Richie Vernon will start at outside centre for Glasgow Warriors, when they host French Top 14 side Toulouse at Scotstoun Stadium tomorrow lunchtime (kick-off 13:00 BST, 15:00 SA Time).
Vernon impressed from the bench in the narrow 19-11 defeat at the Stade Ernest Wallon on Sunday and replaces Peter Horne for the European Rugby Champions Cup encounter, with Alex Dunbar moving to inside centre.
There are two other personnel changes with Tim Swinson coming in for Leone Nakarawa in the second-row and Ryan Wilson replacing the injured Chris Fusaro in the backrow. Wilson starts on the blindside, with Rob Harley moving to openside.
Glasgow Warriors have received a major boost ahead of Sunday’s European Rugby Champions Cup match against Toulouse, with the news that Josh Strauss and Leone Nakarawa have signed new deals with the club.
Both players have signed two-year contracts, keeping them at Scotstoun until at least May 2017 and have committed their futures to the club just a week after Stuart Hogg and Lee Jones penned deals for the same length of time.
South African-born Strauss arrived in Glasgow in September 2012 and the 28-year-old has made 56 appearances for the Guinness PRO12 side. He has scored six tries and has captained the team.
The powerful No 8 has featured regularly for the Warriors and will become eligible to play for Scotland in September 2015.
Edinburgh head coach Alan Solomons believes that his squad has got through the worst of an injury crisis which threatened to engulf the team just a few short weeks ago.
Edinburgh flew to Milan yesterday then took a 75-mile bus ride to Parma, ahead of facing Guinness Pro12 strugglers Zebre at the Stadio XXV Aprile tomorrow afternoon.
It may have been an arduous trip but Solomons was in good fettle – despite Edinburgh still being without several leading players, including Grant Gilchrist (broken arm), Hamish Watson (knee) and Cornell du Preez, who is set to miss the rest of the season with a leg injury.
Solomons said that the Autumn Tests came at just the right time for other leading players to recover and he is excited about his team’s chances of climbing into the top six of the Pro 12 table, which would qualify them for the Champions Cup next season.
Edinburgh returned to action in fine style last Sunday when they defeated Cardiff Blues at home, and they will fancy their chances against a Zebre side which was hammered 43-3 by Connacht on Friday night.
The Warriors have confirmed that Mark Bennett will be out for in the region of 12 weeks with a hamstring injury.
The centre, who was injured during Scotland’s defeat to New Zealand on Saturday, was assessed at Ross Hall Hospital in Glasgow.
He does not require surgery and will now undergo a period of rehabiitation.
Prior to the test match between Scotland and the New Zealand All Blacks we featured a piece which suggested that we would like to see wholesale changes to Scotland’s team to face Tonga this coming Saturday. In short the reasoning was that in picking a team with as many players who ply their trade outside Scotland as the two professional teams under Scottish Rugby Union’s control would be aided in their PRO12 efforts, with Glasgow Warriors being the main benefactor. Remember Glasgow Warriors play against Welsh team Llanelli Scarlets in the Guinness PRO12 on Friday night while Edinburgh host Cardiff Blues on Sunday.
There would also be the benefit of head coach Vern Cotter and his coaching team being able to work a bit more with exiles and assess their abilities in the heat of battle in the Test match, bearing in mind that the last Test match of Scotland’s summer tour (June Internationals) was played outside the international window, so he didn’t have the chance to play any of the non Scotland based players then.
Glasgow Warriors’ stand-off Finn Russell and hooker Fergus Scott have been officially named to head coach Calum Forrester’s coaching team at Glasgow University Rugby Football Club.
Former Glasgow Warriors’ flanker Calum, who took the reigns at the club last year, believes the young duo can be crucial in helping his team become Scotland’s premier student rugby team.
The 27-year-old Scotland sevens’ cap said: “To be able to learn from two professionals of their calibre is a dream come true for our students. They will bring added professionalism and specialist coaching to sessions.
“For a young half-back to learn from Finn, or a developing front-row to be given advice from Fergus, that is priceless for a teenager.
“This coaching and expertise is what sets the University apart. One on one coaching is crucial for our players and the coaching assistance from Glasgow Hawks has already been of huge benefit.
“The added input of Finn and Fergus, two young players who the boys will relate to, will help create a unique and enviable coaching environment. It will also help them as they develop as coaches and get an early start on their post rugby career.”
Having been involved in the professional game for the best part of 20 years now, I fully appreciate the hard work that goes in on a daily basis for players to perform and the challenges they face mentally and physically throughout the season.
Since becoming a coach, I also know the hours, which all those that support the players put in behind the scenes, whether they are coaches, medics or performance staff. However, I reckon that the toughest job in professional rugby might not be that of the players or management, but that of our referees.
The game’s officials often perform a thankless task and don’t get the chance to share a victory with others like we do. And, in the context of our fast-moving collision-based sport, which has a number of intricate laws, it is very difficult to get everything right.
Coaches and players make many mistakes during 80 minutes of rugby, so it is understandable that referees will also make errors. A lot of these errors are frequently viewed as great decisions by the opposing team, which makes things even more difficult for the man in the middle to get things right.
Five Glasgow Warriors players will be plying their trade for their draft clubs this weekend, including Sean Maitland who will don the pink and black of Ayr.
The British & Irish Lion scored a try in the Warriors 30-5 victory over Edinburgh in the ‘A’ game last month and is looking for added game-time, having not featured for the Scotstoun club so far this season through injury.
He will play alongside Dougie Hall against Boroughmuir at Meggetland.
Glasgow’s Tyrone Holmes has received a one-week ban after being sent off for stamping on an opponent during the PRO12 game against Newport Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade last Saturday.
League organisers confirmed the Glasgow flanker appeared before an independent disciplinary committee in Dublin on Wednesday.
A young Edinburgh ‘A’ side, which included eight EDPs (Elite Development Players), faced the tall task of taking on an experienced Glasgow Warriors squad, in what was deemed an away fixture for the Gunners at Bridgehaugh, home of Stirling County.
The inaugural reserve team game gave many of Edinburgh’s young Scottish players the chance to gain some valuable minutes in the Gunners shirt, with many of them putting their hands up and staking a claim for promotion into the first team squad.
Leinster’s indifferent start to the season continued as they slipped to a second loss of the campaign away at Connacht, going down 10-9.
The defending champions had led 9-3 at half-time thanks to three Ian Madigan penalties but Kieran Marmion’s solo try ensured Connacht – who had lost their previous 11 all-Ireland clashes – preserved their 100 per cent start to the season.
At the Liberty Stadium, Ospreys ran in nine tries against Edinburgh to consolidate their one point lead at the top of the table.
Glasgow Warriors maintained their 100% winning start to the season with a 33-13 win over Newport Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade on Saturday afternoon.
Four tries from Alex Dunbar, Josh Strauss, Tommy Seymour and Tim Swinson mean the Warriors return to Scotstoun with the bonus point.
Glasgow’s other points came from the boots of Duncan Weir and Stuart Hogg.
The Warriors had to play most of the second-half with fourteen players after Tyrone Holmes received a controversial red card for stamping.
The third round of matches in the Guinness PRO12 take place this weekend with three matches scheduled for Friday night, two for Saturday and one for Sunday.
Welsh outfit the Ospreys, who are unbeaten in the PRO12 this season, will head into round 3 at the top of the table with nine points. The only two other unbeaten teams are Glasgow Warriors and Connacht who are in 2nd and 3rd position respectively. Ulster are the other team in the top 4, courtesy of a draw and a win in their first two fixtures and they are the only team who have two bonus points for scoring four tries or more. Ulster top the try scoring list at this early stage in the competition having scored nine tries in their two matches. However, they have conceded the most tries, a handful, of the teams in the top four.
Connacht continued their winning start to the season with another tight triumph, this time a 14-13 victory over Edinburgh Rugby thanks to Willy Faloon’s last-gasp try.
Tom Heathcote’s boot and a try from Cornell du Preez gave Edinburgh a 13-6 lead at half time; Connacht’s points coming from two Darragh Leader penalties.
Faloon was sent to the sin bin with 16 minutes left on the clock, but returned to touch down the winning try in the dying minutes.
The second round of matches in the Guinness PRO12 take place this weekend with four matches scheduled for Friday night, one for Saturday and one for Sunday.
Both matches involving teams from Scotland will be played on modern artificial pitches. In the first match, tonight, Edinburgh Rugby will play host to Connacht Rugby at BT Murrayfield in what will be the first match on the newly laid hybrid pitch at the National Stadium. The final fixture of the weekend will see a top four clash between Cardiff Blues and Glasgow Warriors on the 3G pitch at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park.
Reigning champions Leinster were toppled by beaten finalists Glasgow Warriors at Scostoun, with Stuart Hogg slotting over the winning penalty with the last kick of the game.
Warriors stormed to a 19-0 lead with tries from Peter Horne, Josh Strauss and Jonny Gray, but then Leinster staged a late revival.
Jack McGrath and Tom Denton found their way over the whitewash to put the Irish province into the lead for the first time, but ill-discipline in the dying minutes led to Hogg’s successful penalty.
The first round of matches in the Guinness PRO12 take place this weekend with two matches scheduled for Friday night, three for Saturday and one for Sunday.
