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Scottish Rugby

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ScotlandWhen 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.

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Mike Blair

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.

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Andy Nicol

Pundit Andy Nicol during his playing days

Former captain Andy Nicol believes it is “inevitable” that some of Scotland’s Rugby World Cup squad will join Dave Denton in moving from the country.

Denton has joined Bath from Edinburgh after the English Premiership club paid a transfer fee for the 25-year-old.

“That’s what happens at a World Cup,” said Nicol, the former scrumhalf who captained Bath. “You perform well and the big cheque books may open for you. That’s what happens to the Georgians and the Japanese.”

Nicol says Scotland’s run to the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals will have alerted clubs to Scottish players.

“You could get somebody here much cheaper than somebody who is established,” he said.

“It’s inevitable that we lose a few players and Dave Denton is the first.”

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Shalva Mamukashvili

Georgian Hooker Shalva Mamukashvili joins Glasgow Warriors

Glasgow Warriors have signed Georgian international Shalva Mamukashvili on a deal until the end of the season.

The 25-year-old has 35 caps for his country and featured in all 4 of Georgia’s Rugby World Cup pool games in England.

He played 11 matches for Sale Sharks last season, including 3 European Rugby Champions Cup games.

The experienced hooker goes straight into the Warriors 41-man European squad, replacing Kevin Bryce. Glasgow visit Racing 92 on Saturday and then host Northampton Saints the following weekend, in front of a capacity crowd at Scotstoun.

Mamukashvili joins as cover at hooker, with both Kevin Bryce and Fergus Scott set for lengthy spells on the sidelines, while Fraser Brown is currently recovering from foot surgery.

Bryce and Scott have both undergone shoulder operations, following scans at BMI Ross Hall Hospital, and are expected to remain on the sidelines for several months.

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David Denton

David Denton

Bath have signed Scotland loose forward David Denton from Edinburgh.

The arrival of Denton helps the Premiership club cover the departure of Sam Burgess, who left to return to rugby league last week.

Denton, 25, has 32 Scotland caps and appeared in 4 Rugby World Cup games earlier this year.

“We’ve been looking to bolster our back row for some time now so we’re very excited that David is joining us,” said Bath head coach Mike Ford.

Born in Zimbabwe, Denton played for Eastern Province in South Africa before moving to Scotland.

“He had an excellent World Cup, especially in the quarterfinal when he managed to outshine one of the best Australian back rows I’ve seen for a long time,” added Ford. “He’s going to fit in very well with the team and the way we play here.”

Denton made 78 appearances for Edinburgh following his arrival in 2010, and can switch between blindside flanker and No 8.

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Jonny Gray

Jonny Gray

Jonny Gray has been named the new club captain of Glasgow Warriors. He takes over from Al Kellock, who retired from rugby at the end of last season.

The news follows yesterday’s announcement that the 21-year-old has penned a new 3-year contract, keeping him in Glasgow until at least May 2018.

Gray captained the club for the 1st time in the win over Connacht at The Sportsground last season, on the way to the club winning the Guinness PRO12 title in May.

The Glasgow-born lock has made 40 appearances for the Warriors and has 19 caps for Scotland.

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Jonny Gray

Jonny Gray

Glasgow Warriors and Scottish Rugby have been handed a further boost today after announcing one of Scotland’s established young players has signed a new long-term contract.

Jonny Gray has committed to Glasgow Warriors for a further 3 years, meaning he’ll be staying at Scotstoun until at least May 2018.

Last week the club announced that Finn Russell had signed a new 3 year contract, which along with Jonny’s extension and other new signings, reflects the increased investment from Scottish Rugby.

Gray came through the BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy system and was heavily involved last season when the club won the Guinness PRO12 for the 1st time.

The lock played in 4 of Scotland’s 5 Rugby World Cup matches in England last month.

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Finn Russell

Finn Russell in action for Scotland

Glasgow Warriors and Scottish Rugby have secured the talents of one of Scotland’s most exciting young players for the next 3 years.

Finn Russell has signed a new long-term contract with the Warriors, meaning the Scotland international will be staying at Scotstoun until at least May 2018.

The news follows the announcement earlier today that Scottish Power has agreed a 3-year, 6-figure sponsorship deal with the club, which will see their logo displayed on the back of the home and alternate playing shirts.

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scotpowerGlasgow-based utility, ScottishPower has today announced a 6-figure sponsorship deal with defending Guinness PRO12 champions Glasgow Warriors.

The 3-year partnership will see ScottishPower represented through prominent back of shirt branding above the number on the Warriors home and away playing kit. The company will also work with the Warriors to develop a community youth programme in the West of Scotland.

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A lot has been made about Scotland’s early exit from the Rugby World Cup under a cloud of anger about the way referee Craig Joubert refereed the match… specially that last penalty, which when converted ultimately sunk a very, very brave and deserving Scotland.

We raked the web for an article which takes all the emotion and anger out of the equation and gives probably the best clinical and sensible discussion on the matter.

At the time the game was played, I thought the penalty was justly awarded, whereas many thought it was’nt the case!

Well, let’s first off say, that last penalty and everything around it happened so quickly, that anybody who can now unequivocally say that they saw everything clear as day at the time it happened, is bullshitting everybody. Of course now all of us have had the luxury of hindsight and have had repeated and even more repeated replays of that insident at hand… and still the judgment call is not easy.

But, I digress… let’s have a look at the ARTICLE I dug up… Paul Dobson the Author…


Then after that, have a good look at World Rugby’s Statement on the Match official’s performance review (Australia vs Scotland), it is right at the end of the article!

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Jonny Gray

Jonny Gray

Ross Ford

Ross Ford

Ross Ford and Jonny Gray (Scotland) are free to resume playing with immediate effect after successfully appealing against their 3-week suspension for acts of foul play contrary to Law 10.4(j) (dangerous tackles).

The appeal took place today at the London offices of the official law firm for Rugby World Cup 2015 Clifford Chance and was heard by an Appeal Committee, chaired by the Honourable Justice Lex Mpati (South Africa), sitting with Justice Graeme Mew (Canada) and Robbie Deans (New Zealand).

Having conducted a detailed review of all the evidence, including new submissions from the players and their representatives, along with all available camera angles, the Appeal Committee dismissed the finding that the players had committed an act of foul play as the player had not been dropped or driven and therefore the tackle was not dangerous.

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Greig Laidlaw

Greig Laidlaw

Scotland have made 4 changes to the starting line-up that defeated Samoa in their last Pool B match at the Rugby World Cup.

This is the smallest number of changes Scotland have made in successive Rugby World Cup matches since the 2007 Rugby World Cup, when they made no changes to the team that beat Italy in the pool phase and then faced Argentina in the quarterfinals.

Ross Ford and Jonny Gray will both be unavailable due to bans, with Fraser Brown and Tim Swinson taking their respective places in the starting 15.

Greig Laidlaw will captain the side, as he has done over the course of this tournament, for the 21st time in a Test match for Scotland – joint-2nd most, along with Bryan Redpath. Only David Sole has captained Scotland more (25 times) in Tests.

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Here’s a quick summary of the Diciplinary Sanctions imposed on cited players of remaining Quarterfinal Countries – Argentina, Ireland and Scotland – following the weekend’s last Pool Stage games in the Rugby World Cup of 2015.

  • Marcelo Bosch of Argentina is suspended for 1 week, for a dangerous tackle
  • Sean O’Brien of Ireland is suspended for 1 week, for striking a player
  • Ross Ford of Scotland is suspended for 3 weeks, for his participation in a dangerous tip takle against Samoa
  • Jonny Gray of Scotland is suspended for 3 weeks, for his participation in a dangerous tip takle against Samoa

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Jonny Gray

Jonny Gray

Ross Ford

Ross Ford

Ross Ford and Jonny Gray are in danger of missing Scotland’s Rugby World Cup quarterfinal against the Australian Wallabies, after both were cited on Monday.

1st Choice hooker Ford and lock Gray, who forms an effective partnership with older brother Richie, have been cited for a lifting tackle during Scotland’s thrilling 36 / 33 win over Samoa on Saturday.

Their hearing will take place in London on Tuesday morning and will be heard by English lawyer Christopher Quinlan.

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Taqele Naiyaravoro

Taqele Naiyaravoro

Glasgow Warriors new signing Taqele Naiyaravoro says he’s looking forward to making his debut for the club.

The Australian international winger, who arrived in Glasgow 9 days ago, trained with his new teammates at Scotstoun last week.

The Warriors return to Guinness PRO12 action on Friday night when they host the Dragons and Naiyaravoro says he would love to be involved in that game.

Taqele Naiyaravoro said: “I’m very excited and glad to finally be here. It’s beena long process, but it’s all good.

“I’d like to be involved in the game on Friday night, after missing the game last week (against Munster), but it’s been good having had a week of preparation. If I’m involved this week it will be an honour to play my 1st game for this club at the home ground and I hope the fans can come out and give me a warm welcome.”

Naiyaravoro, who has signed a 3-year contract with the Warriors, made his Australia debut against the USA last month, scoring a try with his 1st touch of the ball after coming off the Wallabies bench.

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ScotlandHead Coach Vern Cotter today named the Scotland team to face Samoa in this Saturday’s decisive Rugby World Cup Pool B match at St James’ Park, Newcastle (kick-off 15:30 SA Time, 14:30 UK Time, 13:30 GMT).

A win would guarantee the Scots a place in the quarterfinals of the Rugby World Cup for the 7th time since the competition’s inauguration in 1987.

Standing in their way are the formidable Pacific Islanders who, despite being out of contention for the last 8, will look to end their campaign on a positive note.

Scotland Head Coach Vern Cotter, said: “Every Test match is a ‘must-win’ when you represent your country.

“We’ve put in a huge amount of work to get us to this point, and our performances and commitment have put us in a position to qualify for the last eight. We’ll need to be up to the challenge, enjoy the opportunity, and maintain the awareness needed to play to our strengths and impose our game.”

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ScotlandThe Scotland squad issued the following medical bulletin on Sunday after Saturday’s (3 October) 34 / 16 loss to South Africa in the Rugby World Cup at St James’ Park.

Hooker Ross Ford failed an in-game HIA (head injury assessment) meaning he will now follow the graduated return-to-play protocol, as will centre Matt Scott, who reported delayed onset concussion symptoms post match.

Fullback Stuart Hogg left the field of play in the 63rd minute of the Test match having suffered cramp to his legs and lower back, however he is not considered an immediate concern.

Further knocks include a dead leg for lock Jonny Gray and a mild knee strain for centre Richie Vernon. Both players will continue to be monitored and rehabilitated by the Scotland medical team.

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ScotlandHead Coach Vern Cotter today named the Scotland team to face South Africa in this Saturday’s penultimate Rugby World Cup Pool B match at St James’ Park, Newcastle (kick-off 17:45 SA Time, 16:45 BST, 15:45 GMT).

Scotland lead the group on 10 Log points following back-to-back bonus-point wins over Japan and USA, while the 2007 champions – and the Pool’s top seeds – South Africa, are just 3 adrift in 2nd place, having picked up maximum points against Samoa (5) and 2 bonus-points in their narrow loss to Japan.

The match between the 2 familiar foes could therefore be significant in determining the outcome of the group, before Scotland complete their Pool campaign against Samoa the following weekend at the same venue.

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Grant Gilchrist

Grant Gilchrist

Scotland lock Grant Gilchrist has been ruled out of the national team’s Rugby World Cup 2015 campaign with a groin injury.

Gilchrist sustained the soft tissue damage in the 19th minute of the national team’s 39 / 16 win over USA on Sunday, with the recovery period expected to extend beyond the competition.

Gilchrist’s replacement will be announced in due course.

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University of St Andrews (in blue) face University of Edinburgh (in green) today

University of St Andrews (in blue) face University of Edinburgh (in green) today

The teams have been announced  for the “world’s oldest varsity match”, which returns home today.

The Universities of Edinburgh and St Andrews will contest at men’s and women’s first XV level on the international pitch at BT Murrayfield, with a crowd of more than 10 000 expected.

Their 2nd and 3rd 15s will also meet on the stadium’s back pitches.

The match – which pre-dates the battle between light and dark blues down south and which has attracted sponsorship from the Royal Bank of Scotland – pits 2 of the founder members of the Scottish Rugby Union against each other.

