Head Coach Vern Cotter today named a 37-man Scotland squad for the forthcoming RBS 6 Nations Championship.
Among the group is 37-times capped Gloucester centre Matt Scott who – after missing out on selection in the autumn – has earned a recall thanks to a number of impressive performances for the Kingsholm club, scoring 12 tries in 18 games this season.
Cotter has also named uncapped Edinburgh Rugby forwards Simon Berghan (prop) and Cornell Du Preez (back-row).
Du Preez (25) is a popular figure in the capital, scoring 14 tries in 71 appearances. He became eligible to represent Scotland last year after completing three years of residency in the country.
Berghan (26) joined Edinburgh Rugby in 2013 and is eligible to represent Scotland through his grandfather, Andrew Davidson, from Stirling. The 20st, 6’3” prop has made 24 appearances for the capital club.
Berghan and returning Newcastle Falcons’ tighthead Jon Welsh are among the seven props named in the squad, with the national team awaiting the results of a scan this evening (Wednesday) that will confirm the availability of Edinburgh Rugby’s Willem Nel, who injured his neck in the club’s European Challenge Cup win over Harlequins on Saturday (14 January).
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.
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.
Head coach Alan Solomons says criticism of Edinburgh’s playing style is ‘manifestly unfair’.
Solomons watched his team register their first win of the Pro12 season against Scarlets at Murrayfield, but some have criticised the side’s lack of attacking ambition under his stewardship.
“Personally I think the criticism is unfair,” Solomons said. “This talk they are under instruction not to run the ball is nonsense.”
Solomons is adamant that Edinburgh’s attacking prowess has developed under his assistant Duncan Hodge.
“We have worked very hard on our attack, Hodgy is doing a good job and it is a question of playing the conditions correctly and getting the result. It is professional sport and it is about winning.
“No-one has given them any instruction on how to play. They have all the options available to take under our game management plan. That criticism is manifestly unfair.
“We are improving year on year. We are carrying a number of injuries [Al Dickinson, Anton Bresler, Nasi Manu, Jason Tovey, Will Helu and Damien Hoyland are all currently unavailable] and we are not a big budget squad.
“We are not Toulon. We don’t have a massive amount of money but I think we have a good group of players.”
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.
Head Coach Vern Cotter has made six personnel changes to the Scotland team to face Japan in this Saturday’s second summer Test match at the Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo (25 June, kick-off 11.20am BST, 7.20pm JST) – live on BBC.
The alterations are split evenly between the backs and forwards, with a positional switch made in each division to accommodate the new faces.
Scrum-half Henry Pyrgos, wing Sean Maitland and centre Peter Horne all come off the bench to start the match, with Pyrgos taking on the captaincy and kicking duties from Greig Laidlaw.
Maitland is promoted in place of Damien Hoyland, with Sean Lamont coming into the squad among the substitutes, while Horne comes into midfield in place of the injured Duncan Taylor (hamstring), prompting a move to outside-centre for Matt Scott to accommodate the Warriors playmaker.
In the pack, Rory Sutherland remains in possession of the loosehead berth he inherited in the third minute of last weekend’s Test win over Japan, when Alasdair Dickinson limped off with a hamstring injury, earning his first start for the national team.
On the other side of the front-row, Moray Low swaps places with try-scorer Willem Nel to start his first Test since the 2014 summer tour win over Canada in Toronto, while Josh Strauss comes in to the back-row for John Hardie, with John Barclay moving to openside to make room for Strauss on the blindside.
Other notable inclusions see prop Gordon Reid (who arrived in Tokyo on Monday) take up a spot among the replacements, with uncapped centre Huw Jones set for an international debut if called upon from the bench.
Scottish Rugby have released a sneak preview of the new Scotland home and away kit which will be available from the 8th of July. The clip features a few players including former Loeriesfontein strong man WP Nel. The burly tight-head prop, who scored a try early in the second half against Japan last weekend, can be seen grinning about midway through the clip below.
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.
Head Coach Vern Cotter has named a 27-man Scotland squad for the national team’s 2-Test summer tour of Japan next month.
The Test matches will be played on consecutive Saturdays at J1 League football stadia; the 1st at the Toyota Stadium in Toyota City (18 June), the 2nd at the Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo (25 June), homes of Nagoya Grampus and FC Tokyo respectively.
Cotter also confirmed that Glasgow centre Mark Bennett has not been named to allow him to be considered for extended GB 7s selection ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
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.
A horror misunderstanding cost Currie a shot at their 3rd championship title as Heriots snatched a dramatic last-gasp victory in Saturday’s BT Premiership semifinal at Malleny Park.
A ding-dong battle in which the lead changed a total of 5 times appeared to have swung decisively in the home side’s favour when No 8 Ross Weston finished off a driving maul for his 2nd try of the afternoon to put Currie 22 / 21 up with minutes remaining.
Heriots pushed for a response but, when they knocked on to concede a scrum, it looked like their dreams of a double (or treble if you include the Charity Shield) were over.
Currie kept possession as the clock ticked down but scrumhalf Richard Snedden was premature with the boot out and the Goldenacre side were given a lifeline, which they took superbly by setting up replacement flyhalf Gregor McNeish for his 2nd drop goal with the last kick, to spark wild celebrations in the away camp.
It means Heriots, who 1st face Melrose in the BT Cup final a week on Saturday, will travel to Millbrae to face Ayr on 23 April and look to retain their Premiership crown.
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.
3 Years without an RBS 6 Nations win at Murrayfield. 10 Years without a win against France. Some rather unwanted streaks consigned to the dustbin in 80 minutes of heart-pounding, adrenaline-pumping, nerve-shredding action! But who were the main men for Scotland on Sunday?
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.”
Head 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.”
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.
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.”
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).”
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.”
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.”
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).
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.