Edinburgh Rugby confirmed on Tuesday that scrum-half and captain Greig Laidlaw will leave the club to join English Premiership side Gloucester at the end of the season.
Edinburgh Rugby won the tightest of contests against the Ospreys 31-25 with the decisive contributions coming from Carl Bezuidenhout and Grayson Hart in their match in round sixteen of the RaboDirect PRO12 last night at Meggetland, Edinburgh’s temporary new home ground.
After a round of games played in dreadful conditions during which yet another fixture fell foul of the weather, players and spectators alike must be hoping that Round 14 of the Pro12 fares better.
The round kicks off with two games in the Irish capitals on Friday night, one in Belfast and one in Dublin, both featuring Welsh opposition.
After just over a month out of the limelight, the focus returns once more to the Pro12 and the first of four successive rounds that could have a huge impact on the outcome of this season’s tournament.
Edinburgh Rugby’s next home match against Ospreys on Friday 28 February (kick-off 7.35pm) will be played at Meggetland, the club confirmed on Wednesday
Concerns over the current Murrayfield Stadium playing surface – caused by a parasitic infection that damaged the roots – mean the club will relocate the RaboDirect PRO12 clash to ensure the international pitch is in robust health for Scotland’s home fixtures in the 2014 RBS 6 Nations, against England and France.
Winger Lee Jones has been added to the Glasgow Warriors squad for the forthcoming RaboDirect PRO12 matches, to provide injury cover until the end of the season.
The 25-year-old returns from Scotland 7s duty in New Zealand following his agreed loan from Edinburgh Rugby and will be available for this Sunday’s game against Connacht at Scotstoun Stadium.
It was speculated here on rugby-talk on Saturday that South African centre Andries Strauss was going to sign up with Edinburgh Rugby. The news was confirmed on Sunday by the club. Strauss has signed up for two and a half seasons, subject to passing the customary medical tests.
The festive fixtures continue as return local derbies were scheduled to take place in Scotland, Wales and Italy during the Pro12′s Round 12.
Wales and Scotland were set to start the New Year with a game on New Year’s Day, as Cardiff Blues hosted Newport Gwent Dragons and after the Hogmanay celebrations in Scotland, Glasgow Warriors welcomed Edinburgh to Scotstoun. However, the game in Glasgow was called off less than an hour before kick off due to the field being waterlogged.
Glasgow Warriors make several changes for the New Year’s Day meeting with Edinburgh with Chris Fusaro taking over the captaincy from Chris Cusiter.
Welsh rugby seems set to reach a new crisis point next week as the four regions are not expected to sign a new participation agreement. The Welsh Rugby Union had set a deadline of 31 December to sign a new agreement, replacing the current five-year deal that expires in June 2014.
The traditional festive season local derbies are set to take centre stage as the Pro12 Round 11 provides an exciting escape from turkey and TV. The games in Scotland and Wales take place on Boxing Day, whilst Ireland foregoes St Stephens’ Day games and sticks to the traditional Friday and Saturday slots.
Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors play two RaboDirect PRO12 matches this festive season. The derby games will also double up as the 1872 Cup, in what is said to be the oldest fixture in club rugby.
Whilst South African and Southern Hemisphere referees are sitting with their feet up or bare feet in the sand at the coast this Festive Season, their Northern Hemisphere counterparts are still at work.
So where do you really want to live, in leisurely summer time in the Southern Hemisphere or in the cold gloom and doom of icy winter in the Northern Hemisphere?
Here are the referees doing duty till 29 December 2013.
Edinburgh Rugby moved up to sixth position on the RaboDirect PRO12 table with their hard fought victory over Leinster (11/6) at a cold, wet and windy Murrayfield on Friday night. This after they have spent much of the PRO12 season languishing near the bottom half of the table. This win followed a good one they achieved the weekend before in their Heineken Cup pool game against Gloucester.
The focus returns once again to the PRO12 after two weeks of European competition, with Irish Provinces topping three of the six European Cup Pools.
The prospect of two rival European club tournaments next season grew on Thursday when the four RaboDirect unions and France announced the Heineken Cup would continue and the English and French clubs insisted their Rugby Champions Cup would go ahead regardless.
Round Eight of the Pro12 kicks off on Friday night with both Scottish teams in action – early season leaders Glasgow Warriors welcoming Newport Gwent Dragons to Scotstoun, whilst Edinburgh travel to Belfast to face Ulster.
The top-of-the-table clash at Thomond Park between Munster and Ospreys on Saturday headlines Round Seven of the Pro12. Munster currently lead the pack thanks to winning one more game than Ospreys, but Ospreys have garnered more bonus points in the six rounds than their hosts, so the scene is set for an epic battle.
RaboDirect PRO12 log leaders Glasgow Warriors face second-placed Munster in a tantalising top-of-the-table clash at Scotstoun on Friday.
As the competition gets back into full swing with Round Six this weekend after a successful European double header, it’s clear that the Pro12 is going from strength to strength.
Glasgow Warriors maintained their winning start to the PRO12 with a hard-fought victory over Scarlets in Wales on Saturday evening.
Edinburgh Rugby will welcome the return of captain Greig Laidlaw this Sunday as they look to repeat last season’s away success against Cardiff Blues at the Arms Park (6 October, kick-off 3.05pm South African Time). The 27-year-old scrum-half – who kicked the winning drop-goal on that day last year – has recovered from the knee injury that has kept him side-lined since the summer to make his first competitive outing of the season.
Fly-half Duncan Weir returns to the Glasgow Warriors starting line-up for the game against Scarlets at Parc Y Scarlets tomorrow night, after almost six months out through injury.
The 22-year-old, who broke his leg against the Ospreys at Scotstoun last April, is one of ten changes to the team which beat Zebre in Parma last Friday.
As the Pro12 enters Round Four, Glasgow Warriors – the last remaining team with a 100 percent winning record – are in action in Parma on Friday night when they face Zebre.
Having waited so long for their first win in the competition, the Italian outfit will have their work cut out to make it back-to-back victories as table-topping Warriors have already defeated champions Leinster and last season’s runners up Ulster so far this season.
Captain Al Kellock returns to the Glasgow Warriors starting line-up for the game against Zebre at Stadio XXV Aprile in Parma tomorrow (Friday 27 September). The second-row was stretchered off in the opening game against Cardiff Blues three weeks ago, but has recovered to take his place in the team.