Our man Brodie Smithers says goodbye and thank you to retiring Scotland flanker Ross Rennie.
After the launch party last week, and Edinburgh Rugby’s victory at the weekend, we thought you might like to see some of your favourite comeback kings with their tops off. For the third year running Edinburgh Rugby players have bared all (well almost) to raise money for Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres, and for those of you who didn’t rush out after the launch to buy one already, we’ve got a sneak preview.
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.
I am not just talking about the cold and snowy weather that has kept my southern colleague Al “working from home” a lot recently. I refer, of course, to the crappy game against Ospreys at the weekend where through a combination of their own inability to hold on to the ball and, um, welsh people, they came away with a result that is fairly unflattering.
So I am not going to dwell on it, save to say that if you want to see the undeniable foul play that put Mossy off the park before half time, check this video out, while it lasts. It seems that a kiwi 7 getting away with murder is not the sole preserve of the All Blacks. Ross Rennie and Tim Visser were the usual bright sparks (Visser got a try again), with no-one else really covering themselves in any sort of glory, however mildly haggis flavoured.
I would also raise the point, that if all the Aviva Premiership games were off (as they mostly were) and Leinster managed to get over from Dublin to play the Scarlets (they had to suffer home ref Nigel Owens instructing the Scarlets props in Welsh), could steps really not have been taken to secure a neutral Irish or English ref (or two), possibly one with the ability to see? By the time James Jones realised he was supposed to be neutral in this fixture, Edinburgh had a player replaced and were 20 points down. Bring back George Clancy, all is forgiven.
Actually, maybe not.
UPDATE: Marty Holah has indeed by cited for his trip: BBC Article.
Edinburgh finally reversed the losing streak that has dogged them since the end of last season, and did so in some style against a Leinster team that boasted most of its all-star Lions (save for Nathan Hines) returning to action just in time for the start of the season, I mean um, the Heineken Cup. Oh, and Tim Visser scored. Again.
Busy week this one! Scottish Rugby is like buses – it makes a mess of Edinburgh city centre.
The SRU have announced that they are withdrawing from bidding for the 2013 IRB Sevens World Cup (potentially the last before it goes Olympic) due to (yet again) a lack of broadcaster interest. And Ally Hogg is to have surgery on a hip that is giving him gyp (see what I did there?) and has possibly been a factor in his form this season not being as good as last – when he played every game of the season for Edinburgh plus two sevens tournaments. On the good news side though, 23 year old openside Ross Rennie completes his comeback from injury into an Edinburgh squad alongside Roddy Grant and Alan Macdonald. Suffice to say, I think we’ve seen the last of Hoggy being shuffled to 7 as he used to be. Although with Dave Callam also almost back Ally might not find the back row slots just opening up for him when he does return, estimated to be sometime towards season’s end.
Rory Lamont will be out of the Six Nations while he recovers from ankle surgery made necessary after ligament damage sustained playing for Sale against Montauban. This is a real shame as he was in a rich vein of form, and it may well affect his outside chances of a Lions berth – while it solidifies the odds that Chris Paterson will fill the 15 shirt where he has been playing reasonably well for Edinburgh so far.
UPDATE: It seems the patented Rory Lamont Helicopter™ is to blame. Quoted on the BBC Website Rory says:
“I seem to spin through a lot of contact and it puts a lot of force through your body when you’re spinning. I guess I just open my body up for injuries with that style of play.”
We wish the flying Chinook of Scottish Rugby well with his recovery.
Ross Rennie’s citing has delayed the team picked to face Wasps (update to follow as I hear), but Andy Robinson has largely stuck with the side that played all the rugby at Murrayfield last weekend but got none of the points. Meanwhile Andy Robinson has revealed that they tried to lure Rocky Elsom last year to play in Edinburgh before he opted for Leinster and may look overseas again next year for a new signing. I’m all for Edinburgh expanding their squad, but a balance has to be found between bringing in world-class experience and keeping improving back rowers like Ross Rennie and Alan Macdonald out of the team. Darryl Gibson was less than a success on the pitch for Glasgow (though reputed to have been very influential off the pitch) whereas Todd Blackadder is probably the benchmark for a successful import. Oh, and we did have a world-class back row at Edinburgh – but Simon Taylor left. (Edinburgh vs Wasps, Sky Sports, Sunday 1pm)
UPDATE: Ross Rennie has received a two match ban for his tackle on Paul Sackey. Paterson has failed a fitness test so Hugo Southwell will start at 15. Scott Newlands fills in for Rennie and the only other change is Andy Kelly filling in for the injured Ross Ford.
And having cemented his place in Glasgow’s Outside Centre position, Max Evans has signed a new deal with the club. Let’s hope he repeats his performance against Bath this weekend. Disappointing to see that Ruaridh Jackson has dropped to the bench to welcome back Parko, but I suppose it was inevitable. (Sunday 2pm, not on the telly, highlights on Sky Sports ERC Rugby Special Sunday night)
It’s not quite in name at least, but it looks like the campaign for a Match of the Day for Rugby has finally scored some points, with the announcement of a highlights show to be screened on ITV4 (and repeated at an unsocial hour on ITV1) on Sundays at 6.30pm. ITV have recently acquired the rights to Guinness Premiership highlights previously held by the BBC, and the programme will be fronted by sometime BBC touchline/holiday reporter and double glazing salesman Craig Doyle. Quite what happened to our own little Scotsport version complete with handheld footage from your local rugby pitch, Doddie Weir’s trousers and the odd bit of pro-team action, we’ll never know.
Also announced was the news that several regulars from Edinburgh’s squad last season – plus a couple of newly minted pros – will be living it up in the Premier League until such time as they regain form or fitness, having not been registered as part of Edinburgh’s playing squad for the season. Big surprise on the list is Ross Rennie (injury), who presumably will be re-instated when he recovers. Roland Reid has also been left off.
And the SRU have announced that anyone buying an Autumn test ticket will be eligible for a free ticket for the Boxing Day derby between Edinburgh and Glasgow. Which is nice of them.