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Scottish Rugby

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John Hardie

John Hardie in World Cup action for Scotland

He doesn’t know what possessed him to visit the old Lockhart Hotel that day, but it was an experience John Hardie is never likely to forget.

“The most scared I’ve ever been,” says Scotland’s openside flanker.

The setting is a building in Queenstown on New Zealand’s South Island – a holiday resort about an hour and a half from Dipton, the farming country where Hardie was born and reared.

Legend has it that there was a fire in Lockhart’s place in the late 1800’s. Three generations of the family perished.

Only a girl called Mary survived – and she haunts the place to this day. Many Kiwis have gone there over the years and many talk of the sense of foreboding that exists behind that main door.

Hardie’s now one of them. Chilled to the bone, he says. “Never going back. Never ever.”

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ScotlandHead Coach Vern Cotter  named uncapped props Zander Fagerson and Rory Sutherland in a 35-man Scotland squad for the 2016 RBS 6 Nations.

Glasgow Warriors’ tighthead prop Fagerson turned 20 yesterday (Tuesday 19 January) meaning he could become the 4th youngest prop in Scottish history, and the youngest to represent Scotland for more than half a century (since Bill Black debuted against France at Murrayfield 1948).

Fellow propping prospect Sutherland (23) plies his trade at the opposite end of the M8 and earns selection through his increasingly impressive showings for Edinburgh since signing from Gala last season.

The young pair are among 4 changes to Scotland’s front row options originally named for Rugby World Cup 2015, with 29-times capped Exeter Chiefs tighthead, Moray Low, and 6-times capped Glasgow Warriors hooker, Pat MacArthur, earning selection for the 1st time since the summer of 2014.

Scotland Head Coach Vern Cotter, said: “We’ve selected a mixture of experience with some exciting young players coming through, some of whom have experienced the Rugby World Cup and are eager to move forward, take the RBS 6 Nations head on and show that we can develop our game and be competitive.”

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1872 CupEdinburgh 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.

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Roddy Grant

Roddy Grant

Experienced Edinburgh flanker Roddy Grant has been forced to retire after failing to recover from a knee injury suffered at the end of last season.

The 28-year-old played 138 times for the club and represented Scotland Sevens between 2006 and 2014, including last year’s Commonwealth Games.

“A difficult time has been made easier as it’s not been a decision,” said Grant.

“You just have to get on with it, accept things and move on.”

Grant joined Edinburgh in 2009 after beginning his Scottish rugby career as an apprentice with Border Reivers.

A recipient of the John Macphail Scholarship in 2008, he broadened his experience playing with Auckland University in New Zealand, having played through Scotland’s age grades, and went on to be part of the Scotland A team that secured a 35 / 0 victory over England Saxons in 2012.

“It’s been a pretty emotional time, having to come to terms with the fact I have to stop playing due to injury but I have no regrets,” added Grant.

“I’m really proud of what I’ve done, what I’ve achieved and what I’ve contributed.”

Head coach Alan Solomons said: “Roddy’s retirement is a sad day for both the club and Scottish rugby.

“I’ve been fortunate, over the years, to coach some terrific young men; Roddy is right up there with the best of the best. His contribution to the club has been immense, both on and off the field. He is a leader of men and the ultimate pro.

“He has the heart of a lion, an unbelievable work-rate and he knew our systems and his role within them to perfection. Roddy never had a bad game. He is certainly one of the most consistent players I have ever coached.

“We will miss him – he is one of a kind.”

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1872 CupIt’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.

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Ali Price

Ali Price

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).”

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Gregor Townsend

Gregor Townsend with the PRO12 trophy Glasgow Warriors won last season

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.”

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alan solomons

Alan Solomons

Edinburgh head coach Alan Solomons has signed an extension to his contract, keeping him at the club until June 2017.

The capital club started the 2015 / 2016 season strongly in the Guinness Pro12 with 4 consecutive wins and recently recorded back-to-back victories against French opposition in the European Challenge Cup.

Scottish Rugby Chief Executive Mark Dodson said: “Alan is successfully building on the improved performances achieved by Edinburgh Rugby last season, which saw them reach the European Challenge Cup Final and secure the 1872 Cup.

“The club has made a positive start to the new season and we wanted to ensure Alan was able to continue to develop the vision he started in 2013. We are therefore very pleased he has committed to Edinburgh through to 2017.”

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Ash Jones

Ash Jones – Head of Strength and Conditioning at Edinburgh

Ash Jones, Edinburgh’s head of strength and conditioning, has just been named Professional Strength & Conditioning Coach of the Year by the discipline’s world leading membership organisation, the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).

He said: “It is a worldwide award but the organisation is based in the USA which is why I didn’t really think I had a chance of winning, although I was honoured to receive the nomination.

As the 1st coach from outside the the USA and the 1st rugby S & C coach to win the accolade, Jones admits the honour came out of the blue.

“With the number of S & C coaches across all sports in the United States, someone in America would have a much better chance of winning it but it shows the outward looking focus of the organisation.”

Strength and conditioning is now an integral part of the coaching team and Jones, who joined Edinburgh 12 months ago, has now worked in 3 professional sports (basketball, rugby league and rugby union) across 4 countries (New Zealand, Australia, Japan and Scotland).

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Magnus Bradbury

Edinburgh’s Magnus Bradbury one of Scotland 7s newcomers

Scotland 7s Head Coach Calum MacRae has named 3 new caps in his 12-man squad to compete in the opening leg of the 2015 / 2016 World Rugby HSBC Sevens Series, in Dubai (Friday 4 & Saturday 5 December).

The squad, which will travel to South Africa for the 2nd leg of the Series following proceedings in Dubai, will include Edinburgh’s Magnus Bradbury; his capital club-mate Nick McLennan; and Scotland Under 20 wing Robbie Nairn.

MacRae said: “The extended Sevens off season, due to the Rugby World Cup, has afforded us time to develop aspects of our play and make gains in our strength and conditioning.  The players application has been excellent throughout.

“The mindset has been to improve and build on last years performances, not rest on them.  In addition to the core squad members, we have also targeted developing young, Scottish talent who have a lot of potential and a big future ahead in both the abbreviated game and in the 15-a-side set-up.

“The exposure they will have to the international stage, will hopefully provide the platform they need to continue their development and progression in the game, as it has with so many players previously.”

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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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MikeBlair

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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Scotland

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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