Category: Pro Teams

In these pages you will find all our articles on Scotlands rugby Pro Teams gathered together, including Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors in the PRO12 league and in European rugby competition.

Edinburgh Beat Those Winter Blues

Edinburgh 21 – 12 Cardiff Blues

Edinburgh finally woke up as a team for the first time in a month or two to provide the sort of display the hardy faithful at Murrayfield were growing accustomed to at the start of the season. Gone is the 1872 Cup and most likely the chance of Heineken Cup glory but the capital team still have a chance for an end of season playoff spot, which after second last season should really be a minimum expectation. This win puts them in third for now, but Leinster now have 2 games in hand (one against Connacht) while the rest of the league have one due to all the postponements this weekend.

The try drought was eased by a couple of cocky darting breaks from the impressive Rory Hutton who brought a spark to Edinburgh’s attack that allowed indecision to creep in to the Cardiff defence and be capitalised on by the support runners. I thought he looked pretty decent in defence too – Cardiff didn’t send Jamie Roberts at him nearly as much as they should have – with a couple of good tactical kicks. Although his passing was a little haphazard there is no substitute for the will to attack!

Overall Edinburgh dominated in attack and defence for large chunks of the game until discipline threatened to let Cardiff back in late on. Roddy Grant made an interesting looking number 8 but was the usual hive of industry and would surely have been Seren Y Gem but for a late sin-binning, so they gave it to Ross Rennie instead who was at least playing in his proper position. Jim Hamilton looked twice the player he was last week (he made Ford’s lineouts look a lot better for starters) and both Ford and Chunk made their usual excellent contributions in the loose, including a scything Mike Blade-style break from the base of the ruck from the prop that could only be described as epic.

Pro Teams for the Weekend (Weather Permitting)

Assuming the games go ahead as the freezing weather continues (a couple of Magners games have already been called off), here are the teams to take the field in Dublin and Edinburgh respectively.

Glasgow Warriors to face Leinster: Bernardo Stortoni, DTH van der Merwe, Max Evans, Graeme Morrison, Thom Evans, Dan Parks, Chris Cusiter, Jon Welsh, Dougie Hall, Moray Low, Alastair Kellock (capt), Richie Gray, Kelly Brown, John Barclay, Johnnie Beattie.
Replacements:
Fergus Thomson, Kevin Tkachuk, Dan Turner, James Eddie, Colin Gregor, Ruaridh Jackson, Rob Dewey.
(Probably on BBC Radio Scotland, Friday night).

Edinburgh team to face Cardiff: Chris Paterson (capt), Jim Thompson, Ben Cairns, John Houston, Tim Visser, Rory Hutton, Greig Laidlaw, Allan Jacobsen, Ross Ford, David Young, Jim Hamilton, Scott MacLeod, Alan MacDonald, Ross Rennie, Roddy Grant.
Replacements:
Andrew Kelly, Kyle Traynor, Craig Hamilton, Scott Newlands, Ross Samson, Nick De Luca, Mark Robertson.
(Live coverage on S4c, Saturday from 6pm-ish)

Can’t say I’m not a little intrigued to see what Hutton can do, given what is a massive opportunity for him… but I wouldn’t expect miracles straight off the bat. Highlights of both games are also on STV as usual on Sunday. Given the lack of games this weekend they will presumably pad by talking about either the upcoming 6 Nations or perhaps porridge: ie the new Scott’s limited edition packets that are to feature Ross(y), Mossy and Thom. Hopefully this will help boost the sport at breakfast tables everywhere, especially during the current wintry spell. Speaking of, um, spelling, can someone tell me when they changed the spelling of porridge?

UPDATE: The Leinster vs Glasgow game has been called off due to late weather complications: more info on the BBC. Glasgow want to sue people given the cost of getting to Dublin has already been undertaken by the team after advice that the game would go ahed… Most of the weekend’s scheduled GP matches are also off, with just a few top flight rugby fixtures still hoping to go ahead including Munster, Leicester and Edinburgh.

Glasgow Win 1872 Cup

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Although I thought it a bit of a damp squib in terms of rugby (the weather can probably take some of the blame) the intensity was definitely there in the festive derby series, with plenty of niggle in the first leg as Glasgow set the standard for intensity, and some stupid yellows in the much better second leg. When we said “more aggression Ross”, we didn’t mean that. In the end it was that intensity mainly at the breakdown that was probably enough to see Glasgow through – they simply seemed to want it more than Edinburgh, and had a clearer plan B (which may actually be plan A) to turn to when it wasn’t on to run it (ie get Dan Parks to kick it). Perhaps with Ruaridh Jackson back from injury and getting a wee run today and Parks off to Cardiff in a few months, Plan A (as Andy Robinson might see it) will get more of an airing. While Edinburgh continue to be try-less and unfortunately not looking like changing it much, a big New Year shout out to Nikki Walker, Scotland’s top try scorer of the year so far having picked up two yesterday for the Ospreys against Cardiff.

