni Sau, Mark Bennett, Matt Scott, Damien Hoyland, Jaco van der Walt, Henry Pyrgos, Jamie Bhatti, Mike Willemse, Pietro Ceccarelli, Fraser McKenzie, Lewis Carmichael, Ally Miller, Luke Crosbie, Magnus Bradbury.
Replacements: Dave Cherry, Pierre Schoeman, Murray McCallum, Sam Thomson, Viliame Mata, Nic Groom, Simon Hickey, George Taylor.

Referee: Ben Whitehouse (WRU)

66 Responses

  1. Interesting that Stewart and McDonald start over Turner and Davidson. Strong team, though, and it should be interesting to see a rare appearance for Tagive in a Glasgow shirt. What do Weegie fans think of him as a player?

    1. Tagive: Difficult to have an opinion on a player who has been at Scotstoun for several years that we have hardly ever seen play. Five appearances in 3 years suggests he may not be a world beater.

    2. McDonald and Stewart have both been going well and I’d say McDonald has edged in front of Davidson in the pecking order off the back of recent performances. He has had a bit of bad luck with injuries but I feel he can push on to the heights of Cummings with a good run of games. Will be interesting to see Tagive though with so little game time under his belt I am not expecting fireworks!

  2. There is no rush to get Price back.Average player , undeprrforming, very over rated.Do not renew his contract.

  3. What’s up with Jonny Gray? Doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy who needs extra time off unless there is an injury. Is Scotland going to treat him like Ireland treats Sexton and only wheel him out for internationals, European games and knock-out rugby?

    Think Zander Fagerson might make a difference for Glasgow. He should get a good run of starts and can hopefully rebuild his form.

    1. Im not a huge fan of JGray…but he definately cannot be accused of not working hard. He puts what he has into matches.
      I though he was one of the few Scotland players who actually played well in RWC.
      There is nothing wrong with protecting our test players…in fact its a necessity for Scotland. 6N is coming up in a few months.

  4. Looking forward to seeing how that Edinburgh backrow go. The future looks very good for Scotland at backrow….a lot of young real talent building there… especially Crosbie, Miller , Bradbury, Ritchie, Carmichael, Fagerson. The next Scotland squad should be built around those guys. Shame we look so weak depth wise at the wings, lock and loosehead.
    Wow..Rennie actually selects his best centre!?…must be a lot of injuries. I cant see Glasgow making the pro14 playoffs let alone doing anything in euro comp. ..such an average looking squad.

  5. Hayward < Kinghorn
    Ratuva Tavuyara = Sau
    Brex < Bennett
    Benvenuti < Scott
    Allan > van der Walt
    Duvenage > Pyrgos

    Zani = Bhatti
    Baravalle < Willemse
    Pasquali > Ceccarelli
    Herbst = McKenzie
    Snyman = Carmichael
    Negri > Miller
    Steyn > Crosbie
    Halafihi < Bradbury

    Faiva < Cherry, Traorè < Schoeman, Mancini < McCallum, Ruzza > Thomson, Pettinelli < Mata, Tebaldi > Groom, Rizzi < Hickey, Cannone // Taylor.

    BACKS: advantage Edinburgh
    FORWARDS: advantage Benetton
    REPLACEMENTS: advantage Edinburgh

    I think this'll be a close one.

  6. Well done Glasgow!

    I think tonight highlighted just how crucial G. Horne and Hastings are for Glasgow’s playoff ambitions. We are a different team with those 2.

    Also not sure if he deserved MOTM but McDonald has certainly stepped up this season. Good timing for Glasgow too with Cummings a cert for Scotland now.

    1. I like McDonald’s story, late to the game, off the radar.
      He’s a big all knees and elbows runner with great work rate and he’s young.

      Could he play for Scotland? If he keeps developing….

  7. Hastings’s kicking from hand was superb & visibly settled Glasgow. He will hopefully kick on & give Scotland a real alternative to Finn @ 10. G.Horne played well. McDonald is a big lump & could be a dark horse for the 6N. SK were poor but 50-0 is an excellent result

    1. I agree with what D Rennie said..and think Hastings has a better all around game than Russell and I think he may take Russells spot never mind challenge him. Im sure the Russell lovers will be quick to jump…but he just doesn’t inspire confidence at test level…far too inconsistent.
      Hastings is really coming on.

