Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


World Cup Pool Stage Referees Announced

Come the Autumn, Ross Ford re-emerged as a force.

Scotland’s pool games at the World Rugby Rugby World Cup(TM) will be officiated by the following:

Scotland v Japan
Kingsholm Stadium
Ref: John Lacey (IRFU)
Asst: George Clancy (IRFU)
Asst: Marius Mitrea (FIR)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (SARU)

Scotland v USA
Elland Road
Ref: Chris Pollock (NZR)
Asst: John Lacey (IRFU)
Asst: Mike Fraser (NZR)
TMO: Ben Skeen (NZR)

South Africa v Scotland
St. James’ Park
Ref: Nigel Owens (WRU)
Asst: Chris Pollock (NZR)
Asst: Leighton Hodges (WRU)
TMO: George Ayoub (ARU)

Samoa v Scotland
St. James’ Park
Ref: Jaco Peyper (SARU)
Asst: JP Doyle (RFU)
Asst: Marius Mitrea (FIR)
TMO: Ben Skeen (NZR)

The full list for all pool games can be found here.

21 Responses

  1. So a SA referee for our final pool game against Samoa. A potential (although highly unlikely) conflict of interests as SA could in theory require a particular result from this match to finish in one of the top 2 of this group. Seems reckless of IRB to appoint Peyper when other referees from nations not competing in the group could take charge. It’s probably not worth mentioning aa SA should on paper walk this group in 1st place.

    1. Dont worry about conflict of interest in this case matey. We have as much chance of beating SA than you have of winning the national lotters. They could probably field a C team against us and still win. After all we are fielding a player that has never made it near the Springbiks team so that tells you something. The winner of that pool is a foregone conclusing and we are fighting Samoa for second place. I’m just a bit concerned that we may not even get that as Japan and USA are potential banana skins. If we play like we did in the final two games oif the 6 nations then dont be at all surprised if we mess up against USA or Japan. Remember that we only beat USA by arround 15 points last summer and we almost lost to Canada. My point is that we have no chance of topping the group and only a 50:50 chance of finishing second.

      1. “Remember that we only beat USA by arround 15 points last summer” With a far from full strength side playing in the Houston heat in the midst of a crazy schedule I would say a 15 point win is not too bad.
        If Japan and USA are potential banana skins for us then we are certainly a potential banana skin for S.A.

      2. I’ve witnessed a Scottish team (one which I would would rate way below this current squad) beat SA. It’s definitely no foregone conclusion. We can beat SA when we are playing at 100% and they aren’t but only with a bit of luck on our side. I’d say the same is true of Samoa. What if SA get beaten by Samoa? Peyper may want Samoa to beat us so SA can save face with 2nd place and not have Scotland and Samoa go through on points (this seems unlikely) or Peyper wants us to beat Samoa so SA go through in the top spot as they finish with a big points haul. Either way it seems odd of irb putting a SA ref in charge of the match between SA’s 2 biggest rivals in the group. If SA lose ANY game in the group then this game could decide their placing and as fair/consistent as Peyper has proven himself to be to ref at this level, he is a bokke fan at heart and this is an unfortunate position for the IRB to put him in.

    2. My worry is not particularly the score but the physicality the USA showed in that summer tour match. Our depth is reasonable, but in certain positions (centre, tighthead) a poorly-timed injury could put us incredibly bad shape for the later stages when we are really going to need our top team.

      1. I think we are a better team than the USA on the whole but they have improved massively over that last 5-10 years while we have gone in the opposite direction. I guess if we played 10 games against USA we would expect to win 8 of them but we need to guard against the odd occasion when USA are at 100% and we are at 75%. If we underrate them or if we arent firing on all cylinders then they have the opportunity to beat us. I feel the same is true of Samoa and probably even Japan. The whole team has to be motivated to win, showing the same levels of dedication and commitment that we did in the Autumn internationals. If we play in the way that we did in the 6 nations then dont be at all surprised if we are unable to get a single win in the pool stage. Second place in the pool is by no means a foregone conclusion.

