Sunday, Muggy Sunday. Scotland was catching its breath. An unfancied Edinburgh side had nipped into London and nicked a result over Irish, the day before, winning it after trading blows for 80 minutes. Few would have expected an unprecedented double over English sides, even if something similar happened in Italy the week before.
They’re harsh on their team here in New Zealand.
After the All Blacks humped a stoic Tongan side by 6 tries to 1 with clinical counter attacking rugby but failed to score quite so much in the second half, pretty much everyone I’ve spoken to reckons they were truly, truly awful, or words to that effect. Usually ones rhyming with “hit” or “height”. Graham “Ted” Henry only gave them 5/10. So how then to view Scotland’s decidedly mixed performance on Saturday against a fired-up Romanian team?
3 days to go and the mounting pressure and rise in exposure is inescapable.
RWC 2011 kicks off on Friday with Tonga unleashing the Sipi Tau against the hosts, NZ, and suddenly we are made aware of every movement by every team, every day. It will continue like this throughout the tournament and at a time when every top tier nation is looking for recognition and respect we can only expect more scrutiny than ever before.
(or possibly a cardboard cut out of Jim Hamilton). Scotland’s players have enjoyed an afternoon of training with a difference as part of their preparations for Rugby World Cup.
This week Canterbury (of New Zealand and no longer the Northern Hemisphere) and Scotland launched the new rugby kit that will see our national team through the upcoming World Cup, and beyond. Reaction to it so far seems to be mixed (check out our FB poll to let us know what you think), so I thought I would take a look…
As Rory has chosen to focus on the backs he has left me with the slightly easier task of looking at the forwards.
The reason this is easier is because Andy Robinson has a pretty samey starting pack and, barring injury, I can’t imagine it will change too much for the first game in the World Cup. So this means the warm-up games against Ireland and Italy will help pick a bench, and the training sessions before hand are hugely important for individuals.
Things are set to get tougher for Edinburgh next year with the news that Fraser Mackenzie is leaving the club to join up with Richie Vernon at Sale Sharks. It seems that no longer is it a case of Edinburgh and Glasgow developing young players until they are established test players, now the bigger clubs are swooping to sign folk after just a season (or less) of decent performances. At the moment it really feels a bit like a closing down sale, and clubs with money are scrabbling for whatever bargains they can find left on the shelves.
This season’s Six Nations has been an unpredictable affair (should there be a Le in front of that?) with England dominating right up to the last exchange when they imploded at the Aviva Stadium. Despite this mishap, their players were generally better across the board but rather worryingly only Richie Gray could be said to be nailed on for a spot in this team with few real stand-outs on show. A.D (with a little help from Rory) gives us the team of the tournament.