Ruairidh Campbell summarises an enthralling afternoon of rugby at the Greenyards where Glasgow Warriors set out to defend the Ladies Cup but were almost toppled late on by the German national team.
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…
In glorious conditions at the Greenyards, thousands spent the weekend celebrating the greatness of the shortened form of Rugby Union. Overall there was a much stronger showing from Scottish teams than in recent years (other than the team of ringers brought in to win it last year), with a few reasonably well-kent names such as Ben Addison, Chris Fusaro and Jim Thompson popping up for their clubs and most of the invited overseas sides going out early. Host side Melrose progressed to the final but as usual the tournament was won by a bunch of students from South Africa who though everything was awesome and talked about God a lot. The vets tournament was won by a motely crew of ex-Border Reivers.
As one legend of the game – possibly the only legend of sevens, but what a legend – in Waisale Serevi retired, having finally played at the ground where the short game was invented, another bright young star was unearthed in the lightning quick feet of South African Earl Lewis. Melrose put up a fight in the brilliant final, clawing almost every score level thanks to some canny (and some Australian) operators – there was no shortage of class on both sides. In the end though, it was Lewis’s pace that proved the difference, able to kill off the game in the dying moments with a couple of individual sprints over the line.
Al’s moving house this weekend, and I’m off on a course on Saturday so it seems likely that we’ll miss the bumper crop of rugby stuff on the TV this weekend, mostly on Saturday. However here’s a list, so you don’t have to miss a thing.
The Glasgow – Edinburgh Magners League derby takes place tonight for readers in the Central Belt I urge you to go along, the last one sounded like a cracker and will hopefully be a great advert for Scottish rugby. It would be great if they get the 5,000 support they are hoping for. If you’ve got Setanta, yes you can watch it there too. I’ll be listening on the radio. Ugh. Tough one to call, but I reckon Glasgow might have the edge. Heart goes with Edinburgh though, ‘mon HUGOOOOO.
UPDATE: Glasgow win 23-14, mostly due to Dan Parks from the sound of things. He doesn’t make it easy, does he?
The world famous Melrose Sevens takes place on Saturday, with a number of guest sides including Leicester Tigers, Ulster, Roma and a Chinese side that will hopefully not be ring-fenced with blue tracksuits. The Scottish Thistles are fielding a pretty strong looking side as well, featuring a number of pro-team up and comers, who should also be in with a shout. Coverage on BBC2 Scotland in the afternoon.
UPDATE: Well done to the Thistles for winning at the end of what looked like a great day. Melrose’s defeat of last year’s champions the Shimlas was a great match as well, it’s just a pity they ran out of legs in the niggly match against Leicester.
On Sky on Saturday you can have Gloucester vs Saracens, which may or may not have any Scottish interest depending on their current view of the Mossy situation. There will more thank likely be some Super 14 action too at some ungodly hour of the morning.
Also on Saturday, the EDF final (BBC2 England) Ospreys vs Leicester. No Nikki Walker, but can Shane Williams and Justin Marshall stop Andy Goode and Skynet? Hopefully it’ll be one for the Magner’s League (and the future of mankind).
UPDATE: Big Jason scored a try in Sales victory over Bristol tonight (Friday) to help them move into 3rd spot. Gloucester coasted to victory over Saracens, although Gordon Ross came on for the losers and looked quite sharp. Rory Lawson and Strokosch showed up well, with Mossy mostly confined to the bench. Well done to the Ospreys too for making it two finals defeats for Leicester in the one day! Mankind lives another day… as for Scottish pro rugby, well that’s another matter…