By Alan Dymock
WELCOME TO Amnesiacs Anonymous, a place where, when participants actually show up, it can be very, very entertaining. After all, once you get past remembering a name and a reason for being there, there is only the task of captivating the audience of soon-to-be blank faces with a bit of a story.
Scottish rugby can be a bit like this sometimes.
With an unquestionably imperious display against the once-magisterial Munster, Edinburgh and their fans were rightly giddy. Suddenly the club’s defence coach Omar Mouneimne was calling coach Alan Solomons rugby’s “Alex Ferguson” and proclaiming that he would, over a two-to-three-year period, draw the best Scottish talent up through unseen ranks and promote them, giving them the best coaching they can get and considering their every need on the way.
Of course, while it is somewhat remiss to ignore the signing of 11 players from outside of Scotland’s hemisphere and the woeful displays in the league so far, there is potential for some truth to be found in Mouneimne’s statement – or at the very least he can be afforded some of his gleeful naivety.
It cannot be forgotten that Solomons was a damagingly late arrival in Scotland’s capital and however much a “workaholic” he is, you can’t knock up a plan and commission the builders in one go just because Rome is a bit of a fixer-upper. Sure there was a bit of neglect going on, but after being allowed to cut a few corners by opening a chequebook and flicking through his contact list, the hard work on the training paddock is now unavoidable. Not everyone can be wrong about Solomons character and brilliant mind and his team certainly repaid the coach in round one of the Heineken Cup.
He may well be having a positive effect now he has settled and that should be appreciated. The bluster and hefty praise should perhaps be saved until after the rot in the RaboDirect Pro12 is halted, though. When that is turned around we can truly believe the fanciful tales.
In Glasgow, on the other hand, it is a case of the legend of the first five Pro12 games – or should that be The Legend of the First Five Pro12 Games? – has almost distracted from the hard work that still needs to go on if Heineken Cup progression and a Pro12 title are to become possibilities.
On Sunday the Warriors showed true strength of spirit to mount a mini-comeback, scoring four superb tries to claim a bonus point. However, they were also hollowed-out before this, by a destructive Toulon team. A team that visibly calmed in the second-half and who still scored 51 points.
Behind closed doors they will still be losing sweat and energy as they work to improve on this – and it must be said that whatever stories the audience are given, both teams will not truly believe any yarn of hype – and it is well within Glasgow’s capability to improve further. Edinburgh too, though they have less cause to be so boldly vocal about it just yet.
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Let no one forget the good points and indeed there should be an increase in support from the public because of what Glasgow have already achieved and because of what Edinburgh finally hinted at. But let everyone also demand more. Things appear to be moving in the right direction in one of two or even in both competitions if form can translate on or after this weekend.
It’s time the actions and words matched up and it can only be a good thing that we start to expect even more from the pair. That would be worth committing to long-term memory.