Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Scotland Six Nations Training Squad

Scotland Players - (c) Scottish Rugby Blog

So there you have it: as we suspected, pretty much the remainder of the World Cup squad plus a few bolters. No-one saw Steve Shingler coming though did they? Hitherto the only time I had seen him was getting red-carded for a dangerous tackle. They’ll need to update his Wikipedia entry – it says he is Welsh. Oh, and you’ll want to see this video after the jump.

Shingler, who is primarily a flyhalf but has been playing centre of late, has also been capped for Wales U20 which the Welsh have used in the past to tie players, but I am sure this would have been investigated. Of interest might also be this slightly hilarious (and apparently award winning) video, towards the end (thanks to Snitch9):

Someone somewhere is cringing!

With an extra 2 slots from the exercise I conducted yesterday, the ten additions to the World Cup squad are Jones, Hogg, Laidlaw, Weir and Shingler in the backs and McKenzie, Harley, Denton in the forwards. Denton and Laidlaw were capped in the World Cup warm-ups and will be looking to claim a more permanent spot this time round for sure.

Backs: J Ansbro (London Irish), M Blair (Edinburgh), C Cusiter (Glasgow Warriors), S Danielli (Ulster), N De Luca (Edinburgh), M Evans (Castres), S Hogg, R Jackson (both Glasgow Warriors), L Jones, G Laidlaw (both Edinburgh), R Lamont (Glasgow Warriors), S Lamont (Scarlets), R Lawson (Gloucester), G Morrison (Glasgow Warriors), D Parks (Cardiff Blues), S Shingler (London Irish) and D Weir (Glasgow Warriors).

Forwards: J Barclay (Glasgow Warriors), K Brown (Saracens), G Cross, D Denton (both Edinburgh Rugby), A Dickinson (Sale Sharks), R Ford (Edinburgh Rugby), R Gray, D Hall (both Glasgow Warriors), J Hamilton (Gloucester), R Harley (Glasgow Warriors), A Jacobsen (Edinburgh), A Kellock (Glasgow Warriors), S Lawson (Gloucester), M Low (Glasgow Warriors), F McKenzie (Sale Sharks), E Murray (Newcastle Falcons), R Rennie (Edinburgh Rugby), A Strokosch (Gloucester) and R Vernon (Sale Sharks).

31 Responses

  1. The squad feels a bit too big – AR should have been braver and dumped Parks and Danielli. Also, do we really need four scrummies?

    Really happy to see Harley, Hogg, MacKenzie, Weir and Jones in there. Hopefully there not just present to make up the numbers as all five are perfectly plausible candidates for a matchday squad/first team slot. If Shingler’s inclusion means we have a ball playing 12 and can dispense with Morrison then that’s fine by me.

    Vernon can count himself lucky. Also not sure why Al Dickinson has been included when Jon Welsh, Ryan Grant and Shiells in the Toon are all better scrummagers.

    Captain to be announced later this month. Kelly Brown, please.

  2. The Positives
    I think Rennie, Denton and Lee Jones have been really impressive this year and whilst Jones might well be one of the guys to be cut for the full squad, I’d like to see either or both the back rowers getting a chance this year.

    The Uncertainty
    I didnt see much of Greg Laidlaw last year, but there was certainly plenty East Coast hype surrounding him and a sense of injustice when he missed out on the WC. I’ve watched him a good few times this year and have not been impressed. The whole 9/10 thing is not going to help and I’d rate him as 4th choice for both positions as things stand.

    The Negative
    We are in deep sh!t at tight head. Low cant nail down the starting shirt at Firhill, Murray will be “Sabbathly Sabaticalised” and Cross just cannot compete in the scrum (he has various benefits elsewhere, but scrum comes first imho).

    PS…I see Shinglers granny is from Langholm. Hope she’s instilled some of what I will politely call “Langholm Will to Win” in him

  3. I think this will just be a “get everyone on the same page” squad, there will be a cull just before the actual tournament to a more manageable number of around 30. It would be nice to think that if the young ‘uns do will enough they will be kept around though, rather than just making way for the usual suspects you mention.

  4. From the Press Release: “The squad will gather at St Andrews on the week beginning Monday 23 January before it is trimmed for match specific preparations for Scotland’s opening game of the championship against England at Murrayfield on Saturday 4 February.”

    Although it might be untrimmed again thereafter I suppose.

  5. Scotland appeared to be on…um…Shingler’s List.

    The squad is big- the most frustrating aspect of this is that we now have 4 scrum-halves or 4 stand-offs. Yes I am fiercely glad we have the bolters but that masks an indecision AR still struggles with. If you have three 9’s at the top of their game that can help training, sure, but you can’t keep playing all of them in the one tournament. It would actually hinder Scotland to throw in different 9s every game because that is where your rhythm starts from.

    As for having 4 10s- fairly cowardly, if I’m honest. You say you’ll back youth and you have three guys that are young and hungry. They are all different but you could make Duncan Weir an international 10 if you make him run. Laidlaw is mr. Reliable and jackson is unpredictable (and, alas, erratic). All three of them could be moulded into Scotland’s 10 over time. However, by having Dan ‘break in case of emergency’ Parks waiting in the wings you send the message that you don’t trust any them. Do we want results or do we want to get better? We have 4 years to build, let’s improve, eh?

    Apart from that, really chuffed with the selection of McKenzie, Denton and Hogg. I feel sorry for James King because he has looked good and Shingler is a bolt from the blue, but I will have to see if he and Jones actually make a test squad before I pass judgement.

    A new style of back play against England wuld be nice, wouldn’t it? I don’t know if they’d know what to do when faced with a new-look backline of Cusiter, Weir, Evans, De Luca, Ansbro, Lamont and Lamont.
    Unlikely to happen, but there’d be some crazy feet in there.

  6. Captain to be named in the coming month, apparently. I’m hoping that because the team officially has kids they don’t give it straight back to Keloock because he can talk…

  7. Then why don’t we play Chunk at scrum half? It would have the same effect!

    Seriously though, let’s pick players in their actual positions, rather than shoe-horning them into others. De Luca could cover 12 if there was an injury mid-game, but I’d be very, very reluctant to start him there, mainly because he’s been in such good form at 13.

  8. MJW: it’s that or Morrison/Lamont *shudder*
    Nae thanks. I’d rather play an out of position stepper and distributer than a runnaway coal-carrage heading for heavily sign posted stop points…
    We are crippled by our choices at 12

  9. Mind you Shingler (anyone else think of chickenpox when you say his name out loud?) could always be hurled headlong into that role and we’d all be kept on our toes…

  10. Actually, you make a fair point there, A.D. I’m not too bothered by S Lamont at centre, but Morrison should be kept as far away from the matchday team and general squad as possible. Woefully out of form and not that good even when in form.

    I still think De Luca would need a run at 12 for Edinburgh before being selected there for Scotland because he’s not been too impressive playing there in the past.

    Looking forward to seeing what Shingler can do. I reckon AR will have pissed off the Welshies with this particular heist. What will Shingler be thinking if he’s picked vs Wales?!

  11. Does anyone know if Shingler’s nickname is ‘Oscar’? If it isn’t it should be…
    However, saw him play against Edinburgh and thought he crashed well. Someone on Twitter says will Greenwood rates him and his ball playing. Looked more physical than that to me, but I’ve only seen glimpses and wasn’t really looking out for him. He is primarily a 10 so 12 could be good for him at his age.

    No doubt Gatland will be slight…miffed…he loves throwing in a youngster and it is a brave move from Robinson. Hopefully all of the young guys get a chance rather than just being the token numbers and then getting no action.

    Would love to see Dento at Murrayfield versus England. Denton running at Tom Wood would look good for British rugby as a whole.

  12. Gm is terrible he wouldnt stand out in a prem1 side now aday so shingler is worth giving a try out if hes playing for iresh then he must be fairly gid! How about this team
    1 chunk 2 ford 3 murry 4 grey 5 hamilton 6 harley( bigger worker than denton right now) 7 rennie 8 kelly brown 9 laidlaw/cuss 10 jackson (only cuz he’s the best and thats noy hard) 12 shingler 13 ansbro 14 evens 11 s lamont 15 hog
    I know this team wont be selected just yet but we can do what wales done and rebuild,there is enough old heads in the frontrow to captain
    Thoughts a.d ?

  13. If AR is to retain any credibility he has to actually select some of the new boys for the match day squad. It’s not as if that would require major change either – for the forwards, Denton at 8, Harley on the bench. In the backs, Weir and Shingler at 10 and 12, Jones at wing, with Laidlaw on the bench to cover 9 and 10, or starting at 9, and Hogg on the bench to cover 15.

    It’s hardly major surgery. Yes, there might be a shake up at half back and the midfield, but we’ve been crying out for new blood there for years. Stick with Parks, Morrison, Blair, R Lawson etc just guarantees the same old, same old. And in case anyone hasn’t been paying attention, that same old wasn’t very good.

  14. All in all pretty pleased with this squad although agree with others over the selections of Parks, Danielli and a fourth scrum half. Also Vernon very forunate to keep his place. Would have chosen McInally, Wilson and Beattie (even though not back to his best) ahead of him. Thought Gilchrist and McInally might have made it as well even if just for experience. Also felt King would be worth a shot but I assume Robinson can’t get past his size. Delighted to see no place for Southwell (think I might have already mentioned my views on him!). Hopefully this will mark the end of his international career.

    Andy, not sure how you have not been impressed with Laidlaw this season. He’s been making Edinburgh tick this season whether playing 9 or 10. He’s a better 9 than 10 but I reckon he can do a job at 10 also.

    Regarding the 12 problem position, I saw Shingler play there for LI earlier in the season and was pretty impressed. I remember thinking ‘how do Wales keep producing players like this at 10/12 and we can’t produce one?’. He has also been playing a bit at 10 for LI this season and apparently he can kick goals. Really hope he can become the solution at 12 with Scott coming through to provide competition. He’s worth a shot I reckon. Also shudder at the thought of Morrison or S Lamont continuing there.

  15. Ironic that there are a few people touting Shingler as a starter having only found out he was eligable 3 hours ago!!

    Nick DL has numerous positives and is undoubtably one of Scotlands most creative centres. He does however have a regular inability to protect, retain and some times even catch the ball. As with Geoff Cross, nae basics..nae use!!

    Totally agree re: Parks. We need to make a clean break from him. Did anyone see Morgan Stoddarts tweet last night??? Went something like this …”Saw Cardiff practicing 3 v 2’s last night. Dan Parks took the Drop Goal”….ouch!!!!

  16. Singler may not be able to play for us after all. The IRB rules state that if a player had played for a nation’s senior or next most senior representative side, they can’t play for another nation. Singler’s played for the Wales U20s, and because Wales don’t have an A team, the U20s could conceivably qualify as their next most senior side.

    So let’s just hold our horses.

  17. Couldn’t agree more MJW. Time for some new faces and a couple of other changes to freshen up the attack. The side I would go for would be:

    R Lamont, Ansbro, de Luca, Shingler, Evans, Weir/Jackson, Cusiter, Chunk, Ford, Murray, Gray, Hamilton, Brown, Denton, Rennie Subs S Lawson, Cross, McKenzie, Barclay, Laidlaw, Jackson/Weir, S Lamont

    Would go for Ansbro on the wing. Would like to see as many ball players in the back line as possible and more gas. Ansbro is a pretty clinical finisher with good pace. Harsh on S Lamont to drop him and doubt very much that he will be but would use him as an impact sub. He would be seriously angry – remember him v France last year? Shingler at 12 for some much needed creativity. Can’t decide between Weir and Jackson at 10. Weir playing better but would be nervous of starting two new caps beside each other and 10 and 12. R Lamont just shades it over Hogg at 15. Prefer Hogg as a player but if you play Weir and Shingler would maybe go with R Lamont’s greater experience (all for new faces but three new caps in backs a risk). Also if you didn’t play S Lamont then would maybe need his brother’s power to punch holes in the defence. Hopefully Hogg will be the long-term solution at 15 (even if Lineen thinks he’s a 13).

    In pack would go with Hamliton’s bulk and Denton at 8 for his ball carrying and aggression (can mix it up with Brown at 8 during the game if need be). Would also go for Rennie at 7. In better form that Barclay and well overdue a chance.

    On the bench would for McKenzie’s greater versatility and dynamism over Kellock. Cross as 2nd choice although hopefully Low coming back into form (please don’t use Dicko as tighthead cover AR). Would pick Laidlaw and Weir/Jackson on the bench – in the absence of us still not having a complete all round test 10 yet, Robinson should give himself as many options there as possible in his 22.

    Others have suggested Kelly Brown as captain. Would be happy with this. It has to be someone that is an automatic pick. Please not Kellock as he really is not good enough to be a guaranteed selection.

    Saying all this I would expect Robinson’s innate conservatism to come through and a lot of the same old faces to trot out v England. I’m not sure if he’s got the balls to go with a bold selection and a radical change in gameplan.

  18. Rory Lamont’s selection will be academic after the first 20 minutes of the England game when he runs face first into Sheridan’s knee or suchlike.

    I feel really sorry for him. His ability comittment and potential are unquestionable, he just does not know the limitations of his body (and has been unluck with it!!)

  19. PS.. MJW better not be an Antipodean ex Scotland coach!!

    We’ve had plenty of his hairbrained schemes :-)

  20. MJW I think the IRB ruling was (when Wales tried this before with a couple of Irish boys) that an U20 could only be counted as a commital if it was being played against another nation that also counted their U20s as the second string ie did not have an A Team, which is not us, England, Italy or Ireland, but might be France. See the article linked above where it says “tie players” they explain it in there.

  21. Thanks for the clarity, Rory.

    By the way guys, the ‘M’ in MJW stands for Michael, so I’m definitely not Matt Williams!

  22. If ever there was a game to try something new in the backline it would be versus England. They’ve got a new set-up, new coaches, new systems, no Danny Care, no Jonny and Flood is out for six weeks starting…. NOW. Give Weir a go, because he can kick for territory and kick for points. Try someone at 12. Shingler could be our Manu Tuilagi (not born here, and probably deep down loves his home nation) and De Luca could transform his Scotland form like he has done with his Edinburgh squad.

    Both Lamonts will play like they play regardless of where selected. Can we afford two of the same player on the pitch at the one time?

  23. Team v England
    De Luca

  24. News that Godman has been called up to the squad in case Jackson is not fit – that doesn’t suggest Robinson is about to chuck Weir or Laidlaw into the mix at standoff does it?

  25. Revised Team v England
    De Luca*

    *changes to original

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion