Tait Takes Over Falcons

Former Scotland and Lions cross-code legend Alan Tait is to take over control of the Newcastle Falcons following the departure of his long time partner in crime. Great to see another Scottish coach being given a chance to cut his teeth at the highest level of club rugby. Hopefully the policy of using the Borders as something of a feeder area for their academy that he and Bates seemed to espouse will continue under the new regime.

In other news:

  • Ian “Mighty Mouse” McLaughlan will be the new SRU President
  • Houston, Cairns and Cross have all signed new contracts for Edinburgh. Hoggy has an offer in but it is rumoured to be less than he’s currently on. Aren’t Cardiff in the market for a number 8?
  • Aberdeen Asset Management have also renewed their shirt sponsorhip of Edinburgh.

Sorry I’ve been a bit slack lately but hopefully we can get some coverage sorted of the games this weekend in the run up to the playoffs…

UPDATE: Tait has revealed a little of his plan for taking over at Newcastle here on the BBC.

Glasgow Make The Playoffs

Congratulations to Sean Lineen and the Glasgow team who have made it through to the playoffs with one week of the season remaining. A strong showing against the Scarlets and they may still sneak a home semi, which would be invaluable considering the candidates in opposition are likely to be Leinster, Munster or the Ospreys. New boy Duncan Weir in on the bench for the injured Ruaridh Jackson seems to have had a good 9 minute cameo before the stirring send off given to Dan Parks and Kelly Brown by the sizeable Firhill crowd.

The reason for Glasgow securing such a position? Another pretty woeful performance from Edinburgh, who unfortunately seem to have gone backwards under Rob Moffatt this season, losing the head in attack and the plot in defence. Thank goodness for Tim Visser, the dutchman who is at the moment the only one with his finger in the dyke holding back the tide of mediocrity.

Edinburgh have lost a number of internationalists to long-term injuries this season and clearly missed the ability and leadership of Chris Paterson and Ally Hogg.

As someone pointed out in the comments over on the Scotsman site, is this the same Ally Hogg that has hasn’t been given a contract for next season?

Obama, Eat Your Heart Out

Every time you turn on the news these days you are bombarded with the word ‘CHANGE’. The politicians are all screaming it. Travel agents can’t get enough of it. Even the chief exec.’s of Rangers and Celtic seem to be on the streets begging for some spare. So what is set to change in Scottish rugby next season?

The answer to that appears to be the squads of almost every single ‘top level’ team.

Dragons Burn Edinburgh To Ash

Dragons 49  – 28 Edinburgh

Forget aerial ping-pong, there was try ping-pong on Sunday as Edinburgh went looking for four tries at Rodney Parade and got them – but forgot the part about not letting in seven in return. Despite a joyful attacking spirit from both teams, it was more a case of sloppy defence all round really with most of the tries resulting from errors, but the Dragons seemed to have more hunger for the result and a frightening ability to get round Edinburgh’s much larger wingers.

Teams for the Weekend

Glasgow Warriors team to face Ulster: B Stortoni, C Shaw, M Evans, G Morrison, DTH van der Merwe, D Parks, M McMillan, K Tkachuk, F Thomson, M Low, T Barker, A Kellock, K Brown, J Barclay, J Beattie.
Replacements: tbc

Friday night, Firhill, coverage on BBC Radio Scotland, kickoff 1905

Edinburgh team to face Dragons: J Thompson, M Robertson, B Cairns, J Houston, T Visser, P Godman, M Blair (capt), A Jacobsen, R Ford, G Cross, S MacLeod, J Hamilton, A MacDonald, R Rennie, D Callam. Replacements: A Kelly, K Traynor, S Turnbull/F McKenzie, S Newlands/R Grant, G Laidlaw, D Blair, S Webster/A Turnbull.

Sunday, Rodney Parade, live on S4C, kickoff 1705

Both teams will be aiming to keep themselves in the hunt for a playoff place. The Welsh and Irish teams are starting to creep back up the table as the games-in-hand iron themselves out, and after this weekend our boys face a tough run in for the last couple of games…

Rugby by the Bucketload

Well, it’s that weekend of the year again where the Heineken Cup knockout stages face off against the Melrose Sevens for domination of your rugby-viewing brain. You can watch live rugby from the Super 14, Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup from about 8am on Saturday till well past 10pm non stop (apart from adverts) on Sky Sports 2, while BBC 2 Scotland has coverage of the Melrose Sevens from 2-5pm. So much rugby, so little time! Still, some of the interesting bits could include:

  • The return of Ally Hogg and Marcus Di Rollo to our TV screens (/hearts?) in the Watsonians Sevens set up
  • Munster vs Northampton’s potentially “large ship v iceberg” clash at Thomond Park
  • The South African students endlessly praising Jesus in front of a bemused Melrose crowd after they have thrashed allcomers.
  • The slim outside chance of a Lamont vs Lamont clash in Toulon vs Scarlets – although looking at the squads there is no sign of Rory.
  • Trying to decide which non-Scottish team to root for, based possibly on the number of Scots on the pitch (Saints and Gloucester are prob worth a cheer on those grounds!).

And that’s before we even think about Leinster vs Clermont tonight at the RDS or Stade Francais vs Toulose on Sunday… enjoy your weekend…

Premier Cup Final Decided

Due to congestion a special fixture sits nestled in the middle of a busy fixture list. The match that should crown a glorious moment for one club at the end of the season will pit virgin finalists Ayr against cup specialists Melrose.

The semi-finals finished Melrose 31-8 Currie, and Ayr 23-14 Heriot’s. The final will be held on the 24th of this month, and while Ayr may be more confused than Caster Semenya, competing on two fronts, they will definitely be pumped for their first ever final against record-breaking finalists, Melrose.

Six Nations Roundtable Roundup

Your faithful team of Scottish Rugby Blog pundits sat at a virtual round table, quaffed mead, gnawed meat from the bone, kicked the dogs and generally caroused their way through the highs and lows of this years Six Nations. Then Al threatened to get Excalibur out and everyone went back to their little corners. Camelot is a silly place…

Premier Cup Action

This saturday sees the men’s semi’s (classic!) of the Scottish Hydro Premier Cup in which league leaders Currie travel south to face Melrose and Champions Ayr host cup holders Heriot’s. Both of these fixtures are interesting, to say the least. While it has been noted that the league’s trailblazers have been kept apart this does not necessarily mean that Currie and Ayr will play each other on the big pitch later this month.

Edinburgh Team for Scarlets

We’ll be back in the next few days with our teams of the tournament and other Six Nations round-uppery, but time waits for no man and the Edinburgh boys are straight back into the action this weekend.

Edinburgh: Jim Thompson, Mark Robertson, Ben Cairns, Nick De Luca, Tim Visser, Phil Godman, Mike Blair (captain), Kyle Traynor, Andrew Kelly, Geoff Cross, Scott MacLeod, Steve Turnbull, Alan MacDonald, Ross Rennie, Roddy Grant.
Replacements: Ross Ford, Allan Jacobsen, Jim Hamilton, Scott Newlands, Greig Laidlaw, David Blair, John Houston.

Murrayfield, Friday night ko 1930. Not on TV as far as I can see, this one.