Sale Sharks are delighted to announce the signing of Scottish International Back Row Forward Josh Strauss on a three year deal.
Josh is currently playing for Glasgow Warriors who he joined in 2012 from The Lions and Golden Lions where he was captain.
He made his Currie Cup debut in 2010 and became a cult figure with his style of play and distinctive full length beard.
Josh has been capped eleven times by Scotland after making his international debut against Japan in the 2015 World Cup at Kingsholm.
Director of Rugby Steve Diamond said: ” Josh is a world class ball carrying forward. He has been performing well for both Glasgow and Scotland over the past five years and will compliment the squad in the ball carrying department. He is a leader and a very powerful athlete.
“The new owners Simon Orange and Ged Mason are keen to help Sale Sharks to become one of the leading clubs and signings like Josh will help our cause.”
Glasgow Warriors have signed fly-half Brandon Thomson on a short-term deal from the Stormers in South Africa.
He has started training with his new teammates at Scotstoun, after arriving in Glasgow from Cape Town.
The 21-year-old will be at the club for the next two months, with Finn Russell away with Scotland and Peter Horne currently sidelined with an ankle injury.
Thomson has played six times in Super Rugby for the Stormers and has scored 26 points.
He has also represented South Africa U20s at the World Rugby Under 20 Championship and has played for Western Province in the Provincial Cup and Currie Cup.
Stuart Hogg will start at fly-half for Glasgow Warriors for the first time in the Guinness PRO12 match away to Benetton Treviso this afternoon.
Despite having moved to the stand-off position during games and starting there for the British & Irish Lions, it is the first time Hogg will wear the Warriors number 10 shirt.
Rob Harley could make his 150th appearance for the club from the bench and would join an elite group of six other players who have reached that milestone.
With Hogg moving up field, Peter Murchie starts at full-back and will be flanked by Tommy Seymour and Junior Bulumakau, who has scored in both of his appearances for Glasgow so far this season, with the most recent coming in the win over Edinburgh Rugby at BT Murrayfield on Monday.
Nick Grigg starts at outside centre and was named Man of the Match in Glasgow’s previous trip to Italy this season in the win over Zebre. He once again teams up with Sam Johnson in the centres.
Combining with Hogg, Henry Pyrgos will captain the side from scrum-half.
Reigning 1872 Cup holders Edinburgh Rugby host Glasgow Warriors at Murrayfield in their Guinness PRO12 league match which doubles up as the first leg of this season’s 1872 Cup.
Glasgow Warriors are currently in 6th place on the PRO12 log with 27 points, 10 points off leaders Munster after 10 rounds, while Edinburgh who parted ways with Alan Solomons earlier this season are down in lowly 10th place with a mere 17 points. Both teams are doing fairly well in Europe although Glasgow are playing in the top European Rugby Champions Cup while Edinburgh are playing in the Challenge Cup.
There will be a mouth watering battle of the back rows, especially at number 8 where players who both used to ply their trade in South Africa Josh Strauss and Cornell du Preez have been selected for Glasgow and Edinburgh respectively.
Josh Strauss will make his 100th appearance for Glasgow Warriors in Friday night’s European Rugby Champions Cup match against Racing 92 at Scotstoun.
The Warriors won 23-14 against the French side in Paris last Saturday.
All 7,351 tickets have been sold for the Pool 1 encounter.
Stuart Hogg continues at full-back and Tommy Seymour and Lee Jones complete the back-three.
Alex Dunbar, who scored one of the tries last weekend, links up with Sam Johnson in midfield.
Last week’s Man of the Match Finn Russell is at fly-half and Ali Price, who scored Glasgow’s second try in Paris, starts at scrum-half.
Five years ago on Tuesday Glasgow Warriors made a signing that might not have had the immediate impact in the fans’ consciousness of a Simone Favaro or a Taqele Naiyaravoro but who has surely had more influence over the club’s fortunes than any single player. Nathan Bombrys has successfully managed the Warriors’ budget and commercial and matchday operations during a period in which the club has grown almost beyond recognition.
He may have been born (and raised) in the USA but Nathan has been immersed in rugby for many years. He first discovered the game at Syracuse University (go Hammerheads!) and played for 17 years. He also qualified as a referee – a fact possibly best kept secret given the Scotstoun crowd’s sometimes fractious relationship with match officials! He wasn’t at SU simply for the rugby though, graduating with a BFA in Film Drama of all subjects. Is Nathan’s influence the real reason for all the dramatic slow-mo shots that are a regular feature of Warriors’ HQ?
The best thing to come out of Michigan since the Ford Mustang, Nathan has been the driving force behind the club’s off-field transformation.
There were some big news announcements yesterday from both of Scotland’s professional clubs. The one from Edinburgh Rugby was about a departure while the one from Glasgow Warriors was about an arrival. Sticking one’s neck out it would seem that both announcements were seen as positive news by the clubs’ fans.
Edinburgh Rugby announced that Head Coach Alan Solomons was leaving and would be replaced in the interim by Duncan Hodge while Glasgow Warriors announced the acquisition of powerhouse player Langilangi Haupeakui from US PRO Rugby outfit Sacramento Express.
Alan Solomons vacates his post before completing his contract which would have taken him to the end of the current season. His previous contract expired at the end of last season and he had signed to stay on for one more year in Edinburgh.
There has always seemed to a bit of mixed feelings between the Edinburgh fans with some rather more supportive of Solomons than others. He took over at a time were really struggling and for some he has brought stability to the club and a measure of success, taking Edinburgh to a European Cup final, albeit in the second tier of Europe, and claiming back the 1872 Cup from bitter rivals Glasgow Warriors.
His critics feel that he has not done anymore with Edinburgh than a local coach could given the same level of investment and felt that his game plan was far too prescriptive and conservative and stifled his team, now where have we heard that before? It would seem that he didn’t have the copyright on this as far as many South African coaches go in the eyes of the various sets of fans.
Gregor Townsend has named his team to play Leinster in the 1st home game of the new season tomorrow afternoon (kick-off 15:00 BST, 14:00 GMT, 16:00 SA Time).
The Warriors will run out on the new artificial pitch at Scotstoun Stadium for the 1st time in front of a crowd in excess of 7 000.
Following last Saturday’s 41 / 5 win over Connacht in Galway, Fraser Brown replaces Pat MacArthur at hooker and Sila Puafisi comes in for Zander Fagerson at tighthead prop.
After his man of the match display last weekend, Stuart Hogg once again starts at fullback, with Leonardo Sarto named on the right wing and Tommy Seymour lining up on the opposite side.
Alex Dunbar and Sam Johnson form the centre partnership, with Peter Horne and co-captain Henry Pyrgos continuing at flyhalf and scrumhalf respectively.
Gordon Reid is once again named at loosehead prop and he’ll pack down in the front row alongside Brown and Puafisi.
Tim Swinson and co-captain Jonny Gray start their 2nd consecutive game together in the engine room.
It’s also the same loose forwards which started in Galway last Saturday, with Rob Harley, Simone Favaro and Ryan Wilson combining.
Alex Allan and Lee Jones come onto the bench, with Ryan Grant and Sean Lamont not involved this weekend. Allan could make his 1irst appearance in a Warriors shirt since February.
It was a challenge to keep up with the fast moving events surrounding Scottish rugby last week.
It was announced Gregor Townsend would succeed Vern Cotter as head coach of Scotland and just 24 hours later Dave Rennie was unveiled as the man who will take charge at of the Warriors at the start of next season.
Speaking in the Herald Gregor said: “It all happened very quickly. I was involved in the [Warriors] strip launch, then, one hour later, I was given the Scotland job. I had barely had time to digest that, when I was speaking to Dave Rennie about the succession at Glasgow.
“However, Glasgow will remain my No 1 priority this season. We have a huge season coming up and I want to leave a positive legacy for Dave to work with.
“I have known Dave for four or five years, over which we have kept in touch. I feel there is a great similarity in our approach to coaching, we both look for the same skills sets in players, the clubs have a similar culture in how we want to play rugby and Dave is a good fit for Glasgow.
“We will work together in player recruitment and so on, I expect he will be over here in November once the Super Rugby season is over and we will be working to make the transition as smooth as possible.
“Once it was announced I was leaving, the players opened a sweepstake as to my successor, and one of them guessed. They seem happy at the choice the SRU have made.”
Glasgow Warriors player Hugh Blake is returning to New Zealand to play for Bay of Plenty Steamers in the upcoming Mitre 10 Cup.
He’s joined the Steamers on loan until the end of October.
Hugh initially joined up with Glasgow on loan from Edinburgh during the 2014 / 2015 campaign but signed up permanently at Scotstoun last season.
He played a number of games for Warriors at the start of the 2015 / 2016 campaign but spent most of the season with the Scotland Sevens squad. He was part of the squad that won Scotland’s first World Sevens title in London.
Prior to his move to Scotland, Hugh represented New Zealand at the Under 20 level while he has also played for Otago.
Glasgow Warriors have signed second-row Tjiuee Uanivi from South African Super Rugby franchise, the Sharks, subject to a visa and medical.
Uanivi, who recently had a short loan spell at the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth, has penned a contract at Scotstoun until at least May 2017.
The 6ft 7in Namibia international, who has 14 caps for his country, joined the Sharks in January following a number of impressive displays at last year’s Rugby World Cup.
He scored his first try for his country against Romania in the World Rugby Nations Cup earlier this month.
Prior to joining the Sharks, the 25-year-old played 10 times for Brive in the Top 14 and European Rugby Challenge Cup.
The versatile Uanivi, who can also play across the back-row, is due to arrive in Glasgow next month.
He is the latest player to join the Warriors ahead of the 2016/17 season, with winger Leonardo Sarto, hooker Corey Flynn and scrum-half Nemia Kenatale, joining fly-half Rory Clegg and props Djustice Sears-Duru and Jarrod Firth at Scotstoun for the new campaign.
Glasgow Warriors flyhalf Finn Russell picked up a nasty injury very early on in the Warrior”s match against Connacht in Galway in the PRO12 semifinal on Saturday. He was involved in one of those ‘freak’ events when he and team mate Zander Ferguson ran into each other.
Current Scotland U20 tighthead prop Fagerson had to leave the field but was able to walk off although he didn’t return for the rest of the game.
For Finn Russell however the collision was more costly, as the medics rushed onto the field to treat the two it became clear that Finn had suffered a nasty injury to his face. Early on during the on-field assessment they had him standing up but then lay him on the ground. After what seemed like quite a while he was stretchered off to a sporting applause from concerned fans at the ground and taken to hospital.
Glasgow Warriors put out a short message on Sunday night confirming that Finn was still in hospital undergoing observation. Today the club put out a longer statement with the news that although he remained in hospital he didn’t require surgery and that he may be released later this week.
Connacht and Glasgow Warriors will be battling it out in today’s Guinness PRO12 semifinal in Galway for a place in the final against Leinster at Murrayfield next weekend. This after hosts Leinster pulled off a comfortable victory against Ulster last night in the first semifinal. The final score in that match was : Leinster 30 / 18 Ulster.
Connacht must surely be heading into today’s match in a very confident frame of mind as the last time they played Glasgow Warriors they ended up on the winning side with a 7 point margin of victory in a low scoring affair. That match took place 2 weeks ago in the last Round of the regular league stage and was also played at Connacht’s home ground in the picturesque Galway.
Today’s match should be played in far better conditions than the last one between these 2 teams and this could help Glasgow who like to play an attractive attacking brand of rugby. The only thing is that Connacht, under Pat Lam, have also developed into a slick unit who have the ability to run with the ball and offload smartly too and are at this stage possibly the more rounded team as they proved 2 weeks ago that they also have the ability to ‘win ugly’.
The relationship between Rory Lamont and rugby has always been uneasy. When it was good, it was really good: 29 Scotland caps, two World Cups, and stints in Europe’s top leagues with Toulon, Sale and Glasgow.
When it was bad, it was really bad: whispering campaigns about his attitude, 16 operations, “double figure” concussions. By the time the game ran out of uses for him, the feeling was entirely mutual.
Three years ago this week, Lamont announced his retirement. The last of his many injuries, a lower leg fracture from the previous year, hadn’t properly healed and the end came as a relief.
“I was thinking, ‘finally it’s over’. I felt like an animal being put out of its misery. I’d had a miserable year, people questioning my integrity, and I couldn’t wait to crack on with my life and all the amazing things I was going to do.”
Never did he picture becoming a recluse, battling severe depression and suicidal thoughts. Nowhere in the retirement brochure did it say he’d lose 25kg in four months and be unable to stomach solids for a further five. The bit about being so low he hoped he’d be run over by a bus? Not what he’d signed up for either.
Glasgow Warriors have announced a group of players who will leave the club in the summer.
Prop Jerry Yanuyanutawa, looseforward Tyrone Holmes and hooker Kevin Bryce are among the departures.
Fijian international Yanuyanutawa joined the club from London Irish in 2013 and has gone on to make 46 appearances for the Scotstoun-based side.
South Africa-born Holmes joined the Warriors in 2013 and has made 34 appearances for the club over the last 3 seasons and was capped by Scotland against South Africa in 2014.
27-year-old Bryce has made 12 appearances for the Warriors since joining the club in 2013 and has gone on to represent Scotland on 2 occasions.
Loose forwards Will Bordill and Jason Hill, hookers Shalva Mamukashvili and Fergus Scott, flyhalf Gregor Hunter and prop Javan Sebastian will also be leaving the club.
In the last few days the news has broken of the imminent departure of 2 big players from Glasgow Warriors. Glasgow Warriors centurion James Eddie has announced he has retired from rugby with immediate effect and Fijian lock Leone Nakarawa will be released from his Glasgow Warriors contract at the end of the season to move to a club in France.
Glasgow Warriors scrumhalf Mike Blair has retired from playing with immediate effect and will take up a new coaching role at the club next season.
The 35-year-old will remain with Scottish Rugby as an assistant coach at the Warriors.
Blair joined Glasgow this season and has made 12 appearances for the club and was voted Player of the Month in October.
The 85-capped former Scotland international has had an illustrious career, representing Edinburgh Rugby, Brive, Newcastle Falcons and the Warriors.
Blair enjoyed 10 years with Edinburgh Rugby, playing his first professional game in 2001. Highlights included being runners up in the Magners League in 2009 and reaching the semifinals of the European Cup in 2012.
Scotland’s most capped scrumhalf captained his country on 14 occasions before retiring from international rugby at the start of 2013, aged 31.
He was named Scotland’s Player of the Year in 2008 and was nominated for the IRB World Player of the Year that same season. He toured South Africa with the British and Irish Lions in 2009.
The player of the 2016 RBS 6 Nations, Stuart Hogg, went from hero to villain to hero last night at Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow. Hogg, who was presented with the player of the tournament trophy by Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend during a Warriors practice session earlier this week, was shown a Yellow Card less than 2 minutes into the match against Rob Herring’s Ulster for what was deemed by referee John Lacey to be a professional foul on Glasgow’s try line. However, after spending the obligatory 10 minutes off the field his night went from bad to better to brilliant.
Hogg was involved in play on numerous occasions gaining much ground with his incisive running and scored a super try down the left side of the field with a wonderful chip of the top and gather effort. He also had the final say in the match landing a monster penalty kick late on the game to deny Ulster a losing bonus point and send the final score to Glasgow Warriors 27 / 17 Ulster. John Lacey awarded Glasgow a penalty almost 5m inside their own half of the field, up stepped the man of the moment Hoggy who slotted the penalty with ease in spite of a swirling wind.
Over the past year the flower of Scottish rugby is beginning to come back into bloom.
Last season Glasgow Warriors became the first Scottish side to win the Guinness PRO12, then Scotland were agonizingly close to a Rugby World Cup semifinal place with their last gasp defeat to Australia.
Last weekend in the penultimate Round of the RBS 6 Nations, the Scots broke a decade long hoodoo by beating France at BT Murrayfield.
Their compatriots at Under 20s level had made history of their own by beating “The Auld Enemy” England in the tournament’s opening Round for the 1st time since the inception of the Under 20s Six Nations Championship.
Leading the charge of this new generation of young Scots is Under 20s captain and lock Scott Cummings, who due to commitments with his club side Glasgow Warriors will not be playing against Ireland in the final Round of competition after guiding his side to 2 wins.
However, Cummings’ contribution to Scotland’s Under 20s and the experience he has gained playing in the Guinness PRO12 reflects the current renaissance in Scottish rugby.
This feels like a semifinal age in the tempestuous domain of European rugby.
The financial behemoths prowling the leagues of England and France are on a seemingly inexorable rise, hoovering up the galacticos of the southern hemisphere.
Theirs is a monetary clout Scottish rugby cannot hope to match.
From Edinburgh, Dave Denton has gone to Bath, Greig Tonks to London Irish. Captain Mike Coman will follow, so too Matt Scott to Gloucester at the season’s end. There may be others.
Along the M8, speculation continues to heighten on the future of Fijian sensation Leone Nakarawa – reportedly heading for Racing 92 with a year left on his contract – and Taqele Naiyaravoro, the monstrous winger, returning to the Waratahs of Australia.
A shrewd acquisition
Amidst this leakage of talent, though, the Warriors have, rather shrewdly, recruited an ex-Crusaders hooker, a 4-time Super Rugby champion, 15-Test All Black and Rugby World Cup winner.
Corey Flynn joins Gregor Townsend’s squad on a 2-year deal this summer following a sojourn at Toulouse, one of the most storied and wealthy of the French heavyweights.
There has been a mix of good and bad news for Glasgow Warriors on the player retention front this week. The bad news is that Taqele Naiyarovoro will be evoking an exit clause and leaving at the end of this season, 1 third of the way through his original contract. The good news is that promising young scrumhalf Ali Price as well as loosehead prop Alex Allan and tighthead prop Sila Puafisi have extended their contracts in varying amounts.
The loss of Naiyarovoro is no surprise as the speculation of this happening has been rife all season, in fact from even before he arrived in Glasgow. The detail on the actual timing of his departure is a little sketchy as it has been reported that he will leave at the end of Glasgow’s season but at the same time that he will join the Waratahs for Super Rugby 2016, but this starts before the end of Glasgow’s season. Apparently he is on quite a lucrative package and his departure will at least free up some funds for other players to either be retained or recruited by the club.
Naiyarovoro arguably played his best match for Glasgow Warriors thus far at home against Scarlets in the European Rugby Champions Cup. He was at his powerful best and steamrollered his way to a hat trick of tries in this match. Hopefully, he can make a big contribution to the Warriors cause for the rest of the season before he departs.
As speculated here on rugby-talk a few weeks ago the former Bulls player JJ Engelbrecht is set to make his debut for Ospreys on Sunday 31 January against Glasgow Warriors. Engelbrecht has been named as player No 23 in the Ospreys match day squad for the hosts in their PRO12 match.
It remains to be seen where the Ospreys will be utilizing his talents for the rest of the season and clarity on this may only be gained once he is listed in any of their starting line ups. The pacey winger who has spent the bulk of the last few seasons playing at outside centre will at least be sleeping more peacefully for the next few nights than he would have been had he been listed as centre in the starting line up. This ensures that he will be required for less time or may completely avoid having to help the midfield defend against the mammoth Fijian Australian winger Taqele Naiyaravoro who is due to don the No 13 jumper for the reigning champions.
Naiyaravoro has been brought in from the wing with various regular centres unavailable for the match. Alex Dunbar and Richie Vernon have been ruled out due to injury, while Peter Horne and Mark Bennett are with the Scotland squad ahead of the 6 Nations and just last weekend Bennett was ruled out of playing for the Warriors in their European Champions Cup encounter against Racing 92 due to injury. Loose forward Hugh Blake has helped out at centre earlier this season as well, but he is away with the Scotland 7s team in Wellington New Zealand.
