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England 25-13 Scotland

Scotland at Twickenham: haven’t won since 1983. A tough prospect for a Scotland team fragile after losing to Italy.

From the kickoff England went for the pack drive to test the waters up front and having found that reasonably successful, cut loose straight away and only a tackle by Hogg slowed the attack enough to prevent a catastrophic start.

It didn’t get much better, as Jonathan Joseph grabbed the opening try in a period where Nowell and Brown both looked threatening but Joseph made the most of Matt Scott rushing out of the line to hop over; Ford converted off the upright.

Back from his ban, Russell showed his laid back nature by throwing two passes to no-one in quick succession as Scotland looked under pressure from a confident England.

Brown almost had another try, clean through on the posts but Stuart Hogg made his second try saving tackle. Russell fluffed the clearance under pressure from Lawes and England hammered them in the ensuing scrum. It looked a little scary, but Murray, Ford and Dickinson managed to get a nod from Poite to clear danger for all of about 30 seconds.

Scotland were butter, and England were a Swiss army knife where even the thing that scoops stones out of hooves was able to cut through.

It didn’t help that once again they were opting for kicks: aimless ones, too short, too long; crap ones.

And then something changed – they stopped kicking.

Unsurprisingly with ball in hand and the likes of Seymour on the ball they looked far better. This was turned from theory into fact on 22 minutes when a nice lineout play from Cowan allowed quick ball and it went wide on a penalty advantage. Bennett barrelled through the English defenders and seemed quite surprised to be over the line with only falling over required to score the try and even the scores in the most unlikeliest of fashions.

That had the required effect on Scotland, with Bennett, Fife and Scott suddenly finding inroads (down the same channels England had been attacking them) and they almost had another try on the half hour mark. Laidlaw – who looked markedly sharper around this point – settled for the penalty and 10-10.

After another swift incursion into the English 22, Laidlaw kicked a further penalty to – lo and behold – take the lead. He lead his men into the tunnel as a group, and a bunch of players who looked like perhaps they had risen from the dead…

Half time: England 10-13 Scotland

Scotland inched back into the grave with half time news that Matt Scott had suffered an injury, leaving Greig Tonks to fill in at inside centre. Clearly no respecters of momentum, a fired-up home side attacked the Scotland line and there were no surprises when quick ball to George Ford found him an easy gap to run through from first receiver. Disappointment maybe, but not really surprise.

With England settling back into the lead, it became a scrappy game and both sides look better in attack than defence.

Ford kicked a penalty to increase the lead to 7 points and England started to make changes up front. Russell blew the restart straight out and England had another kickable penalty on half way. They opted for the sidelines and a real chance to kill the game off, but the Scots managed to defend it and clear.

England still had more line breaks which meant Scotland couldn’t get the momentum back they badly needed, and they were almost certain to tire. It was looking like a desperate last 20 minutes in store, but Scotland took heart from a penalty that allowed them a bit of pressure. England came right back at them with Brown crossing for a try but the pass from Haskell (villain of the week) was forward, luckily for Scotland.

14 minutes to play, and only 7 points down. After the Italy game last week you’d have taken that, but it was still deficiencies of thought rather than skill that were keeping Scotland at arms’ length of the lead. The discipline was a lot better but they still lack the nous to get themselves where they need to be in order to score the tries they undoubtedly can.

It was perhaps a measure of how close Scotland were to that point that Robshaw opted for the posts and a 10 point lead, but fate conspired to kick Scotland in the buts once again by bouncing the ball off the posts once again. In the ensuing melee, Jack Nowell got the try he had been threatening all game and the game was done with three minutes to go.

Scotland will take some credit from a match where the initial assessments were that a 20 point margin for England would be “closer than people think” (© SCW), but once again will be agonising over the little differences that keep them on the wrong end of the scoreboard.

SRBlog Man of the Match: Cowan was good, Gray and Denton led by example up front and Seymour and Bennett were tireless. But Scotland led at half time, and were only in the match after a very poor opening quarter thanks to Stuart Hogg who bounced back from last week with another strong display.

102 Responses

  1. One thing I have noticed in the Autumn internationals and 6 nation games is that Scotland always play very well in the last 20 mins of the 1st half but then go on to play like nancy boys in the first 15 mins of the second half- Why is that?????????? Why cant they carry the good form into the second half. is it a problem with fitness or do the other teams have better bonding sessions at half time. I really don’t understand it.

  2. Another zero points for the only team in the six nations who NEVER improve! So tired of supporting this team.

      1. What, you think it’s ok to do worse than last year? Even after all the ‘improvements’ that we read about. Yeah, I really see improvements, 0 from 4, that’s hell of a record. I remember 1990, shame that’s the nearest good memory I’ve got about this team.

    1. In fairness, if you compare the points difference to last year, we have already scored more points in 4 games than we did in 5 last year, and will need to ship 50 against Ireland to be as bad defensively. I accept that this is a transitional period (although am angry about the number of mistakes and the physical weakness of the players) and with the likes of Richie G, Gilchrist, Maitland, Dunbar, Denton, Weir all missing for large parts or all of the championship then our lack of strength in depth was exposed

      1. Yes I love it when year to year Scotland lose by less. Is it in writing anywhere that the stated goal of the season was to lose all our games but by less than we lost them last year?

        I dream of the day when we lose by -1 Oh hang on that would be a WIN !!!!!!!!!

  3. Game lost when the half time whistle went. Absolutely bossing it then lost Scott and Hamilton around about the same time and midfield shape and forward power fell apart. Denton was quality and I cannot fathom why he only lasted ten mins of the second half. Laidlaw then went back to kicking away possession and walking to rucks. We got on the wrong side of Poite who missed a couple of neck high tackles and that was it.

    Still cannot believe how unlucky we are with injuries but no excuse for whoever failed to collect the penalty that came back of the post. Fife’s frankly embarrassing attempt to tackle Nowell when he scored was a low point too.

    I expect we will see Horne at inside centre next week and, please God, Maitland back on the wing.

    1. Denton came off as a precaution so as not to strain his injury, and to give Ashe extended game time. Although I would’ve preferred to see Ashe at 6 and not see Beattie at all. Beattie, as expected, was poor.

      1. Fife was marking 4 England players so did the best he could. That saying he was being outclassed by Nowell most of the game.

      2. It was his crap tackling technique that annoyed me, especially since he pulled off a textbook tackle earlier in the game then reverted to the standard crappy tackling most wingers go for these days i.e. flapping at the shoulders instead of going low round the legs!

  4. Considering I was expecting a pounding, I’m relatively pleased with this outcome. Massive improvement from the pack, stopping the English mauls at source and Murray outwitting Marler in the scrum. If I’m not mistaken, Ford was 100% in the lineout and carried his fair share. Rob Harley proved me wrong, injecting power into everything he did and refraining from carrying too often. Cowan was excellent and Denton was strong.

    Laidlaw improved massively as well from the dog’s mess we saw against Italy, although we did see a little too much kicking. As soon as we stopped kicking, we scored points. Scott was a massive loss but Tonks did little wrong in his place. Hogg, Seymour and Bennett were magnificent, and Fife was pretty good too given he was marking, in my opinion, the best player on the pitch. He’s still a placeholder for Maitland though.

    Once again it was handling and silly errors that let us down, but not nearly as much as last time out. And no missed touchfinders either.

  5. A good first up assessment, Rory. The first ten minutes of the match were excruciating to watch. Missing first up tackles like the poorer Scotland teams of recent years induced fears of a total drubbing. Hogg and a couple of others in last ditch defence were outstanding and helped to prevent what could have been a pile of points against in that first quarter.

    Heartwarming to see such a good comeback in the second 20 of the first half. But the second half showed us up again this 6N as basically a first half team – and we have to sort that out in the run up to the RWC. Is it fitness? Attitude? Half-time tactical talks that aren’t listened to? I don’t know. But we haven’t really maintained a first half level of performance so far in any second half in this 6N.

    At last – apart from the ominous first play from England at kick-off – we seem to have found a way to counter a rolling maul. And even to pull off a couple of our own.

    I thought Hogg was excellent, especially in the first half. Denton too. And young Gray throughout.

    Finally, (and I’m not anti-English as I’ve lived down here for fifty years and both of my wives have been English), how many of the 75 thousand odd Engerland supporters at Twickenham today actually understand the laws of the game? Most of them, I suppose, to give them credit. But there’s more than a sprinkling of out-and -out corporate entertainment t*ssers there who wouldn’t understand what a forward pass is even if you drew a diagram for them.

    Very disappointing to have four losses out of four. Yet enough came out of today, and in passages in the three previous Tests, to believe that if just about everything comes together next week, we can actually beat Ireland.

  6. Too many mistakes. Plenty of guts but not accurate enough with basics. Can’t understand poite not giving Cole a yellow card in the first half. Russell had a poor game and substitutions were a bit stranger e.g. Denton who was actually having a reasonable game.

  7. Far too many basic errors and the first up tackling was so weak it was laughable.

    Positives were the 21-40 minute period and the general all round play of Gray, Cowan, Denton, Hogg and Bennett.

    The likes of Dougie Fife and Tim Swinson are never going to be good enough for internation rugby and are probably 4th and 5th choice for their positions in fairness.

    One thing’s for sure, if we can’t put out our first choice team we’re going to struggle. Maitland, Dunbar (massive), Richie G and Lamont all missed badly.

    And the most important thing that Vern needs to sort out is our fitness and power. We are weak and flounder after 60 minutes. Every team we have played so far has been bigger, stronger and fitter than us. The likes of Russell, Bennett, Fife and Harley need to be basically ordered to increase their muscle mass by >5kg.

  8. And I also should give a very special mention to Russell, who despite his obvious talent, needs to stop dicking around and realise this is international rugby and he can’t get away with playing without using his brain. That was a putrid performance. There was a 10 minute spell in the first half where it looked like he didn’t know where he was. If it wasn’t for the injury crisis at fly half I’d be expecting Vern to give him a spell on the sidelines to reflect on his 6N.

  9. England will be kicking themselves as they passed up plenty of chances from downright appalling Scottish play during the first 15 minutes or so. But we had a go after that and were squeezed out of the game during the second half but defended reasonably to keep the score respectable. Our kicking was terrible and embarrassing throughout the game and as noted in the article, our best play came when we resisted the urge to kick! This was an improved performance over the Italian match at least. We simply can’t afford injuries, Dunbars presence was sorely missed and Matt Scott has some catching up to do as his defence was mince today. Maybe we can surprise the Irish next week depending on the casualty count.

  10. Tackles made: 130-112
    Missed tackles: 16-26

    England tackle success rate = 89%
    Scotland tackle success rate = 81%

    Not good enough defensively

  11. What a strange match.
    Scotlsnd couldn’t do anything right in the first 15 minutes, and only England butchering their chances kept Scotland in the game.
    Once the kicking stopped, Scotland were a differentb team. They were realy good in the last 25 minutes of the half and dominated play and possession.
    Then came the second half. As with all other games in the 6N, Scotland stood back and the pack allowed themselves to be dominated in the loose. Lots of individual errors then allowed England to needlessly apply more and more pressure.
    Good points in the game. The scrum was solid apart from the first 2 in the match. The lineout was strong all game.
    Hogg, Bennett , Cowan, Gray Bennett and Seymour all had good matches.
    Hogg and Bennett both look like they can get past the first up tackler.

    Finn Russell had a bad game, but isn’t afriad to try things and will come good.

    Bad points. Poor kicking for the most part.
    Really disappointing to lose the second try in a week, to a rebound from an upright. This wouldn’t be hard to put right, but they clearly put the first one down to luck and haven’t worked on it. Poor management. These details need sorted.

    I don’t want to say that it could have been worse, but I just wish we could stop the daft mistakes which allow teams to keep applying pressure to us.

  12. Nearly forgot Denton. He gave some valuable go forward and apart from a couple os wild passes looked good.

  13. If we keep ball in hand and Beattie off the pitch, then we can beat Ireland. They were dire today in Cardiff. We just need to stop kicking so much and let our back 3 and Denton plug holes in their defence, which looked suspect on several occasions today. If Murray can find the passion and power that he did today, then he should be able to give McGrath a torrid time.

    1. So Beattie is the reason we haven’t won a game yet. Get a grip. How many clean breaks did Denton make at the weekend? I didn’t count one. I agree he is a big ball carrier but he is a better 6 than an 8. Beattie has been one of the most naturally gifted back rowers we have had for years and his move to Castres has clearly done him no favours playing in a team shy of confidence when compared to the time he had at Montpellier where he was MOM regularly. He hasn’t had a good 6 Nations but when you actually look at the games he played in, he got pillaged for dropping the ball a few times against France. A number of those came on set plays where the back row appears in midfield and he got thumped by 2 players at once. No shock when you consider Vern Cotter coached a number of the French players on these set plays last season. Scotland also play a game where the no8 sits back in a full-back/winger position in defence to catch the ball. In my opinion I would rather see that player give Hogg the ball than truck it up and risk getting isolated, something Dents infrequently does. Another article on here identified the breakdown issue in the Italy game. I had actually questioned why Beattie seemed so quiet in that game on a carrying front but when you look at the footage he has to clear out rucks on a number of occasions because the first and second man have failed to do so taking him out the game when had the first man done his job he would be there on quick go forward ball. There were also a number of instances where you can see him in a position to carry and yet Laidlaw passes to another man. To say that we will beat Ireland if he stays off the pitch is just ridiculous. You also say above that he was as expected poor against England, he got 10 mins at the end in a half where we defended for pretty much it’s entirety. I would agree with anyone that he has not had a great 6 nations but for me that issue started with the players around him as the back row and half backs are the most important players on the pitch where experience is vital. The dynamic and mix of what has been picked has been the poorest selection we have had in years in a position that has been one of our strengths. I would go out on a limb and say that if we had picked Brown, Barclay, Beattie and Cusiter in those positions, each player who knows their games inside out and complement each other then we would not find ourselves in the position where we have lost 4 from 4. But that is never going to happen as SJ wont pick Brown/Barclay and wont drop Laidlaw.

      1. “SJ wont pick Brown and Barclay”? Are you suggesting Cotter doesnt control team selection?

        Denton carried very effectively on Sat and crossed the gainline more times than not. He did throw one howler of a wild pass but so did a few of them so he wasnt alone there. Beattie has been lacklustre and i suspect that he needs a change of scenery to rediscover his mojo but it looks likely that he is now behind (when fit) Denton and Ashe.

  14. How….did Scotland only lose by 12? What another wierd game for Scotland. Kicking from hand was improved (as there were more times that our wingers competed for the ball). Hogg was motm with only 1 scary offload near the end blotting the copy book. Keeping the score so close with a makeshift backline in the 2nd half was admirable.
    but results are what matters and the coach needs to find a formula from somewhere.

  15. Ooft. If you had given me that scoreline before the game I would have bitten your hand off. Just now I feel somewhat deflated, but not despondent (unlike last week). First 20 mins were murder with Laidlaw badly box kicking away what little decent possession we had. In turn it looked like England would blow us away. Hogg’s defence was truly magnificent. The second quarter really blew me away when we started to play our game, Laidlaw crucially upped the pace of his game, but we failed to convert our chances, Bennett try aside. Why no yellow card for Cole?!! Beggars belief. Again some questions over Laidlaw’s stature as captain, press the referee don’t just accept it, but overall a big improvement from him. We weren’t really in it in the second half, worryingly reminiscent of the second half against France, so can’t really complain. Once again our lack of luck with injuries continues. I have to say I thought both Denton and Hamilton made a massive difference and I’m a fan of neither. Dougie Fife also was busy and that’s the best I’ve seen him play. Gray, Russell, Bennett and Hogg were all also very good with Stu particularly impressive in defence and under the high ball, both previous areas of weakness. Scott was decent apart from being at fault from England’s first try. I’m disappointed we didn’t get more from this game but no lasting damage has been done. A hammering, which this game could easily have been, would have set this group much further back. Two things for me are very clear, we don’t have a lot of luck (cue try via the upright once again) and we need our best fifteen available if we are to compete, the strength in depth just isn’t there.

    1. In terms of the first fifteen…

      Dickinson, Ford, Murray, Gray, Gray, Harley, Cowan, Denton
      Laidlaw*, Russell, Seymour, Dunbar, Bennet, Maitland, Hogg

      If they were all fit and firing and with a bench of:

      Grant, Brown, Cross, Gilchrist, Ashe, SHC, Scott, Tonks

      Then that is the makings of a good side. After that the quality drops steeply away.

      * I imagine Laidlaw will be replaced by SHC in the first team after the World Cup.

      1. With one eye on the WC, I think Strauss will come straight in at 8, and I would much prefer Pyrgos at 9 but it will never happen. God knows what the team for Ireland will be, basically anyone left standing.

      2. Take out Ford, Murray, R Gray, and Laidlaw and I might even agree with you.

      3. Nevillereilly – I agree as he adds quality and leadership, but for whatever strange reason he isn’t even on the fringes of being selected.

  16. (This is my first time commenting) As much as I hate losing to England, if anyone had offered me 25-13 before the game I probably would have taken it (it was nice to see Woodward and Guscott with their predictions of England winning by 20+ being proved wrong).
    I think if this game showed us anything, it’s why England probably won’t be able to win the World Cup – the All Blacks or South Africa would have put 30 on us within the first ten minutes or so. After that we played better and I was able to emerge from behind the sofa.
    Hogg saved several certain tries, Jonny Gray is an absolute hero (I hope his big brother takes note) and I thought Denton played quite well, although as I’ve seen various people on here say before, he’ll struggle to get picked after Strauss and Ashe once Strauss has qualified to play for us. Dunbar was always going to be a huge miss (one of my English-supporting friends calls him “the one man wall”) but I thought Matt Scott did pretty well replacing him. Hope his injury isn’t serious.
    Ultimately despite having lost 4 from 4 we have a very young and reasonably promising team and there is room for optimism. Think how bleak things looked last year…

  17. If Jonny Gray and Stuart Hogg don’t make the official team of the tournament and several unofficial ones, I dont know what the world is coming to. Just a thought, do you think any of our players will receive player of the tournament nominations?

    1. I think those two have to be in there, and I’m pretty certain that the stats back it up.

    2. Have a feeling that the official player of the tournament is only selected from the man of the match nominations so unless we beat Ireland…

      1. Last year the nominees were taken from the 12 players with the highest “scores”. Players earned points from their stats and performances, hence Denton was the only Scotland player nominated due to the team all round being lacklustre. Mike Brown topped the stats so was nominated, and the fans voted him as number one.

    3. Jonny is a certainty but Hogg has to beat a certain Leigh Halfpenny to the spot for full back.

  18. i wonder if our second half drops off as we’re blowing up first half trying to compete against sides that have the edge on us physically. And I know we shade the weight stats but we really lack explosive power not sheer bulk.
    Laidlaw did very well for the try but he looks so ponderous. Sadly he’s not going anywhere without being nobbled in training. I like Fife but goodness me he struggled. I think Dunbars defensive influence was missed all around the park. Squad feels wafer thin at the moment I hope everyone is ok this week. Awesome spell in first half to follow an embarrassingly awful spell. No wonder the coaches are bald. Still believe we could beat Ireland this week. Kick less or kick better.

  19. This is all well and good lads, but what about John Barclay and Kelly Brown?

    Only joking.

    I did say the other day that if Scotland lost by ~12 points I would be happy. And to be fair, I am. Mostly.

    I will defend Laidlaw. Vern’s words clearly had an impact. His service was visibly more quick and he did make a couple of half breaks around the fringes, which was the form that impressed us so much against Argentina in the autumn. Still, he does have a bad habit of playing loopy passes, and I’m yet to be convinced of his credentials as captain. That and he still hoofs the possession away far too often. As a last observation, SHC needs more exposure than the 10 minute scraps he’s getting if he is truly to be the next Scottish 9.

    Likewise I will defend Russell. He is a bit of a ‘double-edged sword’ of a player. You have to take the glances of brilliance and effortless confidence with the brainfarts that result from him forcing it, like Matawalu at Glasgow. But he’s a player to be persevered with – he is no Dan Parks and never will be, but the more confidence and familiarity that test match rugby will bring will teach him when to turn on his ‘safe’ brain, and when to turn on his mercurial brain.

    Denton did what he was in the team to do, mostly to good effect. Cowan again was everywhere, Bennett is growing into the jersey, and Fife was pretty solid (far more than I expected). Young Gray is a bloody workhorse, and I though that Murray reminded us why he was, at one point, considered one of the best THs in the world. Did anyone else catch how he was repeatedly winding up Dan Cole? I loved that. I know rugby is a gentleman’s sport, but Scotland have for too long been the subject of mindgames. I don’t mind seeing our players dishing it back.

    Hogg is a class act. Our best player. By a country mile. If he was in a winning team more often, he would be considered the best 15 of the 6Ns. I’m convinced of that.

    However, my main worry is that for large parts of the game (especially the first 10 minutes) we were completely bullied upfront. We gave England so much time on the ball in attack – why? The Scottish players seemed hesitant to put pressure on the English, in fact the linespeed in defence was shocking. Instead, we stood off and waited for them to run at us. We are never going to win games if we let the opposition execute their own gameplan. England seemed to glide through our defence – was it a lack of confidence on our part, or did we start the game without being switched on? If it wasn’t for Hogg, England would have punished us dearly. If we are to truly improve our rugby, you cannot allow big sides that opportunity.

  20. There were some good performances but if the English had seen and passed to their support runners then the score would have been horrific. Basically we are not in the same league as the other 6N countries except Italy. If there was relegation we would be playing Romania, Georgia Italy etc next season. There is not enough depth in player talent and the SRU need to sort it out? Is it true over 50 players are being paid by Glasgow? How many get competitive playing time to develop?Scotland World Cup winners, who came up with that idea?

    1. Glasgow’s bloated squad is part of the reason they can’t afford to pay a decent salary to their better players which is part of the reason we are losing Niko, Maitland and DTH for next season.

      How many Scotland capped Hookers or Looseheads do Glasgow need? Third pro club desperately needed.

  21. PJ,Ireland where dire? C’mon they were out thought and out muscled and could not break the welsh line ( give credit when it is due) Scotland are dire and will be for years to come I am afraid to say! Ireland will kick Scotland’s ass,no probs.Scotland DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH TOP END PLAYERS,cotter can only do so much with what he has got to manage.You are nothing but optimistic I must admit!!

    1. Hahaha yes I’ll admit dire is a bit of a push, fuelled by my foolish optimism. Me and my friend were discussing the game as it happened, and when we watch from a neutral POV in the 6N we tend to focus on the negatives of a side’s performance, hence my optimism. Dire can’t really be used to describe Ireland’s all round game, but it can be used to describe their lineout. Rory best had a nightmare. I don’t think he hit a single jumper. The lineout is a strength of ours, and unless Ireland make a change at hooker (which they should’ve done in November) then we can exploit them majorly

  22. I thought I was hallucinating at half time. Some of those young guns in the England side will hopefully have realised that you dinna take the piss in international rugby.

    1. Likewise Finn Russell. He needs to learn that he’s not playing against Zebre or Newport. A big learning curve for him.

      1. I don’t think Russell was nearly as bad as some here make out. Ok, he made mistakes and was flustered at the start but that was probably the fastest and most challenging rugby environment he’s ever been in. He grew into the game a little and when Scotland look really good it is because Laidlaw is shipping the ball quickly or taking it on before distributing to a runner, and Russell is taking the ball right on the line and distributing well to players challenging the space between opponents. So much of what has made Scotland look more dangerous than any time since 1999 this season is because of Russell (and Laidlaw when he is playing confidently and on form – not convinced he should be the starting 9 but when he plays well he can be very effective – his work in the build up to Bennett’s try was exceptional).

        Look at Sexton v Wales – kick off straight into touch, passes to the deck, not looking at the ball being passed to him – yet he is still the top FH in the NH. Russell will benefit massively from this season’s experience and I think will become a very goo test FH indeed.

  23. I’ll be honest I didn’t catch the game (was my birthday and didn’t want to be depressed on my birthday!), but goes down as another loss im afraid no matter of the “positives”. We need to realise our place in the world and forget our rugby history. We’re a team limited by finances (only two pro teams) and without massive private investment this will be the case for at least the next 10 years (im an SRU supporter and while making mistakes are trying to change things) Rugby will always remain in Scotland so as a result we’ll produce the odd quality player, J Gray, Hogg etc. Unfortunately without the depth it will be a few stars in a sea of mediocrity. Wal, Ire, Eng & Fra are starting to pull away. I still think at the moment both us and Italy are too strong for Romania & Georgia. The RWC will be interesting, again (at the moment!) I think we’ll have to much for USA and Japan, South Africa will walk the group without breaking sweat so will come down to Samoa which tbh is 50/50. I’ll always support Scotland but this 6 nations has turned me from Glass half full to Glass half empty which is disappointing as I pride myself on being positive. Ill never let myself be so optimistic after a couple of “improved” results ever again. Hope for the best, expect the worst attitude from me from now on.

    1. You mentioned Wal, Ire, Eng & Fra are starting to pull away and I think this is no more evident than in the physical side of things. Looks at the ferocious tackling of the Irish and Welsh yesterday, and the sheer muscular force of the English pack. Our team in comparison looks physically weak. One thing I noticed was in the first half Hogg easily catching Mike Brown for a try saving tackle then in the second half for Brown’s disallowed try Hogg couldn’t make up the ground. We seem to be some way off our opponents in fitness as well as strength.

      Hopefully Cotter has a pre-season / pre-WC fitness regime for these players that is in excess to anything they have ever experienced before.

    2. You’re not even ‘glass half empty’ `Scafell. You are ‘glass completely empty and running on fumes’.
      Take a happy pill before you start a mass suicide attempt.
      “we need to accept our place in the world”. What kind of defeatist trash talk is that?

      1. Pragmatic Optomist – “Defeatist”…erm….we got defeated. Again. What’s to be happy about? As I say youth teams seem to be doing well. That’s it. My comment was in relation to the fact every year, every tournament be it 6 nations, RWC everyone, including me, is full of hope and optimism, only for us to come crashing back down to earth. And im totally sick of it. We’re going to struggle for the foreseeable future. I’m not letting myself get carried away again.

  24. very dissapointing but more or less to be expected based on current form. the score had an element odf respecability about it but England dominated posession and territory and that was the difference between the teams. unless we find a way to get the forwards top [play with the required level of intensity then it is always going to be difficult. Laildaws kicking was slightly more accurate than against Italy but he just kicks the ball too aften. fai enough if you are the last defender in your own 22 but why bother with this at any other time. The box licks and Garry owens nearly always give posession away. i only remember one of these lkicks being sucessfull (in terms of us retaining posession) in the entire game. Staurt Hogg is just an amazoing player that couold fit into any squad. he saved at least two tries abd his efforts really kept us in the game and the scorleine respectable. I wish the others couold take note.
    another problem is we seemed to give up after the break and I dont know why. this has happened in a few games recently. is there a fitness problem or is the oppossstion team talk more effective than ours. Why could we not take our good form at the end of the first half inot the second?
    I try to be positive. We are facing a strong Ireland team but we are on home soil so that can make a difference of 10 points. Who knows, if we can play like we did at the end of the first half then we couold surprise a few people and sneak a win.

