Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


France 15-8 Scotland

Scotland hadn’t beaten France in Paris in 16 years. That was the fact facing a young Scotland team, 5 of whom had never even played in the Six Nations. Amid the passion of a post-Charlie Hebdo Paris, this game was difficult to call for anyone who had an idea about this Scotland team. Ie not the French press.

An early Richie Gray lineout steal seemed like a good thing but when Blair Cowan pounced on the ball, several pumped up Frenchmen pounced on him and gave Lopez an early penalty kick to settle the hosts into the game.

Both sides tested out their kicking boots early on with Russell and Lopez probing in behind the defences well and the Scottish line holding up nicely against big French carriers. The lineout too was effective, with Gray making a guddle of French ball, and keeping his own safe.

As usual the scrum was less secure, with referee Nigel Owens impatient with the front rows from the earliest exchanges. After two against, Scotland got the nod from Owens within kicking range, and Greig Laidlaw duly levelled things up.

France struck back straight away with another penalty as the home team – playing in red – put together more good possession and while Scotland tackled all they were asked, the French still made ground pretty easily.

Tommy Seymour picked up a knock and after only quarter of an hour he was off and with it one of Scotland’s main threats. It coincided with a further period of scrambling defence by Scotland as Les Rouges grew in confidence, looking for gaps out wide. The first 20 served as a breathless and physical introduction to true international test rugby for Cowan, Russell and Bennett.

There was excitement for Scotland fans as Hogg – in at first receiver – stepped through the French defence and the men in dark blue offered a real threat to the French line. In the face of staunch defence it ended with a missed drop goal by Russell (perhaps an option too soon) but the Scots were looking a bit more settled, and with Seymour out, Hogg was suddenly a noticeable presence in the game.

Hogg had another foot race moments later as Dunbar stripped possession and finding space, hoofed it to the corner for the faster man to chase. France’s back three are no slouches and were up to it, Bennett being penalised for handling in the ruck as he desperately tried to regain the ball metres from the French try line.

Scotland were frustratingly close to clicking, with plenty of solid defence, good work at the breakdown but just the odd little mistake; a great steal from Cowan being followed by a fumble from Laidlaw.

Lopez kicked another penalty to make it 9-3 just minutes before half time, and that looked like that until Hogg, Visser and Bennett combined to put Dunbar within inches of the line. Scotland, instead of blowing it, were patient and intelligent and the ball went through the phases until Russell fizzed a pass out to Euan Murray who showed soft hands to pop it on for Dougie Fife to score in the corner. Laidlaw’s conversion came off the post but Scotland were right back in it.

Half Time France 9-8 Scotland

The opening salvos of the second half were much like the first, with probing kicks and a fierce contest at the breakdown. Ford had a first stutter at the lineout, while Hogg overcooked a clearance kick to give France an attacking platform. Dougie Fife – who till that point had been an able substitute for Seymour – made an error carrying the ball to touch, and angrily threw the ball away which Owens quite rightly penalised. Lopez took the very soft opportunity to stretch the French lead back out to more than a point.

Were Scotland starting to wilt?

France brought their hefty bench to bear with half an hour to play as Strokosch replaced Harley, who then came back on as Cowan went off for a concussion test.

France nearly scored their own try following a strong forward drive, but they spilled it and Finn Russell riskily chose to break out from his own in-goal area and fumbled right in front of the posts, having made all of about 2 metres. Luckily Owens was playing advantage for a knock on and he gave Russell a get out of jail card, taking it back for the scrum.

Unfortunately that scrum was collapsed and Lopez kicked another penalty to make it 12-8.

It was still close going into the final 20 minutes, and the effort from the Scottish pack was mammoth, but Scotland vitally needed possession to try and get into the French 22 and get some points.

Unfortunately Johnnie Beattie was yellow carded for bringing down a rolling maul near the line, and Scotland spent the period they were finding it hardest down a man, and defending frantically.

At times some of it was scarcely credible, Cowan, Strokosch and Jonny Gray putting themselves in the way of massive French runners time and time again. When the French attacked out wide, it was Russell and Dunbar who had to hunt pace men like Teddy Thomas down.

With big Jim on and the Scots looking to slow the clock a little with Beattie off, they put together some great mauls of their own but they were looking tired heading into the last ten minutes restored to a full compliment.

It looked like it was all over moments later when Visser sprinted out of the line for a speculative interception, Huget snatched it back and was on for the try until he fumbled under pressure from the excellent Mark Bennett.

Scotland had one last attacking lineout but couldn’t hold on to it in the face of huge defensive pressure from France, and a French boot hoofed it clear and Scotland were pinged for holding on. With two minutes to play, Lopez kicked another penalty to take the margin to 7 and the game was out of reach for Scotland.

France were the winners, and worth that win following a typically oppressive performance at the breakdown that meant Scotland could put very little together in the second half but they will – once again – see this as one that got away and hope to put that right against a wounded Wales

SRBlog Man of the Match: Stuart Hogg was immense for Scotland all game. With Tommy Seymour off, he had the roving attack brief and made the best of several half gaps in the French defence, sparking all that was good about Scotland in the first half.

128 Responses

  1. Incredibly frustrating as this game could s easily have gone our way. Silly handling errors and a couple of daft penalties cost us again but still a vast improvement on last years diabolical six nations performances. Sadly though, I have to say that Visser was a liability in defence yet agan, too often found out of position and he seems to be far too timid about actually taking the ball up and recycling it. Laidlaw was also showing sings of slipping back to his crabbing sideways bedore passing self, thankfully only a couple of times in each half but he needs to pack that in as we get precious little enough quick ball without him wasting it.

    Bennett, Russell, Hogg, both Grays, Harley and Dunbar were frigging awesome tonight and i am feeling good about next week against the taffs who will expect Roberts to roll over us in the midfield and their pack to cheat at every scrum with impunity. We shall see about that boyos…..!

    1. Massive blow losing Seymour so early and I agree that Laidlaw was crabbing and too slow in getting the ball away. Russell did very well particularly with often slow ball. Visser and Fife really are not strong enough defensively but no one can be faulted for effort. Interesting to hear Townsend alude to the fact he thought Visser should have made the interception. I can’t help but feel we chucked that game away. Still big improvement from previous years. We fronted up well, magnificent defense and looked dangerous in attack. The real test of progress comes next week against the Welsh. I just hope at least some of Seymour, Maitland, Dunbar and Lamont are fit.

  2. Visser and Fife did not lose that game. We’re just looking for excuses. Yes Visser flapped a bit, Fife looked out if his depth but having Seymour or Maitland would not have won us that game. Indiscipline and French forward power were our undoing. Still it was a good effort, best game of the weekend rugby wise and, England aside perhaps, ive seen nothing from the other teams that doesn’t give us cause for optimism. But we need to start getting results, plucky losers does not give us the respect at lot of us Scots seem to think is a given right. Simply outmuscled in the second half today. England v France is going to be a bone cruncher!!!

