There will be not billboard featuring Dougie Hall in black and blue, arms unfurled, above the immortal line “Welcome To Glasgow!”. There will be no pigs heads thrown onto the pitch. There will be no flares. There will be no drive-bys. What this coastal rivalry shall have, though, is keenly contested rugby.
Newport Gwent Dragons 14 – 14 Glasgow Warriors
If you are rugby inclined and were down in Wales at the weekend you would be forgiven for thinking that the only rugby being played was the Shane Williams testimonial test against Australia at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday. For Glasgow Warriors, though, they are more than aware that they have lost a weekend in drawing a game.
Glasgow today announced their team to face bogey team the Dragons on Sunday but such exciting news as Johnnie Beattie or Ruaridh Jackson’s return to play following injury and Rob Dewey being made the captain has been over-shadowed by the news that they have secured the services of free-agent and pioneer of the Rory Lamont Helicopter move, none other than Rory Lamont himself.
Edinburgh have gone back to strength for the visit of Aironi tonight even though, on paper, fronting up to an understrength Munster last weekend might have seemed like more of a priority. This game gives them a chance to try and translate some of that Racing Metro joie de vivre into RaboPro12 table position – they won’t admit it but I’m sure a bonus point win will be a target – and also reclaim a winning mentality ahead of the back to back Heineken trips to Cardiff that may make or break their season.
It might look on first glance like a team packed with experience, international players and the league’s top try scorer, but based on the current Edinburgh team that has played in the Heineken, this has a slightly B-Team look to it. I wouldn’t worry too much though, as so does the Munster team.
Oh, and it’s actually Tim’s little brother filling that shirt on the wing labelled “Visser”.
Glasgow have freshened up their back line with experienced heads and rested a couple of big names for the match with Ulster this weekend.
Head coach Sean Lineen called for a “big reaction” to defeat at the RDS: “We were disappointed with the manner of our loss to Leinster, and as a group we’ve been working hard all week to address the areas where we didn’t get it right.”
On Friday night at Murrayfield the capital side swapped the lead with Leinster seven times. In a free and easy game where tackling was not at a premium it was the hand-over that was evident. You attack; then we’ll attack. You get a head start; then we will cover, and recover. They lost by 8 points, 28-36.
If you’re a little depressed by the fact that discussion of the World Cup Final – which should really be the pinnacle of our game – has degenerated into tit for tat claims about foul play and the IRB stepping in to fine one group of men for holding hands while watching another group of men dancing, then I offer you the ultimate antidote to depression. Um, Scottish professional rugby.
No matter how your season is going it is nice to be recognised for your achievements, Even if you didn’t know you were being watched. Humble Borderer Lee Jones, upon hearing of his award of Hotel Du Vin/Malmaison Player of the Month, simply afforded himself a sheepish smile.