If you look at the Sky Sports page for this final weekend of pool action, you’ll notice that in all the pools you can watch a choice of either final match on the main channel or the red button.
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!”
Glasgow announced earlier in the week that Sean Lamont is to join his brother Rory at the Warriors from next season, following a successful spell at Welsh region the Scarlets where he has played not only wing, but also centre and fullback. Indeed this year’s Six Nations went on to see Sean collect unexpected international honours in the centre, filling in for Graeme Morrison during the Six Nations where he proved an effective battering ram.
Glasgow Warriors 20 – 15 Montpellier Herault
In this country we like to cling onto good feelings. That’s why we have a whole month of Christmas. Unfortunately for visitors Montpellier they did not find hosts Glasgow in a festive mood as they went down in their third round Heineken Cup match at Firhill despite outscoring the Warriors by two tries to one. Duncan Weir and Ruaridh Jackson kicked a couple of long-range crackers to edge the contest and put them into second in the group.
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.