So for now Glasgow will be happy to be leading the race for the Magners League title (as reflected on the “marvellous” new splash page where Evans is front and centre!) sitting clear at the top of the table with 8 or so games left until the all important end of season play-offs. With a steely aggressive core at the heart of the team and a solid defence, Glasgow are playing with the sort of heart Scottish fans tend to demand and hopefully it sees them well into the playoffs. As pitches dry up in the spring though I hope the backs will get more ball through the hands – a winning team needs to have more attacking options than ol’ Parko and the cross-field kick, and I get the feeling the Irish teams and Ospreys are soon going to start bringing the big guns in Magners fixtures.

For the Scottish teams it will only get harder, but we like a bit of a challenge, don’t we?

Second Leg Teams / Happy New Year

Happy New Year when it comes. Here is some team news for Saturday for you to digest while your liver recovers:

Glasgow: B Stortoni, DTH van der Merwe, M Evans, G Morrison, T Evans, D Parks, C Cusiter, J Welsh, D Hall, M Low, A Kellock (captain), R Gray, K Brown, J Barclay, R Vernon.
Replacements: TBC (rumour is Ruaridh Jackson may be given a bench slot, but then again may not).

Edinburgh: C Paterson (captain), M Robertson, B Cairns, J Houston, T Visser, P Godman, G Laidlaw, K Traynor, R Ford, G Cross, S MacLeod, J Hamilton, A MacDonald, R Grant, S Newlands.
Replacements: S Crombie/A Kelly, A Jacobsen, C Hamilton, D Callam, R Samson, N De Luca, J Thompson

Glasgow fans interested in going to the game without braving the drive in our current Hoth-like conditions might like to read this from the Glasgow Supporters Club: http://www.glasgowwarriors.com/gwsc/archives/2009/12/edinburgh_bus.html

1872 Cup Preview

It’s the first leg of the 1872 Cup this weekend as matters turn parochial. Brother on brother, blood on blood; Chris on Chris, Thom on Thompson, Brown vs Blair, DTH vs DC, Vernon vs Visser, Cross, Ross and Ross vs Dan, Dan, John and Johnnie, that sort of thing – basically civil war. That sentence would have been a lot easier with Welsh names. The first leg is in Glasgow, the second in Edinburgh and it’s hard to see past the home teams in each fixture. Still, I have a sneaky suspicion that Glasgow will come out the better over two legs.

Edinburgh are struggling (as always) to find a cutting edge and their attacking form seems to revolve around Godman who is treading water at the moment, while Glasgow now seem to play okay even when Parks is having one of his duff days – and even those have been rare recently. While Edinburgh seem to be building a team based on familiarity and combinations, Glasgow seem to be building a team based on leadership (Barclay, Kellock, Cusiter, Thomson, Gregor, McMillan and Grey have all captained Scotland at age group, sevens or international level) and the team seems to be coming together from the increased confidence that brings. Sean Lineen had seen the improvement in Edinburgh and maybe realised he might be under threat if his team didn’t start living up to the promise of the squad he was building having changed from a policy of duff foreigners to promising youngsters, and this season they seem to be repaying him. The “inconsistent” tag still rears its ugly head every so often (second half at Gloucester) but this season they have started winning away, and they just look a lot more confident when their top line-up takes the field. Gallus, you might say.

More importantly – who will the commentators be? Andy Nicol summarises for the Beeb while Scott Hastings summarises AND commentates for Sky. Given they both present on the STV highlights show, I would imagine they will be present, but as pundits, commentators or both? I would imagine it will be the two of them running back and forth between pitchside and commentary booth. Let’s face it STV is short of cash these days so I doubt they can afford to draft in the legendary Runrig soundalike Andrew Cotter (just listen to that tune Murrayfield play at half time, you know, the one about Scotland), and he is probably manacled to the BBC.

Unless STV feels the spirit of Christmas past and signs up Doddie Weir’s all conquering trousers…

Edinburgh Cling On, Glasgow Fall Off

During whiteout conditions at Murrayfield on Saturday where the weather played a larger role than either of the teams for a chunk of the first half, Edinburgh managed to grab a victory against Bath. It was a pity the snow came in when it did, as both teams were showing a willingness to throw the ball about, but when the ball became invisible in a sea of white it became time for a game of Very Cold Hot Potato (mixed in with a little Dead Ants).