  8. Highlights (not mentioned this far):
    Front row all scored (Keep the fast game for Toonies game show)
    Stewart’s pace
    Swinson still handy
    Pete Horne’s pass to Nico
    DTH still worth a try a game before a ball is kicked
    DTH ‘s barber ( lMade him look like the Jackal from the film of same name)
    Dobie’s athletic kick retrieval and collection (another entertainer)
    Jones tackling

    Hastings missed kicks
    Turner is rusty
    Line out good , keep working on it
    Keep Stewart away from the 6N squad

    1. Dovie looks excellent, every bit the modern 9: great pass, quick, good defence, varied in pass vs run. I can’t believe he’s only 18.

      1. Yes obvious talent.. and we raved about G Horne..Dobie looks like being better..and sooner rather than later.
        Rufus McLean won’t be far behind Id think.

      1. I think we need an inclusive game, not a ‘fast game’ (whatever that means ) . We do not need a dependence on a few players, we do need to concentrate on a team game and we can have any game we need and the confidence to change it when needed.

      2. I think you are now getting argumentative and picking statements out of context. I will remind you this is an opinion forum, not a coaching session, or homework for schoolboys. I know what I meant, you do as well, however If you cannot explain your own responses, no one will give you the courtesy of further explanation.

      3. The context is clear:

        “Front row all scored (Keep the fast game for Toonies[sic] game show”

        The fast game to me is playing in such a way that the defence doesn’t have time to sufficiently reset. Fagerson’s try against Japan, Kebble’s try against Kings etc. are examples of that fast game working. You introduced the term in this discussion, presumably you meant something else by it, what did you mean? A fast game is not the same as a gameplan that relies upon a handful of players.

        And asking for clarification is the opposite of being argumentative, by the way!

  9. Croatia won the final Davis Cup title of the old system on Sunday. Marin Cilic, the world No 7, was far too good for his French opponents throughout, and overcame Lucas Pouille in straight sets to complete a 3-1 victory.

    1. Will sour for us tomorrow. According to the Scotsman we face a significant six figure fine without recourse to appeal for the misconduct charge.

      If that is true it is an outrageous stitch up and The SRU really need to pursue legal avenues. So this is going to drag on and on.

      1. Perhaps WR should fine England for removing their silver medals. Maybe they felt then were not good enough , even, for a silver medal !

      2. What a joke.
        What kind of sport has tiers anyway?
        In football you set up an association you get an equal say on how the game is run.
        Football, a sport 10x the size of rugby, maybe we should look n learn instead of laughing at them for their haircuts and corruption?
        Just emphasises to me that the sport I love is, at heart, an old boys’ club.

      3. With many more countries taking to rugby, eventually someone, with a big checkbook, will come along and do a ‘Kerry Packer’ to the game. WR’s old boys club, will either have to become more open and representative or wither.

      4. WR are worse than FIFA IMO. All this talk of having a ‘preferred QF line up’ is nothing short of appalling considering this is meant to be sport. It was the same four years ago when WR’s ‘preferred final’ was NZ v Aus after England and Ireland got knocked out. There’s no smoke without fire. It’s also a disgrace that the host nation (no offence to Japan who have been brilliant hosts but previous host nations also got the same) gets favourable turnarounds and gets to cherry pick fixture sequence. Even this doesn’t happen in football.

        Last but not least this nonsense of WR not having to reschedule pool games cancelled due to weather is just a ruse for them to award a draw and fiddle pool standings. They need to play fair and sharpen up their contingency planning!

        WR truly are an old boys’ club and the sooner they are cleaned up the better!

      5. The truth is that rugby has struggled to grow outside its original heartlands and it’s difficult to see what the growth strategy is.

        It appears to be open disdain for countries such as Scotland, the Pac Islands or even Italy and Australia where the game is taken (reasonably) seriously but where it still either counts as a tertiary sport or the target market is small while feathering the nests of the game’s top 3 or 4 teams and going in pursuit of (fantasy) markets in places such as the US.
        I think this is a big mistake.
        There is scope for the game to grow in countries like Scotland, Italy or Australia but it could also be killed off in these countries very easily, while in the US I doubt it’s ever going to be something more than a game filled with athletes who failed to make the NFL and watched tepidly when the NFL season is over.
        Same in Japan, where the game has always had a decent footprint and lately a professional player pool but has huge competition from Football or Baseball for attention.

    2. FIFA obviously has problems, but they’re basically the problems you get when you have a kind of global democratic system. It’s basically impossible for FIFA to go around policing how every football association in the world acts so they all do deals behind the scenes (we’ll vote for this if you do us a favour) and thus you end up with the silliness of the Qatar World Cup. The people at the top might be corrupt, but it’s corruption from the bottom up that really causes those problems.

      World Rugby has an entirely different set of problems. It’s a closed shop with the people at the top lacking proper accountability and they view themselves as being untouchable on the basis of some kind of archaic honour/manners system. That’s why they’ll come down like a ton of bricks on Scotland here – it’s not that we did anything particularly outlandish, it’s that they’re mortally offended someone had the temerity to stand up to them in public and they know nobody (except maybe Italy) will stand up for us because they weren’t affected by it.

      I don’t believe World Rugby are match fixing, but I do think it’s fairly obvious New Zealand got in touch with them to advocate cancelling the Italy game. There was absolutely no reason, given typhoon forecasts are iffy at best, to cancel that game several days in advance rather than giving it a chance to go ahead. They did that because New Zealand were due to travel to Nagoya on the Friday and didn’t want to be stuck there all weekend.

    1. SA fully deserved winners. England not even close to them. So much for the media pundits post NZ match ..England world no.1 ..set to dominate for years….lol
      Nope ..sloppy seconds again…

    2. They did well though I did want England to win.
      At least that’s what I told myself….
      I think they had incredible defense which cut ball to England’s outside backs and narrowed the game and they got about 9 points from scrums.

      1. In the first 60 mins England looked the mostly like to score a try as with ball in hand they were cutting through SA but SA were bossing the set piece. Then on about 60 mins when England destroyed the SA scrum I thought that was the turning point and from there they would go on and win. Next thing they missed a 3 pointer and were suddenly 13 points down with a mountain to climb.

        It was a nervy game as always but better than some finals. Congrats to SA but you’re just keeping the trophy warm for us in 4 years time!!

      2. Didn’t look that nervy a game to me…it just looked like SA controlled the match…and won comfortably.
        It looked more like England had been lucky to catch NZ on a bad day and after a long rest period. Wales gave SA far more of a game with a few key players missing.

      3. Oh come on that is nonsense. England beat NZ more emphatically than I can remember anyone having done recently in a truly competitive match. They did a number on them – just as SA did today against England. The SA v Wales Semi-final was extremely low quality with both sides making numerous unforced errors despite the almost unique lack of ambition both sides displayed. SA looked night and day between that game and today. I think England peaked too early and simply couldn’t get themselves up to reach those heights two weekends running.

      4. Lots of ifs n buts…one could argue NZ peaked too early and the team that played Ireland ..England may have struggled against.
        England may not have performed as well against NZ if they had to have actually played against a top team prior to the NZ match…
        NZ played the poorest Ive ever seen against England …dropping balls and out of sync like I hadn’t seen before… just looked like a bad day at the office for them…whereas 5 or 6 England players played at their peak abilities. England played well …but I wouldn’t put money on the same result next time up.

    3. Bokke look like they were willing to hurt and to be hurt. England looked like they only wanted the first part of the deal (6 and 7 aside) – Game Over.

      I thought Lawes and Itoje in particular were made to look soft in the tackle, Ford was a target, Tuliagi absent, Daly rattled.

      Scotland can’t play like the Boks tactically, but if we could harness even half their intensity it would be a good start…

      1. That England side are beatable at Murrayfield but not if we give them the ball. South Africa kicked much less than usual yesterday. If we kick the ball away, as Walter Mitty instructs his players to do, we will get humped by these arrogant usurpers.

      2. If we give cheap ball to the top 8 sides its a cert you will lose.
        Unless GT stops that wont be a pretty 6N or rather under his management.
        He needs to reset what he was trying to do and make some big changes otherwise he wont even last beyond the 6N.
        In fact he is lucky it looks like he has that.

      3. Englands forward pack ..with the exception of a couple of scrums…generally got shredded.
        Itoje…I find it amazing how he isn’t penalized more than he is. He kind of reminds on a more athletic version of Ryan Wilson….not a particularly skillful player…but annoying to play against..Was nullified.
        Tuilagi …was apparently playing? who knew?
        Farrell soooo overated it isn’t funny. They cant decide between him as 10 or 12 really because he isn’t great at either. Solid player nothing more or less.
        Ford… often looks like a wee boy throwing his toys oot the pram. When SA targeted him ..that was his match over.
        Curry and Underhill look their best players…
        Vunipola just plays like a lump of lard with legs…looking more and more useless each match he plays…keep picking him Eng!
        and Jones…overated tactician…gets lost in his own arrogance and doesn’t see that’s what is happening.

      4. The English media kept on bigging up England’s ability to pepper the South African backline – specifically Cheslin Kolbe, who’s shorter and was returning from injury – with high balls which England’s wingers could win.

        In actuality, South Africa hammered England aerially. At one point, Kolbe himself won a South African kick aimed at Elliot Daly.

  10. Why wouldn’t you start Schoeman last night, that’s one of the tougher group games and he’s much better than others in his position. Can’t argue with the result. Different story with all the forwards available. Toolis had his feet up in Japan, where is he. Mark Bennett solid again, surely Walter Mitty will get him involved in the 6N.

    1. Bennettks looks sharp. Solid defensively …excellent on the run.
      Actually him and Scott, who is playing the best Ive seen him for years too, look a good combo in the midfield.
      We don’t have a settled combo for Scotland ….so these guys surely will get their chance if they hold their form.

      1. We should call up five centres for the Six Nations: Bennett, Hutchinson, Johnson, Scott, and whichever of Grigg/Harris/Horne/Jones/McDowall/Taylor most impresses. Steyn should also be there as a wing.

      2. I think they could be a good option if they stay fit. A very complimentary partnership with no real weaknesses outside of the injury concerns.

  11. Very disappointing in atrocious conditions. The normally reliable WDW culpable by missing a couple of “getable” penalties. However the aforementioned conditions & the fact that Benetton are a well coached & professional team doesn’t make the result too bad. Not very much from the backs, likely wasn’t a game perfectly suited to Hickey but surprised that he didn’t get 20mins. Biggest smile on my face all evening was for the continued rude health & good form of Mark Bennett

  12. The worrying thing is these are the close games we lost last year that cost us a place in the playoff. I thought Benneton looked a poorer side than last year, albeit with a lot of players missing, it’s a game that we should have won. I agree Schoeman should have played, playing Bhatti at home next week at dragons would have made more sense but the scrum was decent nonetheless, Ceccarelli has done a decent job so far this season, bit disappointing mccallum didn’t come on, is he not trusted at present?

    Positives were the breakdown where we had total dominance, scrum and the backs did well with what little ball came out wide. I still think there’s a negativity around the performances away from home that is hampering us, the conditions were awful last night so understandable to put it up the jumper a bit but if we had trusted the backs with a bit more ball last night we almost certainly would have caused them more problems, case in point was hammering the line for 6 mins on half time and not being willing to go wide.

  13. Not strictly on topic , but not off it either , so here goes

    Any news on Hamish Watson ? Expected time out etc

  14. I thought Jones was completely anonymous, by far the quietest of Glasgow’s backs, and seemed largely disinterested unfortunately – a huge talent who Scottish Rugby seems in danger of wasting.

    1. I thought he was carved out actually , some straight to wing efforts of carry back to the forwards by Horne, but what little ball he had , he worked well IMO. He got his tackles in as well. The worst moment was when Fagerson went wide to no -one with Jones on his right shoulder. I am beginning to wonder what is going in the Glasgow changing rooms.

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion