Scotland 9-15 England

A cold but raucous and filled to capacity BT Murrayfield stadium, beneath a glowering February sky at the unusual kick off time of 4.50pm: the opening to Scotland’s RBS 6 Nations campaign.

A well placed high kick from George Ford instantly put Scotland under pressure and a free kick at the scrum went England’s way, which perhaps went against the gameplan for the stocky WP Nel and chums to best all before him.

He made amends at the next available opportunity as referee John Lacey awarded the first penalty on the Scottish 22 and Scotland had some ball to play with, Laidlaw trying a box kick of his own and a strong chase from Sean Maitland giving Scotland a lineout in the English half.

With the forecast rain not yet apparent it was England who cut loose, quick lineout throws and complex dummy runs giving lie to Eddie Jones claimed intent to restore the glory days of a domineering English pack. It also meant Scotland spent much of the opening ten minutes deep inside their own half, but perhaps that was okay when England’s repeated phases yielded no more than a drop goal attempt.

The Scotland scrum didn’t yield but the defensive line was more forgiving when first Billy Vunipola then George Kruis battered through their tacklers, the English lock stretching out to score the first try.

Their Captain “Fantastic”, Dylan Hartley, was pinged for not rolling away on almost the next play, giving Greig Laidlaw a chance to get Scotland on the board, and he duly knocked it over.

A good spell of play by the Scottish backs – sparked by a John Hardie run at First 5/8 – earned another penalty and this time they were content to take an attacking lineout of their own, but to the despair of the vocal crowd the English defence held firm.

Both teams were playing good rugby but the Scots were perhaps guilty of over-enthusiasm just forcing errors whenever they got into a strong position. It was very familiar, but the team were also playing with a degree of confidence in their own skills that carried over from the World Cup, and has been a hallmark of Cotter’s reign.

His plan of playing dual opensides in Barclay and Hardie was paying off with Scotland contesting strongly and securing their own ball, while his faith in talented but out of sorts players like Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg was also rewarded as they offered minor moments of brilliance that set the grey old place alight.

One such chase from Hogg gave Laidlaw another shot at goal, but he uncharacteristically missed from a fairly safe distance, valuable points missed in a game that despite all its intent was never high scoring.

Seymour picked a brilliant line from a lineout drive but again the spilled ball, which was part fumble part strong defending by Jonathan Joseph (in what were pretty reasonable handling conditions) let the men in navy down inside the English 22.

If the handling was at fault, Barclay and Hardie were an utter nuisance at the breakdown and England were never guaranteed quick or safe ball, even forcing a penalty for holding on to peg it back to a single point margin before half time.

Hardie exploded from base of a maul and put Scotland into a great attacking position in front of the English line, but as with the France v Italy game before it, the whistle went after a sclaffed drop goal wide of the posts – Russell was a more likely proposition to kick it, but sadly the end result was just as ugly and perhaps a cooler head was necessary for the boost a half–time lead would have given.

Half time: Scotland 6–7 England

Scotland came out after the break with some serious attacking intent, continuing the trend of using Richie Gray and John Barclay as strong gainline runners and quick ball to Hogg and Seymour through the hands of Finn Russell. It was bright stuff, but for all that they were still behind when it might have been 12-7.

For England, Vunipola was carrying well while Denton was quieter, and while Hartley had the wrong side of a couple of decisions he was putting in a lot of work as an example to his teammates. Out back Joseph and Watson looked deadly on the little ball they had, but Matt Scott was marshalling the defence well and Hogg tidied up at the back on more than one occasion.

Owen Farrell missed a penalty on 48 minutes but England were not to be denied two minutes later when pace man Jack Nowell scythed round the corner and even Hogg couldn’t get to him in time. Farrell again missed the kick this time from the touchline which kept the margin to just 6, but the momentum was creeping away from Scotland slowly but surely and with their bench already partly empty, England were looking spritely.

Confident enough to go for the corner, England put together a punishing series of drives that had punishment for Scottish bodies in mind but Finn Russell intercepted and his speculative hoof danced into touch perhaps earlier than fellow chaser Hogg might have liked.

The penalties were mounting with Jonny Gray on a warning for pulling down the increasingly robust English maul, and with Reid on for Dickinson the scrum was looking less assured too.

Suddenly those six points were looking like a big ask, but Laidlaw clawed three back on 68 minutes after England were penalised for one of their commonplace offside defenders.

As usual, Scotland undid most of that good work immediately by Russell failing to deal with a high ball – something that had been an issue all game for the team as a whole – but the Scots put huge pressure on at the scrum and ensuing phases of play that they were able to clear to safety.

Things had a hint of turning when Owen Farrell shoved Laidlaw into touch off the ball and then Mike Brown made a fudge of a clearance kick and the Scots had some possession; but again came the nightmare knock on.

When they needed the scrum most, it crumpled, and even the boos drowning out “Sweet Chariot” took a while to make themselves heard. In a game that had much for Scotland to be pleased with, it was still frustratingly familiar with a win just out of grasp.

So it was with a couple of minutes left that Eddie Jones’s feared weapon, the English pack, reverted to type and powered through the phases around the Scottish 22.

Tired and battered, the frustrated home side were powerless to stop them.

SRBlog Man of the Match: Stuart Hogg was a livewire all game and one of the few to do well under high balls, not always his strong point, but for the workrate, ferocious tackling and high speed attacking and offloading that must be Scotland’s blueprint going forward, John Hardie is the archetype.

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96 comments on “Scotland 9-15 England

  1. CAVOK on

    Scotland were their usual impression of headless chickens. Completely clueless! Can’t see this bunch winning any game this year. Surely Cotter could have come up with some plan? And the number of basic errors from so called professionals is totally unacceptable

  2. Tee Cee on

    Finn Russell is not half the player everyone thinks he is.His decision maqking is almost non existant.Look at his interception then rabbit caught in the headlights kick when a cool head and look outside would surely have seen Hogg under the posts.Apart from this Scotland never looked like scoring their first try against England at murrayfield in over 500,yes that,s right ,500 minutes .An absolute disgrace.
    The only saving grace for me was the fact I did,nt pay the £ 180 the SRU wanted off me for my son and I to attend.

  3. Colm on

    Absolutely awful performance. Blown away by English power and never once looked like scoring a try. They were so predictable in defence and (particularly) attack that the opposition never had to break sweat.

    Good: Hogg was better than he has been in a while, Hardie did his usual hard graft, Denton
    Bad: Everyone else but particularly Maitland who gave away far too many penalties, Bennett who was anonymous, Seymour who couldn’t hold onto the ball and the coaching team who came up with nothing in the way of an innovative game plan

    Unfortunately unless serious changes are made a whitewash is imminent

  4. Morethaneightyminutes on

    Six Nations laughing stock is what we have become. The spoon beckons I fear. Will we keep Wales and Ireland to less than 50 points?

  5. Borderer on

    Same old problems I’m afraid, lack of composure in attack, not supporting attackers not looking after the ball in and around the rucks and mauls. I’m not sure what the relative sizes in the packs were but England seemed bigger and stronger. They were also supporting the ball carrier and were ferocious in defence. Although I thought Denton played quite well I’d like to see Strauss in the team and it’s time to replace Ford we can’t afford two squint throws at this level! I don’t know what the answer is I think we have to stick with this squad and just get the experience and confidence we need.

  6. DJB on

    What a disappointment…

    Positives: Hardie was his usual brilliant self – he’s worldclass. Both Grays were good. In the first half, the scrum held well and possibly out-muscled England. Hogg played really well.

    Negatives: the second half scrum was poor (Dickenson/Nel missing) and just got worse. The backs could hardly take ANY high balls. Attacking kicks were either knocked on or lost. Maitland and Seymour had shockers. Taylor showed promise when he came on and I wish that he had started.

    To be fair, England were very strong defensively and snuffed out any few attacking moves that we had.

  7. 1.8T on

    Agree with the majority of comments, watched the game in the comfort of a boozarium so will have to watch again to get the full picture. Usual old Scotland rabbit in headlights stuff, poor support play and mistakes when it mattered. Thought hardie was excellent and Hogg looked a bit better than his recent poor form for Scotland but apart from that it was pretty dismal stuff. What concerns me most was that England were pretty dire too, they just made less stupid mistakes, Wales and Ireland are both much better teams. I hope France remain as hopeless as they were against Italy so at least we have a chance of a victory.

  8. Boabyboy on

    I am a passionate supporter of the Scotland Rugby Team who cares to see our team play well and I will not accept as JudasTheGrass has rightfully has commented, “a rancid haggis of a display’ performance against England. I feel a supporters protest group must be formed after today’s display against England by the Scotland Rugby team. The protest group will need to collectively mount a protest campaign with the full Scottish public under a banner slogan to the SRU, ‘enough is enough’. It cannot go on.

    As passionate supporters of our national rugby team have accepted the feedback of spurious positives and negatives comments from SRU, players and coaches to be told, “we did not took our chances and there is more from this team” for the last 15 years or so, it now past that. Professional sport is about winning, management knows this and so do players and coaches. Failure has consequences. I think under a supporter’s protest group will need to mount a media campaign to get the SRU to accept responsibility from management, coaches and players to seriously consider their positions.

    A bloody revolution is needed in Scottish rugby because currently what the Scotland rugby team has done today is frankly not an excuse to get beaten by a team who had a disastrous rugby world cup, wholesale coach/management changes and only been together for two weeks to beat a side who had an optimistic last year’s rugby world cup. Vern Cotter has been with the SRU and players long enough to build a team. No excuse for today’s performance. No excuse what so ever.

    I am thinking radically, if you don’t win a game, SRU management, coaches and players do not get paid and supporters will get a refund. I think supporters should not attend to next Scotland rugby game at all until the Scottish public see a Scotland rugby team win five games on the trott before supporters start to come back to watch the national team again. If the whole SRU structure do care about properly administrating the game of rugby in Scotland and players playing for their country in not getting paid for their efforts, their will be harsh words in the conference room or dressing room until the entire SRU management and players get the killer instinct to WIN games. History judge the victors, not the loser. Scotland Rugby are losers. A kick in the rear end is what is needed. Princess Anne needs to get involved more into the SRU to explain her position, she will not put up any more abject performances from the Scotland rugby team or she will stop attending instead go give Royal patronage to watch indoor bowls and cheer Alex Marshall to victory for Scotland. I have now turned to bowls to realistically watch Scotland winning. I am only 36.

    We sadly lacking a Gavin Hastings figurehead. There was a person who with fond memories of a player that I could say he wore his heart for Scotland as many other great Scottish rugby players in the past. I am crying as I type this comment, I do not think the current crop of players want to be remembered of someone like the calibre of Gavin Hastings. I would like to add, I wish all the recovery for his wife from her current affliction with Parkinson disease. There was somebody for many people would be Scotland’s finest rugby player.

    Gavin Hastings was a player that can really get Scotland rugby team to play well together and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. If Gavin Hastings was to lead the protest group to bring effective change in the SRU, hell, I will be following him all the way as I am sure as many passionate supporters and public would do. I think I said my piece but my goodness, as a country we need the national team to look at themselves and ask the question, do you want to play for Scotland to WIN.

    • Baldred N-B on

      Babyboy,

      honestly what a load of utter drivel. Go and drown a few more pints and sleep it off. Perhaps you and your protest group might like to replace the Scotland team.

      Scotland is where it is and the SRU ARE putting things in place and getting some things right. Look at the Under 20s result yesterday – 4 tries to nil and a first victory over their counterparts. You are not going to change 15 years of guff overnight. I think the full Scotland team is the right team (bar the one or two missing players like Gilchrist and Dunbar and the fact that a number are coming in off the back of injuries – Bennet and Maitland to name two), it’s a young team and it will get better. But as I said, not overnight.

      Incidentally, I should be p**sed off by the result. Unlike Tee Cee above, I DID pay £180 for my son and I to see the game – and we had a great view) and lamented Russell’s immense brain fart with that interception (right in front of me) and the knock ons but I’m also realistic about the process of development and change. I’m disappointed but not surprised – I went in hope and to support my team.

      Maybe, you should do the same.

      • MK on

        Many people have and still do support the team. But its getting harder and harder to do so each year. Results need to start coming, this team was talked up before hand, they and there supporters have been made to look like total mugs..poor fare.

      • CAVOK on

        Teams have to earn the support of their supporters. This team hasn’t in the Six Nations for some time now. Losing is one thing but it’s the manner of their continual losing which shows no signs of abating. The World Cup showed a modicum of promise but we’re right back where we started. If you want to support mediocrity so be it.

      • 9 is best on

        Sorry, what!? Similar to Baldred, I am on 3rd year of season ticket and support our team through win or loss (since 99 when I could pay). I have now returned home and re-watched. It became apparent to me in both the stadium and through some comments here that some do not fully understand the intracies involved in this sport and thus, probably haven’t played. Both teams made nervous errors, typical of a first test match in a run, after a pro-longed break. Our 11/14 looked poor but their errors were largely forced, I.e White 11-15 were very very effective at tackling the man and ball. Put simply…..EJ or whomever has focused on ripping the ball and that has been effective. We did not expect such line intensity and we were caught out. Simple as. To give up on your team is naive, stupid and lacks any sense. We will come good; I don’t expect next week but certainly by round 4. Remember Aus was the 7th match together in 3 months.

