Our Team: Fullback

All too often the fullback is the last line of defence and if the game dissolves into aerial ping pong, he’s the front line of “attack” too. Of course, having a boot which can send a howitzer down the other end of the pitch doesn’t hurt and over the years this is one areas Scottish fullbacks have usually been fairly decent at in terms of power if not direction.

The ability to ensure that they can shape their opposing player and make a solid tackle are also critical, but they often quite like a jinking run, given they usually get the most time at the back to think about which blind alley to run up.

Who might Scott Johnson choose?

Stuart Hogg

Burst onto the scene at Glasgow and then made a scene-stealing display against France in last years 6 Nations. Hogg is a proper attacking fullback, although there are suggestions he might also represent a solution at 13. Last season in particular saw him kick starting attacks from deep, his elusive running and footwork often making him a difficult player to defend against – case in point being the wonderful solo try against the England Saxons that got him in the Scotland team.  Defensively has seemed fairly solid albeit not the biggest hitter in the game. Time spent in the centre makes him an excellent support player too.

Greig Tonks

Has done fairly well at Edinburgh since coming in, starting virtually all of their matches this season.  Clearly on the same wavelength as Tim Visser , he makes some good supporting runs and has the knack of running good lines in midfield. At the back he is a safe pair of hands and an assured left boot. He’s occasionally prone to kicking aimless ball back to the opposition. Of late his attacking from deep seems a bit linear and relatively easy to defend against; he has more luck as an unknown quantity.

Peter Murchie

Murchie can be hit and miss under the high ball but if conditions are good, so is Murchie. He is certainly a big physical presence in attack and like Hogg is interchangeable in the centre. May be too soon for a first cap but more than likely to feature for the A team against the Saxons – could he do a Hogg and play his way up a level?

Also considered:  Not exactly a deep pool of fullbacks, however with Rory Lamont recently turning out for Dundee he should soon be available for selection in the Glasgow squad; Edinburgh’s Tom Brown is also on the comeback from injury and will be keen for more caps.  Brown and Lamont can both cover across the back three so it is possible that they could play himself into the reckoning for the bench towards the end of the tournament.  Honourable mention too to Wasps club captain Huugoooo Southwell.  An impressive boot and a safe and steady approach to the game means Southwell still has something to offer, however as the side build to 2015 it is possibly unlikely he’ll be making his way back to Murrayfield anytime soon.

My pick: Stuart Hogg – made a good impression in this position last season and deserves the opportunity to continue his progression in the national side.  He’s the likely long term holder of the 15 jersey.

Team so far: Stuart Hogg; Ryan Grant, Ross Ford, Euan Murray, Richie Gray, Rob Harley, Al Strokosch, Roddy Grant, Johnnie Beattie

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Alan Kerr is a long time rugby lover and occasional player for Broughton FP RFC. Site co-founder Al prides himself on offering the "man on the bus" view of Scottish Rugby!

10 comments on “Our Team: Fullback

  1. The Pigeon on

    Don’t think this needs discussed too much and there is real potential to be going to Twickenham with a back 3 that on paper is very good going forward. Something we haven’t had in quite some time. Stuart Hogg. No doubt about this one.

  2. ScotlandFan on

    Hogg would be the obvious first choice, but I think he would be more suited at 13. Give him more of a chance to attack the opposition.
    I’m surprised he hasn’t been tried at 10 as there is no doubt we are struggling for a 10 who can perform consistently. Why not give him a shot? I’m sure he wouldn’t do any worse as the other players in the mix for the position

  3. Exiled on

    1 – R. Grant
    2 – R. Ford (and just pray he throws straight)
    3 – E. Murray
    4 – R. Gray
    5 – J. Hamilton
    6 – K. Brown
    7 – R. Grant (last openside standing!)
    8 – J. Beattie
    9 – G. Laidlaw
    10 – R. Jackson
    11 – T. Visser
    12 – M. Scott
    13 – S. Lamont (I know, I know…)
    14 – S. Maitland
    15 – S. Hogg

    16 – G. Reid
    17 – D. Hall
    18 – M. Low
    19 – A. Kellock
    20 – D. Denton
    21 – H. Pyrgos
    22 – T. Heathcote
    23 – A. Grove

    • Zico on

      Incredibly this is the exact same team I emailed to a friend the other day… I think this represents our best chance. I’d prefer rennie then Barclay at open side but grant has been doing well with them being injured. Great to see Beattie performing again and a shame no space for Seymour…

  4. Kev on

    Loads of discussion about Hogg at 13 but for this 6N he’s my full back who can cover 13!!! With Maitland as my wing choice to cover FB.

  5. Hawkesy on

    Hogg has to remain at 15 as far as I can see. Hopefully Johnson will give him license to take chances with ball in hand and unleash his potential.

    I don’t see him as long term 13 option for Scotland as hopefully Bennett or Dunbar will make 13 theres…..

    My team so far Fwds :Grant, Ford, Murray, Gray, Kellock, Grant, Beattie, Brown

    Backs : 15. Hogg

  6. Eoin on

    An interesting one. Hogg has suffered a little in comparison to his breakthru season performances, but still exudes class for me. His defensive work has slipped a little, but with ball in hand, he has the potential to be a game-maker. As said, it seems that Tonks is benefiting from a first season in the Rabo as a bit of an unknown quantity, but hopefully with the return of Tom Brown and Rory ‘China’ Lamont, these three should push Hogg on to greater things.

    I’m sorry but I don’t believe that Peter Murchie will ever be anything better than a good, solid club player, and I wouldn’t be looking to elevate him into the squad again. Likewise, even on the back of a decent run of form at Wasps, I’m not at all convinced that Hugo Southwell should be getting another sniff at an international cap.

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