Michael Bradley risks upsetting Edinburgh fans with much-changed XV to face Glasgow

December 30th, 20112:56 am @

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It was a charge he was anxious to deny. “You should always be respectful and
mindful of local traditions,” said the Irishman. “In a derby match, history
and form doesn’t matter, and that also applies to selection to a large
degree.

“I’m very confident that if this group of players perform well and do the
basics right then we will come away with a win on Sunday.”

Bradley’s view seems absurdly optimistic, although rugby history throws up a
host of examples of supposedly weakened teams that punched well above their
weight.

The most famous, perhaps, was the second-string All Blacks side which took on
Japan at the 1995 World Cup. With almost every player desperate to break
into the top team, the New Zealanders ran their opponents ragged, clocking
up a record 145-17 win.

It is hard to foresee a repeat of that scenario, but Bradley hinted that his
players had motivation enough to pull off a more modest surprise.

“Let’s see how the team performs,” the coach said. “All the players out there
will be playing for the jersey and the colours. They deserve an opportunity
to perform. The atmosphere will be intimidating so it will be a great
testing ground for them. If they come through then we’ll have a strong,
confident squad.

“Glasgow will be under pressure to win the match on the basis of the team
we’ve selected. That’s a good position for us. We felt a bit of pressure
last week with the reverse scenario. The guys who are playing understand
that and see it as a big opportunity.”

Bradley’s policy means a rare appearance in the starting line-up for Phil
Godman, the former Scotland
fly-half, who will captain the side.

Full-back Jim Thompson has also been given a chance to put in the kind of
performance that brought him within touching distance of a cap a couple of
seasons ago. Simon Webster, a veteran of 37 internationals, is in the
starting XV as well.

On any other day, Glasgow coach Sean Lineen’s decision to make seven changes
to his side would have seemed improbably bold, but set against Bradley’s
selection it looked distinctly conservative.

Yet there was one clear eyebrow-raiser in Lineen’s line-up in the presence of
Stuart Hogg, touted as a Scotland full-back of the future, at outside
centre.

“There’s a method to my madness,” Lineen smiled. “We wanted him to start at 15
and then move to 13, and this is the time to do it. He is a 13. He’s the
right size, he has pace and he’s strong.

“He has a lovely pass and an outside break. He’s not the finished article but
I’m excited by what he can bring to the position.”

Article source: http://telegraph.feedsportal.com/c/32726/f/568303/s/1b605aa4/l/0L0Stelegraph0O0Csport0Crugbyunion0C89835490CMichael0EBradley0Erisks0Eupsetting0EEdinburgh0Efans0Ewith0Emuch0Echanged0EXV0Eto0Eface0EGlasgow0Bhtml/story01.htm