So the other night I was out in my shed, trying to finish off the bed/woodwork project I have been working on this summer (mostly while having to suffer football on the wireless) and listening to BBC Radio Scotland’s live broadcast from the Glasgow vs Sale game (which I think Gregor may have a report on for you soon). Apologies if this turns into Dr Seuss.
I’m an open-minded guy. I’ve tried sushi, and I even watched ‘The Proposal’ with my girlfriend, once.
So when I arrived in Canada to play rugby I did so without expectations. A good thing I did, too. Within my first two days I received cultural shocks; shocks that highlighted the differences, both rugby-related and social in nature, between New World rugby nations, and ‘established’ ones.
A quick post on last night’s bore-fest against Japan.
Free entry, a free programme, minimal queues to grab a beer and a sunny evening. The perfect recipe then to see a strong Scotland side warm up with a convincing victory over a Japan select? Well not really, as despite all the potential it was really a bit boring.
Just had this in the inbox, might be of interest to any of you going to Dublin this weekend:
Fans get to question international legends in free event Former Scotland scrum half Andy Nicol heads up a list of rugby legends speaking at the Arlington Hotel, Dublin, ahead of Scotland’s game with Ireland at Croke Park on March 20th.
Inverness Caledonian Stadium will host the opening match of Scotland’s U20s Six Nations campaign against France, and there is even a possibility of a “local” lad being in the frame in the form of a Caithness player:
Friday 5th Feb at 7.30, free entry. Wrap up warm. Very warm.
Also, the IRB have announced the ticket prices for RWC New Zealand 2011. More on this at a later date, but don’t worry they are not on sale until April.
UPDATE: And one last little snippet: Scotland have lost their opening IRB Sevens pool matches in Dubai against Fiji and Samoa, but did manage to get a draw against Zimbabwe.
Anyone else find the Argentina game a bit dull? Okay so we were beaten and probably deserved it on the basis of the utterly forgetful second half. But for me the most exciting things about the match were the following:
- Being able to move along three sections, thereby getting a decent West stand seat for a tenner and with no-one behind us, standing up for the whole match to get the flavour of a (deserted) terrace / keep warm.
- Al barking in derision as Scotland’s play grew more inept and their loss grew more inevitable, scaring a young girl so that she jumped out of her seat several rows away. Apologies to you and your family, he did look scary with his moustache though didn’t he?
- Not having to queue for a beer, due to the overall attendance being only slightly more than turn out to watch Edinburgh every week.
Disappointing, but well done to Andy Robinson for restoring a little bit of hope at one point there. Well done too to Ireland who look like just about the finished article scrapping to a win over the Boks, and also to Australia and New Zealand for nicely finishing off the autumn test period with a bit of, well, rugby. Onwards and upwards to the Six Nations for us, we hope. I reckon we can beat Italy and Wales this year at least, if Gregor can sort our backs out. Robbo seems to know how to get the forwards working, and there’s a solid defence to build around. D-fence wins Super Bowls, but you get the feeling it won’t win you a Six Nations. Would you want it to?
Congrats are also due to Ayr for getting a 28-13 victory over Rotherham in the British and Irish Cup at the weekend. Unfortunately Gael Force and Heriots lost again but just competing in that level of competition should be good for the players and if the surrounding supporters get behind them, maybe increase some revenue for the clubs as well.
On Friday night it’s back to the Magners League for Edinburgh and Glasgow, no word yet on whether Sean Lamont (who had a pretty good Autumn) will be appearing for the Scarlets. It being in Wales and on a Friday it is of course on BBC Wales. A few interesting names on the bench including youngster Ross Samson and back row man Dave Callam (remember him?) back from a long term him injury. Glasgow are fielding a decent strength team including both Evans brothers beside newcomer Alex Dunbar, while they all face fellow Scotland winger Simon Danielli in the Ulster backline.
Edinburgh Team to face Scarlets: C Paterson (captain), M Robertson, B Cairns, N De Luca, T Visser, D Blair, G Laidlaw, A Jacobsen, A Kelly, G Cross, S Turnbull, S MacLeod, A MacDonald, R Grant, S Newlands.
Replacements: Ross Ford, Kyle Traynor, Craig Hamilton, David Callam, Ross Samson, John Houston, Jim Thompson.
Glasgow Team to face Ulster: Bernardo Stortoni, Alex Dunbar, Max Evans, Graeme Morrison, Thom Evans, Dan Parks, Mark McMillan, Jon Welsh, Dougie Hall, Moray Low, Tim Barker, Richie Gray, Kelly Brown, John Barclay (capt), Richie Vernon.
Replacements: Fergus Thomson, Kevin Tkachuk, Dan Turner, Calum Forrester, Chris Cusiter, Colin Gregor, Peter Murchie
…for not spouting any of my rubbish lately, I was down in London with Al checking out the Boss at Hyde Park – awesome show. However we did find time to take in the second Lions test in a pub in Putney, an area riddled with South Africans it seems. Good times were had by all, although that was about as gutted as I have been after a game of rugby (save for getting pumped out of the RWC by the Argies), yet mixed with a curious elation at having seen such a decent game of rugby. Say what you like about the Lions (I see the commenters have been busy) but that was as fine a game of actual rugby as I have seen in a test match for many a year, and for promoting such an approach Geech and his team are to be applauded. Shout out to pub pundit and all round drunk South African Phillip Le Roux (and mates) who bravely recommended betting all our money on the Lions third test victory. Remains to be seen what is left of the team, of course…
After a statistical error, it appears my co-blogger Al should actually have come first. Apologies to all those who entered in the hope of defeating his rugby magnificence.
