Robinson picks Gray for All Blacks test

Richie Gray
(Credit: Scottish Rugby Union)

Published EN4 News on 8/11/2012

Richie Gray is declared fit for Scotland duty while scrum half Harry Pyrgos could win his first cap at the weekend.

Scotland head coach Andy Robinson has brushed aside injury concerns surrounding giant second row Richie Gray ahead of Sunday’s clash with New Zealand at Murrayfield.

Gray and fellow lock Jim Hamilton were both doubtful before the team was announced but Robinson insists that both will be ready to play the worlds champions. He said: “I’m not going to put anyone there who cannot be at 100% in terms of their physicality and their attitude.”

Behind the scrum Edinburgh scrum half starts at stand off after missing Edinburgh’s last two games. Robinson dismissed suggestions that Laidlaw may be under-prepared for such a daunting game. He said: “Greig has been doing the contact work but I didn’t want him to play [for Edinburgh} last Friday as I felt the work we were doing as a team and the intensity that we had in training and the pressure he would be under would be ideal preparation.”

Glasgow prop Ryan Grant and Edinburgh’s Dutch born winger Tim Visser will both be making their first appearance for Scotland at Murrayfield. Meanwhile Grant’s club team-mate Henry Pyrgos is the only uncapped player in the match-day squad.

Explaining the scrum-half’s selection on the bench ahead of the vastly experienced Rory Lawson, Robinson claimed the move was done with one eye on the future. He said: “We have three scrum-halves who are 30 and above so it is about seeing young nine coming through and that is why Henry got the nod ahead of Rory.”

Kelly Brown will captain Scotland for the first time in the match on what will be his 50th cap. The Saracens number eight will be looking to do what no Scotland skipper has done in the past – lead his side to a victory over New Zealand.

Listen to Andy Robinson on his pack selection

Scotland team to play New Zealand in the EMC Test at Murrayfield on Sunday 11 November, kick-off 2.30pm

15 Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors) 7 caps, 1 try, 5 points

14 Sean Lamont (Glasgow Warriors) 68 caps, 8 tries, 40 points
13 Nick De Luca (Edinburgh Rugby) 35 caps, 1 try, 5 points
12 Matt Scott (Edinburgh Rugby) 4 caps
11 Tim Visser (Edinburgh Rugby) 2 caps, 2 tries, 10 points

10 Greig Laidlaw (Edinburgh Rugby) 10 caps, 2 tries, 8 conversions, 15 penalties, 71 points
9 Mike Blair (Brive) 83 caps, 7 tries, 35 points

1 Ryan Grant (Glasgow Warriors) 3 caps
2 Ross Ford (Edinburgh Rugby) 61 caps, 2 tries, 10 points
3 Geoff Cross (Edinburgh Rugby) 14 caps
4 Richie Gray (Sale Sharks) 24 caps, 1 try, 5 points
5 Jim Hamilton (Gloucester) 39 caps, 1 try, 5 points
6 Alasdair Strokosch (Perpignan) 28 caps, 1 try, 5 points
7 Ross Rennie (Edinburgh Rugby) 19 caps
8 Kelly Brown (Saracens) CAPTAIN 49 caps, 4 tries, 20 points


16 Scott Lawson (London Irish) 34 caps, 2 tries, 10 points
17 Allan Jacobsen (Edinburgh Rugby) 64 caps
18 Kyle Traynor (Bristol Rugby) 3 caps
19 Alastair Kellock (Glasgow Warriors) 44 caps, 1 try, 5 points
20 David Denton (Edinburgh Rugby) 6 caps
21 Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors) uncapped
22 Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Warriors) 13 caps, 2 conversions, 2 penalties, 2 drop-goals, 16 points
23 Max Evans (Castres) 30 caps, 3 tries, 15 points

Robinson names seven rookies in Scotland squad

The seven new faces named by Andy Robinson (Credit: Scottish Rugby Union)

Scotland coach Andy Robinson named seven uncapped players in his 34 man squad quad for training at St Andrews next week in preparation for the first EMC Test against New Zealand at Murrayfield next month.