  3. Sorry lads for being negative, i’m just really disappointed. To lighten the mood..what about the Hogg pass through the legs!? Awesome! : )

    1. I thought Hogg was outstanding and it was great seeing him back to that kind of bristling, confident form.

      If Cotter can get these kind of performances on a consistent basis from the players at our disposal improved results will come.

      1. Agreed. Once France realised our backline had real ability the second half they just kept it in the forwards. In some ways very complimentary to the Scot backs, and (shock horror!) good game management from PSA.

  4. Agree with Mike. Thought Scotland were excellent in the first half and looked lively, dangerous and creative. In the second France turned the screw, kept it tight and out muscled us. It was a seriously impressive defensive effort to keep France out but we barely got out our half an the second half. Is there any other 6 nations team we can hope to out muscle?

    Would things have been better if we could have brought Brown and/or Barclay off bench…?

  5. The size of the opposition who are amazingly athletic is adding a new factor which Scotland’ is struggling to cope with. Our defence chopped them down but it was energy sapping and with it we lost our ability to win enough ball for the backs who played with adventure and improved skills. We need the fastest back row to win ball who hunt together. We have had some great back row combinations in winning teams. While the individuals are good Is there a combination that can drive and pinch ball for 80 minutes? Plenty has been written about the Killer Bs why is this experience not sitting on the bench if not considered first choice.

    PS If the last line of defence is going for an interception then they better get it!

    1. Spot on about the attempted interception when the option is to drift out and smash him as he took the pass. Mind you it was bloody close and the fact he wasn’t the last line of defence offsets it for me

      1. It was worth the risk – he only marginally missed it and that interceptions would have given us the win, just as Huget’s interception won it for France last year. Sometimes you just have to take calculated risks.

        I think in the second half we just needed to hold onto the ball when we got into their half, instead of rushing it out wide. Our forwards actually made ground driving against the French pack and I think keeping it tight and denying them possession might have won us back the initiative and given the ref a chance to penalise their side for once. If you are defending all day you give away penalties. We constantly surrendered the initiative through turnovers and we just needed to look after the ball more.

      2. I actually thought he should have been up flatter and not so deep. If so I think he would have made it.

  6. Great effort by the boys, and miles better than the opener last season in Ireland. Did we really think we would win in Paris beforehand? This was at least a good step forward. Real skills on show from our backs!!

    It did remind of Glasgow vs. Toulouse and Bath, the power game is hard to counter, but we’re getting closer. A few decent bounces and a break from the ref would come in handy next week. I thought old Nige was a bit rough on us at the breakdown, and I don’t think they had a single straight throw in at the line out all night. Still he did give us the doubt in most of the scrum decisions. We didn’t lose it because of the ref it has to be said. A bit of luck could have made a difference. It will more or less be more of the same next week, big Jamie down the middle etc etc, no different to the big fellas today. If we keep tackling it will be close and we might edge it at home. Fingers crossed on injuries.

    1. It took 23:30 before he penalised the french at the breakdown. He let them get away with murder all game. Every time their first defender went down on his hands and wasn’t supporting his weight then he worked his hands back to the ball

      At the worst they slowed the ball down and the best they scored a penalty or turnover

      Lineouts as stated

      Scrums what a disgraceful penalty against Murray after the French loosie hinged and owens said Murray went on his knees and that was the penalty???

      Nope Owens had a shocker for my money

  7. Scotland gave a very credible performance. The game went pretty much as I imagined but we should feel satisfied that we played most of the rugby and they didn’t break our line.

    What we lacked was a bit of nous and game management. In the second half when we finally relieved pressure and it into their half we were too frantic and we needed to hang onto the ball and build pressure and try to force a penalty. Instead we always went for the killer pass or winning break almost immediately and gave the ball back too cheaply. Knowing when to force it and when to be patient requires more experience but we should not come away from that performance feeling too negative. To keep progressing, we really do need to get results at home so next week is a big game. Glad I have tickets but disappointed we aren’t going there with a victory under our belts.

    1. I feel we are at our best attacking from turnover ball, kicks fielded in open play and 1st and 2nd phase. When we go multiple phases we are losing our shape and there is some indecision about whether we continue to go the same way or reverse

      This is what happened when we went for the field goal – it was the right option because structure had become lost

      This is part of the learning process for a new structure and we should look for improvements as players get more accustomed to it. You can only do so much on the practice pitch it is with games that it really develops

  8. Agreed about injuries particularly Dunbar.the physicality of this match and the England Wales match was incredible but we can’t afford to lose many of our front line players. Hopefully Maitland and Scott as well as Seymour will be recovered for Wales as frankly I don’t fancy Cuthbert, Roberts or North running at Visser…

    1. Yes we do need most of our top players to be fit and on the pitch for the entire match v Wales,as bench a tad on the weak side. Seymour a case in point who reads the game so well and fully commits himself to interceptions,which resulted in opportunist tries during the AIs.

      Thought Visser was lying too deep and looked a bit startled to see the ball swinging out to Huget,half-hearted effort really as alluded to by Townsend.Notice that he tends to shoulder barge opponents rather than actually tackling them and is bounced off.
      Hope Maitland returns as has a more rounded game.North may miss next week due to concussion or being dropped.

      Great combative effort and creativity from Scotland though similar feelings to last year…small margins win matches.

      1. Neil – did you think Blair Cowan, Rob Harley and Stuart Hogg let us down? I thought they were all quality.

    1. come to realise that our womens team is poor but the point I have made many times on this blog is that our youth teams are also poor and this is a big worry for the future. There are very few good players coming through the ranks. Note I said ‘very few’ and not nobody. We need tyo provider these players with much better coaching at youth level. it really needs a good coach or three from New Zealand to help out.

  9. Quick technical question relating to two penalties Scotland conceded can’t remember if they were kicked. When a retreating player goes down on a loose ball are they now coached to stay down and be a target for a ruck? If so its brainless as a player may not hold the ball on the ground and just invites a turnover. Surely better to buy time by attempting to get to your feet. Also in attempting to gain your feet you should have protection from the ref against players diving on a man on the ground. There. Everyone asleep? Great back line performance less Visser tonight think the sheer size of the French pack ground us down. Regardless of whether they were infringing at rucks there’s just a lot of mass to move.

    1. That’s precisely where I thought Nigel Owens was poor today. Players must be allowed to regain their feet before being challenged but he allowed the French to attempt to rip the ball away whilst the Scots lads were still on the deck. He actually gave a couple of penalties for holding on. Poor officiating from an otherwise solid display of refereeing.

      Alas, I felt the touch judges were pretty sh#t today though as they repeatedly ignored french runners being in front of the kicker. It’s not as if it’s hard to spot either when they are supposed to be looking along the line.

    2. If you fall on the ball you are expected to try and regain your feet. The opposition should allow you the opportunity to do this. If they dive on top of you that should be a penalty.