  25. Feel I am sleep walking after another nightmare.
    Gutted and hard to be positive as our naivety and dodgy game management simply condemning us to the basement of the 6N.
    The Jim Telfer analogy that Scotland need to be running at 100% to even keep up with the other major rugby nations never been truer.
    Only problem is we look some way off from that goal. A measure of our expectations reflected in the posts saying contentment with a less than 20 point margin. I don’t think so and a few good individual performances not enough anymore as team ones need to show a new maturity. Yet there is real talent emerging at last in Gray,Bennett and Hogg but their clinical edge is being blunted by persistent failures as a group.

    As to the match the turning point for me was at the start of 2nd half when still leading Laidlaw kicked possession away with a sloppy kick into their half,easily fielded being uncontested and ran back at us which resulted in Ford’s try. Will he ever learn.

    Cried out for varying tactics as garryowens had not worked up to that point and rather build the phases by keeping the ball in hand.How threatening we had been when done in the last 20ins of 1st half.
    Also we hardly got back into their half thereafter and when did on the attack Hogg made his only mistake all day by kicking the ball into touch,which they took quickly and marched us back into our 22 with a great touch finder.
    Sorry for my scorn but such decision making has shafted us at key moments in every match this year,when betting ourselves could have
    changed our fortunes dramatically.

    Just can’t stomach the brave Scotland tag accorded after each match and the inevitability and confidence England and the other nations have of prevailing over us? Yes we are a young team adjusting to international rugby and they have to learn quickly what collective responsibility is and the yields awaiting them if they execute well as a unit.

  26. A first timer to comment.
    Whilst I can acknowledge some, but not all the comments, there is one bare fact, Scotland do not have the pool of players. 1 injury has cataclysmic affects on the whole team/squad.
    When you read the comments, is it any wonder that youngsters are possibly put off putting their heads above the parapet and looking at alternatives.
    The Irish squad is predominantly made up from players playing top class rugby for Irish clubs/regions.
    It’s time the SRU got rid of the blazers and ties and got on with building the sport instead of living in a dream world of past (and few) successes.
    After the Autumn tests, I was feeling we had turned a corner. After the 1st two 6N games, I still felt positive. Then Italy, some positives, but depth in the squad for injury cover??. Then to the England game, shocking, then brilliant, then WTF.
    Come on SRU, get a grip.
    Bloggers, constructive criticism only. We are all so good talking about it!!!

  27. The players that really shone were Jonny Gray, Euan murray, Stuart Hogg ansd possibly Finn Russel. The others were average. Wnen Murray was replaced by Cross, that was the turning point for me. We just lacked the power of the English forwards. At least Murray is a bit intimidating so why was he taken off?

    1. I agree. Murray consistently wound up the opposition, had Marler frustrated in the scrum and even had Courtney Lawes thinking twice about squaring up to him at one point. He was flying around like a dervish hitting rucks so it may just have been a matter of running out of puff. I think I even saw him carry the ball once for a could of meters. Geoff Cross is lucky that Jon Welsh is injured. In fact, both of them are probably. After the Wales game I had him down as starting.

  28. The weakness of a national team is a symptom of disinterest in a sport.
    A) Cricket team that cannot win a single world cup game.
    B) Football team that can’t even qualify for a major tournament.
    C) Rugby team… Well…

    1. Let’s be honest, Scotland as a nation is the sick man of Europe. One of the highest rates of smoking, drinking and heart disease in Europe. Sedentary overweight kids led by sponging lazy parents suckling at the state teat. No government investment in facilities or encouragement to play sports. State Schools not able to provide competitive team sports due to lack of qualified coaches, equipment or sports leagues and a chronic lack a funding for extra curricular activities. A national press obsessed with two nasty gangs of sectarian idiots, each as bad as the other (fans and clubs).

      Look at NZ, smaller population, similar climate, smaller GDP, and yet kids of all ages, sexes, sizes and abilities playing football, rugby, cricket, hockey etc whenever they get a chance. We are one of the laziest most unhealthy nations around and a nation who don’t deserve success until we get off our fat tv watching pie eating backsides and do something about it.

      Those players yesterday shame the rest of us because although they lost at least they have worked hard to get where they are and they at least try.

      1. “We can’t even pick a decent, vibrant, healthy culture to be colonised by. No. We’re ruled by effete arseholes. What does that make us? The lowest of the low, tha’s what, the scum of the earth. The most wretched, servile, miserable, pathetic trash that was ever shat intae creation.”

        Your home truths are a bit familiar…

      2. dearesST Home untruths,

        If you do not like it here ,it is an open borders policy in Europe and the pound to euro conversion is looking good for a one way trip.

        Cheerio.

        But think long and hard about this . Scotland is the envy of the Welsh and the All Blacks .. Why ?

        Because we have cloned sheep you know. So there ewe go.

        Love and kisses ,
        Bulldog

      3. Dearest Yawns Loudly: Off course I am , however clearly a smarter buffoon than you.

  29. I refuse to become too downhearted about the Scotland performances so far.
    4 games, 4 losses, but all vbery competitive games unlike last year.
    One game they should have won, they ‘could’ have won, and the England game where they were beaten, but not easily.
    The improvement is clear, but they need a few more steps.
    I’m sure BVG knows what he needs, I just wish they (Scottish management) were a bit more open with the fans, and let us know some of their thoughts on where we go and what we do.
    We (the fans) talk about the games endlessly, but they seem like a closed book on most occasions. Not very modern if you ask me.
    Some of the players are looking good, although the injury list is mounting alarmingly.
    A good performance against Ireland and there is nothing until the pre world cup games.
    By this time a couple of the project players will be available (Strauss, Nel) to add some backbone, the younger players have all been ‘blooded’ and have experience, and we could put in a few performances in the world cup.
    Bring it on.

    1. Will Nel be available for the WC? Having him and Strauss available would add some steel to the pack.

      Incidentally I would have Strauss start at 6 and Denton at 8 as I think Denton is a more dynamic carrier and Strauss a better tackler.

      And as for the WC, I would have preferred us to play at least one of the ‘smaller’ nations. Run up a cricket score and get some confidence going. We could easily lose 3 out of the 4 warmup games we have.

      1. Andy, Previous blogs have confirmed that Strauss will be available for the 1st world cup game, with Nel available after the first two games. I’m sure someone will put me right if that isn’t correct.
        I’m not sure about Denton at no 8. He can’t pass and might become a complete liability in a fulcrum position like 8.
        Think Denton would be best on the blind side with Strauss at 8. He is a strong runner like you say, but no 8 needs good hands for me.

      2. I’m not convinced Nel is better than anything we have at the moment but at least he’s another option. De Klerk has hit a bit of form for Glasgow although I don’t know if he’s Scots qualified or a project player etc Does anyone know if we’re any further forward on a certain Mr Hardie?

      3. I haven’t seen any Embra games this season but I know that in the ones I saw last year Nel didn’t appear to be anything special at all

      4. I actually think Nel has improved massively this year. I admit I haven’t seen too many of his games but I am going by the chat on the Edinburgh Fan Forum. He was widely ridiculed last year particularly for his scrummaging but seems to have won over the regular fans.

        Not sure about Hardie but he has just sustained a season ending ankle injury.

      5. Hardie was quite obviously going to wait on a AB call up as long as he could. With the injury that draws a line under that.

  30. Rory. excellent perspective
    Here we are again……my annual monologue on the website
    Just returned from the concrete monolith that is modern Twikkers.
    Short summary from my seat- obnoxious ill informed drunks reinforcing the English stereotype particularly in from of my 2 young kids. I won’t be going back anytime soon.
    In terms of the match. We were lucky not to have shipped several tries- but for poor English handling and fantastic last gasp tackles- that said were were unlucky ourselves… Some headless chicken passing put us under pressure. Need to look at mid field defence too much ball watching and poor first up tackles led to the line breaks. That said there were a lot of league type blocking moves by England which went un punished But in the first half after weathering the first 20. Scotland backs grew in stature ( kicked less and backed their handeling and speed) forwards actually bossed the set piece and breakdown. I was very disappointed with our outside centre who has sticky hands and an inability to commit a defender and ship the ball outside ( I counted 4 x with an overlap up the right hand side).
    Also not helped by 9 aimlessly kicking through with men outside particularly in the 10-22 area. . Second half performance just high lights we have no squad depth. The Sru really need to sort out a 3rd pro team 2 important regions are neglected – highlands and borders. I do feel Scotland are putting together a reasonable cohesive strategy of improvement. It’s the hierarchical structure of player development that needs to be worked on. (Such as the RFU are currently doing I am an expat who coaches in the RFU set up).
    Anyway enough rambling and Bring on the Irish – a win is coming….

  31. There are some things coaches can fix e.g. Clearing out at rucks, scrummaging, defensive alignment etc., and things like age related strength and stamina which only time ‘cures’. Players in their early twenties, like many of this team, have not yet grown into their full strength. Some have exceptional talent for their age but that is not enough over 80 mins.

    1. That maybe true for guys like Russell and Bennett (although the colossus that is Jonny Gray shows that a 20 year old can be physically dominant if he puts in the effort) but guys like Fife and Harley have been full time pros for 5 years now and are quite obviously miles behind the required physical standard. Harley would be a world class 6 if he were a bit fitter and 6-7kg heavier and had the strength that goes with it.

      I just feel that in the last 2-3 years the physicality and athleticism that goes with International Rugby has exploded and yet again Scotland seemed unprepared for it and caught cold.

      1. Andy, your bang on the mark. The way Harley is rated in Scotland is absurd. He is no better than a journeyman. They always rabbit on about his fiery, aggressive style but actually watch the man and it’s nowhere in evidence. A prime example was on the 33rd minute, inside the England 22. Robshaw, of all people, jackalled and Harley attempted a clean out. It was a complete non event and England won the penalty. Harley is under-powered and lacks technique. I think he would struggle to make any regional squad in the SH. I would also look at Gray and saw yes – for a 20 year old he is smashing it BUT, he needs to work on his mauling. The England locks appear to swim through maul in defence and tug/direct the maul in attack. It’s obviously a technique that the big, tier 1 nations have developed by taking a step back and thinking it through. The problem is in Scotland we seem to be lagging by 2-3 years in terms of how the game is played. If you look at how we handle the scrum, breakdown, maul, high ball, attack and defence – it’s dated.

  32. I think that we should introduce a rule on the Scottish players (or maybe just Laidlaw) that box kicking is illegal. We are utterly crap at it, and it was genuinely a case of we secured ball from a scrum or lineout then gave it back to England. Unless you have an excellent kick chase game like Wales, then it is completely pointless. Other than kicking to clear our lines I would simply run the ball from everywhere. Ok I’m obviously exaggerating but the difference to our game when Laidlaw got the ball away sharp was staggering. It’s hard not to watch Scotland and wonder what sort of difference SHC or Pyrgos in particular would make. SHC has pace to burn and Pyrgos delivery is absolutely rapid. It won’t happen but I’m positive it would make a difference. That or Gary Armstrong coming out of retirement……

    1. I thought Laidlaw played well yesterday. Watch our try and Laidlaw runs and pops it two or three times to really turn the screw on the English defence. Then he gives a peach of a pass out to Bennett to go over in the corner.

      Laidlaw wouldn’t necessarily be my pick for the world cup (Pyrgos is under rated but is still out injured so hopefully he’ll come into the reckoning) but what is really frustrating is he can be very effective and then the next match play incredibly ponderously. We need a good performance next weekend from him as he has clearly got his place for the duration of the 6N – that means quick decisions, sniping around the fringes and kicking with accuracy when it is necessary.

      Our kicking game from the entire team is poor and that needs to be fixed come RWC time. We won’t beat Samoa unless we play with intelligence.

      1. I agree FF, Laidlaw definitely does have it in his locker, and just as in the Autumn, when he played well so did the team. He did some very good things yesterday but was very poor in other areas, primarily his box kicking. I’m not actually putting all of that on Laidlaw, it was obviously a tactic he had been told to employ, it’s just that we’re not very good at it. It actually seems to have been a tactic of various Scotland management teams in recent times. Russell’s kicking wasn’t brilliant either, but I also agree with a post you put on earlier about the stick he has been getting is out of proportion. He had a mixed bag yesterday but we look an infinitely better team when he’s in it. I think people do tend to forget the age of some of these players, their best days are yet to come and they need experience. That’s why I am probably overly hard on the likes of Laidlaw because his game management should be so much better, if only by virtue of experience. I also agree with comments earlier made by Pragmatic Optimist that we are not too far away. Guys like Hogg, Seymour, Bennet, Dunbar, Gray and Strauss to come are all class acts and not a bad lot to have on your side, it’s who goes into the other jerseys that’s the problem. Russell will come good. Can Richie recover the form that had him hailed as one of the best locks in the world? Maitland is very good on his day, Cowan has done well and SHC looks a find but needs game time. Obvious problems in the front row but I’m just going to conveniently ignore them. Get everyone fit and on form and the WC in 2019 is ours for the taking…..

  33. PJ,I really do hope Scotland beat Ireland,they deserve it! because they have had a real go this 6N.Cotter will find a solution to getting those wins, but it might take a couple of years of progressive tweaking here and there with the tactics and personnel.Keep the faith!

