Category: Site News

News relating to the ongoing development of the Scottish Rugby Blog website including new rugby writers, new features and announcements.

Good Luck Murray

No, not the Scotland shirt sponsor, or indeed Euan aka Murray Squared (Murray in a shirt saying Murray) or Moray Low aka Moray Cubed (Moray from Moray in a shirt that says Murray).

What I mean of course is good luck to Andy Murray in the Australian Open Tennis final which happens on Sunday at around 8am I think (for viewers in UK). No doubt if he wins they will try and find an excuse to parade him at Murrayfield during the upcoming Six Nations. So let’s hope so!

Premier 1 games this weekend

Tags:

Games on;

Stewart’s Melville – Heriot’s
at Inverleith (ko 3pm)

Glasgow Hawks – Edinburgh Accies 
at Old Anniesland (ko 3pm)

Dundee High – Boroughmuir
at Mayfield (ko 3pm)

West of Scotland – Currie
at Burnbrae (ko 3pm)

Selkirk – Ayr
at Philiphaugh (ko 3pm)

SRB Game of the Weekend: Melrose – Watsonians
at The Greenyards (ko 2.30pm)

Having lost convincinglyagainst Heriot’s last week the ‘Rose will be hoping to bounce back against a Watsonians side refreshed by their first home victory of the season. Both of these sides thrive when running into a broken field so the tactical awareness of Wight and Ker could prove pivotal. Melrose will be wanting to explode into the game from the start, while Watsons will most likely look to build a game. ‘Sonians have had difficulty killing off opponents this season and if Melrose edge in front they could hold on til the end of the game, regardless of ‘Sonians renewed belief. The loss of influencial line-out specialist Mark Rennie cannot help the Edinburgh side, either. Let’s hope this one builds to an exciting finish.

Players to watch: Melrose’s James King and Watsonians Jonny Pelter

Club International squad announced

The Scotland Club International 22-man squad has been announced for their game against France on the 5th of Feb. at Netherdale, Gala. Having lost narrowly 13-12 in the reverse fixture last season the team are hoping to do one better. Being only the second time these teams have met anything can happen and the Scottish Club team have never lost on home soil. With a 7.30 KO, entry will be FREE on the night.

Scotland Club International squad to play France: Fraser Harkness (Selkirk), Fraser Thomson (Melrose), Malcolm Clapperton (Boroughmuir), Jamie Hunter (Ayr), James King (Melrose), Callum Anderson (Melrose), Andrew MacMahon (Currie), Scott Wight (Melrose), Richard Snedden (Currie), Alan Dymock (Heriots), Gregor Wood (Watsonians), Gordon Reid (Ayr), Scott Burnett (Heriots), Alastair Hamilton (Currie), Alan Brown (Dundee), Damien Kelly (Ayr), Scott Sutherland (Ayr), Rory McKay (Hawks), John Dalziel CAPTAIN (Melrose), Mark Cairns (Currie), Paul Burke (Ayr), Ross Weston (Currie)

The starting XV will be named next week…

 Future fixtures;
 Friday 19 March – Ireland v Scotland club international (Donnybrook, kick-off 7pm)

Up for a Cup?

With six games left in the season and it looking increasingly like the title race is one being run by two horses one could be excused for looking beyond league proceedings. Stew Mel, I’m sure, would love to forget about league duties! Even the Cup looks to have become less of factor in premier clubs thinking. My brother and I could argue for hours about this. Sure it is still a huge event and obviously it is a massive honour to end your season on the big pitch at Murrayfield, but with fewer teams (Premier 1,2 and 3 only) competing for the Cup it can take less effort over a season to get there. If you win one game you’re into the quarter finals. So what is the result of this?

Suddenly more eyes are turning towards the British and Irish Cup. This season has been given more significance for certain amateurs because they have had an opportunity to measure themselves against professional players. Having played in a couple of games in the B&I Cup with Heriot’s I have enjoyed it but in some facets of the game, not all, it is difficult to compete with full time professionals. Playing against Coventry, a team that at the time of our game was complaining of over training with two sessions a day, four days a week, we competed in terms of skill, creativity and endeavour. Where we fell down was that we simply weren’t as big as our opposition, or as ‘collision-drilled’. This is to say that we weren’t able to stop the constant pounding of a massive English rucking game. This, it seems, will continue to afflict any amateur team facing a mature pro counterpart.

While both club teams have been competitive, Ayr winning against Rotherham and Heriot’s running Nottingham close, it is evident that Scottish club players are capable of out playing full time opposition. However, it is no great shock that Scotland’s player base has the depth of a teaspoon. If rumours are to be believed then the SRU fully intends to increase Scottish participation in the B&I Cup to four teams. How could teams, by definition, of less quality than the top two teams in Prem 1 be as competitive? There just aren’t enough players in our country. In order to compete with Welsh, Irish and, in particular, English teams we definitely don’t have enough monsters. So what should we do to contend on four fronts in the B&I Cup?

If you are a fan of club rugby most of you will be effing and blinding at your screen (much as if you were watching yet  another rolling maul from Munster in the HC). The majority, it appears, want a return of the district teams. And why not?! If you want better players in certain positions for one team, pick from the best nearby. If the current league finishes the way it is now then the top four will comprise of a representative from the North (Dundee), the South (Melrose), the East (Currie) and the West (Ayr), anyway, showing how combative each region already is.

If the Scotland Club International has shown us anything it’s that amateur players relish the opportunity to play as near as they can get to their dream level:  with a thistle on their chest. A lucky few have also propelled themselves into the professional ranks via the Club International. The same could happen through the districts. Surely the ultimate aim of teams like the Club International is to provide Scotland with more potential internationalists. If there is, say, a quality young player at West of Scotland who is never seen by Sean Lineen but could make the step up to pro rugby then they may never get the chance to prove themselves, more than once, at a higher level while Ayr and Ayr alone represent the West in the B&I Cup. Let players prove themselves. Sure there will be inter club politics but there always is anyway. There may be grumblings from the National Academy but just let Academy guys and unused  pros play for the region of the club they are drafted to.

 What harm can bringing back the districts do? If I was certain to finish mid-table with my club and no prospects of a Club International cap I would be crying out for a chance to play district rugby. Hell, if I was getting relegated I’d still want a district call!

Prem 1 round-up

Tags: ,

Edinburgh Accies 5-29 Currie
at Raeburn Place

Edinburgh Accies: S Moffat, M Coupar, G Douglas, R Browne, C Dickie, R Bonner, J Letham, D McLeod, M Strachan, L Niven, E Stuart, M Stevens, D Teague, T Drennan, G Campbell.
Replacements Used: S Patience, D Wright, R Snape, P Arnold, G Peoples.
Currie: G White, W Moala, C Kinloch, A MacMahon, S Forrest, J Smith, R Snedden, J Cox, N Scobie, A Hamilton, A Adam, R Wilson, S Burton, J Thomson, R Weston.
Replacements Used: A Reekie, G Scott, M Cairns, S Walker, I Downie.

Scoring Summary
Edinburgh Accies Try: Letham.
Currie Tries: Hamilton, Penalty, Weston, Moala, Wilson. Cons: Smith (2).
SRB Man of the Match: R Weston

Heriot’s 28-16 Melrose
at Goldenacre

Heriot’s: J Alston; C Goudie, M Nimmo, R Mill, A Douglas; R Hutton, G Wilson; W Blacklock, S Burnett, M Welch P Eccles, P OConnor, J Syme, C Fusaro, M Lee.
Replacements Used: F Gillies, JP Ward, C Osazuwa, S Dewar, G Rutherford
Melrose: F Thomson; C Anderson, J Murray, J King, B Allen; S Wight, S McCormick; A Gillie, R Ferguson, K Cooney, G Dodds, G Elder, J Dalzell, N McTaggart, R Miller.
Replacements Used: W Mitchell, P Southern, B Runciman, C Jackson, A Dodds.

Scoring Summary
Heriot’s Tries: Goudie, Douglas 2. Cons: Wilson 2.
Melrose Try: Mitchell. Con: Wight. Pens: Wight 3.
SRB Man of the Match: M Lee

Watsonians 16-13 Dundee
at Myreside

Watsonians: M Ker; G Somerville, D Brown, C Sorbie, A Rowe; J Forbes, J Blackwood; D O’Connell, G Wood, K Coertze, M Rennie, T Weizman, J Pelter, H Grant, G Callander.
Replacements Used: C Masson, G Scott, N Tunnah, M Henderson, N Montgomery.
Dundee: A Horton; M Smith, H Duthie, L Graham, R Lemon; B Jones, A Dymock; N Dymock, J Clark, A Brown, C Cumming, R Hawkins, R Gray, S McKee, G Ryan.
Replacements Used: S Dreyer, M Brown.

