The Beattie Identity

Watching Johnnie Beattie these days fills me with a sad sense of longing of what may have been. I watched a 5 minute long tribute video to him this morning, perhaps a sign I need to get out more, and seeing him burst his way through tackle after tackle, making bone shuddering hits and throwing deft passes like some sort of navy-blue-clad Sonny Bill Williams was just a joy to behold.

The video ended with that beautiful try from the 2010 6 Nations against Ireland, a 30 yard burst full of power, speed and aggression where Paul O’Connell and Gordon D’Arcy (among one or two others) were sent bouncing to the floor. It was one of the great tries of that tournament and had many journalists, pundits and fans declaring Beattie a star.

Fast forward 5 years.

Going into this tournament it looked like Beattie’s international career was over – or at least on the line. David Denton was named as the only specialist 8 in the original squad with Vern Cotter’s first choice from the autumn, Adam Ashe, on the treatment table, leaving the (then) 35 cap Beattie out. An injury to Denton shortly after the squad announcement paved the way for Beattie to come back into the fold and sadly, despite all the talk of proving coaches wrong and showing he’s worth his place, it hasn’t gone to plan.

After starting the first 3 games of the tournament, Beattie dropped to the bench for the England game with the returning Denton taking his place and Ashe accompanying him there. Ashe, not Beattie, replaced Denton mid-way through the second half with Beattie coming on for Rob Harley at blindside with 15 minutes remaining.

Beattie isn’t the only one who hasn’t lived up to expectations in the dark blue this tournament of course, but at 29 he’s now one of the more senior members of the squad and he’s fast becoming a luxury in a position that arguably more than any other requires defensive solidity with attacking panache…and the stats back this up:

Meters GainedTackles MadePasses/OffloadsClean BreaksDefenders BeatenMinutes played
B. Vunipola1875813211320
S. Parisse146302227314
D. Chouly7622703232
J. Beattie4919800202
T. Faletau44622004320
J. Murphy3324914189
D. Denton32300154

Vunipola and Parisse have also both scored a try a piece thus far and Faletau was instrumental in Rhys Webb’s try against England, providing the pass that allowed the scrum half to score in the corner. As for Beattie? Well, aside from being taken out mid-air by Jonathan Davies and being yellow carded in the France game, it’s difficult to remember anything of note. The non-existence of clean breaks or defenders beaten is a damning indictment of a player who has the ability to pose a running threat and yet has drawn more attention for disciplinary situations.

We know by now the type of rugby Vern Cotter wants this team to play – the oxymoronic “Organised Chaos” – but for this to be effective we need a hard running, ball carrying 8 to punch holes in the opposition defence and provide an attacking impetus. Beattie has utterly failed to deliver on this front and has been anonymous when required.

So what’s gone wrong?

Since making his try scoring debut against Romania in 2006 Beattie has played alongside a series of talented backrowers – Jason White, Simon Taylor, Ally Hogg, Ross Rennie and a host of others but his most effective spell in a Scotland jersey came in 2010 as part of the infamous “Killer B” trio. The then trinity of Glasgow Warriors Kelly Brown, John Barclay and Beattie showed the rugby world what a complimentary, well-oiled back row could potentially do and were on the verge of ushering in a new era of back row play for Scotland. With Barclay acting as the traditional open-side fetcher, snaffling loose balls off the deck, Brown throwing himself in to tackles and making the hard yards and Beattie there to produce the galloping runs, that long stride eating up the ground drawing in defenders before producing deft flicks out of tackles to bring the backline into play.

If you want a slap in the face and a case of “what could have been”, Google “Killer B’s” and a host of articles come up eulogizing the unit. And yet, despite the successful 2010 Argentinian tour, the 3 only started together sporadically over the intervening years. With the continual non-selection of Brown and Barclay set to continue, it’s doubtful we’ll see the three play together again.

At club level, a fruitful two seasons at Montpellier appeared to have energised him but a move to Castres has proved the wrong choice. With the midi-Pyrenees’ outfit languishing at the bottom of the Top 14 Beattie has been criticised in the local media as, you guessed it, a luxury player, and has himself expressed concerns about his form.

