Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Pro14 Team News and more arrivals at Glasgow

PRO14 Logo

Both Scotland’s pro sides announced their matchday squads for this weekend’s fixtures, whilst Glasgow also reported 2 further player signings who will be joining in the summer whilst a familiar face has returned in a coaching capacity.

We’ll start with the Glasgow signings then. Having earlier in the week announcing the capture of Scottish qualified Sione Tuipulotu to the backs, the Warriors have strengthened their back-row options with Edinburgh pair Ally Miller and Rory Darge upping sticks and heading west.

Having secured their first-choice options of Jamie Ritchie, Hamish Watson, and Villiame Mata on new contracts, plus a new deal for former ballet dancer* and Scotland international Nick Haining, Miller and former u20’s captain Darge have found opportunities limited in the capital, so will be looking to follow in the footsteps of Fraser Brown and former Warriors captain Al Kellock in moving from the capital to attain more game time.

Following Kelly Brown’s departure from the coaching division for family reasons, Danny Wilson welcomes another former Warrior to his platoon in Peter Murchie.

A club centurion and Pro12 winner, Murchie spent eight years with the side, picking up three Scotland caps along the way despite having to play understudy to some young lad called Stuart Hogg – who has gone on to have a semi-decent career so far – for a large part of it. Murchie in fact played the majority of the 13/14 season, including the Pro12 Grand Final, when Hogg himself admits he was acting like “Billy Big Boots”.

Moving from the head coach position at Super 6 side Ayrshire Bulls, Murchie said: “It’s really good to be back at Scotsoun.

“I learnt a tremendous amount during my time at Ayr – for me, it was vital that I had that experience. You learn on the job in a way, because it’s very different to being a player. You make mistakes and you learn from those. I’m incredibly grateful to Ayr – they’re a great club and I’m eternally thankful to them.”

As for Saturday’s lunchtime fixture against Zebre, Danny Wilson has made only a few changes to the side that stood up so valiantly against reigning champions Leinster last week following Adam Hastings’ red card. (N.B Hastings has received a three-week ban for his dismissal which rules him out of this fixture, Glagow’s game against Ospreys and Scotland v Ireland, and Scotland v Italy.)

Ross Thompson starts at stand-off in Hastings’ stead, there’s a shake-up in the engine room which sees Richie Gray take a rest and the “not quite match-fit” – to be as polite as possible – Leone Nakarawa drop to the bench with Rob Harley and Hamish Bain taking their places in the starting line-up.

Harley’s vacation of the blindside flanker spot hands a first start to Gregor Brown, and he’ll be joined in the back-row by Tom Gordon and captain Ryan Wilson, who leads the time for the 50th time.

Also of note is a possible debut for former Munster player Ian Keatley, although it’s safe to say it won’t be the veteran’s first rodeo.

Sunday afternoon will see Edinburgh host Benetton, looking to bounce back from two home defeats in a row which includes last week’s agonising loss to Scarlets.

Richard Cockerill has made half a dozen changes to the starting XV of that defeat, Dave Cherry released from Scotland camp to replace Mike Willemse but Andrew Davidson replaces Grant Gilchrist who is being held back by Scotland ahead of next week’s Six Nations fixture against Ireland. George Turner is unavailable for Glasgow due to Scotland duty, so we can probably bet (N.B responsibly, mind) on him starting at hooker against the men from the Emerald Isle.

Further changes in the pack see Villame Mata miss out through injury, so Luke Crosbie moves up from the bench spot he took last week to start at blindside, Nick Haining moves to no:8, and Ally Miller – the ink from his impending move to Glasgow still drying – starts at the openside berth.

The last two of six changes occurs at the key half-back positions, where the young duo of Charlie Shiel and Nathan Chamberlain replace Henry Pyrgos and the injured Jaco van der Walt, respectively.

From the bench, Mark Bennett is in line to make his 50th appearance for Edinburgh to go alongside his 50+ appearances for Glasgow, and keeping up the seemingly Ayr-oriented theme to today’s news, 20-year old stand-off Charlie Savala could make his debut.

Savala’s dad is from the west coast seaside town which makes the Sydney-born youngster eligible to represent Scotland should he make the grade, and wee Charlie even treaded the boards at Millbrae as a child when visiting on holiday.

Glasgow Warriors: Ollie Smith, Rufus McLean, Huw Jones,
Sam Johnson, Cole Forbes, Ross Thompson, Jamie Dobie;
Oli Kebble, Grant Stewart, Enrique Pieretto, Rob Harley,
Hamish Bain, Gregor Brown, Thomas Gordon, Ryan Wilson

Replacements: Johnny Matthews, Dylan Evans, D’arcy Rae,
James Scott, Leone Nakarawa, Sean Kennedy, Ian Keatley,
Nick Grigg

Edinburgh: Damien Hoyland, Jack Blain, James Johnstone,
George Taylor, Eroni Sau, Nathan Chamberlain, Charlie Shiel;
Pierre Schoeman, David Cherry, Lee-Roy Atalifo,
Magnus Bradbury, Andrew Davidson, Luke Crosbie, Ally Miller, Nick Haining

Replacements: Mike Willemse, Boan Venter, Simon Berghan, Andries Ferriera, Mesu Kunavula, Henry Pyrgos, Charlie Savala, Mark Bennett

20 Responses

    1. One has to assume so in the absence of anyone else or a major rabbit out of the hat (otherwise known as Thompson, Chamberlain or Savala playing like they are rugby gods).

