Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Forget Glen Jackson – Scotland have only themselves to blame

In many ways, this was a case of ‘same old Scotland’.

Early promise, bolstered by lashings of endeavour, plus a plethora of try-scoring opportunities, ultimately rendered fruitless by mistakes and infractions that would always be seized upon by a Wales side steeled by experience and accustomed to victory.

Chances were butchered as an all-too familiar bout of white-line fever overcame those in home ranks whenever they entered the Welsh 22, gripping them to such an extent that their play became impossibly frantic.

The concession of fourteen penalties, a chronic lack of discipline around the ruck, and more missed touches than Eric Pickles in a game of tag-rugby all contributed to Scotland’s self-made downfall.

Refereeing controversies may dominate this morning’s headlines, but although New Zealander Glen Jackson had a Six Nations debut one suspects he’d sooner put behind him, this was a game Vern Cotter’s side should have won regardless of his influence.

The arbiter’s decision not to seek TMO assistance in ruling on Greig Laidlaw and Mark Bennett’s near misses in either half – nor plump for a penalty-try in the case of the latter for a high tackle on Sam Hidalgo-Clyne – left his compatriot quietly seething in the coaches’ box.

And his blowing for full-time as Finn Russell’s conversion of Jon Welsh’s try cleared the bar with four seconds left on the stadium clock incensed most of Murrayfield, anticipating as they were a rousing finale.

Remove them from the equation, however, and you are still left reflecting upon another match Scotland let slip. More talk of what might have been.

And yet there is the sense that for all the resurfacing detractors of old, for all the now-accustomed refrain from the players that they are ‘not far away’ is trotted out anew, this Scottish squad are tantalisingly close to clicking.

Playing with verve and variety, very much the embodiment of Cotter’s rapid-fire, organised chaos philosophy, they are so much braver, meaner and more effective than any assortment mustered under Scott Johnson, Andy Robinson or Frank Hadden.

The Glasgow Warriors trio of Alex Dunbar, Mark Bennett and Stuart Hogg have all made telling breaks, but narrowly lacked the support and ruthlessness to finish them off. These are the fine fissures between a serious tilt at the Six Nations crown and another scrap to avoid the wooden spoon the Scots remain agonisingly short of bridging.

Their belief, though, is plain to see. None among this relatively green brood are particularly prone to plateaus in confidence, nor does the baggage of past failings weigh down upon them, as it has glowered over their more seasoned predecessors.

Even Russell, the softly-spoken pivot with the gentle lisp, whose sleight of hand in attack was marred by poor kicking on Sunday, and an accidental but nonetheless illegal challenge on the airborne Dan Biggar – for which he has, regrettably, been cited when the yellow card Jackson flashed in his direction was both just and sufficient – is not remotely susceptible to mental delicacy.

Losing at the hands of Warren Gatland and co will smart all the more after the Cardiff capitulation of 2014, but it is vital this Scotland side continue to gel and mature – build upon their strong set-piece, eradicate the breakdown misdemeanours and capitalise on the attacking fluency that has not quite reached the requisite standard – if they are to realise their potential, and rid themselves of the painful staples that continue to hold them back.

76 Responses

    1. I can’t understand it. Yellow was justified in my opinion and enough of a punishment. Yes it was messy, badly timed but I really feel there was no intent.

      Next question then, who replaces him if he’s banned against Italy? Move Laidlaw back to 10? Bring Hogg in there, especially if Maitland is back to cover FB? Peter Horne?

      Either way, if he misses out it’s going to be a huge blow. I feel, despite a poor game yesterday, he’s been integral to some of the good rugby we’ve been producing.

      1. Even some (not all mind) Welsh on other boards are baffled. No way was it a red, reckless yes but come on!? Webb should be cited for his hit on SHC. I assume Tonks will fill in at 10. That does not fill me with confidence. Alot of people, inexplicably imo, rate him as a 10..I really dont. Heathcote is a born 10, good kicking from hand and tee and a decent break on him. But hes just back from injury and looks like hes deemed surplus to requirements. Hope he kicks on at Worcester. Who ever is picked they need to know how to tackle as the Italian 10 is a proper unit! Phil Godman anyone?!

      2. So wait, Neil , you’re honestly saying it wasn’t a penalty and a yellow? I have to say you’re totally wrong here, whilst I can accept certain refs are too card happy and the game at times is on the verge of being sanitised taking a player out in the air – intentional or not – can have serious repercussions. The Welsh players ability to take high ball cleanly is a weapon they exploit as it can induce penalties, this being an example.

        Russell clocked up his timing and positioning and the fact he did try to pull away is why, in my opinion , only a yellow was shown. If a yellow wasn’t shown, then you open the flood gates to players taking players out mid-air but turning their back at the last second. It’s something that I simple have no problem with and feel a yellow was justified. Citing him is overkill.

      3. So what was he supposed to do. He tried his best to get out of the way but he isnt a majician that can make himself dissapear instantly. Lets not forget that rugby, by its very nature, can be dangerous and the players know that. Few player go out to intentiaonally hurt others but accidents do happene fropm time to time. Having watched Wales, they tend to ploay on this and I have noticed that they have a bad habit of jumping towrds an opposing player to initiate a yellow/red card. to me its just as bad as a footballer falling in the box to gain a penalty and that should be be a yellow card in itself. As I’ve mentioned before, we could have played much better but with only 3 points between the sides, the ref did cost us desr. After the sending off, Wales scored a trry and dominated us. Sure they got a player sent off themselves but the timing was far better for them as it transcended half time, meaning the team had time to relax, have a tema talk on tactics with only 14 men etc. I notice the ref stopped the game early but did you also notice that we were close to the Welsh line at the end of the first half and I’m pretty sure that he stopped the game a bit eearly then as well. We also had a try dissalowed. Basically the Welsh sucked up to the ref and he bought it hook line and sinker. He was poor on the day and probably cost us the 5-10 points that we would have needed to win the game.
        On a related point, it now seems acceptable for captains and even other players to backchat the ref and they get away with it. When I used to play the game, that was an instant red card and rightly so. I wish they wood bring that sytem back. Plyaers should play to the whistle anf just accept the decision of the ref regarless of whether they think he is good bad or indifferent.

    2. Aye, totally – red would have been OTT. It was reckless and dangerous but he DID make an effort to stop. I’m baffled as to why there needs to be a citing of the incident, surely having Jackson as ref was enough of a punishment?!

      I agree Webb should be cited, I’m not buying this SHC “ducked into the tackle” line. If he hadn’t ducked, he was at risk of being KO’d by Webb flying across, same as Russel here, I don’t think it was intentional…but there has to be consistencies.

      Hey, maybe if they brought back Godman he could banish the demons from the last time he played Italy at Murrayfield…

      1. He tried to get out of the way of a guy approaching at high speed. What else could he have done. No way was it a penalty. Why not just accept it as an unintentional accident. SHIT happens after all and we are all men. The sending offs are just too easy. Our boys were afraid to tackle the Welsh after that and with good reason.

  1. We are nearly there. It’s a shame, as this was the game where I really hoped we would arrive. We really should have had three tries in light of the clothes line tackle that resulted in SHC’s knock on (was it really forward?). We are equalling or out scoring most of our opponents on the Ts which is a significant improvement. I think SHC added enough to earn a start against Italy. Not sure if BVC will go down the benching the captain route though. Set piece and breakdown were decent, discipline’s poor. With SHC, Maitland and Seymour and a bit more gelling time, we are going to become increasingly troublesome for the opposition.

  2. So SRU need to sell the idea that this team is a new breed, that they are unincumbered by failure of the past and carry no baggage – I understand the need for them to convince us of that, and you seem to buy into it which is fine – but if you scratch the surface I think the issues that are tripping up this undoubtedly talented bunch are the same as they’ve always been – namely lack of composure when the chips are down.

    So how/where/when is this addressed?? – at grassroots training is changing – no more tackle bags and running up and down passing ball to one another unopposed – it’s now about learning and practicing skills under pressure in real game situations. This is something Robinson kicked off but was never permitted to see through – I think largely because SJ was already picking the curtains for his new office. I think we see signs of this approach coming through now in our younger pro players (Bennett, Russell etc) but we still have old dogs who talk the talk and when not expected can occasionally walk the walk but when the heat is really on they revert to type (laidlaw and his white line fever for example).

    Until we see a complete changing of the guard I’m fearful we’ve got a couple of years yet of promising but ultimately losing performances – think I might hibernate for a bit

    1. I agree with all of this, especially Laidlaw- he is rubbish and should be dropped. His Dad was a far better player- chip of the old blog I don’t think so. A has been that should either be forced to stop his rubbish kicking game or just told to go home.

    2. Also agree with your comment about the fat toad SJ- the worst coach in the history or rugby and he still has a job with the SRU. What the does he actually do for his fat cat salary?

  3. With such fine margins between victory and defeat the ref probably did cost us the game. However, we should never be in a position where we have to depend on the odd decision by the ref to win games. The fact is that he team going forward tends to get the decisions in their favour, penalties, opposition players sin binned etc. Wales dominated possession, especially in the first 30 mins of the second half when I don’t remember the ball leaving our half. Sure the ref probably cost us but our players, particularly Laidlaw and the forward pack were CRAP and I blame them much more than the ref for losing the game- its obvious. We really need to freshen things up, get rid o some of the old guard such as Laidlaw, Strok, Hamilton to mention but three, These guys are throwbacks to the bad old days of 2-3 years ago when we could not even buy a win. Why not blood some of the younger forwards in the next game that does not really matter anyway. These young forwards would play with more intensity and appreciation of what it actually means to pull on a Scotland top.

  4. I think we need to start thinking about bringing SHC into the fold. Quicker of mind and foot than Laidlaw and is very powerful for his size. I think there will be a changing of the guard after the world cup. Stroker, Murray, Hamilton, Beattie and Lamont all to be phased out.

    Makings of a decent side and we will be better again when we have Seymour, Maitland, Denton, Ashe, Weir and Gilchrist available for the squad. And Josh Strauss will bring leadership and robustness to the forwards.

  5. One of the BBC commentators reckoned that our players stopped competing for some of the high balls. I don’t blame them. A knee in the face is unlikely to be pleasant.

    1. The reason they stopped competing had nothing to do with that. They were afraid that they would get yet another sin binning against them if they were unlucky enough not to win the ball. The fact is that Wales spend most of the match licking the ref in a way that wouold make Argentina proud (I have never witnessed anything as full on as that for ages but depressingly he bought it hook line and sinker) and I felt that their players were deliberately trying to get yellow cards of us by trying to initiate a mid air tackles. They have got our boyus sent on in recent games by employing this tactic. Remember, Russel tried to compete for a ball, imediately tried to get out of the way when the Welsh player secured it but he was still sent off. So no I dont blame the players for not competing with the cheats for a high ball. The fact is that we should have realised this and stopped kicking Garryowens to them that they were abviously going to pick up- 10 yards of territory at the very most and the ball to the opposition- not very good odds in my opinion but our players are too stupid to realise it.

  6. Just another point- why is Jonathan Davies still commentating when he is so biased. As a commentator you need to forget about your own nationality and report the game as it happens. They tals about a cetain English Brian being biggotted but Davies holds the world cup for that one.

  7. I cant believe Finn Russel has been cited for the challenge. This really is a nanny state and it turns me off the game as a whole when I read these typee of things. Rugby is a mans game and can be dangerous at times but so too can crossing a road. If you want 0% risk just stay in your back room and do nothing. Just look at how violent games were in the 70’s and 80’s (watch Lions tour of SA in early 70s and you will see what I mean) and look at it now. All a player has to do is fart and he ends up with a court appearance disciplinary hearing. Its pathetic. I now want to take up bowls.

    1. I think you’re going a bit over the top here, “nanny state”? Yes it’s ridiculous he’s being cited, however his actions could have lead to serious harm to the player. It didn’t, thankfully, but Law 10.4(e) states players “must not tackle an opponent whose feet are off the ground”. It’s pretty simple, unless you’re 100% sure of getting the ball in the air, or at the least competing for it, then don’t touch the guy until he’s grounded. It’s a weapon teams have been exploiting for years, Wales have dominance under the high ball against most teams so it’s good game management from their point of view to utilise it and potentially draw fouls, as well as get obvious field territory.

      Russell, cocked it up big time and whilst he tried to pull away, he still took the boy out. A yellow was merited because he pulled away, albeit too late in the eyes of the law. Personally, I feel it should be left there and we move on.

      Finally, bringing up 70’s and 80’s rugby isn’t relevant. Do you want to return to the days of teams having a “99 call” when faced by aggression? I don’t – in fact JPR Williams himself said he’s not proud of what happened with that. We’re watching a different sport these days, something which has to appeal to a wider audience. Having players punch and kick each other for 80 minutes isn’t part of the game – controlled aggression and physicality is.

      Oh, and “rugby is a mans game”? Try telling that to the women’s teams. Pretty sure they’re vastly superior to both you and I in terms of ability and achievement.

      1. My issue with the law (and the citing for that matter) is that the law should be there to protect vulnerable jumpers, i.e. those jumping vertically upwards, either at the lineout or in open play and are hit from the side or take from the air as they had already ‘claimed’ the territory by being on the ground before jumping.

        The Biggar incident is not that of a vulnerable jumper but an aggressive jumper. Russell was stationary and ready to receive the ball, and was going to jump vertically upwards (see above) now had he left the ground to catch the ball, he should not have received a yellow card as he was ‘going for the ball’ apparently.

