Zebre V Edinburgh

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Post by RDW on Thu 25 Oct 2018, 12:13 pm

First topic message reminder :

Pierre Schoeman returns from a four-week suspension to feature in the Edinburgh starting XV to face Zebre at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi in the Guinness PRO14 tomorrow evening (Friday 26 October, kick-off 7pm BST/ 8pm local time) – live on Free Sports.

The inclusion of the loosehead prop is one of ten changes made to the capital side as Head Coach Richard Cockerill hands a debut to Fosroc Scottish Rugby Academy product and second-row, Jamie Hodgson.

Henry Pyrgos captains the side which features six internationalists, including Scotland caps Dougie Fife, Ross Ford, Simon Berghan and Luke Hamilton, while Duhan van der Merwe returns to the starting line-up after missing both of Edinburgh’s Heineken Champions Cup fixtures through injury.

Elsewhere, Italian international prop Pietro Ceccarelli, Callum Atkinson, Mungo Mason and Jason Baggott are all selected on the bench and if involved will make their first competitive appearance for the capital side.

Ahead of the fixture, Head Coach Richard Cockerill, said: “Beating Toulon last weekend was a good step forward in our development, but now we’ve got to set that standard every time we play. We’ve got to do it again against Zebre this weekend.

“We’ve obviously had guys away training with Scotland, but we’ve got a good squad and we’ve got to utilise it.

“Getting a win in Zebre is as important as anywhere else, so we’ve just got to get it right. It’s important that we keep up the consistency in our performances.”

Fife is named at fullback alongside wingers Van der Merwe and Darcy Graham, with the latter retaining his position on the flank following a string of impressive performances both domestically and in Europe.

In the midfield, James Johnstone is partnered by Chris Dean, who gets the nod at inside centre following his try-scoring performance from the bench against RC Toulon last weekend. Simon Hickey is reinstated to the starting XV alongside Pyrgos at half-back.

A revamped front-row sees Ford make his second start of the season alongside props Schoeman and Berghan, while Stewart’s Melville products Hodgson and Callum Hunter-Hill form the second-row.

Fijian international Bill Mata starts at number eight, with Luke Crosbie and Hamilton completing the back-row.



Edinburgh team to face Zebre at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi in the Guinness PRO14 on Friday 26 October, kick-off 7pm BST/ 8pm local time – live on Free Sports



15. Dougie Fife (114)



14. Darcy Graham (9)

13. James Johnstone (25)

12. Chris Dean (71)

11. Duhan van der Merwe (23)



10. Simon Hickey (7)

9. Henry Pyrgos (7) CAPTAIN



1. Pierre Schoeman (4)

2. Ross Ford (185)

3. Simon Berghan (55)

4. Jamie Hodgson *

5. Callum Hunter-Hill (2)

6. Luke Hamilton (6)

7. Luke Crosbie (15)

8. Bill Mata (43)



Replacements: 16. David Cherry (2); 17. Rory Sutherland (67); 18. Pietro Ceccarelli*; 19. Callum Atkinson*; 20. Mungo Mason*; 21. Sean Kennedy (64); 22. Jason Baggott*; 23. Juan Pablo Socino (4)



*Edinburgh competitive debut

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Post by RDW on Fri 26 Oct 2018, 8:26 pm

Time to get Kennedy and Sutherland on - we need fresh impetus

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Post by TheMildlyFranticLlama on Fri 26 Oct 2018, 8:27 pm

We’ve been rubbish since half time, so many mistakes

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Post by RDW on Fri 26 Oct 2018, 8:29 pm

Our leaders have been crap

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Post by RDW on Fri 26 Oct 2018, 8:30 pm

We're going to have to make our comeback with a pretty makeshift team....!

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Post by TheMildlyFranticLlama on Fri 26 Oct 2018, 8:32 pm

I’m struggling to see where a comeback will come from, we can’t get hold of the ball

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Post by RDW on Fri 26 Oct 2018, 8:34 pm

And when we get it it's slow then boxkick

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Post by TheMildlyFranticLlama on Fri 26 Oct 2018, 8:34 pm

So we briefly get the ball then Pyrgos fecking kicks it away again?!

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Post by TheMildlyFranticLlama on Fri 26 Oct 2018, 8:37 pm

Game over

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Post by RDW on Fri 26 Oct 2018, 8:37 pm

Well this has been awful.

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Post by tigertattie on Fri 26 Oct 2018, 8:37 pm

Come on Glasgow!
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Post by TheMildlyFranticLlama on Fri 26 Oct 2018, 8:38 pm

I was so looking forward to this game!

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Post by VinceWLB on Fri 26 Oct 2018, 8:38 pm

That was pathetic

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Post by Eejit on Fri 26 Oct 2018, 8:38 pm

A wise man (probably Nostradamus or something) once said “luvvies, always luvvies”.

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Post by tigertattie on Fri 26 Oct 2018, 8:39 pm

For a seasoned pro, Pyrgos has been utterly woeful

Ford hasn’t been much better. Perhaps it’s time to retire
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Post by TheMildlyFranticLlama on Fri 26 Oct 2018, 8:40 pm

If only we had a decent reserve 9!

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Post by RDW on Fri 26 Oct 2018, 8:41 pm

Pyrgos has been utterly absymal. Why does Cockerill leave him on so long every game??

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Post by tigertattie on Fri 26 Oct 2018, 8:41 pm

Pyrgos actually looked at the zerbre player there.

Come back Sam HC, all is forgiven
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Post by Brendan on Fri 26 Oct 2018, 8:42 pm

Do Edinburgh have dinner and a bath at half time in their games. They rarely come out the same team that went in. Would love to know the 1st half v 2nd half points for the season so far

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Post by TheMildlyFranticLlama on Fri 26 Oct 2018, 8:43 pm

I think it might be down to the traditional edinburgh half time cheese and port

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Post by RDW on Fri 26 Oct 2018, 8:44 pm

This performance rivals the worst of the Solomons era

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Post by RDW on Fri 26 Oct 2018, 8:45 pm

I think VDM has touched the ball once.

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Post by TheMildlyFranticLlama on Fri 26 Oct 2018, 8:45 pm

Kennedy might not be great, but he deserves more than 3 minutes at the end when the game is lost. Fowles on the other hand deserves no minutes ever

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Fri 26 Oct 2018, 8:47 pm

3 horribly soft tries conceded in the 2nd half. The question posed by this fixture was whether we had squad depth? Answer: No.

Dreadful second half.

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Post by tigertattie on Fri 26 Oct 2018, 8:48 pm

Simply can’t give excuses for that performance

I’d love to see the full post match comments from cockers

“Utter shoite. Some players have played their last game of us. Some players aren’t even being allowed on the flight home”
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Post by TheMildlyFranticLlama on Fri 26 Oct 2018, 8:48 pm

Right that’s it, the entire team deserve to be hitchhiking back to edinburgh after that, what an embarrassment

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Post by RDW on Fri 26 Oct 2018, 8:50 pm

Worst Edinburgh performance in years. And that's saying something!

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Post by Brendan on Fri 26 Oct 2018, 9:00 pm

To be fair Zebre lead the league for off loads. They are all about attack and running so when they click they are good. They turned over Bristol at home last week.

Though kicking them the ball might not have be the smartest plan and Edinburgh might have been still playing against Toulon in their heads

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Post by VinceWLB on Fri 26 Oct 2018, 9:05 pm

Brendan wrote:To be fair Zebre lead the league for off loads.  They are all about attack and running so when they click they are good.  They turned over Bristol at home last week.

I don't think Zebre are as good and as fluent in attack as they were last season. Their defense look much improved though.

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Post by TJ on Fri 26 Oct 2018, 9:12 pm

RDW_Scotland wrote:Pyrgos has been utterly absymal. Why does Cockerill leave him on so long every game??
He has been OK

The box kicking is clearly a tactic and in general he does it very well

He is so much better than the other 9s.

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Post by RDW on Fri 26 Oct 2018, 9:15 pm

TJ wrote:
RDW_Scotland wrote:Pyrgos has been utterly absymal. Why does Cockerill leave him on so long every game??
He has been OK

The box kicking is clearly a tactic and in general he does it very well

He is so much better than the other 9s.

Did we watch the same game?? He's been slow to rucks all season but was absolutely glacial tonight. He also made 2 high profile errors - a kick direct to touch and a pass straight into the Zebre player (while looking at him!)

He was truly awful.

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Post by Brendan on Fri 26 Oct 2018, 9:15 pm

VinceWLB wrote:
Brendan wrote:To be fair Zebre lead the league for off loads.  They are all about attack and running so when they click they are good.  They turned over Bristol at home last week.

I don't think Zebre are as good and as fluent in attack as they were last season. Their defense look much improved though.

They have that mighty ex-Edinburgh coach,

They are improving and will give anyone a game if not fully committed

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Post by TJ on Fri 26 Oct 2018, 9:30 pm

rdw - I said OK not good.  I didn't think him that slow.  He is however a mile better than either kennady of fowles

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Post by 123456789. on Sat 27 Oct 2018, 1:12 am

I think this is unfortunately a result that's symptomatic of pro rugby in Scotland as things stand. The teams simply do not have the depth to cover their internationals. In other words Edinburgh are victims of their own success.
That being said, I think I'd give Cockerill a wide berth for a decade or two if I were some of those Edinburgh boys.

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Post by BigGee on Sat 27 Oct 2018, 7:55 am

123456789. wrote:I think this is unfortunately a result that's symptomatic of pro rugby in Scotland as things stand. The teams simply do not have the depth to cover their internationals. In other words Edinburgh are victims of their own success.
That being said, I think I'd give  Cockerill a wide berth for a decade or two if I were some of those Edinburgh boys.

A little bit of perspective here numbers.

That arguement may well have been valid if they were playing Munster or Leinster, but this was Zebre, who have improved no doubt, but still not one of the strongest teams and also give a lot of players away to the national side.

I think this just goes down as a very poor second half performance from Edinburgh. It may have been that the two big games in Europe the previous two weeks, took a lot more out of some of the players than they realised.

It is not easy being competitive on two fronts.

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Post by TJ on Sat 27 Oct 2018, 9:36 am

only 5 players n the pitch for edinburgh who played in the 2 euro matches - thats not an excuse and zebre were weakened as well by international callouts.

I am not sure why the second half was so poor.  Maybe a bit of the old lack of spine once they gave away the soft try that heads went down and no leader to galvanise them?

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Post by bsando on Sat 27 Oct 2018, 11:05 am

"You'd expect an international like Dougie Fife to catch a high ball and not let it bounce. It bounces funny and suddenly they are under the sticks.

"We then fill them full of energy and the game gets away from us. Suddenly you have given them 14 points for nothing.’’

Think Cockerill is spot on there, that was where it all went to crap. It was going to be a difficult one to catch but a dropped attempt at catching it would have only resulted in it going backwards and out of play off Fife at worst. A poor misjudgment that he’ll hopefully learn from.

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Post by Anglobraveheart on Sat 27 Oct 2018, 11:54 am

TJ, valid point regarding lack of leadership, BUT, both Pyrgos and Ford have captained the national side, through thick and thin.
Berghan and Mata are very experienced and capable players, and would normally lead from the front. Fife dropped a high kick, but he rarely plays full back, and the angles and positioning are awkward when you transition from FB to wing or vice versa.
I think the back up players need a bit more work to develop the backbone that RC has instilled into most of the first choice players. This team is a wip, as he has stared before, so there is still progress required in developing the mental skills within the back up players.
Not a surprise really, but hopefully a good learning experience.

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Post by RDW on Sat 27 Oct 2018, 12:10 pm

I'm not buying the lack of experience line - that was an international class front row including our most capped forward ever, 2 internationals in the back row, a highly experienced 9 who has captained at international level, an experienced pro at 10, 12 and 13 plus 2 out of 3 of our first choice back 3. 5 of the 7 of the backs are probably our first choice currently available.

Yes we had kids in the 2nd row but there was more than enough experience in the rest of the team to beat Zebre away who were also missing some players (although not as many).

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Post by Anglobraveheart on Sat 27 Oct 2018, 1:15 pm

Not a lack of experience RDW, a learning experience. HP has had the rough and smooth as a leader at both GW and in yhe Scotland set up. RF is a bit like Mosdy was inthat he was a stalwart and captain of Scotland teams through fairly thinly successful teams that did not have the depth we have available now.
RF was a captain, but not particularly vocal or successful. Which leads me to think that both he and HP are stronger as team members as opposed to team leaders.
As I recall he was captain when Scotland lost to Italy when Horne got bad cramp mid kick. It had fallen to bits, due to lack of leadetship. Which IMO is the point here. There were experienced pro's in the team, but not proven leaders. They did not have yhe depth of experience around them or successful leafers to giide through the Zebra resurgence.
Sometimes strong players in strong teams appear much less capable in weaker teams. But I also think that some of that is psychological, something that our pro teams have struggled to develop strength in for a long time.
It's there with the bulk of the first choice pro's now but the mental resillience also needs to be developed with the 2nd and 3rd choice players.
RC will know this, and knows that it isn't a flick of a switch to achieve the mental strength in non-frontline players to tough out these situations.
There just weren't enough winning mentality leaders in the team.

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Post by TheMildlyFranticLlama on Sat 27 Oct 2018, 1:35 pm

Or to sum it up, Stu McInally wasn't playing! Its pretty worrying how reliant we are on him to lead from the front and set the pace

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Post by Anglobraveheart on Sat 27 Oct 2018, 5:23 pm

I'd say it's down to a few others being absent too.
Watson, Toolis, Nel, Bradbury, Scott, Kinghorn and even a fit Bennett.
All add that 'getting on with it and taking the lead, that bring the best out of the strong players and helps the 2nd and 3rd choices to raise their game to a high enough level.
It'll come eventually to a lot of the squad players, but it'll be next season when we see this coming to fruition.

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Post by BigGee on Sat 27 Oct 2018, 6:08 pm

I just feel that Cockers is not a massive fan of rotation either, he plays players a lot and only gives squad players a chance when he has to.

Some of those players might have done better I they had more opportunities earlier in the season playing with the front liners. To some extent he chucked them to the lions in this game.

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Post by Anglobraveheart on Sat 27 Oct 2018, 6:14 pm

C'mon, they were only Italian Lions. I thought they only had them in Rome?
Do they actually have any teeth?

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Post by BigGee on Sat 27 Oct 2018, 9:01 pm

Anglobraveheart wrote:C'mon, they were only Italian Lions. I thought they only had them in Rome?
Do they actually have any teeth?

Edinburgh won't be the only team to lose to Zebre this year, especially at home!

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Post by Anglobraveheart on Sat 27 Oct 2018, 9:14 pm

Just watching the re-run of the game now.

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Post by RDW on Sat 27 Oct 2018, 9:29 pm

Anglobraveheart wrote:Just watching the re-run of the game now.
Why??

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Post by Anglobraveheart on Sat 27 Oct 2018, 9:56 pm

Smile Just to see the horror of what has been relayed by you guys with my own eyes. The first half has been pretty uninspiring.


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Post by RDW on Sat 27 Oct 2018, 9:58 pm

Wait until you see the 2nd half... Doh

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Post by Anglobraveheart on Sun 28 Oct 2018, 12:26 am

Yes, it wasn't goid at all. No leadership or ownership.
Something for them to work on.....

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Post by Brendan on Mon 29 Oct 2018, 8:20 am

BigGee wrote:I just feel that Cockers is not a massive fan of rotation either, he plays players a lot and only gives squad players a chance when he has to.

Some of those players might have done better I they had more opportunities earlier in the season playing with the front liners. To some extent he chucked them to the lions in this game.

I think many people on the outside looking in at the league (and new coaches to the league) think that because we have rotation that it is just a simple change the first 15 a few times a season. If you look at most teams it's a case of every game they are changing a few players each week so that they can blend the first and second 15 into a more compeditive squad. This year there really aren't a massive amount of game where the opposition won't be compeditive so running a good rotation system could be one of the factors of who makes the playoffs

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