Mossy’s boot saved them as it has so often, and while I have often been reluctant to wade in on the whole Mossy at 10 thing, Godman’s form seems to be on the wane while Mossy seems to have gained a yard of pace, gets turned over in the tackle far less and his tactical kicking is miles better than it was and miles ahead of Godman. He’s surely done enough to be the front runner for the Scotland 15 shirt with Hugo a close second (who honestly believed he would be a regular at Stade?), but is he worth a look at 10 for Edinburgh as so many have suggested? (This is assuming Rory Lamont remains in the injury information black-hole he is currently in). While Robbo has been telling anyone who will listen about Scotland’s deficiencies in the 10 position, is Mossy finally worth a shout, having made his tactical game a bit, well, more Dan Parks-esque?

Speaking of Parks, he controlled the game against Gloucester extremely well in the first half while Barclay led the forwards in a masterclass in frustrating the opposition. For a game with so many Scot on Scot match-ups there was plenty of niggle, and no doubt a sign of what is to come next weekend (worryingly for Edinburgh, the Weej seem to excel in this area). Yet in the second half Gloucester came out and pretty much reversed the situation, bullying Glasgow off their 0-6 lead and the ball and sharpening up their attack enough to take the victory. A raft of late-term substitutions probably didn’t help Glasgow – much in the same way as it buggered up Edinburgh last week – with Cusiter going off and replacement McMillan then having to hide at the back with an injury while Gregor filled in at scrum half. This only served to rob Glasgow of Gregor’s running lines and pace from at the back, which they were already short of  with Thom Evans out. The Gloucester Scottish showed up well too with Scott and Rory Lawson and Al Strokosch showing good skills in attack, although Kellock and Gray were all over Lawson (hooker) at the lineout. And one more thing: does Graeme Morrison ever pass? You’d be as well playing Richie Vernon in the centre, who unveiled the pace that has Glasgow abuzz while the rest of us were initially wondering why Beattie was left on the bench in favour of a guy with two first names…

Weekend Teams

Glasgow: Bernardo Stortoni, Dave McCall, Max Evans, Graeme Morrison, DTH van der Merwe, Dan Parks, Chris Cusiter, Jon Welsh, Dougie Hall, Moray Low, Alastair Kellock, Richie Gray, Kelly Brown, John Barclay, Richie Vernon
Replacements: Fergus Thomson, Kevin Tkachuk, Ed Kalman, Dan Turner, Colin Gregor, Mark McMillan, Johnnie Beattie, Colin Shaw

Good mix in the second row and great that Richie Gray is well settled into the Glasgow team now. The wingers get a chance to show what they can do, but leaving off the front line chaps suggests either a) they are injured or b) the ball is never getting that far and Parks is going to try and nick all the points going with his boot. (UPDATE: Turns out it’s a wee knee injury to Evans).

Edinburgh: Paterson, Houston, Cairns, De Luca, Visser, Godman, Laidlaw, Traynor, Ford, Cross, Turnbull, Hamilton, MacDonald, Rennie, Newlands.
Replacements: Kelly, Jacobsen, Young, MacLeod, Callam, Samson, Robertson, Thompson

Bath are targeting this one for a win despite almost being beaten at home last weekend. With “Tony” Blair out injured, it will be interesting to see what happens if/when Godman goes off, word is that Thompson has been asked to consider filling in at 10 before… I’m also interested to see if Rennie has the same impact that Roddy Grant has been having recently… here’s to another flowing game of rugby although maybe a little less self-destruction and a little more confidence in the finishing (Cairns should definitely have been able to finish that break last week) would be nice. Where have I heard that before?

Weekend Teams

Going to be out of Sky range this weekend but hoping to go along to the Heriots game on Saturday if I get a chance. Meanwhile here are the teams announced so far for the weekends action, plenty of Scots all round and some interesting match ups at 2, 6 and 9 in the Glasgow game. Cusiter faces his closest rivals for the national shirt in his next four games – should be interesting to see how he takes them on.

Glasgow: B Stortoni, P Murchie, M Evans, G Morrison, T Evans, D Parks, C Cusiter; J Welsh, D Hall, M Low, R Gray, D Turner, K Brown, J Barclay (capt), R Vernon.
Replacements: F Thomson, E Kalman, K Tkachuk, T Barker, C Gregor, C Forrester, M McMillan.

Gloucester: C Spencer, C Sharples, J Simpson-Daniel, E Fuimaono-Sapolu, L Vainikolo, N Robinson, R Lawson; N Wood, S Lawson, G Somerville, D Attwood, A Brown, P Buxton (capt), A Strokosch, L Narraway
Replacements: D Dawiduik, P Doran-Jones, A Dickinson, A Eustace, G Delve, D Lewis, T Voyce, T Molenaar

Edinburgh: C Paterson (capt), J Houston, B Cairns, N De Luca, T Visser, P Godman, G Laidlaw; A Jacobsen, R Ford, G Cross, S Turnbull, S MacLeod, A MacDonald, R Grant, S Newlands.
Replacements: A Kelly, K Traynor, D Young, C Hamilton, A Hogg, R Samson, D Blair, J Thompson.

Top Of The Table

After Leinster’s failure to topple the ever-improving Dragons at the weekend, the Scottish pro-teams go in to the Heineken Cup break first and second in the Magners League table. So congratulations to Glasgow and Edinburgh for that excellent bit of away points-grabbing, in particular the two oft-abused/unsung 10s David “Tony” Blair and King of Dans Parko Parks who both played pivotal roles. What’s more with only each other to play in the league between now and then, there’s a pretty good chance that one of the Scottish pro-teams will go into the half way point after Christmas atop the table, with the other in close attendance – along with the likes of Leinster and Ulster. It’s really great to see the teams doing so well and heading into the second half of the season with one and possibly both primed for at least a decent chance of a playoff spot come the sharp end.

This weekend attention turns to the Heineken Cup. Both Glasgow and Edinburgh need to win all their remaining games to have a chance of getting anywhere, including a possibly shift sideways into the latter stages of the Amlin Challenge Cup (might be a better bet there anyway!). For Glasgow that’s back to back against Gloucester, then the Dragons and away to Biarritz. All of which is in theory possible based on previous events, but still fairly unlikely for a team that has struggled so often with inconsistency. Still the way they toughed it out against Ulster gives me hope. Going out to the south of France with the weather turning a bit and all to play for could make for exciting times though. Good news for them too that Ruaridh Jackson came through an hour for Ayr (at full-back) on Saturday.

Edinburgh also face a team struggling in the GP, Bath (get Robinson on as a pundit!) before taking on Ulster at Ravenhill and Stade at home. With those wacky Edinburgh guys and their love of shirts that look like a tartan factory threw up and throwing it about in their own 22 anything is possible, but I fear “for zem ze vor is ova” and I reckon they will target the festive derbies for a clean sweep instead, maybe giving David Blair some more game time between now and then – he did pretty well against the Scarlets on Friday night. Or is that defeatist talk? On the Internet the walls have ears. Win against Bath at the Rec and I’ll probably change my mind again.

In terms of TV coverage, according to ERC rugby we get delayed highlights of Glasgow on Friday (this I think means “delayed until the round-up show on Sunday night”) and red button for Edinburgh on Sunday afternoon. What do you reckon – We Are The Champions or Mission: Impossible?

Back to Magners Action

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

Who’s Carrying the Ball?

Edinburgh got a well deserved if unspectacular win at home to Munster on Friday while Glasgow laboured in the second half but eventually secured the expected four-try bonus point against Connacht, putting the Scottish teams at third and fourth in the league table. Sean Lineen has been asserting everywhere he can that Thom Evans is “back”, and with two tries (including a strong tackle-busting effort off his favourite inside ball move) who can argue?

Next weekend before a break going into the Autumn Internationals and Andy Robinson’s all important first match with Fiji, Edinburgh will try to do what Glasgow have so far failed to ie beat the Dragons (Sun 5pm S4C), while Glasgow go to Swansea to face the star-studded Ospreys (Fri 7pm BBCw) I just hope Thom Evans and Nikki Walker don’t knock so many bells out of each other that they can’t play for Scotland. It gives me  a week to think of the team I’d pick as well. I’m still not sure about the back row though. Having watched “Gloucester Scottish” play pretty much like an actual Scottish team (inept) at the weekend, two of the better players were actually Stroker and Scott Lawson (who can at least throw straight and was industrious about the park). Lots of good hits and work at the breakdown but Stroker is not really a big ball carrier though and neither is Barclay, which puts a lot of pressure on your Number 8… Big Nathan and the backs can’t do all the go-forward… On a side note, I fear an anti-Scottish backlash at Kingsholm if Redpath can’t turn the results around soon. Which would be a shame as moves south have been the making of Strokosch and Rory Lawson, and Redpath at least at assistant coaching level.

Next week’s matches could be key, especially if Max Evans continues his rapid return from injury. With Robbo’s assertion that Morrison is inked in at 12 that leaves Cairns, De Luca and Grove along with Evans if form merits it (looks good so far) competing for the 13 shirt and probably a bench spot. My current thinking would be Cairns – who stepped the normally rock solid De Villiers on Friday, although I wouldn’t pick him just for that – with Evans or De Luca on the bench but who knows what next week will show?

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.