The opening fixture of the tournament kicking off tonight in Limerick will see Munster Rugby hosting Edinburgh Rugby and for the last fixture of the round Cardiff Blues travel to Italy to take on Zebre at the Stadio XXV Aprile.
With the new Guinness PRO12 season kicking off this weekend on Friday, we take a look at the prospects of each of the 12 clubs. The competition is between clubs from Ireland, Italy, Wales and Scotland. Ireland and Wales have four clubs / regions/provinces in the Guinness PRO12, while Italy and Scotland both provide two teams each to complete the twelve team line-up.
This weekend represents the final chance for Gregor Townsend and Alan Solomons, head coaches of Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh Rugby, to test out various combinations in a match situation ahead of the 2014/2015 season which starts in all earnest next weekend. Edinburgh played their pre-season friendly match last night against Newcastle Falcons in Hawick while Glasgow Warriors face London Scottish in London.
In last night’s match the final score was Edinburgh Rugby 21(11)/15 (10) Newcastle Falcons. Alan Solomons was pleased with the win as although it was only a friendly match they had gone into it with the mind-set of it being a competitive one.
Josh Strauss admits he must deliver another sterling season for Glasgow Warriors in the Guinness PRO12 – and only then can he turn his attention to winning a Scotland cap.
Strauss, 27, made the move from South Africa to Glasgow in 2012 and will be eligible to play for Scotland on September 19, 2015 – four days before their opening World Cup match.
The back-row has been a formidable force for Gregor Townsend over the last two years, starting in 31 domestic games including last season’s final.
Gregor Townsend has named a 26-man squad for Saturday’s pre-season friendly against Aviva Premiership side Harlequins at Scotstoun (ko 15:30 BST / 16:30 SA Time).
James Downey, Rossouw de Klerk, Connor Braid and Alex Allan are all in line to make their debuts for the Warriors.
Prop Euan Murray and scrum-half Murray McConnell are also included in the squad after returning to the club in the summer.
The Warriors will confirm the starting line-up on Saturday.
Glasgow Warriors have signed South African prop Rossouw de Klerk from the Cheetahs, subject to a visa and medical.
The 24-year-old has put pen to paper on a two-year deal at Scotstoun and will join up with Gregor Townsend’s squad for pre-season training at the end of the month.
The 1.85m tighthead began his senior career in Pretoria, making his debut for the Blue Bulls in 2009. He went on to make 41 appearances for them, 14 of which were in Super Rugby.
In 2013 de Klerk joined the Cheetahs and has made 14 appearances in the Vodacom Cup and Currie Cup and has played seven times in Super Rugby this season.
Glasgow Warriors will host Harlequins in a pre-season friendly at Scotstoun Stadium on Saturday 23 August, kick-off 15:30 BST.
Gregor Townsend’s squad will take on the Aviva Premiership side two weeks before the start of the new season.
Harlequins hosted the Warriors at Twickenham Stoop last summer and this year travel north after finishing fourth in the Aviva Premiership.
Conor O’Shea’s squad includes the likes of Mike Brown, Danny Care, Ugo Monye, Chris Robshaw and Nick Easter.
Scotland head to South Africa this week on the final leg of what has been an arduous tour which has seen them play games in the USA, Canada and Argentina.
They set out with two squads selected for the tour, one which contained players for the North America leg and one for the Southern Hemisphere leg with some players there for the whole tour. There have been various changes made on the way though and now the Glasgow Warriors trio of Tyrone Holmes, Adam Ashe and Euan Murray have been added to the squad for the final test against the Springboks in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
It was a solemn farewell for Brian O’Driscoll but an electric Zane Kirchner ensured the Leinster legend bowed out with back-to-back RaboDirect PRO12 titles.
O’Driscoll, playing in his last professional match, was forced off the pitch early on at a sun-soaked RDS but Kirchner lifted Leinster spirits with a try before setting up Shane Jennings in the first half.
Finn Russell ensured Glasgow Warriors were never too far off the pace with an accurate kicking display but Kirchner crossed over again late on before Gordon D’Arcy completed the scoring to make it 34-12.
Defending Champions Leinster will face Glasgow Warriors in the final of the RaboDirect PRO12 in front of a capacity crowd in Dublin tonight. Kick off is at 18:15 BST, 19:15 SA Time.
Leinster will be more familiar with the experience having played in and won many finals in the PRO12 and elsewhere in European Rugby, while it will be Glasgow Warriors first appearance ever in a final at this level.
Leinster stalwarts Brian ‘O Driscoll and captain Leo Cullen will be playing their final match for the club before they retire. The Glasgow Warriors also features players competing in the their final match for the team- Chris Cusiter, Ruaridh Jackson and Moray Low, who will be furthering their careers with clubs in England next season.
