Rory Lamont retires, Gemmell expands his Sevens squad, the British & Irish Cup gets a new structure and Scotland get a new forwards coach.
Melrose, Currie and Ayr all opened their British & Irish Cup campaign this weekend, taking on professional or semi-professional opposition in Bedford Blues, Leeds Carnegie and Plymouth Albion respectively.
As if the pro-team wins weren’t enough to give us a little fillip here in the world of Scottish rugby, Melrose and Ayr both fought back to secure last-gasp victories as they edged past their respective opponents 19-17 and 18-17.
Ayr were boosted by the addition of Johnnie Beattie and Jon Welsh with the former grabbing a try in the closing minutes after the Scots were down 17-5 at half time, while Melrose were down 17-0 at halftime and fought back for the win at the Greenyards.
It wasn’t all cheery though, as Currie were defeated 16-31 at Headingley. London Scottish were in action too, going down 63-0 to Llanelli who must be building a fair bit of depth, the Scarlets having also been in Heineken Cup action this weekend winning 31-23 (Sean Lamont dotted down for a try).
A few months back, before this whole sordid World Cup thing started, I was at the Scotland team hotel to do some interviews alongside the rugby writers corps. After all of the official stuff, I tried to get as much free coffee as I could, being a student who cannot afford a Starbucks or a packet of Custard Creams myself.
The Scotland under-20s have already left for their World Cup in Italy. In their ranks they have Duncan Weir, Mark Bennett and Stuart Hogg. They also, it must be said, go with mixed expectations.
Like an overheard conversation, we all have some nagging doubts in our mind about how Edinburgh and Glasgow are going to progress next season.
As Welsh legend Gareth Thomas tells all in America there have been a few revelations on our own soil. Brace yourself for the Scottish rugby version of the New Years honour list…
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.