      2. You’re confusing 7s and 15s Neil – USA have done SFA in 15s and will still have a handful of amateurs in their starting line ups. Japan actually have improved somewhat, are fully professional with a World Cup winning coach and some guys with Super 15 experience. We can beat both without playing particularly well but we could certainly lose to Japan if we had a mare.

      3. FF- we played USA about a year ago and I remember we won by about 15 points but the win was not very convincing. In previous years we would have put 60 points past USA. I would say that Japan and USA are at a similar level. If we are on form we should beat both but there is no doubt in my mind that we could lose these games if we play in the way we did against Ireland and Italy in the 6 nations.
        Out team has the ability to mix it with the best and at least make the quarter finals but I question their will and determination to do so. They had the wrong sort of attitude in the 6 nations and, if they take that to the WC then don’t be surprised if we lose all of our pool matches. USA, Japan and Samoa lack skill but they make up for that with a determination and confidence to win. Their players are very proud to represent their nation. I wish I could say the same about our boys.

  2. Peyper officiated brilliantly in the super rugby final (what a game!!!!), especially the mauls. I think he’s one of the better referees.

  3. Neil I didn’t realise our players were not proud to represent Scotland……….another sweeping statement from yourself I think.

    1. We they ceertainly didnt play with much prode, determination or intensity during the 6 nations. I dont mind if we lose a game but play our best and give 100% but that certainly was not the case. Just compare our performances in the 6 nations with those of the Autumn internationals 6 months earlier. In the latter we played really well even when we lost to NZ. In the 6 nations we were pathetic yet the squads contained the same players. What you can take from that is we have the ability to mix it with the best but the attitude has to be right. If it isnt then I think we will struggle aginst USA, Samoa and Japan, never mind SA.
      Any player who is not on form or not giving 100% and playing with maximum instensity shoould be dropped. I just hope that VC has the balls to do just that.

  4. Neil
    Not sure where you find evidence that Scotland have gone down hill in last 5 to 10 years.

    1. Donald,

      I don’t know where to start. The last time Scotland challenged for the 6 nations title was arround 1999-2000 and I can count on one hand the number of times our team have beaten Ireland, England, Wales and France since 2005. The only team we seem capable of beating in the 6 nations is Italy and even then we often lose to this team. We have had a succession of coaches, most of which have been average at best and diabolical at worst. Up until the last 2 years our club set up has been disasterous, there has been a decrease in the number of people playing rugby in our country and dont even gert me started about youth development. Our record in last seasons 6 nations read “played 5 games, lost 5 games.” We couldnt even beat Italy on home ground for heavens sake. When we played Ireland, our team looked like a bunch of amatures who had never played the game before. Had they been training in the pub? I have never seen a Scotland team look so poor in over 30 years of watching our national team on a regular basis. Even as a slightly overweight moderately fit 44 year old I recon I would not have looked out of place in that squad.
      We only have 2 pro teams and seem to have pretty much lost our breeding ground of good players in the Scottish borders. I dont want to repeat any of my previous comments about the state of club rugbly and lack of pro teams but suffice to say that I’m not exactly thrilled with the current set up.
      On a positive note, we have a good coach and at least some of our players are decent but I question whether we have the right attitude, and levels of commitment and determination. In our last 2 matches of the 6 nations our players seemed happy to just give up, particularly against Ireland. If they go in with that attitude then we will be stuffed. Bear in mind theat we did not even get out of the group stage in the last WC when we have made the QF and even the SF in previous tournaments. So in answer to your question, I think the standards have definately declined by arround 25% or more over the last 10 years. We seem very reliant on second rate foreign players to fit into our national squad and maybe that is the shape of things to come. I think there has been a very slight improvement (though it is hard to believe in the face of the disasterous 6 nations) over the last year and VC is a great coach so there is some reason for optomism but just don’t get carried away as we are still light years behind the SA, OZ, NZ and the top 6 nation teams.

      1. Don’t you get bored of posting the same Eeyore-ish laments ad nauseum? The 6N was a devasting disappointment but there are reasons to be cheerful, as you know because this conversation has happened on this board dozens of times.

  5. OK FF- there is some reason for optomism as our forward pack will be massively improved with Nell and Strauss. Adam Ashe should be fit and with other class acts like Hogg and Russel we could do some damage. But just dont get carried away as I think you are inclined to. We will lose to SA and I cant see us getting beyond the QF.

    1. The only person I remember getting carried away on this board was you, who predicted at least 3 wins in the 6N if not 4. Most other posters can see where Scotland are; comfortably outside the top 7 but with a talented and young squad with plenty of potential. Literally no one has predicted we’ll beat SA or make a semi-final because our ambitions are realistically limited to getting out the group. It is a tough group because Samoa are a seriously competitive team – just look at today’s score line against NZ – but we should also be able to beat USA and Japan without playing our best.

      Reasons to be cheerful:
      Best ever domestic season for Scotland’s pro-teams
      Form of Finn Russell at end of season – we might have a test quality stand-off for the first time in over a decade
      Greatest strength in depth of Scotland’s squad since 6N began
      Return of John Barclay – if he lives up to expectations!
      Josh Strauss turning out in blue

      Most importantly, Cotter has three whole months with his squad. If he is as good a coach as his reputation suggests we should see a much more cohesive and competitive team emerge. To date his time with the squad has been limited, before the AIs and 6N he only had a few weeks at a time.

      1. FF – real shame about our midfield injury woes. With a fit Dunbar, Bennett and Scott, even put Taylor in there I would fancy our chances for an upset v SA, there seems to be a bit of a civil war regarding quotas, Meyer seems to be infuriating Boks fans with his selections and the SA super rugby teams have been less than stellar this year adding into Vermulens injury. Still plenty of quality though which shows their depth.

      2. FF – Those are good reasons to be cheerful and who would have expected that at the end of the 6N.

        I expect this squad to do their utmost.

        It is time to look forward.

  6. Ive been thinking a lot about Scotland leately, specifically the back row. (Note: sorry jf this is not the best place to put this comment). Personally, in the 31 id take 6 backrowers: harley and denton at 6, barclay and cowan at 7, and strauss and ashe at 8. My starting back row would be 6. Denton 7. Barclay 8. Strauss and 20. Cowan. This i feel gives us huge presence and ball carrying, without losing much in the way of workrate. Ive left harley out for this reason, excellent work rate, nuisance at the breakdown, and is a lineout jumper, but he is not an effective ball carrier. We dont have a lot of ball carriers in the forwards, but with the “organised chaos” mantra, we dont need too many massive ball carriers, just forwards willing to offload. Having denton and strauss gives us the ability to play one up rugby though, even have a few runners on their shoulders. Also, with two carriers like them giving us go forward, it allows the backs to be trying to do things with real go-forward ball, and hoepfully we are playing with a 9 who can use the go forward ball effectively and quickly. Finally, i like cowan but have gone for barclay starting, hes a more natural 7 i think, and isnt a bad ball carrier if hes managed to pick ip scarlets coaches player of the sason playing most of his rugby at 8. But i feel with the massive carriers in the back row, barclay adds balance, by ensuring that any ball that is given by the others is clean using his knowledge of the breakdown that comes with being a natural out and out 7. I think the thing that sticks in my mind most is a piece of BBC analysis of barclay the last time he played for scotland, where a scottish player was tackled and barclay was there to clear out any would be turn overers (had a mind blank), and then he ran straight from that breakdown, diagonally across the pitch cutting across bith the offensive and defensive lines to where the next breakdown was going to be and did the same there. This is what im looking for from barclay, making sure any go forward given by denton and strauss is clean and tidy. And cowan on the bench ahead of ashe and harley is for the reason that he is a natural 7 too, who turns the ball over regularly, as well as him being able to cover every position, and being a good ball carrier. Anyway, i have thoughts about the rest of the squad too, maybe ill out them up another time. Hopefully you guys can give me some feedback. Sorry again for the length haha.

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion