Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Australia 35-34 Scotland

Scotland huddle - pic © Al Ross
Scotland huddle - pic © Al Ross

Knockout rugby. At international level it only rolls around once every four years. The Six Nations, summer tours, occasionally throw up winner takes all fixtures but the World Cup is the only chance we get to see it happen against teams from both Northern and Southern hemispheres.

Scotland have actually made a World Cup semi-final before now, but there was no great expectation that our boys would actually turn over a Wallabies side that many viewed as pre-tournament favourites. A quarter-final exit would be about right, on par with our ever-fluid World ranking that swithers somewhere between 7 and 11.

The one thing that Vern Cotter has tried to instill in this Scotland team is belief: faith in their own skills. So no one really told them that was the plan, that the Wallabies would be too good in too many areas.

Scotland went out to win it.

It didn’t start well of course, but gone was the sluggish first 40, replaced by just a sluggish ten minutes or so where Australia went through the gears confidently.

When Tommy Seymour rushed out of the line early and missed the tackle he had to make on Kuridrani, Adam Ashley-Cooper’s try became a formality. Bernard Foley missed the first of several kicks that would keep the scoring margin from growing too wide.

The Scots replied with some furious ball carrying, finally seeing Denton and the Gray brothers looking like the test-match animals we hoped they were and earning a Laidlaw penalty as a reward.

The Scots kept pressing the Australian line, and Peter Horne who was in the side for his eye for a gap, found one in between the defenders either side of the ruck and collected the ball and strolled through for possibly the softest try this Wallaby side have conceded all year. A sizeable Scottish support (native or otherwise) roared their team on and a further penalty swung the momentum to make it 5-13.

The Scots scramble defence was as effective as ever but there was an inevitability to Australia’s attacks as each phase drew in more and more defenders till there was an easy overlap. When they did score again though, Foley missed the conversion while Laidlaw was slotting his nervelessly to keep the scorelines tight.

Our maul defence has been an issue all year and Australia exploited that to the maximum with a repeated penalty/lineout/maul combo that led to Craig Joubert whistled up for Australia’s third try – but again it went unconverted.

HT: Australia 15-16 Scotland

With a good first half finally under their belts, Scotland had the worst possible start to the second as Joubert binned Sean Maitland for a deliberate knock-on – to me it looked like he had tried to flick it up. All over Twickenham, hearts sank as the spectre of that decision effectively ending Scotland’s challenge – as it has so many times before – rose over the cabbage patch.

Australia immediately capitalised with a try that Foley finally converted, Mitchell scoring out on the wing where Maitland should have been.

Our other bugbear this year has been the restart and no sooner had Laidlaw kicked another penalty than the Scots bungled the kick and handed the Australians what looked like an easy try until the TMO spotted a knock-on in the build up.

With the lead out to 25-19 the Scots remained good with the ball in hand but had too little effective possession to eke out further penalties. The scrum was a huge weapon with WP Nel at the helm but it was back to brilliant opportunism for their next points as Russell charged down Foley’s clearance before Genia hauled him down and he popped the ball off the floor to Seymour who dove over surrounded by defenders to send Twickenham crazy.

Laidlaw missed his conversion but even behind on the scoreboard, it put a spring in the Scot’s step, intensity in defence in particular.

Kuridrani battered over for the almost inevitable try the next time Australia attacked the Scottish line, but Scotland refused to die and kept trying to find holes with their big runners. It was heavy traffic for Strauss and Denton but they earned a penalty to bring the margin back within a score.

And then it started raining.

Replacement loosehead James Slipper had been having a tough time in the scrum but that’s nothing compared to the trouble he’ll be in after Mark Bennett picked off an indecisive pass to scamper under the posts and equalise the scores. Amidst a tumult of noise in the stadium, Laidlaw converted to give the lead back to Scotland for the remaining five minutes.

Ultimately, when history was within their grasp, there was the slightest falter from Scotland and a fumbled lineout led to an Australian penalty as Jon Welsh was ruled to have gathered the ball from an offside position.

We could talk about that decision, or the refusal to take a look at the late hit on Hogg just before – perhaps a reputation of going to ground easily is not helpful in this regard – but there were equal such moments for Australia. In the end, Scotland had possession and the lead in the last five minutes but by the 80th they had neither.

Foley found his kicking boots and slotted the penalty that gave Australia a one point win, breaking Scottish hearts in the process.

SRBlog Man of the Match: again, much is made of his service or slight stature talking to referees, but without Laidlaw’s nerveless boot we wouldn’t have been in it for the full 80, or been able to claw back points every time Australia scored. Our captain has done us proud this World Cup.

UPDATE: You can read additional thoughts on the game over on Rugby World Magazine’s site.

102 Responses

  1. Twas a game of beauty and pain. This loss will do a world of good for this team. They will have learned a tremendous amount through that experience and that suffering at the end is going to strengthen and galvanize this squad. There are no two ways about it, this Scotland team is the real deal and they are going to hit the 6 nations like never before. We have the players, we have the experience and now we have the fuel. Proud of every single player. Fantastic.

  2. After the dust has settled and emotions have run their course the first thing I want to say is how proud I am of the 23 players who gave their all yesterday. I must admit I had expected us to put up a fight but lose by around 15 points. To lead going into the last minute was testament to the commitment and skill of the Scotland team.

    Yes the last minute penalty hurt, yes the crucial decisions went against us, although I am more upset about the unpunished late shoulder charge on Stuart Hogg than the final penalty, but the thing to take forward from this game is that finally we seem to have a lot to be hopeful of for the next 6N and in the future.

    What is sometimes overlooked is that in rugby terms we have a young team, one that will learn a great deal from this tournament and will, I hope, become a potent force in International rugby in the near future.

    What the SRU need to do is offer BVC a longer term contract, pay him what he asks, and give him carte blanche to build his own coaching team, although the arrival of Jason O’Halloran heralds that already (expecting great things from him)

    Well done to the whole squad!

  3. I have looked at the LAWs regarding the decision that lost Scotland the game. I copy them here – make your own minds up!

    11.7 Offside after a knock-on
    When a player knocks-on and an offside team-mate next plays the ball, the offside player is liable to sanction if playing the ball prevented an opponent from gaining an advantage.
    Sanction: Penalty kick
    A team-mate did not NEXT play the ball, an opponent (Aussie) did.

    A knock-on occurs when a player loses possession of the ball and it goes forward, or when a player hits the ball forward with the hand or arm, or when the ball hits the hand or arm and goes forward, and the ball touches the ground or another player before the original player can catch it.
    ‘Forward’ means towards the opposing team’s dead ball line.

    12.1 The outcome of a knock-on or throw forward
    (a) Unintentional knock-on or throw forward. A scrum is awarded at the place of infringement.

    (b) Unintentional knock-on or throw forward at a lineout. A scrum is awarded 15 metres from the touchline.

    People are saying it might have been Accidental offside – Reading LAW 11:7 it wasn’t! – but here is the definition anyway.

    11.6 Accidental offside
    When an offside player cannot avoid being touched by the ball or by a team-mate carrying it, the player is accidentally offside. If the player’s team gains no advantage from this, play continues. If the player’s team gains an advantage, a scrum is formed with the opposing team throwing in the ball.12
    When a player hands the ball to a team-mate in front of the first player, the receiver is offside. Unless the receiver is considered to be intentionally offside (in which case a penalty kick is awarded), the receiver is accidentally offside and a scrum is formed with the opposing team throwing in the ball.

    1. Ergo a knock on and scrum to Aus. I can’t slate Joubert for missing Phipps touch as it was so quick i imagine most of us missed it first time round. What bugs me even today is Ben Skeen, the TMO and Glen Jackson, who was running the line. Skeen was the instigator of Maitlands yellow card and Jackson was involved too. Lets not forget Jackson has form in terms of his officiating Scotland games. He was an arrogant twat as a player and has now become the same as a ref. Another elite ref who suffers from perception bias i’m afraid! Skeen also ignored the late hit on Hogg. This was worthy of a yellow or at the very very least a penalty to Scotland. Will the citing officer be taking any further action? I seriously doubt it. Will the mainstream press put these questions to World Rugby? Again, i doubt it. Even if they do, will WR answer them honestly?

      Brett Gosper, an Aussie, as head of World Rugby should at the very least be answering these questions if only to put to bed the consipracy theories that are inevitable when mistakes are made. We are all human but when an organisation pulls up the ladder and says nowt, it doesnt do anyone any favours. We didnt have TMO’s or independent citing officers when Dean Richards arm and Jon Callards boot cost us a Calcutta cup so we accepted it as a mistake and got on with it. Nowadays though, with the technology available, there is no excuse for these errors to be missed when we now have one bloke whose sole job is to watch the game on telly and help the ref. Skeen is the villain, not Joubert. I for one think Gosper is hanging Joubert out to dry by not answering these questions or telling us why he legged it at the end. For all we know he had a dose of the trots but without an honest answer, we will never know. There were certainly no bottles thrown onto the pitch, despite what the Kiwi papers printed!

  4. I would echo Jimmy’s comments. I’d thank and congratulate every one of the players and also the coaches. We had close to our starting fifteen available for most matches and that points to some savvy management (and a wee bit of luck). I believe in these players and, much more importantly, they believe in themselves. Still a lot to prove in the upcoming 6 N, but I’m looking forward to this lot going back to their clubs and pushing on for a good season. Looking at the rankings, for the first time in a while I feel that we could have a good crack at teams 4th – 8th. This team has to start seeing 3 wins in the 6 Nations as the minimum acceptable requirement. That’s the next step on the path. We were largely not expected to reach the quarters (most had Samoa going through prior to the tournament) and we were forecast a hiding off the Aussies. The players have earned some respect, which has pretty much been lacking for years. Now we need to engender fear!

  5. Agree with Jimmy,nothing to galvanise a team like coming through dark times together.having endured many of these dark times at Murrayfield I now look forward to the six nations knowing that this squad have the ability to compete.
    In time I hope the players can look back and be as proud of their performances as we are of them.

  6. Almost a tremendous and historic victory, but we have to hope that this game and the pain associated with the defeat is part of the journey towards becoming a team that can win against the best in the World and become a consistently competitive T1 nation.

    I am sick and tired of the Autumn International bandwagon rolling around each year, and seeing Australia, South Africa or New Zealand pick their second string for the Scotland game, saving their first XV for the games with the big boys. We need to use the 6 Nations as a platform upon which to build a reputation that will demand respect from touring sides.

    I can no longer stomach the inane drivel each Six Nations about relegation to a second tier and I’m sick to the back teeth of aged pundits harking back to the good old days of grand slams past. We absolutely must kick on from this World Cup – as a minimum we must be looking to be in the championship mix come the last weekend of matches.

    ……if this is truly part of the journey as BVC said, then this game, painful as it was, has been a vitaly important result and should fire our bellies for the challenges that lie ahead.

    1. It’s up to Scotland to make them unable to field a second string team. If and when we dish out a few beatings to the Antipodean “reserve” sides then they will start taking us seriously. I now think we have a core of maybe 20-25 quality players that allows us to do that. A credible showing at the 6N (2 or 3 wins achievable at least IMO) and let’s build from there.

    2. I think we need to play more games in the AIs. Each game is so important now for world rankings etc that we never get the chance to blood a load of new guys without real worry about the result. I think a lot of its to do with the improvement of “tier 2 – 3” nations, the gulf in class is nowhere near as wide as it was a few years ago.

      Agree it’s up to us to give 2nd string teams a bloody nose to make them take us seriously. As I said though the AIs used to be about giving other players some experience, the SH big guns can afford to still do that whereas we can’t.

      1. Compared to our peers we don’t play enough internationals and as such are relatively low in cap count compared to other countries. I’d even consider summer European tours of Georgia, Romania etc. with a squad of under 23 year old just to get them experience.

  7. What a relief not to have anyone harping on about the referee (see previous blogs!!). What a game – I haven’t been that excited about a possible win for a long time. The fact we didn’t still hurts but I’m philosophical enough to to realise that before the match I was hoping just to get within 15 points of the Aussies (7 places above us in the rankings, after all).
    Obviously the ref didn’t cover himself in glory but we shouldn’t have been in that position in the first place. Things to build on – such as the restarts, holding onto the ball, not throwing long at a lineout in our own 22 – but nobody can now say we can’t compete at the highest level, and with experience this side will get the wins we all crave.
    Well fought boys – unlucky but proud!

    1. Agree entirely Merlot. Am finding the comments about Joubert all over the internet intensely depressing.
      We coughed it up with the lineout. Officials make mistakes.
      I can only begin to imagine how much fun we’d be having with this if it had been our southern neighbours who’d gone out in this fashion and were frothing at the mouth.
      We seem to be in danger of becoming a country of conspiracy theorists.
      Like many others I was simultaneously proud/elated/scunnered by yesterday’s result, but like the team I’d rather focus on the future.
      The squad has shown what it’s capable of – both BVC and the fans should now see that as the benchmark.

  8. The restart needs looked at as a priority. Every team in World Rugby is going to be gunning for us from the restart until we start claiming them and booting the ball back deep into the opponents half 9 times out of 10. Would be interesting working out how many points we conceded in the tournament within 3 minutes of receiving a restart.

  9. I know there is a petition to ban Joubert from Scotland, but surely the answer is a petition to the UK govt to reverse the result of the game?

    10,000 signatures and it has to be addressed officially.

    Anyone with a Twitter account want to set it up? 5 people are needed.

    “The United Kingdom is currently hosting the rugby world cup. We demand that the government, or parliament, force the organisers to reverse the result of the Scotland v Australia game or end the tournament. Failing that, the Queen should sack the Australian prime minister, assume control as head of state and order their team home, so Scotland can take their place. In any case, Craig Joubert should be placed in public stocks.”

  10. Some good points being made

    We have the making of a good team and although it would have been good to get one over on the Aussies you could argue that this young team will learn more from the narrow defeat than If they had fluked it at the end.

    You cannot blame the ref, he actually spotted a knock on when no one else did and saved us a try. And some of the scrum penalties looked suspicious

    Promising things are:
    1. The players are now understanding their roles a lot more clearer along with the overall game plan. You could see this in the pool games after they were reminded by BVC at half time.
    2. We have now set down a president with our scrum and refs will be aware it’s strong.
    3. Some really young talent stepping up. As stated this young team will learn from this experience and although there was many errors they fronted up very well under pressure.
    4.WP Nel is a diamond, what an engine in the big man, SA must be regretting letting him leave. In fact all of the project players gave it their all for Scotland.
    5. We have a fly half. A position that Scotland has struggled to fill for a long time. Finn has a lot to learn but he has an attacking instinct and running game which cannot be taught. His game management will improve.


    1. Restarts. No idea what the problem is, positioning of lifters with jumper ? but we need to sort it ASAP as it gives away so much ball.
    2. Defence, organisation needs to improve, Dunbar is the key man for this in the back line and was missed. But we also need to be more aggressive and get of the line to shut down the opposition.
    3. Getting sucked in a forward battle. We need to stop reverting to a forward game plan. We are not built for it and not good at it. Get the ball out wide and off loaded. Takes time to change mentality but need to keep hammering the message home. We are faster and more nimble than all the other 6N teams and need to use it. Everyone seen how badly Ireland were exposed on Sunday with their lumbering forwards.

  11. Same as others on this forum, I experienced a weird mix of being simultaneously uplifted and dispirited yesterday, and again today.

    There is much to look forward to now from this team. We’ve had a few false dawns since 1999, mind, but this just doesn’t feel like one at the moment. Looking forward to building on this in the 2016 6N.

    Proud of you, Scotland Rugby team!

  12. Well played boys, you did the country proud. We lost mainly because we continuously struggle with restarts, we can’t defend a maul and our lineout misfired at two key moments. However these are all things that can be fixed. We have improved enormously in so many other areas. We’ve a young team and they’ll learn from this. Just look at Glasgow in the Pro12, they learned from the pain of their first final and won their second. This team wasn’t given an earthly against the Aussies, yet gave them the fright of their lives. They’ve obviously benefited from a continuous period of time together and I just hope we can do ourselves justice in the 6N.

    1. Spot on, experience will tell. Young side just gained it. The Glasgow boys just know it already, but this was a step up for a fairly inexperienced side. Great effort. Now please some 6 nations success.

    2. It’s a good point. You can see with some of the young Glasgow lads post match that, although gutted, they are relatively relaxed. They’ve suffered defeats in big knock out matches before only to come back one better the next time. They know it can be done. They know how to take the lessons and improve. It’s a different mentality and I think they will come back all the stronger.

  13. With regret I think we are now trying to avoid the elephant in the room. Since the match a complete, humiliating debackle has unfolded.

    Senior characters in the game such as Sir Ian McGeechan. Michael Lynagh and Lawrence Dallaglio made comments about the penalty decison immediately after the whistle. Since then we have John Beattie and Gavin Hastings speaking out. Lions coaches and captains, the most senior men we could ever hope to hear from are confussed. Brett Gosper of World Rugby has been forced to comment (for what that was worth) and is holding an enquiry as I write. The spirt and sporting conduct which sets our great game spart is most definately in question.

    Despite the shortfalls in Scotland’s game, despite the aussies scoring 5 tries to our 3 , despite all of this Scotland took the opportunities presented. Regardless of how you get there Scotalnd were ahead up to the penalty. I feel no shame and no significance about the try count.

    Ordinarily I would accept this outcome in the etiquette and spirit of our great game , the things which set it apart from all others. Ordinarily I would accept the fact and move on. The reaction of the players at the time, and Greg Laidlaw, not only immediately after the game but in the post match interview was enough for me to say , there is something a miss here. For their sake, questions must be answered.

    Perhaps it suddenly dawned on Mr Joubert he was in charge of a game that was going to cause a historical upset, that could be judged critically by the world press, what ever went through his mind, in a split second he got scared and made a call that impacted Scotland. He decided not to consult the TMO.

    The players were there , they live with the ebb and flow of the game , they know the missed decisions and the lucky calls, they put their bodies on the line, they work solidly, this is their livelihood, it is their passion and I believe they feel an injustice took place.

    I think all the facts in the world will not change their minds. Some will argue the scrum could have resulted in a score or a penalty just the same. However that is of no consequence. The players would have accepted that I feel sure.

    The issue here is that Craig Joubert took the decision of not consulting the TMO which he had done so very consistently throughout the whole match.

    Gavin Hastings was interviewed on radio this morning and was unusually critical over Mr Joubert sprinting from the pitch, immediately after the game. It is etiquette to shake the hand of the captains after the game. I have never seen or heard such a and act in international rugby.

    I fear that what has been a great game of rugby, a game which has won the hearts of so many, a game which should have been a springboard to the future for our emerging squad, could become a quite the opposite.

    There is many things that Scotland need to work on , but for once , I would not look inside the scots camp as the reason for this loss. Yes off course there is more to do, there is more to do for every side in the tournamnet, I accept that. However we should be sorting out these issues, as I write , in the training camp for next weeks test, rather than leaving England disillusioned and in a dark place.

    The etiquette and fairness on which our game stands out, are in question.

    1. Bulldog, not for the first time I am impressed and in total agreement with your comments. The winners last night, irrespective of the scoreline, were the Scottish rugby team. Every rugby fan, including the Australians, know that the game should have been Scotland’s. Indeed it would have been (barring some refereeing decisions that were, at best, suspect.)
      The loser in all of this has been the previously unimpeachable fairness with which our great game is regarded.
      Had Australia cut us apart with a late, great try or a last minute drop goal I would have been far more accepting of the restult than I currently am.

    2. The longer this rages, the clearer it is the Australian team should step aside. That simple. Hands in the air.

      Someone should tell Pocock.

  14. I thought that our forward performance yesterday was just about the best I’ve seen. Two areas that we need to improve on though to compete with the best teams:

    Defending the rolling maul – a recurrent weak area in Scottish defence.

    Line out – we need to improve accuracy.

  15. In Angola and still hurting. We have a South African TV feed here – Supersport – and boy are they crowing about southern hemisphere dominance. Something is not right……
    The team did us proud and can feel hugely for them to have been robbed in this way. The 6 nations should be good and for the first time in donkeys I am looking forward to it. They need to tidy up some things and have more self belief. In my view they should have gone for the line instead of taking 3pts at least twice yesterday – they had them on the rack and reeling and should have pressed their advantage. VC has only really just begun with this young squad.

    1. True, it hasn’t exactly been a golden RWC for our local hemisphere. But SH fans should pause to ponder that the 2015 6N wooden spooners were a couple of minutes away from beating the 2015 winners of the Championship. And that an injury ravaged Wales took SA to the wire. True, England and France were very disappointing but they will come again as they always do. And Ireland were caught out by a vastly improved Puma side. All in all I think reports of the death of NH rugby are being exaggerated…

  16. Sad the adventure is over. I hope the team had a good blow out and a few beers after the game. Looking forward to seeing the boys back at their teams. Lots of fun to be had in the Pro12 and Europe now. Hopefully Cotter sends everyone away with a pat on the back and a few things to work on. Looking forward to see how we regroup in the six nations. Also looking forward to seeing how the coaching team morphs over the next few months.

    1. The morphing of the coaching team is key. Backs guy in place, need similar up front, with “nasty Nathan” learning on the job. GT learned at the front line, look where he has taken Glasgow. Time to do the same with NH.

  17. I’ll add my tuppence worth now I’ve had 24 hours or so to reflect on the game. Like everyone else on here, I’m gutted and proud of the team for coming so close. Two minutes from time I really thought we were going to be celebrating a huge upset, but we couldn’t quite get over the line.

    The referee: Joubert had an absolute stinker but sadly we still could have won the match by nailing our lineout and we didn’t do it. In my opinion Joubert’s worst decision was actually the yellow card for Maitland, once again prompted by an unwelcome decision from the TMO. If one good thing comes out of this, I hope it will be a comprehensive review of refereeing, TMO protocol and the citing system. There was a lot of vitriol going around last night and I think a few people overreacted, so much so that our good play has been overshadowed.

    However, I’ve found it hard to be too depressed about it today. I remember when we went out of the 2011 RWC having played pretty awfully all through the group stage and with very few good young players in the squad. This time: Hogg, Bennett, Russell, the Grays to name just a few are all fantastic players who most other countries would happily have in their squad. We’ve now got the best squad I can remember us having (with the caveat that I’m 22), a brilliant coach and we’ve played some of the best rugby of any of the 6 nations teams this tournament. It finally looks as though we have a bit of a supply line of decent young guys coming through to our pro teams as well.

    For the future, we need to build on the success at Glasgow (hopefully Edinburgh can get sorted out), keep bringing through the young players and have a real bash at the 6 Nations. France and England played crap rugby at this World Cup, based on huge players like Burgess and Bastareaud bashing through the line – I say we let them keep boring the pants off everyone and stick to playing our fast offloading game. If you look at the SH teams who are in the semifinals, our playing style is the way to go. And it’s much better to watch. Onwards and upwards.

    1. Agree fully about our style of rugby ….. I love it!!! It’s fast, subtle, exciting, effective and to coin a distinction I heard yesterday – it is brain over brawn.
      I was there yesterday with my two sons – 10 and 8.5. We live in England but they have followed my passion for Scottish rugby – both now want to play for Scotland. They love the attacking approach of Glasgow and now this front foot rugby of Scotland.
      We were behind the posts where Mark Bennet scored. This was one of the greatest moments of my life and their young lives. Magnificent moment – shared jubilation with so many inside Twickenham Scots and English alike.
      Very proud of the whole Scottish team for making this a very memorable World Cup. This is the beginning of a very exciting new chapter in Scottish rugby!

  18. I’m getting fed up of the treatment joubert us getting in the media by various ex players, pundits, punters and people who have no idea about rugby. We may be a nation of perennial losers but I don’t think we have ever been guilty of being sore losers, being sore losers is not rugby.

    Maitlands card was not really his fault that was the tmo, as I have already said it prevented a clear try scoring opportunity and potentially IMO waranted a penalty try as well as a card, going for intercepts deep in your own territory is risky for exactly that reason. Harsh call yes, ridiculous call no.

    We got some fairly dubious scrum penalties from him, our scrum was dominant and the dominant scrum usually gets the rub of the green so that was fine. I suspect there was a bit more dark arts going on by our guys than usual, which is a good thing, we are often very naive when it comes to “cheating”. I thought we were guilty of driving in, not “taking the hit” and wheeling, if he wanted to favour Australia this was the clear time to do it.

    The miss of the charge on Hogg was disappointing but again that’s the TMOs job, the referee can’t see everything. I don’t think it was deliberate, will be interesting to see if he is cited, has happened previously for much less.

    As for that last minute penalty, the knock on was so miniscule and hard to spot, a referee is human and doesn’t have slow motion vision. Welsh caught the ball in an offside position, which is a penalty offence. Own fault for a reckless line out call.

    Let’s not forget he disallowed an Australian try for a tiny knock on, would every ref have flagged that? This whole bent ref thing is ridiculous it’s bringing shame to the sport and is simply bullshit.

    That said the sprint from the pitch was terrible, mind you if 60000+ people wanted to kill you I dare say you would be wanting a swift exit too. I’ll have to take other people’s word for this but I belive he couldn’t have gone to the tmo for the penalty decision anyway.

    1. This game was never going to be a runaway and always about small margins . So much as it will not change the result , I feel it is important that we do not talk this down.

      There is a time to move on , this is not it. It is the integrity of the game and the spirit that is the foundation of rugby that is being undermined. We should take a bit of time to reflect.

      Ian McGeechan questioned would not have happened with a fancied side such as the all blacks? A good question.

      This is Ian McGeechan, A lions coach and arguably one of the most experienced rugby men in this hemisphere. He is respected by every nation, not a pundit, a has been , a never been, ex player.a kidder on or someone who knows nothing about the game. He has forgotten more that some of us ever learned.

      If we dont stand up for this and make World Rugby account, we will fall for everything. The game must remain fair for all, and not be influneced or dominanted by the elite nations.

      World rugby have just stated that Criag Joubert got the decision wrong and he should have awarded a scrum. That is a start, but for me just a start as we already know that.

      I would urge every blogger to do as I have just done and view it again. If you did not tape it go to catch up or go to the BBC link above. 34 second into ‘the hit’ you will see with your own eyes.

      Craig Joubert is in absolutely the best position to see what happened. Mr Joubert had a clear unobstructed view of the incident. I will say this for him, his positioning was perfect.

      I leave it for you to judge ?I cannot understand how he missed it?

      As for sprinting to the tunnel and not fulfilling the etiquette that sets the game apart. No explanation from World Rugby.

      If i were these lads , I would question why they are pushing water uphill, if this is the best the governing body can do.

      With reget , I believe some of these ex players have more to loose than gain by making such remarks. Rather than dismiss them we should be supportive.

      1. To get into conspiracy is dangerous ground. Being a referee in football I get to see both in myself but mainly higher up how much pressure is put on u to get the right decision. It can be cut throat so to always get it right is tough but more importantly to try to be bias is even harder. You would either be found out very quickly or struck off. To say he is looking straight at it really doesn’t mean much as u can be looking at so many things in that area and miss that one crucial thing.

        In saying all this I in some ways wish football had the technology Rugby has so that our errors would be reduced but at the same time if technology wasn’t there then we wouldn’t have to question why didn’t he use it?

        I can’t understand this “You can’t use the technology for this and that” It’s a complete get out clause for the so called neutrals in this discussion. How many decisions have been made this world Cup on review outside the small protocol? I’m guessing at least two a match so 90?

        I personally am taking this so hard not because we didn’t have chances to finish the match with a good lineout or get lucky with the knock on and potential try that would have put Australia clear by possibly more than we could have clawed back (would a bent ref have taken that chance to go back to that? There was no reason to and he would have got away with that one) or so many other reasons. I am taking this so hard as we had a chance to win possibly the best and most unexpected win in all of Scottish sport history and a real chance to make the final. When will we ever play Argentina in a semi-final of a world cup again?

        I see the looking forward and being positive etc but what a chance and there is no guarantee we’ll ever get this chance again. We just don’t get these chances very often cos we’re not that good and play that game again and quite easily we could have been beaten comfortably. But things went for us and we rolled the dice and nearly won the coconut but we didn’t just miss the targe with our first few throws but someone looking at the target straight in front of him on a screen and saw the truth and decided that he would remove the coconut when we had one throw left.

        I’m sure Australia will have their heartbreaking moments too but it’s all a bit disappointing when people come out and defend a decision when it goes tor them but not when it goes against. Too many do that and it erks me.

        Sorry for going on here but hope my point is understood.

      2. Good post Laurie , however I do not believe I am on dangerous ground at all, far from it, I believe we need to be a bit more savvy before walking away.

        For the avoidance of doubt ,I am not saying, and have never said, there is a conspiracy, those are not my words. However I think someone might be saying that , read on to the end.

        I am about to show you 4 times where Mr Joubert has turned the other way and refused to do the right and fair thing. The question you need to be asking yourself , is, what was on his mind at the time?

        1) The decision, well he was right there , blew up , it was either a scrum or penalty and there was no advantage, he had to blow. The australians protested penalty , Mr Joubert agreed instantly. He was in the right place to see it all. He must have blinked ? Foley teed the ball up and kicked so fast it was unbelievable , normally a penalty with a two minutes to go , you take the full minute. They did not want Mr Joubert to see the TV or go there.

        2) Mr Joubert then saw the situation on the big screen . He could have done the right thing. He could have halted the game and everyone watched it on the screen. He could have changed his mind.We have seen this happen before. We have witnessed this in the 6N. The Australians would have seen it as well and reluctantly agreed, after all, they were empathetic after winning.

        Yes, there would have been consequences. There are consequences right now, so , what stopped him doing the common sense thing and asking forgiveness for being a fair and just man, over pushing ahead with a wrong decision which had a 99% chance of putting Scotland out and Australia in. A decision that has attracted the unprecidented step of WU holding an enquiry.

        That said, I think Mr Joubert will keep his job, however , what a reputation he now take into it day and daily. However I doubt he cares , read on and keep asking , what was on his mind?

        As it stands he is seen as making a mistake and refusing to remedy his own mistake. We all make mistakes, but where we can, we will fix them. What was on his mind?

        3) He left the pitch like a greyhound without a word. Often when refs get it wrong they come out and say so.People do make mistakes. A word of explanation, an agreement to meet and review later is how it is done at that level.

        To avoid the custom of the game in front of a world audience, and as yet, provide no explanation. What was on his mind ?

        4) He still has a chance to explain himself, but he has not. He has left World Rugby to condemn his decision , but has not provided a word of explanation . What is on his mind?

        Mr Joubert referees in the Southern Hemisphere leagues and cups.That is his day job.

        World rugby have come out to state it was the wrong decision. What is on their minds ? He is their man ? What is going on? This has never happened before.

        If we allow this to go away , we will never get respect from SH referees and our side will suffer in the future. Try telling Greg laidlaw he will play in the next RWC. In fact any of them could be injured tomorrow and it is all over.

        We await, with patience, the words of Mr Craig Joubert. How hard can it be to just make a statement and we will accept it and move on, But to say nothing ?

        It is not me who is saying there is a conspiracy.

      3. Will respond fully later. U make points which are exactly my main concerns too I think we come to slightly different reasons to how they were arrived at. While I compose a reply if ur not implying a conspiracy what are u saying? Not sure what other conclusion u have come too with the questions?

      4. Hello Laurie,

        Thanks for writing and It really adds to the blog to hear from an experienced referee. I best clear the ambiguous ending quickly. I am not the one saying there is a conspiracy, in fact I am not saying you were either. That is much too strong a word anyway.

        My final question was really a means of highlighting that the man himself (Joubert) is promoting that question by leaving himself vulnerable for anyone to reach such a conclusion by responding in the way he has, this far.

        I am a beliver in the expression ‘silence, is, consent’.

      5. Thanks Bulldog.

        Changing my name here cos better not to have it plastered over a forum, anyway.

        Now here is my fuller reply. Firstly your last point on clarifying conspiracy I understand your reasoning but referees are in a very difficult position. Often football referees are told that if they speak publicly to media other than for a posponement for weather etc then they’ll be in trouble so I presume that Joubert will be in a similar position and I think I did hear he phoned to apologise to Scotland but that may not be correct. I know how frustrating that is for folks. I have in the past when I’ve been told by an advisor you got that wrong I have went to the player and apologised afterwards but we are even advised against that. You’ll have noticed even by today the storm has mostly blown over, rightly or wrongly it has. It’ll be back for the first half hour of coverage on Saturday then again forgotten.

        Should a referee come out it will stoke all the fires again, somebody will find some hole in his statement and we’ll be back to it again. hence why it is never done. I think quite a few referees out there would like to explain things especially when they are in fact right and the assumption of the ill informed media is wrong.

        Taking your point about Greig Laidlaw possibly playing his last match in the world Cup. I think in all likelihood it will be and whether he will or won’t play again I think his tears said he thinks it’s his last. I have seen a picture of Finn Russell consouling him after the whistle and it broke my heart. He had given everything and he knew the injustice and had tried his best to rectify the injustice. He said that he tried to get Joubert to go to the TMO three times before the penalty was taken.

        Lets take your four points in turn and then I’ll put up another post afterwards with the errors that Scotland made IMO in the last 6 minutes that shows that however cruel the wrong call was we really did make a bit of a hash of it before and after that. One thing as a referee you have to do is take the emotion out of it most of the time and when you only get one look at something for every decision (like in football) you really have to stick to your decision and go with it rightly or wrongly but this particular case is different due to the technology.

        I have looked back at the last 6 minutes and I urge you to do the same again after reading this. It is amazing how our own bias does colour things and I do not blame anyone for that but it does happen so we need to be careful. There is one occasion that I have seen thus far from rewatching it that you have had a bias to the facts and it’s in 1. Here goes:

        1. As I’ve said before just cos you are looking at something doesn’t mean you don’t miss something crucial. Every fan should try refereeing and you’ll see how something crucial can be missed. It’s infuriating but happens. That is something you hear often in the media “He is looking right at it”. It was very very quick and from one of the replay angles it does look like it was all Scotland touches, he could and in fact I believe he did miss it totally. As humans we make errors and I believe he did at this moment. I think it took 1 minute 40 secs at least to take the penalty from it being given to restart. Is that too short a time or on par? Foley may have taken longer but I really didn’t see him rush it. By the time he was lining it up the screen had gone blank so they was no chance at that point it was going to be called back. Check back but I don’t think I can say that Foley rushed it through although I understand why he may have.

        2.I agree with you on this totally however I could give you reasons again. He should have brought it back and I believe Owens would have done had he reffed this game. So many decisions out with the protocol have been looked at including Maitland’s knock on earlier so why not do it here? In essense he should have and he wasn’t either brave enough or he was so sure of what he had seen he didn’t see it as at all contestious at the time. Two of the three commentators on ITV were sure the decision was right at the time and Scott Hasting was only questioning with a very hazy “Did a Aussie player touch that?” “Your are clutching at straws there Scott” was the reply. Turned out Peter Wright and Scott were right. But often in matches you’ll get crowds going ape over something but it tunns out to be the right call. You cannot always trust a crowds reaction.

        There was a call in the football world cup 2014 when at 0-0 Argentina scored against Mexico to go one nil up. The replay was shown on the big screen in the stadium and it was blantantly offside by miles. All the referee team saw it before the retake of the kick off on the big screen all the players surrounded the assistant and it was a bad bad call. At that moment the referee team had reffed there last game in the competition and probably ever at that level. They would pay the price for that but they could have done the right thing and called it back. They didn’t and argentina won the game 3-0 in the end and through to the quarter final I think. This was not as blantant but he has the replay on the screen to go to and he should have. He may have saved his referee career in that moment. I don’t think like you he will lose his job here but it’s a very hard place to return back from. and Ian Robertson mentioned his world cup final 2011 and that will go down as another one to blot his copybook but what he did next as I will continue later was the real issue.

      6. 3. I believe he missed the original touch by the aussie but looking at the screen I think he had at best the chance to see there is doubt. So by that point he must had known their was something up. There wasn’t much time but Hogg being tackled late was replayed too and that should have had the TMO involved. It was at best a penalty. So I think he panicked. Referees are human and thinking on the enorminity of the decision he panicked. As in football referees are told to be calm composed and in control at all times outwardly if not inwardly. He was not by running off and if you analyse the commentary on BBC Scot and Five Live radio you’ll see that most of the flack was on running off not the decision firstly. so this whole thing wouldn’t have been such a big big thing. It was poor, very poor and he’ll never ever do that again. He should have been cool calm collected and let his assistants flank him off. If you watch some games in some parts of the world in football then you’d feel fear real fear. I don’t think saying he was feeling threatened was fair or possible. One bottle being thrown after he had left stage isn’t good but it’s much better than firecrackers, flares, rocks, knives and guns which are all available in other matches in other parts of the world.

        4. I’ve covered why he may not have said anything and will not in public. But World Rugby bringing out a statement on the decision was Sucide for the organisation. Whenever we have a dodgey decision from now on (We have three even more important matches to come) they’ll now have to say something. Not one person I heard in the media in the aftermatch said they wanted a statement about the decision they wanted a statement on why he ran off. That wasn’t mentioned except in jest which was very poor taste.

        So all in all I think I’ve said as much as I can on this really. I do remember the later parts of the Wales match at Murrayfield when Glen Jackson had a bit of brain freeze too when Scotland scored a try when there was enough time to get back and forgot a yellow card etc etc. Glen Jackson has moved on and was on the line on Sunday watching on as a colleague lost the plot a bit. he and everyoe has really moved on and hopefully he has learned from it but that was because he was still on the pitch to shake hands. How will this case be remembered snd how will it end. We’ll find out if it is to be Joubert’s last match but if not then he’ll get back to it and time will heal the wounds.

      7. Referees in general, are a unique people . They give up their time to allow others to benefit. I understand the human element and ordinarily accept wrong decisions in the spirit of the game, I have been on enough wrong ones to know how it goes. This time I feel a line was crossed . In rugby the referee has huge respect , his decision is final and he has greater powers than most sports. If he speaks up after a match, no one will pick holes . Often international refs admit a blatant error and it is taken the right way in rugby. That would be the end of the matter.

        I have albeit limited experience of being a referee , I have refereed schools rugby,for a very well known school, however narcissistic parents is hardly a huge TV audience of rugby, non rugby people and referees . I understand they make errors , made a few myself.

        I also understand that from the final whistle nothing was going to change , so why go on?

        Simple, that line is a tolerant one in rugby, not written but in the spirit, it was crossed. It will happen again if points are not made. This was ‘Maradona’s hand of god’ . I think WU making such a statement in lieu of Joubert would underline that. A world audience were stunned.

        The difference between Rugby and other sports is rugby has the technology and the etiquette to have remedied this. courtesy’s, customs and practices of the game exist and are core to the game. So our players will not make ungracious comments, as they are rightly observing the etiquette of the game and good on them, they are observing the core of the game. They put a brave face on and showed they are gentlemen and sportsmen. However we can make comment s and IMO, we should. As stated earlier, some big names with more to lose than gain have spoken , well done. I believe they like me , believe that line was crossed.

        However perhaps we are spoit with one of the best refs in the game. You are correct , Nigel Owens would have felt for his backbone and halted proceedings, asked both captains to watch the screen with him and made a different call. He is big enough and secure enough to know he would be supported and respected. He seems more interested in living with himself than looking for approval of others.

        I am not clear what we are saying about errors in the last 6 minutes? Surely we not saying we deserved to lose? Surely not.

        The Scoreboard never lies or takes account of any of that and despite errors on both sides , Scotland were ahead at the time of the blunder. That is all that is important.

        Incidently I would have made the same decision as Joubert on the Hogg late hit, it was 50/50 but at that stage in the game it needed to be more than that to award a penalty, we both know that.

        I do believe silence is consent. I believe if we continue to do the same things time and time again, we will get the same results.

        I only hope enough has been said and done to make sure we receive a fair treatment. Who would have expected the 9th ranked side would have toppled the 2nd ranked side. The TV coverage of the Cheika was enough to show he felt beaten. A picture speaks a 1000 words. Believe me , that was on many minds as the game proceeded.

        The door is still open mr Joubert? Take a deep breath and tell us what was on your mind.

        I have allowed this to drag on for a reason and hopefully that is clear.

        However I have now passed deadline , it is time to move on .

        A new chapter is Scottish rugby has been written. A great world cup, a great side has emerged for Scotland , a big side in every sense of the word, everything that is good about rugby is represented by them, a squad that were the fittest of the 6N sides, a coach that was perfect in his strategy, a captain that finally showed us the meaning of the phrase ‘come the hour , come the man’ , a new talent all the way from NZ in John Hardie, a resilience to deal with whatever is thrown at us and still a lot to improve. So much potential , so much pride, so much that cannot be taken away from Scotland.

      8. Referees in general, are a special kind of people . They give up their time to allow others to benefit. I understand this and ordinarily accept wrong decisions in the spirit of the game, it is part of the game . Been on enough wrong ones to know how it goes. This time I feel a line was crossed . In rugby the referee has more respect , his decision is final and he has greater powers than most sports. If he speaks up after a match, no one will pick holes . Often international refs admit a blatant error and it is taken the right way in rugby. That would be the end of the matter.
        I have limited experience of being a referee , I have refereed schools rugby,for a very well known school, however narcissistic parents is hardly a huge TV audience of rugby, non rugby people and referees . I understand they make errors , made a few myself. I also understand that from the final whistle nothing was going to change , so why go on?
        Simple, that line is a tolerant one in rugby. It will happen again if points are not made. This was ‘Maradona’s hand of god’ . The difference being Rugby and other sports is rugby has the technology and the etiquette to have remedied this and to then fulfil the courtesy’s, customs and practices of the game . Our players will not make ungracious comments, as they are rightly observing the etiquette of the game and good on them. They put a brave face on and showed they are gentlemen and sportsmen. However we can make comment s and IMO, we should. As stated earlier, some big names with more to lose than gain have spoken , well done. I believe they like me , believe a line was crossed.
        You are correct , Nigel Owens would have felt for his backbone and halted proceedings, asked both captains to watch the screen with him and made a different call. He is big enough and secure enough to know he would be supported and respected. He seems more interested in living with himself than looking for approval of others.

    2. Couldn’t agree more. Am sick to death of this nonsense.
      We played a fabulous game, earned new found respect, and should be immensely proud.
      To the future!

  19. So looking to the future and thinking about how the other home nations performed, who makes the next Lions tour based on their performance at the world cup? I’d take quite a few more than last time. Some of our boys will be very good in a couple of years time if they keep developing.

    1. Wee bit early to tell 2 years beforehand, but at the moment I’d say Hogg, Grays, Bennett, Russell, Dunbar, Nel, Hardie, maybe even Denton if he can keep playing like he did yesterday. And I know I’ll get grief for this but I’d take Laidlaw as well, given a lot of the other home nations’ options at scrumhalf aren’t that great at the moment.

  20. Personally I thought that Scotland were a bit hard done too but let’s be honest, had the referee awarded the scrum, would we have actually stopped Australia from scoring or at least gaining a penalty right in front of the posts?

  21. BigAl, that’s just a massive can of worms. I agree with Will that it’s too early, and it would also depend hugely on who the coach is and what style of game they want to play. If it were Gatland again, it would be a squad designed for Warrenball, few of our players would get in. Hogg, Dunbar (though no RWC showcase for him), J Gray (maybe Richie too), Hardie, Nel would probably be the most likely candidates with a shout. Would Russell get in ahead of Sexton and Biggar? Would Laidlaw get in ahead of Murray and Webb? The truth is although we can see the potential of our best players, they have yet to make a big enough impression in the Test arena. Pro12 champions and ‘nearly’ making the RWC semis is a good start, but we need a compelling run in the 6 Nations. They need to make it impossible not to select them. If we start to make a real impression I would say most of our starting 15 would have a decent shout. There’s a lot of competition out there though. Let’s see how things look after 6N 2017 (when home victories against Wales and Ireland would be very helpful!).

    1. I really hope we don’t go to NZ with Gatland as our coach and trying to play Warrenball. Looking at how the All Blacks played against France, it would be like taking a knife to a gunfight. We’d get spanked all over again like 2005.

      1. Maybe it’ll be BVC! Strong argument to say he outperformed all the home nations coaches in RWC. We came in least favoured and came closest to making the final 4. That’s playing beyond expectations. Saying that, we had more luck with injuries than Wales or Ireland. I don’t think it should be a current home nations coach, but surely they would need to go Schmidt or Cotter before Gatland for a second time. I wonder when that decision will be made? Looking back to the 2013 squad there is an extensive list that I think could be replaced by one of our starting 15:Farrell (Russell), Phillips (Laidlaw), Stevens Nel), Tuilagi (Bennett), Twelvetrees (Dunbar), Vunipola (Dickinson), Wade (Seymour), Evans (J Gray). A few other debatables as well. I am massively biased though.

      2. Think the ABs v France should have killed Warrenball. As also SA v Wales. Time to move forward.

      3. Someone (I think it might have been Brian Moore but can’t remember) suggested that the number of injuries sustained by Wales and to a lesser extent Ireland might be down to the style of rugby and correspobding training they do. All based on contact and power, high attrition rate. I don’t know if there’s anything in it but it is interesting that we play a very different brand of rugby and seem to have got off far more lightly on the injury front

  22. So it’s official now

    The right thing to do of course would be to correct the result but hey

    So it is goign to be like the 1978 World Cup where we were runners up to Argentina because we beat Holland in the Pool

    Now we will see where we would have finished on the basis the Quallabies are now the defacto Scotland representatives

    Having said that I will be creaming for Argentina next weekend

  23. Joubert the Jobby

    Come listen to my story
    I’ll tell you no lies
    How Craig Joubert robbed us
    A man to despise.
    He flaunted all convention
    Shook no hand on the pitch
    But took to his heels like a rabbit
    A coward son-of-a-bitch.
    It used to be the referee
    Sole arbiter of fact
    So much going on you see
    We all respected that.
    But in the modern era
    We have the TMO
    Its use this Cup ubiquitous
    Who are you to just say no.
    For tries and foul play only?
    Your craven defenders bleat,
    Yet you used it for a knock on
    To send poor Sean to his seat.
    So listen up wee Craigie boy
    Your sort’s nae needed here
    May ye never get a game again
    And drink nowt but Ozzie beer.

  24. Well done, boys.

    Glad to see the discussion is mostly moving on to anticipation of the future. Still much to work on, but the belief in the squad is there. All the games in 2016 6N are winnable, but also loseable. 1983-84 is an interesting period that shows how tight it can be.

    1983: finished 4th with 2 points
    2-point loss to Ireland; 4-point loss to France in Paris ;4-point loss to Wales; 10-point win over England at Twickenham (our last win there). All close with a disappointing overall result (sound familiar).

    Lots of Scots got experience on disappointing Lions 1983 NZ tour.

    1984: Finished 1st with Grand Slam (first in 59 years).
    6-point win in Cardiff; 12-point win over England; 23-point win in Dublin; 9-point win over France

    I know this was a completely different era and overall the teams in the 6 Nations are much stronger now, but it shows how it can be turned around.

    (We were whitewashed in 1985, btw, although all the games were close, losing by 3, 4, 3 to England at Twick, 8 to France in Paris).

    I think Lions 2017 will be an important stepping stone if we can get results in the next two 6N meaning more YOUNG Scots on the tour. It would set us up beautifully for 2019.

  25. Trying to second guess the next Lions squad Scottish contingent based on Sat’s performance against Oz? Aren’t we getting carried away a bit? If we took our RWC performance as a whole and the Lions squad was picked tomorrow, the whole starting pack from Saturday would be in with a shout (with the exception of Cowan).
    Greeg – yes (only for his leadership and kicking skills)
    Finn – possibly (Ford / Biggar / Sexton still well ahead in terms of game management)
    Horne – no (really tidy player but lacks pace over 10-15m and size)
    Bennett – possibly (still defensively fragile)
    Seymour – absolutely – instinctive finisher
    Maitland – possibly as full back
    Hogg – no, hasn’t scored or created a try in the RWC (gave one scoring pass in a basic 2v1 in USA game) and is over-hyped in my opinion – give me Halfpenny / Brown / Maitland at FB any day.
    Of those that didn’t play on Saturday, when fully fit, Dunbar and Scott (don’t forget he is getting back to his best and was next on Gatland’s list for 2012) and Grant Gilchrist.

    1. Hardie and J Gray?? Denton if he cuts the errors and carries as he did at the weekend more consistently

  26. Please note that I deliberately only included those that were in the RWC15 squad. Those injured, didn’t make the squad or are just too young (eg Dunbar, Ashe & Fagerson respectively) are added bonuses and will only add strength in depth.
    Pragmatic Optimist – have a look at the ages of the current All Blacks and you’ll see Cameron has it right – they should be at their peak.
    My only fear is we lose BVC in 2017.
    PS My apologies to Big Sean Lamont, but I think he’d want a rest by then!

  27. A sideways look at going forward, we are certainly in a box seat.

    England – Not exactly in disarray players wise but certainly any review will have them rooting about for a playing identity, might take longer than the coming 6N.

    Wales – Have shown, lack of brains vs austrailia aside, that they have staggering strength in depth with regards to their playing style, with player slotting in nigh on seamlessley. Injuries and retirements (none trip off the tongue at prresent) may blunt their 6N slightly.

    Ireland – As a slightly ageing side (i think, perception more likely than fact?), bringing players through might give them a wobble.

    Italy – well, retirements will be their issue and bringing players through, essentially hitting the reset button.

    France – Hmmm, a french colleague of mine thinks this could be the moment that they sort themselves out. They’ve finally got their man Noves at the helm, he’ll have the FFR on his side, and basically might be able to effect a root/branch overhaul of how the french team go about the business on the pitch and any league issues. Retirements will undoubtedly give them pause, but after a hiding like that from the ABs, a team whom they have turned it on against in the past, the only way is up for them.

    Scotland/us – No major retirements to think of, injuries not really, gilchrist aside. A coach in place for a couple of years and a team, excuse the cliche but, forged in battle, certainly a bright future, not looking to win the next 6N but we have the french and english paying us a visit. You’re only as good as your last game and (englands unconvincing beating of uraguay aside) we’ve come out top of the pile for once (granted the Wales v SA game was close ).

    1. I think the common factor for all 6N teams bar us is that they prefer to play a power based game.(admittedly, we have only started changing) They all have the players and the skill to play a running heads up rugby but for whatever reason their coaching set up prefers a power based game. We dont have the players to do this and its taken 20 years and a dozen coaches to realize that. But aleast it has been noticed now and we need to keep evolving into a team that simply runs the life out of opponents, and keeps it out of contact. Ireland were terribly exposed at the weekend with the pumas running game. Their forwards were drained after 20 min.

      1. i did see one horrific bit of analysis at half time that showed every irish forward at a ruck/defending the short side covering 3 pumas…

    2. Yes all this is true but attitude is the main thing. Will our boys be able to get over the defeat?

  28. What’s happened to the ordering of posts?
    Makes my comments seem a bit mad (well, more than usual)!

    1. Unintended consequence of us removing posts and banning folk who stray into the realm of trolling. Always try our best to tidy up afterwards but its not always possible

  29. Slightly off topic….I’ve read there is to be a Summer Tour of Japan next June (2 Tests in Tokyo and Shizuoka). Nothing announced by the SRU at present, we’re the only nation not to have announced anything it would seem…all other home nations confirmed.

    Anyone know anything here?


  30. tuesday now.Dull ache in stomach easing.Pride in team growing.
    one final point,why at the final restart when we needed something did we kick long and allow them an easy gather,maul and kick off the park.We needed a 10 yard hail mary and everyone up for it?

  31. Just seen that John Hardie has signed for Edinburgh – that’s a he’ll of a back row they have now with Hardie, Manu and Denton.

    Edinburgh looking more and more like a force in the Pro 12.

    1. Holy moly – what a signing! As an Edinburgh fan I am delighted. We have some pack now. Could use a bit more creativity in the backs, but will benefit from having SHC and Matt Scott (who hopefully doesn’t have a serious injury)back in the mix. Good to see some of the young backs coming through now. Hoyland’s looking good. Hopefully Deans, Te Rure and Fowles will continue to press on. Still feel we are a wee bit lacking overall flair in the back three, though Helu looks pretty nifty. What’s going on with Farndale?

      1. Grant was going back to Botswana/SA. Solomon’s convinced him to stay for another year. So he’ll be off next year. So leaves Watson and Hardie at 7. Bradbury, Denton and Manu at 8 and Du Preez, Ritchie at 6. Count in Pro 12, Challenge cup and six nations and attritional nature of rugby (remember Edinburgh last year) leaves plenty of room for players.

      1. I want to keep BVC all to ourselves. He is by far the best addition to the Scottish game since we reluctantly agreed to number our strips.

      2. As long as we wouldn’t lose BVC for 9 months (in the way Gatland was out for so long – one of the reasons why they slipped in rankings and were in ‘Group of Death’), then it would be great to have him go on the tour as a co-coach. He’d learn so much about other nations’ players and would be able to big up our boys. He’d grow as a coach. So…great, unless he does so well he gets poached. Then…not great.

  32. Very glad we are starting to get over the weekend frenzy a little and look forward. Not so much this page, but more widely on social media Scots fans in serious danger of entrenching our stereotype as whining group of last minute bottlers. Yes, we probably were treated unfairly this WC, but I think we all would like to be the team that pulls through despite all that. We aren’t quite there yet but we are moving that way.

    I think we need to balance optimism with realism. Great young group of players but they made mistakes and it took them 5 games to get an 80 minute performance. Still no victories over a tier 1 team since Italy in the summer. Let’s definitely aim for 3 victories in the 6N but remember that 2 is still pretty good growth, and that all the games will be tight. All of them. Should be a good time to show we can come through under pressure though.

    Excited for the Pro12 this season also, despite Glasgow and Edinburgh both losing a lot of exciting and effective players such as Visser, Maitland, Matawalu and Van der Merwe to England. That said a target of top 6 and a Champions cup spot, and playoffs for Glasgow. A (admittedly very quick) glance at the opposition would suggest this year will be tough, Sexton to Leinster etc.

    Longer term it is great to see the depth improving but still need more at 10 and 15, perhaps also at lock. Hope Vern’s contract gets extended and we can push for some 6 Nations success and a strong lions contingent by 2017. I believe the SRU are pushing for a third pro team but the issue there is consistent sponsorship. If we go too quickly it will fall apart in a year or two and we will be back to where we are now or worse. Would be nice to see that happening in the next 10 years though!

  33. It just needs more youngsters to come forward and be counted. We cant assume that the current crop will be the best choice in 4 years time as alot can happen between now and then.

  34. It just needs more youngsters to come forward and be counted. We cant assume that the current crop will be the best choice in 4 years time as alot can happen in the meantime

  35. On current form we will win the 6 nations easily. Ireland, England and France are rubbish. We only have to beat the Welsh to win the grand slam.

    1. John Neilson, bitter experience has taught me to never extrapolate across rugby. We have been particularly poor at translating good autumn form into 6 Nations success. I don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble, I’m very impressed with the team, but until we do it, saying “we will win the 6 nations EASILY” is setting it up for a big old fall. Nobody wins the 6 Nations easily. We played beyond the expectations of the rest of the rugby community, but the team still have a lot to prove in the 6 Nations arena.

      1. Absolutely Matto. Its been just under a year since we beat the Puma’s impressively, beat the Tongans and ran a second string All Blacks incredibly close. What were we all thinking after that? This 6N is our time? And then what happened?

        I don’t want to be pessimistic I just want to keep a little bit grounded. We are in a much better place than we have been for a very long team..but until the results roll in during Feb/March I will remain nervous.


  37. Scotland did do well but I would still back Wales to win the 6 nations. We didnt crumble against the better Southern Hemisphere teams in the way that Scotland, Ireland, England and France did. Sorry Scotland but just accept that you will come a respectable second in this years 6 nations.
    Lets face it you were unlucky but did not really deserve to win the Quarter Final.

  38. The Australian team should step aside.

    That simple.

    Laidlaw should put it to Pocock publicly.

  39. A post from me that’s pretty scattergun and responds to several posts all in the one go.

    Lions: at the moment you would think that Hogg, Seymour, Bennett, Dunbar, Russell, Laidlaw, Denton, Gray x 2 and Nel would have a chance but there’s a lot of competition there:

    Hogg – Halfpenny, Brown, Kearney
    Seymour – North, Cuthbert, Watson, May
    Bennett – Joseph, Davies, Williams
    Dunbar – Roberts, Henshaw
    Russell – Biggar, Sexton, Ford
    Laidlaw – Murray, Webb, Youngs
    Denton – Fallateau, Vunipola
    Gray x 2 – Henderson, AW Jones, Launchburry
    Nel – Cole, Moore, Lee

    All could go either way depending on what type of game plan the coach was adopting. Based on recent Lions tours, 5 in the squad would be a good starting point.

    Six Nations: Still lots of concern from me, England are always going to trouble us with Aviva Rugby, Wales likewise with Warrenball and their excellent vertical game know that they will get good territory and possession and will keep smashing at us and will get good joy, Ireland when they get their key men back have such skill in cheating at the breakdown and in the scrum that their forwards tend to dominate us, France I think will be in transition and I’d be expecting to beat them, Italy will be going through a rebuild for the next 3 years or so. Two wins is par, three wins good, any more would be excellent.

    Welsh and Irish Injuries: I also remember reading something about their high injury rate being attributed to playing at an unsustainable intensity and overtraining. That’s the consequence of their seeming ferocity up front – they are right on the edge physically. I would like us to try and adopt a little bit of that ferocity but not to become overwhelmed by it.

    Third Pro Team: The likes of Hardie signing for Edinburgh (excellent signing) and the amount of competition in the back row at both Glasgow and Edinburgh (Harley, Favaro, Strauss vs Manu, Hardie, Denton or Wilson, Fusaro, Ashe vs Coman, Watson, Du Preez would both be excellent match ups and you’ve still got the likes of Blake and Grant to consider) it makes me wonder if we need to get more guys playing more Rugby. The likes of Weir, McInally, Horne, Watson, Ashe etc. really need to be playing practically every week. If it is financially viable then a third pro team helps us create additional exposure to top level rugby for young payers.

    1. Some great points Andy.

      Re: competition for Laidlaw. I noticed that irvine-born Bernard McKibbin is now at London Irish after many years in Australia. I don’t know much about him except that he was a shade away from the Aussies 2011 squad and is an excellent goal kicker. Having just turned 30 he is by no means the future but he has said he wants to compete for a spot in the Scottish side so might be worth keeping an eye on. Almost became a very rare export from Scottish Rugby for Australia no less.

      Think you are bang on about 2 expected and 3 good for 6N wins. Let’s not forget the only tier one teams we have beaten for a number of years are Italy and Argentina (and not the Argentina that are on show now).

      Totally agree that we need a third pro team and I know it to be a goal of the SRU. I went to a talk from their marketing director last year. She said they are pushing for it but it needs sponsorship. Sponsors are interested but seem to shy away at the year on year repeated cost (in the millions). Until that chances their won’t (and shouldn’t) be a third team.

    2. Oh and lions squad on current form I think fairly nailed on would be Seymour, Bennett, Laidlaw, Hardie, J Gray and Nel. Anyone else would be a bonus and Hogg needs to go up a couple of levels if he wants a recall and a couple more to get near starting spot. Russell needs to improve to get near that strong competition (looking at his kickoffs in particular) but he has the time to do that and I’m hopeful.

    3. It’s maybe unreasonably, but I would see the par two as disappointing. To progress we need to find a way to overcome the route one physical teams (SA, Wales, England). For me, we have to target England as a win, same with France and Italy away. Ireland and Wales away seem fairly unlikely at present. The last real opportunity going into a game against England was when Lancaster first took over – new squad, completely unsettled. Robinson went conservative, in fact took Parks out of retirement when Blair and Laidlaw were ripping it up in Europe. The real day he lost the fans IMO. We don’t need to worry about selection with BVC. He knows the players and he’s got it right. Obviously a lot can happen over the next few months. Who knows how England and France will respond to a new coach. That’s not our concern though. We need to focus on our own game and kick from where we’ve left off.

You might also like these:

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

Scottish Rugby News and Opinion