      If that player with the ball stays on the ground the defender should just reach down and pick the ball up and if you stop them doing this it is a penalty

      Not sure what the penalties you are referring to were for or which side got penalised :)

      1. Scotland were penalised in the first half for holding on despite not being given the chance to get up.

  10. If Rugby is going to grow in popularity then World Rugby need to ensure the referees tidy up the breakdown and scrum. Wales, NZ and France are the worst offenders. At every breakdown the knees and elbows are on the ground and rarely is the man supporting his weight. In the same token, the defending players must bind before cleaning out – how often do you see you a defender running in and shoulder charging a ruck. At the scrum you see the loosehead bore in(not square) all the time or simply hinge. The flankers are usually interfering with the opposing prop’s bind. I watch a lot of rugby and you see it all the time. I don’t mind Scotland or Glasgow losing to a better team but I’m sick of seeing scrums being taken apart and penalties awarded to the dominant team. It’s disappointing, we got a couple of decent referring decisions against France overall there was a lot of cheating left unpunished. Lastly, Fife was extremely stupid but it was totally unnecessary to actually award the penalty. Normally the winger holds on to it before being assaulted by 3-4 of the opposition forwards before letting go and the line-out commences, never see penalties dished out for that.

    1. I really dont know what the answer is. the team dominating the scums invarable end up with points awarded in theri favor and I often dont know why. i dont think World Rugby has any idea on how to solve this problem and i dont think they give referees any guidance on it either. Its an extermeley subjective part of the game but the rules have got to change.

  11. I think today’s game served to highlight what Strauss will bring to the team when he’s eligible, or Ashe when fit. We need that physicality. That said I thought Beattie had a good game. We are a young evolving team and guys like Bennett and J Gray hopefully will only get better. Still we must beat Wales at home if progress is to be claimed.

    It was good to see Hogg hitting form today and I think Seymour could have done some damage when the game started to break up, if he had stayed on. Dunbar is a class act and Bennett showed today what he’s about. We could have done with big Sean today to mix it up physically, hopefully he’s back for Sunday.

    1. Across the team there is evidence of surer handling and a deftness of touch with Euan Murray putting his hand up at our well-worked try. Cotter has improved our skill set.
      The yearned for strike runners are emerging in Bennett and Russell so time now to ambush what’s looking like a one-dimensional Wales. Payback for last year and a chance to douse Martyn William’s assessment of us as overrated on Scrum V last week no better incentive.

  12. Remember my prediction- Scotland would produce a great performance int he first half and the teams would be just about level at half time. however, Th half time team talk wouold rev the French to a higher level at the start of the seconmd half and they would put some pointas on the table. I also predicted a circa 5 point advantage to France at the final whistle. Was I right or was i right- just rememebr where you heard it first. I have supported Scotland for decades and can predict alsmost all of their results- win or lose. i normally also guess the advanatge within 5-10 points as well. I am only wrong about 3% of the time.

    Predictions for Ireland and Wales- Scotland to win these games by 1-7 points. Hpwever I think the Ireland game will be very close. I think they will dominate us but we will end up winning by one or two points. We will beat Italy by arround 220 points but lose to England by circa 10 points. Just remenber where you heard it first.

    Back to the game- we almost never win in France. They have a better team for a start and I feel our team has psychological issues to deal with when playing France in Paris. We never seem to reach our potential at that ground or have the bounce of the ball in our favor, referee decisions in our favor etc. I partly put this down to the fact that 80,000 French fans are there cheering their team on and that can make a difference of 5-10 points. Refs will tend to favor the home team even if they do it subconciously. The French team tend to respond to the suporters and play at a higher level and, dont ask me why, but we never seem to get lucky on this ground. The same is true of Twickenham, and probably even more so. Thats why I predict a 10 point advantage to England. Wales, Ireland and Scotland play at a similar level, so I expect these games to be close but, with home advantage, I would hope/expect that Scotland would win both. Any village idiot team can beat Italy (they should not even be in the 6 nations in my opinion) so I think we should win this one by 20 points or more.

    The Final standings will be as follows:

    1. England (champions but probably not the grand slam)
    2. France
    3. Scotland
    4. Ireland
    5. Wales
    6. Italy (wooden spoon)

    1. As usual a contribution of absolutely nothing to the post match analysis of the game or any relation to the subject of the actual thread

      1. Exactly what do you mean- did you actually read my message or are you a WUM. My message was entirely related to the match and givwesd a prediction about how I think the 6 nation results will go. I have been right about all of the games so far so. Perhaps you could read the article again.

      2. Neil. Posting about your amazing mystical foretelling ability to predict results is NOT analysis. Neither is prattling on about noisy fans, Italy bring rubbish or predicting the final standings. If you were made of chocolate, you would eat yourself! if you want to talk about the match and aspects of it, please do but don’t whinge when someone picks you up on posting unrelated garbage (yet again).

    2. Allan- If you read my message you would understand that most of it relates to wy we lost the game and have lost in Paris for so many years. So yest it is related to the thread. However, I’m of the opinion that you dont like any of the message I write so it would not matter what it was about, you wouldnt like it.

    3. Allan- does it upset you that I predicted the result of the game almost exactly (within 2 points). Does it also upset you that I predicted the results of the other two games almost precisely. No bad for someone you consider to be useless.

    4. Neil – I may be wrong but predicting that we will beat Italy by 220 points may be one of the 3% of games that you get wrong…

    1. Neil, either this is a blatant troll or you know less about rugby than I have given you credit for; and I think you know precisely zero about rugby.

      You don’t watch Glasgow’s games because you can’t see them in Saudi Arabia so you think Wilson would have made an impact based on last season’s test form when he was dire!?!

      Wilson isn’t even in the Warriors starting line up. Last year he was shown to lack the dynamism, bulk or offloading to excel at test level. Not to mention that Beattie played very well. Why do you think Wilson would have made an impact?

      1. Beattie did play quite well but I also think Wilson could have made an impact. A young guy with lots of enthusiasm. Also with a buit of a bad attitude but, neverthless, a Scottish player with a glittering career ahead of him. And yes I do occassionally watch our pro-teams when I make it back to the UK for a visit. I also have friends in Scotland who relay information to me about out pro teams.

      2. Wilson isn’t even going to be in the RWC squad and that is totally unrelated to his conviction for assault.

      3. Maybe he wasnt going to be in the squad- I just feel that he should have been considered based on ability alone.

      4. FF – eveytime I see Neil’s name with a comment underneath I just don’t read it. Even though its hard I suggest trying to do the same.

      5. Mike- regardless of whether you agree or disagree with my opinions you should NEVER ask anyone to ignore my messages. I dont particualrly care if you ignore them- that is your right. Just dont ask anyone else to do so.

    2. Neil, Even if you are the Sheik of Shettleston, you do need to expand your reportoire of topics.

  13. I know that there are alot of comments about the refs perfomance. I’m not on his side but its got to be one of the most difficult jobs in the world- chasing arround, running about twice as much as any of the players and trying to make important decisions at the same time when not being able to see all of the action that we can on a wide screen TV with the benefit of replays etc. The problem is that they tend to favor the home side with 80,000 fans screeming in their ear- it is probably subconcious but I have noticed this effect in many sports, not just rugby. Thats one reason why Man U hardly ever have any penalties called against them at Old Trafford, why Celtic and Rangers get every decision going in their favor when they play at home etc. I dont think the referees go out to favor one particular side but they are only human and will always tend to support the home team. We have to be aware of this and rise above it. Just rememeber- it will be our turn to shine next weekend and I predict a 5-7 point advantage for Scotland.

    There is another fctor- can we really be objective when we are supporting one of the teams only. We tend to forget the decisions that go in our favor and only remember the ones that dont. The best plan is to ask a neutral what they thought of the game and whether there was any favoritism. You may not get the answer that you were looking for but at least it will be objective.

    Try not to blame the ref- he is doing a job than none of us could ever hope to do and he is only human after all.

    1. I have to agree with Neil..amazingly haha. Nigel Owens is the best ref in the world and we all know this. The issue isn’t the decisions, its where they were made. If they weren’t in kicking range etc.
      No points scored with 14 men…that was incredible, against that pack and that maul. Luck defeated us yesterday not France. But for the bounce of a rugby ball…

  14. I think the biggest thanks has to go to our coach Vern Cotter- just an amazing job in turning a group of no -hopers into a good rugby team (it has been a miracle). If SJ had been couching our team, even with the players we currently have in our squad, we would have lost by 50 points. We would have definately conceded two tries during the sin binning.

  15. The set piece, a few lineout aside, was pretty strong which was pleasing. Just really missed some aggressive ball carrying. Denton has his flaws but the game last night was suited for him shame he was injured. Unless injuries force Cotters hand I wouldn’t make to many changes to the team v Wales.

    1. Mike- I think our team was just about as good as it could be and it is great to see everyone giving 100%. could not ask for more, except to cut out the occassional mistake.

  16. For a laugh have a read on Scrum V on what the welsh fans think of us after the French game. They still think we’re total rubbish. I really really really hope we beat Wales, not just beat them either. I want a lesson dished out!!!

    1. I think the best judgement relates to how Scotland and Wales got on in the Autumn internationals. Both teams faired quite well and are on a par with each other. Nothing has convinced me otherwise based on the results and performances this weekend. However, home advantage is worth about 5-10 points so I would expect our boys to shade it. What wont happen is a whitewash score for either team. I still think it will be close but Wales will be surprised at how far we have come. For the last 14 years or more, Scotland have been a disgrace- full of useless players giving much less than 100%. So in a way you can understand where their opinions come from. Things have changed now and, if they underrate us, they will pay the price. I expect an open high scoring game but the first 30 mins will be a tight low scoring affair, the action will come towards the end of the first half and throughout the second- predicted Score- Scotland 30: Wales 23.
      Wouldn’t it be great if Wales were to finish 5th- it could easily happen as I don’t fancy them to beat either France or Ireland this year. Wales are not the team they were 3 or 4 seasons ago and Scotland have probably passed them in terms of ability. Just look at how well our pro teams are doing- more than a match for anything in Wales. Above all, we need revenge for that 51:3 mauling a year ago. I wouldn’t mind kicking SJ’s butt for allowing that to happen. Then I would kick the players asses. That sort of performance should NEVER be repeated again.

    2. Mike, a lot of Wales disdain towards Scotland comes from some supporters misguided notion that they are a rugby superpower. I have Welsh friends who cringe at some of the comments made by so called Welsh ‘fans’. Glasgow regularly beat the Welsh regions so I see no reason why we should have any sort of inferiority complex. The problem for Scotland is we don’t have a large enough player base. Injuries hit us really hard, but we have a good first fifteen who have underperformed too often. We need to cut out the penalties and basic errors, it cost us on Saturday and in the past. Time to prove the doubters wrong.

      1. The lack of a playerbase is the biggest problem we have in Scotland but everyone seems to slag me off when I mention it. We need at leat one , if not two, more pro teams and the SRU need to do more in terms of youth development and promoting the game. At present they sit on their fat asses toand do nothing. Just look at how crap our youth teams are and that willbe the shape of the future if nothing is done to hault the decline. We just need more teams and more scots born players in order to compete with the best.

        Sure we are playing better than we did last year, mainly due to the efforts of Vern Cotter and Townsend, but this could be a short term thing as what will happen when these guys leave. I know exactly- back to Sj or equivalent as coach combined with rubbish players coming through the youth system and a teamfull of seconraters from the SH. The long term future looks bleak but few fans are prepared to admit it and noboday is prepared to do anything about it. So dont be surprised if the best we can hope for is a wooden spoon dogfight with Italy in 5 years time or less.

  17. Just a thought- I always try to keep the messages related to the thread so I should apologise in advance. However, why is our U20 team so poor? They got absolutely thrashed by France. Is it down to poor coaching, lack of players of what. I would be interested to know what readers think as this worries me for the future. We may have a semi decent team at present but what will happen in 4 years time?

    1. Ahhh..well my self imposed ban reading your comments lasted 16 hours! But to be honest Neil I replied because it worries me also. I understand that the French and England players are on Professional contracts so they’re essentially full time as apposed to a couple of EDP for Scotland the rest are amateur. I watched the games last season, skills wise, technical ability wise theres not much in it. However the English and French players play in the Aviva A and the French have an academy league and are physically on another level. Its men against boys. But then other teams catch up physically and parity is achieved. Wales also have a decent under 20s team (beat England). Im not sure of the set up in Wales or Ireland, are their domestic leagues semi-pro? French away is always tough to be fair. Hopefully the New BT academy games will give the players a taste of higher intensity and give them the better tools to compete. Apart from that the SRU havnt got the money to have 23 lads on full time contracts from 16/18 onwards. I don’t know what to think….

      1. Mike, Thanks for the reply. I don’t really know what the answer is myself but what I do know is that we need to be concentrating our efforts on our youth players, giving them coaching at the highest level and getting these guys to play at the highest level. Sure the SRU have a part to play but the pro teams have to do their part as well and I’m not sure they are really dong so much in terms of youth development at present. I also think some of our club teams could do more and the SRU really needs to do more in terms of advertising and promotion in order to encourage more youths into the game. To be honest, it has been quite rare to watch our youth teams do well in recent years and they regularly get turned over by 40 points or more. The trouble is that I don’t think enough people care or recognise that there is a problem. Perhaps they will in 3 years time when some of these guys come through the ranks.

    2. One possibility is that for age grade rugby the advantage of the very large unions (England and France) manifests more strongly. The age boundaries are short, so if you can take a cross section across many more teams you are going to have a lot more choice. I’m not saying this is the only reason, just a factor. At test level the age boundaries are 19ish – 34ish, which bridges a fair few more cohorts to choose from. Obviously in the NH France and England still have a significant advantage here in terms of depth, but the chance of finding a decent player or two aged 19 – 30 odd for each position is improved for the teams with less choice.

    1. Who the F r u to call me 14 years old and offer no justification. We don’t know anything about you (too afraid to reveal anything I assume) yet you make such a crazy statement.

  18. Anyway, back to last night’s Test. Our viewpoint in SdF was too high up and distant to get much of a clue of what the penalties were for. But it was good enough to see some outstanding defence from Scotland but sadly some poorly chosen and badly executed tactical kicking. We really thought at half-time we were on our way to winning this. The France fans were indeed very subdued. We seemed to allow ourselves to get dragged into a forwards slogging match second half, which didn’t really suit us, and all the first half momentum was lost. Nice to see a lot of good game management to keep the French scoreless when JB was binned. And we had a very good view of the Visser attempted intercept. It was well worth a shot and there was cover for trying it. Lots of pluses from this performance, and lots to work on too in the run up the next round.

  19. I thought we played well yesterday against a strong French side. In previous years we would have been two tries down at half time and probably a further two in the second half. It’s great to see the way we’re playing now attacking positively when we can and with players coming through like Russell, Bennett, J Gray, Cowan, Harley, Hogg and Dunbar the future looks bright. The front row carried on their AI form and Beattie carried well. We are definitely making progress, the Six Nations, especially games like France away when they’re on form, is a step up from the AI’s. I thought Visser looked out of his depth. Barring too many injuries we have a great chance to win our home games.

  20. Well played by the boys yesterday. As prieviously extolled, we were only outmuscled on occasions, rather than outplayed.
    The French had to find ridiculous 25 stone behemoths from the South Sea Islands to allow them to continue rumbling forward.
    Thought we were competitive in most aspects, but just a fraction short in scrum. Lineout was strong although it was under pressure in he second half and a few throws were innaccurate.
    We should accept as a compliment that the French decided to keep it tight through the forwards, rather than allow the match to become loose, as it’s clear they were very worried about our backs.

    Yes , we still need to find a few methods of unleashing the backs,as other tems will try and strangle possession as the French did, but a solid performance by all on the pitch.

    I wouldn’t single out any Scots player for too much criticism, but if Visser is going for the intercept (which he was absolutely right in doing) he needs to really go for it, and to be prepared to knock it on if he can’t quite catch it.
    Only an great tackle by Bennett saved a certain French try.

    Also thought that Nigel Owen giving a penalty against Fife was a seriously pedantic decision and very unfair. The rule was introduced to stop players denying possession to the opposition who wanted to play the ball (professionalism of the worst type). As there was no Frenchman within 30 meters of Fife when it happened, it can only be described as a typical instance ‘waspish’ behaviour from an irritating and inconsistent official. Those of you who claim Owen as the best refereee in the universe need to open your eyes.

  21. Prgmatic Optomist- There is really nothing wrong with Owen as a referee. None of us could do his job- believe me. The referees run about twice as much as the players and are alwayys expected top keep up with play. Could you keep up with Bryan Habbana- I think not. At the same time as running arround like an idiot they have to make important refereeing decisions. Unlike us they dont have the benefit of widescreen TV or an action replay played over and over about 5 times. They have to make an instant decision based on their best judgement. Like all of us, they are only human and can make mistakes. How many of us have made a mistake at work? If he hear the answer that you have not then I know that you are lying. The difference is that the mistakes the referee makes are for everyone to see. And what about the referree decisions that go in Scotlands favor- this was certainly the case in the match I watched when we took on Argentina. If I had been Argentinian then I would have blamed the referee for that loss as we seemed to get every decision going. So I definately dont blame the referee for our defeat. I would say that we lacked weight and strenghth in the forwards and that meant that we did not have enough posession. That, comnbined with a few silly errors and a bit of bad luck meant that we lost the game. I generally dont like him as a player but I would have probably brought on Jim Hamilton in the second half just to give us a bit more weight and strenghth in the scrums and lose rucks. Appart from that, I thought we played quite well.

    1. Neil, I enjoy moaning about referees, so stop trying to spoil my fun!
      I’m not saying that Owens was responsible for our loss yesterday, but that one decision for the Fife penalty really wound me up.

      1. Well that’s one thing the scots are good at- whinging and moaning and finding excuses for losing games- too windy, moon in wrong position etc. For the last 14 year Scotland have been an ‘if only team’ If only the other team didn’t turn up we would have won etc. Makes for great debates nevertheless.

  22. Just another thought- I think a try shouold be worth alot more points, as it is in rugby league. The team that scores the most trys should win the game as that is what rugby is all about in my opinion. For me, a try should be work 8 points and a conversion 2. I wouold make drop goals and penalty goals worth 1 point each. that wouold result in a much more interesting free flowing game. At the moment there are too many games won on drop goals and penaltyu goals. lets make the players work the ball more. What do you think?

  23. hopes dashed again but plenty of positives. French kept tryless, but for the fact we leaked penalties, we were in it. I do now however head to the capital with heavy heart in that a big ask got a little bit bigger. That said a few welsh friends of mine are very nervous, so that counts as something.
    I think we’re set for an entertaining tournament, england have shown a bit of devil out wide so when we go toe to toe with them it should be interesting. For me the welsh were found out big time, granted GAtland doesn’t seem too bother and is focusing on the world cup but good lord,.. that 2nd half was 1 sided :).
    As long as we can keep moving forward and scoring tries I’ll be satisfied, interesting to not the fixtures for the next 2 years adn we still won’t get italy as a 1st game,…this is bordering on unjust !

  24. Just been looking at some of the messages on the scrumV blog. There are some Welsh fans who really give us no chance and think we will be involved in anothwer wooden spoon dogfight against Italy. Others are a bit more reasonable and realistic. What most of them fail to adress is that Wales may well be facing a wodden spoon dogfight with Italy themselves. There is a good cahnce that we will beat them by arround 5-7 points next weekend and I dont give them much chance against Frnace or Ireland, so they may well be facing the wooden spoon. You would still back Wales to beat Italy but who knows. It would be really good if they did take the wooden spoon this year after years of arrogance and turning us over both at and away from home. I remeber that our downfall seemed to start arround the year 2000 and I remember various things from that time:

    1. Keith Woods
    2. Italy joined the 6 nations
    3. improving Welsh and Irish teams, overtaking Scotland
    4. Welsh and English arrogance

    Thats why I disslike all of the above intensely. Of course, Keith Woods is not to blame for our downfall- we imploaded in spectacular form all by ourselves- but I do associate him from that era and I cringe every time I see him comentating on TV- does he realise that Ireland were Shite up until the early 2000’s and were the laughing stock of the old 5 nations (rather similar to italy at present)? I also hate the Italian rugby team because they were, and still are rubbish but still managed to put a win or two or three over us in teh early 2000’s. It’s just hard to imagine how we went from being a good team in the late 90’s to a rubbish one in the early 2000’s in the space of only a few years. You can blame the fact that we were not prepared for the professional era and the SRU made some spectacular errors of judgement but it is just hard to fathom how the side cold decline so rapidly as much as the fortunes of Ireland and Wales rose.

    That is why i am so concerned about the poor state of affaris at U20 level. If Sean Lineen is a crap coach and can’t get our team playing well then just sack him and bring in a man who can. All of this is being overlooked at present, mainly through lack of media coverage and the fact that the Scotland team seemed to have improved over the last 6 months. However, if we dont look to the future then we will be faced with a 2000’s style decline in 2017. I want our side to achieve so much more and so should you. The famous ice hockey player Wayne Gretski once stated- “I never skate to the puck. I skate to where the puck will be.” In Scotland, most fans only care about the present tense when they should be looking to the future and taking the SRU, clubs and pro-clubs to task about what is happening at youth level.

    Can I suggest starting another thread entitled “Why are our youth teams so poor and why should we care?”

  25. Seeing a lot of comments on how poor Visser was on Saturday. He’s certainly not as good at the defensive side of things but I didn’t think he had a shocker v France? He’s a good support runner and is always on the shoulder. None our players are perfect, all have a side of their game they need to work on. Wonder if the speculation over his future is affecting him. Maitland had one of his best games v Bath once his future was sorted out.

    1. I don’t think Visser had a shocker but he just infuriates fans. His defence is awful as he never tackles low, and tends to shoulder barge as opposed to tackling properly. He also rarely ever fully commits when put under pressure going for a high ball. I think much of the frustration with him comes from the fact that he is a devastating strike runner, and could genuinely be world class if only he could sort out his tackling, and played with a bit more conviction. As for Maitland I think his improved performance came more from playing in his natural position of full back. We genuinely have a very exciting back division when everyone is fit. Having watched the game back I think someone needs to have a wee word with Laidlaw though. Still too slow getting the ball away and I was surprised to read Mike Blair being slightly critical of him on his BBC blog. I know it won’t happen but I hope either Pyrgos (if fit), or SHC, get a reasonable amount of game time against Wales, just to see if they make a difference. I’m still optimistic my tenner on Scotland for the championship is safe though :-)

      1. I noted the criticism as well. First time I’ve seen any instance of it from Mike Blair, whose opinion I do respect. I stopped criticising Laidlaw after the AI’s, where he played well, but I don’t think he’s the best scrum half we have. He’d be my 3rd choice after Cusiter and Pyrgos.

  26. Won’t write the same old same old as I agree with 99% of what has been written above. The only confusion I had was with people saying that Beattie had a good game?

    I had big reservations for him going into this game (I don’t think he can cut it anymore at international), his ball carrying is just not good enough for a No.8, so I watched him pretty closely.

    He got knocked back over the gain line in nearly every carry, (i think he had 2 good but only about a meter gain), he knocked on twice (both from losing the ball in the tackle), gave away 2 penalties, and got a yellow card? Now for one player that is a lot of bad things to do with no real good to make up for it.

    My only worry is who else do we have? Denton is a good ball carrier but has the finesse of a 2×4, Brown can play but might not have the impact that is needed at 8, and Ashe is looking like a good prospect but is injured. Just wish we had a Parisse, Morgan, or even a Faletau.

      1. Angus you are correct, Strauss becomes eligible something like 2 days before Scotland’s first game…

      2. Thanks Ruairidh I thought it was something like that. His first cap could potentially be a world cup finals game. That would have the pundits diving for the record books I think

  27. And I think Visser has yet to settle for the Scotland side. I think coming in as a dutchman, he probably feels a bit isolated still. Needs to get his Pro12 confidence into the international stage and that should all come with time. I do get that these players are proffesionals but they are also humam.

  28. The Guadian showing top 10 players at the weekend with defenders beaten. Tommy Seymour in there with 3 players. He was only on the pitch 20 mins. Fingers cross the injuries are not our downfall this weekend.

  29. What’s good to see is that Hogg, Bennett, Dunbar, Russell, Jonny Gray, Richie Gray, Euan Murray, Ross Ford and Ally Dickinson have all been selected in various different teams of the week including planet rugby and the telegraph. To think a couple of years ago we would have struggled to get a couple of players in teams of the weekend throughout the whole tournament! Wales next week should be interesting as Wales will probably be shorn if Samson Lee and maybe George North. There aren’t many Wales players I prefer to ours apart from the backhoe.If Scotland can show the same physicality next week I think Murrayfield will be a great place to be!

  30. When does it go from all contributions welcome to someone just being a spamming out and out shit stirring troll? I ask because I dont come here to read posts abusing my race, calling us typical whingers etc etc and making posts that are clearly trying to provoke reactions and replies to try and scrounge validity for them and the dross they are writing

    When is enough enough? Refreshing to see people are not rising to the bait and replying to all these provocations but they only have to get a reply to one to feel justified and this whole thread has been hijacked by one persons random ramblings and it is driving me away from what was previously a great site

    Very disappointing

    1. Hi – Rory addressed this on another comment thread recently. We do keep a weather eye out on the comments board but it’s not possible to vet every comment. If you feel someone has overstepped the mark and written something abusive then please let us know. There’s an e-mail address in the “Write For Us” section.
      We want to encourage as much debate and discussion as possible without censorship. But clearly abuse isn’t something we’d tolerate.

      1. Cameron – have you considered including up/down thumb buttons? I think wordpress can support it, but might be wrong. Maybe you could ask a question in the survey that was mentioned previously about whether this would be popular.

        I get the impression that contributions to the forum and probably overall traffic have increased quite a lot in the past year or so which is great. However, abuse isn’t the only online behaviour that can ruin an online community and a number of posters have bemoaned the volume of trolling posts that have appeared in the last 6 months or so. Online communities need a way to self-regulate otherwise the quality of debate and discussion can be destroyed pretty easily.

      2. FF, thanks for the feedback. We do have a survey in the works hopefully be up next week while the site is busy. There is also a long awaited update to the site also under construction so I’d be happy to look at better/more involved feedback mechanisms if the circumstances (and our readers!) demanded it.

      3. FF- I just think that this is a highly subjective area. If someone is being abusive on a personal message then they should be blocked from using the blog. however, where do you draw the line on blocking messages when all opinions are supposed to be welcome. When does a blog become a troll and how do you define trolling on the net- all very subjective and impossible to determine. At the end of the day nobody has to read anyone else’s messages. As long as they are not deliberately abusive, strongly racist or strongly sexist (friendly banter should be acceptable) then I really don’t see what the problem is. Debate and discussion should always be promoted, censorship should not.

      4. Firstly this is a privately run blog and the owners can do whatever they like
        What makes a troll? Someone who continually: 1. makes posts with no basis in fact 2. Hijacks threads and posts with the same tired rhetoric even though those feelings have been fully discussed in multiple other threads 3. posts with stuff which serves no constructive purpose than to get a rise out of other people 4. Is to all intents and purposes xenophobic

        Note the use of continually for all these factors anyone can err on facts or have a friendly dig to get a rise but and as a one off its no biggie and even amusing but not when all these things are the norm
        You’ve said before people don’t need to read your posts and while our right to a freedom of choice is appreciated, given that the majority of regular posters have complained about you and if u don’t care if anyone sees them the. Why not restrict them to your bog roll. I also find it funny how u say no one has to read their posts if they don’t want to but when others recommend people ignore them you see this as an affront to your human rights. That’s a lot more key strokes than I ever meant to waste this morning

      5. Again all very subjecticve. People can raise the same subject more than once, especially if they are questioned about it. Yoiu say the majority of readers dont like my messages but I have only recieved complaints from 3, hardly a majority in my opionion- just a few whingers. So I’m sorry to dissapoint you but in the current climate of free speech I intend to exercise that right. Besides, if people dont like my messages, why do I get so many replies and have generated so much interesting debate. I suggets you read some of them- you may get a surprise.

      6. People telling you the “£%^& you spout has no basis in reality and you haven’t got a clue is NOT a debate

      7. Ad nauseum,

        Do you own the blog? What right to you have to curb free speech? You mention that everyone thinks I am takling bull or trolling. Only 3 or 4 people (ax) think that but there are a lot more than 4 contributors and readers of this blog. In any case I have very strong suspicions that these persons may be the same person posting under different names but lets leave that one there. I find it a bit strange that I have not noticed your name before yet you have suddenly appeared to criticise me. However, for the purpose of this message I will assume that you are not one of the persons that object to me. If you read the various threads, you will have noticed that my contributions have sparked many interesting debates, yet I have not read a single contribution from you. Do you have any views on Scottish rugby? What do you think about the France:scotland game?- the subject of this thread and not “Lets have a go at another contributor for the heck of it” Lets keep the discussion about rugby and Scottish rugby in particular. Do you have any veiws of your own or did you just come on this thred to have a whinge?

      8. Fact- only one person has tried to persuade others not to read or reply to my messages so you got that one wrong.
        Fact- the only reason I objected to this is that you have the write as an individual not to read or reply to me but you should not try to persuade others to reply or not to reply. They can make up their own minds after all.

  31. Carl – Strauss qualifies on 19th September, the day after the world cup starts.

    The encouraging thing about the current squad is the core of very young talented players running through it who should only get better: Jonny Gray, Rob Harley, Adam Ashe, Sam H-C, Russell, Bennett, Hogg, Dunbar, Scott. Average age: 22.

    1. Haha I just replied up above saying I thought it was the week the cup started. My confusion comes with international eligibility from an IRB viewpoint. My understanding is a player has to have a passport of the country they are representing or in this case a British passport which I would be pretty sure Strauss doesn’t have

    2. White Shark.Thanks,my understanding was that would mean Strauss would not be able to play hence my comment.

      Whatever,he will give us extra driving play which might have been useful in Paris.Mind you great to see Blair Cowan most turnovers of the round last week-end.

  32. Even if he is eligable to play on 19th September, would he not have to be named in our squad several weeks beforehand. In which case he would not be able to play- an interesting point. Whether he shoudl or should not be in the squad on moral grounds, I think few would agrgue against the fact that he would make a big impression on our game.

    1. Neil, there is nothing stopping Scotland naming them in their squad for the RWC – they could technically name anyone in their squad but the eligibility rules only come into force if they are named in the match-day squad. So yes, Strauss can play in the RWC, however, he will not be able to play in any of the warm-up games beforehand.

      1. That’s great news even though I say so myself. He may not be able to play in warm up games but he could still train with the squad and get plenty of practice with Glasgow before hand. I would probably have him on the bench for the first couple of games then bring him on as a sub with 30 mins to go.
        As you know I’m not entirely comfortable with the idea of non Scots being in the squad but every team does it so we have to follow suit in order to compete. If the French can field a 25 stone Samoan then we have to counter that threat even though I wish that the rues were changed on moral grounds.

  33. Adam Ashe is athletic footballer wih an good brain but does nobody else feel that hes a looks a little underpowered for an international 8? He was knocked back a few times against Argentina. 6’4 but 16 st 7 lb. Just a couple of pounds more than Dunbar. We should try and play our own game and not try and worry about the opposition, good skils ,which he undoubtable has, gets you far but we saw what happened on Saturday when faced with size and brute force.

  34. Hate to be a monger of doom as Josh Strauss would be a valuable addition to our back row given his Glasgow form to date both in playing and leading.

    Hope the SRU have checked, double-checked and checked again the small print regarding his eligibility.
    Not something we exactly have a brilliant track record for!

    I am sure the problem wouldn’t exists for the ‘bigger’ nations but as the tag line says: “We are Scotland” so loopholes and casual flaunting of rules are generally not available to us.

    It just seems prime for the irb to say eligibility must be met at the time the squads are named, not by the time the game is played.

    Visser became eligible during the South Seas tour (after the first game) but what’s to stop the irb saying the World Cup is a special case etc.

  35. Andy- I completely agree with your comment regarding Strauss. Scotalnd rarely get the ‘run of the green’ in rugby matters. The one that upsets me the most is that TV rights money is not evenly shared between the 6 nations, with England and France receieveing much more than Scotland. Surely the revenue should be split 6 ways evenly.Or at least introduce an element of fareness- for example the teams that finish in the top 3 get the most cash. How the SRU could do with that cash to set up more pro teams, develop our youth system etc. Thats one of the reasons why I feel a European cup competition would work better- the format could be changed and the revenuews equally distributed.

    By contrast the rules tend to be ‘bent’ to favor England, France and the SH teams. In theory, Strauss should be available to play but I am highly skeptical as other nations realise how good he is and may try to persuade the IRB not to allow it, if they have not done so already. As you commented, there is nothing to stop the IRB declaring the World Cup as a special case.

    1. The saying is “the rub of the green” not the run of the green. I would not worry about this situation if I were you, I am confident World Rugby will act consistently. Not to say the are flawless (e.g. George North situation) however, to change the rules on eligibility now when we are just a few months from the tournament is not going to happen.

      Regards the France game, it was excellent to see Hogg at his electric best with ball in hand. The kicking needs a bit of work from him and Russell but generally I still have the same level of feel good factor about our progress as I did a week ago.

      For Wales game: I hope Maitland and Seymour are fit as I think they are a couple of notches ahead of the other options. In centre if Dunbar is fit (which I think he is) and Bennett and Scott are out, it has to be Lamont at 13. Forwards pick themselves.

      C’mon Scotland!!

      1. Tommo- I stand corrected about the “rub of the green”. I really hope that the rules dont change just before the world cup and we can field Strauss. Asd you have probably already gathered, I basically oppose the fielding of non-Scots in our team but, as every ether nations seems to be fielding non-nationals, the only way we can comptete is to field some- i just hope that it remains the odd one or two rather than half the team.

        We share the same feel good factor. The amazing thing for me is that we can now scaore tries, even against some of the best teams in the world- thats the difference between now and 12 months ago when we couold not score a try for love or money. I think we have the beating of Wales, especially given that the game will be played at Murryfield. I would say a circa 7 point margin in our favor. The key facts are that the Welsh have lost their way a bit and their players no longer have the sharpness that they seemed to have about 1-2 years ago. We. on the other hand, have improved massively.

        Come on Scotland!

  36. Just to reply to Alan about Wales cheating at every scrum and breakdown and that it is only Roberts who can smash through the Scottish defence,well Alan I think Wales has a bit more about them than that.But I do like your optimism as always.Good luck Scotland you will need it,I think the backlash from Wales will be severe.
    My prediction is based on Scotland attacking more is:

    Scotland 22 Wales 36 -c’mon boyo’s

  37. Allan stop looking for excuses in blaming the ref and touch judges.Scotland lost and that is it.If you lose by 1 point you might as well lose by 100.

    1. Easy tiger! I didnt say Owens was biased against scotland. I thought he was too lenient to both teams on being in front of the kicker and at the tackle. It just so happened that Scotland were on the recieving end of more high kicks so got pinged more than the French.

      Lets be honest though, did wales show much more than crash ball against England? If they did, it wasnt obvious to me but i’ll stand corrected if you can say where they were creative.

      Oh and Paul James is an inveterate cheat as was Adam Jones!!!

  38. Mike I wish Scotland every success and I would love them to start winning the big games,just like back in the good olde days.But I think Wales do have a lot more about them than just Roberts.And they are a team who like their backs to the wall and are the underdogs,this is when they perform to their top abilities.Scotland will do well because i think they have improved in attack,but i believe if you play an attacking game against Wales,you will be playing into their hands (the space will be there for the taking).The Welsh scrum will be far better against Scotland,so the welsh backs will be on the front foot (very dangerous).Scotland’s line out will dominate and the breakdown will be even Steven’s,but i think Wales will keep it away from touch as much as they can,and they will look to attack from every where.Scotland always have the optimism,but that can only take them so far.But we will see.

    Don’t set Neil onto me! Lol

    1. Only pulling your leg! I just hope its a decent game (with obviously a Scotland win!). I think it will be close. For what its worth I think Wales are a good team with good young players coming through, but Wales need rid of Gatland. I think he’s taken them as far as he can and does them no favours from a PR perspective.

      1. If you really want to put the cat among the pigeons David, why not post a man for man comparison between Wales and Scotland. That should be worth a few clickbait comments but be prepared to be shouted down. It is a SCOTS rugby blog after all….

    1. David- the fact is that Wales are SHITE at the moment. I mentioned that they would probably end up 5th but I think thy may even struggle to match Italy at present. They are full of has beens or never weres and a a shadow of the team they had 2 years ago. I’m sure they will improve with time as they have a good U20 team but at the moment they are in the middle of a lull.
      I recall that Scotland beat Wales all the time in the late 80s-late 90s so I feel we could be going back to that. I remember when Wales lost to Western Samoa in a World cup match- at least they didnd have to take on the whole of Samoa or they would have been thrashed. Boyo- you boys are going to know about it at Murrayfield and don’t be surprised if there is a reversal of the 51:3 scoreline last year. The only way you can avoid that is to bribe or suck up to the ref, as Wales have been inclined to do in recent matches between our nations when they have been entirely dependent on receiving penalties, getting our players sent of etc- more like an Italian poofball team than a proper rugby team I you ask me. Never mind, in spite of the fact that Scotland will win the game (probably by around 7 points in reality though I do wish for more), Wales are still better than Scotland at certain things- sheep farming, singing hymn etc. We will still stand you a drink after the mauling.

      Bring it on!

  39. Nice to see some good humoured national rivalry surfacing here. In keeping with the way rugby fans from opposing sides never need the polis to keep them apart. Looking forward to what I think will be a very competitive match on Sunday at Murrayield. I only wish I could be there to see us stuff Wales – oops, sorry, national rivalry alert….

  40. Hmm, man-for-man comparison between Scotland and Wales. Not sure, but this is in my opinion the best combined Scot/Welsh team based purely on form in the last 6 months rather than historical quality. It doesnt mean this would be a team of players each at their peak.

    15 – Halfpenny (just)
    14 – Seymour (over Cuthbert)
    13 – Davies (Bennett will potentially take his place if I do this again in 2 months)
    12 – Dunbar
    11 – North
    10 – Biggar (Russell amazing, but the form of Biggar is excellent in Pro12)
    9 – Laidlaw (tearing it up at Gloucester)
    8 – Faletau
    7 – Warburton
    6 – Harley
    5 – AW Jones (Ospreys dominating Pro12, Castres bottom of French, sorry Richie)
    4 – Johnny Gray
    3 – Jenkins
    2 – Ford
    1 – Dickinson

    Remember, just my opinion.

    1. Would you start Hogg ahead of him? I would agree Hogg was the better of the two last weekend by a country mile but Halfpenny is a class act, Hogg doesnt even command a starting role at club. Not to say I dont love him and think he is one of our best players though! Difficult when your opposite number is one of the best in Europe.

      1. I still recon Hogg would have the edge at the moment.Halfpenny is still a great player but,like a lot of Welsh players,he seems to have lost 5-10% of the sharpness he had 2 years ago.

      2. I think it would all depend on your kicking option. Halfpenny justifies being selected over Hogg if he was going to be kicking your goals. Halfpenny has such a good conversion rate that you just can’t leave him if you need a kicker.

        If, however, you have a 10 that can kick the penalties (i.e. Bigger [which is why I am at a loss for wales not including Williams as 15]) then I would def go for Hogg because his attacking threat is so great.

  41. Neil is the most popular name on this thread and there’s no player in either the Wales or Scotland squad with that name. Some people just need to calm it

      1. Ad Nausem-you need to take the advice of Scot95 and calm down. He made an off the kuff comment about the name Neil, so I replied with a humorous remark of my own. Noboday was offended by either one liner so why did you even bother to reply with your one word comment. I will add another bit of advice of my own- please get a sense of humor.

  42. Ad Nauseum- no more comments even through the game has finished- interesting and I seriously wonder. Lets just say not the real McKoy. I rest my case.

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The Scotland team to face Chile this weekend has been announced and features 10 changes from the side that beat the USA last weekend.
Rory watches as Scotland reach the half way point in their tour with victory over the USA in Washington.
Craig is joined by Rory and Iain to look at the latest news including Scotland's win over Canada and the upcoming test against the USA.
Gregor Townsend has picked the strongest XV possible from his touring squad for the visit to Washington DC to play the USA, writes Rory.

Scottish Rugby News and Opinion