Edinburgh Rugby today revealed details of a major overseas signing, announcing that they have recruited South African prop WP Nel from Super 15 side Free State Cheetahs on a three year contract.
You’re at home. You’re packing. You’ve got a big game on Friday. You’re thinking about your team going into the game against Racing, but you’re trying not to think about the game. The TV’s on in the background but you’re not sure what rubbish is on. Did you put in enough socks? You’re always looking for something and forget what it is halfway between rooms. Don’t stuff it all in. The phone’s going.
As Edinburgh and Glasgow go searching for success in the Heineken Cup this weekend it is important to understand that both teams must go to the extremes of their outlay if they are to keep their European fate in their own hands. They have pulled off some fantastic results, but as the old adage goes “one swallow does not make a summer”.
The deciding 1872 Cup game. The atmosphere was charged, even if some heads were sore. It was dark, but the fans expected more fire. Of course those expectations were founded on the belief that Glasgow had named a team as strong as they could whilst Edinburgh, with one eye on future fixtures in the Heineken Cup and the next RaboDirect game against an Ulster team that hammered Munster a few days ago, had set out to play their second string from the start. What happened in this game, though, was something short of incendiary.
Glasgow are trying to cultivate a party atmosphere ahead of the deciding 1872 Cup fixture. On New Year’s Day there will be a George Square party, situated at the Winter Cafe Bar, and good vibes will be pumped out through player appearances (before 4pm), tunes and a wee swally.
You’ll have gotten up today and sat down at your breakfast table, poured some juice, spread over some slightly charred toast and opened your paper. Looked at the sports section. You’ll see that Edinburgh drew with Glasgow at home 23-23. You’ll see that the attendance was 13,240. You’ll smile and, like Scott Johnson, you’ll think, “Wow! Scottish rugby looks like it’s going well.”
On Monday afternoon the peace will be broken and two packs will crumple into each other. At the crush of the scrummage both Edinburgh and Glasgow will be fighting to gain as many inches of ground as possible. One man will be delighted whatever the outcome is. With a burst of glee Scotland’s scrum coach Massimo Cuttita tells me “there will be fireworks alright!”
The most tann-ed one Gavin Henson could be in with a shout to line up against Edinburgh at Murrayfield on Friday, despite persistent injury niggles that have kept him out of the Blues line-up since signing for the region earlier in the year. His main problem has been his hand but that has apparently healed, leaving him with only a heal to recover. No bother, it’s only Edinburgh eh?
Cardiff Blues 25 – 8 Edinburgh Rugby
We’ve become accustomed to seeing Edinburgh romp in with tries. Edinburgh are the entertainers. The offloading chancers who have been able to score more than the opposition if that’s what a win needs. Down in Cardiff, though, when faced with the brutes in blue they seized up and played a game they could never win.