The Ospreys picked another big Fijian, Josh Matavesi, as inside centre possibly with a view to try and keep Naiyaravoro in check. At 1.88m tall and weighing 112kg Matavesi will take some stopping as well and the fans can look forward to some big collisions.
Glasgow Warriors have moved this month’s European Rugby Champions Cup fixture with Racing 92 to Rugby Park stadium in Kilmarnock, due to a high risk of the Scotstoun pitch being unplayable next weekend.
The club, in consultation with EPCR, has moved to find an alternative venue for the match in the West of Scotland, following unprecedented rainfall and flooding over the past few weeks. It will also give the Scotstoun pitch the best possible chance of recovering ahead of the next scheduled home game after the European Rugby Champions Cup fixture in 5 weeks time.
The Pool 3 encounter vs Racing 92 will be played on Saturday 23 January (kick-off 17:30 UK Time).
The 18 128 all-seater Rugby Park stadium, which is home to Kilmarnock Football Club, has a World Rugby compliant 3G pitch and hosted the 1st ever Tier 1 rugby international on an artificial surface in November 2014 when Scotland beat Tonga 37 / 12.
Around 6 650 tickets have already been sold for the clash with the Top 14 leaders and an additional 7 500 match tickets will become available tomorrow (Thursday 14 January).
Stade Francais 27 / 7 Munster
Stade Francais winger Josaia Raisuqe was sent off but the French champions still easily beat Munster in their Champions Cup match in Paris.
Raisuqe was sent off on the stroke of halftime for gouging Munster’s CJ Stander as they wrestled for the ball.
Paul Williams, Sekou Macalou and Hugo Bonneval crossed for Stade who are 4 points behind pool leaders Leicester.
A late Conor Murray try prevented Munster suffering their first shut-out in 21 years of European rugby.
The Irish side are now out of the Champions Cup – barring a miracle series of results – after suffering 3 pool defeats in a row for the 1st time.
Saracens have appointed England Under 20 head coach Ian Peel to their staff after reaching an agreement with the Rugby Football Union.
The 39-year-old will retain a part-time role as a scrum coach with the England senior squad for the Six Nations.
“Ian’s track record of developing talent is very impressive,” Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall said.
“He fits into the club’s model of providing opportunities to some of the brightest coaches available.”
Former prop forward Peel moved into coaching in 2006 after spending 8 years with Newcastle as a player, making 122 Premiership appearances.
Peel has been involved in the England Under 20 programme since 2013, initially as assistant coach, and helped the side to back-to-back Junior World Championship titles in 2013 and 2014 and the Under 20 Six Nations title in 2015.
Ryan Wilson will make his 100th Glasgow Warriors appearance in the second leg of the 1872 Scottish Cup with Edinburgh at a sold-out Scotstoun on Saturday evening.
The backrower keeps his place at blindside flanker, following Edinburgh’s 23 / 11 victory in the first leg at BT Murrayfield last Sunday.
The only change to the back 3 sees Sean Lamont replace Tommy Seymour on the left wing. Stuart Hogg continues at fullback and Taqele Naiyaravoro lines up on the right wing.
Mark Bennett and Peter Horne continue their centre partnership, while Duncan Weir comes in for Finn Russell at flyhalf and Ali Price replaces Grayson Hart at scrumhalf.
In the pack Gordon Reid starts at loosehead prop, with Ryan Grant named on the bench, while Fraser Brown retains his place at hooker and Zander Fagerson comes in for Sila Puafisi at tighthead prop.
After missing last weekend’s defeat captain Jonny Gray returns to the side and partners USA international Greg Peterson in the engine room, with Leone Nakarawa named amongst the replacements.
The only change to the backrow sees Josh Strauss return at No 8 in place of Adam Ashe. Chris Fusaro continues at openside and Wilson wears the No 6 jersey.
Edinburgh hold a 12-point lead on aggregate going into the second leg of the 1872 Cup, after an excellent 23 / 11 home win over rival Glasgow Warriors, in front of a record crowd of 23 642 at BT Murrayfield.