Okay, that’s April 1st out of the way.
Congratulations are due to all who played, but after pretty much leading from the front in week 1, legendary Scottish Rugby Blog reader Jenny actually emerged victorious with a final 328 points. May her skill, beauty, taste, genius, wondrousness etc never diminish.
A storming final round from the official blog XV (mostly courtesy of Maxime Medard’s sideburns) saw yours truly face-savingly boosted into second place. Thanks to all who played and we’ll probably run a similar thing next season. Commiserations to Al and Mark who had proper jobs to do (rugby-related or otherwise) which left them with an unchanged team for the whole tournament. A finest piece of tree-based cutlery for my blog partner. Perhaps we should impose a no transfers rule next year, injuries be damned?!
Hope you enjoyed it.
“And now the end is near…”
I ain’t no Las Vegas crooner, able to sweet talk the ladies and the local Mob in equal measure, but just like Ol’ Blue Eyes even I can see that the end is near for Frank Hadden. After another frustrating afternoon at “Fortress” (more like a soggy cardboard box crumbling under the elements) Murrayfield the pressure on Frank Hadden has risen to such a level that even Frank himself has noted that his time may well be up.
Saturday was the typical game of two halves. Scotland dominated the first half, should have been a lot further in front and gave hope that we had an idea of what we were actually trying to do. The second half…..aaaaargh! What a stinker. Lineout fell to pieces, holes large enough to drive a fleet of tanks through appeared in the defence (the fact it was the bastard love child of Mini-Me and an Oompa Loompa that capitalised, made it look even worse) and we had all the penetration of Pele before he started advertising Viagra. We were never more than a converted try behind, yet never looked like getting anything out the game and that makes me want to weep for Scottish Rugby. Whatever was said at half time should never, ever, be uttered again because it had the effect of killing all the momentum and enthusiasm that had been built up in a good first half display. I could go on and on about different aspects of the game but others elsewhere have written far more erudite and accurate analysis than I can…and it just makes me angry!
As for Ireland, well fair play on keeping on track for the much elusive Grand Slam. They came to a ground they traditionally struggle on and got the win they needed. If they do win in Wales and get the Grand Slam I ask only one favour… that no bugger buys me the commemorative DVD for Xmas – it’ll be a horror show. The game against England made my eyes bleed and to be honest the BBC should be given a kicking for putting that game on before the watershed… the children, for the love of God would someone please think of the children! The Scotland game was only a fraction better. Fair play the France game was good. If, and it’s still a big IF, they do win the Grand Slam Ireland deserve all the plaudits but it still doesn’t take away from the fact that they will have been one of the poorest Grand Slam winning teams in living memory.
As for Scotland, well we look towards trying to get a first win in 26 years on English soil. Of course, life being what it is, the toffs across the Border have seemingly stopped trying to play with 14 or 13 men and as a result find the 15 man game a damn site easier! Beyond that who knows. I think Hadden will go, he may even do the decent thing and fall upon his own sword. Cast your mind back 4 years and think of the walking Satan in charge of Scotland at that time… he that shalt not be named (but is the coach of Ulster) and should be burned the next time he places his over-inflated sense of worth back on Scottish soil… and you’ll remember just how bad Scotland were at that time. Hadden at least came in, settled the ship and looking at the squad at least there appears to be some talent within the ranks. However, he (Hadden) has taken this team as far as he can and the challenge of taking the raw ability and turning it into a polished end product should be passed on to a new head coach. Just who that new head coach should be is the big unknown, but maybe the SRU should show some ambition for once… this is a Scotland side with the raw talents to be a winning side, maybe a coach with ambition and steel will be able to actually get the end product right?
In Inverness, from our old school, saying this would have been the equivalent of saying something like “that Laurence Dallaglio is a nice chap”. Oh wait. But still, props of the non-front-row variety go to Milburn rugby team members Andrew Kellock (aged 12, no relation, one imagines) and John Clark (age 13) who managed to bring their careening minibus to a safe stop after their rugby teacher collapsed at the wheel. The team were returning from dishing out a beating in Plockton – which just shows the sort of away fixture you get in Highlands rugby. With reactions that fast, a place in the Scotland team can’t be far off for those boys. We wish the teacher well for his recovery.
On a childish side-note, ‘mon the IRA (Inverness Royal Academy, not the other lot – and if our latter experiences of rugby were anything to go by, a school that probably now has a bigger tiddlywinks team than rugby team). Meet you at the quarry for a ruckus after PE.
Don’t forget to change your teams ahead of the next round of matches. Some people (ahem, Al) suffered from making no changes in the last round… Still got Andy Goode in your team? Is Euan Murray worth the gamble? You should have got an email from scrum.com with the latest teams all handily laid out for you…
If you are in the game but wish to join our mini league see this post.
Just a quick post to let you know that BBC Wales have very kindly/foolishly asked me to present the armchair Scottish pundit’s viewpoint on the team announcements and Six Nations in general on their Good Evening Wales show this evening. Listen out if you can!
UPDATE: You can listen to it here for I’m not sure how long – possibly until 6:34pm Wednesday 11th February. I’m not sure if this will work outside the UK. I’m going to try and get a copy to post up here.
DOUBLE UPDATE: My bit was just before 6pm, I think it’s about 1hr50m into the thing.