The Scotland team that scares me…

The Scotland management team today named the XV that will face up to a buoyant England side that rolls into Edinburgh off the back of a cracking win against the French. Scotland are sticking with the more mobile team but a couple of changes have been made. Simon Taylor has come in to replace the ineffective Kelly Brown and Graeme Morrison comes in at No.12 to make his first start since 2004 (v Japan). The starting XV for Saturday’s game versus the English is highlighted in Rory’s post below, but here are my thoughts:

Scotland have had a shocking tournament so far with very little to excite the faithful few that follow the side. The game against Ireland at least showed signs of limited improvement and the emergence of Strokosch was encouraging. Scotland even scored a try, a decent one at that, and looked like they could start to create chances – the next step would be to take them!

So, it’s back to Murrayfield to face up to an England side that is starting to find some form. On paper this has England win written all over it, indeed keeping the score down may be an achievement, but if Scotland will ever raise their game it’ll be against the English.

Scotland can win this game, they have the skill and the power to rattle the English, particularly at home, but confidence is at an all time low and at a time when leadership is most needed it has been sorely missing. The return of 2 times Lion Simon Taylor is a timely boost and his experience and skills around the breakdown could prove vital. Graeme Morrison has performed well for Glasgow and the Scotland ‘A’ side so is maybe due a run in the ‘top’ side but this will surely be his biggest challenge yet. The centres have been poor for Scotland all tournament and against the English will need to have passion for the fight. As Rory says in his post below the Scotland bench does not indicate a ‘festival of running rugby’ but the starting line-up has the same feel as the one that went out to move the Irish about. I feel (hope!) Scotland will look to try run the ball at the English from early, but they’ll need to show great control and, if they draw penalties, take the points whenever on offer. My main fear is that Scotland will struggle in the scrum and if this is under pressure from the start it could be a very long afternoon for the men in blue. Where Scotland may look to pressure is at the lineout which finally seemed to find some form against the Irish. Finally, one area that will need to improve is player concentration. As much as I feel Hadden has responsibility for players performance (or lack of), he cannot do much about 15 guys collectively falling asleep at restarts. Every Scotland player needs to have their ‘A’ game with them if they are to find success on the field.

The officials fill me with fear. Kaplan is god awful as anyone in St Etienne will be able to testify. He is the sort of referee that feels the game should be about him and not about the 30 guys fighting it out and worst of all is the sort of referee that refuses to let a game flow. As for Mr Damasco he has already endeared himself to Scotland fans and the less said the better…

All the odds point towards an English win, but Scotland are due some luck so maybe this Saturday will be the day that the ball breaks Scotland’s way and they can at least make a game of it. Ever onwards….good luck guys!

Over and out.
Al

Alan Kerr is a long time rugby lover and occasional player for Broughton FP RFC. Site co-founder Al prides himself on offering the "man on the bus" view of Scottish Rugby!

5 comments on “The Scotland team that scares me…

  1. Rory on

    The scrum worries me a little too. I am looking forward to a Sale vs Newcastle match in the future to see who the best prop in the world is but I wouldn’t bet against Sheridan. Come on the Chunk!

  2. Jonny on

    If I ever met Frank, I fear I would have the worrying urgency to trip him up.

    Another catalogue of selection errors. Do Dan Parks and Kelly Borwn know something that we don’t?

    I look forward to a weekend of dodging and diving under a heavy barrage of English abuse. Leicester can be a worrying place, especially with an extra small Scotland home jersey….

  3. Al on

    Oh well Johnny – we may have a crap rugby team but as Scots we can take the moral high ground… gods country and all that!

    If Scotland do manage to win its even better surrounded by lots of English – i.e. Murrayfield! :-)

    As ever I’m sure Murrayfield will be pretty evenly split between Scots (or ‘sweaty socks’ as our Southern cousins like to refer to us) and English, so its always good craic. Always look forward to the banter and a good few beers before and after the event.

    As for the game, the nearer it get the more positive I get. I think, maybe, just maybe, that we can get something out the game. The guys know they’ve been a big disspointment so far and reckon we are due the bounce of the ball which can make a huge difference. Will all depend on the start, get off well and get hte crowd behind them we could have a game on our hands but if we leak an early try then we could get properly thumped!
    Gulp….my optimism weans!

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