The win not only gives Edinburgh the advantage going into next week’s second-leg encounter at Scotstoun, but also sees them leapfrog the Warriors in the Guinness PRO12 table.
2 Tries from centre Matt Scott and back-row John Hardie, were bolstered by the sterling boot of Sam Hidalgo-Clyne who notched up 16 points from the tee to contribute to Edinburgh’s 26-points tally.
Despite opening the scoring through a Mark Bennett try, Edinburgh snatched Glasgow’s lead in the 12th minute with Hidalgo-Clyne’s conversion to Scott’s try, and retained it for the remaining 68 minutes of the game.
There was one late change to the sides prior to proceedings as Glasgow captain and lock Jonny Gray pulled out through injury. Centre Peter Horne took on skippering duties, with Tim Swinson gaining promotion from the bench and USA Eagles internationalist Greg Peterson being named as a substitute.
The coaches have named their teams for the opening leg of the 1872 Scottish Cup, at BT Murrayfield on Sunday 27 December (kick-off 15:05 UK time; 17:05 SA Time). As reigning cup holders, Alan Solomons has made 2 changes to the Edinburgh starting XV that beat London Irish last weekend in the European Challenge Cup, while Gregor Townsend has called up former Edinburgh scrumhalf Grayson Hart replacing Mike Blair in the No 9 shirt as the Warriors return to Guinness PRO12 action following their back-to-back European Rugby Champions Cup wins over the Scarlets.
In total there are 20 Scotland capped players in the starting XVs (8 for Edinburgh, 12 for Glasgow) with a further 4 on the bench (1 for Edinburgh, 3 for Glasgow). With the RBS 6 Nations Championship only 6 short weeks away, the players will want to impress head coach Vern Cotter as well as win their team valuable Guinness PRO12 league points.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. A feast of rugby awaits fans of the Scottish pro teams as they look forward to December’s derby matches. The 1872 Cup may be a relatively recent creation but it epitomises a rivalry that stretches back over 140 years.
1872 to 1953:
The very first Glasgow vs Edinburgh meeting took place on 23 November 1872 at Burnbank, home of Glasgow Accies, and has the very precise historical claim of being the world’s first non-international representative rugby union fixture. The game was 20-a-side (a possible tactical choice for Alan Solomons to even the odds?) and saw Edinburgh emerge victorious by a drop goal to nil (someone may need to explain to the current Warriors squad what a drop goal is). There wasn’t actually a cup up for grabs – it would take more than 100 years before that came along. This may have been due to fears on the East coast that their Weegie counterparts would melt down any trophy and sell it in the 19th century equivalent of Cash for Gold.
BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy scrumhalf Ali Price has signed a professional contract with Glasgow Warriors.
The 22-year-old, who is the latest Stage 3 player to graduate from the Scottish Rugby academy system, will be staying at Scotstoun until at least May 2016.
Kings Lynn-born Price has made 9 appearances for the Warriors and was part of the Guinness PRO12 title-winning squad last season.
The Scotland Under 20 scrumhalf was also in the Glasgow squad which won the Melrose 7s earlier this year.
He previously played for Bedford Blues and was part of the Saracens Storm ‘A’ league set-up.
Ali Price said: “It’s a huge honour to sign my first professional contract and I’m looking forward to continuing my career in Glasgow with the Warriors.
“I’ve developed a lot as a player over the last 12 months, having had the opportunity to train and play with the first team squad.
“I’m always learning and it’s great to be able to work closely with the likes of Mike (Blair), Henry (Pyrgos) and Grayson (Hart).”
Llanelli Scarlets host Glasgow Warriors tonight in a European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 3 match.
The teams met for the first of their two games in the round robin stage of Europe’s top rugby competition last week at Glasgow’s home ground, Scotstoun Stadium. Glasgow won that match comprehensively with a final score of 43/6 in their favour, picking up a bonus point in the process. The big Fijian Australian winger Taqele Naiyaravoro was in devastating form arguably putting in the performance of the weekend in scoring a hat trick of tries and having one dot down perhaps harshly ruled not a try.
The Scarlets had many players missing last week due to injury and with various of these players returning today it should be a much closer affair at their home ground, while the fact that it could be a very damp day could also help as a leveller.
Today’s game will be the 100th game for Gregor Townsend as head coach of Glasgow Warriors and also coincidently the Warriors’ 100th game in European Rugby competitions. To commemorate the milestone of Gregor Townsend (Toony) a big Glasgow Warriors fan has been running a series of articles this week with all sorts of detail about the club. This Spreadsheet Warrior is a very gifted numbers analyst who highlights all sorts of interesting facts about Glasgow Warriors and it is always very interesting to read the latest offerings on the blog. Some of the analysis this week goes into such minute detail which is great especially for the dedicated Warriors fan and highlights just how well Gregor Townsend has done with the Warriors. We bring you the final part of the “Tribute to Toony”.
Gregor Townsend has named the same starting XV to face the Scarlets tomorrow, which would have taken to the pitch last weekend against Leinster.
The Guinness PRO12 encounter last Saturday was postponed due to the adverse weather conditions in Glasgow.
The only change to the matchday 23 is amongst the replacements, with scrum-half Grayson Hart coming in for Ali Price.
BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy Stage 3 hooker James Malcolm will therefore make his first start for the club, after featuring twice off the bench last month against Cardiff Blues and Benetton Treviso.
Fijian second-row Leone Nakarawa will make his 50th appearance for the Warriors, after being voted the McCrea Financial Services Warrior of the Month for November.
Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend has signed a contract extension with Scottish Rugby, which will keep him at Scotstoun until June 2017.
After leading Glasgow Warriors to the 2015 GUINNESS PRO12 title in May the former Scotland international has committed his future to the club he has coached since 2012.
Having previously coached in the Scotland national team set-up Gregor led Glasgow Warriors to the PRO12 semi-finals in 2012/13, his first season in charge at Glasgow, before making the PRO12 final the following year.
To acknowledge these achievements Townsend was named the GUINNESS PRO12 Coach of the Season in 2013 and 2015.
Scottish Rugby Chief Executive Mark Dodson said: “We are delighted to have retained Gregor’s services up to the end of the 2017 season.
“After Glasgow Warriors became the first Scottish team in the professional era to win a major trophy it was only natural Gregor’s talents would be of interest to other clubs.
“We maintain a constant dialogue with our coaches and believe he remains the right person to take the Warriors forward and consolidate their recent success.
“He has created a consistent winning culture at Scotsoun and that is benefitting both the club and the players he works with.”
When he took to the field as Scotland cap number 1 073, Josh Strauss became the 50th player to make his debut for the national side since the last Rugby World Cup in 2011. This is by far the highest number of new players for Scotland in any Rugby World Cup cycle – more, in fact, than the previous 2 combined (48 new caps). It requires going back to the 1950s to find a greater number of 1st caps in a 4 year period.
Despite having the smallest player base of any of the Six Nations, Scotland has had more debutants than any of their rivals:
- England – 41
- France – 40
- Ireland – 37
- Italy – 31
- Wales – 37
In fact only 1 side who competed at this year’s Rugby World Cup awarded more new caps in the last 4 years. By a quirk of the global calendar Argentina didn’t have access to many of their 1st (or even 2nd) choice players when the South American Championship takes place and 54 of their 67 new caps (including 24 in the space of 5 days in 2013, the last year they appeared in it!) debuted in the annual iterations of this tournament.
With Mike Blair taking the McCrea Financial Services Warrior of the Month Award for October, we take a look at the former Scotland skipper’s impact since joining up at Scotstoun.
There were more than a few raised eyebrows when Mike Blair, a man with 157 games under his belt for the Warriors great rivals Edinburgh, was announced as Glasgow’s latest signing.
Various mutterings about “a coaching role” and “SRU pension plan” did the rounds but Mike’s performances on the pitch have won over the notoriously hard to please Glasgow faithful as he’s demonstrated the advantages of having a steadying influence in what is a key decision-making position. His quick thinking and desire to play the game at pace have also been a good fit for the Warriors’ philosophy of moving the point of attack and manipulating defences into mismatches.