    2. Stuart Hogg – Sean Maitland – Huw Jones – Sam Johnson – Duhan Van Der Merwe – Finn Russell – Ali Price – Matt Fagerson – Hamish Watson – Jamie Ritchie – Jonny Gray – Scott Cummings – Simon Berghan – George Turner – Rory Sutherland

      Darcy Graham – Chris Harris – Jamie Dobie – Blade Thomson – Richie Gray – Willem Nel – David Cherry – Oli Kebble

      Hogg to 10 if needed.

  1. This Edinburgh game is a good opportunity for Charlie Shiel and Chamberlain. Shiel needs to stake his claim, he’s been a prospect for too long now its time to step up, especially with vellacot arriving. Chamberlain will hopefully get a lot more fast ball playing alongside him so let’s see if he can unlock a pro defence.

  2. God forbid anything happens to Finn in Racing’s match.

    Looks like Ntamack and Vakatawa will be back for France by the time we play them. Looking more and more like a kick in the balls for us, though I’d rather play any game than be gifted a forfeit.

      1. He was but now he’s playing. I think because Scotland have had such a long lay off but not clear if it was racing or Scotland’s request.

    1. I would take a forfeit with no shame. France could have found 15 men with a pair of boots IMO. We need to get a bit more like Wales, it is not the taking part , it is winning that counts.

      1. I think money talks. 6N organisers will be desperate for the game to go ahead because of broadcasting revenue etc. and so they will want to avoid a forfeit. I have a feeling France will get off scot-free if you pardon the pun.
        From a fan’s perspective their negligence has put a real dampener on our 6N – four weeks without a game is really disappointing. Can you imagine the outcry if Toonie, Jones or Farrell broke COVID protocols. I can see us having to play three weekends in a row which means we would forfeit our rest weekends assuming clubs agree to release our players on the last weekend of March

  3. Good to see Warriors sign 2 young players from Edinburgh who cant cut it there, after having lost 2 back row players earlier in the season who walked away from the game because of the way they were treated

    1. Darge is a former u20 captain and has moved to get game time, he’s very highly rated. It’s a bit early to be writing him off – look how well Fraser Brown and George Turner turned out. Ally Miller is doing it the hard way but at this point has been turning in performances every bit as good as Crosbie and Bradbury this season. He’ll improve options at Glasgow and get plenty of game time so I don’t really get the negativity.

      It was a real shame Rennie seemed to create an environment where some players like Matt Smith felt they weren’t getting a fair crack. When he played, he played well. He would have seen lots of minutes this season.

      Noises from the camp seems to be that Wilson is better in this regard. I don’t think flockhart left the squad through lack of opportunities, he was getting games and would be an integral squad member now. I’m not sure what the issue was but maybe you know differently?

      1. I was talking about Ashe and Flockhart both of whom I felt got a raw deal under Rennie. I think if they had both been given a decent run of games in the team they would have proved themselves very talented players. I had forgotten about Smith who you are right to point out was treated in a similar manner. All of these players have been lost to the game which is a shame given we have a small pool of players to call on in comparison to other 6 nation countries.

      2. Flockhart got chances under Rennie and should be a key part of the squad now – I think his absence is related to something else.

        Ashe had plenty of chances, he didn’t take them and he isn’t terribly missed in my opinion. Should have been good but didn’t really work out.

  4. Interesting times at the Warriors. The signings on paper of mainly unknowns look promising – as they always do before they pull on a jersey. It would appear that Danny Wilson has been tasked with developing a new, fairly young and relatively inexperienced team to take the club forward into a new expanded Pro 14 (18) era.
    Time will tell if this approach bares fruit or whether another tough season or two kills the momentum of rugby in the west.

  5. Off topic but has anyone worked out how/when you can buy/enter the ballot for tickets for France 23 but not in a country or city package? I’ve signed up on the website but could only see options for packages. Thanks in advance for any info!

  6. Once more, Glasgow forwards on the Zebre line and just keep banging away going NOWHERE!!!! No secondary move. Then 2 tries in 2min by Zebre … pitiful defence

  7. Sloppy from Glasgow conceding 2 quick-fire tries just before half-time while Zebre down to 14. It is a young team but they need to be winning this match.

You might also like these:

Craig is joined by Jonny and Rory to look back at the disappointing end to Edinburgh's season and Glasgow's march towards the semi finals.
Gregor Townsend has named a largely experimental squad for the summer tour of the Americas. It's not a question of who misses out, but rather who is actually going, writes Rory.
Iain is joined by Jonny and John to discuss the penultimate round of URC fixtures as well as the recent Scottish Rugby Writers' Awards
Craig is joined by John on the injured reserve list to have a wee look at the URC action from the weekend.

Scottish Rugby News and Opinion