Scoring Summary
Watsonians Tries: Grant, Ker. Pens: Forbes 2.
Dundee Try: Duthie. Pens: Jones 2. Con: Horton.
SRB Man of the Match: H Grant

West of Scotland 34-25 Selkirk
at Burnbrae

West of Scotland: C David; A Park, P Murchie, J Kerr, R Dalgleish; C Thwaites, M McConnell; E McLaren, G Bulloch, C Johnston, M Jenkinson, R McAlpine, J Walker, D Young, G Fisken.
Replacements Used: D McKenna, R Kelso, A Kennedy, G Dempsey.
Selkirk: F Harkness; D Clapperton, S Hendrie, R Nixon, L Jones; G Craig, M McVie; G Paterson, D Grieve, M Murray, R Aglen, S Willett, N Darling, C Johnston, A Renwick.
Replacements Used: D Moussa, J Smyth, S Forrest, R Taylor.

Scoring Summary
West of Scotland Tries: McLaren 2, Young 2, Fisken. Cons: Davis 3. Pen: Davis.
Selkirk Tries: Murray, Hendrie, Harkness, Moussa. Con: Hendrie. Pen: Hendrie.
SRB Man of the Match: D Young

Boroughmuir 8-19 Glasgow Hawks
at Meggetland

Boroughmuir: S Ruddick; R Cairns, M Clapperton, G Blackhall, E Mills; G Cottrell, C Cusiter; F Lait, S McMurchy, B Ross, G Scott, N Patrick, M Stalley, J Doubleday, E Mathieson.
Replacements Used: J Va’a, L Brinck, P Cronin, S McGee, M Hare.
Glasgow Hawks: C Shaw; R Hair, I Noble, G Harkness, K Gossman; D Weir, C Gossman; G Strain, E Milligan, N Cox, C Kerr, A Kirkland, R Hamilton, R McKay, G Strang.
Replacements Used: J Stafford, R Niven, J MacLay, P Jericevich, M Adamson.

Scoring Summary
Boroughmuir Try: Lait. Pen: Blackhall.
Glasgow Hawks Try: Kerr. Con: Weir. Pens: Weir (3) Adamson.
SRB Man of the Match: D Weir

SRB Game of the Weekend:
Ayr 66-15 Stewart’s-Melville

at Millbrae

Well I was right about one thing: this was a hell of a game! It’s not every weekend you see 13 tries. However, my call of a close game seemed not to reach those in Ayr as the forwards ran riot with ball in hand. Stew Mel played rugby (they always do) but seemed to struggle with Ayr’s physicality. Stew Mel don’t have long to accrue more points and it’s getting close to squeeky bum time for both these teams.

Ayr: D Steele; S Manning, M Stewart, R Curle, J McClung; F Climo, J Hunter; G Reid, P MacArthur, G Sykes, D Kelly, S Sutherland, P Burke, A Dunlop, G Tippett.
Replacements Used: S Fenwick, S Adair, S Nimmo, C Taylor, A J MacFarlane.
Stewart’s-Melville: R Borthwick; A Cox, H Lingard, C Marshall, L Steele; S Ker, R Paterson; A Edmonstone, S Blackwood, R Merrilees, B Leathes, S Brewster, B Tweedie, L Calder, P Hendry.
Replacements Used: A Statham, C Mackintosh, J Kynoch, R Sutherland, H Boisseau.

Scoring Summary
Ayr Tries: P Burke (3), R Curle(2) D Steele, S Fenwick, A Wilson, D Kelly, F Climo. Conversions: Climo (8).
Stewart’s-Melville Tries: B Tweedie, P Hendry, B Leathes.
SRB Man of the Match: P Burke

Edinburgh team for Ulster…Blair to Warriors? And a new blogger!

Ha, gotcha. No, Worcester are the Warriors I was talking about. I refer to an interesting article which on reflection is mostly about nothing (something of a Scotsman specialism sometimes) over at the Scotsman speculating as to the employment future of Mike Blair, which I missed this week. Although arguably not missing him at scrum half specifically, are Edinburgh missing Mike’s cutting edge as he recovers from his ankle injury?

Edinburgh to face Ulster at Ravenhill: C Paterson (capt), J Thompson, B Cairns, J Houston, T Visser, P Godman, G Laidlaw, A Jacobsen, R Ford, D Young, S MacLeod, J Hamilton, S Newlands, A MacDonald, R Grant
Replacements: A Kelly, K Traynor, G Cross, C Hamilton, D Callam, R Samson, N De Luca, M Robertson. Simon “Malkovich” Webster is the spare man for Edinburgh in his quest on the comeback trail.