      • Boabyboy on

        Baldred N-B, you are right, watching Scotland playing today is more than a few pints for any Scotland supporter to watch. It the manner of the performance as many others in the comments have pointed out that I and others as supporters cannot accept. Year after year, Scotland Rugby has underperformed basically from year 2000 to now.

        Hope is not what professionalism is about. Players are paid to get results. Even if Scotland Rugby team win four games after the England game, it certainly be a welcome smile to many of SRU, players, coaches and supporters but would that winning sequence just be a blip, can Scotland keep the momentum going or they go back to square one with another dismal performance?

        You just need to look at the results from the national team from year 2000 to now and really look at the statistics on how many games won, how many tries Scotland scored, points conceded, etc. It is grim reading and in a nutshell, it is, failure.

        A few victories over England, one or two games won, I think one season, Scotland was third in the championship and now our championship battles are to avoid the wooden spoon against Italy. How about this statistic in Scotland wikipedia profile, 4 times wooden spoon champions in the entire history of the six nations championship. Italy has 10, Wales has 1 and France has 1. Ireland and England don’t. Where is the justification to support a team if Scotland do another wooden spoon in this year’s six nations championship?

        How can you accept the justification to say our team is young, will get better in the long run, remember, 15 years have now passed, missing a one or two players and a few coming back of injuries, etc. That is the problem, making an excuse to say “we just did not took our chances” as highly paid professional rugby players they are as oppose to feel rotten and feel angry that the Scotland Rugby team can blow huff and puff on the TV cameras and say to paying supporters “we disappointed about the loss against England and the boys will be rearing to go against the next opposition to improve from our last performance”. I should accept the words of the coach and players after paying £180 and pay another £180 to see quite possibly another dire performance and lose? Absolutely not. Anyway I do wholeheartedly sincerely do wish for Scotland Rugby team to play well and win the next game.

      • Referendum on

        Looked back on the interception. Did a wee analysis last year on this and we have had something like 9 tries from that kind of thing under Cotter. That was as clear as day another one in the bank and the lead with twenty minutes to go. He had time to hold it for Hogg and Hogg wasn’t going to get caught. Or at worst kick the ball in such a way that it stays in play, What on Earth was he doing taking the gamble of playing something so precise down the wing when even a left foot half hit in field play would have most probably yielded us a try. So disappointed that we didn’t create today. Most probably two defeats to start us now with the game at our fingertips today. Must create more next week… even if we do win today was a good few steps back.

      • Stuart on

        Some sense at last! It was disappointing but let’s keep some perspective. No player goes 80 minutes without a mistake. One change I would like to see is a scrum half who puts more pace into the game. Laidlaw kicks well but doesn’t deliver ‘organised chaos’.

      • Referendum on

        I watched Connor Murray today and he was quick off the mark. He got the next phase going quickly. Is Laidlaw just slow or is he told to do this? Watched Guscott’s analysis of our halfbacks and showed how often Russell wasn’t in place to receive most of the time. Why? He also showed that we had overlaps but went the wrong way? Seemed a bit basic to my uneducated self. Any answers?

    • 9 is best on

      Baby boy

      One suspects that if you are so truly nihilistic about our beautiful game then you would unlikely spend your time posting here. Your reference to the past is reminiscent of my grandfather lamenting the build of the ‘new’ murrayfield. I have news for you. Mr G Hastings Sir. was not professional and did not earn 100k. The game has changed. We, as well documented, were slow. We are investing. Our U20 and A outfits have pulled off magnificent results lately. The SRU are actively changing for the better. better than that, we have the best XV that we have had for a long time. But I suspect you criticised DW (for not being Scott Hastings) until the drop goal in Italy where I am sure he became your hero.

      • Boabyboy on

        9 is best, of course I know Gavin Hastings never played rugby professionally. It does not matter if the game was amateur or professional, it is about WINNING and that applies either in the amateur era as well as the professional era. Gavin Hastings went from zero to hero between 1994 to 1995 after a shocking wooden spoon to potential grand slam winners in 95 and professionally, Scotland won the last five nation championship in 1999. What happened since then? Poor results and poor performances consistently. What will it take, another 15 years of excuses from the national team despite your comments about the under 20 and A outfit pulled off magnificent results.

        Unfortunately how well our teams below the national team perform, it is the results of the national team performance in the six nations that reflects the success and failure of the nation. Positive results and winning games get this nation behind the national team and if national team don’t perform, we need a relegation style six nations league table to basically put some ambition or fear into the Scotland players to realise, performances against England and in the past cannot keep continuing and justification to stay in the six nations championship.

        Comment from Cavok is spot on about the state of the SRU and just watch this press interview from the coach and captain, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RiyRVjljKro&feature=youtu.be. I am really lost for words after just watching that interview. Vern Cotter needs to make big decisions for next weekend.

  9. JSC on

    How much longer do we put up with this?

    It’s always the same. Early promise, make a mistake, lose comfortably.

    And repeat.

  10. coully on

    rewatched the quarter final v Australia ,…to raise my spirits. anything less than that performance is now unacceptable, this was precisely that….
    I’m inclined to agree with andy nicol,…the white mist descended infront of us and we froze, since the general consensus is that England were poor and we were poorer.

  11. MK on

    Wooden spoon beckons. Biggest game for us this year is in Nov tests vs Georgia. Anything but a comprehensive mauling of Georgia (like that will happen!) and the calls for relegation from 6 nations will intensify. Total drivel from the team today. I’m tapping out early this year.

  12. John Mc on

    It was a very disappointing performance against an England side who were no great shakes themselves but who did deserve to win a poor quality game. There was an awful sense of deja vu about Laidlaw’s slowness and uncertainty of distribution from rucks and mauls, though that wasn’t the only reason we lost. Decision making was poor all round and execution even worse. Seymour had a mare and Russell showed he still has much to learn about playing at Test match level. On the positive side, the scrum looked solid and even started to shade that area before the starting front row were taken off one by one and it got messy. I thought Denton played well and so did Scott. Hogg showed again how good he can be at avoiding or breaking the first tackle when he gets the ball in broken play. It was desperately disappointing to watch this so soon after our RWC adventures, but it was not the disaster that some posters say it is. There is still enough strength and depth in this squad, and belief, to ensure we won’t have a repeat of last year’s 6N experience.

  13. Tee Cee on

    BaldredN-B
    my son and I have been going to six nations games supporting Scotland through thick and thin for years.
    I have taken my son in law and nephew to a game every year for the last six years.We are still waiting on a Scotland victory,in fact until last year against Italy my nephew had never seen a Scotland try far less a win.
    Now the SRU say we cannot go unless we get a season ticket until the day before the game when they
    will kindly allow us to buy tickets for £90 each and sit in separate parts of the ground.You may be able to
    afford top price tickets but do not tell us we are not Scotland supporters because we cannot take them up on
    on their kind offer

    • Baldred N-B on

      Tee Cee
      I think you misunderstood my reference to you – you said the one saving grace was you didn’t pay the £180; I was merely saying that having indeed paid that same amount I should indeed be p**sed off (because the next charge of the babyboys & co above would have included comments of ‘well, you obviously weren’t there’ type. I was. No criticism of yourself.

      As for my being able to afford it, I’m a member of a club and I don’t have to wait until the last minute (I paid for them back in October or so). I could have used the money for something else admittedly but that was my choice.

  14. Alan on

    So the SRU has work to do still….nothing new there.

    I’m sure they’re aware of the issues and are trying….but what’s lacking?

    Innate talent perhaps, but development opportunities (e.g. building good decision makers under pressure..) certainly are lacking.

    The issues like Russell/Weir, Ford/McInally is problematic, where second choice for Pro-team is also second choice for country……To have a chance these guys should be playing week-in week-out as first choice, not sitting on the bench.

    This stems ultimately from lack of public support (in terms of turning up regularly) to make a viable club and pro-rugby scene.

    It’s well known now that the optimal structure for international success is 4 or 5 top-flight teams that work under a similar system and feed into the national side.

    See NZ, Aus, SA, Wales & Ireland, some ups and downs but all pretty successful I’d say.

    England and France leagues have too many teams & club vs country issues, so fail to make the most of their riches

    Italy/Scotland – too few teams, so too few opportunities to develop players, so a continual stagnation.

    So the question is, how (and where?) do we make 4 Pro teams? Especially if nobody shows up?

    Perhaps the SRU could be more active on that front, with initiatives to build bums on seats (for example free tickets for children, more flexible season tickets, etc etc) and work (again) towards a third team.

    We could also think about a covered stadium to brighten things up a bit and take the freeze-factor (or soak-factor) out of watching a game (see the stadium in Dunedin for a good example). Doesn’t need to be massive.

    All big problems of course, so won’t have an impact anytime soon.

    London Scottish is a reasonable move on this front but they are not in the Premiership, so perhaps are not sufficiently “high level” to make much impact.

  15. CAVOK on

    Comments from ‘9 is best’ kinda sum up why we don’t progress. If he/ she thinks that ‘…. We did not expect such line intensity and we were caught out. Simple as …..’ is anything other than a condemnation of the whole Scotland set up, I have no idea what sort of rugby he played! Surely that is EXACTLY what they should have expected! That’s what Cotter and his team should have prepared for. That’s why people like me, who did play the game, get so frustrated: Scotland do not learn from the past nor do they progress. Results speak volumes. In my view, there is too much complacency from some team members, fuelled by the lack of competition for places. The management seem to live in a fairytale world where they hope the likes of Russell will bring his A game to the field when, in practice, it very rarely happens. They have no plan B when the inevitable happens.

    • Allan on

      I agree on too many players being complacent if by too many you mean laidlaw. He had one good World Cup game and everyone including Cotter forgot how utterly sh**e at test level he really is. Denton has been absolute garbage for Bath and yet walks into the team. Ditto Maitland and Seymour. Cotter is getting found out and no amount of backroom coaches (Hines, Taylor, Gray, Humphries, O’Halloran) can make up for bad selections! Most of the forwards and especially Barclay and Hardie played well but what’s the point when the backs [email protected] up all the possession.

      Next week, Strauss for Denton, Jackson for Russell, Taylor for Seymour, Brown/Jones for Maitland.

  16. Deflated on

    Picked up my tickets for next week pre kick off yesterday with a sense of optimism….maybe this is the year…….but am now debating whether I want to sit in Cardiff and pretend I am just enjoying watching rugby, win or lose. I thought the game was fairly competitive yesterday but the result, sadly, was the right one. I was embarrassed by the booing we heard and by the fact that ‘swing low’ was loud and virtually unchallenged (refer to ‘ we only sing when we’re winning ‘ thread). Surely we’ve got to get better and start to win at least some of our games. We fans need to play our part, but that’s difficult when the performances on the pitch are so frustrating. What was Finn thinking? A try was almost certain with a smartly timed pass but, no, he kicks ahead. I and a number of guys around me screamed in frustration, we could all see it. So very frustrating, but I’ll be in Cardiff again next week……hoping, just hoping…….

  17. Stevomc on

    It was disappointing, yes, but aside from the hype we were not really expected to win. Go back to the last few games and the signs are there that we are playing at our limit. Against Japan we struggled with their number 8 well into the second half and that game was right in the balance – we could have lost. Against Samoa we shipped a lot of points – we could have lost. Against Australia they started playing some crazy rugby and we could have won, but we didn’t. It suggests our level is scraping wins against mid-tier nations, nothing more. Verns team has never won a game that upsets the rankings.

  18. JK on

    Yesterday was a step back – our fans booing was poor as was our composure. Same team (more or less depending on fitness of Dunbar and Strauss) and we go again to the next round. No excuses.

  19. Matto on

    Frustrating. It was a tight game and we were fairly beaten, two tries to nil. I was at the game and a bit lubricated, but a few observations were the opportunity to win was there and missed by Finn’s slaughtering of the break. We almost competed well for the high balls, but after getting in position failed to secure possession. Other than that I thought we dealt fairly well with England’s physicality (big fat smothering bar stewards). I didn’t have the feeling of being bullied at the breakdown or scrum, which has been a symptom of recent losses. Half of the comments above are nonsense though. We are still in a position of trying to escape the bottom two of the comp. England are perennial runners up. The incumbents at the SRU have largely got their act together and are making good progress on development, finances and marketing. They can’t be blamed for the loss. As most of us said prior to the game – it was the best starting 15 we have fielded for a decade. Just not good (or fit and on form) enough, yet.

    • MK on

      ‘Yet’ – so when then? Cotter has been in charge for nearly two years. The majority of the team has been together for a while now, by large the same team that competed last 6 nations, and yet we’ve all been let down again for the upteenth time. Im a SRU supporter I think they’re doing well. I think Cotter was out thought by Jones yesterday. We have become a laughingstock, and after the blooing and library experience that is Murrayfield a laughingstock that the rest of the teams in the tournament are starting to have zero goodwill towards. We’re on a slippery slope and im not sure I like where its going.

      • Matto on

        Well a large number of our team are still very young. If Russell were a few years older would he have made that error? 1 try and we would have won. We punch above our weight in the rankings versus depth/resources stakes; we’re probably not going to be challenging the top 6 anytime soon. Saying that, going into this match it was clear that a number of our players, particularly in the backs, were struggling with fitness (Maitland, Seymour, Bennett) and/or form (Russell). It looked good on paper, but in reality we knew those key players were unlikely to be near 100 %, and so it transpired. To start turning over the teams above us we need to be able to field our best personnel and we also need them to be fit and on form (and we need another layer of depth). That is when we will see a change in fortunes, in my opinion.

