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1872 Cup Leg 1: The Player Ratings

Ben Toolis wins a lineout for Edinburgh Rugby in the 1872 Cup - pic © Alastair Ross | Novantae Photography
Ben Toolis wins a lineout for Edinburgh Rugby in the 1872 Cup - pic © Alastair Ross | Novantae Photography

John Anderson and Rory Baldwin give their player ratings for the first leg of the 1872 Cup at BT Murrayfield.


Blair Kinghorn: 5 – At fault for the early try and barely touched the ball for the rest of the game.

Damien Hoyland : 5 – Scrambled well all game but both back threes were quiet. Almost assisted in a crucial try at the end for Mata – but crucially, they never grounded it.

Chris Dean: 5.5 – Had a few nice breaks but not enough chances. Defence in the wide channels was secure.

Phil Burleigh: 5 – Cynically held Allan in the ruck which led to the yellow card. Not admirable, but effective.

Tom Brown: 5 – Celebrating his 100th Edinburgh appearance, he was rewarded with the night off.

Duncan Weir: 6.5 – Charged down Finn Russell and kicked his goals. Wasn’t overcome facing his old side. Half a point off for being charged down himself.

Sam Hidalgo-Clyne: 6 – Had a sleepy first half hour during which the quality of passing was poor all round. Came into it a bit more second half and outshone Pyrgos.

Al Dickinson: 5 – Edinburgh edged the scrums for most of the game, but he only lasted half an hour.

Ross Ford: 4.5 – Couple of solid hits, a couple of solid carries. Not much else; standard fare.

Simon Berghan: 7 – Pick of the front rows. Several strong carries and held the whip hand over both Allan and Grant.

Ben Toolis: 5 – Steady if unspectacular, but fluffed a key attacking lineout with ten minutes to play when Edinburgh could have had a bonus.

Grant Gilchrist: 5 – Edinburgh’s captain was only on for an hour but managed to get the better of the ref until then. Can teach Jonny Gray a bit about referee management but is behind in everything else at the moment.

Magnus Bradbury: 7 – Well monitored in attack but still managed to punch holes. Had a fine second half, and his battles with Ashe over the next few yours could be tasty. Edinburgh’s best player.

Hamish Watson: 7 – Made 15/15 tackles and set the example for his team to follow as usual. His head to head is with John Hardie rather than any Glasgow player, but his Scotland shirt is secure.

Cornell du Preez: 5 – Hasn’t found his full form yet and tried to play a bit much rugby. Could potentially offer Scotland a StraussPlus option, but not yet.

Stuart McInally: 4.5 – Should have come on earlier, but didn’t do much of note in the 12 minutes he had, other than miss a crucial lineout throw.

Allan Dell – 6 – Scrums no weaker when he came on, which did his Scotland credentials no harm. Quiet in the loose though.

Murray McCallum – n/a

Fraser Mackenzie: 4 – Quietly argumentative.

Viliame Mata: 5.5 – Will wish he grounded that try at the death but needed to do more to spark Edinburgh if he is to be their Flying Fijian.

Sean Kennedy: 6 – A superb break then nicely timed passing on the second phase almost grabbed Edinburgh a losing bonus point.

Jason Tovey: 5 – couldn’t conjure any magic.

Glenn Bryce: 5 – no chance to do anything against his old team.

Ratings by Rory Baldwin


Stuart Hogg: 6 – A quiet day in the office for Hoggy. One searing break but not much else. Solid in defence.

Junior Bulumakau: 7 – Gets a point for his follow up for the first try. Did nothing else of note.

Mark Bennett: 7 – Looking more lively than he as of late, some good attacking breaks and big defence when required.

Alex Dunbar: 8 – Looking more and more a potential Lion. Show me a better defender at 12 in the Northern Hemisphere. Took his try well.

Lee Jones: 6 – Absolutely no change against his old team, but made his tackles.

Finn Russell: 8 – Both sublime and ridiculous, with a few silly errors but outclassed Weir. Really looks confident at the minute.

Henry Pyrgos: 6 – Controlled the game well, but a few loose passes.

Alex Allan: 6 – Sinbinned, and probably beaten at the scrum but gets a point back for his part in the rolling maul which was a powerful tool all night.

Fraser Brown: 7 – Hit his darts for the most part, and continues to bullock about the park. Clearly enjoying his rugby at the moment.

Zander Fagerson: 6 – A quieter day from Zander, but as with Allan he was part of a dominant mauling effort.

Brian Alainu’uese: 7 – Was everywhere in the loose, made the gain line with almost every carry, and one lovely offload in build up to Alex Dunbar try. Now looking comfortable, which will please Townsend no end.

Jonny Gray: 8 – Tackled, linked, got involved in mauls, disrupted breakdowns. But most importantly he is now starting to lead the side well.

Rob Harley: 6 – Big bad Bob secured quick ball and covered the gaps when Favaro attempted his patented ‘Missile Defence’.

Simone Favaro: 6 – How much must it hurt when this guy gets you? Usual mixture of physicality and passion from Simone, just caught out of position a couple of times. Luckily Edinburgh couldn’t take full advantage.

Josh Strauss: 7 – Got a try, made yards on the carry. Efficient from Josh and edged the battle with Cornell du Preez.


Pat McArthur: 6 – No noticeable drop off in quality, however just not very noticeable.

Ryan Grant: 5 – Brief cameo during the Allan sinbin. Looked to pick up a minor knock during this. Rumours are he’s off to France on loan.

Sila Puafisi: 6 – Solid scrummage, a solid second choice tighthead but less effective round the park.

Adam Ashe: 6 – Great to see Adam back. Looked rusty but keen. Fitnesss will be the most important for Townsend.

Chris Fusaro: 6 – Another man not long back from injury, but had a decent 30 minutes.

Ali Price: 6 – 13 minutes for Ali, looked very sharp and confident. Should have come on earlier to chase the try bonus.

Nick Grigg: N/A – No sign of Nick, which is a shame as his pace against a tiring defence would have been interesting

Sean Lamont: 6 – Couple of touches and a try-scoring offload but really not a busy day for any of the back 3.

Ratings by John Anderson

132 Responses

  1. 100% agree that Dunbar should be a Lion but fearful of a welsh bias leading to very few Scots making the trip.

    1. Owen Farrell is nailed on for the trip and Robbie Henshaw is not far behind. Dunbar needs to make a big impression to have any chance of touring, doubt Roberts or Williams are close to selection at the moment.

      The Welsh bias stuff is gettin a bit tedious really. English and Irish players will dominate selection but among the Welsh squad there are lots of players with 50+ caps many of whom have toured with the Lions before. Wales also finish above Scotland virtually every year in the 6N. So, the only way we’ll have more players than the Welsh contingent is if we have a successful 6N preferably giving Wales a thrashing at Murrayfield. That isn’t Welsh bias, it’s just a bit of realism.

      1. In the cold light of day taking the Lions out of the equation, what would a Welsh/Scots select look like? Imho I wouldn’t pick any taffs other than L Williams for Maitland, Webb for Laidlaw, Faletau for Barclay and Moriarty for Wilson. Other than that, I’d go with our lads the rest of the way except hooker which is a toss up either way. However, Lions teams need to be up to speed early hence why established half back, lock, centre, back row and front row groupings are often picked.

      2. If we’re so much better than them why haven’t we beaten Wales since 2007? In fact, why is their team full of players who’ve won multiple championships and ours have only won wooden spoons at test level. Look – I believe this Scotland side is the best since 1999 and I think we have a great chance to finally beat Wales in February. But claiming our players are so much superior to theirs is looking through blue-tinted glasses. IMO

      3. Easy tiger! I was only saying that man for man I give scots lads more credit than the Welsh. However, a good team is often able to perform greater than the sum of its parts would suggest. We have underperformed and I feel the Welsh have overachieved. I’m not saying their “team” is crap, just making a man for man comparison. For example, Alex cuthbert has won a grand slam but as an individual rugby player would you really say he’s better than Tommy Seymour?

      4. FF is right in that the Welsh have had a consistently stronger squad of players for a long time now, and we have to remain realistic about where our boys sit in the pecking order.

        However, several Scottish players were overlooked prior to and during the last Lions tour and there’s nothing to suggest the same won’t happen again.

        In terms of Lions 2013 test match participation by minutes played, the Scots contributed a pathetic 0.33%. In my experience that resulted in a severe drop in Lions interest by Scottish rugby fans which is detrimental to the promotion of rugby in Scotland, the legacy of home nations unity in the Lions jersey, and it puts the SRU further behind our home nation competitors in terms of general rugby promotion.

        Realistically, Gatland and his Welsh/English colleagues will feel more inclined to go with players they are more familiar with have been part of more successful international squads. This provokes a great deal of resentment as it’s understandably perceived as unprofessional and short sited.

        Do we honestly think that Gatland and his team have as good an understanding/knowledge of Scottish players as they do for English, Welsh or Irish? Everything suggests not, and expectations of collective Scottish player dismissal remains.

    2. I just dont get all the ‘Lions’ chat ? Are we not getting enough quality rugby here and now without the speculation !

      Here’s my down to earth view of a lions selection :

      England look like a very competent side,
      Ireland have just beaten the All Blacks,
      Wales will get slithered in to fill the gaps for obvious reasons.

      Will our exceptional players get picked, well maybe, but they will need to be hugely better than anyone else, who is available for selection, when the time comes. Why do I say that ? Setting personal ability aside, experience of winning the 6N and/or beating the All Blacks , would differentiate a 50/50 call IMO.

      Now winning the European Cup might be a slim lifeline for Glasgow…..

      Sorry Edinburgh , but on this occasion, Ye will have hud yer Lions Tour.

      1. A few voices of reason. The selection will be determined by international performance and injuries. Those boosting Scottish player credentials should bear in mind that since the last Lions tour Scotland have won 3 Six Nations matches, 2 against Italy. Over this period we haven’t beaten Australia, South Africa or New Zealand, unlike the other home nations.

        The low numbers of Scots selected for recent Lions tours is justified on how poor results have been in the Six Nations. We don’t have a pool of hardened test match players from the 2009 and 2013 tours who have demonstrated their abilities to rise to the unique challenges of a Lions tour.

        The chances of our better players being selected require the team to win regularly at the highest international level. To get for than 3 or 4 in the original party would require Scotland to win at least 3 games, including the ones against Ireland and Wales.

      2. That 6N wins stat really is dire. Can’t be many more-suffering fans in sport than those of Scottish rugby. Please let the dark times be coming to an end!

  2. Would have thought Finn would have been looking to make a bigger impression in this match than he did, also thought that Kinghorn had a disappointing game, I think Kinghorn should be a 10 though.

  3. Although Gray and Pyrgos are nominally co-captains for Glasgow, I don’t recall Pyrgos talking to the ref at all. Gray is already a fine player, but is maturing into superb leader on the park.

  4. FF – i was more thinking that Roberts / Scott Williams will be chosen ahead of Dunbar / Huw Jones & Tipuric in front of Hardie / Watson irrespective of form

    McNally – Glasgow played a clever game where the backs were deliberately under used, forwards play dominating to deny Edinburgh any quick ball deeming them impotent.

    1. I suppose when you put it like that… What is everyone’s thoughts on Kinghorn’s position, I’m almost certain he could mature into a fantastic No.10 but having watched him recently at No.15 I think he is an average player, either way atm he has a mountain to climb against the likes of Russell and Hogg, I think we need to be looking at him for RWC 2019.

  5. Kinghorn had an excellent game v Harlequins but (like every Edinburgh back) looked poor v Glasgow, hasn’t a good recent history (if you can have a “history” @ 19 years old) @ 10 for Edinburgh / Scotland u21.

    What is needed @ Edinburgh is an injection of quality in the back division where they are currently decidedly average currently.

    1. Personally I don’t think Edinburgh’s squad is too bad, but they have been woefully coached for almost a decade. They could recruit Ben Smith and Aaron Cruden and we’d still finish 10th without a decent coach.

      We should really free up a bit of £££ by letting some big names go (Nasi Manu has done virtually nothing in the two years he’s been here, Nel seems destined to be poached and we have good young props waiting for game time, Hardie must be on some coin and Watson is now first choice with Ritchie quality back up) and splash the cash on a mastermind coach like Lam. Fill the vacant places with young Scots and we couldn’t do worse than we are now

      1. I’d agree that Manu hasn’t shone and wouldn’t be missed. I’d also let CdP go rather than Hardie. If Hardie is playing elsewhere he will get flogged, which could put him back in the same form he was after his mammoth world cup season. Better to have his game time managed within Scotland. The same goes for Nel, who can now be rotated properly with the emergence of the youngsters.

        Then look at some of u20s to fill the gaps – there are some tidy players out there and having exposure to the pro12 will help bring them on.

      2. From what I know of Pat Lam, there is a whole lot more to him than Rugby and Edinburgh is the kind of town where he could easily settle. I would say the SRU would be pushing an open door there, could be bought for a fair price . Good choice IMO.

      3. Pat Lam has signed a deal with Bristol worth a reputed £500k per annum. It would seem that choice is off the menu. And if the SRU were to encourage Lam to renege on his contract then would they be in a position to complain if someone persuaded Dave Rennie to do the same vis-a-vis Glasgow?

  6. Younger guys like Bradbury, Dell, Du Preez, Watson, Toolis, Mata, Carmichael, Berghan, Sutherland in the forwards & Kinghorn, Hoyland, Dean in the backs MUST be kept, supplement them with Nel, Ford, Bressler, Hardie & you have the start of a good squad, the issue is there is little quality (probably a couple of guys we could argue about I have omitted from my list – not sure if any of the SHs are good enough presently).

    4 international quality backs required (including a Stand off)

    Also a top head coach required too.

    1. I don’t think Hodge is a bad coach, I just think we need someone with a bit more knowledge and some real top quality history, I heard someone saying before we could do a lot worse than having the likes of Matt Taylor or Shade Munro, what about a return for Sean Lineen?

      1. Hodge is an inexperienced head coach. I fear the success of the Townsend appointment led to the SRU taking a punt on Hodge. This one looks like a fail, but then Townsend inherited a team on the up from Lineen and took them to the next level. Hodge was part of the Solomons regime and nothing I saw of his work as an attack coach on the field of play presented a convincing case that he was ready to step up.

        Taylor and Munro both fall into the risky appointments category. The latter had a lengthy spell as an assistant at Glasgow before being handed the poisoned chalice, which he is making a go of, but seems to have found his level of coaching.

        Lineen must have seriously pee-ed off someone high up in the SRU given his move from Glasgow and diminished coaching profile.

        Andy Robinson has been name-checked but it would be a mistake to go back to someone whose best coaching is behind him.

        Whoever is selected has to be someone who can get Edinburgh by the scruff and kick some passion and identity into the club, getting shot of the mediocre hangers on content to pick up a fat wedge for a series of poor performances at the bottom of the table. There is no pride and culture of excellence in the team. Individuals may be performing but there is no collective.

      2. Couldn’t agree more HB, almost zero collective and if there is a culture of excellence I can’t see it.

        Glasgow have both in spades.

    2. JM – Edinburgh can’t afford 4 test quality backs. We can afford SH journeymen or we can coach guys like SHC, Hoyland, Kinghorn, Dean to become test quality players. Not to mention Weir. You can’t buy success if you have a small budget.

  7. Interesting to see Jackson (starting) and Visser get the better of Laidlaw and Scott at Twickenham yesterday. After a few decent performances off the bench, let’s hope Jackson gets a run.

    1. Visser also made a try-saving, potentially match-saving, tackle as well!! He really has been very good indeed for Quins.

      For the good of Scottish rugby let’s hope Jackson gets some more gametime over the next month. With Horne out for the 6N he is definitely our second best 10 to play the style of rugby we want to play.

      1. Unfortunately, Visser’s attempt to stop the first Gloucester try was nothing short of pathetic – far more culpable than he was against Australia for Kuridrani’s try, which he got stick for. He just pulled out of contact entirely. The only possible defence I could see (pun intended) is that he was trying to prise the ball away from the attacking player and just mistimed it. If he had simply stayed in contact with the player, he should easily have been able to get under the player and prevented the ball being touched down. I’ve never criticised him before, but this one seems unforgiveable, and so disappointing for such a big guy with such momentum going forward. Why does that momentum and power so rarely get harnessed defensively? His energy seems to take him away from contact rather than into it.

  8. Michael Allen, Will Helu, Nathan Fowles, Solomoni Rasolea, Rory Scholes, Sasa Tofilau, Alex Northam, Sean Kennedy, Viliami Fihaki, Grant Gilchrist, Nasi Manu, Felipe Arregui (likely leaving anyway), Nick Beavon.

    There’s 13 guys who are either not good enough or need a change of scene, that should release some £s………..

  9. @HB I get that either Munro or Taylor would be a major punt although you have to remember Shade Munro spent 12 years as the main driving force at Glasgow under both Sean Lineen and Gregor Townsend, we had one of the most powerful packs in the league and won in the most successful season for a Scottish club when he was there. We also have to remember that he is the current National Head Coach for the Scotland Woman’s Team, the other option that I had not thought of is a combination of an entirely new coaching team of the following ;

    Head Coach : Sean Lineen

    Senior Assistant : Shade Munto

    Assistant : Matt Taylor
    Assistant : Duncan Hodge

    I would have Taylor as a defence coach and Hodge as an Attack / Backs Coach.

    Munro due to his experience would be my main Assistant and would take on a more senior role where he would coach the forwards.


    1. I’d like Lineen to get the gig. Let’s remember it was he that began the Glasgow revolution before he was rather unceremoniously dumped for Townsend.

      1. I don’t believe that Sean Lineen was ever given the credit that he was due for making Glasgow the club that they were / are.

        If you look at Edinburgh for a minute and examine exactly what they have and the potential ; stadium capable of seating 67,000, one of the most wealthy cities in Scotland (the capital), they also have the distinct advantage of schools such as Merchiston Castle and universities such as Heriot Watt (Heriot’s), clubs include the likes of Edinburgh Accies, Heriot’s, Currie to name but a few.

        I would have to say that when Edinburgh signed Alan Solomons I really did have a moment of complete despair to me it always seemed like a backwards move, this marked the start of an era where Edinburgh went (if you will forgive my turn of phrase) “Southern-Centric” they were signing anyone who had an accent related to that of SA, NZ or AUS, Solomons seamed to bring all of these largely second rate players with him. Solomons was really no better than his predecessors such as Michael Bradley or Rob Moffat.

        I just feel that now is the time to make a major change in the structure at Edinburgh, If we now look at Glasgow comparatively, Lineen did have his dark times of 2010/11 where the warriors finished 11th out of 12 teams but he saw through the rough times and guided them to a team that was capable of being handed over to a relatively questionable and inexperienced appointment in Gregor Townsend who had just came off the back of a very poor spell with the national team, whatever anyone may say about Lineen he created the winning culture at Glasgow Warriors and along with his closest team of Shade Munro and long serving captain Al Kellock was able to provide a level of stability for Glasgow to become the force that they are.

        Surely people can see a difference between hiring just a mercenary who will take the money and run or taking someone who is a long serving veteran of the Scottish game and commited

      2. Lineen seems to go about his business quietly and that may suit him and the SRU. I think he will be looking for a bigger challenge than Edinburgh. He did a bit of a turnround with London Scottish with very little publicity. I suspect Edinburgh would carry too many opinions and he would rather spend his time coaching than managing politics. Just my opinion.

    2. Some positive insights on Lineen’s work at Glasgow Gary but if he was so highly rated by the SRU why was he summarily kicked ‘upstairs’ to coach the Scotland Under 20s and now languishes in the non-job of ‘head of international age-grades’. No-one has adequately explained the circumstances behind this, as far as I am aware.
      I agree Lineen has the right credentials based on previous success to take on the role, but there would have to be evidence (lacking in my opinion) that (i) the SRU saw him as the the person to lead the revolution (why wasn’t he, as an existing SRU employee , parachuted in earlier this year when the decision was made that the Solomons appointment was a failure?); Lineen himself wants the job (having taken 6 years to turn the Warriors around, would he have the energy and drive to go through the process again? The fact that he is happy to accept a low profile sinecure suggests he is not.).

      Munro has a good CV but I would argue that it is in his interest to continue for another year with the Women’s National Team. From there an assistant coaching post with a struggling Pro 12 team may not be the most attractive option.

      I’m not persuaded that Taylor would see the move from a top 4 Pro 12 side to a bottom 4 Pro 12 side as a promotion. If he has any ambition he would be looking for a step up to an assistant post with a top English, French or Southern Hemisphere side.

      Hodge as an assistant attack coach with both Scotland and Edinburgh has done little to produce coherent, incisive and dynamic back play. In my mind he is part of the problem and needs to be swept away as part of the root and branch change to management, coaching and player squad necessary to build a successful professional rugby club in Edinburgh. The move to Myreside is a first helpful step but needs to be backed up with a head coach appointed who is hungry for success who can bring in his own assistants.
      My fear is that, without the right appointment, Edinburgh are becoming bracketed with Zebre, Newport Gwent Dragons and Treviso as whipping boys who no-one with any coaching credibility will take on. It may need a left-field appointment since the likes of Dave Rennie is unlikely to see Edinburgh as somewhere to embellish their coaching CV in the short term.

      I’m not that connected to have any special insights but my own criteria for the new head coach would be:
      1) No existing (or previous) connection to Edinburgh Rugby coaching team
      2) Able to chose team of assistants (existing assistants at Edinburgh need not apply)
      3) Ambitious with a track record of success (success may be at a lower grade – John Dalziel strikes me as someone with the b*lls for the job)
      4) Willing to commit to the project for 4-6 years

      Be under no illusion. Professional club rugby in Edinburgh is dying. Fans do not attend and have little connection or loyalty to a club which has lost its way and seems to be content to bumble along in the lower reaches of the Pro 12 with the occasion success in the lesser European club competition. The quality of journeymen recruited recently says it all. Fans have only themselves to blame by putting up with the pathetic displays and not demanding change and success. These are extremely well-paid professionals who do not perform where it matters and are selling the supporters short.

      1. I think you have pretty much covered it, tbh I never even considered the likes of John Dalziel as a potential candidate, surely we need to bring the likes of Kenny Murray into the mix for a position if Dalziel’s name is being banded around.

        I genuinely don’t think there is a coach in Scotland who can offer an overnight fix to Edinburgh’s issues as I believe that there is a wider club ethos that needs to be fixed, in my mind Edinburgh / SRU will need to some time to consider their choice of coach.

      2. Dalziel is learning his trade at London Scottish right now. He is good, but not IMHO outstanding. He is working with Lineen in what is a hugely competitive English Championship.

        I don’t know why Lineen has been overlooked. I’ve been at a few away LS games and the guy who has been most enthused, before and after is Lineen.

        He is a quality coach – likely the Oz guy whose name escapes me doesn’t rate him.

      3. Good day for Dalziel today at LS with a 36 – 15 in the lashing rain, five well handled tries. What he needs to do is get what is a very young squad to perform consistently. English Championship is an unforgiving place to learn, and none the worse for that.

    1. Yes Taylor is but at the moment Matt Taylor currently has shared duties with Scotland and Glasgow so could manage this.

  10. If Worcester carry on the way they are, Carl Hogg will be available soon. No measurable success, but he’ll be cheap !

  11. For WCTA, the next 8 Glasgow games are televised: 3 on BBC Alba, 4 on Sky Sports and 1 on BT Sport… I live in London and manage to catch most Glasgow games on TV.

    1. WCTA, ALBA and S4C are both available on Sky, which you say you have – channels 142 and 134 respectively. If a game is on S4C, there’s usually a red button English commentary, which makes Jonathan Davies sound like the soul of impartiality. BBCs 1 and 2 for Scotland Wales and NI are also available in the 900 channel numbers.
      Very rare now that at least one of our pro teams isn’t on over a weekend. Mainly Glasgow, as JP says, but that simply reflects the current standing of the two teams

      1. My comment appears to have disappeared, but perhaps I wasn’t clear. I have Sky Sports channels added to my (non-Sky) package so whilst I have Sky Sports 1-5, I don’t have the abundance of regional channels. So no BBC Scotland, Alba etc. In response to JP with regard to the next 8 Glasgow games – as I say, no Alba – and although they appear to be on Sky in February this coincides with the 6Nations and as I only really watch Glasgow/Edinburgh to see how the Scotland players are getting on it’s only going to be fringe players.
        Yes, I could get a better package for Alba etc etc etc, but my original point, which I stand by, is that the two Scottish sides are under-represented on the Sky Sports Pro-12 coverage and that the BBC red button could be used for BBC Alba/BBC Scotland coverage as it regularly is for BBC Wales. I didn’t expect to come up against such resistance among fellow Scotland fans!

    1. Hogg starting at No.10 should be interesting, I hope he puts on a good attacking show, the only concern may be that this raises more questions over a positional switch!

      1. Bit of an indictment of GT’s faith in Clegg or Shulte. I would thought a game against Treviso would have been ideal for either or both to get game time rather than yet another game for Hogg who has played a lot of rugby this season.

  12. You would have thought so, personally I think Hogg plays a great attacking brand of rugby whether at 10 or 15 but when you have two tens who quite frankly could be doing with some experience then we should surely be looking at them rather than a player who is predominately a fullback. I haven’t seen much at all of Shulte, he could be a very good No.10 but atm we’ll never know.

    1. Not sure if it is necessarily a reflection on Clegg or Shulte, just wonder if VC has asked for this given Horne is out and none of the others has really stepped up to the plate, so a chance for him to see how Hogg goes. If it goes well, then VC has another option if Russell gets crocked, if not, then he can delete that line of thought. Gregor can switch it about if not going well, Clegg is on the bench. I guess Hogg will take kicking from hand duties which I’ve always been a bit surprised how seldom he gets handed the ball and told to hoof it out of sight. On the other hand maybe it’s just Gregor……

      Interesting whatever.

  13. No need Chiel,

    The only reason the Paterson @ 10 “thing” kept rearing its ugly head was Scotland were stuck with the decent but one dimensional Parks or the no dimensional Godman.

    Now we have the mercurial Russell to “steer the ship”.

    1. I do not think Russell is the answer for Scotland at 10 either. He is too inconsistent.

      As for Hogg, well this will be interesting and I can see he will be good at defense kicks and taking ball back to the pack. A 10 man game.

      However he will fail to find the space he is used to. Stuart Hogg is all about himself and will not let the ball traverse beyond Standoff IMO so it will be a failure.

      I admire that he has, as an individual turned the many a game and won the game for both Glasgow and Scotland. However I think the team needs to revolve around him and that will bring many issues when trying to bond a team.

      As a fat boy front row and a consumate observer of people and behaviours, I am biased as I love 15 man rugby and team work. So lets see how it goes and if he can put the team first and distribute well, I will be delighted for him and Glasgow.

      I do not see this as being an experiement , just a ;needs must’ and probably a plan by GT to play to his strengths which are the pack today. Let the pack batter them all day long and use the backs in the last 20 mins when they are gasping,

      Its a game to get through and get 5 points if you can but a must take 4 with damage limitation to the three quarters,

      1. There’s no doubt there’s a healthy ego involved, but maybe Hogg’s so-called-selfishness is not so innate….going himself might often be widely recognised as the highest percentage option.

        Of course when it doesn’t come off he looks selfish whereas a pass that doesn’t work out doesn’t usually attract the same criticism.

    1. He did , I was wrong and he was exceptional , you are correct no other soul on the planet could have fielded the duff kick right at him, with perfect hands, through the gap so stealthily as they were all up anticipating the kick landing 5 m short, and a 70m clear sprint to the line, great hitch kick at the end to overcome the tap tackle. Wonderfull positional sense and reading of the game.

      I could not have done it, in fact I cannot remember the last time any of the backs in East Region 2b siezing such an opportunity when presented with a schoolboy howler.

      1. He’s undoubtedly a fine player, but beware the YouTube highlights reel – the first 30 seconds is just him walking about and then they show at least 5 tries twice from different angles!

  14. ……………….I do not think Russell is the answer for Scotland at 10 either. He is too inconsistent.

    Russell is the best 10 we have had since Townsend & is absolutely crucial @ club & country, did you see the recent games V Racing 92????

    ………..I admire that he has, as an individual turned the many a game and won the game for both Glasgow and Scotland. However I think the team needs to revolve around him and that will bring many issues when trying to bond a team.

    Glasgow have bonded “no bad” in last 3 seasons with Hogg a fundamental member of the squad

    1. No doubt Finn Russell he is the best we have got, however he is inconstent. The racing games were all about team performance not individuals , however that has argued my point for me. 15 men are better that 14 plus one star.

      Stuart Hogg is also the best we have however was mysteriously excluded from the play offs in season 2013/14. He was not fundamental then, was he ? He is not as sound in defence as he is in attack. Keep watching.

      1. Have to chip in on this. A lot of rubbish being spouted about Russell’s inconsistency. I’ve never seen him have a bad game for Scotland and he rarely has bad game for Glasgow. There has been inconsistency with injury and inconsistency with spot kicks (to a limited degree). And the guy is YOUNG! Since the McPhail scholarship his rise has been without dips. Why is it just as the rest of the world is waking up to his genuine world class talent Scotland fans are panning him? Makes no sense at all, let’s go back to a stable Parks,eh? For the record, his reported inconsistency when coming back from the Fagerson collision was also not true, he just had limited game time, but played well. It got repeated a few times in British press by those who were wondering why they hadnt noticed him pre-Racing and somehow became received wisdom. Russell at 10, Hogg at 15 for years to come. Their respective talents are maximized in those positions. Barring injury. Gregor’s move was about proving back up within the squad, not about first choice positions. Hence why Hogg often runs at 10 in training. All that said, happy for Hogg to take the spot kicks a la Gavin Hastings depending on who is best in training. But let’s not forget the pro 12 semi final!

      2. Not panning him, we are saying he is the best we have got and he is inconsistent. His area for improvement is consistency, he might even agree with that himself. The word mercurial was used and he is certainly is and with regret consistent and mercurial are opposites unless of course you are consistently mercurial.

        Oh no one said anything about his age and you are right, takes a lot to come back from an injury like that and play with no fear.

        Dan Parks, now you are taking about adequacy. There was no need to put the two of them in the same jersey.

      3. Find it very difficult to disagree NRS. Just about the only change I would like to see is Hogg taking the penalties from hand, except possibly those that require accuracy rather than distance.

      4. Apprently (I read it on another forum) taking kicks plays havoc with Hogg’s hamstrings which us why he only does it occasionally.

      5. Now you remind me, that seems to be the case. Ok, then just limit him to a few hoofs when we really need some distance.

      6. RS : Come off it I am not ‘panning’ at all, have said ‘best we have’ and recognise all your points and add that he is ‘mercurial’ as someone said earlier . We are rightly proud of him.

        However as a professional he will have a development plan and if you asked him the question, ‘what is next on your development plan ?’ it would not surprise me if he said ‘Keep doing what I am doing, but do it consistently’.

        Professionals don’t do ‘panning’ or even listen to us, but they do take themselves seriously and act on areas to improve and there is always an area to improve for a professional.

      7. Hogg went through a blip at the end of that season when there were rumours he was off to Ulster. Since then and signing the new contract his change in attitude has been considerable; he seems like a much more considered player, if you think about how many tries he helped create in the 6N this year.

      8. Agree completely Rory. Hogg came onto the scene at a very young age. He has matured considerably in the last year to 18 months – getting married and starting a family changes the mindset.

      1. That is about the worst idea I have heard in a while. Let’s start with 13. It’s a position with totally different requirements and Hogg has to my knowledge never played there. Glasgow and Scotland have plenty of quality resources, so let’s rule that out.

        10 is slightly different and I wouldn’t be totally averse to Hogg getting some more game time there, and against better opposition. IMHO there isn’t really a suitable replacement for Russell at 10 for Scotland. Glasgow, not quite the same Horne and Clegg can both do a shift without setting the game alight. Its not really the same as Paterson, why would you want to play one of the best NH full backs out of position? It’s more of a ‘nice to have option’ for me. I wouldn’t be aghast if due to injury Scotland had to move Maitland to FB and Hogg to 10, but it very certainly wouldn’t be my starting choice or even second option.

        On the plus side, Hogg did play well, his kicking from hand and off the tee was good and I was pleasantly surprised with his distribution.

        I expect we’ll see this experiment repeated in one of the lower key games, and / or perhaps when Russell is due to be rested.

        Finally Happy New Year to all.

      2. Who would we play at 15 ? I think Glasgow have a good number of centres all of whom could play in a Scotland Jersey. A replacement 10 is essential and with regret , I think a second string 15 is also needed.

        I would like to see more development for Rory Hughes, he is a direct runner and hard to get past.

      3. Mike Linds – Good summary, there would be pros and cons of Hogg at 10, no gain at 13, on balance leave him as he is IMO. Thank you also for your insights over the year. Great to get an anglo perspective . Best wishes for 2017.

      4. Unless someone has the same name as me (which the moderators shouldn’t allow, please, Rory?), someone has taken my name in vain here. I didn’t write the comment above about Hogg playing at 10 or 13. I agree with Mike Lind about this being a terrible idea.

    1. The big question for me is , who will bag the most talented scotsman on the planet, namely Huw Jones.

      He has played 10, 13 and 15, he is consistent and has no ego issues. Check out the you tube clips of him in those jerseys.

      It would be better for him if he stayed in SA for a few years.

      For the Lions fantasists among us , he is the one scot who will be getting regular calls from Gatland.

      1. MikeLinds – Hogg played in Centre against Munster a couple of seasons ago and scored a hatrick…I have no idea why we didn’t try it again TBH

  15. Bulldog I agree that Huw Jones is top drawer, is he as good as Hogg or Russell!?!??!

    The SRU should definitely try & sign Huw Jones, now to give them a better chance of securing his signature he should go to Glasgow, to ensure Edinburgh are recompensed (for not getting Jones) maybe Nick Grigg & Rory Hughes could move East.

    1. I like the sound of that, it’s a really good idea! Huw Jones could go to Glasgow and I would transfer Nick Grigg to Edinburgh, this would also allow for Peter Horne to move No.10 on a long term basis meaning that we can develop him as a back up for Finn Russell instead of him fluxuating between 10/12/13.

    2. I have posted a You Tube clip which awaits moderation, decide for yourself.!! He is playing 10, 13 , 15 and looks very comfortable. I suspect he is better however will he shine in the PRO 12 with a diffferent set of colleagues!!

      He likes playing his rugby in South Africa and proud of his Scotland selection. I would hate to see him being forced to play in any side or league that does not suit him. Right now , it works for him and us.

      He is abundant, consistent, decisive, clean and able to develop in an atmosphere set apart from ours.

      IMO he is a big fish in a big pond yet carries it with humiity.

      Look, these are all good players however we need to be aware they are not gods and hopefully in time will develop consistency.

  16. I was considering adding Horne into the exodus east so he could play 10 for Edinburgh full time.

    Actually its not a bad idea especially as Hogg did a very fine job of back up stand offing yesterday…………….. if Horne did move maybe Josh Henderson or Adam Hastings could be recruited @ Glasgow.

    1. @JohnMartin It’s a very reasonable suggestion, I said about Nick Grigg moving East and bringing Huw Jones in to allow for Horne to play 10 but I hadn’t even considered moving him to Edinburgh, this would as you suggest allow for younger talent to shine through, what is currently happening with Archie Russell (Finn’s younger brother)?

      Another option may be allowing Horne to move to London Scottish.

  17. @ FF ; Personally I don’t think it’s that bad an idea, Horne has never and in my opinion WILL never show his true potential at Glasgow as we currently have Finn who is ahead of him at No.10 and Alex Dunbar who is ahead of him at No.12. A move to the championship even on a loan spell may well do him some good. I would however much rather a move East to Edinburgh, but it’s only a suggestion.

    1. From Horne’s (and almost every other) perspective it would be a sh1te decision. He is highly valued at Glasgow and with Scotland, and rightly so. Injury aside, he gets regular, well earned, game time, whether at 10 or 12. He has had excellent performances for both club and country. Why would he, at this stage, want to play with lower quality players against lower quality opposition? I don’t get it.

    2. LS would be a non-starter. No way any capped player would move to a championship side for game time when they are playing for a team they have won the league with.

      Edinburgh may have more merit but the example of Duncan Weir is cautionary. Does playing for a worse team, with worse morale and worse coaching improve you as a player just because you get more time on the pitch? No. Glenn Bryce has regressed since going east. Horne is a glasgow stalwart and it would be ridiculous for the SRU to try to move him.

      1. I’m not sure that Bryce has regressed as much as just had no game time. He probably moved along the M8 thinking he would be first choice at 15, but Kinghorn has been, with the odd caveat, consistently good for a man that age.

        Bryce was in the 7s squad that won in London, so he’s not been sat on his hands. Maybe he will get some more time in the 7s squad this year to keep him sharp.

        As for moving Horne – can’t see that happening in a month of Sundays. GT would have been happy to let Duncy go as Horne was his ready made replacement, capable of playing across the midfield. Unless someone suffered a really bad injury you can’t imagine any circumstances where moving Horne would be advantageous to player, club or country.

  18. I should like to see him make the most of the rest of his career as I’ve always thought that he is an exciting player, but I just don’t think he can get that opportunity at Glasgow, my only concern at Edinburgh is that they carry the following ;

    Fly Half

    1.Duncan Weir
    2.Jason Tovey

    Back Up Fly Half

    1.Phil Burleigh
    2.Blair Kinghorn

    Looking at these players and Edinburgh’s conservative way of playing rugby I don’t see where Horne fits in, with a new coaching structure and mindset maybe though.

  19. My idea to move Horne to play full time 10 @ Edinburgh would need a few backs to be signed, a new coaching team & a return to the traditional freewheeling style (not much to ask for!!!!) for “it” to work.

    On another point entirely Anton Bressler “qualifies” this year would he be in the Scotland squad come the Autumn Internationals??

    1. I don’t think he will be selected for the AI squad, I think we already have a good amount (and quality) of locks, if he was an out and out No.6 then this night be a different argument.

  20. The Grays are 1st choice, then its Gilchrist, Swinson, Toolis. I reckon Bressler will be in Townsend’s thoughts.

    As for a #6 – Scotland are well covered – Du Preez, Harley, Bradbury & Ashe

    1. @ John Martin ; I suppose you are right, we can also add the likes of Jamie Richie and Josh Strauss to this list.

  21. Given the second row resources available is there a pressing need to involve Bresler with Scotland? He is a fine player, and has been an admirable servant for Edinburgh – one of the best imports they have had. However with the Gray’s, Swinson and Gilchrist in situ are there not opportunities to bring on young Scots such as Cummings and Carmichael instead?

    I have no axe to grind with time-served qualification but surely Scots-born players should be given the chance when possible. This gives all those guys coming through the system hope that it could be them with the right mindset and degree of dedication.

    So when there is a gap, you can look at NSQ – WP Nel being the obvious case of “needs must”, and to a lesser degree Strauss, but for guys like Bresler and du Preez then they have to be truly exceptional talents to jump the queue. The evidence would suggest that they are good club players, but not better than the indigenous talent.

    1. As an aside to this, does anyone know / remember how much longer our Australian ‘Friends’ contract has to run?

      1. He was moved out of the way, sorry, promoted to his current role in May 2013. Can’t find any mention of length of contract, but a review after a full RWC cycle would seem sensible so that would suggest he is due his jotters….

      1. After several years where the SRU appeared to wholly at odds with the well being of Scottish rugby I’ve got to say that they seem to be moving in the right direction – establishing the Academies, BT sponsorship.

        But lack of clarity on what Johnson does and how long it goes on for is still a very black mark in the debit column.

  22. I have information on Johnson and his underhanded tactics but I think that is better left for another time, in a rugby sense I’ve always thought he is an ok coach but in a business sense he is nothing but an underhanded crook.

      1. Thank you. Out of interest, do you have first hand knowledge of this, seen/have evidence of it, or have you just heard it from someone else?

        If it is either of the first two have you taken any action to make the accusation public like contact journalists? You don’t even need evidence to do this, you just need to be able to provide one or two other sources who can corroborate your claims for a newspaper to run it as a story.

        SJ is deeply unpopular so if these are serious accusations you’d be making a lot of people happy to air them properly rather than repeating them on a blog.

    1. Sorry AH, but I smell BullSh*t….too many sharp operators associated with the scottish game for anyone to get away with that.

      1. This is not bulls**t, I too have also heard the rumblings about Johnson and have approached newspapers with evidence in the form of a letter.

        At present the newspapers have said that they will investigate the matter and have tried to contact the SRU to absolutely no avail! We shall see as they have said after the investigations are carried out, if anything is found then an article will be published within the next 8-12 weeks.

        I can’t say anymore about this at present time.

      2. Personally, I’m not a SJ fan but I don’t believe these rumours… In the modern day game really?

    2. Chaps I’m going to have to shut this one down I’m afraid, best left to newspapers who have legal departments when making allegations of this kind.

  23. edinburgh could be signing up richard cockerill as head coach next season , thoughts ?

    1. Not sure there is anything except speculation about this. He wouldn’t be my choice as he’s struggled to keep up with how the game has changed recently with Leicester. No denying he is a born winner but seems a bit like a super-Solomons rather than what I’d like to see for Edinburgh, a Lam mark 2.

      1. I wouldn’t imagine Edinburgh would sign Richard Cockerill, very, very decent coach but if you considered the role he left at Leicester Tigers as Director of Rugby I wouldn’t image that he would want to take a step back into a (forgive me for saying this) lesser club in the Pro12 as a Head Coach.

        If Edinburgh were to create a post for a new Director of Rugby then I think Cockerill May consider it at the right price, another key point that I would make would have to be the question of whether he actually has the right temperament for the job and whether the SRU / Edinburgh would actually take someone so outspoken onto the books?

      1. @MikeInds ; I really don’t think that is a fair comment at all!

        I think that I am being realistic and at any point have I said that I wouldn’t like to see Richard Cockerill as the new Head Coach??

        What I have said is the reality an that is would Edinburgh / SRU want someone like Cockerill on the books?

        We also need to look at the chances of actually securing him, consider the facts here Edinburgh are not a well known successful side.

        I don’t think there is anything untrue in what I said and I would like to see someone like Cockerill as the new coach, although I have said and still maintain that I believe Sean Lineen is the man for the job in hand.

      2. Well, we’ll have to differ on that one. Cockerill inherited a good side, and in fairness, delivered for a while. I cannot, absolutely cannot see him as the man to move Embra forward.

        Now, Lineen, a coach who turned Glasgow from a basket case, to a very decent outfit that Toonie has polished. That is a very different story. Agree completely. I suspect until we see SJ depart, we won’t see him in a senior capacity. Chalk and Cheese.

        From what I have seen he is enjoying LS, very inconsistent, very young squad, and now and then very, very entertaining.

        Biding his time maybe?

  24. @MikeLinds Lineen applied for the Head Coach of Edinburgh role in 2006 but the SRU insisted Edinburgh’s coach required prior experience as a head coach. Not sure if he’d see it as vindication or a backwards step but Edinburgh could certainly do worse.

    1. I think Lineen would potentially go for the job, but once again it’s the question of whether the SRU will see sense, I’ve also made a few comments earlier in this section about the need to appoint a team that he knows and trusts. These things are key IMO to making Edinburgh a respectable club again.

    2. Which shows how inconsistent the SRU management of the time were as he stepped up to HC at Glasgow in the same year!! Edinburgh could do worse than take Lineen and Dalziel at the end of the season. I doubt if the SRU will have much appetite for another mid season change.

  25. What is everyone’s opinion of Junior Bulumakau for Glasgow?

    I reckon he will play for Scotland but when it happens is the question.

    1. I really rate him, have done for a while. I feel he just needs to have a good string of games starting for Glasgow. His try against Clermont in pre-season last year was top drawer. Although I do feel his defence could do with a bit of work.

  26. I genuinely don’t think it would be a massive shock (on current form) if he was in the initial 2017 6N squad…

    1. I think it would be a massive shock with Seymour, Hoyland, Visser, Maitland and Hughes (hell even Lee Jones) probably ahead of him on form at the moment… he needs more game time for Glasgow, but with the Six Nations coming up he should get it.

  27. I can’t agree with you on Bulamakau Rory.
    In what way are Jones, Hughes and Hoyland better players than he is?
    Two of them are too small for international wingers, the other has been described as ‘Lamont on steroids’.
    He’s been starved of game time for Glasgow, but has always scored when given opportunities. A very good natural talent.
    If he has defensive frailties I haven’t seen them either (although I have with most orthers).

    1. I’d pick Bulamakau ahead of Jones, Hughes and Hoyland too. Not for the reasons stated though. Nobody is too small to be an international winger, as long as they have the speed/feet to beat their man and the courage/technique to tackle them. Visser is huge and sometimes (still) manages to fail the latter. I also think a Sean Lamont on steroids would be a huge asset to the team.
      I think Junior is ahead of all but Seymour in terms of impressive performances this season. BUT there have only been 7 of those (and only 4 starts) so Rory may be right and it may be the Scotland tour where he gets his chance. If he continues to perform for Glasgow with Seymour on Scotland duty he may get a call up before then but I doubt BVC will take such a risk without more games behind him.

    2. I didn’t say they were better players (although I happen to think Hoyland is from what I’ve seen of each) just that they have the game time and consequently form. Plus the fact that all those names have been in or around Scotland squads in the past would make it a massive shock if Cotter were to bolt him in there ahead of his Scottish swansong tournament.

  28. IMO the pecking order for Scotland Wings should be Seymour, Maitland, Visser, Hoyland, Hughes, Bulumakau

    However VC puts Hughes ahead of Hoyland which I scratch my head at as Hughes is defo inferior to Hoyland in nearly all categories apart from size.

    1. Think Hoyland is better than Visser – both have defensive question marks but Hoyland just beats players for fun. Not sure Visser has really stepped up to test rugby despite his scoring rate.

      1. How else can you judge an international winger other than on his scoring rate?
        Visser has a strike rate similar to players such as Bowe, Cuthberts and Fitzgerald. He isn’t far off the likes of Ashton or Shane Williams. Have they not made the step up either?

      2. Ade: How about tackling? Defence under the high-ball? Off-loads? Errors? Assists?
        I’m not saying I disagree with you about Visser, I just think strike-rate is a bit simplistic.

      3. Understand that Merlot, but given that we don’t have any qualitative, independent data on any of the factors you mentioned then why not stick to the stuff we do know (or at least you can’t get it on espnscrum, statbunker, rugbydata etc). His tries per game is good, and rugby is a simple game – what is simpler than a winger scoring tries?
        I think Scotland have better all-round players available in Seymour, Maitland and Taylor, but it is purely my opinion – I couldn’t back that up in terms of data. The people who you might think do have that data are the Scotland management team, who keep picking him.

  29. Agree with Rory & CC although Duncan Taylor will be way before JB when it comes to selecting wingers too.

      1. As far as I’m aware Bennett has played on the wing with Ayr on a couple of occasions but can’t confirm this entirely…

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