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The Highs and Lows of a Scottish Weekend…

We had two wins, a draw and a loss from various national teams. Sounds alright, doesn’t it? However, the public’s opinion of Scottish rugby is shaped entirely by the fortunes of the national side. Every other result is a bonus (or a continued indicator of the fallow years to come; although thankfully this doesn’t seem to be the case!). So let’s put each result in context…

The Scottish Women’s team overcame their French counterparts 10-8 at Lasswade on Saturday giving them the perfect start to their 6N campaign. I cannot testify to knowing too much about women’s rugby, but as a result against regular opponents this looks pretty good and show that a minority, in an already minor sport, can still thrive.

Something I can testify to (allegedly) knowing about is the fortunes of the Scottish Club International side. The team fought hard to win 13-9 in an intense, if not end to end globetrotter-style, match.  Much like the Women’s match conditions didn’t favour an exciting, mercurial contest but the endeavour was there. Even 2000 folk braved the dreich Border’s weather to watch. Also, the crowd still got treated to a physical display and some hard running from the likes of Kelly and Weston as well as some great defence from Clapperton and co. What this did show was that Amateur rugby here is improving all the time and more than compares with the French opposition (although comparing myself to my opposite man on Friday night was more like comparing myself to my own father- he looked like he was in his 40’s!).

The under-20s drew 8-all with their French foils. While not the perfect score, it was better than losing! Also, the performances of highly rated youngsters like Maltman and McInally shows the potential we have here. We also have yet another Blair at 10, and lord knows we’re all hoping he proves to be a genius! Rory was at the game, so he will be better placed to tell you if they are likely to win against Wales down there, but the future may seem bright in some areas of that team.

And then there was Sunday. I, for one, am weary of over analysing, but when the shortcomings are that obvious it is rude not to point them out. We all know what they are. 1) The backline are standing so deep during second phase it is surprising they can even see Chris Cusiter. 2) While Johnnie Beattie played outstandingly well in the loose yesterday, it was verging on the cruel the longer he left the ball in the back of the scrum. 3) If a team stands in attack in two banks, most standing in a flat line and some standing in a small group deeper and wider, then we become bamboozled.  Twice Bastreaud was in the second group ready to receive passes direct from the flatter group and he scored. Once Clerc, brilliantly tap tackled by Kelly Brown and held up by Evans, broke from a similar situation. 4) Next time (i.e. against Wales) please give the ball to someone quick enough to make an inside break when facing a blitz defence.  5) Jonathan Davies is more annoying than a postal gold advert.

The good thing is, though, that it was still only 9 points we lost by. Look after the ball without forcing the play and we might be alright…maybe?!

So what did you make of the day? What would you do if you were Robbo? And what is going to unlock an equally depressed Welsh team?!

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2 Responses

  1. First of all congratulations to the yourself AD and the Club team,the Womens and the -20s. Disapointed in the A result but not what they were trying to do and despite yesterdays result IMO we were more positive than we’ve been in ages.
    The scrum was a disaster tho’, whether that was to do with a lack of ‘test’ experience from Dicko and Moray, the French being better than us or the ref not seeing the wee laddie Domingo standing up…it was a disaster. So we couldn’t get decent ball from that area. We also tried to play too much in our own half so the front 5 must have been knackered in attack!!!
    Murray must come back with Low on the bench, I’d keep Ford and Dicko just to get a wee bit more mobility in the FR. Hamilton and Kellock (Hines on the bench) Brown, Beattie and Barclay keep their places because Stroker is still injured.
    I’d go Cus and Jackson. Cus played very well and I just think we have to get a 10. IMO Godman is at his peak, Parks can play a certain way and Paterson is just too old to learn that position at this level. Gove and Evans, Evans and Lamont and Paterson. Bench would be Blair (but I’d love wee Laidlaw to get this spot) Southwell and R Lamont with Hall, Low, Hines and Grant but he’s nae in the squad!

  2. My “experimental” XV is posted above. Just to give a quick report on the Under 20s game, I thought that they were probably worth the win based on a strong second half where fitness really paid off against a slightly more skilful French side. A. Blair was not all sunshine though, he missed a fairly straightforward kick in front of the posts that would have sealed the win and several of his restarts were “World Class” Phil level. The back row were excellent though, putting in a lot of work around the park and Caithness player Kris Hamilton excelled when he came on at scrum half, adding real zip to the attack.

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