Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Laidlaw out for rest of Six Nations

Greig Laidlaw - pic © Al Ross/Novantae Photography
Greig Laidlaw - pic © Al Ross/Novantae Photography

As suspected, Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw has been ruled out of the remainder of the 2017 RBS 6 Nations with the ankle injury he suffered in the loss to France.

A scan undertaken at his club, Gloucester, confirmed the clinical suspicion that the 58-times capped scrum-half sustained ankle ligament damage just after the 20 minute mark.

Laidlaw will see a specialist later in the week to determine the best course of management and estimated time out of the sport. He is due to leave Gloucester at the end of the season after signing for Clermont.

The extent of the damage is such that he will take no further part in the current championship, which means that Henry Pyrgos is sure to be called up to the squad either before or after this weekend’s PRO12 action.

Ali Price will almost certainly not be released back to Glasgow and should be locked in a cotton wool lined cell somewhere.

In other news, it has all but been confirmed that Adam Hastings will be a Glasgow player next year. Todd Blackadder told the local press down there he’s leaving and we’re just waiting confirmation from north of the border but a deal has been rumoured for weeks.

Glasgow Warriors have signed loose-head prop Oliver Kebble from the Stormers ahead of the 2017/18 season, subject to visa and medical. It makes him almost a direct replacement for Gordon Reid. It is believed the IRFU/Munster also had their eye on Kebble.

The South Africa Under-20 international has signed a two-year-deal at Scotstoun and will arrive following his commitments with the Stormers and Western Province – he actually lives with Warriors’ other new signing Huw Jones.

Oli, who is the son of former Springbok Guy Kebble, has played 34 times for the Stormers to date and was a member of the South Africa U20s side that won the 2012 World Championship along with Allan Dell and Italian flanker Braam Steyn.

85 Responses

  1. Laidlaw out for the tournament as confirmed by SRU.
    Anyone else concerned about kicking duties and our ability to stay in tight games?

    1. This’ll be an interesting test for all the Laidlaw detractors who think he is all that is holding Scotland back. I am a huge fan of Laidlaw…but I do think Ali Price is pretty impressive so hope he grabs his chance with both hands. All we need is for him to be the catalyst for wins against Wales and Italy and he’ll be our new hero.

      1. Many of the commentators on the Scotsman rugby pages will be in collective ecstasy at the news of Laidlaws’ injury. I don’t even look as far as the comments now as the overriding negativity allied to the advertising does my head in.

  2. Scrum magazine are quoting Todd Blackadder as saying Hastings is leaving Bath with strong indication he’s on his way to Glasgow. Also, Laidlaw ruled out for remainder of 6 nations.

  3. Goal kicking is a worry now. Russell is ok but Laidlaw, Dan Parks or Paterson he ain’t. I’d probably drop Finn for Duncan Weir so the kicking is less of a worry, he hasn’t been great in open play anyway.

    1. You sure you wouldn’t give your mate Dan Parks a call and see if he’s willing to get the back line up and running ???

      1. Laidlaw is undoubtedly a loss but Ali Price has been so impressive for Glasgow, I am still optimistic. I think that we should stick with Finn and maintain that Glasgow combo. Weir has been better for Edinburgh but I am firmly that he’s a good club player but not an international. Having said that, he’ll need to be on the bench because there isn’t anyone else just now.

      2. Good old Dan Parks eh?. I think we may find he wasn’t as perfect when he actually played although his drop kick against Wales from about halfway was glorious as well as his touchline penalty to beat Ireland at Croke Park. Typical selective memory. Paterson when he first took up the duties was pretty ropey too but improved over a short period. I think Russell did well with his penalties against France. Good, clean true strikes. They weren’t out too wide mind you. He’ll never make the conversion mistake which i think was more costly than we think. I think we’ll miss Laidlaw’s unseen stuff more than anything else. Let’s hope we’ve got a few guys briefed on when Russell can try something mad. The blocked grubber kicks could have been deadly and Wales will exploit that more than anyone else.

  4. There have been so many complaining about Greig and his slow service (caused by slow ball), crabbing (looking for space), now we get to see what it is like without him. He brings leadership, presence, great kicking and organisation. He is going to be sorely missed – time for Price to step up. Give SHC a chance too!

    1. I agree stevomc, I’m a big fan of Laidlaw and sometimes feel like a lone voice amongst my friends… There’s no doubt Price brings more zip but he hasn’t the other qualities you outline… granted they will hopefully come with experience but Laidlaw will be sorely missed I fear…

      1. Bloody hell – that’s three of us that are Laidlaw fans! We ought to set up a separate blog, or maybe a therapy group.
        Laidlaw out means it’s doubly important Dunbar gets the all clear. I get the feeling he runs the defence and his experience will help Finn and Ali.

      2. Add me to the Greig Gang.

        I think we’ve lost the most important single player in terms of game management. Experienced captain that’s so often maligned for speed when his role is far greater than that of most scrum halfs outside of France.

        Time for Russell (excellent player prone to poor decision making at times) to grow into the role and begin to run the game from 10, rather than leaving it to his 9.

  5. I agree that I saw Greig’s worth against Ireland, but we also have to admit that our reliance on him has stopped the other SH’s getting game time. This is now the time for SHC/Kennedy and Price to stand up and be counted. That said, it took an injury to Hodge in 1999 to force the selectors hand and pick Toonie at 10, maybe this will make our season?

    My biggest concern is that Finn appears to be trying too hard, which will cost Scotland dear if not kept in check. Is he working on his weaknesses (drop goal etc.), and if not then it’s a benefit having Dunc on the bench too.

  6. We can still beat Wales at Murrayfield. My question would be:
    Does this mean Barclay will be taking over, or will Gray the younger be captain?

    I’d be tempted to go with the latter seeing as he’s the first name on the teamsheet and given his experience at Glasgow.

    Maybe take a punt on Dunbar as captain otherwise? 12 is a good position to lead from.

    1. I would favour Jonny Gray and would be horrified to see Barclay in the captain’s role. Did JB pass the HIA anyway ?

  7. DesT, your kinda making my point as I think Laidlaw can to an extend control Russell… without Laidlaw we were all over the place in the last 20 against France.

    But I do agree that it’s a great chance for Price and I’ve been a big fan of his for a while. And Price/Russell have done it for Glasgow so hopefully they can get into a rhythm against Wales.

  8. Players get injured and squads have to adapt to their absence – it has ever been thus.

    As mentioned by Fat Bloke I feel this is a real shame for Laidlaw the player as well as for Scotland. He may not have made the Lions test XV but if he had carried on in the same form as the Irish game I think he may have travelled due to his game management. If he is not playing then he will slip off the radar.

    From a Scotland point of view, this is the opportunity many fans were crying out for. I would prefer Laidlaw fit and playing, but if he is out then cometh the hour and all that. Here is your chance Ali Price – step up and take it young man. Price doesn’t look like he is scared to go out and express himself. In combination with Finn Russells’ natural ebullience this could make it a white knuckle ride for the next few games, but when you think what Glasgow did to Racing and Leicester in Europe it is going to bring a smile to the face.

    As for Kebble – obviously a project player. The SRU must feel that the current crop of age grade players will take a few years to mature and so have looked abroad. As Munster were sniffing about him as well he must be a bit of a prospect. Good luck to him and to Hastings Jnr – Glasgow balancing the losses of Reid, Bennett. Good work by those involved.

  9. Echo shame for Laidlaw as has been quality this year.

    BUT this isn’t just about whoever steps in as sh stepping up. This is about Russell stepping up, kicking and leadership.

    I hope we go with form and pick Price and Russell with Dunbar fit.

    It’s quite a different proposition having a week and a half to prepare for life without Laidlaw, than it is adjusting half way through a game in Paris.

    Shame though it is, it’s exciting. Glasgow backline augmented with Jones (now Glasgow) and Maitland (former Glasgow), pretty awesome combinations.

    If Dickinson could please just make a miraculous recovery!

    1. No doubt in my mind, Dickinson is the big loss. Fagerson has done decently and will only get better. Dell, very hard to be critical of a guy that isn’t a regular starter for his club in normal circumstances. He’s doing well within his limitations.

  10. Re Oli Kebble

    The younger Kebble appears to be throwing in his lot to become a Scottish international.

    Kebble has clearly spotted a loophole in the regulations. In 2012 the Junior Boks became SA Rugby’s designated ‘second’ team‚ which means caps earned at junior international level deny a player the chance of ever playing for another country.