But back to the international scene – what was it about playing with the other Bees that brought out the best in him? In Blair Cowan, Scotland have a traditional 7 allied to strong handling and running skills but perhaps the absence of a physical presence at blind side places too much pressure on Beattie to use his evident strength doing the dirty work he clearly doesn’t enjoy.  You have to wonder whether placing the likes of Sean O’Brien or James Haskell next to him would provide him with the freedom to do what he does best. Or maybe, we just need to be realistic and say we all expected too much of him when he first came onto the scene. It could simply be a case that a player as explosive, dynamic and exciting as he looked back then can’t sustain that level over a prolonged period of time.

I’ve been left pondering why Beattie has looked so out of sorts. Against Argentina in the autumn (now the bench mark of Cotter’s short reign) Ashe played the typical 8 we’ve needed this tournament. He was full of barnstorming runs, big hits and fitted into the new look back row effortlessly and bellied his tender years. The system hasn’t changed and the personnel isn’t vastly different – with one or two noticeable absentees of course – and in terms of physical stature, Beattie and Ashe are pretty much the same (6 ft 4 in, approx 106 kg). Denton on Saturday, whilst far from perfect (one or two wild passes stick out), gave us the sort of bullying physicality and determination to move forward we’ve not seen from that position in this tournament.

The only conclusion I can draw thus far is that Beattie – again along with others – seems to be lacking the necessary confidence and aggression required. Look at any of the other 8’s listed above and all of them have attacked the line with power and made a succession of hard clear outs at rucks. It may be harsh to single out Beattie in such a fashion when others haven’t lived up to expectations this year, but in top flight rugby it’s simply unrealistic to expect a team to carry a player who’s overall contribution has been so low. Compare this with Jonny Gray. He also made his way into the team thanks to injuries and yet hasn’t looked back. Every ruck he’s hit, every carry he’s attempted and every, of the many, many, tackles he’s launched himself into have all been executed with such a degree of confidence and aggression that it makes you think he’s the one who has been playing international rugby for a decade.

Going forward, no pun intended, it’s difficult to see where Beattie fits in. With Glasgow’s Josh Strauss on the verge of qualifying for Scotland as a ball-carrying 8 who rarely fails to make ground, Adam Ashe fit again and Dave Denton impressing in defeat on Saturday, we have further back row options to utilise for the World Cup – Roddy Grant and Chris Fusaro also spring to mind. It would be foolhardy to try and potentially change the system for a player who simply hasn’t been good enough .

Saturdays’ game against Ireland will be the day after the fifth anniversary of Beattie’s last international try – that beauty against the boys in green. The romantic in me thinks Beattie will do it again against them. The realist in me thinks he may not even be in the match day squad.

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Originally from Glasgow but now residing in the Netherlands, Andy is a keen watcher of all things rugby (apart from league). One time back row player, but a fondness of beer and fried foods led to premature retirement. Andy likes to share his occasional musings with the online community in the hope of igniting discussion and debate.

42 comments on “The Beattie Identity

  1. Standoffalot on

    I agree with pretty much all of the above. Beattie was effectively given a reprieve this 6N and has failed to grasp it. I’m a massive fan of Beattie but his form has fluctuated considerably down the years, and right now is the poorest I’ve seen him. I think Cotter’s WC back row, if fit and available, will be Cowan at 7, Denton/Ashe/Harley at 6 and Strauss at 8. Personally I would love to see both Brown and Barclay also given an outing in the WC warm up games to see what they bring to the table. Both are playing well but I do tend to wonder if we’re looking at all the Killer B’s through rose tinted glasses when it comes to international level. They should though be at least given the chance to prove themselves.

    • FF on

      I think there is little doubt that we look at the Killer B’s through rose-tinted glasses. We tend to judge them on 2010 instead of the sum of their performances. I think Brown is by far the most consistent and best out of the three, he is a workhorse who almost never looks out of place on the test stage. Barclay is very good, has had periods of being outstanding and periods of being pretty poor. Beattie has had a couple of good seasons amongst a sea of mediocrity. I don’t know why, he has the skills and the athletic ability but 3 tries in 38 tests should dispel any ideas that his work on the front foot compensates for his lack of impact in the tight stuff.

    • bulldog on

      Strauss will provide captaincy and will lead by example. What is exciting is the best of Cowan is yet to come.

      Brown is gone forever there is much more to that than performance. Rugby is now a professional sport, the coach is your boss, and as such what we are seeing is that the boss is not always right, but he is always the boss. Shame , the fans cannot pick the team , but that is life.

      One last comment.Back rows look at their best when working effectively with a competent scrum half and a stable scrum.

      It is getting there.

      Bulldog

  2. Realistically on

    Yes, it is stating the obvious to say that Beattie has been poor this 6N – the only real point of discussion is why has he lost the form he once had. I also remember well back in 2010 when the “killer bees” played so well as a unit, but it was almost just a fleeting moment when the planets aligned perfectly. It didn’t really last long did it…

    I think VC should just face facts and drop Beattie out of the match-day squad for Ireland if Ashe and Denton are fit and available. Beattie isn’t getting any younger and presumably there is a plan to introduce Strauss during the RWC so it would seem futile to keep waiting and hoping that he might just recover hi long-lost form one day. Time is really running out for the RWC preparations.

    As for the controversial omission of Kelly Brown and John Barclay…. There is obviously more to that story than is made public but it is a shame that the door appears to be closed on both. It would seem good sense to have both available at least in the training squad even if you did not parachute them straight into the starting XV. I’d play either of them in preference to Beattie right now.

    Kelly Brown seems like too good a package to leave out in the cold. He’s the right physical type for a good international 6, he always seems to play his heart out for Scotland and he could bring a lot of calm experience and leadership (to a team that does appear to lack it at times).

    I’d agree with FF that John Barclay’s form can be variable but watching some of his performances for the Scarlets this year I think most observers would say he is in very good form at the moment.

  3. coully on

    Call me old fashioned, I like beattie as a bit of a swashbuckler at 8, running in space, rather than smashing up. Alas its the latter we need just with some soft hands. Denton did play well on sat, not really a fan but credit where its due. If only Beattie had stuck around at Montpellier (well, aside from all the coaching shenanigan) they seem to be on the up. Going to Castres prob seemed a good idea meeting up with Gray snr and max evans but its just nae worked out. If it all goes taes up though, at least there’s always THAT TRY in 2010 :)

  4. Pragmatic optimist on

    It’s a sad day when some of your hero’s are confirmed as ‘didn’t realise potential’.
    I never thought that J Beattie Junior was as large and powerful as his dad, but he had greater speed and ball skills. He just hasn’t maximised his talents.

    When I watched him playing for Montpellier a couple of years ago, he was fielding kicks in his own 22, before either hoofing the ball into touch or the opposition 22, or running it back to the half way line. He looked imperious and a top class all round footballer. Was it a player reaching his prime I wondered.
    Run the film on 2 years and he can’t seem to touch his arse with his hand.

    He has always been inconsistent, but he can’t even do some of the things he used to, and looks unlikely to repeat his form of his early twenties now.
    His move to Castres from Montpellier has been an unmitigated disaster, for him as it has been for Richie Gray.
    I hope they’re both paid well and enjoy the life style, as the move has seen their rugby form plummet in a big way.

    • Standoffalot on

      Big Ritchie really hasn’t kicked on since he left Glasgow, and a large part of me feels he could do worse than move back, especially since Big Al can’t be far off moving into a coaching role. Now that I think about it, ditto Beattie since Wilson’s future at the club looks in jeopardy. Either way both need a move or maybe just a kick up the ……..

  5. pragmatic optomist on

    Standoffalot – I wonder if Glasgow can afford them now? I do like the idea, but I’m not sure if either they or the club would see it as a step backwards. I accept what you say about big Al, as this would seem to be his last year at the ‘coal face’.
    I hope Wilson isn’t confined to the bin for the Batman stupidity.
    He’s a good player, has a good attitude genrally, and everyone deserves a second chance.

    • Standoffalot on

      I think with the likes of DTH, Maitland and Niko moving on we have hopefully some money to spend, although losing DTH to the Scarlets particularly irks me. Big Ritchie would certainly beef up the pack and I think would dovetail nicely with his brother, so it may not just be about money, particularly since his moves since haven’t been an overwhelming success. I do agree with the point made below by BOC that we really should be prioritising strike runners/game breakers to replace the aforementioned that we are losing. That said I think signing Hart from Edinburgh is a good move for both Glasgow and the player, and I’m surprised at Edinburgh letting him go.

  6. By the beard of Cross on

    Excellent post Andy McLellan – these are definitely the types of articles I want to see more of on this website.

    I agree with everything that has been said. Excellent player, great skills and pace but unfortunately now looks completely out of his depth.

    His move to Castres has done him no favours. I would like to see him move club for next season, but realistically what club would take him? Glasgow or Edinburgh probably can’t afford him (far less actually need him, with Strauss, Ashe, Denton and Du Preez). English clubs wouldn’t fork out for him given his performances this 6Ns. I understand he doesn’t play an awful lot for Castres as it is, so I suspect French Top14 teams won’t be inspired in taking him in.

    Unfortunately, I imagine he will stay with Castres and knock about in the French D2. Shame.

    The problem with Beattie is that he is an incredibly ‘individual’ player, in that he needs those around to click so that he can play. I agree with the Haskell/SOB point; when he plays alongside the likes of Kelly Brown or Gorgodze (at Montpelier) he shines, because he has someone else to do all of the dogged, bruising work. This frees him up to carry 100% of the time. However, when he’s paired with players who aren’t big, heavy bruisers he performs badly, as he’s expected to carry 50% of the time and tackle/ruck the other 50%, which he shies away from. Thus, the ‘luxury player’ tag is actually a fair assessment.

    On a side note; I wouldn’t mind seeing Richie Gray move back to Glasgow. However, if the SRU are going to fork out for a player of his wage, I would rather see them spend the money on a proven finisher to replace DTH/ Maitland.

    Also re Wilson; sadly I suspect Glasgow will bin him. Which is an awful, over-reactionary decision. He may not be the best player there, but he’s bloody useful at Glasgow. He’s not the kind of player that will get snapped up immediately if binned. In effect, the SRU would be destroying a man’s (with a wife and child) livelihood because of a stupid, drunken moment of madness. If he goes, he’ll be off to the English Championship and fade into obscurity, which would be a fantastic shame.

    • Andy McLellan on

      Absolutely agree with your assertion that he’s an “individual” player. He’s shone, in my opinion, when placed next to a physically dominant 6 and in Harley he hasn’t had this year.

      And regarding Wilson, it’s a difficult situation for Glasgow now. If they deem him surplus to requirements in a playing sense then fine but I would hate to see his contract ripped up because of a drunken mistake. It was stupid, but hopefully a spell on the sidelines will have taught him his lesson.

  7. Neil on

    Interesting article- interesting that it specifically criticises one player. I wrote a message about 3 weeks ago and it was deleted because I critisised the SRU and onwe person working for the organisation. Obviously it is fair to write an entiore article about one player- not in my book it aint. What has the poor boy done to you?

    I freely admit that Beattie has not been brilliant but there are other players that could be criticised with much greater justification- such as Laidlaw, Halimlton, Cross and Ford to name but four. These players have been dreadful in all four games.

    And why not write an article about the SRU- are they really doing enough. Or another article on a certain overweight Ozzie- why does the SRU pay him to do nothing? You dont seem to have a problem targeting one player but I think an article targeting the lack of effort put in by half the team would be more appropriate. After all, rugby is a team game and not just about one player. This article is in bad taste Scottishrugbyblog and very hypocritical.

    • FF on

      What on earth are you banging on about Neil? It is entirely commonplace for articles to focus on individuals in the press. They are professional players in the public eye and providing articles are written about their performances on the pitch there isn’t any reason to take exception to being written about.

      This is just another example of you trying to shoehorn in your usual moans. Why write about Beattie now? Because it is topical – he is one of our biggest name players and his performances have been shocking. Why not write about the SRU or SJs role? Because it has no immediate bearing on the last weekend’s match or next weekend’s match. I’d rather articles be driven by the rugby agenda. There is a time and a place for article’s taking stock of Scotland’s rugby development – and guess what? Scottishrugbyblog wrote a State of the Game article doing just that. Would you really have them banging on every single bloody week about the SRUs shortcomings? Please don’t answer that as I’m sure we can guess your response.

      Finally, how on earth can you complain about ScottishRugbyBlog being unfair to Beattie when you continuously harp on about pseudo-Scots and label players as disgraces to their country and even nancy boys? I think it is pretty obvious who the hypocrite is and it isn’t the newest blog contributor above.

    • Standoffalot on

      I think you miss the point as usual Neil. It isn’t an article criticising Beattie, rather wondering why he never became the player we all thought he could. The majority on these boards are big fans of Beattie’s and the killer B’s, and on his day he is world class. Everyone is just disappointed he never kicked on and trying to understand why. I think it’s fair to say everyone on here wishes him well, and simply wants to see him get back to the levels he is undoubtedly capable of .

    • Rory Baldwin on

      Part of the feedback we have received in the survey wanted more detailed analysis, player features and opinion. This has a bit of all three, and the choice of player is down to the writer himself. Should someone wish to take a look at the form of any of the players you mention they would be welcome to – there is no over-arcing SRU conspiracy.

      We’ve already gone over the SRU thing in the past and while it may well merit investigation in future (almost certainly) there is plenty of a purely rugby nature to focus on at least until the weekend is over, so that’s what we plan to do. You are welcome to trawl the archives!

      • Neil on

        I don’t have a problem with scutinising players or criticising their performance but look at the title of the article and the principal subject matter. How would you feel if you were Beattie? It seemed to be a problem when I criticised one member of the SRU- the Scottishrugbyblog team were terrified about criticising them in case they facd a legal challenge in the courts- hardly likely! Yet it is acceptable to run a full article slagging off one player. come on guys, this is only a game, not life or death. Fine you can criticise Beattie but why not run an article about Laidlaw or Ford? Rather than running a deeply insulting article about one player, I think it would be more appropriate to run a general article about 5 or 6 players who have been below par in the last 4 games. Rugby is a gentlemen’s game so lets adopt that attitude.
        You may have criticised the SRU in the past but I get the feeling that you are afraid to do so in the present or in the future. What on earth are you afraid of- an over paid, over weight Ozzie who completely messed up our team?

      • Rory Baldwin on

        We’re not afraid to criticise the SRU as and when we feel it is merited, but without evidence of some giant gravy train/pork trough/champagne guzzling party on BT’s expense account we’re tired of the same old generic “SRU Blazers/Scott Johnson is running us into the ground” lines churned out when despite the woes of the current national team, there appear to be many changes Mark Dodson and co have made that have improved or seem to be improving the long term state of Scottish Rugby for the better. I’m pretty sure after we fail to win the World Cup or 6N in 2016 there will be some sort of scrutiny of that plan…

        We may well have similar articles planned on other players who we feel have not lived up to potential, but someone had to be first…I’m not sure why you say it is wrong to write about JB but okay if we picked GL or RF.

        And lastly if you aren’t a fan of the editorial direction of the site you’re always welcome to look elsewhere to post your opinion.

    • Highland Bear on

      A really good thread with sound analysis andreasoned comments, showing all the strengths of this website.
      Too good to last as everyone’s favourite commentator decides to add his perspective!

  8. Andrew McG on

    I agree with FF that this is a valid, relevant topic for debate, and I think Andy McLellan handles it sensitively – more wistful/what might have been than putting the knife in. Tangentially, however, I’ve been wondering in recent weeks what it’s like for both the players and the relatives of current players – especially when they’re getting slated. I think the mob mentality can take over a wee bit: the treatment of Dan Parks, Nick de Luca and others comes to mind. People even have a go after they’ve retired!

    I remember when my brother played to a pretty decent level, I sat in the crowd once, hearing the folks behind me criticizing his selection and slating his ability. Not easy to hear! What if that were on every forum, in every newspaper? I guess it comes with being high profile, but even so, it’s frustrating to hear the same lazy, absolute statements being poured out over and over – especially the old favourite, dismissing a lifetime’s effort with the words “not international class”. That’s a judgment to be made after someone’s retired.

    Some of the relatives of current players are legends in the game! Perhaps because of our smaller player (and genetic?) pool, we seem to have an above-average number of father-son/brother-brother/uncle-nephew combinations (although England also have a large crop at the moment with the Fords/Farrells/Vunipolas etc.). Roy Laidlaw and John Beattie – both greats during a great era of Scottish rugby – must be aware of at least some of the commentary on their nephew/son. Are they able to stay objective? Do they agree with the criticisms? Are they making comments on forums using pseudonyms? Or do they just stay as far away from the debate as possible?

    I know these questions are speculative, but I find it a fascinating dynamic when Beattie Sr is commentating on his son, for example. When Jr drops a ball, there’s a silence for a few seconds and Andy Nicol says: “Why don’t I comment on this bit…”

    Although I agree with assessments of Johnnie Beattie’s current form, we just need to be careful of saying of any player that ‘he had his chance and just wasn’t good enough’. There are so many variables that impact performance (age/experience/injury/the players around you/coach/tactics or law changes that suit or don’t suit your game). E.g. if World Rugby starts listening to fans and former players about hits/scrums/mauls, they might start changing the laws in ways which mean you don’t have to be the Incredible Hulk to represent your country. Point being: things can change. With the size of our player pool, we can’t afford to dismiss anyone. We support them in their career – U10s, amateur or professional, whomever – to be the best they can be. We need to be developmental for everyone. A few will reach the top – others won’t. If a player’s consistently out of form, drop him from that level, but keep supporting him, don’t write him off. Things can change for an individual and a team.

    • FF on

      I think you make a very good point. I particularly dislike how some BTL commenters, particularly on the Scotsman, target young players for perceived favouritism and are hugely critical of their performances. A good example is Sam Higalgo-Clyne; he was identified at a young age and attended a prestigious school on a rugby scholarship and so attracted a lot of ire from club supporters who like to think of themselves as standing against the SRU’s malign influence. The result was that for SHCs early career, every article that mentioned him or covered a club game he featured in had a series of comments that he’d never make it as a pro, that he was given breaks more deserving players weren’t, and that he was no better than any of the amateur senior players he was playing with. Fortunately, he has already broken into Edinburgh’s pro-ranks and now most Scottish supporters recognise his huge potential. I have no doubt he will have a test career and prove his ability – but what a toxic environment for a young player to emerge into.

      • Neil on

        Maybe we should run an article about FF and see how he likes it. This article is in poor taste. Sure Beattie played well against a mediocre Argentina team playing 5000 miles from home but has faired slightly less well against quality opposition playing closer to home. Laidlaw and Ford have messed up far more so than Beattie so why not run an article about these players? I would love to see FF play rugby? That would indeed be a laugh.

      • FF on

        Beattie wasn’t even in the team against Argentina in the autumn.

        Neil – you are massively abusive to lots of players who have represented Scotland, yet you pretend you are offended by a writer correctly pointing out that Beattie’s performances this 6N have been very poor. It isn’t very convincing.

      • Allan on

        Neil, you cant have your cake and eat by slagging off every player to play for scotland since 1990 then whinge because someone writes an article querying why Beattie hasnt lived up to his promise. And your credibility flew out the window with your last remark re his performance against Argentina in Autumn which has already been pointed out as being a figment of your imagination as he wasnt playing. Also, the poor Argentina team you mentioned went on to wallop the French a week later i believe.

        I appreciate you might not get much telly in the desert…….

    • Rory Baldwin on

      Believe it or not, this blog was actually founded with a (drunken) conversation along the lines of “there should be somewhere you can write an article that says, “Dan Parks for captain”.

  9. Andy #1 on

    Great article Andy McLellan, always good when an article like this prompts so much debate.

    Let’s remember Neil and Andrew McG…these are professional rugby players. If you’re wanting the media to mollycoddle every player and congratulate them for a job well done regardless of performance that’s great – let’s build some more space in the trophy cabinet for these wooden spoons. Our expectations rise when our performances improve – the New Zealand press is the most critical in the world – so let’s be honest when a player fails to live up to these expectations. You’ll also find as much praise in this article for those ready to carry the can as there is criticism for those tripping up and spilling the juice.

    As a nation and a press we also congratulate players on good performances – and scottishrugbyblog would be the first to do so. But our expectations are high – and we’ve 0 points from 4 games.

    Looking forward to some more articles Andy – keep up the good work.

    • Andrew McG on

      Totally agree Andy #1. Informed, constructive criticism and accountability aren’t just fine, they’re necessary. Sometimes, criticism/hair dryer treatment/being dropped might be just what a player needs. I’m not talking about being soft on poor performance and I think this article is well written and fair. It’s just lazy, absolute statements that label or write a player off that I think are unhelpful.

  10. FF on

    Team out – Beattie dropped.

    15 Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors); 31 caps, 9 tries, 1 pen, 48 points

    14 Dougie Fife (Edinburgh Rugby); 5 caps, 1 try, 5 points
    13 Mark Bennett (Glasgow Warriors); 6 tries, 2 tries, 10 points
    12 Matt Scott (Edinburgh Rugby); 24 caps, 3 tries, 15 points
    11 Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors); 16 caps, 6 tries, 30 points

    10 Finn Russell (Glasgow Warriors); 8 caps, 1 con, 2 points
    9 Greig Laidlaw (Gloucester); 38 caps, 3 tries, 40 cons, 80 pens, 335 points

    1 Ryan Grant (Glasgow Warriors); 21 caps
    2 Ross Ford (Edinburgh Rugby); 84 caps, 2 tries, 10 points
    3 Euan Murray (Glasgow Warriors); 65 caps, 2 tries, 10 points
    4 Jim Hamilton (Saracens); 60 caps, 1 try, 5 points
    5 Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors); 12 caps, 1 try, 5 points
    6 Adam Ashe (Glasgow Warriors); 4 caps
    7 Blair Cowan (London Irish); 10 caps, 1 try, 5 points
    8 David Denton (Edinburgh Rugby); 24 caps

    Substitutes
    16 Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors); 7 caps
    17 Alasdair Dickinson (Edinburgh Rugby); 43 caps, 2 tries, 10 points
    18 Geoff Cross (London Irish); 39 caps, 2 tries, 10 points
    19 Tim Swinson (Glasgow Warriors); 11 caps
    20 Rob Harley (Glasgow Warriors); 14 caps, 1 try, 5 points
    21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Edinburgh Rugby); 4 caps
    22 Greig Tonks (Edinburgh Rugby); 3 caps
    23 Tim Visser (Edinburgh Rugby); 17 caps, 7 tries, 35 points

    • Standoffalot on

      Decent team. Interesting that Grany gets in ahead of Dickinson and I had a feeling Harley might make way for Denton or Ashe. Would still like a change at scrum half but I appreciate that isn’t going to happen. I just hope Laidlaw brings his A game. Fife can also consider himself somewhat fortunate.

    • Andrew McG on

      Relieved to see Scott, Hamilton, Ashe and Seymour are injury-free. That’s a powerful back row. Has Ashe played much at 6?

      • Standoffalot on

        He’s played a few times for Glasgow with Strauss at 8. Grany has had a few good games at prop too!

  11. Andy McLellan on

    Cheers for all the feedback so far folks, much appreciated.

    For those of you who feel I’m singling Beattie out for unfair criticism I think you’re looking at the piece from the wrong angle. I’m a fan of Beattie, at least of the 2010 model, and I’m desperate to see him get back to that level of performance. He’s 30 this year, so still has the time to turn things around. I’m not branding the guy a failure, earning almost 40 caps for your country precludes you from that, but he hasn’t kicked on in the way myself, and so many others, hoped he would. And you know what, I’m sure he’d say the same.

    Finally, it may be harsh to single an individual in what is a team sport and again, as I’ve said in the article, he’s not the only one who hasn’t lived up to expectations but when viewed in direct comparison with his opposite numbers it shows that he hasn’t been as effective as one would have hoped. By dropping him from the squad for Saturday Cotter has reinforced the impression that he’s slipped down the pecking order behind Denton, Ashe and inevitably Strauss.

    • Callum on

      I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article. I also think that everything you said was fair and justified. It’s not like you are making petty accusations, as everything you have said is true. I have also been mentioned this issue for a while.

      I would love to see more articles like this; maybe even ones talking about the potential of upcoming players. Would like to see one on Russle (as I don’t’ know too much about him), maybe on Benett as well.

      Lastly think it would also be good if anyone could do an article on the next crop of player that we have coming through. Say the under 21’s or younger. I really have no idea on any grassroots player which are coming through the system atm.

      Anyway thanks again for the good read. Let’s just hope in 10 years’ time that you are writing one on how our current young players hit their recognised potential just in time to win the 2019 WC haha (a man can dream!)

      • Scafell on

        I second that. Our u18s thumped Japan the other night. Apart from the score it wasn’t reported on the SRU website! COnsidering our resources a couple of our youth teams have been doing well.

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