St Andrews are the current holders of the men’s trophy having triumphed on the last 2 meetings, when the fixture was contested at Richmond Athletic Ground as a means of connecting with Alumni in the London area.

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Head Coach Vern Cotter has sought continuity in the rotated Scotland squad named for this Sunday’s Rugby World Cup Round 2 Test against the USA Eagles at Elland Road, Leeds (27 September, kick-off 15:30 SA Time, 14:30 BST, 13:30 GMT).

The entire bench from Wednesday’s win over Japan (45 / 10) has been promoted into the starting line-up meaning that despite making 10 changes to the starting 15 there are just 4 new faces in the 23-man squad: Tim Visser and Alasdair Strokosch who start at wing and back-row respectively and replacements Tim Swinson (lock) and Duncan Weir (flyhalf).

Cotter said: “We said from the start that we’d need the whole group of 31 players for this campaign.  We’ve known this schedule for a long time and have tried to keep continuity in selection, while also introducing fresh legs to what will be another very physical challenge this Sunday.”

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ScotlandJapan-Rugby-LogoRugby World Cup debuts galore as Scotland’s tournament finally gets underway. After the group opened with a Double B (that’s a Bucking Belter) in Brighton will we have a Grand Guignolin Gloucester?

Only 4 players remain from Scotland’s last Rugby World Cup match, a 16 / 12 defeat to England in Auckland in 2011, with Ross Ford the only player in the same position for both games.

Japan bring 6 players into their starting line-up as they try to back up their stunning victory over former champions, South Africa. The Japanese bench features a 6 forwards to 2 backs split, which suggests they expect Scotland to try and overpower them up front and reinforcements will be required.

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Josh Strauss

Josh Strauss

Josh Strauss is set to make his debut for Scotland on Wednesday as he has been named as a replacement for the Rugby World Cup match against Japan in Gloucester. Fellow South African WP Nel has been named in the starting line up for this match.


Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Sean Lamont, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 David Denton, 7 John Hardie, 6 Ryan Wilson, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 WP Nel, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Alasdair Dickinson
Replacements: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Ryan Grant, 18 Jon Welsh, 19 Richie Gray, 20 Josh Strauss, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Peter Horne, 23 Sean Maitland.

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Josh Strauss

Josh Strauss

WP Nel

WP Nel

You would think after years of repeated and soul-destroying failure in the Six Nations, those with an affection for the Scotland team would be looking at the upcoming Rugby World Cup with some trepidation.

Some do fear that a 2nd successive group stage exit is a distinct possibility but others will tell you that this tournament represents an opportunity for an emerging squad to spring some shocks on the rugby elite.

Scotland begin their campaign against Japan at Kingsholm on 23 September before facing the USA and 2-time champions South Africa ahead of the final – and potentially decisive – pool match against Samoa.

3 Former Scotland internationals were asked to assess how Scotland will fare in the World Cup.

  • Chris Paterson ( CP ) is Scotland’s record cap holder and played in 4 World Cups from 1999 through to 2007.
  • Peter Wright ( PW ) won 21 caps for Scotland, played at the 1995 World Cup and was selected for the 1993 British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand.
  • John Beattie ( JB ) appeared 25 times for Scotland, was part of the 1984 Grand Slam winning squad and toured twice with the British & Irish Lions.

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ScotlandHooker Kevin Bryce has been drafted into the Scotland squad for the Rugby World Cup as a replacement for Stuart McInally, who has been ruled out through injury, confirmed today.

McInally marked his 1st and 2nd international appearances in Scotland’s back-to-back wins over Italy last month before being named in the 31-man squad.

However a MRI scan at Spire Murrayfield Hospital revealed the extent of a subsequent, ongoing neck complaint that necessitates a prolonged period of recovery beyond the competition.

As a result Glasgow Warriors hooker Kevin Bryce – another back-row convert who made his Scotland debut as a loose forward on last year’s summer tour – has been brought into the squad as his direct replacement.

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ScotlandScotland’s 31-man Rugby World Cup squad has been named, the players have been told, and it was publicly announced this afternoon at Edinburgh University.

After almost 3 months of hard training and 2 wins out of 3 in the warm-up games, Vern Cotter has made his decision and the paperwork has been delivered to the tournament organisers. Supporters were treated at the Old College Quad to see today’s announcement, which was made at 14:30 BST (15:30 SA Time), and supporters had a chance to mingle with the players afterwards.