  34. I hope the Scottish players have a read of Guscott’s article on the BBC today. According to ‘Jezza’ none of the squad would get into a Lion’s tour, let alone a starting 15. It’s hard to imagine a better motivation to perform than wiping out that derisory smugness. As with most others I’m well dismayed by another tournament turning into a typical Scottish story. Two games we could/should have won, which would have clearly demonstrated a marked improvement, our usual drop in form against Italy resulting in a humiliating defeat, a game performance, but ultimately well beaten at Twickers.. Brave defeats and lapses in form – all too familiar. Of course, objectively we have on the whole played considerably better than we did last year. No humiliation against England or Wales, and we mugged Italy in Rome, rather than put in any sort of assured performance. As others have noted our points difference is miles better than last year. However, it’s a slim consolation to cling on to. The underlying fear is that we have seen enough potential to give us hope for next year. All we need to do is improve on this and that, fine margins etc.. and then the same old same old in the next tournament. The future of hope never materialises.
    As could have been predicted, our depth is getting exposed as the tournament progresses. We were close to getting our best starting 15 on at the outset (possibly just Maitland missing). Now with Dunbar and Gray missing and Scott, Seymour, Hamilton and Dickinson listed on the injuries following Saturday, we’re once again looking a bit desperate. Hopefully most of the latter list will make it back for Ireland.
    If we could actually beat Ireland, avoiding the wooden spoon with a win against a top side, the tournament collective would take on an altogether shinier patina. But it was clear from the start that the first three games offered the best opportunity for success and I’m finding it hard to look forward to next weekend with any level of positivity.

    1. Guscott is well known for being an utter dick. He predicted a Bath walkover at Scotstoun and refused to give glasgow any credit afterwards. He slated Hogg on Saturday as “just doing his job”. As usual Andy Nicol sat there like a stuffed toy and said nothing.

      In my opinion, both the Grays, Cowan, Dunbar, Bennett and Hogg would all be in with a lions shout (injury free). In terms of wingers, I would only say North and Bowe are standouts and any of Seymour, Nowell, Watson, etc could be selected behind them.

      Ignore Guscott, a pompous chippy arse!

      1. If fit and on form, Hogg, Dunbar and Jonny would be absolute certs for the Lions tour. Others who would have a chance would be:

        Ford (accurate throwing this year and Hibbard and Best not getting any younger)
        Richie G
        Bennett (Although guys like JJ and JD2 would be ahead in the pecking order for 13)
        Maitland

      2. Guscott has a long standing problem with the scots. For all his success and that of England, he just cannot let it go. This is disapointing for a man of that stature.

        Many years back It was thought that he may have some unfinished personal business from the 1990 game which have hurt deeply. I am dispointed if the rumour is true, however it is very sad that he has allowed his dignity to suffer.

        If people really feel strongly, dont keep writing here. Get a note written to the BBC. I can never even imagine the late Bill McLaren slipping into that sort of dialogue.

        I think Scotland asked some questions of England and if France have the heart for it, they could just push those questions a stage further and end their challenge.

        Good to see Laidlaw expanding his game a bit, I agree with the comments earlier on his management of the referee. I think credit where credit is due, he has up’ed his game and as quick as we get a captain, he will leave the squad. He will know that , so all credit to him, he is just playing for the jersey.

        My comments of last week still stand:

        *Tactical kicking – you cannot win without the ball, limit to clearing lines.

        *Take Long Range penalties, Hogg and Bennett are capable.

        *Manage the referee better.

        *We need a captain.

        A huge well done to the front rows – barely no scrum penalties in this game (against us)and only a few against Italy as well.

        Compare that with France and Walsh games – major improvement.

        Love and Kisses,
        Bulldog

      3. Bulldog – Speaking of credit where it is due, did you agree with the papers consensus that Denton had a good game? He was a big improvement on Mr Anonymous, Johnnie Beattie.

      4. Actually Allan, there is nothing wromg with gucott. he can read the game better than anyonee and i have never found him to be predjudice against us or any team. However, he is brutally blunt and some of us may find that a bit offensive. If you disagree please give examples.
        I have more of a problem with Jonathan Davis who is so pro Welsh its unbelievable. That is someone that should never be asked to commentate on a game.

    2. Well I do feel more postive against Ireland , However concerned about the list of injury’s.

      We play the Irish, regularly in the league. We know their players and they know ours. We are not afraid of them. Glasgow lead the league and Edinburgh have beaten Glasgow. I feel sure the Edinburgh lads will want to avenge that recent defeat to 13 man Ulster.

      My biggest concern against Ireland is Lineout and defending against their rolling maul. I hate to say it, but we really need Hamilton fit for this game.

      Bulldog

      1. The Irish lineout was pants against Wales. Granted Charteris was on good form stealing ball but so has Jonny Gray, and Hamilton terrorised Ireland in this area the last time they came to murrayfield. I agree his fitness will be a huge boost for us, he’ll be licking his chops at the thought of all those rolling mauls. The Sunday Times claimed that when England tired a choke tackle on us he picked up the entire maul and dumped it. More of that please Jim.

  35. Aye, Nicol at half time should have gotten stuck into guscott and woodward, but no. as was said he sat there like a melon. Enlgand threw away at least 3 tries due to young players thinking they could do it themselves (arrogance), woodward at least pointed out he would have chastised Nowell for not having the ball in 2 hands, Burrell reckond he could barrel over and tom youngs had a panic attack it really bothers me that we never speak up to defend ourselves, even Brian Moore complemented us on out play (I personally have no problem with moore, he calls what he sees).

  36. Really good article on BBC from Mike Blair which touches on the issues we’ve had in our kicking game.

    1. FF – I never read the papers , tend to come to my own opinions. As I grow older I have met too many journalists. O lord ,give me strength.

      Denton did indeed have a good game and sensibly was substituted as his fitness is not 100%. He may (or may not) have been helped along by the improvement of a scrum holding its own and Laidlaw upping his game.

      You may counter argue the scrum and scrum half have been re-energised by the dropping of Beattie and playing that awfully nice sideways running Dave Denton. (I feel sure he must have seen a crab running on Portobelly beach) . Regardless , I agree with anyone that says he had a good game.

      I will be delighted to see him sustain this level of performance and even, more, delighted to say , there is still room for improvement. Nice one , and to you FF for spotting his potential and pointing it out. The French might even be eyeing Dave up for big money contract now !!

      Have you seen anything of Ben Toolis lately? He might manage to bag a job in the backrow.

      Love and Kisses,
      Bulldog

  37. Another defeat at the hands of the English at Twickenham if it hadn’t been for the undeniable English arrogance we would have been several tries down in the 1st 20 mins, yes Hogg had a great game in defence in the initial period and saved our bacon and kept us in the game. In the main most players I thought played very well with exceptional performances from Gray,Denton,Harley and Cowan in the forwards and Bennet.Hogg in the back line. The question I think needs asking is do we need an old head to steady and captain the ship in difficult times somebody like Kelly Brown, he has bags of experience,leads by example at this level and a much bigger stature and intimidating than Laidlaw when it comes to speaking to referees?.Scotland seems to lack that skill of working the referee an example of this Dan Coles escaping of a yellow card , that incident was a yellow all day and every day and yet Laidlaw failed to convince the Ref.As scottish supporters you have to ask yourself would scotland got away with that ? Ehhhhhh No

    1. I just feel that it shopuold be illegal to speak with the referee full stop even if it is the captain. There is no excuse for it and this practice should be banned. However, that would make it much more difficult for Wales to win games.

  38. Thts whwere we disagree. I thought the ref had an excelent game and showed no favoritism to either side- give credit to the ref when it is due as they certainly get enough critisism. Regarding Dan coles, i also believe this waas the correct decision. He missjudged things and went into the ruck too early- hardly a criminal offence in my view. i agree that scotland could work the referee a bit more but it wasnt that type of gamer against England and i thought the ref did a great job- i wish we could have him for all the Scotland games, especialy against the cheating Welsh.

    1. I didn’t think the ref was bad but by any interpretation Cole made a professional foul which prevented a try scoring opportunity and should have got a clear yellow card. ‘Misjudging’ things doesn’t mitigate an offence and in my opinion it was cynical.

    2. Neil, I do agree with Realistically (who is clearly not our old chum DP in disguise) about not getting obsessed with Wales and with Welsh cheating. He makes some good and fair points about the Test game in general and about the position with the Scotland team/squad in particular. And I will just use this thread to agree with others that even though Poite on Saturday reffed it pretty well, not giving a card to Dan Cole for one of the most obviously yellow card deserving stunts in this 6N so far, was a ludicrous lapse on his part.

  39. So where do we go from here- make sure that Hogg, Gray, Bennet, Russel and Murray are playing for the full 80 mins for a start. These guys are the core players, everyone else is ‘average’ but I honestly feel that we have a chance against Ireland provided we get the rub of the green and play to our full potential- something that has not happened against France, Wales or Italy. Home advantage is worth about 9 points so who knows- that could make the difference between a narrow win and a narrow defeat. I just get the feeling that we are going to win this one.

  40. Neil. Agree. Thought the ref had a decent game overall. Also seen a few of those forwardpass line breaks given when even more blatant than the ones on saturday. Having said that, didn’t Finn ‘misjudge’ his so called dangerous tackle on Dan Biggar. That resulted in a yellow. Regardless of whether misjudged or not it’s a certain yellow card all day long. Even Guscott admitted that ! Had Jim Hamilton comitted the same offence, most of us Blues would have known for sure he would have had 10 minutes warming the bench ! Not sure it would have made any diffeence to the result. I know it is probably a bit biased but can’t help thinking we never get anything like the lions share of these decisions.

  41. Wow, Neil, you really do have a problem with the Welsh don’t you? Was their some Welsh kid at your school that bullied you and stole your dinner money? Or did your wife leave for a Welshman or something? You really need to let it go. Wales are simply a better side than Scotland, have been for quite some time.

    Nobody’s claiming that Wales are world-beaters and a shoo-in for the RWC, but they have a good settled side, quality players in most positions, powerful ball-carriers, good kicking game, the best available goal-kicker in Leigh halfpenny and strong well-organised defence. Those are the key strengths that win them games generally.

    Your suggestion that Wales can only win when the referee helps them out and they are allowed to cheat their way to victory is paranoid nonsense. All international teams “cheat” in the sense that players will test the referee’s interpretation of the offside line and see how much they can slow the ball down in rucks before they get penalised. They are coached to do this, all players of all nations. Go back and watch the early part of the Scotland/Wales game when Wales were on the attack in Scotland’s 22 and Scotland players gave away a series of penalties for cynical infringements at the ruck trying to slow Welsh ball down. You fail to mention this in your analysis…. How come it’s only “dirty cheating” when Wales do it?

    Scotland have certainly improved in some areas this year. They have some really classy players, like J. Gray, Dunbar, Bennett, Hogg but you could say the problem is they don’t have 15 classy players, (or more relevantly – they don’t have 23 classy players). They’ve showed flashes of form but overall they haven’t been good enough, and the results reflect that. I think that most sensible Scottish rugby fans, however loyal they may be, can see that. There is no sinister conspiracy by the IRB and the referees to stop Scotland winning. You need to take off the tin-foil hat.

    I wish Scotland well against Ireland. Ireland have looked strong through the 6 nations so far, but I have just a sneaking feeling that Scotland could pull off the win at home. We’ll see.

    1. I lived in Wales for over 10 years, married a Welsh woman and my dayghter was also born in Wales, so I am definately not anti Welsh- see post below for my opinions on welsh cheating.

      1. I sort of agree , Wales irritate me, they appear to play for the penalty and set up men in the bin, rather than show us their skills in open play. However the rules allow it. The rules will change eventually.

        Just be thankful that we as a nation have so much more to be proud of than rugby. Wales have only got rugby left.So just take a look at them, what does your eye see. Those are the icons of a nation.

        Bulldog.

  42. Agree with FF and others. It was 10 minutes in the bin every day of the week. An absolute howler by Poite, which I’m sure he’ll be reminded of in the refs match report.

    I did think Poite had a decent game apart from this very obvious clanger.
    I can’t think that any other country would get away with that kind of nonsense, and it is exactly the kind of bad decision jumped on by the conspiracy theorists.
    I thought Poite was laisez faire for the most part and did let quite a lot go which other refs might not. There were a few high tackles and blocking, sorry, dummy runners, who got away with it all match.
    It did make for a high tempo game with lots of line breaks.

    It would appear that everyone saw the Cole move as a cynical piece of professional foul play, except Poite unfortunatrely. I hope he has his ‘arse scelped’ for it.

  43. Oh sure Wales are a good team but whenever they play us they seem to get one or more of our players yellow or red carded and spend alot of time sucking up to the ref. I feel very strongly that there should be NO conversations between the players (including the captains) and the ref during the game. Cheating needs to be clamped down on at all cost and there should be yelow cards shown for players who ‘play’ the ref. Let Rugby be a game played by law abiding gentlemen and leave the Wayne rooneys of this world to football.
    On the other hand I feel that some of the rules are far too strict. Tackling a player when his feet are of the ground is dangerous and should result in a penalty but a yellow/red card- I dont think so. If the same player commits the offence three times he shouold receive a yellow, four times a red. If we had that rule, then scotland wouold never lose to Wales as they are very clever in the way the play garryowens adn encourage our boys to go in for the tackle and be sent off. In fact they are almost 100% dependent on that tactic when they play Scotland as they have great difficulty in competing against us when they have to take on 15 men.
    As it happens I am not anti Welsh and I agree that they are not the only team to cheat but, whenerver they play Scotland, they seem to rely heavily on cheating- to the extent that they put the Italians to shame.
    Another rule change- why not allow the yellow crded player back on the park as soon as the opposing team score. That happens in ice hockey where the rule has been tried and tested for years.

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