And Then Ends Again

I will still get up all excited next Saturday morning/afternoon to see what the day’s rugby brings, but sadly I fear for Scotland it may be more of the same unless they can conjure some sort of direction in midfield. I have often praised World Class Phil but I think it was fairly clear today that a fair amount of work would need to be done for the nickname to be anything other than ironic. The pack was solid in defence and I thought up against some truly world class operators in Dusautoir and Harinordoquy (or Harrydonkey as jiffy seemed to call him) the Killer B back row (Beattie in particular) all acquitted themselves pretty well. Sean Lamont seems to have rediscovered his drive at Llanelli and looked back to the player we saw in 2006. Sadly there was no repeat of that result this time but at least he had several great breaks and a try-saving tackle. Anyone who caught his little outburst as the steadicam moved around the Scotland players at the end will have heard what losing the game meant to him. There is heart in this team, but then we never really doubted that.

What Scotland lacked today was any sort of posession, territory or platform. If the lineout is not working very well then kicking (poorly) to touch will not help. I thought Richie Gray did not look out of his depth at this level when he came on and might be worth more of a shot next week. Al Kellock threw himself about as usual but big Nathan was a bit quieter than usual.  The lineout throwing was poor again.

The less said about the scrum the better but there is no doubt that Euan Murray was missed, and that without Chunk’s extra bulk along from him Moray Low struggled against a canny French pack. Would we have won the game if Murray had played? I doubt it, but a try in the last 20 when Scotland started to make breaks and they would have only been 2 points down with Mossy still on the field and sitting on a 100% kicking record, and the subdued home crowd undoubtedly would have woken up. Certainly there would have been less time wasted messing about in scrums, but really France were too good at retaining posession, and too good also at pinching ours. Their half-backs were not perfect but they made sure the game went on where they wanted it to – Scotland’s half – and from there the game was only going one way.

5 comments on “And Then Ends Again

  1. Allan on

    Ah well, beaten by a considerably better but, more importantly, a more confident side. A refreshing lack of aerial pingpong today. Very surprised to see Moray Low taken to the cleaners in the scrum, perhaps a lack of technique and too much reliance on gym squats? Would like to see Alex Grove in for Morrison next week and a bit more savvy when faced with the blitz defence (which Wales use). Cant our players take and give the ball in one movement? More dummy runners in midfield and a few grubbers methinks. Good showing from Beattie, Brown, Lamont, T Evans but nowt from Paterson other than his place kicking, lightweights and too easily tackled backwards, one up and under out on the full and a charge down. As per usual, the idiots on the Scotsman comments are all laying the blame on WCP but Paterson is clearly not the answer. Give Godman a chance behind a solid platform and see what he can do.

  2. Iain on

    France were certainly superior and perhaps deserved to win the game by more but Scotland made life very difficult for themselves by refusing to consider field position in their game-plan. With the new breakdown laws it is very risky to run so much ball from deep and Scotland did not have to put themselves under so much pressure. The ambition is refreshing and their were some good moments, but Scotland is so obsessed by the lack of tries that the team tries to force the play when it isn’t on. Some more sensible play early on may have enabled the team to put the French under a bit of pressure. As for individuals, Beattie and Lamont were clearly excellent and Cusiter was a solid presence as well. Godman was patchy but did have some good moments and the criticism of him is over the top. He was clearly under orders to run from deep and for the most part did this well. He is a talented player and a far better option than Paterson. With a platform against Wales, he should improve. I’d also like to see Sean Lamont in the centre, perhaps even at 12. His running is so strong now and he has to be a better option than the willing but limited Morrison. Rory Lamont should come in at fullback and I’d like Danielli back on the wing. This would create a big and quick backline. With Murray back in the front-row the platform should be there to challenge a mediocre Welsh team. I was disappointed today with the naivety of the tactics but, on reflection, there is promise and I think we’ll beat Wales. We’re not that far off!

  3. Rory on

    I actually just watched the first half again at lunch and the few times that Godman sat flat he actually pulled in defenders and created space, for example for the Beattie break that so nearly put Cusiter under the posts.

  4. Kev on

    But Godman’s kicking game is poor for a test SO and his lack of understanding of the French rush defence was worrying.??

  5. Rory on

    I agree when you see it taken advantage of (blocked grubber kick taken with a prop and a hooker outside you for chasers) or it is pointed out to you, sometimes his tactical naivety is quite considerable.

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