Following Saturday’s 48 / 7 win over Italy at BT Murrayfield, Cotter and his coaching staff met for final discussions and assessments of the medical reports before confirming the squad and informing the players of the decision.

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ScotlandThe Scotland team and the 2 Scottish PRO12 teams, Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors, were in action this weekend playing warm-up matches.

Scotland faced Italy for the 2nd weekend in a row in the 3rd of their 4 Rugby World Cup warm-up matches. The game was played at Murrayfield in front of what was said to be a record crowd for a summer Test match. The team that ran out must have been close to Vern Cotter’s 1st choice 15 and they did not disappoint running in 6 tries and only conceding 1 in a very impressive performance.

WP Nel put in a solid performance which saw Italy’s scrum in trouble from the word go. The pressure Nel put on Italy’s loosehead prop earned Scotland a few penalties with the loosehead resorting to scrumming in on various occasions.

The next game of the day also took place in Edinburgh where the hosts took on Ulster in a preseason warm-up match, 1 week ahead of the start of the PRO12 for 2015 / 2016. The game was played at Heriot FC’s ground Goldenacre due to the Test match which was played earlier in the day at Murrayfield.

Head coach Alan Solomons would have been pleased to see his team get their 2nd win in their 2nd preseason friendly match against what was a fairly strong starting Ulster line-up.

The final game of the day, which was billed as the ‘Battle of New Scotland’, saw Canada host Glasgow Warriors in Halifax Nova Scotia.

Josh Strauss played the whole game for the Warriors ahead of possible inclusion in the Scotland World Cup squad. Former Glasgow Warriors winger DTH vd Merwe scored a try for Canada late in the game to ensure victory for them. The game was played in quite high temperatures and there were a few water breaks during the game.

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Allan Dell

Allan Dell

Head Coach Vern Cotter today confirmed that seven players have been released from the extended Scotland squad for the Rugby World Cup 2015.

The decision follows the national team’s opening two summer Test matches against Ireland and Italy, with this Saturday’s game against the Azzuri at BT Murrayfield the last chance for the players to stake a claim for the final 31-man squad, before it’s announced the following Tuesday (1 September).

Glasgow Warriors’ pair Mike Cusack (prop) and Rory Hughes (wing) have returned to Scotstoun having made their first outings for the national team this summer, and both starting against Italy in Saturday’s 16-12 win in Turin.

Edinburgh Rugby quintet Allan Dell (prop), Dougie Fife (wing), Damien Hoyland (wing), Ben Toolis (lock) and Hamish Watson (back-row) will rejoin the capital club, with Hoyland and Watson also adding to their international honours at the weekend.

Warriors’ hooker Kevin Bryce – who joined the squad last week as precautionary cover – has also returned to his club.

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IrelandA 7-year-old boy who has been told he cannot play rugby because he wears goggles to improve his vision when playing has appealed to the sport’s chiefs to let him back into the game.

Ryan Totten’s poor eyesight means he is unable to play sport without eyewear.

But the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU), the game’s governing body in Ireland, says he cannot take part in matches due to health and safety fears.

Now the County Antrim schoolboy wants the IRFU to change its stance.

Ryan has been playing tag rugby at his hometown club Coleraine for 3 years.

During that time he has worn sports goggles that meet British and EU safety standards as he is too young to wear contact lenses.

But now he has reached the age he can take part in rugby involving contact between players, the whistle has been blown on his fledgling playing career.

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Roddy Grant

A team of 28, captained by flanker Roddy Grant, has been announced for Edinburgh Rugby’s opening pre-season friendly against Romania at the Greenyards tonight (Friday 21 August, kick-off 18:30 UK Time, 19:30 SA Time).

Bolstering the backs for this season, Edinburgh Rugby announce the signing of winger Otulea Katoa on a 1-year deal.

The Tongan international, who arrived in the capital earlier this week with his wife and 1-year-old son Eli, will bulk up the backs with a number of players involved with Scotland throughout the year.

The 24-year-old, who has been capped 7 times by Tonga, most recently represented his country in July’s Pacific Nations Cup and has been signed from New Zealand provincial side, Southland.

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