European Teams Roundup

This weekend it is a second quickly squeezed-in round of European games before the festive double-headers, with Edinburgh visiting Wasps knowing an away win could put them in a very good position indeed and Glasgow looking to back up a strong win away in France with the same (or better) at home.

It also means another week, another international retirement – this time Tommy Seymour is hanging up the Scotland shirt after a very useful career including 20 tries, 55 caps and a Lions tour where he was the top try scorer. He’s still only 31 so could continue to be useful to Glasgow for a few seasons yet.

Wasps vs Edinburgh

Date: Sat 14 December 2019
KO: 15:00
Venue: Ricoh Arena

Any sort of result here keeps Edinburgh in the hunt in their pool, but an away win would be a serious plus. It’s a little less likely with a team missing a few senior players (Matt Scott, Blair Kinghorn, Grant Gilchrist, John Barclay) but it could be enough if Wasps continue to misfire – they fell off badly in the second half at Murrayfield.

It’s a good chance to see a fresh second-row pairing of Lewis Carmichael and Sam Thomson too. Thomson has had quite an interesting rugby career even for 25 and was thought to be on the verge of a Super Rugby deal when Cockerill called him home.

As mentioned above, several players are rested or injured so you wouldn’t quite call it the first XV but the bench still looks stacked with power including Scotland captain Stuart McInally and Magnus Bradbury, as well as the return of WP Nel in the front row.

Fun fact: Wasps winger Josh Bassett was born in Edinburgh.

Wasps: 15. Matteo Minozzi, 14. Marcus Watson, 13. Malakai Fekitoa, 12. Jimmy Gopperth, 11. Josh Bassett, 10. Lima Sopoaga, 9. Will Porter; 1. Ben Harris, 2. Tommy Taylor, 3. Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 4. Tim Cardall, 5. Charlie Matthews, 6. Ashley Johnson, 7. Thomas Young (c), 8. Nizaam Carr.
Replacements: 16. Gabriel Oghre, 17. Tom West, 18. Bi Alo, 19. Theo Vukasinovic, 20. Ben Morris, 21. Sam Wolstenholme, 22. Jacob Umaga, 23. Juan De Jongh.

Edinburgh Rugby: 15. Damien Hoyland, 14. Darcy Graham, 13. James Johnstone, 12. George Taylor, 11. Jamie Farndale, 10. Simon Hickey, 9. Nic Groom (capt); 1. Rory Sutherland, 2. Mike Willemse, 3. WP Nel, 4. Sam Thomson, 5. Lewis Carmichael, 6. Jamie Ritchie, 7. Hamish Watson, 8. Viliame Mata.
Replacements: 16. Stuart McInally, 17. Jamie Bhatti, 18. Simon Berghan, 19. Ben Toolis, 20. Magnus Bradbury, 21. Charlie Shiel, 22. Jaco van der Walt, 23. Mark Bennett.

Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)

Edinburgh unavailable: Eroni Sau, Cameron Fenton, John Barclay, Rory Darge, Luke Crosbie, Matt Scott, Chris Dean, Fraser McKenzie

This should be the link for the livestream: https://epcrugby.com/challenge-cup/latest-video/epcrtv/r4/ (not guaranteed, if not follow the main EPCRTV link and register).

Glasgow Warriors vs La Rochelle

Date: Sat 14 December 2019
KO: 17:15
Venue: Scotstoun Stadium

Big news for Glasgow this week are the transfer rumours linking both Leone Nakarawa and Nick Abendanon with moves to Scotstoun. Nakarawa has been let go by Racing92 and the prevailing wisdom seems to be he’ll sign a short term deal with his former club till the end of the season then move on to somewhere with a bigger chequebook thereafter, assuming the disciplinary issues that saw him given the boot don’t resurface.

Experienced fullback Abendanon (33) is also being let go by a French club (in better circumstances) and a solid set of hands at the back could be something that Danny Wilson would consider as a stopgap measure while he takes stock of potential talent in the academies that could be brought through.

On to the game, and Glasgow pulled off a great win in France last weekend that travelled under the radar a little, perhaps because performances have been so poor otherwise. This week Dave Rennie has named a strong team including the first start for Aki Seiuli at loosehead; but otherwise it looks like a first choice pack.

A start for Huw Jones will please his fans and all in all it looks like a fast-paced team with Kyle Steyn continuing a stint on the wing while Sam Johnson drops out of the 23 altogether in favour of Ruaridh Jackson on the bench. Worth a watch for the mullet alone.

Glasgow Warriors: 15. Tommy Seymour, 14. Niko Matawalu, 13. Huw Jones, 12. Stafford McDowell, 11. Kyle Steyn, 10. Adam Hastings, 9. Ali Price, 1. Aki Seiuli, 2. Fraser Brown, 3. Zander Fagerson, 4. Scott Cummings, 5. Jonny Gray, 6. Ryan Wilson, 7. Callum Gibbins (capt), 8. Matt Fagerson.
Replacements: 16. George Turner, 17. Alex Allan, 18. Adam Nicol, 19. Robert Harley, 20. Tom Gordon, 21. George Horne, 22. Nick Grigg, 23. Ruaridh Jackson.

La Rochelle: 15. Kini Murimurivalu, 14. Jules Favre, 13. Brieuc Plessis-Couillaud, 12. Levani Botia, 11. Marc Andreu, 10. Brock James, 9. Alexi Bales, 1. Reda Wardi, 2. Facundo Bosch, 3. Sila Puafisi, 4. Thomas Lavault, 5. Mathieu Tanguy, 6. Kevin Gourdon (c), 7. Paul Boudehent, 8. Grégory Alldritt.
Replacements: 16. Brendan Lebrun, 17. Dany Priso, 18. Vincent Pelo, 19. Rémi Leroux, 20. Zeno Kieft, 21. Thomas Berjon, 22. Ihaia West, 23. Pierre Aguillon.

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)

Glasgow unavailable: Nick Frisby (ankle), Oli Kebble (head), Siua Halanukonuka (calf), Pete Horne (head), Paddy Kelly (hamstring), Kiran McDonald (hip), D’arcy Rae (hand), Ratu Tagive (hamstring), Brandon Thomson (calf) and Jale Vakaloloma (shoulder).

Exiles

Finn Russell switches to the bench this week for Racing92’s visit to Ospreys (picked at 23) as does Greig Laidlaw for Clermont. Somewhat forgotten man (2 caps) James Lang starts for Harlequins as does Sean Maitland for Saracens. Recovering from a knock that cut short a blistering performance last weekend, Stuart Hogg starts for Exeter against a Sale team featuring Byron McGuigan (and Cameron Redpath). Locks Alex Craig and Richie Gray both start their games.

Chris Harris and Duncan Taylor are all named in the replacements for their clubs.

In the Challenge Cup Alex Dunbar, Duncan Weir and Cornell du Preez all start this weekend but no sign of Blade Thomson.

Referee Sam Grove-White takes charge of Scarlets v Bayonne.

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62 comments on “European Teams Roundup

  1. Sam Benedict on

    HEAD TO HEADS:

    Wasps vs Edinburgh
    Minozzi; Graham, Fekitoa, Gopperth, Hoyland; Sopoaga, Groom; Sutherland, Taylor, Nel; Cardall, Carmichael; Ritchie, Watson; Mata
    (McInally, Bhatti, Berghan, Toolis, Bradbury, Shiel, van der Walt, Bennett)
    BACKS: Wasps
    FORWARDS: Edinburgh
    REPLACEMENTS: Edinburgh

    Glasgow Warriors vs La Rochelle
    Murimurivalu; Matawalu, Jones, Botia, Seymour; Hastings, Price; Seiuli, Brown, Fagerson; Cummings, Gray; Gourdon, Gibbins; Alldritt
    (Turner, Priso, Nicol, Harley, Kieft, Horne, West, Jackson)
    BACKS: Glasgow Warriors
    FORWARDS: Glasgow Warriors
    BENCH: Glasgow Warriors

    Warriors need to win this one, especially at home. The Edinburgh game could go either way, should be a good match.

    “Somewhat forgotten man” can be Darryl Marfo’s superhero name.

  2. Rj on

    Good rotation for the capital men. Hopefully WP comes through unscathed and competes for a place next week, it would appear cecerrelli might start next week which would be thoroughly deserved. Be interesting how the scrum goes this week without Schoeman, big opportunity to fight for the bench spot next week.

  3. Grumpy on

    I could do with a good game from Ali Price. I am struggling to pick out which of Glasgow’s scrummies is the first choice. While contingency and diversity is key to Glasgow , it is no endorsement of Ali Price who should have , by now, been standing out as the first choice Scotland SH.

    • Sam Laycock on

      I think Price should be adding goal kicking to his skill set. When Laidlaw hangs up his boots Scotland will likely have only Russel as a goal kicker. But he’s a bit up and down and we’ve seen it effect the rest of his game. Hastings is good but only if he’s on the pitch and that means loosing either Russel at 10 or Hogg at FB.
      It’s quite a big issue for GT and we’re going to need an international class goal kicker in 2020 could be that GT has asked Laidlaw not to retire just yet.

  4. Neil on

    Solid tough win for Edinburgh who lacked familiarity & some firepower in the backline.

    Wasps lucky to get even that single try. one broken tackle.

  5. TeamCam on

    Edinburgh made hard work of a pretty poor Wasps side. Monstered them in the scrum. And, in a shocking turn of events, Raynal had a reasonably good game. Even enforced the offside line for the first half.

  6. Rj on

    Poor fare in Coventry but a great result considering the names not playing. The scrum was excellent again but lineout and maul still needing plenty of work. Not sure the box kicking game works so well with Groom playing, his kicks are not as accurate as Pyrgos. Would rather see us run it more when him or shiel are playing.

    Some big decisions in selection next week. On the wing, if sau isn’t fit I’d be playing Farndale or hoyland ahead of graham who has looked well short of form so far.

  7. Sam Laycock on

    I thought that was a very gutsy away win for Edinburgh. Wasps were much more up for it than last week and Edinburgh rotated their front row, second row, half backs, centres and back 3.

      • Sotonsaltire on

        Who are ’they’ and why do you assume they will be back?

        There are so many factors at play

        1. The team is mince
        2. The fixture list is all over the place and has been since the Premier Sports deal. It worked having as many games as possible on a Friday evening
        3. Rangers are doing better
        4. Rennie is going
        5. Recruitment has been awful
        6. Complacency of the sru that the job was done with Glasgow

        As I have been posting all season the crowd are dwindling, now at an alarming rate. Last night was a home European game and it was deserted. No queues for catering outlets, thousands of people leaving before the end (a pet hate of mine), no atmosphere. Quite a rapid and sad decline.

      • Scott M on

        It’s the ticket prices. £32 a ticket is obscene, and that’s for the ‘cheap’ seats and for games against the likes of zebre. I thought it was pretty expensive when they moved to Scotstoun but I could get a main stand ticket for £25 and that was for big European opposition, fans could get an east or west stand ticket for £15.

        I honestly think they’re pricing regular fans out of the game at Scotstoun. I’m a big fan, have been going and watching Glasgow regularly for about 11 years now. But given the ticket prices I haven’t been to Scotstoun atall this season, I’ve got Premier and BT so just watch the games on the TV.

        Side note, I went to Edinburgh v Scarlets and the tickets were £15 each.

        They need to redevelop Scotstoun or find somewhere where they can accommodate more fans and stop the nonsense ticket prices.

      • Campbell B on

        I agree with Point 2 . Friday night is the best night for Rugby in Glasgow. Similar prices to Edinburgh would be acceptable.

  8. Busy Little Bee on

    Dave Rennie is a total conman. Also, the instruction not to kick for the 3 points must be either his decision or endorsed by him. It’s simple maths.

  9. Tam tm on

    Its a mighty sad sight down at Scotstoun. Something or someone needs to put things square soon. Again psychologically there are behaviours which are easily coached and put right. However, if things are left too long players will join the national squad in the new year carrying negative thoughts and behaviours potentially back in to an already negative cultured environment. I would love to know what Toonie and his staff have been considering to change the culture and environment. This is the first block to put right before tactics. PLEASE TOONIE HIT THE BASICS FIRST!!!Or have I have I got the picture wrong?

    • Bazz on

      I think its 3 factors

      1. A shocking world cup campaign which has deflated the confidence of our returning internationals.

      2. Poor recruitment / budget constraints.

      3. Dave Rennie leaving at the end of this season. When a coach is on the way out, teams suffer as a result…its a common phenomenon.

      Its a real shame that all 3 of these factors are working in tandem atm.

  10. Tam tm on

    Surely someone who overseas everything with vision and ability to observe from above comes in and puts things straight – Surely this is what Jim Mallinder is employed to do. Or if you were in his shoes would you tread carefully not to step on anyone else’s feet? Damn it man – get the job done – put it right!

  11. Bazz on

    Leinster just beat Northampton 50-21 at home in front of a 42,000 strong crowd.

    Glasgow just lost to La Rochelle 7-12 at home in front of 6,800.

    Says it all really.

  12. pragmatic optomist on

    It was a close match against a team that won the Top 14 recently and have an expensive pack. Glasgow lost due to decision making (their own and Wayne Barnes!) Not a Glasgow rugby night, with driving rain and high winds. Hardly surprising that a grinding kind of game was lost and many of the crowd stayed away. The doomsayers are all out in force. Not sure what your point is about the crowds Bazz?

  13. Neil on

    Things have all been going downhill for Scottish Rugby since Scott Johnson left.. watch what happens to Australia they are going to grow & be successful as long as he is there.

  14. S. Drummond on

    Have puzzled for some time over the lack of on field leadership at Warriors who seem to take wrong option time after time. Last night we turned down kickable first half penalties with the wind in the first half and in 2nd half opted to take out ball from the back of the scrum when we were still going forward and ref had already pinged them several times.Gibbins,Wilson, Harley are not those who show true leadership and they usually are struggling with their own performances. Other complaints about price of our tickets compared to Edinburgh are valid but I am more concerned about time being lost at scrum set time which last night reduced actual playing time by 15+% making value for money a joke. Accept conditions were dire as was Barnes lack of action at scrum time and French offside .

    • Jonny Blake on

      Should we just do away with the scrum ? Rugby league seem to have it right , get the game moving again as quick as possible . In reality the competition is out of the scrum now, changes over many years have neutralized the scrum. I can see no need to have the biggest men on the planet playing alongside true athletes. Put 6 men in the scrum and drop the other two , reduce the forwards, increase the backs and make it great to watch.

      • Grant on

        Johnny , just go and watch rugby league .
        Make all offences at a scrum a free kick , with the proviso if you kick to touch you get the line out ( Aka a non scoring penalty )

        Get the game moving no grinding for kickable penalties

        Also, once the ref has said use it , the team meaning to use it can no longer be awarded a penalty or free kick ie the have to play the ball

      • Campbell B on

        Jonny’s point is poorly made and I see where he is going. Rugby Union is now closer to League than ever. If you dont like scrums , I agree with Grant, just watch rugby League. This is just my opinion , but the scrum was reshaped as much if not more for the benefit of spectators than it was under the disguise of Safety. A lot of fun left the game.

        I dislike rugby league , always have done, it lacks the complexity of union however as a spectator sport , it is easier to understand if you have never played the game. There was a great skill in the scrum in pre-professional union however that was a game for the player not the spectator. If people are annoyed with scrums , maybe league is the game for them. As for me , union through and through , and I would love to take the scrum back to the days when it was competitive . But that will not happen and I am just gratefully I played my rugby when I did . It really was a better game for the Player.

      • TeamCam on

        No, that’s a terrible idea. What would be better would be to have a dedicated scrum ref who knows what they’re doing and to have the clocks stopped from the moment a scrum is awarded to the moment a scrum is completed. Same with lineouts and penalties.

  15. Lochinverboy on

    Agreed Stu. Kick the penalties. It’s top level stuff. We would have won easily given the conditions. Floaty passes held up in the wind when keeping it tight made sense, particularly when Rennie alluded to that change turning last week’s. Where is the Leadership? Harum scarum going lateral then dropped. Edinburgh would simply have kept it tight given the weather and ground it out. It was there.

  16. Stu2 on

    A huge concern for. Scotland is G Horne was once again guff – he’s experienced enough to know not to make some of the brainless decisions he is making.

    He needs to stop forcing the game when it’s not on.

  17. NorthI127 on

    Warriors should be doing better than they are and I share some concerns about maturity, patience and leadership. Gibbins was superb in his first season but does not seem the same player now (injuries taking their toll?). We seem weak at 7. Fuzzy is technically very good but gets blown off the ball due to size. Matt Smith seemed a great prospect but does not seems to be playing any rugby (Glasgow or Super6). Tom Gordon has had one good game.
    This may get me pelters…… We have 3 very good scrum halves = an area of weakness at Edinburgh. (Dobie is going to leapfrog our current first choices once he gets game time.) Frisby will hopefully be let go at season end. We have a problem at back row and Edinburgh have more quality than they can give game time. Do we need an M8 swap before next season? Ritchie is behind Watson in Edinburgh and for Scotland’s sake needs to be starting in big games. Glasgow could really use him.

    • pragmatic optomist on

      I’m with you North127. Both Gibbins and Fusaro were very good players, but are now at the back end of their careers and are not as quick as they used to be. Ryan Wilson is a utility back rower for me. He can play every position but is not big enough for no 8. Fagerson is a fast no 8 but is probably still undersized for the role. Given the type of game Glasgow like to play, they need to blast people away at the breakdown and they’re not doing it. The youngsters don’t seem to have progressed at the same rate as they seem to do at Leinster. Although it’s a luxury position to have the best 2 Scottish scrum halfs in Glasgow, it might be better to swap one for a top open side.

    • Sam Laycock on

      No chance you’re getting Watson, Ritchie, Mata or Bradbury.

      Barclay, Crosbie, Haining, Kunavalu, Miller on the other hand I’d be sorry to see any of them leave but for Ali Price it would be very worth while.

  18. Grumpy on

    I would disagree , I think they have different strengths but there is not much between them, Dobie has immaturity but genuine skill, Horne is fast and skillful , just needs experience and can be bullied, Frisby has maturity , Price has none of the above and IMO is as good as he will ever be , the game has moved on , he has not, maturity will not improve him. The choice of SH at Glasgow will be easy one day , but right now, it is a compromise.

  19. Csc on

    Keep the scrum, but replace scrum penalties with a free kick, with the exception of professional fouls ( handling etc)).

  20. Andy_N on

    Two of the most disappointing Glasgow results over the past 12 months have been the Final at Celtic Park and that game on Saturday – both played in absolutely miserable weather. I think we just have to accept that we’re fast track ponies, and we’re going to need to find a way to grind it out when the weather looks like being a factor. It didn’t look to me as though we played the conditions at all – no discernible difference in our approach either with or against the wind (apart from all getting a bit harum scarum in the second half). We looked significantly better when we went through multiple phases with forwards taking ball at pace, but we seemed to lack the patience to do that for more than 2 or 3 phases – contrast that with Leinster and Munster who’ll happily batter away with the big boys for multiple phases.

    Re not taking kicks at goal – I get that we were looking for bonus points, but if we’d managed to open up a 9/12 point lead, then I think we would have seen La Rochelle start to fall out of the game. Just because we wanted 4 tries, doesn’t mean we had to try and get them all in the first half – worryingly brainless stuff.

    • Rob on

      Just because we wanted 4 tries, doesn’t mean we had to try and get them all in the first half – worryingly brainless stuff. Seems to be a Scottish traite

  21. Rob on

    Glasgow Warriors have announced that assistant coach Jason O’Halloran will leave at the end of the season. No surprise!!!

  22. Alanyst on

    Glasgow are like a half team…too many senior players only doing half of their job (J. Gray top of that list, closely followed by R Wilson), a captain who doesn’t know how to talk to the ref after 7 penalties in a row, a “utility” back row of three 6.5s, a wing at full back, often a centre at 10 (P. Horne), no fly-half on the bench (yes, Jackson, but picked at 23) and a replacement tight head who doesn’t get on the pitch.

    Coaches with one foot out of the door…and their minds are wandering. Seriously the western Jibrovia 2nd XV is probably better organised.

    Cummings showed some form at least, apart from the prominent knock on. Both the Fagersons also played well, barring the red card incident. Steyn had a decent game off left wing.

  23. S Drummond on

    Read Peter Wright talking about troubled times at the Warriors and love his comments which are always insightful and honest and I am sure they are not always welcomed by our management or at SRU HQ. Looking for two huge performances v Edinburgh and hope we do not get ‘pumped’ and re Brandon Thompson I disagree with Peter as I think Thompson has been very good in most games he has played (excluding last visit to Wales) and his reward has always been to be dropped in favour of others. He deserves a run before the 6 Nations start and then judge him. Duncan Weir would be mad to come back North as long as GT in charge of National team as no love lost between them!!

  24. S Drummond on

    Hey Posh Man
    Think you have mixed these serious grown up features with your usual read from D C Thompson!!

  25. Rob on

    Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw has announced his retirement from international rugby after 76 caps. The 34-year-old Clermont scrum-half is second on the all-time points list for Scotland with 714. Laidlaw has led the national team 39 times, more than anyone else, and becomes the third senior player to quit the national team after the World Cup.

  26. Sam Benedict on

    1872 Cup team announcements dropping soon. The worst part of this is always our lads injuring each other, so I hope we don’t have any knocks at Scotstoun or Murrayfield.

    Probably a Harley-Wilson-Gibbins back row for Warriors, with Swinson and Gordon on the bench; our half-backs, meanwhile, I’m guessing will be Pyrgos and van der Walt. I think George Taylor will get a start; possibly alongside Mark Bennett.

  27. Samuel Laycock on

    The Glasgow team picks itself for the most part, there’s just not much option.
    Will be interesting to see what back row Edinburgh go for. I think I’d like to see Bradbury, Mata and Ritchie start. It’s always fun to watch a pi%#ed off Watson come off the bench and skittle the opposition like a bowling ball.
    Also be good if Gordon is in the Glasgow 23 as I think Watson owes him one from the last match.

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