    But at the time the regulation was made‚ SA Rugby stipulated that the restrictive condition would only apply if the opposition had also designated their under-20s as the nation’s ‘second’ team.

    Reaching the Super Rugby play-offs is non-negotiable for the Bulls
    None of the five opponents the Junior Boks faced in 2012 had their under-20s as a designated ‘second’ team‚ so Kebble is free to play for Scotland once he has served a three-year residency period.

  11. I must start reading the Scotsman. I am delighted that Ali Price will finally get a chance to show that he is a far superior scrum half to Laidlaw who I think is very ordinary in all aspects of his game. And for people to be talking about him as a potential Lion. Really!
    He has no pace , no pass and his place kicking is no where near as good as a Farrell, Halfpenny or Sexton to name but three.
    I have also found his alleged game management as frustrating as hell over the past three seasons.
    And talking of management BVC was negligent in failing to give Price more game time in the autumn internationals. On Saturday Price was brought on having only played 10 minutes at best, international rugby and that was against a tier 2 nation . The ABs would never have allowed that situation to occur.

    1. Ooh, controversial!!! Nowhere near as good as Farrell, 1/2p and Sexton eh?

      Luckily for us the Interweb is full of lovely figures which can prove or disprove such claims.

      There are a couple of different sources for this information, but they all come out reasonably close. If you don’t mind I’ll post each source as a separate reply.

      First up – analysis of the 6N from 2012 to 2017, kickers listed in order of success rate
      Halfpenny 83.5% (96 kicks from 115)
      Laidlaw 80.6% (83/103)
      Sexton 80.4% (86/107)
      Farrell 77.9% (95/122)

      So you can have 1/2p on that one, and Sexton is pretty close, but Farrell? Come on!! He’s not in the same league!

    2. Next up

      They have data for the Pro12, Aviva and Top 14. I’ve taken the last three years. The first 3 figures represent their success rates in 14/15, 15/16, 16/17 seasons, with the last one being the average. Again, by order

      Halfpenny 88.8 injured 83.3 86.05
      Sexton 87.5 77.7 90 85
      Laidlaw 81 85 84.6 83.5
      Farrell 80.8 78.5 75 78.1

      Again 1/2p clearly in front. Sexton comes across as a better kicker at club level in the last three years, but can be inconsistent. Again Farrell below 80%.

    3. Lastly

      Admin – not sure if I could have just posted a hyperlink?

      Anyway, these guys have looked at a number of players from different countries across there whole careers. First number is the number of kicks, second is the % success. I’ve also included some of the other players for a sense of perspective.

      Sexton 798 kicks 88.7%
      Biggar 824 88.7%
      Halfpenny 507 88.5%
      Laidlaw 659 86.3%
      Farrell 753 84%
      Ford 577 81%
      Steyn 1148 80.5%
      Carter 1561 79%
      Giteau 604 79%

      Steyn, Giteau and Carter are the best in their respective countries, so only one SH kicker has beaten the 80% barrier.

      I would say that despite the higher number here Sexton is behind Halfpenny due to his lower 6N rate over the last 5 years, and his variable form at club level in the last 3 – Halfpenny is clearly the best of the 4 players names when it comes to kicking.

      I would rank Sexton alongside Laidlaw for the same reasons. Laidlaw has been marginally better in the 6N, and more consistent at club level if slightly less successful in past years.

      Farrell is obviously not a bad kicker, but is clearly as far behind Sexton and Laidlaw as Halfpenny is out in front.

      As an aside Jonny Wilkinson has a success rate of 86%. Chris Paterson is on 88%.

    4. The ABs are not as often in tight games that need a leader to close out with 10 to play, so blooding a guy for 5-10mins here or there is a lot easier for them as they usually have things tied up by then.

    5. Ade absolutely fascinating statistics but sadly meaningless. We’re all their kicks from the same distance, angle, weather conditions etc etc etc. No they weren’t.
      So I stand by the views I posted. I think Price is a far better scrum half than Laidlaw. Should Price have been given more game time in the autumn internationals? Absolutely. Why? Because his first real taste of international rugby was against France in Paris in the 6 nations. Do you think he was under pressure? Maybe it would go some way to explaining his rash push on the French player resulting in the reversal of the penalty. On such small margins international matches can be won or lost.

      1. Pablo – if you bother to follow the links you will see that the goalkickers data weights the difficulty of kicks and scores the kicker accordingly. If I remember correctly Laidlaw comes out a clear second using this method. Although they recognise, as do you, that kicks can be from anywhere across the pitch. And so they recognise, as you seemingly don’t, that the position and conditions are a “constant” for every player when they have attempted hundreds of kicks. My analysis is valid, your initial statement regarding kicking proficiency was ill-informed and wrong.

        Regarding game time for Price -undoubtedly he would have benefited from more time during the AIs, but at what point do you take the 2nd best kicker in the world, and one who is recognised as having great game management skills, off the pitch when you are involved in tight games which could affect your seeding at the next world cup?

        No one has been consistently pushing Laidlaw, which means he has kept the jersey. Yes, it is incumbent on Cotter to develop the team long term, but he also has to get results in the here and now. Laidlaw is the scrum half who is most likely to make this happen – at the moment.

        We need stiff competition at 9, 10 and 15. Those are the current areas of risk. But there is no point in needlessly denigrating the efforts of the players in those positions when we don’t have strong options available.

  12. Laidlaw plays premiership rugby and just been signed for one of the Favourites for the European Cup. One of the best CV’s in the squad. I think we will miss him , in particular his boot. I would say he has got his International performance issues well behind him. Rottten luck.

    1. Good thing is that Price is probably 3-4 years ahead of Laidlaw comparitiviely as Greig didn’t play international SH till he was 27 years old. Price will hopefully turn into an excellent international class SH in 2-3 years time. The stagnation of SHC has been a massive disappointment.

  13. I was amazed at how the second game against Japan in the summer changed in a heartbeat when Laidlaw came on. I hope we dont miss him but fear we will.

      1. But we would be better off without him…

        Nah, beggars belief that people think that….

        Scotland will be a different team with Price at 9. Trick will be for the squad as a whole to adapt to the change and work to get the best from the skill sets of the players available.

  14. I must say I have been critical of Laidlaw in the past, and I think as a scrum half that Price has better skills, but Laidlaw has experience, leadership, and goal kicking ability.

    As has already been said, time for someone else to step into the captain’s role, step forward Gray the Younger.!

    Assuming Price keeps his place, I’m hoping that the familiarity between the backline will benefit our wide play against Wales. Just need emergency measures to sort out the scrum.

  15. Keep calm and keep playing rugby!

    Seriously, there were too many rash decisions against France and without Laidlaw someone else is going to have to keep everyone level headed. We need to recognise that sometimes you need to play percentage rugby rather than go for the speculative glory play (Finn that means you too!)

    We also need to recognise that the likes of Webb, Biggar and L Williams will be trying to provoke a reaction out of players with a history of hotheadedness so that they can milk a penalty or perhaps a card.

    Come on boys, you can win this for Laidlaw!

  16. No requirement to provoke – Hogg will chase a Gary Owen, fails to collect and almost decapitates Welsh receiver.

    1. It’s a Garryowen – named after the Irish club. The kick is not named after some bloke called Gary Owen. Sorry to be pedantic, but I was just picturing Hoggy chasing some American comedian to the Benny Hill music!

  17. Such a shame for him personally, if this is a breakthrough year for the team and we take Wales/Italy for 3 wins he’ll have deserved to be on the park to enjoy it more than most. Criminal to think he’s slogged away with more limited teams and might miss the coming of age.

    Course we might lose the rest of our matches in which case hopefully Finn and Ally Price have stayed fit to get some gametime together at test level.

  18. Is anyone else concerned that the Pyrgos boosters in the press are calling for him to be parachuted into the team, not because of his form, but owing to his ‘leadership’ qualities. He needs to put in a performance against Ulster this weekend before being considered for the 23. Another flop and Kennedy or SHC should be the selection. Otherwise he would be no better than a non-playing choice.

    Leadership shortcomings have been identified by many on the blog since its inception. The fact that there is debate who will take over from Laidlaw suggests there is no clear favourite. Indeed, within the squad used in Paris, there are few individuals who display leadership qualities. In a young, inexperienced team, as Scotland are, strong leadership on the field is essential. Pity Al Kellock is no longer playing.
    Gray Junior may be the answer in the medium term, but this 6N I feel that he has been under pressure, part of a scrum in retreat, and missing tackles. He needs to focus on his role in the team and not be distracted by the pressures of leading the team. My choice would be Barclay. Individuals within the team need to step up and ensure some of the free spirits (Russell; Hogg) contribute unselfishly to the team.

    1. I would agree. Pyrgos has been nowhere near the starting XV for Glasgow this year, so why parachute him into the Scotland team? Price has been the form 9 in Scotland so let’s give him a chance to shine. The caveat is that he must not be panned if things don’t go our way.

  19. Barclay would be my choice, hopefully he is fit, he is obviously VCs choice too otherwise he wouldn’t be vice captain. He is a cool head, plenty of experience and plays in the backrow, where along with 2nd row I think all captains should be found.

    For all stat boys undoubted skill I just don’t and never have seen him as a leader, yes he leads by his example but I don’t think he is a big enough personality to enforce his will on the team. It is indeed a pity that Al Kellock is no longer around, if he was anything he was the opposite, sound technically and brilliant in the lineouts but by no means an exceptional player, he was however an outstanding leader. I think Laidlaw falls into the same category, there are better scrum halfs, hopefully Price will prove this but his rugby brain takes a bit of beating.

    For all the chat of needing to keep a lid on Price and Russell, they manage just fine at Glasgow and fast and loose is what they do and are good at. We do however need someone who wouldn’t hold back on giving them and Hogg a bollocking for selfish and foolish play.

    As for kicking, Finn should manage that fine, he isn’t as good as Laidlaw but then very few people are, just don’t listen to Nathan Hines. I hope they are all practicing kicks and taking high balls, it always seems to be against Wales with their dirty knees and studs out jumping tactics that we get folk sent off or crocked.

    Is Kelly Brown still on the go? Still think the way he was treated was shambolic.

    1. Agree with you that the way Kelly Brown was treated was shameful. A whole-hearted player leading a struggling team, while playing out of position, who was made a scapegoat. From captain, being dropped, and then selected again still out of position, before being dropped again. Yet another Scott Johnson victim.

    2. I agreed with everything you said until the last sentence 1.8T.
      Where did that come from? I’d would love to see Kelly playing for Saracens against Glasgow.

      1. Was just trying to think of worthy captains, it struck me that there are no ex captains still in the squad (not counting the odd game as captain) and I was thinking what had happened to them all which reminded me of KBs mistreatment.

      2. Of course we might bring back all three of our former captains playing in Scotland, whose joint leadership would compensate for the absence of Laidlaw. Is there a way of getting Ford, Gilchrist AND Pyrgos into the XV? On second (and third) thoughts, maybe not!

  20. No one suggesting Ford as captain? He has done it before although I think he played better without the captaincy he would bring that experience to the team.

    1. Ford is the past, just like Kelly Brown. Coming to the end of his international career and no longer an automatic selection. He had a crack at the job when he was in his prime and didn’t make a fist of things. Becoming a figure of ridicule among supporters, so not a wise pick.

      1. Ford absolutely has to start against Wales though. He may indeed be playing his sunset years at this level, but that front row desperately needs his experience, and more importantly his bulk.
        Was behind VC decision to try a different combo for the Ireland game, but really surprised he didn’t put Ford back in after the experiment didn’t work. New blood has to be balanced with old heads.
        As you say HB he’s probably not best choice for captain. I would go with Barclay (though having little knowledge of his game management head I base that purely on his presence). Gray Senior maybe another option?

  21. Highland Bear – Ford is playing some of the best rugby he’s produced in years in last 6 months.

    Re Laidlaw / Price – if Scotland can force Wales onto the back foot Price is a better suited SH than Laidlaw.
    Laidlaw exerts an element of control but I’m not entirely sure we need that element of control, Leicester away, Racing home & away Russell & Price did fine (with an NZ legend / England 9 in opposition)

    1. Agree re Ford and his current form – critics should listen to the podcast.

      Also in 2012 Ford captained Scotland on our best ever overseas tour – 100% win record in tests against Australia, Fiji and Samoa. I think that’s a pretty decent fist being made of it.

      I do get some of the criticism – no hooking, and the fact that he never seems to punch his weight ball carrying. Too worried about making the ball available rather than trying to run through or over his man in the tackle. Both of those are mainly ( not all ) down to coaching.
      He’s coming to the end of a great career, but if supporters are really treating him as a “figure of ridicule” ( HB’s post above ) then the only ridiculous thing is their knowledge of rugby

      1. The 2012 summer tour was a success, but followed the 2012 winless 6N. Despite the success in the summer, there was a change in captaincy with Kelly Brown taking over. Something lacking in Ford’s leadership must have contributed to that decision. Despite a wealth of international experience he hasn’t been asked to perform leadership roles. We will have to agree to differ on his form; my view is that he has been clearly overtaken by Brown this season and is more suited to coming off the bench at this stage of his career, owing to there being a lack of alternative picks for the position.

  22. Big step-up between club and international rugby. With Laidlaw injured I agree that Price is the form replacement, but he is very inexperienced at this level and Russell would not be my choice as a half-back partner to bed him in. Finn is gifted but as a number have pointed out doesn’t yet have the level head needed at this level to apply control at the correct times within a match.
    This season Cotter has changed the focus with a more dynamic game plan attacking space through the backs off quick ball. This worked sensationally well in the first half of the Irish game when the visiting players looked heavy-footed and off the pace, unable to assert their game plan. The selection of Brown, a quasi fourth back-row, was with this in mind, his mobility and greater urgency to go forward, ball in hand, contributing to this strategy.
    The Irish regrouped at half time and got on top, so the bulk of the second half was a heroic backs to the wall effort. Laidlaw came into his own in the last 10 minutes as the Scots revived and saw out the match.
    Attempting the same strategy against France, in Paris, was a big ask, as the French had had time to dissect Scottish tactics and their pack prevented any significant period of Scottish pre-dominance up front.
    With our first choice props unavailable, the Scottish scrum was never going to survive rigorous examination. Ford’s added bulk is pretty meaningless in this context.

    1. I take your point, but would suggest that with first choice props out the picture Ford’s bulk (and experience) is all the more important.

    2. In terms of inexperience – Gary Armstrong and Craig Chalmers were younger back in 88/89 than Price/Russell are now. They didn’t do too badly over the following couple of years and Chalmers didn’t suffer for being a year behind Armstrong in the Scotland team. Let them crack on!

    3. Stopped reading when you said you wouldn’t use Russell to bed in Price as pretty certain you have things backwards! :)

  23. I used to be a big critic of Laidlaw on this blog, but began to eat my words after the Samoa RWC match.
    It’s a big loss, but Ali Price is well worth his place in the starting XV and I’m looking forward to watching him get a start, which I think he deserves.
    Finn’s goal kicking does seem to have improved – the Sunday incident was a never to be repeated aberration- so that’s not a worry for me.
    I don’t think we’ll get stuffed in the scrum like we were in SdF, even though the ref will be watching the front row closely and we can expect the Wales front row – and who could blame them? – to pull all sorts of stunts to con him.
    My only real concern is the balance/fitness in the back row. Really hope Strauss is fit as he’s undroppable after Sunday. Same with Watson, who’s an outstanding open-side who many are seeing rightly as a Lions pick. Toss-up between Barclay and Wilson for the final slot. Both are excellent, and Wales will absolutely hate playing any three of that four.
    We can beat Wales and, if we play like we have in these first two gruelling Tests, we will.
    Despite last Sunday’s loss, this is still the best team we’ve had for nearly a generation and I continue to have high hopes.

    1. You’re right about Watson. I see O’driscoll has highlighted him as a potential starter and he’s made a few ‘team of the week’s through the opening rounds. I love watching Hamish play. His work rate, commitment and involvement is incredible and in particular he has an ability to make an additional 5 yards and suck in a couple of defenders when he looks lime he’s been tackled. Someone on here described him as “eel like” which I think is a fairly good appraisal.

      1. I agree, Matto. I described Watson a few months ago on another thread as the kind of Neil Back type flanker who could do very well down under. But as you point out, his ball carrying ability is very effective, something I don’t think Neil Back had from memory.

      2. Watson reminds me a bit of Michael Hooper but without the same unbelievable pace and engine. Definetly a different option at 7 to the others:

        Globogym – O’Brien, Haskell, Robshaw
        Orthodox – Warburton, Tipuric, Barclay
        Tackler – Hardie, Robshaw

  24. Laidlaw is a good organizer and excellent kicker…however its been clear for some time that the game Scotland are trying to play requires fast ball and attacking intent. Those aspects of play are just not natural to Laidlaw’s style…it seems he does it only when he has been instructed to do that… and even then can revert to his natural patient style. Price on the other hand… his first instinct is to attack and get those around him moving at pace and he seems pretty accurate with his passing. The composure isn’t their but it will with experience.
    Its unfortunate for Laidlaw… he’s been dragged through the mill …through some tough losses and performances…and now the team is beginning to click he gets injured.
    For me tho Price is far more suited to Scotlands style of play…and I think GT would have gone for Price as 1st choice this year anyway.

    1. I think you are right about GT preferring Price. BVC might have given him a bit more time too, but the ogre of world rankings at the end of the 6N is driving everything. Frankly astounding it is really coming down to just one game in reality.

      I haven’t had enough ??? to think we can win at Twickers, and we ought to have plenty of firepower for Italy.

      Got to hope Lacey hasn’t got red tinted glasses on.

    2. With quick ball Laidlaw is the bees knees. First half against Ireland an excellent example. Second half Ireland came out fighting and Laidlaw looked pedestrian. Contrast that with Conor Murray in the same game. First half looked like he had never met his 8 or 10, second half had much more authority.

      Laidlaw doesn’t get to play behind a dominant pack very often. His game suffers accordingly. When Scotland have been on the front foot he has shone.

      He isn’t the quickest pass, not by a long way, but he is beholden to the performance of the guys in front of him. Price will not perform any better if he does not have quick, clean ball – and Scotland have not been the most proficient in this regard over the last few years.

      First off, win quick ball. Give Price a chance, then we’ll see how it pans out.

  25. Everyone writing off Prygos and would def accept he’s not on top form but he’s been hit by bad timing with injuries. He was in great form the first quarter of the season when Glasgow beat Leinster and Leicester. Just needs a wee run of games to get his timing right. I’d hardly say he was to blame for the Scarlets result, a number of Warriors didn’t perform to their levels that night. Get him playing with the international squad and he will perform.

    Pyrgos has the mentality and intelligence needed at int level which was something Price demonstrated he’s still to develop. We’ll need both of them over the next 3 games. There’s no other scrum half capable of their level right now.

    Also if JG isn’t made captain then I’d like to see Wilson given the nod.

    1. Unfortunately, Pyrgos has never really seized his chances at test level. The games before and during the World Cup being prime examples, and wasn’t he also SH in the second test in Japan we were losing until Laidlaw an Nel came on to save the day? Frankly, there is no reason to think he’d be better now having to play his way into form. Much rather see Price to start v Wales as at least he’ll be brimming with confidence.

      1. Both Laidlaw and Ross Ford were given endless opportunities to grow into their roles in the Scotland team over many games, even when their performances for club and country didn’t merit their continued selection.
        To write off Pyrgos because he didn’t ‘seize his chances’ over the 2 or 3 games he played in (subbed in two of them from memory) conveniently forgets the time and space allowed to Laidlaw to grow into the Scotland SH role.
        Unfortunately for Pyrgos, his current form for Glasgow is terrible and he needs to play himself into some kind of shape.
        Price is a man in good form, and I’d rather see him play.

      2. Pragmatic Optomist – I don’t really see your point. Ford was only allowed to ‘grow into’ his position because there weren’t better available options. For Pyrgos entire career Laidlaw has been a better option to him and now price is. So yes, he does have to seize his chances because no one owes him anything. That is professional sport. If you blow your chance you go back to your club and play well until another chance comes along. Plus he has far more than 2 or 3 caps and is not a young player. If he wants the jersey he has to show at club level and then at test level that he is te outstanding candidate. That isn’t righting off his chances for the future, it is just pointing out the obvious that he hasn’t shown he’s good enough to hold down the Scotland 9 shirt. Price is playing better than him now and Laidlaw has been better than him for the last 3-4 years.

      3. My point FF, is that Laidlaw has been given many more opportunities in a Scotland shirt than Pyrgos has, and not because he’s always been the better player as you say, or because of an absence of alternatives.
        The Pyrgos who ran the Pro12 final against Munster was a much sharper running SH than he is currently, and a better scrum half than laidlaw at that time. Certainly for a running brand of rugby.
        Pyrgos has gone backwards since that high point and Laidlaw has improved his game and leadership, but the Laidlaw you now eulogise, is the still the same crabbing sideways, slow service Laidlaw that we’ve had these discussions about previously.
        I do seem to remember you banging the drum for SHC not so long ago, as being the form man who should replace Laidlaw. Strange how things change!
        It’s a huge advantage, particularly in pivotal positions like 9 and 10, to be kept in position for many consecutive games, irrespective of how invisible or poor you’ve been in previous matches. I can think of many matches where Laidlaw certainly didn’t ‘seize his opportunities’.
        At least we can agree on Price being the current man in form, even if he does play as if he’s on amphetamines.

      4. But pragmatic Optomist – Pyrgos started one of the RWC friendlies a month after that final and games in the RWC that summer – he wasn’t ignored he was just mediocre when he got a chance. Laidlaw was excellent throughout the RWC. I don’t eulogise Laidlaw, I don’t think he is up there with the best in the world or even with the best scrum halfs we’ve had in the 6N but he is the best we have by some distance now and has contributed a lot to our resurgence. That he is a scapegoat for some Scotland fans is bizarre. Yes, I thought SHC looked like he had a hell of a lot of potential. It is unfortunate his form has fallen off a cliff – not sure why that is relevant though, players form goes up and down. Even Pyrgos is just a back up to a 22 year old now, whilst Laidlaw is getting a money bag move to European giants Clermont. Guess they must be suckers.

      5. Disagree, Pyrgos has not had chances. Not in any notable game. He was captain against Ireland in the 2015 warm up and played well, albeit he had Greig Tonks outside him! He was fine against USA at the WC albeit it was a weakened team being fielded. Since then, internationally, has had injuries at crucial times. The second half of the Japan game had 5 or 6 substitutions between about the 40th minute and the 60th and somehow it was Greig who made the difference. In fact he landed 4 kicks in the second half to Pyrgos 3 in the first, and it was Jackson at fly half who gave away a try and was replaced by Huw Jones. Injuries are in fact the only reason Price has had an opportunity at Glasgow this year, over the co-club captain. It’s just rubbish to say Pyrgos has had a crack at test level, let alone with Russell. If he’d have started the Samoa game or Australia game and screwed up, you might have a point. But he didn’t and you don’t.

      6. Disagree, Pyrgos has not had sufficient chances at international level. Not in any notable game with the first team. He was captain against Ireland in the 2015 warm up and played well, albeit he had Greig Tonks outside him. He was fine against USA at the WC, albeit it was a weakened team. Since then internationally he has had injuries or been overlooked. The second half of the Japan game had 5 or 6 substitutions between about the 40th minute and the 60th and somehow it was Laidlaw over Pyrgos that made the difference? Rubbish, Laidlaw landed 4 kicks in the second half to Pyrgos’ 3 in the first. It was Jackson at fly half who gave away a try and who was replaced by Huw Jones, among the other major substitutions.

        Pyrgos’ injuries are the only reason Price has had an opportunity at Glasgow this year, over the co-club captain. Anyone who has watched Glasgow in the Pro 12 over the last few years knows he is a quality scrum half who plays well with both Gray and Russell, arguably the most important combinations on the pitch. It’s garbage / semi-considered received wisdom to say Pyrgos has had a fair crack at test level and not taken his chance. If he’d have started the Japan, South Africa, Samoa or Australia game with Russell outside him and screwed up there might be a point lurking somewhere. But he didn’t and there’s not. Maybe Price has overtaken him due to his absence, maybe. But, Pyrgos has been performing week in week out for a number of years years and nothing was lost when Matawalu (another supposed more flair player) went. If you’re looking for a balance between Price and Laidlaw, Pyrgos might well be that. When GT comes in fully expect that he’ll be playing again regularly if on a rotated / who is not injured basis with Price.

  26. Maybe not best suited to this thread but did anyone spot Duncan Taylor is starting at 15 for Sarries tonight? Might have to duel screen with the Edinburgh game to see how he goes…

  27. Does any one know how valued Hastings was at Bath? I just wonder why they are happy to see him go. Is he a young promise who’s now not looking like the superstar player his dad was?

    1. He was valued but as a 3rd choice behind Ford and Priestland and would still have been 3rd choice behind Burns and Priestland, Blackadder admitted as much that being a 2nd choice wouldn’t happen at Bath while it would potentially at Glasgow

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