Last night, at the RDS in Dublin, youngster Mark Bennett started his first pro game at the age of 18.
As Rory has chosen to focus on the backs he has left me with the slightly easier task of looking at the forwards.
The reason this is easier is because Andy Robinson has a pretty samey starting pack and, barring injury, I can’t imagine it will change too much for the first game in the World Cup. So this means the warm-up games against Ireland and Italy will help pick a bench, and the training sessions before hand are hugely important for individuals.
Glasgow Team to face Scarlets: Stortoni, O’Hare, Murchie, Morrison, Van Der Merwe, Jackson, Cusiter; Tkachuk, Hall, Low, Muldowney, Ryder, Eddie, Vernon, Beattie
Percentage of these players who will not be in the Glasgow team next year: 30%.
Watch it: Firhill or BBC Alba, Friday night, 8pm.
Edinburgh Team to Face v Dragons: Paterson, Webster, Thompson, De Luca, Visser, Laidlaw, M Blair, Traynor, Kelly, Cross, MacLeod, Lozada, McInally, Rennie, Denton
Watch it: at Murrayfield.
Mossy returns to the squad for the first time since the Six Nations, and with Hugo Southwell in try scoring form for Stade Francais Chris’ll be looking to reassert his hold on the Scotland 15 shirt ahead of the summer. In-form inside centre James King keeps Nick de Luca on the bench.
Edinburgh (to face Aironi): Jim Thompson, Simon Webster, Ben Cairns, James King, Tim Visser, Greig Laidlaw, Mike Blair, Kyle Traynor, Andrew Kelly (captain), Geoff Cross, Scott MacLeod, Esteban Lozada, Fraser McKenzie, Roddy Grant, David Denton. Replacements: Alun Walker, Lewis Niven, David Young, Steven Turnbull, Stuart McInally, Nick De Luca, Lee Jones, Chris Paterson.
Live TV Coverage: Friday 15th April 1945 BBC Alba
Meanwhile Chris Cusiter is back for Glasgow after almost a year out of action (unless you count twitter and the BBC Pundit’s box).
Team to follow.
Things are set to get tougher for Edinburgh next year with the news that Fraser Mackenzie is leaving the club to join up with Richie Vernon at Sale Sharks. It seems that no longer is it a case of Edinburgh and Glasgow developing young players until they are established test players, now the bigger clubs are swooping to sign folk after just a season (or less) of decent performances. At the moment it really feels a bit like a closing down sale, and clubs with money are scrabbling for whatever bargains they can find left on the shelves.
With the news that Scott MacLeod is off to Japan to ply his trade, those of us turning thoughts to Rugby World Cup 2011 and who should go on the plane just found our lives a lot easier. Assuming that Robbo takes 4 locks (plus a back-rower or two with a bit of time in the second row perhaps) and that the front runners are most likely Gray, Kellock and Hines, the debate was always going to be over MacLeod or Hamilton for the extra cover berth. Now MacLeod’s move has forced him to recuse himself from World Cup duty, the door is wide open for big Jim. Not always the most mobile, his undoubted contribution has always been general grunt, lineout height and some extra power behind Euan Murray in the scrum. But this news, coupled with decent form for Gloucester should see him tie up the fourth lock slot. Unless Fraser McKenzie gets back to his early season form, then it could get interesting again…
This season’s Six Nations has been an unpredictable affair (should there be a Le in front of that?) with England dominating right up to the last exchange when they imploded at the Aviva Stadium. Despite this mishap, their players were generally better across the board but rather worryingly only Richie Gray could be said to be nailed on for a spot in this team with few real stand-outs on show. A.D (with a little help from Rory) gives us the team of the tournament.
Our Six Nations review will follow tomorrow, but for now here is the SRU update on Six Scotland players who will require further medical assessment from injuries sustained in yesterday’s RBS 6 Nations Championship loss to Ireland at Murrayfield.
Scotland team doctor James Robson reported today that among the forwards lock Richie Gray had a knee strain; his second-row partner, captain Alastair Kellock had hand bruising and a neck strain; and flanker John Barclay had a knee contusion.
In the backs stand-off Ruaridh Jackson had calf bruising; centre Sean Lamont had bruising to his shoulders and upper body; and full-back Chris Paterson had shoulder bruising.
Dr Robson added: “We will be closely monitoring all players over the next 48 hours but at this juncture none of the injuries is giving us any serious cause for concern.