        The difference between the two scenarios is played out in basketball where if you are stationary the foul is against the moving player but if both are moving it is the aggressor.

        Under law you are responsible for the safety of others at work but first and foremost for your own. Biggar showed no regard for his own or for the players around him when he left the ground.

      2. The actual law in basketball ruling is ‘feet first and facing’, therefore a player that is stationery and in a position is entitled to occupy that space. Any player that impedes them, the stationery player, is regarded as the aggressor and as such they are punished. Therefore if you turn into a player that has left the ground you have changed your position and become the aggressor.
        The rule from basketball could be translated to Rugby for a safety aspect, which would prevent Wales from employing this tactic, but basketball is a non-contact sport, Rugby is not…
        I would like to see the safety of the stationery player being implemented, ‘if a player on the ground is in a stationery position before an opposing player leaves the ground the onus is on the jumping player not to make contact before returning to the ground.’
        Players in the air are just, if not more, dangerous than players on the ground.

  8. This citing of Russell is an absolute disgrace. Why hasnt Webb been cited for a stiff arm tackle that SHC thankfully ducked under (but still was concussed by) or the Welsh player (dont know which one) that went off his feet to shoulder charged Bennett out fo a ruck?

    it sticks in the craw but any football club who felt this sort of injustice would call a press conference and highlight all the blunders made by the referee and the above incidents the citing commissioner has neglected to raise. The SRU really lets itself, its players and scottish rugby supporters by allowing this sort of stuff to go by unchallenged. Make this public and yes, the usual London oriented press will accuse us of chippiness but so what? When you are right, you are right and a light needs to be shone on how badly Scottish rugby is treated by the officials and governing bodies. The SRU president has a duty to scottish rugby, not to the idiots in Dublin who by accident or design are killing us!

    No doubt the silence from the SRU will be Defeaning though. After all, the blazers wont want to be taken off the invite lists for their cocktail evenings with their IRB cronies.

    1. Agreed – I think it was Gethin Jenkins that cleaned him out with no arms. Could be wrong, but he looked like an red bowling ball.

      Vern intimated after the game that he’d be sending one or two things through to World Rugby regarding the ref but wouldn’t be drawn on details. I wouldn’t be surprised if in light of this, that’s ramped up. I guess we’ll just need to wait and see, but I can’t imagine Cotter accepting this – the SRU maybe – but not Cotter.

    2. Completely agree with Allan, especially about the SRU not wanting to upset anyone. Somtimes people need upsetting and IRB need to be aware that we will not sit back and take their discriminatory policy dished out to out team. The SRU would rather sit back and watch the flowers- an organisation that it a complete waste of time.

  9. I agree with the author that it’s too tempting to attribute all or most of the defeat to poor refereeing – and it was poor. We should have been canny enough after the first three penalties in only five minutes to know he was now on our case, and should have taken notice. If we’d been even cannier we wouldn’t have given away so many penalties so soon anyway!
    No, we lost this through failure to turn intense pressure at the end of the first half into points – compounded by leaking 10 points when Russell was carded. What a shame we couldn’t have protected the scoreboard with 14 men as well as we did in Paris the week before. And then we were dominated in the loose for the first 20 or so of the second half. Interspersed throughout with some ill-judged and poorly executed kicking from hand. Very definitely a game we could and should have won – and could have won fairly handsomely had we played the ref better and showed more nous in critical situations. In games as close as this, small margins of error can accumulate to the detriment of the side that commits them – and they did for us and it cost us the Test on Sunday.
    The coaching team will be all too aware of this and hopefully the players will too. I still think I’m watching the best Scotland squad we’ve assembled for five years and that there’s still quite a bit to look forward to in this 6N. If the team doesn’t learn and apply the harsh lessons of last Sunday though, we could be in for a very hard time at Twickenham in a few weeks’ time. And I’m sick fed up of not winning there since 1983.

    1. I don’t think I’ve read any comments by Scottish fans that haven’t laid the blame for defeat squarely at our own doorstep as you say our game was deficient in many respects and yet we remained in the game because Wales were poor. However, whilst players and coaches must only focus on controllables, we’re just fans and we have every right to be furious at how poorly officiated the match was.

      Two platitudes have appeared with tedious regularity on other boards (1) mistakes mysteriously even themselves out by some kind of universal rugby karma (2) the mistakes had negligible impact on the result of the match. The first is patent bollocks and the second is beyond our ken. We do not know if the result would have been different, we do know that the refereeing farrago had a huge influence on how the match unfolded.

      Scotland has to pick themselves up and salvage what they can from a fairly disastrous campaign so far (letting two winnable games slip through our fingers). But, I’m still optimistic for the future because our squad has lots of talent and a capable coach.

  10. Feel very disappointed at Finn Russell being cited. To some extent the incident was his own fault, however strictly speaking it wasn’t a dangerous tackle, as he made no tackle. I did think that Finn ‘bottled it’ when faced with the high flying Biggar, and English fans I’ve discussed this with, say that it is Russells responsibility to ensure he is not responsible for anyones bad landing. This seems unfair, as there were 2 parties to this collision.
    As someone who used to lead with the knee when jumping for high balls, there are only 2 reasons for doing this. 1- the other catcher might ‘bottle it’ when they see the flying knee or 2- The other catchers will be the one to get hurt should there be a collision. There has to be a ‘duty of care’ at all times, and leading with the knee is no way to accomplish this. The ‘outraged’ people who see Biggar landing badly are making a presumption that all blame should attach to Russell. Wrong. Biggar was at least partly responsible for what happened.
    I’m not sure how this will end, but it has the appearance of a ‘tacky’ piece of politics, given that the commissioner is Irish, who Scotland play in a few weeks.

    1. While in the past players were taught to turn side on to present their hip in the air to the opposition the ABs have been teaching a square on jump for the last couple of years. This includes a knee being right out there for a defender to encounter at their own peril. 100% legal. It’s a collision sport man up and adapt or die. Finn bottled it, couldn’t get out of the way in time and as a result it was dangerous but not malicious. Having said that a pro player should not have made such a hash of it but Yellow card duty done matter closed

  11. I’ve also just read that Richie Gray is out for the tournament and Swinson has been called up. Is this a huge blow do you think? Personally, if we were to lose a Gray, then I’d rather it be Richie but I still think it’s a blow…

    1. Honestly, big jim might be a better call against England and Italy. Gray just doesn’t put himself about enough for my mind. Jim is handy in the scrum too which we will need against Englsnds massive pack.

      i just hope VC makes the call and bins laidlaw. He peaked against Argentina last year and regressed in every game since to the point that he is back where he was this time last year.

      1. Reid and Welsh are the latest to be ruled out, with Grant having a scan. Think there’s a few knocks in the backs too.

        Anyway, I can see the motive behind putting Jim in for the England game as he’ll give us a good bit of grunt and muscle in the pack but his temperament is so suspect that I worry he’s going to deck somebody the second he gets on the pitch.

        In all honesty, if we could find a way to combine Jim’s aggression with Richie’s body…well, you’d have a hell of a player on your hands. I agree about Gray, for a guy of his size he seems to shirk the physicality a bit. His brother on the other hand loves getting stuck in.

        Anyway, I presume Swinson will start against Italy. I would have liked to have seen Kieran Low from London Irish in there. He had been playing fairly often for them and can cover lock/back row although he doesn’t appear to be getting as much game time. But, crucially, he’s younger than Swinson (who’s only 28 himself to be fair).

        And yeah, I’ve been disappointed with Laidlaw. His passing hasn’t been quick enough and the darting runs around rucks haven’t been on show. Plus, his box kicking is a bit hit and miss. SHC if fit for you? Shift Laidlaw to 10 if Russell is banned?

        This is purely a personal thing, but I’ve always preferred my captain to be a forward. I think, unless you’re a world class talent, a scrum half and fly half have enough organising, thinking of plays etc without having captaincy duties to boot. As I say, it’s purely personal, but I’d rather let 9 and 10 play and focus on that and have a 2nd or back row deal with the captaincy issues.

        Saying that, Cotter picked Gilchrist to start so maybe I’m on to something…

  12. I’m actually pleased Swinson has been called up. Consistently plays well for Glasgow and I felt he was hard done by being originally left out. Swinson is maybe a little small for a second row but he is very mobile and loves to get stuck in. I tend to agree Hamilton is a walking penalty machine but we will probably need his bulk against England.

    Sadly Laidlaw won’t be getting binned any time soon. I do agree that he is a large part of the problem and not the solution. As stated previously on here, too slow in thought and deed, and has enough on his plate at SH. I certainly wouldn’t shift him to ten though. When he played there before he was a very weak link defensively and his kicking from hand isn’t good enough. I reckon it’ll be Hogg if Maitland is fit, and potentially Horne or Tonks if not.

    We’ve really not had a captain who could influence a referee since big Al was unceremoniously discarded by AR. However BVC has already given himself an out in regard to the captaincy once Gilchrist is fit. If say Laidlaw was miraculously dropped, who takes over? Harley potentially? Previous captaining Glasgow? Maybe even Hamilton? Might calm him down! Again just kind of thinking out loud.

    1. I’m still unsure about Swinson. He does play well consistently for Glasgow but the few times he’s been with Scotland…I don’t know, he’s almost looked a bit lightweight. Still, it’s all about getting options and he’s not a bad option to bring in. As I say, I’d rather see Low in however.

      Totally agree about Laidlaw though. It feels like he upped his game in the autumn to impress Cotter and has since regressed. Dropping him, or at least shifting the captaincy to somebody else could maybe be the rocket up the backside he needs to rediscover his form. At present, I don’t feel like he’s got an established SH challenging him as a nailed on starter, add the captaincy on top of that then he knows he’s getting played. I’m not doubting his commitment or effort however – like you, thinking out loud.

      Now I think of it, Ford was captain for a while wasn’t he, and his form was dreadful throughout. Not saying his recent improvement is down to that of course.

      The bombing of Al rankled at the time, and much like Brown, still does. Kellock was captain when we toured Argentina and won a few years back I think? Anyway, I’ve got a lot of time for the guy and have heard through a mate who’s worked with him previously, that he comes across as genuinely nice bloke – slightly terrifying! – but cool.

      Harley, yeah maybe? I’ve got a lot of time for the guy, he appears to have no regard for his safety and is a total mongrel. Whilst not the biggest, I’m pretty sure you know you’ve been in a match when playing against him! J Gray if he continues his development I think is one for the future, again he pops up all over the place, almost like an extra back rower but still too green to be considered. Let him carry on growing for another season or two.

      There was a lot of chat during the Lion’s about how Richie Gray would hopefully learn from Alun Wyn Jones and Paul O’Connell in terms of captaincy and imposing yourself, but it just doesn’t seem to be happening for the lad.

      What about Cowan? He seems to be a nailed on favourite of Cotter and the current Kiwi number 7 has been a decent captain down the years…ha!

      1. Wasn’t Swinson named as captain then he got injured? Can’t remember if that was for the AIs or the 6N

      2. I don’t think so, are you thinking of Grant Gilchrist? He was captain for one of the squads in the summer tour and then appointed for the AIs, only to pull out with injury. I don’t recall Swinson being appointed, but could be totally wrong!

      3. Whens grant gilchrist back? Too soon for the 3 six nations games I assume. Is Toolis not a better shout instead of Swinson? If Cotter did start SHC and Toolis that would surley be one of the youngest Scotland teams ever to take the field!

      4. You are absolutely right McChin. The perils of posting before my second coffee of the morning and good question Mike when is he back?

      5. Angus, I feel your pain on the lack of coffee front that’s for sure!

        There’s nothing concrete on Gilchrist’s injury I can find to be honest. The Scotsman ran a piece back in January where Solomon’s said he’s expected back mid-March so could be available for the latter matches, however they weren’t totally sure. He’s been out since October – double break in his arm – so he might require a bit of time to get back up to speed. Sounds like he won’t feature this 6N but could be ready for the World Cup.

        As an aside, having just searched very briefly, he does seem to have a few injury problems though. He’s only young, but has already missed a fair bit of rugby with an assortment of knocks. Could be a worry, especially if Cotter sees him as captain. I can’t really remember O’Connell, Wyn Jones, Parrise etc being injured that often. Although, they are freaks (in the nicest possible way!)

      6. I’m sure I heard that Gilchrist is expected back in the next two to three weeks. Can’t remember where I heard that though – on the coverage of the Ospreys game maybe?

  13. Awwww you don’t like the welsh do you? As far as the sucking up to the ref goes all the top teams do it,just look at NZ,past masters it is called playing the ref and at this level that is sadly what is needed,you have to be smart.And poor old Jonathan Davis being picked on,he is a legend he just cannot help showing his passion foe his country just like a certain Scottish commentator we know,they all do it C’mon!

    1. People in glass houses sunshine…

      Before practically every Glagow game v a Welsh region last season, the panel on Scrum V banged on about how Glasgow we’re going to get pumped. After the game (a customary walloping dished out by the Warriors) they would then proceed to claim this was purely down to Scottish cheating. Go figure…..

      Someone famous once said “you don’t beat the Welsh, you just score more points than them”.

    2. I love the Wwelsh but i hate your rugby team- a nunch of out and out chets. you say that all teams do it but not to that extent. I watched all of the Autumn internationals and 6 nation games so far. This Welsh team would put the Argentinians to shame. The Welsh never used to do this but now they are reliant on suicking up to the ref- they always seem to get one or more of out players sent off.
      Jonathan Davies- sure he loves his team and I dont have a problem with that but, as a commentator you should be neutral. Bill Maclaren was a proud Scot but his commentating was always neutral and he never showed favoritism to a particualr team. as for Davies- just an annoying littly twerp of a man who is completely biased and dissrespectful.

    3. DP, people don’t like Welsh fans like you is that you come on opposition boards just for a wind up and a gloat. You’re not a rugby fan, you’re just a dickhead so just piss off.

      Apologies to the moderator – I’ll happily be cited and take a ban.

  14. DP- a final word form me. I really hope that both Ireland and France give you boyos a stuffing (either that or score a last minute winning goal against your team as a result of a dopdgy ref decision). I wont be watching the Scotland vs. Italy game (a complete waste of time in my opinion as it means as much to beat Italy as beating the Kirkacaldy YMCA saugage boy youth team) but I will be supporting France and Ireland in their next games against Wales. Both are far better teams than Wales and the Welsh wont get away with the same level of cheating as they did against the Scots. These teams wont put up with it. We made the mistake of giving the Welsh too much respect. Lets just hope we never make that mistake again.

    1. Neil, all viewpoints are welcome on rugby but please keep the comments clean and free from off-colour references. This is the second time I’ve had to ask, please consider this a warning.

      1. Point taken but I thought my last comment was clean and even slightly humorous. As you know, most readers are frustrated at the poor performance of the ref during our last game and that was related to the thread and directly related to rugby. I will try to tone it down but am concerned that all comments may not be welcome. I have posted far more controversial posts in the past that have not caused a problem. I assume a couple of readers have emailed you to complain.

      2. Would these be the same readers that used the National Secrets Act to get your email address and hack into your ScottishRugbyBlog user account Neil?

      3. It’s your homophobic remarks that are your problem Neil. Cut it out please.

        Hee hee, National Secrets Act! I must have missed that one in Hansard!

      4. I don’t have a clue what you two are on about. Homophobic remarks I don’t think so- please provide evidence if you are accusing someone of being homophobic- RORY TAKE NOTE. Look at your own remarks FF and Alan that could be considered close to the mark including these ones.

        FF- this an obvious WU but I don’t care You know very well how RedClyde got my personal details but visiting my Linkdin Account anonymously and then posting personal information about me on this blog. Do you think that is acceptable or just for fun? That did not warrant a public ticking off by Rory in the same way that the unfounded accusations of me being homophobic have also gone unnoticed.
        There are more important things to life than rugby or this blog (that is certainly the case with me) but there should be consistency in the way things are policed on this blog.
        You don’t like me and I could not care less but please keep the discussion about rugby. You can disagree with my views (they are only my views after all and I am entitled to form my own opinion) but, as you know almost nothing about me, you should keep the discussion to that topic.

      5. Please elaborate on what “YMCA sausage boys” means then Neil if not some slur based around sexuality. Add to this previous post about “Nancy boys” and “jessies ” and I think you’ll see an unfortunate trend.

        Post in haste, repent at leisure!

      6. Allan, these terms are not homophobic in any shape or for. I suggest you take a look at an Oxford English dictionary. Sausage is a form of meat. Nancy is a girls name only. Are they homophobic terms- I don’t think so and prove it.

      7. Living in a country known for its “less tolerant” social views has clearly rubbed off on you. Keep telling yourself what you posted was fine and maybe one day you will really believe it.

  15. Rory, To follow up on my last message, I will certainly take on board what you have said but I also ask you to consider posting warnings to others who have been a bit close to the mark, particularly the abusive messages posted by Red Clyde a couple of months ago when he posted a highly personal attack on me This certainly warrants a warning). There are many other examples of people going overboard. I think a more general message to everyone would be appropriate. I know that some readers have probably emailed you to complain about me and you have now censored my messages but please give others the same consideration. That’s the only point I want to make.

    1. Neil,
      We have received no specific complaints about you, it is based solely on the observations my fellow writers have made on site activity, we don’t condone any posting of personal information etc and if you can remember the date or the post then I’d be happy to remove the comments in question.

      1. An interesting panel outcome for Finn. Viewed one way, it gives attacking kick chasers open licence to launch themselves recklessly into the air, leaving the defenders unsure what to do for fear of getting carded. In retrospect, it only left Russell two choices : get out of the way if at all possible and let the catcher plummet to earth at his own risk; or join him in 8 feet in the air and both suffer the consequences.

      2. Aye, just seen that.

        Apparently the entry level ban is 3 weeks, but Russell’s was reduced by a week due to his clean disciplinary record. Still incredible though.

        Although, apparently 2 of the 3 folk on the panel come from nations we still have to play in the 6N. Conspiracy theories are rife already – best put your tin foil hat on!

      3. Bizarrely judged the incident as a dangerous tackle – despite no tackle being attempted and Russell clearly trying to avoid a collision.

        Who replaces Finn then? I think I am leaning towards Hogg for 10, certainly if Maitland is back. Hogg has been filling in the line at 10 on occasion but his performance under the high ball has left something to be desired. If Maitland isn’t back, Tonks at 15 means we’d still have a FB who can step into the line at first receiver.

        Decidedly nervous about this game now.

    1. Crazy- 2 weeks ban for doing next to nothing except trying to get out of the way of a ball catcher. Madness.

    1. But Townsend is absolutely right ..
      Look at the footage, he’s watching the ball, he’s not late because he was just in time to catch the ball as it comes down to pitch level, he then sees Davies and tries to pull out.
      Total nonsense that he got the Yellow in the first place and absolute disgrace to be banned.
      The boys better be raging and carry this into the next match, stuffing Italy will help some, and then who knows England and Ireland might need to watch out.

      1. I am staggered by this decision! When I first saw it I was a bit disgruntled by the yellow card, but a 2 week ban is ridiculous, especially when there has been no further action on Rhys Webb’s high tackle on SCH!

        I’m not one for conspiracies, but if this had been an identical scenario involving Johnny Sexton you can practically guarantee there would probably have been no citing and certainly no 2 week ban!

      2. If that had been Johnny Sexton or any players in the Welsh, Irish or English teams then there would not even be a penalty, never mind a 2 week ban. Just how often do you recall players from these nations being given yellow/red cards. We seem to get the Lions share of penalties against us and dismissals. Why does the SRU not do anything about this. They need to raise the subject at a higher level.

      3. How often do you see players from other nations being carded you say Neil?

        Jonathan Davies was yellow carded for Wales on Sunday and Cuthbert was off for 10 against England.

        Rory Best was yellow carded for Ireland on Saturday.

        England are the only team, I think, not to have a player sin-binned this tournament but then Dylan Hartley hasn’t been involved however.

        So your point about other teams not falling foul of the laws doesn’t add up.

      4. Off course other teams do get penalties and yellow cards but it just seems that we take the Lions share,. I remember reading that we had the most penalty counts against us in last years six nations. I also believe we are top or almost top of the penal;ty couont this year. We always seem to be given a token yellow/red card against Wales and I’m getting fed up of it. I just feel that, because we dont stick up for ourselves in the way other teams do, we are seen as an easy target. The SRU ought to approach IRB about this.

      5. Neil – it is one thing decrying a ref that was out of his depth. It is quite another claiming there is some anti-Scottish conspiracy and we are always uniquely hard done by. Please stop – you sound like a Welsh fan.

      6. FF- you seem a bit English to me. You bang on as if you are a proud scot but I have my doubts. Having read your posts, I dont think you are the real McKoy and you dont seem to know that much about Scottish rugby or indeed rugby in general. You seem to have an opinion on everything but most of the time it is bull. Why don’t you just do us all a favour and shut up- go and watch the Simpsons as it is more like your style. Your sole purpose seems to be to slag people off and have a right good moan. You would probably be a world champion at negativity. You just seem to dominate every thred and noboday else ca get air space. Cant you see that you are just annoying all of the readers.

      7. Hi big man!

        Seem a bit English? What exactly do you mean?

        Funnily enough, Neil said a very similar thing on the Shug Blake thread and what do you know, your latest comment has popped up 2 minutes after his. Spooky!

      8. And its spelt ‘Real McCoy’ not ‘Real McKoy’..which is exactly how Neil spells it..badly. Anyway the comments section is going down the pan so I’m tapping out, just the articles for me.

  16. Rory – Any chance you can set up a thread on transfer activity, particularly at Glasgow? It is a little worrying Glasgow have recently announced the loss a trio of high profile players but are currently relying on some club players and Edinburgh loans to bulk out their squad. Any inside track on what is going on?

  17. Scottish Rugby Blog – I understand you can cancel replies when part way through writing but maybe a facility which lets you delete posts that you have already submitted could be implemented? Means you can delete your message just in case you put information in there that you shouldn’t have and you submitted by accident, comments you would like to retract or even messages made in anger and hot blood? Let’s be honest that’s usually all the time post Scotland games!

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