After Leinster’s failure to topple the ever-improving Dragons at the weekend, the Scottish pro-teams go into the Heineken Cup break first and second in the Magners League table. So, congratulations to Glasgow and Edinburgh for that excellent bit of away points-grabbing, in particular the two oft-abused/unsung 10s David “Tony” Blair and King of Dans Parko Parks who both played pivotal roles.
What’s more, with only each other to play in the league between now and then, there’s a pretty good chance that one of the Scottish pro-teams will go into the halfway point after Christmas atop the table, with the other in close attendance—along with the likes of Leinster and Ulster.
It’s really great to see the teams doing so well and heading into the second half of the season with one—and possibly both—primed for at least a decent chance of a playoff spot come the sharp end.
This weekend's attention turns to the Heineken Cup. Both Glasgow and Edinburgh need to win all their remaining games to have a chance of getting anywhere, including a possibly shift sideways into the latter stages of the Amlin Challenge Cup (might be a better bet there anyway).
For Glasgow, that’s back-to-back-to-back against Gloucester, then the Dragons, and away to Biarritz. All of which is—in theory—possible based on previous events, but still fairly unlikely for a team that has struggled so often with inconsistency.
Still, the way they toughed it out against Ulster gives me hope. Going out to the south of France with the weather turning a bit and all to play for could make for exciting times, though. Good news for them, too that Ruaridh Jackson came through an hour for Ayr (at full-back) on Saturday.
Edinburgh also faces a team struggling in the GP, Bath (get Robinson on as a pundit!) before taking on Ulster at Ravenhill and Stade at home. With those guys and their love of throwing it about, anything is possible, but I fear “for zem ze vor is ova” and I reckon they will target the festive derbies for a clean sweep instead, maybe giving David Blair some more game time—he did pretty well against the Scarlets on Friday night. Or is that defeatist talk?
On the Internet the walls have ears. Win against Bath and I’ll probably change my mind again.
In terms of TV coverage, according to ERC rugby we get delayed highlights of Glasgow on Friday (this, I think, means “delayed until the round-up show on Sunday night”) and red button for Edinburgh on Sunday afternoon.