Edinburgh pair Stuart McInally and Grant Gilchrist join Glasgows’ Alex Dunbar, Peter Horne, Peter Murchie, Tommy Seymour and Henry Pyrgos as the untested players named.

The addition of five uncapped players from Glasgow can be seen as a reward for their strong start to the season.

Scotland won all three tests on their summer tour against Australia, Fiji and Samoa and Robinson is keen to get the players back in the groove to build on this success. He said: “It’s some four months since Scotland last played an international so when the squad reconvenes there’ll be an element of renewing acquaintances and reigniting the spark and spirit that was such a key part of our success on our summer tour.”

However, Robinson is only too aware of the monumental challenge presented by the all conquering All Blacks, a side Scotland have never defeated. He said: “New Zealand are formidable opponents. They do the basics exceptionally well and play with a pace and ruthlessness. It’s no co-incidence that they are the best team in the world.

We must look to build on the physical commitment of our players against Australia, Fiji and Samoa. As ever the Scotland supporters are right behind us and with more than 55,000 tickets sold already for our game against New Zealand, the players are determined to give their all.”

The coach delayed naming a captain until next week with last seasons skipper Ross Ford and Saracens Kelly Brown, who returns to the squad after injury, the frontrunners for the armband.

Scotland squad (sponsor RBS) for training camp at St Andrews 29-31 October in preparation for the EMC Test against New Zealand at Murrayfield on Sunday 11 November (kick-off 2.30pm)

Backs: Mike Blair (Brive), Nick De Luca (Edinburgh Rugby), Alex Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors), Max Evans (Castres), Stuart Hogg, Peter Horne and Ruaridh Jackson (all Glasgow Warriors), Lee Jones, Greig Laidlaw (both Edinburgh Rugby), Sean Lamont (Glasgow Warriors), Rory Lawson (Newcastle Falcons), Peter Murchie, Henry Pyrgos (both Glasgow Warriors), Matt Scott (Edinburgh Rugby), Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors) and Tim Visser (Edinburgh Rugby)

Forwards: John Barclay (Glasgow Warriors), Kelly Brown (Saracens), Geoff Cross, David Denton, Ross Ford and Grant Gilchrist (all Edinburgh Rugby), Ryan Grant (Glasgow Warriors), Richie Gray (Sale Sharks), Dougie Hall (Glasgow Warriors), Jim Hamilton (Gloucester), Allan Jacobsen (Edinburgh Rugby), Alastair Kellock (Glasgow Warriors), Scott Lawson (London Irish), Stuart McInally and Ross Rennie (both Edinburgh Rugby), Tom Ryder (Glasgow Warriors), Alasdair Strokosch (Perpignan) and Kyle Traynor (Bristol Rugby).

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Tonks and Atiga return for Edinburgh Rugby

Edinburgh’s Greig Tonks

Full-back Greig Tonks and centre Ben Atiga have recovered from injury to make to make their Heineken Cup debuts for  Edinburgh against Munster on Sunday.

The duo are among five changes made by head coach Michael Bradley as his team look to bounce back from last week’s disastrous 45-0 home defeat at the hands of Saracens. Tonks and Atiga replace Tom Brown and Matt Scott, who both drop to the bench, respectively.

The capital side have a point to prove after the Saracens result but Bradley is  acutely aware that a trip to face Munster on their Limerick home turf is a daunting one. Bradley said: ““Thomond Park is a fortress, steeped in the Heineken Cup history. The fans and the players will be fired up for this, so we’ll need to front up to the physical aspects of the game from the outset.”

Bradley’s will be hoping that his changes will give his side both a physical and attacking edge for the vital fixture. Fijian Number 8 Netani Talei  returns to the back row with Stuart McInally moving to open-side flanker in place of Ross Rennie who does not make the match-day squad. Scotland prop Geoff Cross comes back into the pack at tight-head in place of Willem Nel. Club captain Greig Laidlaw has failed to recover from the shoulder injury he sustained in last week’s match  and his place at stand-off goes to Gregor Hunter while second row Sean Cox will skipper the team.

To win the match Bradley insists that Edinburgh must front up against the two-times former European champions and silence the home crowd. He said: “If we match them physically, and are patient and accurate in possession, then we have a chance to impose our game plan and not be dictated to by the Munster players and a Thomond Park crowd that will be desperate for a home win.”

Edinburgh Rugby team to play Munster in round two of the Heineken Cup at Thomond Park, Limerick (kick-off 12.45) – live on SkySports

15 Greig Tonks

14 Lee Jones
13 Nick De Luca
12 Ben Atiga
11 Tim Visser

10 Gregor Hunter
9 Richie Rees

1 John Yapp
2 Ross Ford
3 Geoff Cross
4 Grant Gilchrist
5 Sean Cox CAPTAIN
6 David Denton
7 Stuart McInally
8 Netani Talei

16 Andy Titterrell
17 Robin Hislop
18 Willem Nel
19 Robert McAlpine
20 Dimitri Basilaia
21 Chris Leck
22 Matt Scott
23 Tom Brown

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McInally starts for Edinburgh rugby against Saracens

Edinburgh rugby star Stuart McInally

Edinburgh rugby star Stuart McInally has been rewarded for his fine early season form with a starting berth in the club’s opening Heiniken Cup match against Saracens on Saturday.

McInally is selected at Number 8 ahead of Fijian Netani Talei in a strong line-up as the capital side look to emulate last years European performances when they reached the semi-final stage for the first time in their history.

Head coach Michael Bradley says that last years experience in Europe’s premier club competition has left everyone connected with Edinburgh eager to experience more of the same this season. Bradley said: “The Heineken Cup is the best club rugby competition on the planet and it’s the one that every player and club wants to be part of. It’s a very special competition and we’re all very excited to get started.

“The support we received in last season’s competition was exceptional and undoubtedly played a massive part in the successes we enjoyed here at Murrayfield. The pressure, the pace, and the physicality, combined with the heightened tension and suspense are what makes this such a special tournament.”

Scotland props Allan Jacobsen and Geoff Cross find themselves relegated to the bench with Welshman John Yapp and South African Willem Nel starting in the front row alongside Scotland captain Ross Ford. The presence of four internationalists in Jacobsen, Cross, Talei and England’s Andy Titterrell amongst the replacements underlines the new-found strength of depth in the Edinburgh squad. Bradley acknowledges this while conceding that the English club will provide a tough examination of his squads ability. Bradley said: ““Our opening pool match will pose a serious test for our squad and will give us a good understanding of where we are as a team.

“We face a side which, I expect, will use a strong kicking game and very a combative defense to try and keep the game in our third of the field.”

McInally is one of six changes from last weeks disappointing home defeat against  Italian side Trevisio. Yapp, Tom Brown, Richie Rees, Ross Rennie and Nick De Luca are the other new faces.

Edinburgh Rugby team to play Saracens at Murrayfield Stadium in Heineken Cup round one (kick-off 1.35pm)

15 Tom Brown

14 Lee Jones 13 Nick De Luca 12 Matt Scott 11 Tim Visser

10 Greig Laidlaw CAPTAIN 9 Richie Rees

1 John Yapp 2 Ross Ford 3 Willem Nel 4 Grant Gilchrist 5 Sean Cox 6 David Denton 7 Ross Rennie 8 Stuart McInally

Substitutes 16 Andy Titterrell 17 Allan Jacobsen 18 Geoff Cross 19 Robert McAlpine 20 Netani Talei 21 Chris Leck 22 Harry Leonard 23 Dougie Fife

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Scotland face wooden spoon decider

Andy Robinson - Copyright SRU

Scotland head coach Andy Robinson has called on his side to tighten up defensively if they are to avoid a seventh successive defeat in Rome on Saturday.

After seeing the Scots concede 32 points against Ireland last weekend Robinson said: “What we have to improve is that ruthless edge within our own third. We have conceded soft scores and that is why we are in the position we are in. And if we concede soft scores this weekend we will be in a similar position. If we defend and are able to keep that concentration for 80 minutes and attack as we have been developing then we will win the game.”

Many were surprised that Robinson chose to only make one change to the starting line up with a fit again Nick De Luca coming in at outside centre with Max Evans moving to the wing to replace Lee Jones. Robinson defended his selection saying: “They are in because of the improvements shown in the first three games. This is where we are and this is the best team I feel we have to go out and win the game.”

Ross Ford - copyright SRU

Earlier captain Ross Ford had expressed his frustration and anger over last Saturday’s performance saying that he was “raging” after the match. Ford went on to say: “It was the worst I have felt after a game for a long time as I thought we were past that (level of performance).” Hear more of Ford’s press conference below.

Ross Ford Press Conference

One player who is itching for Saturday to arrive is De Luca. After suffering much criticism over his performance and yellow card against Wales he had played his way back into the starting line up for last weekend with an eye-catching display as a substitute against France. A hamstring injury robbed him of that opportunity but he is raring to go against the French saying: “When you are playing well you want to carry on and you are in a good head space but I think I still am and I am looking forward to this weekend.”

Go to our facebook page to hear an interview with Scotland prop Geoff Cross from this weeks press conference.

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Copyright SRU

Edinburgh University crowned cricket sixes kings

The winning University side

Edinburgh University won the Cricket Media Super Sixes 2012 final against Carlton at the National Cricket Academy.

The students had been the form team throughout the group stages and had again been impressive in their semi final victory over the Eastern Cricket Academy.It was Carlton, who despite missing Preston Mommsen, Gordon Drummond and Fraser Watts through international duties had earlier beaten Heriots in the first semi final, who batted first. Some excellent, tight bowling and excellent fielding from the University kept the scoring rate down. Heriots eventually posted a total of 95 for 2 from their 10 overs. Captain Sean Oliver (26) and youngster Kyle McPherson (25) were the main contributors.

Carlton bowled tightly for the first three overs of the University’s innings to keep themselves in the match. However James Glover (25) and Fraser Boyd (25) batted intelligently to up the scoring rate and they looked to be cruising at 82 for 1 after seven overs. Two wickets from McPherson in the next over set the student’s nerves jangling. More drama was to follow as skipper Andrew Brock was bowled in the penultimate over with the scores tied. However, Edinburgh University held their nerve to clinch a one wicket victory.

After the final the winning captain was delighted to come through such a testing final. Brock said: “Carlton are a tough side and we were expecting to come up against them if we got to the final,  it was a really good game, really enjoyable.”

Brock was particularly pleased with his sides bowling performance in the final saying: “Probably our strength has been with our batting throughout the whole tournament so I was really happy with the fact that in the final we were able to show we could bring out the bowling side too.”

Earlier on both sides had enjoyed comfortable semi final victories. In the first match Carlton bowled Heriots out for a meagre looking 74. with McPherson and Jamie Kerr both picking up 2 wickets. In response Carlton scored 77 for the loss of four wickets with Kerr (29) again starring. In the second semi Edinburgh University posted a commanding total of 156 for 4 against the Eastern Cricket Academy. with Glover (30) and Brock (27) top scoring. The academy never seriously looked like reaching their target and were all out for 73.

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Edinburgh Academy clinch Scottish Schools Cup

Edinburgh Academy won the Brewin Dolphin Under-18 Scottish schools cup with a tense 12-11 victory over George Watson’s College at a windswept Murrayfield on Saturday.

Mark Appleson’s Academy side went into the final as favourites, having won all 13 of their matches this season. However, they made a nervy start and it was Watson’s who looked the better side early on. Indeed straight from kick off, Watson’s found themselves on the Academy line.  The defence did well to hold the initial drive up over the try line but conceded a penalty following the subsequent scrum which Andrew McMillan converted.

Watson’s appeared to adapt to the wet and windy conditions more quickly than their opponents, who made a number of handling errors and struggled to stamp their authority on scrums and line outs. Some astute tactical kicking from Watson’s Fraser Mackay and Euan McKean kept their opponents pinned back for lengthy spells. Academy meanwhile struggled to release their backs, with flying winger Freddie Smith finding opportunities to run with the ball hard to come by.

Prior to the game one of Edinburgh Academy’s illustrious old boys, Edinburgh and Scotland scrum half Mike Blair, sent the squad a video message. However, it was Watson’s skipper Ramsay Young who was winning the battle of the number nines with Scottish under 18 cap Alex Glashan. His sniping runs and quick thinking were causing Accies all sorts of problems. Approaching the half hour mark one such run gave Watson’s an excellent attacking position on the Academy five metre line. Academy second row, Chris Thomson, made a massive tackle that not only turned over possession but seemed to give his side a huge lift. Accademy then enjoyed their best spell of the match with captain and Number 8 Chris Dean prominent. Unfortunately their handling still let them down at important times and they went into the break trailing 0-3.

The turning point of the game came in the first minute of the second half when, following a bright start by the favourites, George Watson’s second row Matt Poole was sent to the sin bin. Academy made the most of the ten minute spell where they enjoyed a numerical advantage scoring two tries.

The first try came courtesy of a fine break by stand off Alexander Muir, who drew three tacklers before releasing full back Robbie Orr to touch down. Alex Swan missed the conversion.  Minutes later, with Watson’s anxiously counting down the seconds to Poole’s return from the sidelines, Academy won a line out on the right touchline and spun the ball wide, where Smith at last broke the shackles to score in the corner. After missing a straightforward kick minutes earlier Swan redeemed himself with a conversion from tight on the left touchline to extend the lead to 12-3.

Watson’s, who were back to fifteen players made an immediate response and camped on the Academy line for the next five minutes. Some outstanding defence, coupled with Watson’s choice to run everything, meant that the gap stayed at nine points. Eventually at the urging of coach Ally Donaldson Watson’s chose to kick a penalty and McMillan made the score 12-6.

Then on the hour mark Watson’s set up a grandstand finish with their first try. Try hero Smith made a terrible hash of dealing with a bouncing ball in his own 22 and Watson’s second row Neil Irvine Hess dived over. McMillan missed the conversion so the score was 12-11 going into the last ten minutes.

It was at this point that the impressive Dean stepped up to the plate and drove his team forward, keeping Watson’s on the back foot and unable to manufacture a point scoring opportunity.

The crowd of 4.800 was treated to a committed display from both sets of players and Watson’s can count themselves unlucky to have lost out. The outstanding Dean was Man of the Match but his team mate Thomson who was immense in defence and Watson’s Young must have pushed him close.

Edinburgh Academy
Robbie Orr
14 Thomas Salisbury
13 Alex Swan
12 Tom Grey
11 Freddie Smith
10 Alexander Muir
9 Alex Glashan

1 Josh Haining
2 Angus Lutton
3 Andrew McWilliam
4 Ronan Seydak
5 Chris Thomson
6 Cameron Simpson
7 Rory Simpson
8 Chris Dean (C)

Mack Millar
17 Thomas Mitchell
18 Rory Smith
19 Jamie Spratt
20 Jonty Bredin
21 Callum Peace
22 Scott McWilliam
George Watson’s College
Fraser McKay
14 Dominic Johnston
13 Andrew McMillan
12 Jack Broadley
11 Chris Macbeth
10 Euan McKean
9 Ramsay Young (C)

1 Michael Gillespie
2 Ross Gregor
3 Rhys Jack
4 Matt Poole
5 Neil Irvine Hess
6 Matt Horsman
7 Nick Hurn
8 Will Brown

James Hassall
17 Hamish Campbell
18 Andrew Watts
19 Henry Lawrence
20 James Bedford
21 Chris Cash
22 Peter Clink

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