Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Scotland vs Tonga: Post Match Chat

Andy Robinson and Kelly Brown in sombre mood after defeat to Tonga
Andy Robinson and Kelly Brown in sombre mood after defeat to Tonga - © Scottish Rugby Blog

If this press conference was a cartoon, there would have been a thundercloud over the head of Andy Robinson as he took apart his Scotland team’s performance today.

“We knew that was going to be a tough game. It became a fight and a mess – and we were not very good in the mess.”

On whether any progress had been made over the last three weeks, he was rueful.

“I thought after the South Africa and New Zealand games there was progress. Today obviously there is not.”

“It was hugely frustrating to watch, it makes you angry. You’ve got to be able to take the opportunities you’ve got.”

Kelly Brown was quizzed on that failure to take points in the first half: “We felt they were under pressure and we went for it.”

“It’s about taking our chances. That’s something I’ll be looking at as a captain. The coaches aren’t out there on the pitch.”

“We’ve shown when we nail it we can put any side under pressure but we’re not doing that for 80mins and we’re not doing it week after week.”

Asked if a team’s inability to score despite 75% possession was down to coaching, Robinson was forthright.

“That reflects on me, yes.”

“That was totally unacceptable. There will be consequences from that.”

Though he was unwilling to go into what those might be, he continued: “From that performance today there will be consequences and I will be at the forefront of those discussions.” With his defence and backs coaches dropped in recent memory and no second XV of great note waiting in the wings, where does that train of thought lead, if not to Robinson going off the cliff like Wile E. Coyote?

Bringing a bit of happiness to the proceedings, Tonga coach Mana ‘Otai was justifiably pleased with his players, saying “I’m very proud. The performance could have been better. As a coach there is always room for improvement. I’m certainly not criticising the effort that was put in.”

“The boys wrote a bit of history for themselves today.”

Tonga captain Nili Latu gave heavy praise to his pack, saying “The winning of the game was in the forwards. We thought if we could hang in there in the first half we would have a chance in the second.”

On just how they managed that he said “we wanted to control the ball more. We felt our forwards could muscle up in the first 20 minutes [of the second half] and we did that.”

He felt the period just before half time when Scotland couldn’t score set the benchmark for Tonga’s second half.

“The more games we get to play against Tier 1 nations the more we can improve. I was really proud of what Samoa did for Wales and we continued that today.”

“I said to the boys today we are either going to die or we are going to lose.”

“We played our heart out today for our nation.”

7 Responses

  1. Congratulations to Tonga, they thoroughly deserved their win. A clear out in and around the Scotland team is required!

    1. Well said George – it’s been so obvious for so long – I think Dodson has to go as well – he is totally inept in his judgement – we need the Scottish passion back.

  2. Clear out required.

    Laidlaw aimless kicking

    Kellock hits well below his weight and spends the game trying to influence the ref rather than hitting rucks.

    Kelly Brown chose to kick to the corner 6ish times when after 2 attempts it was clear that we were not going to exploit that tactic. He also chose to reset scrums on numerous occasions when it was also blatantly obvious we had no control over the scrum.

    Basic mistakes. Lawson threw the ball squint down the Tongan side at one point. Handling errors aplenty. Limited commitment and effectiveness at the break down. Numerous handling errors. Hideous aimless kicking from Laidlaw.

    It has been clear for everyone to see that Hogg is a more effective touch kicker than Laidlaw yet Hogg trotted up time and time again only for Laidlaw to turn him away. Who has made that decision or who allows it to continue to be made?

    No back row “unit” just individual contributors.

    Why do we go to Pittodrie incidentally? We fluked a last kick win over Samoa there two years ago. It’s a tight space and if we have a game plan at all, I’m fairly certain it doesn’t suit it.

    Time to make changes is now. We can’t afford to wait until after another underachieving 6N to do it.

    I don’t have the answer on who should be the coach and who should fill the jerseys. All tat I know is that as professional sportsmen and coaches they must be able to produce a more coordinated and committed display than that P!SH today.

    PS. I was there. Took my 9 year old son who I’m struggling to get interested in ANY team sport. I don’t flaming blame him after sitting through that to be honest.

    1. It all comes from the coach – your namesake Andy. I was as furious as you – I believe there is a nucleus of a half decent team – we have the best crop for a while – we need the organisation, discipline and passion of Sean Lineen. SOS to Sean.

  3. I think its harsh on brown as I still agree with the calls. No matter what people say we were doing well in the line-out and even better in the scrum. We were winning so many penalties that am am not sure how we didnt get a penalty try or them a yellow (it took so long for it to finally come about). Most teams would back themselves aginst tonga that close to the line and I really think if they had just tapped an go (less risk than set peice) they would have scored. I really want to see more tap and go’s in the opp 22. It was nice to see the belief the lads had in themselves.

    I never want to see a lawson near a scotland kit again. Scott was appauling as hooker and only seemed to give away penalites and miss tackles. Rory seems to have in his mind to pass once and then whatever the situation is next he will aways box kick.

    Was impressed with Scott’s staright running and hogg and visser had a couple of moments (need to pass more). Just glad AR stepped down, now bring on the 6N!

  4. Sadly I traveled to Pittodrie in the hope to see Scotland return to winning ways, as we had done in June. Even now on Monday afternoon i am still raw about it.

    I am a Warriors fan and have seen them play some really decent rugby over the last few seasons. Really refreshed by new signings and home grown talent all over the place, it’s great! Edinburgh has a wealth of talent and that was displayed in last years Heineken cup. We can compete at club level with the best of the best.

    Why does this not convert to the National side? It’s not the Managers fault, we were lucky to have Andy Robinson at the helm for so long. We have the talent in the players. They mostly play in a seriously competitive league. Scottish fans are the most loyal.

    We can talk about individual selection all day but it’s bigger than who has the armband or who is throwing in at the line out. Someone needs to look at the core issues and set out a plan to tackle them.

    Scotland is proud of it’s rugby heritage and loves a day out at Murrayfield. Let’s break it down to build it back up, not before the 6 nations but hopefully around the time of the World Cup.

You might also like these:

Craig is joined by Jonny and Rory to look back at the disappointing end to Edinburgh's season and Glasgow's march towards the semi finals.
Gregor Townsend has named a largely experimental squad for the summer tour of the Americas. It's not a question of who misses out, but rather who is actually going, writes Rory.
Iain is joined by Jonny and John to discuss the penultimate round of URC fixtures as well as the recent Scottish Rugby Writers' Awards
Craig is joined by John on the injured reserve list to have a wee look at the URC action from the weekend.

Scottish Rugby News and Opinion