Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


A Mixed Weekend

Mike Blair - pic © Al Ross
Mike Blair - pic © Al Ross

Apologies, no match report this weekend but here’s a thread to discuss Edinburgh’s great win over Agen away in France and Glasgow’s faltering defeat to Northampton and their utterly dominant scrum.

Agen 6-27 Edinburgh

Match report on Edinburgh Rugby website

Glasgow 15-26 Northampton

Glasgow made too many basic errors chasing the game and the Saints’ scrum was just too strong a source of penalties and even turnovers after Pat MacArthur went off within the opening minutes. The visitor’s lead at half time was really too much to overcome, and Northampton line speed in midfield put the half backs and centres under too much pressure to conjure any magic save Horne’s try near half time.

New father Stuart Hogg will want to forget one or two of the crucial errors that let in tries, and Finn Russell has had better days in a Glasgow shirt too.

We can at least be thankful Jonny Gray kept the approach right for most of the game, but the execution was poor.


18 Responses

  1. Not seen the Edinburgh game, but two convincing victories so far. Sounds like there’s still a bit of a lack of imagination, but hopefully that will improve.
    Really disappointing start for Glasgow. Did well to stay in the game after the first 30, but some really slack stuff, as well as getting done over in the set piece. The latter is a perennial issue for the Weej in Europe. They struggle against a steamroller pack and I’m surprised it’s not something that’s been more effectively addressed.

    1. I think it’s predominantly why McFarland was brought in as forward coach. Scrum was obliterated and our obvious front row deficiencies exposed. Strauss aside I thought our back row was poor. On last night’s evidence Glasgow could have done with Hardie, not Edinburgh. Also you can’t legislate for Hogg having a personal nightmare to gift Northampton two tries. We’ll get better but the line out especially has to be much better.

      1. I don’t like to pick on players, but Hogg really has not been at his best for a while. Unfortunately for Glasgow, having lost Maitland and with Murchie injured, 15 is not currently a position of depth.

  2. Glasgow’s first half was a shocker. Looked like there was real hangover from the world cup. Every other team will now fancy their chances at bullying our front row. We’ll need Pat back asap. Is Grant still carrying an injury? Lots of scrummaging practice required in the weeks ahead. Second half was better especially in terms of possession stats but nothing attempted in attack came off. Hogg’s dip in form is worrying for both Glasgow and Scotland.

    1. Sorry BigAl, hadn’t read through the posts before essentially repeating what you’d said. At least for Scotland there is Maitland (and Tonks or Jackson in a squeeze). Glasgow’s options are not as compelling.

  3. Seemed to be some strange decision making, particularly at the lineout. Why try and maul when we have already been turned over twice and we have the backs to move it quickly and creatively? Why Russell kick to touch from 5 out given the 4 turnovers from the line and a tap penalty already having led to a try? Mind you, never looked like winning so big improvements needed as covered above.

    I thought Strauss looked to be getting back to his line-destroying self though, something he lacked a little at RWC, great to see. On a side note as well I wonder if we will see Hogg’s new father role instil a bit more maturity in him in the coming years?

    Interestingly this year, (when they have lost) Edinburgh have lost because of poor backs despite a dominating scrum/front row/one-man-army Nel. Glasgow meanwhile have been overpowered up front despite strong backs. This can only bode well for the national team surely!

    Added to that all, a strong RWC, Jackson and Duncan Taylor performing well down south (hoping that Laidlaw, Maitland and Visser can follow suit!) and a tonne more strength in depth than we have had in a while bodes well for the 6 Nations. Already really looking forward to an opening weekend clash at home to Eddie Jones’ England. Should be exciting and challenging but still plenty to be optimistic about.

  4. Hugely disappointing result for Glasgow. Fans all seemed focused on how the RWC would affect Glasgow’s challenge for the league without considering how losing 20 off players for all of preseason and the first quarter if the season would leave Glasgow struggling for fluency at the start of a tournament with almost no margin for error. Glasgow’s chances have to look pretty slim now.

  5. Glasgow looked poor and again will struggle against Avivaball and Top14 grunt. I think Mike Blair’s legs have gone. Glasgow desperately missing Pyrgos, and Fraser Brown for that matter. Going to be a tough season this year.

    1. I think it’s unfair to pick out Mike Blair for criticism. Of all the players who failed to perform I don’t think he was one of them.
      The front row obviously struggled, with Ryan Grant particularly under pressure – especially from the ref. Difficult to pinpoint exactly where it went wrong but the front 5 should be hanging their heads. Maybe it was the early injury to MacArthur, maybe Nakarawu’s scrummaging isn’t as good as the rest of his game, maybe Grant’s lost it. Only they will know but a beasting of a training session should be on the cards.
      Hogg’s decision making was particularly poor, actually that’s over the last year. Needs to focus and maybe a spell on the bench would help. Russell was nearly as bad but I think his positives outweighed the negatives.
      On the more optimistic note, it’s only one game and although they say you HAVE to win your home ties, I believe Glasgow have at least one away win in them, so all is not lost.
      Finally, a very convincing win away in France for Edinburgh. looking forward to seeing them play this Friday and continue their winning ways.

    2. Agree with Merlot on this one. Thought Blair played well and the forwards (and Hogg) were the real issue.
      I’m not sure what the new forwards coach is trying to do, but it wasn’t visible against Northampton. Second best everywhere and not up for the fight. Shame about Pat Mc which affected the lineout with the newbie coming on.
      Stuart Hogg needs to be given an enforced break. If there was any alternative I don’t think he’d be playing.
      Two wins and at least one bonus needed against Llanelli.

  6. Being optomistic Glasgow were poor and Northampton were exceptional. Being realistic, Glasgow looked tired and lacked cohesion, they performed like a composite side rather than a regular team.

    Pat McArthur’s departure so early was a blow and largely unforseeable. I believe Gordon Reid to be our inform loosehead and in hindsight it would have been better to have him starting.

    That said what I do think is worthy of criticism was leaving it so late to bring Gordon Reid on. Glasgow may want to consider starting with the strongest props to establish the platform while the hooking crisis remains.

    Still a great side, however right now, lacking balance and flow.

  7. No doubt about it Glasgow were very dissapointing. Interesting comments from Corbisaro (sorry about the spelling if its wrong) at half time, when he pointed out the length of the scrums being permitted by the french ref. The early scrums seemed to be locked out by Glasgow, only to give way after quite a while of grunt. I think most of the pro 12 refs would have telling them to use the ball after the length of time the scrum was static. Losing the hooker so early had a big effect on the lineout and the game which didn’t help. I think it was foreseeable that Glasgow would find it a tougher season given the high of last year and the gutting of the squad for the WRC. They have been starting most games this season very slowly.

  8. Glasgow need a 5 pointer tomorrow against Treviso.
    Still a strong team, with Dunbar and Bennett in the centres, and Taqele on the wing. There are now 4 hookers out injured, so hopefully Glasgow can avoid any more accidents in that position.
    Hope Hogg can play himself into form.

  9. Since we are almost at ‘the next weekend’ in a change of theme (hope that’s ok mods) I see Thom Evans is trying a return to rugby. At 30, and having been out for 5 years, will he have time to get back to the top flight all going well? I guess having not played could in fact add a couple of years (which if he has the staying power of SLamont, could give him a while…). Felt that his injury was a huge loss to Scotland at the time.

    1. Well if Thom’s basic pace is still there – and it was blistering – it could work out and I wish him well. I’m convinced Ugo Monye earned his 09 Lions place by his cover tackle on Thom at Twickenham in the 6N that year.

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion