Monday’s media watch begins in Scotland, after Glasgow Warriors’ dramatic, late victory over rivals Edinburgh in the 1872 Cup.
Victory was particularly sweet for last season’s beaten finalists considering the somewhat disappointing start they have made to the season, and back-rower Ryan Wilson believes such a characterful win could be the springboard his side needs for a resurgent second half of the campaign.
Wilson is hoping Glasgow’s fortunes will be aided by the re-signing of Fiji star Leone Nakarawa by the New Year, after the second-rower was axed by Top 14 side Racing 92 for returning to the club late following the Rugby World Cup.
Just one place below Warriors are Dragons, who showcased their vast improvement under Dean Ryan this season with an impressive 22-20 win over 2016/17 champions Scarlets on Saturday.
Chairman David Buttress has called for a return to private ownership, with the club having been under the control of the WRU since 2017 as a result of a long period of poor league finishes.
🗨️“We were confident we could get the win and we are turning Rodney Parade into a tough place to come… I feel we are moving in the right direction…”
Fly half @samdavey1993 looks forward to bright future 🤩
— Dragons 🏉 (@dragonsrugby) December 23, 2019
The return of Ross Moriarty to the Dragons team will certainly aid their Conference A credentials, and boss Ryan insists the Wales back-rower is happy at Rodney Parade despite speculation linking him with a move away from Newport.
Staying in Wales, Cardiff Blues earned bragging rights over struggling Ospreys at the weekend, and Tomos Williams – who created Blues’ only try – had cause for celebration away from the Liberty Stadium, too.
The 24-year-old scrum-half was an usher at his older brother’s wedding before driving to Swansea, and then returned to the reception in Treorchy after helping his team to a crucial win.
More good news for John Mulvihill’s Blues sees back-row forward Shane Lewis-Hughes sign a long-term contract extension at Arms Park, but Ellis Jenkins’ comeback from a serious knee injury has been delayed until around March.
There is also disappointing injury news for Ospreys, with Gareth Anscombe – who injured his knee playing against England in August – set to miss Wales’ 2020 tour of New Zealand in July.
One man who is set for an imminent return to action however is Munster’s Joey Carbery, who is in line to make his first appearance since May against Leinster at Thomond Park on Saturday.
Munster survived a scare to beat Irish rivals Connacht in Galway in Round 8, and while Andy Friend’s team didn’t have much to shout about on the field, the crowd broke the world record for the most people wearing a hi-visibility jacket in one location at once, in aid of a road safety campaign.
Tonight’s World Record attempt made for some great pics! 📸
Certainly made for a unique setting for tonight’s #GuinnessPRO14 interpro.
— Connacht Rugby (@connachtrugby) December 21, 2019
And we finish in South Africa, where Isuzu Southern Kings defence coach Braam van Straaten believes the frustration endured by his side at narrowly losing out in some of their early games was probably for the best.
The former Springboks fly-half insists the Port Elizabeth-based side have utilised that frustration and are poised to step up their points tally in the second half of the season.