Sky Sports, k.o 8pm tonight (Friday)

News on the blog front: in addition to myself and Al – who has been busier playing rugby than writing about it recently (that and his laptop broke) – we now have a new blogger on the team who is going to do some bits and bobs for the site, concentrating mainly on the club game in Scotland. Confusingly enough, his name is also Alan (distinguishing nickname TBA) so I hope you will all make him feel welcome when his pieces appear over the next few weeks.

UPDATE: Stade bring the crazy (again): Hugoooooooo set for scrum half vs Bath – does this help Edinburgh’s chances of the result they need? (Thanks to Dougal for the tip – may your balls ever be oval)

Low Budgie Action

They never get any better, do they? Budgie is Colin Gregor’s nickname (wee and chirpie?) apparently. And here is the Glasgow team to face bogey team the Dragons in a largely meaningless (and thus not on TV which is a shame given the team selection) Heineken Cup match at the weekend. Good chance for Jackson though.

Glasgow: Bernardo Stortoni, DTH van der Merwe, Max Evans, Rob Dewey, Thom Evans, Ruaridh Jackson, Colin Gregor (c), Jon Welsh, Fergus Thomson, Ed Kalman, Richie Gray, Dan Turner, Calum Forrester, Kelly Brown, Johnnie Beattie.

Substitutes: Pat MacArthur, Kevin Tkachuk, Justin Va’a, Tim Barker, James Eddie, Mark McMillan, Dan Parks, Peter Murchie

News on the Edinburgh team as I get it but their match is at least on TV this weekend (Friday night also).

Little Bits

I’ve been asked to be scrum.com’s Fanzone Scottish pundit for the upcoming Six Nations again, so there might be some fun stuff to read over there in the ensuing weeks. Cheers to the folks at scrum.com for that.

Also I’ve added an Amazon AStore to the site – see the shop link in the navigation bar above – so if you fancy buying anything from Amazon.co.uk at any point, if you could do it through that it would really help us out it won’t cost you anything extra and you might find an interesting present or two for the rugby mad in there. Thanks!

Happy Christmas

Al and I would like to wish everyone a Happy Christmas and New Year, and to thank you all for stopping by every once in a while and reading our ramblings on Scottish Rugby, so here’s to you ladies and gents – we hope you keep coming. Tell your friends! And if you are interested in writing please get in touch. Season of goodwill and all that, why not help out?

I couldn’t find the picture of Chunk in a Santa hat (which I faked anyway), so you’ll just have to imagine his beard is white not ginger. I’ll try and get a report in on the 1872 Cup matches but it’ll be a pretty busy festive period for me (non rugby related) so I might have to wait for a two-leg review on the second or third of Jan. If you can’t go along, they are both on STV this year, perfect veg-out material while you are adopting the Chunk look on the couch post all those roast dinners…

Win a Trip to the Heineken Cup

I’m away this weekend so will probably miss the games, hopefully the boys can get their campaigns back on track after disappointments on their last outings. Glasgow are still struggling with injuries but hopefully Chris Cusiter will be back from illness. New boy Peter Horne may get a start in the centre with Lineen assuring us he has the makings of a decent 12. Is a Jackson-Horne axis the future of the Scottish midfield? On the East Coast, Ally Hogg wants you all to turn out for the Ulster match and buy Anygame tickets etc etc. Will the promise of a turn in fortunes continue to draw a crowd despite the most recent evidence to the contrary?

In the meantime why not have a look at this video, there’s a chance to win a VIP trip to the Heineken Cup Final and deliver the trophy pitchside!

UPDATE: it seems indeed that the new Scotland strip involves white shorts – huzzah, our woes are at an end. Perhaps.

New Scotland Rugby Away Strip

It seems a new Scotland away kit has quietly sneaked out

New Scotland Alternative Strip (link fixed now thanks Giorgia)

It’s pretty similar to the old one apart from a) they got rid of the stupid patchy bits that made it look grey and the piping and b) they took the Murray logo off that horrible roundel. Although the Murray logo is still pretty rubbish (and too big, does their designer not know about whitespace?) it is much better than it was.

A new home kit is due to be announced in time for the autumn. Could it be back to basics all round – if so can we have white shorts back too please?

Don’t forget to watch the new highlights show tonight at 5.30pm on STV!