Magners clubs scrap against the weather
January 9, 2010
Edinburgh's new fly-half Rory Hutton will be hoping for a thaw ahead of his debut on Saturday © PA Photos
Magners League fans will have one eye on the weather forecast with the winter wonderland wreaking havoc on their clubs' fixtures this weekend.
Already, Ulster and Connacht have been forced to call off their matches, scheduled for Friday, against the Ospreys and Dragons respectively.
Leinster did their utmost to protect the RDS surface ahead of the visit of Glasgow but the game was called off following an 11.00 pitch inspection on Friday, while Munster are awaiting a pitch inspection at Thomond Park after Cork's Musgrave Park also fell victim to the cold snap.
Sunday's scheduled clash between Munster and the Scarlets at Musgrave Park was the latest clash to be postponed. Following an inspection by officials from Munster and David McHugh from the IRFU Referee Department on Saturday morning, the game was called off. The pitch had been covered by a 'warm air blanket' since Friday morning at which stage officials were confident that the game would go ahead. However, overnight temperatures dropped to -9 and a further deterioration is expected tonight. Thomond Park had been considered as an alternative venue but was also considered unplayable.
Should the remaining fixture survive the inclement weather, the participating clubs will be given a huge opportunity to boost their play-off hopes with the re-fixing of cancelled games likely to occur during the Six Nations when frontline players will be absent.
Fifth-placed Edinburgh will look to make up ground lost in their double defeat to Glasgow over the festive period and have named Academy fly-half Rory Hutton in their team for the visit of Cardiff Blues to Murrayfield on Saturday. The 22 year-old will make his senior debut, replacing the rested Phil Godman who is ruled out with a hip injury.
Hutton has played for Scotland's Sevens team and he is one of six changes to the side with Allan Jacobson and David Young returning to the front row.
Cardiff have rotated their squad for the game after being nilled by the Ospreys last time out, with Gethin Jenkins and Xavier Rush both rested. Ceri Sweeney starts at fly-half ahead of Sam Norton-Knight, with Leigh Halfpenny slotting in at fullback as Ben Blair also takes a weekend out. Andy Powell returns to No.8 in place of Rush and skipper Paul Tito is restored to the second-row.