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Scotland 0-20 England

After the usual fireworks meant to lighten the leaden skies over Murrayfield, both sides took the field in a charged atmosphere for this most historic of fixtures.

Perhaps the occasion got the got the better of Duncan Weir as he kicked out on the full with only his second touch. The first was a kick too. Jim Hamilton hoped to capitalise on an early England mistake as Jack Nowell threw it into touch, but the quick lineout was taken incorrectly by the second row and it led to an early penalty attempt for Farrell. Huge whistles accompanied the first airing of Swing Low Sweet Chariot, and Farrell hooked it wide when the he swung his boot at the ball.

Danny Care rectified that for England minutes later with his second drop goal of the tournament and England were off and running.

As you would expect for this fixture, Scotland were firing into everything with exuberance and when Jim Hamilton charged round a ruck and was improbably not pinged for it by referee Jerome Garces, it delighted the Scotland fans and gave Laidlaw an early chance to equalise. At the extent of his range, the kick fell just short.

Hogg got into the game under a couple of high balls; Scotland were showing a clear intent to kick and chase at the relatively inexperienced English back three.

Garces was also showing intent: to let the ball move quickly, penalising Denton for holding on and allowing England to kick for territory. Scotland collapsed the maul that followed (Hamilton was caught this time), England went for the corner and another maul to the cheers of the plentiful visiting fans. They cheered even louder as Luther Burrell danced over for the try seconds later. Scotland hadn’t done all that much wrong but they were 0-10 after quarter of an hour.

Seymour came tearing out of the blocks for the restart and got enough of a hand on it to make Lawes offside as he gathered it and give Scotland the chance for a perfect response.

Laidlaw’s kick hit the upright this time. They had been narrow misses, but were Scotland set for an unlucky afternoon?

Minutes later Sean Lamont was caught offside in a ruck and handed England another kickable chance. Even though he missed, with 20 minutes played, indiscipline – not bad luck – was costing them dearly and the kicking game chosen by the management was gifting England plenty of ball to play with.

Scotland’s woes at the lineout from last week continued with an overthrow gifting prime attacking ball to the visitors. They were unable to breach the defence but earned a penalty to put them up 0-13, which it would stay until half time.

David Denton was a key early presence, carrying ball out wide and close in, but although he was gaining ground it was nothing England were not wise to especially as he doesn’t pass that often. Likewise, Seymour and Hogg were given one or two chances with the ball but it wasn’t in the sort of positions they thrive. The centres had almost nothing to do as the back three were doing the kick chasing.

At least the pace of Seymour and Hogg was keeping the crowd interested in the chase, and one monster kick from Hogg led to a period of Scots pressure before half time as Weir breached the England defence momentarily, but all they came up with thereafter was a kick that enabled Nowell to take the mark. Scotland hadn’t been totally indescribably rubbish- they’d just been ineffectual with the ball and lacking concentration off it.

England, meanwhile had taken their chances and finished the first period up against Scotland’s posts scrambling for another try that Scotland only just prevented.

HT Scotland 0-13 England

Ford got his first clean lineout away two minutes into the second half and was immediately substituted for Lawson, along with Grant. His replacement, Ali Dickinson, killed the momentum of a promising passage with a knock-on. The new front row got at least one scrum half way right but it was reset and England earned a penalty second time out. It was all grimly familiar.

Jonny May increasingly had a chance to show his wares as the ball moved out, slicing through the Scotland defence and only great position over the ball by Alex Dunbar slowed it enough for Scotland’s defence to realign.

The next scrum was closer to home and Moray Low’s binding was judged to be at fault. Farrell missed the kick again, but there was no way Scotland would continue to ride their luck as England’s attacks intensified. Dunbar again made a great last ditch tackle but then Garces carded him for not releasing.

Naturally England chose the pick and drive and hammered at Scotland – who had already done large amounts of defending in the second half. Even if they did not score as Scotland got out of jail with a penalty of their own, the physical toll would make the energy levels required for any sort of comeback hard to find.

Scotland tried to keep the intensity up with full backing of the crowd, but too many moves ended in ineffectual kicks while England’s kicks went exactly where Farrell wanted them to.

It wasn’t kicking or set piece that killed the game off for Scotland though, as Jonny May once again went on the rampage and Nowell combined nicely with Brown to give the full back an easy run in with 20 minutes to play and the score up to 0-20. Seymour has gas to burn but attacking down his channel was starting to pay dividends even as Dunbar returned to the pitch.

Dunbar came on and had what seemed like his first ball carry, on 63 minutes. Which says something about how little the Scots put it through the hands.

By the time Chris Cusiter was sent on on there was little he could do to change the impetus of the game as all he had to do was clearance kicks. With Scotland needing three converted tries to win, most of the last quarter played in the home team’s 22, and England abandoning flair for tight forward play against a battered Scotland pack, he was chasing a hopeless cause.

The passionate Murrayfield crowd jeered the increasingly jubilant Swing Low Sweet Chariot to the last, but as with much done on the park, it made little difference to the result.

FT: Scotland 0-20 England

SRBlog Man of the Match: Stuart Hogg was (again) one of the few positives for Scotland but the tactical approach is not set up to suit his game. Official MoM was Mike Brown, although for me Jonny May did enough to decisively shift the momentum towards England.


SRBlog Man of Match:

53 Responses

  1. Terrible! Just as well there is a good atmosphere at Murrayfield because no one would pay to watch that alone! 6 points in 160 minutes of rugby is shocking!
    Cusiter should be starting ahead of Laidlaw every game.
    Why was Hogg not moved to 10 at some point? We at least might have got a bit go forward.
    Being Scottish is tough when we watch a team play like that every week!

  2. No structure, no apparent game plan and no ability to execute the basics. Where was the heart and the passion? Sweeping Changes needed starting with the coaching staff!!! What must Vern Cotter be thinking?!!

  3. Worst performance against a NH side Scotland have managed. Denton, Beattie, Fusaro few to step up. With a point to prove each of them I guess seeing as KB was ditched in the back row. Johnson is a chancer.

  4. In the 50+ years I have watched Scottish rugby, this must count as one of the worst performances. It is so embarrassingly easy for teams to play against Scotland now – they expect to beat us by about 10 or 20 points – even Italy.
    The Scottish coaching staff should resign and Hogg brought into 10 in place of Weir. Scottish fans must get angry and demand that the SRU improve the state of affairs.
    The state of the pitch sums up Scottish rugby!

    1. Just to add Johnson and the coaching staff should resign. Also bring back the captain Kelly Brown and Johnny Barclay.

  5. That was depressingly bad – Vern Cotter can’t get here soon enough. Surely Geoff Cross should be given a go instead of Moray Low? Not convinced by Weir either although I don’t know who else we could play there instead, not a subscriber to the ‘Hogg at 10’ argument.

  6. The Scottish rugby team are actually a national embarassment. It is disgrace that so many people pay good money to suffer through that. Can’t even pass, tackle or do line outs; we should be telling our schools kids to do the opposite of what the national team do. I would bring in Scotland A for one 6 nations game to prove a point.

    Oh and whilst we’re at it, can the SRU start putting NAMES on SHIRTS please!

  7. OK here goes. We are trying to compete using a player pool of 2 international sides which are probably made up of 30% Scottish non qualified players. We need to farm qualified players from England and the SH. Why pick Ryan Wilson ahead of the quality back row players we have? Why keep picking Ford? Why come out after the game and say you know your players aren’t good enough but you think they will be in the future? For the first time in years we have 4 or 5 threatening back 3 players when available, Seymour looks a threat. We have a couple of exciting centres, albeit a bit small. We do not have anyone who can play 10, none of our 10’s should be allowed near an international rugby pitch without buying a ticket. Heathcote may develop but needs to leave Bath. Laidlaw is so one dimensions and slow to deliver. Pyrgos is not the game changer you need in a 9 on the bench and Cussiter is at the end of his career. There must be some Scots qualified S15 players who want to play in the RWC, especially at half back.

  8. If the coaches resign (Again) who are you replacing them with? The coaches do not throw the ball in squint, call the lineouts, miss the tackles, kick directly into touch. They do pick the team however and as Andy Robinson was criticised for his selections so should they.We need more Scots qualified players playing weekly. Another pro side wouldn’t go amiss.
    On another note Does anyone know how much game time Cusiter, Weir, Scott, Dunbar,J Gray, Wison, Fusaro and Cross have had this season?

  9. A dreadful display with both players and management to blamed for two weeks of horror on the pitch, I was there! and over 60 years have seen good and bad but Johnson should go back to Australia and join Matt Williams who was also diabolical.
    Where are the passionate players of not so long ago who laid their lives on the line for Scotland?
    I go to Rome in two weeks time but am going for a good weekend not to watch an entertaining game of rugby. Winning is not all important good rugby is, schoolboy errors I left behind at school many years ago and with the extremely good salaries that are paid today the paying public expect, nay demand more. Do the rest of the paying people realise that tickets which cost £45 in 2010 cost £85 for this game, I rest my case.

  10. Absolute shambles – Not seen the like of that since the glory days of Matt Williams! I think we are rapidly finding out what Scott Johnson’s previous employers already know – He’s talks a good game, but that’s it. Imo it beggars belief that he’s getting Dir of Rugby no matter what disasters he presides over during the next few weeks. I wonder what Humphries does all week too, cause it didn’t look like the forwards had any idea what they were doing.

    Can’t see how we move forward from here. I think a lot of people have played themselves out of selection, but I suspect we’ll have the wooden spoon secured in a couple of weeks!

  11. I kept thinking back to the All Blacks’ match-saving try against Ireland a few weeks ago. I don’t think any of the Blacks actually beat a man. They just kept faith in each other, kept the ball, passed – well and accurately (with one exception) – to another man in a black jersey and just kept going until they had a man over.
    It might not help the scrum or the lineout, but could we give that approach some thought?

  12. Am I alone thinking that why should I bother because some of the players don’t seem to be bothered. There is no desire to take a risk and change things on the park. Laidlaw as captain was an utter failure and he and Weir should be ashamed of their performance today. The forwards were mullered and Ford needs a break for his own good. Humphries has overseen a decline in the Scottish pack and should be shown the door regardless of the next three matches results, if I was some of the ” senior” players I would be inclined to ditch the ” playbook” and trust experience and instinct better hung for a sheep than a lamb. Hogg tried to make things happen but starved of ball, space, possession and ideas. England had probably the easiest game they have had in the Calcutta Cup for many a long year. Win the World Cup, Dodson? This lot couldn’t win the Rabo 12

  13. Well, what to say… the performance was so bad I don’t really have any emotion relating to it. I really hope that Vern cotter is not influencing things yet and there is a turn around in the summer. This is still essentially the same player pool AR had (can we get him back!? It has been down hill since left – the reality is that a lucky win against Ireland last year hid the slid from some).

    What is SJ’s rhetoric about the players being naive all about? The coaching staff have to take a lot of responsibility for the set piece problems as these players manage significantly better for their clubs. Whilst I didn’t agree with Denton starting at 8 why take him off when he was having a reasonable game (relative to some team mates).

    Promotions from the A team please and bring some experience back short term. The squad looks to be in melt down, from the body language and customers post match interview. Would have been time for Tonks to step in at 10, but he’s out so gutted for him (although could be a blessing long term).

  14. I have a very talented 14 yr old son, a county rugby player, plays at many positions, but loves playing hooker. Wants to trial for Scotland Exiles- he is eligible and keen. When HE starts to point out where the line outs are going wrong, and the scrums…….I think that says a lot. Where is the passion, the heart shown by the great forwards such as Kenny Milne, John Jeffrey, the Calders? I will never stop supporting Scotland…… But today was a trial. There has to be a BIG change somewhere- and a quick one.

  15. It’s the same old story….. We can’t catch a ball and when we do have it in our hands we seem to have the need just to boot it up the pitch !!!! Very poor performance and can’t see things getting any better. There needs to be some major changes both on and off the pitch!!!!! Please bring back Chris Cusiter and put Hogg at number 10!!!

  16. I agree with most of the comments here. But for me the biggest worry is that there are so many signs that Johnson is glossing over a series of rifts in the camp. I cant believe that Brown was dropped because he isnt a better 6 than Wilson… has he been punished for speaking out? Was Denton taken off because he threw his toys out at half time? Has Richie Gray stopped responding because the set up is now so poor? The body language of the players from the very start looked to me as though they were unhappy the moment the ball was kicked… and there was no coherence to the game plan at all. The second half was better because deep down they are all proud men and could not let the first half be repeated – but I sense a loss of togetherness and a lack of coherence fostered by the coaching set up. The line out – with both Ford and Lawson – was a shambles… and when players lose confidence in the system and the set up the line is always where it is seen most clearly. Look at Rory Best – under the previous management he looked occasionally fragile. Totally different now.

    I may be reading it wrong… but I think Johnson is poison. Mates of mine in Wales state he is a back stabbing weasel. I fear that a very average Scotland side is getting dragged down by his poor management style now that the inevitable honeymoon period at the start of his reign is over.

    I hope Cotter will still come. He must be wondering now. Has he actually signed on the dotted line?

    1. Entirely agree with your comments. There is something badly wrong in the camp. I am fed up with SJ’s ridiculous comments and excuse making. Two years ago the Scotland team dominated England and played with passion losing only because of a charged down try. The contrast in the journeys of the two teams since is stark.

      I don’t see any evidence of coaching that is moving the team forward, quite the opposite. The only outcome of this coaching regime is to have turned a highly effective pack into the laughing stock of the 6 nations.

  17. SJ’s career results as international coach


    LOST Ireland 31-5 Wales
    DRAW Wales 18-18 Italy
    LOST Wales 16 – 21 France


    LOST USA 10 v 64 England A
    LOST USA 9 v 46 Ireland A
    LOST USA 10 v 26 Canada
    WON USA 43 v 9 Uruguay
    LOST Japan 29 v 19 USA
    LOST Japan 32 v 17 USA


    LOST England 38 v 18 Scotland
    WON Scotland 34 v 10 Italy
    WON Scotland 12 v 8 Ireland
    LOST Scotland 18 v 28 Wales
    LOST France 23 v 16 Scotland
    LOST Samoa 27 v 17 Scotland
    LOST South Africa 30 v 17 Scotland
    WON Italy 29 v 30 Scotland
    WON Scotland 42 v 17 Japan
    LOST Scotland 0 v 28 South Africa
    LOST Scotland 15 v 21 Australia
    LOST Ireland 28 v 6 Scotland
    LOST Scotland 0 v 20 England


    Played 22
    Won 5 – 23%
    Draw 1 – 5%
    Lost 16 – 73%


    Played 13
    Won 4 – 31%
    Draw 0 – 0%
    Lost 9 – 69%

  18. Disgraceful, once agin Laidlaw was pathetic, Weir looked like a school kid kicking the ball. Let Hogg kick the damn thing.

    Overhall needed, Cotter Hurry Up. There are 1st fives to burn down here in NZ, surely one of them might want a crack at some international rugby.

  19. I think that it’s about time the top dogs stop thinking about money and profit and start thinking about rugby! It’s all very well making profit but if we keep playing like this, us people will stop spending our hard earned doe watching this rubbish. 2 pro teams is not enough!! The Borders team disbanded 6 odd years ago yet we have 4 players still playing for Scotland that started with them. Would these players have ever got a chance if the was no Borders team. I can’t help but think that there has probably been over a dozen players missed over the years because they never f

    1. (Continued) got a chance to play top flight rugby. This is down to the top brass. We will only get better by playing more Scottish players at top level rugby. But it has to come from the bottom too. Large parts of this country has never seen a rugby ball and this has to change. Either more development coaches are needed or the ones there have to pull their finger out. Peter wright was my development coach and was as much use as a chocolate fire guard. This all has be done IMO to make our team better or it’s going to be a painful future

  20. Morning after the night before, but things look just as bad as they did before.

    Looks like the coaching team have lost the dressing room which is really bad. lack of passion that points to big problems behind the scenes. Picking Wilson over Kelly brown was a big mistake and sticking with ford was another. Big Jim is now well past his sell by date. Lack of leadership throughout. How does a decent pack with a good line out end up like last night in under a year?

  21. Setting aside yesterdays capitulation, i think most of us would agree that we need to have more competition for places and more chances for talent to rise to the top. This requires a third pro team and a semi pro domestic top flight. The SRU claims to be skint and cant afford a third pro side. However, no-one seems to know how much each pro side actually costs the SRU to run. I strongly suspect that the SRU are overpaying and if the necessary cuts were made to existing players, staff, administrator salaries etc, a third pro side is a definite possibility. Now, the question is where to base it? The Borders rugby fans appear to be far too tribal to come out in support of a representative team, club rules all it seems. Aberdeen or Dundee seem the next best options. Then comes the question of facilities though. The SRU must appreciate that you have to speculate to accumulate, as the Irish did many moons ago and are now reaping the rewards. But do the SRU actually know how to spend money in the right areas and make the savings necessary? I just don’t know……

  22. Whilst calling for the removal of the coaches is tempting it misses the real point completely.
    Scott Johnson is a symptom of the utter chaos at the SRU, a complete lack of leadership, management or even understanding of the calamitous state of Scottish rugby!
    We seem to fe stuck with the chancer Johnson as Director if Rugby for the foreseeable one has to ask three basic questions:
    1. What are his qualifications for this role?
    2. Who else was considered?
    3. What exactly is the role and what are his responsibilities

    It would also be good for the paying public to understand whether he and Cotter come as a job lot as the apparently share the same agent

    Until we have a root and branch public review of this shambolic organisation and how the relationship with the clubs can be managed more efficiently we are destined to carry on repeating the mistakes that have taken Scottish rugby (not just the national team) to the depths

  23. another absolute disaster for Scottish rugby,at no time in this whole game they threaten the English try line.the appointment of foreign coaches has in my view changed the way Scotland play for the worse.the term expansive rugby is used by the southern hemisphere teams and is being tried by the foreign coaches in charge of Scotland and i am afraid we do not have and have never had players for this time of game,so we should go back to the way we used to play “to our strengths”.

  24. played and followed rugby all my days ,only one comment on yesterdays debacle , im hurting !.

  25. As an englishman with 50% scottish parentage I feel for you guys. Why does Scotland have to be the poor man of the home nations? The quality just isnt there. I don’t know enough about the root and cause but what I will say is that the game has to be promoted more at grass roots level. Easier said than done when the national team play such abject rugby I guess. Come on you Scots, give us a proper game. And while your at it give the other celtic nations a proper game a well…

  26. I have coached age grade rugby for many years and in the last 10 there have been some fantastic players come through the 4 scottish districts. However, after U18 District level there is no real continuing professional development available to our youngsters and only a few get selected to further they’re development by signing contracts with Glasgow or Edinburgh. Yes, there is the Elite Performance Academies but they do not play together as a team. Our Scottish Premier Clubs are not the right breeding ground for potential professional/International players who leave the Under 18 set up just check our British & Irish cup results or indeed our club International results of the last few years. It is time for the Union to create another one if not two Junior professional sides that are made up of Age Grade District/International players. A feeder if you like for Glasgow and Edinburgh Pro Teams that play against the English Premiership academy sides or “reserve” sides in their leagues. Yes, there will be a cost implication here but rather than pay foreign non qualifying scots to ply their trade in Scotland at our youngsters development expense we should be employing our youngsters on professional contracts worth around £15k – £20k per year to gain experience and work at a level that we simply cannot replicate in Scotland. £15k to £20k at age 18 to 22 I’m sure would be welcome for any youngster in this day and age. At least this way we would be broadening our player base rather than relying on players who are simply past their best, i.e. Ross Ford, who has been a fantastic servant to Scottish Rugby. If these youngster perform on this platform then they are in the Shop window for other Pro12 or English Premiership clubs again furthering their professional development which will ultimately lead to them being avaialble for our National Team. There are also many home grown coaches who could be involved at this level, people who have coached these youngsters and understand how to harness their hunger and desire to succeed. Again a decent salary would be required for these coaches but nothing like the money I bet the Union have wasted on previous Pro Coaches Neil Back etc. If by age 22 or 23 then these youngsters are not good enough or have not been picked up by Glasgow/Edinburgh or other Pro 12 clubs then at this point their careers will need to be reassessed. It’s time for the SRU to look at our continued failing as a nation and finally put the structures in place to put us back on the road to being within touching distance of the top 5 in the world rather than being on the outside of the top ten.

    1. Dear Kenny, yesterday’s performance left my son and I very distressed- but at least it was a topic for conversation! He is an anglo-Scot, and has really only been passionate about Scottish rugby since his oldest sister was at Edinburgh university, and we would regularly attend 6n action games. Now, he wants to study engineering at Edinburgh university, pkwy for edinburgh, and in the irt instance play or the Exiles.meastern counties rugby is full of anti state school bias- he was given rugby scholarships at 3 local private schools , and since I declined the offers, has only played county, not development, which is run by one of the local private schools head of sports- it is so corrupt it is not trus, Bobby really wants to play for Scotland ad he is good – pleas, youth coaches give him a tral, even though heis based in England, his heart is in Scotland- more Thani can say for 75 per cent of the guys in Saturday.

  27. Lots of informed comment here and most on the ball. Simply said, the current team don’t deserve the supporters and some certainly don’t deserve to wear the blue. For many a year, we have been the gutsy losers, more heart than talent. Yesterday, we saw the hollow shell… No talent and no heart.

    The coach, well what can we say, the laid back attitude is a smoke screen. Arrogant, bullish and far from gifted as an inspiring leader. Not my fault, I haven’t got the players? Not the man for us by any measure.

    Take the game back to the brass tacks. In the Borders where it started, invest and we will see the guile and heart return. The competition between the vibrant club teams lifted men to represent their town and then their country. Not some advertising execs idea of history. I’m fed up with the haircuts, fireworks and corporate muck, I want rugby, rugby and then some rugby…

    1. To their credit, the SRU did just recently propose the league top flight become semi-pro, but the clubs kiboshed it. The clubs whine about investment, but when an opportunity presents itself that doesn’t instantly put cash in their accounts they vote against it.

      Oh and why should the borders have investment over any other region? The player numbers and club numbers are not significantly higher in the borders than anywhere else. Its this sort of parochial stance that is holding us back. We need a structure in place across the COUNTRY, not just the borders!

  28. After this awful performance capped my fifty years of supporting Scottish rugby, I finally cannot muster another ounce of support. I’m totally demoralised.

    Start paying everyone associated with the national team on a performance basis, ONLY….and don’t insult the fans by asking for any gate fee until our team can actually play the game and compete at international level.

    The wooden spoon is Scotland’s, yet again.

  29. To address the level below the Pro teams – in Australia it has been a sore point for years that there is no pathway from academy / age group to the pro sides. The reality is if you aren’t signed up by 17 you aren’t goign to be

    In comparison you see the ITM and Currie Cups. Australia is finally biting the bullet this year and even have Fox chipping in $1 mill for the TV rights even though the structure hasn’t b4een finalised

    Bottom line a semi pro comp is essential. In Scotland I would suggest the district comp being that comp as opposed to the league so you have N & M, Borders, Glasgow and Edinburgh playing a home and away series then a final which would give each team a guaranteed 6 games with 3 of them at home then if you bring the Anglo Scots in it becomes 8 games and 4 at home. Bring in a best of the rest and it’s 10 and 5 and you could have semis as well as a final

    This way the pro sides can talent spot and a path is created up while at the same time measuring if the talent is there for a 3rd Pro side and it could go to N&M of Borders based on which gathered the best support for their District side

  30. Sir Clive Woodward, not the most impartial of rugby pundits to be sure, on Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, offered this observation: ‘You have to ask if Scotland is of sufficient standard to compete in the Six Nations.’ His views were mirrored in an even more damning report in the Daily Telegraph.

    Forget about history, on current showings the answer must be open to question. But perhaps comments like this will generate the kind of wake-up call for grassroots rugby players and supporters in Scotland that the game and its administration in Scotland is in a desperate state and appears to still be going downhill.

    Johnson, Director of Rugby? You have to be kidding. Without some kind of public revolt, the situation is unlikely to change and we seem destined to become a laughing stock with a playing surface to match. Time for a wholesale SRU clear-out.

  31. Are Lineen, Chalmers, Wright and Graham doing anything for the next few weeks to get some belief, confidence, passion and fight into this team. SJ should be given garden leave today.

  32. I completely agree with Allan’s comments about the parochialism in the Borders. I lived in the area for some years and was amazed by the lack of attendance at major fixtures involving international teams. The only games which sparked any interest were those between Border teams but some of the shouts from the crowd suggested a gross ignorance of the finer points of the game! The vaunted Borders love of the game appeared, in terms of attendance and knowledge, a figment of the imagination.
    If there is to be a third professional side, it should not be in the Borders.

  33. We left a British Lion out of the squad. Why? Kelly Brown has broken back into the Sarries line up, put him at blind side and let him play his game. Ross Ford needs binning now, he is a 2000’s hooker, with the new laws he is less than useless. 10 is our problem, and although I have been against it until now, I think Hoggy is our only choice in the interim. Front row needs restructuring for the Italy Game, Get R Gray back at 2nd row nad quick and mayeb Fusaro, Brown and Denton as a starting Back row? Laidlaw is suffering because the pack are poor, I maintain he is our 1st choice 9. Hoggy to 10 perhaps, leaves a gap at 15, but if we are going forward not back then maybe slot in Seymour or Max Evans. Hell Even Sean Lamont can go back there. Something needs changing and fast.

  34. You can sit there and blame the coaches but when you see the captain and players out drinking in Opal Lounge between games can you really say they are committed !

  35. Scotland needs border players with fire in there bellies like the past Scottish teams which had all the success and a coach with ability

  36. I think there is something wrong in the Scotland camp. Apparently Kelly Brown had returned to London on Saturday instead of staying up and supporting the boys. From the get go I thought that the body language of the players was all wrong. A good line out and decent scrum have simply disappeared. Which begs the question, “what is going on in that camp?”. Time for the senior players to stand up and correct whatever is going wrong with the coaching …. and let us hope the coaches listen, as good coaches do.

  37. A DISASTER waiting to happen. For so long we have been hanging on by a thread. This crash was always going to happen while no foundation has been put in place to grow rugby in Scotland. I have watched Scottish rugby for 50 years and with the exception of the Telfer and McGeechan era we have had no stability whatsoever. It is no good blaming the ball boys, the weather, the players, the coaching staff or anyone else for that matter until the SRU Council take responsibility (ideally by falling on their swords) and puts mitigation in to shore up the present disaster and in parallel put a long term ongoing plan (and keep to it) to expand and resurrect (the Borders) the rugby catchment area, and to invest in facilities, to put us back onto at least a competitive footing.

  38. The borders pro team has been tried and failed. Accept this and look forward. The constant cry that the borders is the solution is not true, the WHOLE country must be on board. The bigger picture needs to be looked at open with a open minds. The Sru has pushed for semi pro domestic rugby but this has been rejected by the clubs, we must move on.

    Personally I think Aberdeen should be the place for a third pro team. The third biggest city and only one football team. A successful top level sports team could gain a following and oil money could surely be brought on board.

    Also like the suggestions of youth teams competing with aviva premiership or Welsh/ irish academies and a regional domestic competition. Surely this can be delivered in a reasonable time frame if clubs, sru and the Scottish institute of s pop sort work together!

    Finally the pro teams should let/ look for fully established Scottish internationals to move on to free up places for development of younger players. The Scottish team must still select these players if they have the form. This will help keep the senior players fresh and challenged. Sadly it might be to late for Mr ford to earn a place out of Edinburgh now, but I think he would be a lot better if he moved a couple years ago for example.

  39. I agree with most comments here and firmly believe that we need to increase the top level player base. I don’t really care where the team is based but we need at least 1 if not 2 additional pro teams. As jim telfer said in his book one of his biggest regrets was to disband both the borders and caledonia districts. Jim knew that you needed a much wider player base but unfortunately funding was the key and unfortunately it still is. However, this will not change if we continue to employ foreign coaches and players who will never qualify to play for Scotland on huge salaries rather than pump this money into additional teams or at least age grade 18 to 20’s. We are not a wealthy sporting nation but I believe we don’t have to be. I am not interested in paying our rugby athletes huge salaries, neither am I interested in paying them a pitance. The salaries should be capped based on performances, caps, appearances etc. These salaries will be the same across the teams with junior players all starting at the same rate of pay which can start between 15-20k per year. The incentive for the player would be to work harder be selected for more domestic games and then onto Heineken cup games international etc. If at 23 players are not getting regular games they should be released and the cycle starts all over again. The young players 17/18 up to 22 should continue to be educated via college/university as well as playing rugby Incase they don’t make it as players. This way we look after players so they at least have something to fall back on. We do this in partnership with colleges who can offer it so the two additional teams would be based in these places possibly galashiels and Dundee or Aberdeen. These teams should be coached by Scottish coaches who have achieved their level 3 qualification and have coached performance or elite level rugby with a salary cap of about 40-50k per year not the 6 figure numbers that the many coaches have fleeced the union for since 1996. If a player or coach is that good then maybe they can negotiate a better salary but maybe we should let our English or welsh counterparts sign them on bigger salaries opening the door for another youngster to join the programme therefore widening the player base. The 2 additional teams could play English premiership 2nd xv’s or pro 12 2nds. We need to do something now or are we happy to accept wooden spoon place year after year with maybe the odd exception every 3 or 5 years or so.

  40. You maybe right Kenny but we first of all have to influence, indeed undeniably change the whole format from the top down before we talk at the detailed level of who gets paid what.

    To clarify my earlier point about expanding rugby. The Borders was an obvious example of where we should resurrect rugby It is not just about areas / districts but getting more kids and adults interested.

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion