Bill Lothian: Chunk deserves a generous portion of appreciation

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By returning to the line-up on Friday at home to Aironi after a week’s rest Allan Jacobsen could equal Andy Kelly’s record appearances – 125 – for an Edinburgh player in the Magners or Rabo Direct Pro 12 League.

Watching “Chunk” lead the charge with a series of skilful offloads as Edinburgh came back from the dead to defeat Racing Metro last time at Murrayfield, there is plenty of rugby life left in a man whose colleagues on that debut appearance were Campbell Aitken, Geoff Caldwell, Ross Barber, Andy Garry, Steven Reed (sub Cammy Glasgow), Gordon Ross, Graeme Burns, Ross McNulty, Steve Scott (Graham Ellis), Stuart Paul, Darren Burns (Andy Lucking), Mark Blair, Tam McVie, Stuart Reid and Cammy Mather.

However, the time is approaching to recognise the durability of Edinburgh’s longest continuous serving player in a way that benefits not only the individual but also the game, and maybe a charity.

We live in the era of the personality cult and especially as no more charismatic character has worn the Edinburgh jersey in recent times surely a testimonial is in order.

Such occasions are rare in rugby but I remember Chunk being invited to Wales to share in just such an occasion for Ospreys winger Shane Williams a few years ago so precedents do exist. What I have in mind need not take the form of a match, anyway. Rather a social (ie a dinner) or a series of events. In short, a win-win situation which would include extra profile gained by local rugby.

Comeback worth the wait

It took Heineken Cup host broadcaster Sky nearly a week to produce decent highlights of Edinburgh’s epic win over Racing but credit is due for the high quality of analysis on this week’s Rugby Club where Stuart Barnes picked up on just how shrewd goal-kick hero Greig Laidlaw is.

When Tom Brown went over for the fourth of six tries Laidlaw converted from almost on the touchline; fast forward to Tim Visser’s effort that left Edinburgh 46-47 adrift and although the touchdown occured five metres infield the kick took place from the wider angle due to Laidlaw already having had a range-finder. All that remained was to put the comeback from 24 points down entering the last quarter into sporting context . . .

According to Peter Jackson on the European Cup website it was the rugby equivalent of the 1985 World Snooker final where Dennis Taylor lost the first seven frames to Steve Davis and ended up potting the final black in the final frame for 18-17. Or . . . golfer Gary Player recovering from seven holes down at the 19th to beat the American Tony Lema at the first extra hole in the 1965 World Matchplay.

My favourite? Liverpool recovering from 0-3 at half time to beat AC Milan on penalties in the 2005 Champions League football final.

Communication is king

Saturday’s trip to Meggetland offered a reminder that Boroughmuir, 25-12 losers to Currie, may be experiencing up-and-down fortunes on the pitch but their ability to look after the spectator with refreshments available and up-to-the-minute announcements of team changes and scorers is first class . . . Unlike a premiership rival who could teach Twickenham a trick or two about leaks as that is how they appear to get their info across to paying spectators.

Give them a PA system or at least a loud hailer for Christmas, please!