Leinster Rugby’s Jamie Heaslip talks about this weekends Rabo Pro12 final against Glasgow.
After the Heineken Cup double, last year Leinster settled for an Amlin trophy, but after being knocked out by the eventual winners, now look to the Pro12 to retain the trophy-winning streak they have cultivated over the last five years.
“They’re the positions you want to be in at this time of the year, to be playing in those games (European finals). I was awful jealous at the weekend not being involved in any sort of competition. It was the first time in a couple of years that happened.”
“We want to kick on come this week and we know the challenge ahead of us. We played these guys last year in the semis, we played them I don’t know how many times over the last couple of seasons in Europe and the league. We know that margins that are there; last year could have gone either way. I think Rob made a great tackle on the line and held a guy up over the line, one score separated the team.”
Tommy Seymour is determined to help the Warriors finish off the season in style by claiming their first-ever RaboDirect PRO12 league title.
It will be the perfect end after a season that has seen Tommy come to the fore with Glasgow and Scotland.
We have reached the knockout stage of the 2013 / 2014 RaboDirect PRO12 season with the semi-finals to be played this weekend. The first game takes place in Glasgow tonight (Friday) and will see Glasgow Warriors, who finished in second spot on the log host third placed Munster. This is the first time that Glasgow Warriors have hosted a semi-final game in the PRO12.
The second game, to be played tomorrow (Saturday) will be an all Ireland affair with first placed Leinster hosting fourth placed Ulster. Johan Muller, in his last season at the club, will be captaining Ulster and will be hoping for a win to make it one more game before the curtain falls on what has been a very good time for him at the Belfast club.
Glasgow’s Jonny Gray was named ‘Young Player of the Year’ at the RaboDirect PRO12 Awards evening in the Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh.
Jonny Gray picked up the award after not only breaking into and starting in the Glasgow side, but also into the Scottish national team.
He beat Leinster centre Noel Reid to the title and follows in the footsteps of Tim Visser (Edinburgh Rugby), Toby Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons), Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors) and Luke Marshall (Ulster Rugby) as the RaboDirect PRO12 ‘Young Player of the Year’.
Round 22 of the Pro12 promises to be a fitting finale to the regular season, with Play-Off spots and European qualification still to be settled.
As with previous seasons all 6 games will kick off simultaneously to add to the excitement and give no advantage to any team.
At the top of the table 3 teams are still in contention for the 2 home Play-Off spots and European qualification still to be settled.
The Rhino Collision Kings Award is awarded each year to the team in the RaboDirect PRO12 which has shown most improvement at the breakdown throughout the regular season.
The trophy is a replica of the groundbreaking Collision King machine invented by Richie Gray, Rhino skills consultant and brand ambassador who was recently appointed breakdown coach to the Springboks through to next year’s World Cup.
The selection panel for the Award is chaired by Galashiels-based Gray, who in addition to other duties has been a BBC Radio Scotland commentator throughout much of the PRO12 season.
The May Day weekend should provide the most intense scrutiny of the RaboDirect PRO12 table to date.
The opening fixture between Zebre and Ospreys could go a long way to answering some of the questions – a loss for the hosts would put Treviso in the driving seat for the Italian spot in next season’s European competition, whilst a loss for the visitors Ospreys, without picking up any league points, would take away their mathematical chances of making the Play-Offs .
Peter Murchie scored twice as Glasgow Warriors climbed to second in the RaboDirect PRO12 table with a dramatic 37-34 win over Edinburgh that also sealed them the 1872 Cup for a fifth year in a row.
In their rescheduled clash after January’s fixture was washed out, the Warriors ran in three tries in the first half through Murchie, the departing Ruaridh Jackson and Mark Bennett.
WP Nel barrelled over for the visitors who struggled with ill discipline as they lost a man in each half to the sin bin but Murchie bagged a second soon after the interval to put the Warriors in control.
Glasgow Warriors home RaboDirect PRO12 match against Edinburgh Rugby finally takes places this Saturday at Scotstoun (kick off 19:05 BST, 20:05 SAST) and is the only PRO12 game this weekend. The match, which also doubles up as the second leg of the 1872 Cup, was initially due to be played on 1ST of January this year but was called off due to the pitch being waterlogged.
Had there not been the 1872 Cup to play for there would have been little more than pride at stake in this match for Edinburgh. They have missed out on their chance to qualify for next season’s European Champions Rugby Cup by not being able to end sixth or higher on the PRO12 log. Glasgow, who will play in that competition, will be keen to win the match to enhance their already good chance of qualifying for this season’s knockout stage of the PRO12 by ending in the top four on the log. They should also look to win well and try score four tries at least to pick up an all important bonus point for that too as they still have a chance of securing a home semi final by ending second.