RBS 6 Nations: Scotland 6 – 13 England

It goes without saying that any Calcutta Cup match will be keenly contested. This time, though, despite Scotland succumbing to an out of sorts Rose in RWC ’11 and England having a new look, a new coach and a new ethos Murrayfield still expected something historic. Scotland went in with the unfamiliar tag of ‘favourites’.

What they got  was two teams prodding and pawing at each other.

In the first twenty minutes there were fisticuffs, torn shirts and curious through kicks but England always kicked it to bounce in front of Scottish cover and Foden was always waiting for Parks’ bombs.

England perhaps had an edge in the scrum first half, but it was more that Scotland had lapses in concentration. They showed later in the game that they could be solid on their own ball. There were so many knock-ons because there were only a few flowing passing moves.

So kicks characterised this game. Nothing happened for 12 minutes.  Farrell lined up a 47m monster after Denton killed it, but as boos rang around the packed stadium the youngster pushed it wide. He made up for it on the 22nd minute, however, knocking over a short penalty to calm himself.

Before this England showed a few signs that their backline wasn’t quite at clicking point yet. As a big blind hit came in from De Luca a rushed pass headed for Hodgson. He slung it wide in a rush and it skidded to deck. A hitch-kick and a pass followed but it was too high for Ashton.

On the other side Ross Rennie, Jim Hamilton and David Denton were working hard and running round corners. The scrum was creaking but the Scottish tight five carried well into their opposition. There was even a nice period where Botha carried and then his opposite number carried back at him phases later.

It could not stay 0-3, though. Parks eventually got Scotland’s first points, his kick successful at the first asking. It was built on the back of solid, if unspectacular carries. His second penalty on the 21st minute was also knocked over, but it was built on more impressive Scottish work.

As England put into a scrum just over 22m from their own line the ball was quickly fed to lone wing Ashton, with Cusiter bearing down on him. He turned 20-odd degrees and tried to skip out of any tackle but the 9 leapt towards his ankle and clung on. Pressure poured over him. A penalty followed and Parks chipped it over for 6-3.

It half finished like this, despite adventurous offloading rugby from the home side into the last minute.

Then the second half started in disastrous fashion for Scotland.

Parks –entrusted to continue in the second half –tried to clear his lines and was charged down by his opposite man, Hodgson. Farrell converted and the mood in Murrayfield turned sombre.

6-10, little noise and an England pack on the march. Kicking to touch went awry for Scotland and Parks looked forlorn. It had to be slowed down or rethought.

So the ball was handed off to Denton again.

The eventual Man of the Match carried hard and dragged Scotland into the fight. He was having a dream debut. Others felt they could play around him. When England broke there was scramble and all hoped Scotland could get the ball again, if only so the Zimbabwean-born back-row could get the hand-off once more.

Without carrying responsibilities Gray had less pressure. He was dominating lineouts and on the 56th minute made a half-break that got the people standing on their feet.

The mood changed. Robinson saw his chance and brought on the cavalry. A minute before an hour struck Barclay, Kellock, Blair and Greig Laidlaw came on.

Pace picked up. Passes went wider into lovely green space. Scotland sensed gaps. They worked up field. 61mins. Truck, truck. 62 mins. Laidlaw looks, chips over, runs. Youngs bears down on it and Laidlaw pushes a hand through, grazing the ball. Youngs chest collapses onto it.

The TMO didn’t give it, but Scotland were on the move. Rennie made a break two minutes later that almost created a two on one. It was Scotland’s biggest chance. It came to nothing, though.

England rebounded, aided by the addition of a solid Jordan Turner-Hall, Stevens and then Morgan. They waited for their moment to come back. Farrell missed another monster kick, but they fought hard. When Farrell slotted a penalty in the 73rd minute it was England’s to lose.

They didn’t.

Do Scotland change everything in their half-back positions for Wales next week? Their pragmatic moves have failed and Scotland have a tough week of preparation ahead.

SCOTLAND: R. Lamont; Jones, De Luca, S. Lamont; Parks, Cusiter; Jacobsen, Ford (c), Murray, Gray, Hamilton, Strokosch, Rennie, Denton.

RES: S. Lawson, Cross, Kellock, Barclay, Blair, Laidlaw, Morrison.

ENGLAND: Foden; Ashton, Barritt, Farrell, Strettle; Hodgson, Youngs; Corbisiero, Hartley, Cole, Botha, Palmer, Croft, Robshaw (c), Dowson.

RES: Webber, Stevens, Parling, Morgan, Dickson, Turner-Hall, M. Brown.

OFFICIALS:

 Ref: George Clancy (IRFU)

Assistants: Roman Poite (FFR), Leighton Hodges (WRU)

TMO: Nigel Whitehouse (WRU)

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Dundonian Alan has played rugby all over the world for various teams including Dundee High School, Heriot's and the Scottish Club International. Now writing from London he covers all issues international and unreported.

41 comments on “RBS 6 Nations: Scotland 6 – 13 England

  1. MJW on

    Heartbroken again. The basis of a really good team are there, but we need more composure and personnel change in the usual key positions.

    So….

    Bye bye Parks. Laidlaw to start, Weir to bench. Hogg to replace Morrison on the bench, and Scott to play at 12. S Lamont can move to wing in place of M Evans or Jones. The pack played well, would be happy for Barclay to start at 6 in place of Stroker. Denton and Gray were excellent.

  2. Allan on

    Aaaaraggghhhhhh!!!

    No nails left yet again. Engladn were terrible and showed nowt in attack and we still manage to throw it away. Parks was rubbish for first twenty then played ok. Second half starts and he buggers it up with the clearance. After that, only one team in it and how many chances did we eff up. Clancy was again a 16th man for the opposition. If no try, why no penalty? He did not call “advantage over”, ergo penalty to scotland. We looked very sharp until the last pass then either knocked on or lost it in the tackle. One of these days, someone is going to get a hiding from us but can it please be in my lifetime!!! Laidlaw very good, Denton excellent, Lee Jones, excellent, Lamont (both), one dimensional. Kellock, dumbass! Rob Harley on bench next week, Laidlaw starting, pleeeeeeeaaaaase! Disappointed but can see light at end of tunnel (I hope!)

  3. uselessborderer on

    Having just watched Scotland lose to England it was so disappointing that the Scottish players and coaches should take a long hard look at themselves! Why? Because if Freddie Goodwin must relinquish part of his pension and lose his knighthood for past failures, then Richie Gray is definitely not worth anywhere near near £330K per annum – he should hand over some of his ill-gotten gains to charity. Richie is not the only Scottish player to fall into this category as apart from a miserable few the rest of the Scottish XV were abject. I belief that from Andy Robinson downwards we are a very poor Rugby nation – don’t be fooled by the pundits on TV who say we are unlucky, we are patently the poorest team in the Six Nations. We treat the ball as a hot potato – “I don’t want it you have it – because you will hammered by the opposition, not me. We have no players who are capable of T CUP – thinking critically under pressure, because we pass the ball as if it is a hospital pass; we have no ability to think beyond what we are told to do therefore we ship shite from ourselves to others in the team – it’s a hot potato so you have the ball. The lack of basic skills is absolutely astonishing that we need as a rugby nation (note the use of non capital letters because we do not merit it)to return to basics and get them right. Although I’m in my sixties let’s get shot of Messrs Irvine, McLachlan; McGeechan, Telfer Nicol because if I’m past my sell by date then these guys are likewise. Lets stop living in the past and so called past glories and move forward and if players of the likes of Kellock, Parks are beyond their sell by date – get shot of them. RBS has moved on and the CEO has decided not to accept any bonuses so the Scottish Rugby Team should take a very long hard look at themselves before they take the king’s ransom and frankly I would put this Scottish team in the same category as “Fred the Shred”. Finally I’m so glad that I’ve elected to watch the Vodacom Super Rugby + Currie Cup in South Africa + ITM Cup in New Zealand instead of the absolute garbage called Scottish Rugby

  4. Fraser on

    As I said all last week, Rennie outstanding. Should have put away the 2 on 1 but did so well in the loose, carrying and stealing ball. Sadly his match has the huge blemish but was outstanding overall.

    Denton outstanding.

    The outside backs look so much more confident outside Laidlaw. They can just run onto the ball at pace knowing that the ball will be in front of them.

  5. Calum on

    The TMO was terrible. If you have downward pressure over the line it’s a try.
    If you take it over the line and lose control of it, it’s no try.
    If it’s a kick over the line, you don’t need control of it, you just need downward pressure. If you touch the ball, you must have downward pressure- it’s physics.
    Parks was rubbish, as usual. As soon as Laidlaw came on, we looked like we were going to score(well we did). Start with Laidlaw PLEEAASE!!

  6. InsideArm on

    Several very good points from MJW, Allan and Uselessborderer.

    But we deserved to lose the match for many reasons.
    1. The booing by the crowd was a disgrace. Bill McLaren will be rolling in his grave. I feel deeply ashamed. We have no right to complain about English arrogance whilst we behave this way. Bullying, cowardly, pathetic – I hate it!
    2. Picking Parks over Laidlaw was unforgiveable for the reasons we all know.
    3. A strategy of chaos was disastrous. We had the better players, the experience and home advantage. This was our time to play quality rugby.
    The tragedy is that now we Robinson may well start Laidlaw but we are facing matches against very good teams we would struggle to beat even if we got everything right. Now we will struggle to avoid the wooden spoon and Laidlaw may get the blame.
    I admire Robinson as a forwards and tackling coach but my worries have now turned into conviction he is not right as head coach. But he’s going to stay so they can try the ridiculous Johnson experiment in burning money.

  7. InsideArm on

    For the next match, pick Denton and Rennie and put in the A team for all other positions,let Michael Bradley manage it without any interference and we’ll make a much better fist of it

  8. clintini on

    Scotland had the game but could not finish what the scots need is a world class backs coach because you have the forwards what was it 33 entries into the England twenty two and no tries and no penelties
    Scotland lost that game with too many simple errors

  9. Woody on

    Same old Scotland. Same old result.

    I am *SO* disappointed after all the optimism and hope it turns out nothing has changed. The number of errors was a disgrace. The number of Knock ons and missed passes could be expected from a school side; not our national team.

    Dan Parks is so predictable. He gets the ball and kicks it. Even an “inexperienced” England knew this and countered well.

    More attacking play please, less mistakes and start with some in form players, otherwise we will end up with the wooden spoon, as a fired up Italy in Rome will destroy us.

  10. Borderer on

    Let’s get this into context, a vastly experienced Scotland team was beaten at home by a vastly inexperienced England team. The selection was wrong again, Dan Parks has never been an international player and proved it again today, why is it that most of the fans can see it and AR and the selection panel can’t? Cusiter, as usual, was far too slow around the breakdown giving England plenty time to organise the defence. Blair and Laidlaw made a real difference, we started to look a threat going forward, they should have been in from the start. S Lamont is badly out of position at centre, we need to swap him and Evans around. We seemed to lack leadership, I would give the captaincy back to Kellock, a naural leader. Ford, despite his size never seems to make any ground.
    On the positive side, Denton, Jones, De Luca, Evans and Rennie played well. I would go with this team next week:

    R Lamont
    Jones
    Evans
    De Luca
    S Lamont
    Laidlaw
    Blair
    Jacobsen
    Lawson
    Cross
    Gray
    Kellock
    Strokosch
    Rennie
    Denton

  11. Thebigy1n on

    If Dan Parks cares anything about his country he should refuse to wear a Scotland shirt ever again! The man is a menace who would be better off playing football for all the (bad) kicking he does!The referee should also be questioned on his performance. Why did he not go back to the penalty he awarded after the try was dissalowed?

  12. big_steph on

    Just re-watched the game (masochistic tendencies). Aaargh. The upside perhaps being we can throw in the youth now because we have nothing to lose. After the joy of the A team game on Friday, I was hoping that might carry through. Surely that result wasn’t down to the Michael Bradley factor? Excuse the random ramblings, please, it’s been a long, emotional day! PS what bright spark thought to play Sarries theme song coming in to last seven minutes or so? (KoL, Sex on Fire) Do your research! I will still enjoy tomorrow’s game, and I will still think we can beat Wales next week, such is the resilience of the human spirit!

  13. Glasgow_Girl on

    I thought Laidlaw had got a try but even if he hadn’t why didn’t they go back for a penalty?
    Denton was brilliant & Rennie played well minus the delayed pass. Laidlaw has to start next week with Weir on the bench (he was brilliant on Fri playing for the A team), Parks can’t be in the 22.
    I would also bring in Matt Scott at 12 and have Hogg on the bench.

  14. uselessborderer on

    Whilst I cannot disagree with any of the comments made we are happy to conclude that we did OK – typical Scottish reaction – accept second best as our quality standard – WRONG!!!
    Messrs Denton Rennie & Laidlaw put in a brave performance but we need all players working as a team. Strangely enough it’s that simple!!
    From my standpoint you should not be paid for making continuous mistakes and errors, in rugby terms they come from the fact that we are NOT very good at the basics, understanding the basic principles of the game.
    Presently some of our internationalists are uncomfortable when handling the ball – too hot a potato; nobody is capable of sizing up the opposition and how they will counter our tactics; we are slower to the point of breakdown than any team in the 6 Nations and when we do get there we give away a penalty; our backs are so predictable and seldom cross the gain line.
    If you look at the management and approach of the cycling team which competed in the last Olympics they had a philosophy that if you were not performing to highest level and maintaining that standard then you were omitted from the squad – it was your peers who made that decision! Imagine the Scottish Rugby team employing the same approach – very few would be left!!!
    We need to learn from different areas and different methods of approach and get back to the basics before we can move on. Our players may be physically fitter and stronger today but their basic skill levels are appalling. I recall from many years ago when the All Blacks visited the Borders and trained locally that if a player dropped the ball, made a forward pass or failed to do the basics right they were asked to do sit-ups or press-ups, until they could master the simple arts. The whole Scottish team would spent so much time doing the physical punishment that little or no time would be left for skill improvement!!
    I’m dwelling in the past but as a rugby nation we must start to learn, because we are miles behind the other rugby playing nations and would venture to suggest that all of the teams in the Vodacom Super Rugby would beat Scotland and some of them with ease. They have combined strong physicality with inherent skills and could leave us for dead.
    We can change our coaching team, our players but who is going to coach us to do the basics RIGHT???

  15. Kev on

    at 3:30 on Saturday i was convinced Parks was the rigbt choice. It was howling, p*ssing down icy rain great Parks weather. Howeve just before KO when all the above faded away so did my faith in the selection. To be fair he wasn’t the only player to have a less than impressive performance but that’s it for me. I’ve forked out a fair bit of cash to support the team in Wales so I hope that we go down their with a LOT more fight than that. England were absolutely sh*te and yet we still couldn’t beat them.
    Not convinced that Cusiter is clearing the ball away quick enough either and having watched the A team highlights its worth giving some of those lads a shot
    Robinson is the right coach but he needs help in the cutting edge.Townsend must take some of the flak but in the end coaches don’t play, players do…..
    Jacobsen
    Ford
    Cross for Murray (and not just for the Sunday thing)
    Hamilton
    Gray
    Strokosh
    Denton
    Rennie
    Blair
    Laidlaw
    S Lamont
    De Luca
    Evans
    Jones
    Hogg
    SLawson
    ?
    Kellock
    Barclay
    Danielli (covers FB ??)
    Weir
    RLawson

    So a wee shuffle in midfield and a couple of changes here and there (and maybe get Bradley in to camp?)and lets see what happens.

  16. InsideArm on

    Uselessborderer, I enjoy your posts and agree with many of your points but disagree on a couple. In my view our backs cross the gain line a great deal but it goes wrong after that. Firstly several of our best runners just will not pass – Max Evans and Sean Lamont in particular. The second problem is that the players following up are either the wrong ones (yesterday all too often it was Hamilton or Strokosch when you wanted a back) or are not ambitious enough and just recycle.
    My second area of disagreement is skill level. I went to watch the Murrayfield Edinburgh Glasgow game. It was a windy day and I thought we were doomed to a turgid game. But the players, especially Edinburgh, fizzed long fast passes and the ball was hardly ever dropped. So the skill is there. But under Robinson it does not show. Before we condemn him we should remember that he produces fit teams that try their hearts out and is an extremely likeable man. But he does not produce teams that win competitive matches. I think yesterday he should be held responsible for picking the wrong 10 and 12 and for a strategy of chaos. We held all the aces so should have gone for a more ambitious, quality approach.

  17. JP Swain on

    I watched it again last night, just to punish myself. I think if we had slowed down and realized that you don’t have to do everything at 100 miles and hour just to finish a break, we’d have torn right into them. We had the possession, we had the territory, but lacked the smarts, we played planned moves rather than what popped up in front of us, and then Blair and Laidlaw pushed maybe a little too much.

    Parks was picked to kick, and then he didn’t kick well. In fact he looked a lot better when he ran, but he’s not a runner.

    So I’m moving on. But there has to be some call for moving on next week and trying to play some rugby. We know the Welsh team, we’re much more comfortable against them, but it’s time for some different combinations. Reward those on form

    15.Hogg- yes he’s young, but he’s got pace, an eye for a gap and talent in bags
    14.Jones- good start
    13.DeLuca- on second viewing, not a bad game, but no ball to play with
    12.Scott- it’s a long way up, sure, but he’s earned it
    11.Mevans- pass when there’s an overlap Max
    10.Laidlaw
    9.Blair
    8.Denton
    7.Rennie
    6.Barclay- to play left and right rather than open and blind
    5.Kellock- in great form, and his leadership is needed
    4.Gray- if he hadn’t rushed that offload, we’re in
    3.Kalman- in the form of his life, seemingly out of nowhere
    2.Ford
    1.Chunk- must do better Al

    16.Lawson
    17.Cross/Welsh
    18.Hamilton
    19.Harley- sure it’s harsh on Strokosch
    20.Weir
    21.Slamont
    22.Ramont

  18. observer on

    Change is required, there are to many people that cannot pass in the backs and o many mistakes being made, I also think Parks did not cause the loss!

    The team in general lacked self belief which again proved crucial.

    Coaches have to be changed they are not producing, Bradley?

    Evans ho does not know how to pass with Lammonts NEED CHANGE

  19. Ewen on

    For me, the forwards did a decent job – not great, but decent. I feel Cross should be picked ahead of Murray, have the front row and second row pick up and drive with a back row of Barclay, Denton, and Rennie pushing them through.

    Cusiter was FAR too slow. There is no way we’re going to break through the lines if the opposition gets that long to set up its defence. Parks… enough said.

    My starting XV for Cardiff:

    1. Chunk
    2. Ford
    3. Cross

    4. Gray
    5. Hamilton

    6. Barclay
    7. Rennie
    8. Denton

    9. Blair
    10. Laidlaw

    12. Scott
    13. De Luca

    11. Jones
    14. Evans

    15. R Lamont

    A bit of an Edinburgh feel to the backs but we need players who will know how each other are going to play, making runs off each other.

  20. jayaitch on

    Remember this was by their own admission a pretty poor and under prepared England team. Gray,Rennie and Denton shone but against very average opposition. Easy to be going foward when you dont have to do much defensive work. Skills poor 2 on 1 should be second nature, watch All Black sevens teams to see perfect execution with support on either shoulder !. Dont blame present management. The pathway schemes not working.Too many coaches who see running an age group team as a challenge to their ego. Quite happy to use big boys to muscle through and win than develop smaller more skilled players and lose

  21. Kev on

    jayaitch totally agree regarding skills. What if Scottish Age Grade rugby was moved to Spring/Summer/Autumn and the emphasis put on skills etc?
    Keep winter for the gym monkeys!

  22. [email protected] on

    I think its very easy to blame parks for the embarassment on Saturday ( I did for a little while ), however, AR picked him – he has seen him in the same games we have !!! I am concerned that AR and especially the backs coaches are punchuing miles above their weight. We were defeated by a very poor team on Saturday !!

  23. Andrew Ross on

    Without doubt the worst performance I’ve ever had to sit through (and there have been some shockers). If Townsend has a shred of decency he should walk, Dan Parks ditto. And Robinson needs to consider his options carefully because for all his huff and puff he is far from clear of blame. On a weekend when the A team thrashed the Saxons and against a very poor England side who would have struggled to beat Worcester or Newcastle this was total dross and frankly a national disgrace.

  24. Phoenix on

    Oh well it looks as though my prediction of Parks playing a blinder did not quite come off. I do not think we can put the entire loss down to one player though. Saying that, Laidlaw has to start on Sunday. Parks was selected for his tactical kicking and it just was not good enough on Saturday. i feel for him, he will know tha this career is pretty much over.

    A team result was encouraging particularly in the fact that the tries came from the young backs.

    For Sunday i would like to see two proper centres in the midfield. Lamont is to predictable with the crash ball. Maybe Evans and NDL. I also feel Strokosh offers very little in attack. Would be nice to see a back row of Rennie Denton and Vernon. Very fast and all capable of providing some attacking flair in the loose.

  25. Alan Dymock on

    Facts:
    England beat us whilst missing 16 tackles (Scotland only missed 2).
    England beat us only making 72 passes (Scotland made 238).
    England only made 1 line break.

    On top of this the scrum looked unpredictable. The pack will be made to work on this and speeding up ruck ball, but in truth that is nowhere near what the problem is. Converting into scores is the problem.
    How do we do that? Seriously. How? Will changing one player -a stand-off -ensure that we convert chances? Does 12 need to change too?

  26. The Pigeon on

    Never have I entered Murrayfield so confident of winning and left so disappointed at how we managed to so convincingly beat ourselves. That was probably the worst England team that has come to Murrayfield in 25 years and they managed to walk away victorious having played no rugby and been dominated statistically across the board. Had they been playing any of the other nations barring Italy, they would have been beaten by 30 points. Andy Robinson has to take a huge portion of that blame for his strategy selection and picking the wrong players in key positions.

    Parks did not play well but he should take the flak for single handedly losing that game as many people have said. He kicked poorly but if he was picked to play from deep as they did a great deal then Andy Robinson needs to have a good look at himself. Denton was immense, Rennie was another standout other than his school boy incident. Strokosch has to go, Scotland need exciting players that can make a difference and when you have Denton in the back row already there is no need for subsituting bulk for creativity. Vernon is definitely the answer for that and for this weekend. If Beattie was fit and Lineen had given him some game time then he might be the answer there as well but not at the moment unfortunately.

    George North is an absolute brute so if we go in with Lee Jones and Max Evans on the wings we are going to be in trouble. Lamont has to play on the wing and not at centre as passing does not even enter his vocabulary so the outside backs are wasted with him at 12. I would move Evans into the centre with De Luca and have 2 Lamonts on the wing with Hogg at full back.

  27. Rory Baldwin on

    Are people seriously saying that was the worst Scotland performance they have ever seen? They obviously haven’t been watching Scotland for the last 8 or 9 years. Yes it was massively disappointing in terms of the scoresheet and riddled with errors, but how can you class a match where territory and possession are dominated as a totally bad performance?

    It wasn’t a great one, as obviously we didn’t win. But give me that level of effort over some of the abject gubbings I’ve seen in the Williams or Hadden years any day. Scotland didn’t finish their chances on Saturday but they did at least create chances.

  28. Cameron Black on

    I’d agree. That was one of the more brighter performances I’ve seen from Scotland in a long time. I was in favour of Parks in at 10 but he just wasn’t up to the task and the wrong Dan Parks turned up on the day. Once Laidlaw came on the whole game changed but by that time we were chasing 7 points and so inevitably desperation = errors. Play that way all the way through with time on the clock and I think we’ll see less nerves getting the better of us as the try line heaves in sight.
    Watching the replay of Laidlaw’s “try” was the most painful thing I think I’ve ever had to watch. Each time it was played I was just willing his wrist to move just a fraction of an inch more towards the ball.
    I’m optimistic about Saturday. Only thing I’d change is to have Blair and Laidlaw at 9 and 10 (only becuase they play together each week, not because I thought Cusiter played badly), Cross in for Murray (not just for Religious reasons but because of Cross’s ball carrying abilities and Hogg in for R Lamont simply because of his A team performance. I don’t think whole sale changes benefit anyone not least newbies coming in. I think some of the Scotland A boys did enough to warrant consideration but I think its a case of evolution rather than revolution. I think the performance of the inexperienced England side proved that.

  29. Big Al on

    Certainly wasn’t one of the worst performances I’ve seen but it was still horribly depressing. Despite all the talk before the game it was the same old problems. Robinson will have to suck up some flak, he picked a team who let him down on the pitch and the buck stops at his door. His mutterings before the game only seemed to put pressure on his players and, in my view, I thought the team took to the pitch far from mentally prepared. I’ve said it before but Townsend must shoulder part of the blame – how long can he continue to struggle on without his ‘coaching’ making some difference on the pitch. I’d hope he’d be decent enough to analyse his own job to date and see whether he thinks he’s making a tangible difference.

    Look to next week I can only hope the intensity is better and the brains are properly engaged. I’d like to see Hogg at full back and personally I’d keep Lee Jones on the wing – I’m not convinced Rory Lamont brings that much to the party. Laidlaw and Blair should start – Chris Cusiter was fine but as a pair Laidlaw and Blair work well together. Onwards and upwards…hopefully!

  30. [email protected] on

    I agree we have had worse performances – much worse !!! however, the fact remains that we have a consistant problem – our backs are unable to break through the line !! 99% of bloggers can see it, 99% of the guys you speak to in the clubhouse or the pub see it – why cant the powers that be ? this is not a new problem !! And unfortunately as time moves on it gets more and more frustrating !! I also dont think we can blame player pool. Our backs are as good as anyones at club level. It is unfortunately not getting translated at international level. It is very frustrating and sad in a way, as I believe the talent is there. I just dont believe its being used in the right way !!!

  31. Dave on

    Is Parks going to be a crucial factor in the downfall of three consecutive Scottish coaches? – will be some achievement if he does!

    Robinson is at a crossroads now. If he sticks with the current proven failures then a Wooden Spoon beckons and he will have lost the backing of the Scotland supporters come the end of the season. If he throws caution to the wind and brings in some new blood we may well still end up with the Wooden Spoon but he should be able to point to some tangible progress and hope for the future. I reckon that what decision he makes now could be absolutely crucial for his future as Scotland coach.

  32. longshanksshortsocks on

    Well, that may very well be the sad truth, they can function at club lever but when the pressure of international rugby at first team level comes along then the speed and skill and instincts that are required may simply not be possessed by Scotland players. When there is no time on the ball then the true merit of whether a player has got it or not can be truly judged, I’m sure there are players out there who do possess it but we do not have the talent pool and system that brings them on or even finds them in the first place. Scotland players work hard and I’m always reticent to criticise guys that are giving it their all but maybe we have to accept, they’re just never going to be good enough

    • [email protected] on

      It can and has been done by nations the same size and smaller than ourselves – its a matter of putting in the right ground work – hopefully thats getting better. My son is just about to turn 19 – he has came up through the caley reds set up ( U16, U17 and U18 ). There are some really promising youngsters out there !!! He’s now part of a development programme with one of the Prem 1 sides !! the system is not perfect but is definately improving !!! Hopefully there hope !!! ha ha !!

  33. Dave on

    Agreed Rory. It’s a no brainer!

    There’s just not enough proper natural ball players in the Scotland side, especially in the backs. They need to get as many of these types of players in the back line as possible regardless of age, inexperience, etc.

    If you look at the Welsh back line, all of them are very comfortable on the ball and have great awareness. Of Scotland’s starting backs on Saturday I would say only three of them have enough natural ball playing ability for the position they play, and that might be being very kind.

  34. Martin Anderson on

    Never e-mailed the SRU – but I have had enough after that performance on Saturday. Sent this to the SRU – what chance a response!!

    I have always been a passionate Scottish rugby supporter, having attended many international home and away for over 30 years. I was at the Calcutta Cup match yesterday and I have to say that I am now disillusioned with the Team Management and players.
    The players have to get back to basics, learn how to catch a ball, how pass a ball (WITH TWO HANDS) and understand the rules of the game. The indiscipline in every game is crippling our chances. How many penalties must we needlessly give away every game and how many points are we handing the opposition as a result?
    Can someone please also explain why coaches sit in a ‘studio’ each game, unable or unwilling to convey instructions directly to players at pitch-side level. I assume that instructions are passed between the coaches (Andy Robinson/Gregor Townsend) and the pitch-side staff, but the message is obviously not getting through. This gives the impression that the coaches are void of ideas and that their messages are not getting through to the team. If we had a team that played well, showed better discipline and understood the basics of catching, passing, etc, then the mind set of the coaches could said to be working – this is definitely not the case at the moment.
    We are in a bad way and we have to get the basics right.
    Please pass this on to who ever cares about the feelings of a true scot rugby fan. The situation we have suffered over several years can surely not be tolerated much longer.

    Regards
    Martin Anderson

  35. Borderman on

    Mr Anderson you might be a true scot is that because you wear the kilt and no panties. Get a life you sound as if you are stuck in the time warp ! Yes we were all upset at not beating England when we should have but there is a lot to look forward to with all the raw talent coming through. Hogg , Weir, Laidlaw, Scott, Denton to name but a few. Yes I agree Robinson is under pressure but when he gets the selection right you will be delighted with some great perfomances coming up. Always look on the brightside of life! Scotland the Brave!

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