Like the pain of a scab being ripped off, we take a brief look back at the weekend’s action. Anything longer than brief would be overly depressing, like say, watching England hit form just in time for the World Cup.
Hero of the Weekend
Al: Hero? Erm that’s tough. From a Scotland perspective probably Sean Lamont – he played well and has given an honest appraisal in today’s paper.
Rory: Sean Lamont was the only one who emerged with any credit from Saturday, dropping to the bench has been good for him – would we see a similar improvement from any others? I suppose you could argue elsewhere that Chris Ashton was a bit of a hero for his 4 tries, but he is still doing that stupid diving thing which discounts him on style grounds. Plus Italy were rubbish. Even we could score tries against them. Or maybe not.
A.D: Hook at 10 really was the hero, wasn’t he? He may look a bit like a horse, and he spikes his hair up like a 12 year-old, but my god can he run with the ball in his hands. He spotted Chunk opposite him and exploited that for the first try and all day he looked a risk. Lamont did ok, but never had anyone to pass to. Made him look selfish, which isn’t his fault, but everyone else was soooooo bad he had to be.
Villain of the Weekend
Al: Lee Byrne for his dangerous tackle on Max Evans and leading with his foot on Southwell. There’s no place in the game for that.
Rory: It is possible to jump for a ball without kicking someone in the face. I saw Rougerie do it for France – he caught the ball too. You could say the way Wales seemed to target Max Evans was particularly cruel, but it is professional sport and I doubt it was more than just coincidence. Big Al Kellock soon sorted them out by rolling on the ground with Ryan Jones.
A.D: Hugo Southwell will be fine after that boot in the face but, let’s be honest, if Byrne hadn’t caught him it would have been a ‘Geoff Cross’-style dangerous tackle and it would have been a straight yellow. After his two kicks that went out on the full in that 20 mins I probably would have cheered that yellow card…
Moment of the Weekend
Al: The National Anthems. A terrible rendition that in hindsight was a warning of what was to come.
Rory: The sooner someone comes up with some decent words to Highland Cathedral the better. Flower of Scotland is like the opposite of the haka, we were 5 points down before we started, even with the a-capella verse. My moment was probably Lamont’s tackle on Jamie Roberts. It epitomised the side of Lamont that has been missing recently and seems to have returned, and was one bright spark on a very dark day.
A.D: Watching France be so French was pretty good. Substituting their best player; playing Traille in his third position in as many games; winning the game in 2nd gear. If Scotland don’t get some go-forward and start driving the opposition back in defence again I may look to my Gallic roots (not to be confused with my Gypsy heritage).
Rory: I could probably find some French in the family tree. Could it be even more frustrating supporting them than it is supporting Scotland though? Their highs are as high as our lows are low…
What We Learned
Rory: That some players are not playing well enough to still be in the team, regardless of last year’s form. Parks should never have been on the, um, park for 80 minutes given the way he was playing. The Rugby Gods saw fit to remove Hugo when he was having a stinker. The christian God will remove Euan Murray from our next two games. It may be left to mere mortal Andy Robinson to hook Dan and stick in Ruaridh Jackson. After all Parks only played well last season after he was left for dead in favour of World Class Phil Godman.
Al: That we aren’t as good as we had hoped. Too many players are mentally weak – De Luca, Parks, Murray and Southwell all had shockers and question marks are on their short term futures in this team. Robinson dropped the ball by not picking Lamont from the start. And the scrum is still a mess – Murray seems to have gone from front row Lion to grinning jackal.
A.D: Murray will unfortunately be out just long enough for us to forget how badly he is playing and probably be selected against Italy for our probable (PLEASE PROVE ME WRONG) wooden spoon decider. I want to see Hines dropped for Gray as his trademark sideways-pick-turn-and-pop is not helping a pack struggling to get forward momentum. We’ve learned that we need this front foot ball and can’t rely on a substitute full-back ONLY for this. Is Beattie fit yet? Could we also chuck in Jackson for the last 20 mins if Parks is having a shocker. Like Dr. Pepper says, what’s the worst that could happen?
Rory: Yup, it’s amazing how quickly they forgot how effective they were in Paris with front-foot ball.
*A.D: News just in: Morrison signs new 2-year deal with Glasgow as Max Evans admits he is leaving the Warriors.
Where will Evans go? France or England? With Edinburgh and Glasgow cutting their squad size and the rumours that Ford will quit Edinburgh soon refusing to fade away both teams must be working away furiously in the background to sign up players for the 2011/2012 campaign. This is particularly important when the World Cup comes around…