Jamie Lyall discusses the controversial selections – and omissions – made by Vern Cotter ahead of this year’s all-important Six Nations Championship.
Carl Lewis once said, “Life is about timing.”
He may have slickly been suggesting that everything had fallen into place for him, but in sporting terms he was certainly correct. If you get there in the right time you get Gold. If you show your hand too early you lose the pot. If you slow your pace too much you are behind the fans, and they are gone.
Edinburgh 15-19 Toulouse
Edinburgh were unlucky to lose this one – if David Blair had kicked a few more points this game would have been a first major scalp for Edinburgh. However, it’s unfair to lay the blame for what might have been at the foot of the diminutive Edinburgh fly-half, as this was another reasonably assured performance from him, and in general Edinburgh handled well with far fewer knock-ons and dropped balls than we are used to. There were still a few turnovers at the breakdown which they will be worried about, but a refreshing unwillingness to kick showcased a young Edinburgh team unafraid to throw it about a bit: backs and forwards alike offloading in the tackle and moving forward with zest. Nick De Luca scored a great try – going past Jauzion in the process – proving that he is developing as a centre offering a genuine attacking threat born of pace and speed, rather than brute strength.
Saracens 33-31 Glasgow
Parks early penalty gave Glasgow a lead, but from then on it was a case of weathering the first half storm. Thom Evans went off with a head knock, depriving the Warriors of some zip on the wing, and Saracens seemed to have all the luck from that point. Glasgow came out fired up in the second half and clawed back 6 points through Parks, but Farrell seemed to be orchestrating slick attacks all over the park and it wasn’t long before Saracens had stretched the lead again, by seemingly too great a margin for Glasgow to come back from. Glasgow never gave up though with late converted tries from O’Hare and Al Kellock securing a well deserved bonus point and causing jitters amongst the home support. Five more minutes of pressure and Parko might have drop-goaled a sneaky victory, but alas (again) Glasgow are searching for a victory against Saracens.
It is heartening to see the pro-teams still (or in some cases starting to) play with spirit and determination even when facing defeat. Soon though, they will have to start getting results.
No, not him, the older one. The one you would have worried about if it had been this time last year. Sean “Monty” Lamont has picked up a knee ligament injury at Northampton which will keep him out for the rest of the season. Seems to be cruciate ligament damage from some of the articles online, so maybe they’ll pack him off to Vermont as they did with Jason White and Charlie Hodgson.
This puts him out of Scotland’s plans for the Six Nations, which may give Nikki Walker the run on the wing that he has been craving – and I feel he needs to build some confidence at international level. Of course Hadden may just put Webster/Paterson back out there and move Di Rollo/Webster back into the centre, but might this be an opportunity to build further experience into his expanded squad?
All the best to Monty for a quick recovery, and we hope you come back fitter, and stronger and with some fire in your belly to recapture your form of the 2006 Six Nations (and the bit in between when you scored 4 tries in one game for Saints).