      • MK on

        Yeah ok, I largely agree. Bennett, Seymour and Maitland are better than they showed and I know Russell can do better. I Just find it so frustrating, I live in England too and each year trying to defend the team to my English and Irish friends just start to get a bit wearing!!!!!

  20. Adam on

    Time for laidlaw to go. He is far to slow when attacking , ffs speed it up and give our good backs a chance to attack against a not set English defence. As for those who seem to accept this crap all the time . It’s time we stop accepting it and make our views clear to the sru. I want to be a winner. Not a happy loser or a positive loss. We need to make a stance like the French would to see winning rugby again

    • MK on

      Laidlaw isn’t a bad player as such he just doesn’t suit the game plan we’re trying to play. He dragged us over the line v Samoa and was large part of why we won v USA. But persisting with him during a game if its not happening for him is what irks me. SHC hasn’t been playing well for Edinburgh but to hell with it, if Laidlaw isnt making headway bring on SHC to try something different, give the English something else to think about. Or start with SHC and if hes having a shocker bring Laidlaw on to steady the ship.

      • Rugsy on

        Yeah i agree… didn’t understand why SHC wasn’t given 20-30mins at least. Laidlaw just wasn’t achieving anything at all.

        Also why take Barclay off at that time… he was doing fine…and wasn’t injured. Cowan is average when he’s at his best.

        Took Nel off as well …and he was ok.

        Jeesh!

  21. Bulldog on

    The better team won yesterday and they were not brilliant either.

    England played the conditions, the referee and they seemed to have a much better plan for each area of the pitch. There were positives, not so many scrum penalty’s, much better handling of the high ball, winning rucks with the less numbers. There were many oportunities, Hardie’s break with no one to off load to being one example. Russell’s interception, the try and winning conversion were there. Fine margins once again.

    I am not going to focus on individuals, enough already said. I want to focus on the mental battle. You never felt like they could win yesterday.

    The build up was daming, reminding the players that they always lose the first game, how many years it has been since we last won, that we have few tries to remember against England , on and on and on. I wonder how we are preparng them mentally?

  22. Robferg on

    Be realistic, England have a huge reservoir of registered rugby players compaired to Scotland. They have a massively bigger infrastructure of clubs. Every now and again, we will by chance have a freakish group of talented players who can beat them. We don’t have any genetic advantage or disadvantage so statistics will out. We just have to bide our time and enjoy any brief spasms of success every couple of decades.

    • Colm on

      I disagree. By that logic England should be world beaters, not consistently second best to all the southern hemisphere teams. They have a larger group of registered players than either Ireland or Wales yet both have beaten them more than once in the last few years. Rugby’s not a sport purely judged on statistics, it’s also about form, confidence and coaching/game-plan.

      It’s true that Scotland had a disadvantage yesterday but the manner in which they were beaten was the most telling. Anyone can see that the main reason for losing was the lack of self-belief, accuracy and innovation which resulted in few try-scoring opportunities.

      All of these issues have the potential to be fixed however and that’s why I’m still optimistic instead of simply writing off our players as not good enough.

    • DerekL on

      First sane comment I’ve read, if Russell had passed to Hogg and we ended up winning by a point this board would be awash with Grand Slam nonsense, we are what we are.
      I didn’t enjoy it and I had a feeling we were done for when Guscott said we were going to win beforehand, but I still watch every game I can even if actually going to them is well beyond my means.

  23. MK on

    Despite being poor yesterday I wouldnt change much for Wales. I’d start with McInally at hooker and SHC at scrum half. Ford and Laidlaw on the bench. Many of the bad performances yesterday were down to match rustiness,certainly the case with Bennett, Maitland and Seymour. Denton didnt do much wrong or right but he was up against a back row that made him look small, Strauss has been equally poor this season. Making wholesale changes won’t do us much good I fear.

    • Allan on

      Change 9 and 10 and drop Maitland for Taylor. Seymour? I dunno, stick or twist there! The scrum went ok imho so I would leave Ford where he is as his throwing has been much better recently. If only Cornell DuPreez qualified for Scotland this week…..but he doesn’t so who else is there to replace Denton considering Ashe and Strauss are unfit.

    • Rugsy on

      I’d also start with McInally instead of Ford. Big guy.. far better in the loose… and a natural leader.

      SHC at scrum half. Far quicker release… more creative… and always looking to attack. Hasn’t been in great form.. however this is kind of platform that can change that.

      Taylor for Maitland.
      Stick with Seymour. He is a real threat just had a bad day.

      Give Russell another pop at it. Has talent but really needs to het his **** together..and quickly.

      Would keep same 6,7,8 …they are our top players in those positions at the moment.

      If Gilchrist was fit Id replace R.Gray with him.
      Dunbar for Scott

  24. Scot/Welsh on

    Well there we are then, another Six Nations over with before its even started. Same sh-te, different day. Never seem to learn – same mistakes as usual. On the positive side we have two good starting props; Hardie is excellent and Barclay did very well on his return; and Hogg had one of hid better games not missing the high ball or one on one tackles. As for the rest #*?! Unfortunately, Wales won’t have to break sweat next week with that many attacking options. They can just hoof the ball into the air as we can’t catch it; trundle up the park with an undefended maul; just kick the ball into touch and wait for us to give away the lineout; or simply let us have the ball so we can run around, mostly side to side, until we knock the ball on or turn it over. 50 points coming up

  25. Matto on

    On a positive note, Hartley said “Scotland were ferocious at the breakdown and were physical all game”. To me that is progress. In the recent past a significant factor in our losses to England has been that we’ve been physically bullied, particularly at the breakdown. I feel that we’ve remedied that. We were not heavily outclassed in any aspect of forwards play either. Unfortunately, as usual, we rectify one issue whilst an area of previous strength (attacking) falls apart. See Saw Margery daw.

  26. Jocky on

    England were expertly coached & stuck to a well rehearsed game plan. Scotland could simply not break free from this.

    Pretty much this is it, Dunbar, Gilchrist, Strauss, Ashe, Visser would enhance the squad but buy how much?

    Before the World Cup I was pretty damning about Laidlaw, MK (above) beat me to it, Laidlaw is too slow & doesn’t offer an attacking threat, yes he was excellent in the World Cup but playing like we strive to play, Laidlaw is not the man.

    I despair, not sure if Cotter can do much more, he is an excellent coach & appears to have amassed a good coaching team, is the Scotland coach the poisoned chalice?????

  27. Andy on

    Having seen Russell’s reaction to him butchering a match winning try I would send him home. A great talent but needs to start thinking more about how to do the right things at the right time.

    • Referendum on

      Yeah the grin and oh well never mind from Hogg was poor. They should both have been raging for the match was there had we scored. Not worth holding on to regret but at least show u care at the time.

    • Bulldog on

      Time to get the frustration behind us and look to the next game.

      All three games were tight even ours, despite the flaws and we do not know how the others will handle England. I enjoyed how Wales hit every tackle like they were the attackers. Now, against Wales you need to get the first 20 minutes behind you with limited damage, preferably get an early score and stay there, to get the crowd pressure on them. So that hit and knock them back tactic would be a good one to use against them in Cardiff.

      I think Vern should ban the lads fom social media and leave their phones off before the game. No welsh mind games to upset the mental attitude.

      • Rugsy on

        The amount of total nonsense spouted by opposition players and coaches in the lead up..
        If I were the coach… I’d be setting that as a standard policy..no social media/rugby media etc the week before and during major competitions. Jeez.. can’t be that hard…to talk only with friends and family during that time.

  28. JudasTheGrass on

    I would like to congratulate Wales, Ireland, France and Italy for the emphatic victories they will have over Scotland in this years 6 Nations in advance.

    • Tony Steedman on

      Listen sonny. Hide behind your anonymity with your stupid comments all you like.
      I first went to Murrayfield to support Scotland in 1968. We all know how hard it is to be a Scottish rugby fan. But just occasionally seasons come along like 1984 and 1990 and we win the Grand Slam. Admittedly this will be harder in the professional era, but you never know what the future will bring.
      That’s my view. Feel free to continue to spout forth your moronic comments though I think you would be happier blogging in the Daily Mail !

  29. John Mc on

    Just watched Ireland v Wales. As well as the ball skills and tactics work that Vern and coaching team need to administer this coming week, there’s probably a need (if there’s time) for a couple of severe beasting sessions – because Wales looked physically very fit indeed……

  30. Angus on

    I have to and froed a few times starting to articulate my thoughts and given up in despair each time

    So let me just go with 2 points. You cant compete when 1. you make so many school boy errors and 2. you can’t score tries

    This article says it best along with paying passing homage to what a twat Eddie Jones is was and always will be

    http://m.bbc.com/sport/rugby-union/35512153

    2014 Autumn internationals 2 steps forward, 2015 6 nations 3 steps back

    2015 World Cup 2 steps forward, 2016 6 nations looking like 3 steps back again

    Stopping myself now before I start to drivel because I could go for hours on that game

    • Rugsy on

      Jones is a prize t**t. The 69% of points accumulated in 1st 30mins stat made me laugh… you mean the same stats you assumed coaching Japan at RWC Eddie? They worked well for ya then…

  31. Another Mike on

    Like it or not, we have quite a few players who haven’t got back into their stride after the World Cup. There’s been far too much “what could or should have been……” which seems to have badly affected the players form or commitment or both. Many of the returning Glasgow players have been mince since their return. Combine the Pro 12 triumph with the the WC heroics and you end with big time complacency. At the end of the day it’s the 6N’s that we most care about and we’re still rock bottom in terms of results and performance from yesterday’s showing.

    No easy answers from me, I think that w#nker Gerry Guscott was right that a rocket needs to be launched by management but give most of yesterday’s lot another chance. I’m very pessimistic because we have so many players in poor form at club and regional level. I feel sorry big Vern, what did he do to deserve this lot of yoyo’s. Good show by the U20’s at least. But it’s the big show that counts!

  32. Kev on

    We have to wake up and realise that 2 pro teams does not work for success at Test level. Last week we had 2 fit centres available for selection, we then go good news on Bennett followed by a nervous wait on Dunc Taylor’s back injury. 15-9 loss to a country with the resources that England have is a reasonable result IMO. Heading to Wales next week hoping we can unshackle ourselves from the lack of tries in the 6N and put up a performance. Great result for the U20’s but as already stated, it’s the big show that counts

    • FF on

      Argentina competed with no pro teams and now they have just one in the new Super Rigby competition.

      The key is youth development and the professional pathways that are established. Argentina had a very intensive programme for a small group of elite players – their lack of resources sometimes held them back but they have still achieved more in world rugby than any NH side over the past 9 years.

      The number of pro-sides is a problem but it isn’t the be all and end all. I think the SRU is getting youth development right as the upswing in u20s results in the last couple of years shows. The increasing number of young players in English academies might be uncomfortable but so long as we have more players in professional environments, where they are playing matters much less.

  33. Paul Kelly on

    Laidlaw the problem. He has no charisma or leadership skills as a captain and is by far the worst scrum half in the six nations. His service is as slow as a week in the jail. Consequently Russell and the other players outside him are made to look poor. The only thing he is good at is pointing. Big Vern please please please play Hidalgo Clyne and have Price as a replacement.

  34. Kettle Head on

    Hate to say it because kids are the future of the game, but why is Murrayfield full of kids and middle aged housewives? They do nothing for the atmosphere and are more interested in getting on the big screen. They obviously have a right to be there and I’m expecting a negative reaction to this but every other stadium we see shots of the crowd and it’s groups of adults having a drink, singing and having a laugh. We get groups of ten year olds and their Mums squeeling about getting on tv.

  35. Pygros Castelli on

    Too many basic errors let down what could have been a promising display. Same old problems upfront, a hooker who has nearly a hundred caps but hasn’t been able to throw in for any of them. 2 attacking lineouts lost (after being kicked for) is criminal at any level, let alone the top end of professional sport.
    Maitland running into touch was mortifying, stupidity of the highest order. Seymour tried hard but made a few costly errors, hopefully just down to rustiness.
    Plus points werre Barclay and particularly Hardie (who would walk into the England back row).
    Our main problem is the shambles at 9. Laidlaw is awful and has been for a long time. He’s slow, and makes everything slower, his passing is terrible (looped or just chucked) and there is no decision making to be made as by the time he arrives it’s either pass to a static forward or kick. He’s also an absolute coward in defence and always has been. He puts so much effort into being as far away from where he needs to be so he doesn’t have to make a tackle it’s unreal. Yesterday we had the pathetic jumping on Danny Care then pretending he was wrestling Vunipola when he should have been hammering across the field the ball to tackle any breaks. If Uncle Roy saw any other scrum half performing like that they’d never get out of Jed 2s but somehow Greig is bulletproof….take away his goalkicking and he might not even make the 2s. Continuously whining at the ref like an arrogant little brat does the side no favours either.
    Get SHC on and give the backs some ball. Quick ball on the front foot and we have players to do some damage, something that will never happen when the defensive line is set before our 9 deems it safe to arrive.

  36. Referendum on

    I’m surprised how little coverage the 2nd half kick off has been given. Knock on picked up in front by Hartley. Penalty and three points. Changes the dynamic just like putting the drop over just before half-time would have done as well. That was obvious Joubert’s wasn’t easy this was. Even Bill Johnston who is as polite as they come was banging on about it in the last five “We’re not going to win this” minutes. He was very agitated.

  37. Allan on

    I see Andy (Guscott’s fluffer) Nicol thinks the same team should be given a chance against Wales. Seriously??? So the message he wants to send is ‘play shit but don’t worry, you won’t be dropped’. If the All Blacks had that attitude they wouldn’t be the dominant force they are. Nicol winds me up because it’s clear he knows eff all about Glasgow and Edinburgh or if he does, he hides it well. Yet another ‘don’t want to rock the boat’ pundit who absolutely refuses to tell it like it is because he’s too worried about upsetting his friends. Laidlaw is almost universally loathed by scots rugby fans who can see how absolutely dire he is and yet not one single journalist has the guts to say so on tv or in print. Neither will they call out Seymour and Maitland for playing like drains (Maitland ran right off the pitch with the ball ffs and Seymour kept dropping it). I mean, what accountability do these players have if its only the supporters (who have no influence) are the only honest voices. Cotter should be honest and say ‘I have given them all a bollocking because that was not acceptable’, not hide being the usual ‘we can take some positives from the game’ nonsense. I can’t bring myself to watch BBC rugby coverage any more without the sound down because of the joke we have become and the lack of honesty from the Nicols of this world. We are a laughing stock and Inverdales total inability to conceal his glee on sat was pretty unbearable.

    Back to the team though and I really hope that the necessary fixes are in place for next week (9-10). It’s a shame that Dunbar, Ashe, Gilchrist, Visser and Pyrgos are injured because the players they would replace in the current side are just not doing it and when Nicol says they should get another chance….I despair!

  38. Andy N on

    Ach, everyone needs to calm down a bit – we had our chances, but blew them in the face of some fierce opposition. The pace of the game was bonkers – unlike anything we saw at RWC – and the lack of experience in the team showed when they struggleds to adapt to that – but thats all it was, the sky has not suddenly fallen in – you just had to be at Broadwood on Friday night to see that the structures and policies that the SRU finally have in place are beginning to make a difference – the current Scotland team is not the culmination of all this activity, they are the first ripples of a larger change.

    For what it’s worth, i didn’t see anything in either of the other games this weekend that should scare us – for me, it should be the same team, no question. There will be no Grand Slams this year – we need to target Wales, particularly at the set peice and we need to find a way to counteract the big defensive influence of Roberts and his one man rush defence.

    • FF on

      I agree. Us beating England would always be an upset so we shouldn’t be hysterical after losing a tight and scrappy game. England played a bit like Saracens, suffocating and intense. Maybe we should have handled it better but in test rugby if you are just off the pace you get found out. I wouldn’t be surprised if England go on to win the championship – this is a side who have been runners up the last four years and the team that took the field against us was little changed from the Lancaster era. I think we are unlikely to beat Wales, but our best chance is if we put out a similar side and execute better – bringing in wholesale changes to a punish a poor performance isn’t going to help us get better at this stage.

  39. Andy on

    “It’s a number you almost have to keep saying over and over in your head in order to believe it. Eight halves of Six Nations rugby, 320 minutes, 22 points. Even when you repeat it, it scarcely computes.”

    Tom English on the last eight 6 nations games second halves.

    That points to gigantic problems – bordering on negligence – on players physical conditioning, as well as the obvious lack of strength in depth.

  40. Mrak on

    Laidlaw must go but will never be dropped. He has had three years of taking ten minutes to make a pass even in attacking situations, and hasn’t had his place threatened. The protection this bloke gets at the SRU is ridiculous. S H-C has been no good, but Price has been excellent so should be selected. Strauss is also a must.

    • Pygros Castelli on

      It’s unfathomable. Some players seems to have the passage smoothed for them from the off no matter how they perform. Most club 9s would get slaughtered if they played like that.

  41. Deflated on

    I’ve just watched the game over again and I am more optimistic than I was leaving Murrayfield on Saturday. I now think we competed really well, rarely second best in most areas. We tackled well (mostly) and scrummaged well (but lost a bit of that in the last 15 minutes or so) Scotland ran a lot of good lines, but England defended really well which meant we did not get a lot of return for the efforts. Once again it boiled down to small margins. If VC can get the boys to think clearly, play heads up rugby then I think there is still hope for something better this year. A few people have slated Andy Nicol for saying we should give this 15 another chance. I think he’s right, especially considering that our options are limited. I would like to see Taylor get a start, in the centre alongside Bennet, (a bit harsh on Matt Scott, but Taylor has been playing well for club all season), and I don’t think the resurgence of criticism for Laidlaw is justified, he wasn’t that bad. Having watched the Welsh against Ireland yesterday I think we’re in with a shout, as long as we can get the better of the small margins, but it will be tough….no doubt.

    • John Mc on

      Of course we’re in with a shout against Wales. And even though it’s too soon in this 6N to work out form lines as they say in horse-racing, I thought the tempo of the Ireland Wales game was higher and that Wales looked like a full-on 80 minute plus outfit. If we’re not right on the money from the off this weekend, we will struggle in Cardiff. I’m really hoping the lads will be right on it and then stay on it from kick-off v Wales. One very disappointing home defeat against England is not a catastrophe, but I think this weekend will be an even tougher challenge for us than Murrayfield was.

  42. Standoffalot on

    I don’t think Saturday was anywhere near as bad as is being made out. A lot of players, particularly Seymour, Bennett and Maitland are only just fit. I admit Laidlaw was back to his old self with his speed of pass way too slow, but other aspects, box kicking etc were way better than previous, and SHC hasn’t been great this season by any means. If Pyrgos was fit I’d certainly be for him starting, but other than that there’s not a lot you could change anyway. I agree about Ford’s lineout throwing but he’s a rock in the scrum so for me he starts. Ritchie Gray can do way more in the loose but I have no doubt Vern will leave him in no doubt about that. I think everyone feels England were there for the taking and that’s what makes the defeat all the more galling. However this Scotland team is much better than it showed on Saturday and hopefully we’ll see that against Wales.

  43. Paul Kelly on

    Well there is a ringing endorsement- Laidlaw wasn’t that bad. On another forum there was a comment made “mobile pack and a dynamic back line with a traffic cop at scrum half”. I think that perfectly sums up the impact Laidlaw makes on the teams performance. Pygros Castelli provided an excellent summary as well of his attributes- or lack of them.
    In the other two matches played the kickers from all four teams were successful with crucial kicks that Laidlaw would not have a hope in hell of taking on.
    Scotland needs to play dynamic high tempo rugby. That’s what we have excelled at in the past. Laidlaw is a major stumbling block to us doing that. He does not merit his place at the weekend.

    • Deflated on

      I don’t agree…..fully. My ‘wasn’t that bad’ statement was more a rebuttal of the wholly dismissive assessments by some on this blog. Yes he is not the quickest of passers, but of what we have available he is probably, on the whole, the best. He was statistically the best goal kicker in last years competition, not bad considering we didn’t win a game. He was nominated as a contender for world player of the year (was never going to win it) and I thought he had a good RWC. Would I want someone better? Absolutely. Have we got someone? No. SHC has not shown well in the run outs he’s had and Ali Price is only just making an impact for the Warriors.

      • Paul Kelly on

        Sorry Deflated but you and I are just going to have to disagree. He is not the best we have. I think someone was having a laugh at Scotland’s expense that he was nominated for the world player of the year.
        As for his kicking stats he only takes on kicks that are within 35m and straight on to the posts. Hence his high completion rate. He could not lace the boots of a Carter,Sexton, Biggar, Priestland, Ford or Farrell.

  44. Rugsy on

    My team for Wales…

    Hogg
    Taylor
    Dunbar (if not fit Scott)
    Bennet
    Seymour
    Russell
    Hidalgo-Clyne
    Nel
    McInally
    Dickinson
    Gilchrist (if not fit R Gray)
    J Gray
    Barclay
    Hardie
    Denton

    Captain: Hardie / Gilchrist/ McInally

    Subs: Ford, Fagerson, Reid, Ashe/Strauss, Laidlaw, Weir, Visser/Maitland, Toolis/R Gray

    • JSC on

      SHC has had a stinker this season, Laidlaw is captain and kicker, only one winner there. Also no way GG and Dunbar are fit enough to start a big match. Team and result will be unchanged.

  45. Rugsy on

    People/media it’ll be near impossible to beat Wales… what garbage. They only won by 3 points last time out…and that was with their 1st choice team. Until the england match Scotland have improved significantly since that match.

    Record is bad there…but if they play like they did in WRC especially against OZ ..they have a very real chance.

  46. Insidearm on

    We were very, very lucky. England only used the rolling maul twice, both times in the second half and both times earning themselves a penalty. I’m not sure why they did not use the tactic more but I very much doubt Wales will be so merciful.

    Other things that struck me included why our kickers are so unambitious in defence? E.g. on around the 5 minute mark and after being under the kosh Finn Russell took a penalty kick from 10 metres in on our 22 and gained about 8m. The unfortunate touch judge had to run back about 30m from where he thought the ball would go in. A few minutes later England had a similar kick and gained nearly 40m. This seems to be the general pattern: making life hard for ourselves. The value of the booming touch finder to relieve pressure in defence seems completely lost on us. And it’s not as if we don’t have good kickers. Russell is superb at long raking kicks in attack but just does not seem to do it in defence.

    Finally, a few years ago we used to be absolutely terrible at passing. Every match we would drop several of the simplest passes. We no longer do and I’ve finally figured out why. Our players are so scared of throwing a bad pass they don’t pass at all! Great runner though Hogg is defences find him relatively easy to defend because they know he will kick or run but never pass; Seymour is the same; with Bennett it’s even simpler as he doesn’t kick (actually Bennett did throw one pass, in the first half. It was aimed in the general area of the small target of Ritchie Gray but missed him by a yard). Denton, admirable though he normally is for his workrate and power, throws about one pass a season and Hardie seems to be learning from his team mates. He did throw a great pass to Maitland on the blind side from scrum half in one of our best early attacks but in the second half ruined our best break by shunning half our team outside him and running into a brick wall instead. Seriously, why can’t we pass? Our attack seems to be entirely based on brilliant individual plays: Bennett, Dunbar, Hogg or Seymour cutting a perfect running angle or intercepting a pass. But inter-play is a lost art.

    • Rugsy on

      Yeah…very frustrating. Mistakes ..no problem..no team plays the perfect game..even NZ make mistakes.
      The inability to pass tho?.. the most basic skill in rugby… ‘professional players’ …no excuse. We treat the ball like a hot potato. The U20s passed the ball really well…why cant the snr team do that?
      The other thing is….please please please stop dropping the ball at critical phases!
      If we could just do those 2 things we would actually be a threat.

      • Mike Linds on

        The under 20’s handling was outstanding. The seniors should be made to watch a replay of the game every day till they learn!!

      • Rugsy on

        The SNR players & 1st team coaches should be watching that U20 game… exactly the way to play against a big physical defensive team.

  47. Insidearm on

    Regarding Laidlaw, unfair as this is, he’s got to go as soon as Henry P or SHC is back to fitness and anythng like normal form. Laidlaw may be our only option for the next few games but but we cannot progress with a scrum half who poses no threat ball in hand, has a slow service, gets run over in heavy traffic and is so easily read by the opposition. Neither can we have a captain who does not inspire – either the team or the crowd. It is not all bad, far from it. His decision making is generally good, he is a very high percentage short range kicker and he is gutsy. But there are just too many below-par aspects to his game.

    • pragmatic optomist on

      Insidearm – You’ll find plenty on this blog who agree with your assessment. Unfortunately BVC doesn’t agree and he’s the one who matters.
      Personally, I’ll never understand why Ross Ford has nearly 100 caps.
      It doesn’t seem to matter how many times he fails, he’s still in bcause he weighs more than the others.

      • Insidearm on

        Pragmatic Optomist – we must both be missing something re Ross Ford because I don’t get it either. I could never understand why when Dougie Hall or Lawson were brought in, they invariably played well and were immediately dropped. Possibly in training there are ways to measure scrummaging power and Ford is way ahead. I can’t think of any other explanation.

        It is also becoming obvious that Ford’s inability to hook is a problem. On Saturday our first choice front row held England’s but we never threatened their feed and never got fast ball from ours. One of the biggest surprises of the RWC was the speed of scrum ball the Japanese achieved against South Africa with a small, skilful hooker. (I had also been surprised at Eddie Jones selecting Hartley to be his captain – I thought he would import his Japanese tactic and get a small hooker. But he was vindicated: Hartley is big but can still hook: England had far faster scrum ball than we did). I’ve been a fan of Pat MacArthur but he seems out of favour even at Glasgow. I’m not sure McInaly is the answer as he is so tall. But he would give us far more in the loose!

      • Rugsy on

        Yeah… Ford is good in the scrummage but anonymous in the loose….but McInally has physicality in both the scrum and loose. He is an extra 6 or 7…and suits the style of play we are shooting for more than Ford. He is a bit on the tall side to hook in the scrum tho…so nothing gained in that respect I think.

  48. pragmatic optomist on

    McInally is more dynamic in the loose and probably can scrum. But from what I’ve seen he can’t hook or throw. It’s always the issue when converting players based on size. They’re not genuine hookers. Colin Deans where are you?

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