Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Scotland 29-13 Wales

Richie Gray is tackled
Richie Gray runs into trouble during Scotland vs Wales in the RBS Six Nations Championship at BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh. © Alastair Ross / Novantae Photography

A cold and bright day in Edinburgh after earlier downpours across much of the country saw Scotland welcome Wales to Murrayfield for the mid point of the 2017 Six Nations, and an old-fashioned but gripping test match.

It was a key game for both teams in terms of tournament position and Scotland’s over eagerness gave Wales an early attacking penalty but it only led to a Scottish scrum. The first of that particular set piece – highlighted as a worry pre-match – ended in a penalty to Scotland which might have been within Hogg’s range, but was instead sent just inside the 22 for a lineout.

Scotland put some nice attacking play together with Huw Jones the fleet-footed threat at the centre of it, but they didn’t build enough phases to make it count before Lacey blew up, Finn Russell converting it to open the scoring.

The Welsh physicality is well known but Scotland put in some big hits of their own, including John Barclay welcoming Biggar to Edinburgh with a perfectly timed hit, and Gordon Reid winning a turnover with some strong counter-rucking.

Leigh Halfpenny kicked a first penalty for Wales after Scotland were adjudged off their feet at the breakdown – where the battle was as intense as you’d expect from these two back rows.

Scotland’s next penalty led to the first “Finn” moment when he shanked his kick aiming for touch into the Welsh in goal area. However there were plenty of more successful kicks from both sides, mostly of the garryowen variety. Visser failed to deal with one from Price (who box kicked a lot, Laidlaw watchers) but Scotland were just about coping with Biggar’s pinpoint efforts.

The Welsh were making much greater inroads through their hugely physical back row of Warburton, Tipuric and Moriarty. The former Lions captain in particular was rampaging with ball in hand.

Their first try came from the simplest of hands in the backs. Rhys Webb took a quick tap and go from the scrum – there’s that set piece again – and basic take and give put Liam Williams over in the corner. They hadn’t been dominant, but Wales were worth the score.

By the time Halfpenny converted, the “how long will Hardie last” question had been answered (24 mins) and Hamish Watson was on.

A pull by Webb on a chasing Tommy Seymour prevented Lacey and the TMO from unpicking the guddle of another Welsh incursion where the ball crossed the line in a certain fashion but never would have been a try. Instead the Scots took the penalty, went down the other end and had a non-try of their own, Stuart Hogg gesticulating as if he had scored when in fact Halfpenny had grounded it.

It was on a penalty advantage though, so Russell kicked the penalty to narrow the visitors lead. Unfortunately Halfpenny cancelled it back out again on the half hour mark, and increased the lead with a further kick after Huw Jones didn’t roll away in the tackle, although Barclay was in prime position for a steal.

Scotland had their best chance before half time after nice footballing skills (and a “lateral” pass) by Hogg and Seymour at full tilt gave Huw Jones almost enough room to squeeze through. Jonathan Davies was asked to clear from his in-goal area and as against England, it wasn’t the greatest effort.

From the ensuing lineout Scotland earned a penalty which was no less than they deserved.

Half-time: Scotland 9-13 Wales

In recent years Scotland have been in charge at the break and still lost. They were far from in charge in this one; a change of some sort was needed.

As it was they went for more of the same but better executed with Russell and Hogg finding holes for Jones, Seymour and Visser who combined down the right wing for Seymour to dot down in the corner. Russell’s conversion went in off the post and Scotland were in the lead.

Scotland managed to “consolidate” – Scottish for not going catastrophically wrong at the next restart, but after a period of strong possession by the home side (and Tim Visser winning two high balls), on Wales’s next possession Jonathan Davies streaked through the Scottish defence and only a superb cover tackle from Ali Price saved the try.

Lacey had been banging on at Rob Evans and Zander Fagerson about the scrum all afternoon but the Scots managed to clear their lines, only to be done for crossing. Wales elected to shoot at goal, then after Lacey had signalled it, they went to the corner instead to the ire of the sell-out BT Murrayfield crowd.

Wales own attempt at a cute lineout move – in this case a 15 man shove – ended in a penalty to Scotland for obstruction.

The Scots charged up the park with more strong carrying from the Gray brothers and Wilson and a great dart from Price. Another bizarre moment occurred when on penalty advantage Alex Dunbar opted to kick it, well, backwards for Tim Visser to chase. He and Davies may yet both make the Lions tour but it won’t be for their kicking.

Naturally, Finn kicked the penalty instead, on a good day with the boot for the fly-half.

Just when things were looking steady, Scotland popped the ball out of the side of their own scrum, Webb gathered it and it was Tim Visser who put in a great cover tackle to drag his foot into touch.

Visser was transitioning from laughing stock to have-a-go hero.

The Welsh though were piling on the pressure in the scrum, and Scotland found it hard to escape their own half. In the end it was Lacey who loosened the pressure valve slightly when he penalised Wales in the scrum just after he had whistled Tipuric for a tip on Russell. It wasn’t nasty and Russell looked fine afterwards, but on certain days by the letter of the law it might have been a card. Not today, but then we could be thankful that this fixture wasn’t spoiled by cards when it has in the past.

Scotland then did what this Scotland side actually do best, which is to score tries.

After battering their way into position, the ball came out via Pyrgos and Russell to Hogg who as he has done all tournament timed his pass selflessly. It gave Visser at most a metre to operate in but the Dutchman’s feet were flashing across the turf and he sped round Wales back three cover for the score to make it 26-13.

With the Murrayfield crowd as fiesty as they’ve been in years and smelling blood, Wales started to make mistakes and a spot of crossing gave Finn Russell another penalty which he slotted flawlessly with 7 minutes to go.

Wales with Faletau and Roberts on, Biggar off and a 16 point deficit, threw everything they had at the Scottish defence and tried to get some offloading going but the men in navy held firm. It was too little too late for a Welsh side that has been based around physicality for too long and is only just emerging from that shell.

Battered, bruised but unbowed, Scotland emerged victorious against Wales for the first time in a decade and the first time in the lifetime of this blog.

Thanks lads.

Referee: John Lacey (IRFU)

Attendance: 67,144

SRBlog Man of the Match: The man who made the most of limited ball in the first half and in no small part answered criticism about his defence and his aerial work in the second, Tim Visser, was crucial to the outcome of this game with one assist and the try that put it to bed. Finn Russell took the sponsors award and any of the back 5 would have been worthy too with their supreme efforts to derail the Welsh back row.

74 Responses

    1. Easily Tim Visser’s best game for Scotland. Both our wingers were much hungrier than the Welsh ones.

      1. I think the Scot’s wingers’ reputation helps keep other teams’ wingers quiet-the threat of the intercept is so high (& with their pace, so is the breakaway try) that opponents are decidedly reluctant to go for offloads in the outside channels. Can’t remember when (if ever) this was last the case.

  1. Yes indeed -thanks lads. One of the most enjoyable Scottish victories I’ve ever witnessed. I’ve been getting trolled all week by Welshmen and the next few days are going to be fun. Have to agree with the special mention for Tim Visser.

    Thanks, just thanks.

  2. Another game of two halves. Scotland were ponderous and static in the first half. I lost count of the times the forwards took the ball standing still.
    Big improvement in second half.
    Tipuric and Warburton were very good, but Barclay and Watson cancelled them out in 2nd half. Two ‘almost tries’ by Wales were possibly the turning point, so let’s not get carried away.
    The best game I’ve seen from Tim Visser ever. Even looked good in the air.

    1. Let’s get carried away.

      We’ve beaten Ireland and Wales. Both deserved.

      With our first choice front row, captain and no 8 injured.

      1. Indeed. Barring a starting Faletau that was Wales strongest team/squad where as we have a raft of players to come in.

      2. If only Dickinson can get fit? Taylor (scored today) and Maitland to return.

        That’s some boost pre Twickenham.

        P.S. must wrap Fagerson, Russell and Hogg in cotton wool.

    2. Tipuric should have been off for the tip tackle on Russell. Webb should have been carded for the foul on Seymour. Williams should have been carded for the high tackle at Seymour’s try.

      Having watched the game again… Wales were not as dominant in that 1st half as media were stating….they scored their try when Scotland were virtually down to 14 because Hardie could barely walk for 5mins until he went off.

      Wales are a right bunch of cheats… constantly looking to gain advantage by either ref’ing the game…or committing unseen fouls. Sooo glad we beat them..and beat them well!

      1. Sickening arent they, their childish mouthing is sad and says more about them and hopefully the day will come when they are given a stern lesson in respect for a game that is bigger than them.

        The tip tackle was borderline IMO , like our tackling of the standing leg, so we dont want to be like whinging Ireland .

        However I am going to have a bit of a moan about a rule I do think needs changing. For me Wales are excellent with tactics arount the ball in the air. In the first half Leigh Halfpenny (who was IMO a decent lad incidently) went in to take a ball at full pace , leaping high and his foot was out in front.

        Fortunately no scots went near him but this must verge on dangerous. I would hate to see a serious facial injury before referees or the rulemakers work it out.

        In rugby the ground around you is not yours you can not own it , but once in the air , you own it as long as you take the ball.

        A foot of studs in front is not a fair contest and according to Eddie Jones ‘Rugby is a contest’.

        I love the cameraderie and the fairness of the game , however that tactic that endangers the opposition , is in my opinion , not in the spirit of the game and I would find it difficult to sup beer and dine with them.

        I loath Dan Bigger for the way he played this tactic some years ago, we had men off the pitch while in reality, he was the one endangering his own safety and that of the opposition.

      2. Hogg did exactly the same thing Bulldog, and did make contact with the Welsh player who was coming up to tackle him. It looked very ugly on initial viewing, and my first reaction was that he would be penalised for dangerous play.

        The other incident where I felt Scotland were lucky to escape without censure was the aerial challenge by Seymour shortly after Visser had been penalised for jumping into Biggar. Seymour made full contact with 1/2P (I think) but got nowhere near the ball.

        Every time there are players in the air there is a risk of someone being penalised. Thankfully on Saturday the catches were usually clean, which I think helps the referee to allow the game to continue without too much call on the TMO

      3. Bulldog, the feet out in front has been a Welsh thing for years and I agree it is dirty and should be stopped. Not saying there aren’t others that do it too but Wales are very prevalent at it. Remember when Lee Byrne rearranged Hugo Southwell’s face (remember him) and knocked out John Welsh, who then got carded on the back of the buggy while out cold! Both of those were undoubtedly badly timed challenges from our guys but both of them resulted in injury due to Byrnes foot sticking out. Is that fair game for poor attempts at tackles which could have equally resulted in injury to Byrne? Mind you he usually went down like a footballer any time anyone went near him anyway, I seem to remember him stopping writhing about quite quickly when he realised he had definitely came off best. I’m not even mentioning that dive when the hero that is Phil Godman accidentally got within 3ft of him.

        Sorry Lee Byrne rant over, I think he is still my most hated player of all time, his comrades Liam Williams and Dan Biggar are almost surpassing him though.

  3. Visser had his best game in a Scotland shirt. Happy to to admit I was wrong about him. His defence has improved alot.

    From around 35mins on the clock this match started to turn for Scotland.

    The look on Gatlands face at the end was priceless.

    Roll on England. Bye Bye cocky Wales! Enjoy that AWJ you legend….sorry we had to kick you’re a**e with the Gray brothers!…erm scratch the sorry!

  4. RuggersB, you beat me to it; Gatland, clearly furious, making his way to the Wales dressing room for a one-way conversation with Howley… can we frame it?

  5. As others said, great to see Hollywood Gatland looking properly furious. Hard to justify Halfpenny starting at 15 for the Lions now. Visser and Finn were great but I thought Pinball made such an impact. So many players who are brimming with confidence having not been playing during the dark times.

  6. Scotland clearly very very well coached now & Cotter has the advantage / luck of having Hogg & Russell in same team (Napoleon stated don’t tell me if a general is good….is he lucky).

    Watson must be close to cementing a place in the 23 1st Lions rest.

    The Visser try was an absolute thing of beauty.

    Incidentally TV had a great game

      1. Finn was on his very best behaviour today………I thought he had a very solid game, when that was exactly what was needed.

  7. Watson is an absolute eel of a player. Was a handful all afternoon. Thought Price settled into the game well and kept Wales guessing. Visser was excellent. Two high ball gathers and some nice tackling. Seymour had his best game of the tournament as well. Great stuff.
    Watching this treland game and can’t help think we let the French off the hook. They are nought special.

  8. There really were some terrific performances that match.

    At about 25 – 30 mins I thought …here we go again….. but no…this is a different team. They stayed calm …refocussed.. worked out how to beat Wales and they did. They made Wales look very one dimensional.

    Thought the scrum was sooo much better. Credit to them for how much they worked to improve.

    Price was a nightmare for Wales to handle. Quick and menacing. Pyrgos played his part too at the right time.

    Barclay was superb….Wilson not far off. Watson was almost game changing.

    Couldn’t pick a player who I thought played badly. They all contributed.

    We clearly have excellent coaches…. GT will be inheriting alot of top class players with good habits.

  9. Looks like Duncan Taylor is back fit. Played a full match at FB for Saracens today.

    Surely will be in the 23 v England. Can play wing, fb or centre all very well.

    1. And scored a try I believe!

      Wouldn’t mind seeing Taylor or Scott on the bench against England given that they both play there. Wonder if it may be too soon for Taylor, he’s been out a long time and we’ve blown it rushing star players back a few times this season – Nel, Dickinson etc. Huw Jones can cover all those positions also so no great rush for him.

      Let’s see how he goes next week…

  10. So many good performances today, very proud of all of them. I was concerned when Pyrgos came on, but he almost looked back to his old self. I think Price may have reacted faster to the ball squirting out the scrum for Webb’s “almost try” though.

    Special mention to Lacey, who gets a fair bit of stick but I thought he kept it flowing today.

    1. I thought he was pretty grim in the first half probably for both but particularly Scotland. Penalty on the floor against Scotland when the Welsh chap had the man in a headlock keeping him in on the blindside when Barclay had the chap with the ball on his feet. Terrible decision.

      Too quick with scrum penalties when most other refs let it go a bit and try to get the ball out. Probably think of more when I watch it again. Didn’t notice as much in second half except for the high tackle on Seymour which nearly knocked him unconscious when he scored his try. That was a yellow all day long whether he scored or not.

      Got too wrapped up in the game to notice beyond that but don’t think Wales were happy with him in the end. Will watch again but certainly in the first half he didn’t let it flow at all. 6 penalties 3 each in the first 15 mins I think. Not letting the game flow at all.

      1. Funny we all see the ref’s performance differently. I thought the ref was pretty good. Much better than the likes of Nigel Owens who manages to ruin a match with his undoubted ego.

        The tackle on Seymour at his try was a clear yellow.

      2. Barclay seemed to get Lacey on side…of course maybe Lacey got fed up with Webb, Biggar etc and their arm-waving antics. Plus AWJ being on the wrong side of EVERY ruck.

      3. I should have said in my original comment that I missed the first 20 minutes (yes, I know, shame on me). Seemed to me that there was so much going on at the breakdown that Lacey could have whistled at almost every ruck. I think Wales fans will think he was unfair on them in the last 20, but I think it was just the pressure we put on them telling.

        I also think that when the scrums were wobbly another ref might have just assumed that Fagerson was at fault and pinged him based on the last two games. Lacey took care to actually watch what was going on there. No idea how accurate he was, as the front row is a bit of a mystery to me.

        Agree about the high tackle on Seymour as he scored. I’m surprised the TMO didn’t say anything as he watched it about 20 times.

    2. I thought Wales played Lacey much better at the breakdown in the first half. If you listen to the commentary see how many times he shouts at Warburton, 7 off your feet and then the first time a Scot goes off his feet he get penalised. Warburton clearly knew exactly how long he could get away with slowing our ball and how far off his feet he could still poach.
      We were much better at managing the breakdown and the ref in the second half. Clearly they sorted it out at halftime which is a credit to the coaches. Also thought Barclay was excellent with the ref in the second half

  11. Agree that the loss in France looking like a missed opportunity. I wonder if we’d had no injuries in that game would we now be 3 wins out of 3.

    So glad to have won that one – for me beating Wales is more important than beating England – at least until the 11th!

    So when we win the last 2, Wales beat Ireland, and Ireland beat England then we’ll be Champions! Easy!

    1. France on their own patch are far tougher to beat than away.

      France deserved to win that day…they were simply better on the day.

    1. What I liked was his chasing of high kicks. After the penalty for the first one he was quick circumspect for the next couple, giving the Welsh catcher time to gather and land before tackling, but then he nailed the next couple after that – timing his run and jump very well. Showed he was switched on to the risk of a card from the referee, and adjusted his game accordingly. Well played Tim!

      1. Also it was Visser bundling George North into touch for a quick line out and then Hogg’s break to the trademark Jones’ inside step that was the almost try and 3 points shifting momentum at the end of the first half.

      2. Fully agree. This was by far the best I’ve ever seen Visser play for Scotland. To think that we were worried about the Visser v North match-up beforehand! He completely dominated that battle in both attack and defence.

      3. Love that most of us (myself included) worried about Visser under a high ball…only to find that he’s worked on it so much that we could use it as an attacking weapon when Warburton et al slowed the ball down.

  12. One of the best second half performances from a Scotland side in many years. Fitness, confidence in skills and each other, precision, handling, tackling, competition at breakdown, speed – it was all there. Just a joy to watch us come back from a half-time deficit and dominate a side that no one else will score 23 unanswered points against in this 6N or for a while after this tournament.
    It was a really good team (and bench) performance, so much so that it almost seems unfair to pick out individuals. But Hamish Watson was the absolute business today and if he stays fit and on form he simply must be on that plane to New Zealand. The other guy to stand out was Tim Visser. Without doubt the finest game he’s ever played in the navy blue. Like many others, I watched with some apprehension as he didn’t exactly pull up trees in the first 30 or so. And then he gives a lovely scoring pass to Tommy, follows it up with a try-saving – and potentially match-winning tackle on Webb – and rounds it off by scoring the try that settled the Test. Good on him!
    A nice day – and we haven’t had many of them in recent years – to be a Scotland rugby supporter. Onwards to Twickenham. The toughest challenge we will face in this 6N, but with this squad you never know . . . .

  13. What was most pleasing about this game was that with about 20 to go you began to get the feeling that Scotland were going to run out as the victors.

    If we are being honest we could have lost a very tight game against Ireland, and won an equally tight game against France – the margins between winner and lose were so slim in those games.

    This time, Wales were put to the sword with a very strong second half performance. They had moments through Williams and Webb, but overall were unable to respond to Scotlands game plan. A very satisfying victory.

    1. Yeah and VC and coaching staff have to take soo much credit for the change in closing a game. Its a total contrast to the team he took on.

      There are indeed such fine lines at the top level….and Scotland have had more than there share of heartbreaking results. The results now all very deserved. No ‘Lucky’ Irish win …. because they just backed it up with a second half demolishing of Wales.

    2. What else is satisfying is going onto wales online and reading all the moaning reports. Poor decisions, blah, kicking to touch against AW, blah blah. It really hurts!

      1. Go and have a look at the thread on the Ireland game. The angst following the opening weekend was palpable!

  14. Excellent second half display. Turgid in the first 40, but the second half – wow. Like all the others I was amazed at Visser’s performance. Hardly put a foot wrong – as for the ‘in air’ penalty in the first half, I thought Biggar made a meal of it.

    On the plus side, not too many obvious knocks and a couple of weeks to regroup.

    The ‘Lacey Lottery’ was indeed just that, but didn’t do us any real damage.

    Gatland has a major problem now, how to explain so many Welsh Lions when it looks likely (can’t see them beating Ireland even in Cardiff) they will have lost to the other three.

    Finally, I think we might be up to an all time high of 5 in the IRB rankings.

    Great grit and clinical finishing. Excellent!!

    1. Have been playing about a bit with the rankings calculators. That final penalty took us over the 15 point threshold that 1.5x our rankings boost for the day. The upshot is we just need to avoid losing to Italy by 15 points or more and we guarantee ourselves top 8!

      Needless to say any result against England does the trick also.

      Wales now have to take on Ireland at home and then France away. Given their form you could see them losing both. If that happens they will almost certainly drop out of the top 8, being replaced by Argentina. Personally i’d rather have Argentina in pot 3 as a potential group stage opponent in 2019 than Argentina (though the Jaguares did romp to victory in Super Rugby today) so reckon I’m hoping for a draw in Paris on the final weekend. Interested to hear other people’s thoughts on that though!

      Top 4 looks like a struggle, victory against England and a 15 point or greater victory against Italy would only be enough if Ireland did something like lose to England and draw with Wales.

      1. I never really see why people get so infatuated with the rankings thing for the world cup draw. The draw is done so far before the cup that things can completely change. Compare us and England in 2015, we were in the third pot and we probably couldn’t have got a better draw if we tried, then England got Australia and Wales! If it was this year then yes I would happily have Wales or SA in the “inferior” pot but teams like them don’t stay rubbish for very long.

      2. Completely agree 1.8T

        And as the global game becomes more competitive them there will be more groups of death at each RWC. And the competition will be better for it.

        Better to concentrate on building your squad to peak at the right point in the 4 year cycle.

    2. Hilarious ….Gatlands pre-selected Welsh lions torn a new one by Scotland. What will he do now!? …Can’t stand Gatland personally.
      His teams are far too rigid and boring to watch….and his arrogance towards Scottish players is rediculous.
      Yeah maybe we should bring in relegation now Warren ya tit.

      1. If that was Warrenball, then I fear for the Lions. An absolute lack of guile and invention, almost the antithesis of the Welsh Rugby Mythos.

  15. “The Six Nations should be reduced to four teams… Scotland and Italy are the weakest links and it’s time to say goodbye”
    I hope someone finds Chris Foy, shows him his 2014 Daily Mail article, rolls it up tight, then proceeds to shove it right up his freshly Veet’d arse!

  16. Still smiling!

    One thought. Lacey was as inconsistent as ever, but he was clearly well prepared for the Welsh front row counter-bluff. Was obvious they would collapse, safe in the knowledge that we’d get pinged as the weaker scrum. Fair play he wasn’t buying it.

  17. Just for laughs, here’s a front runner Lions squad at present (factoring in Gatlands idiocy and anti Scottishness) with some spots still up for grabs

    Props: Vunipola, McGrath, furlong, marler
    Hooker: Best, Hartley, George
    Lock: J Gray, AWJ, Itoje, Kruis, Launchbury
    Back row: Heaslip, Stander, Obrien, Vunipola, Warburton, Faletau
    Nine: Murray, Webb, Youngs
    Ten: Ford, Farrell, Sexton
    Centre: Teo, Henshaw, Joseph, Dunbar
    Wing: Watson, Daly, May, Seymour, North
    Full Back: Hogg, Williams

    That’s 35 and 4 of them Scots, 17 English, 9 Irish and 5 Taffs. I don’t think North should go but he will. I reckon a squad of 38 would be enough so possibly three more slots for another prop, backrow (Barclay I hope!) and centre. Be interesting to see in a couple of months how many I’ve got right.

    1. Not far off imo. Don’t know if Teo has shown enough. Only 2-3 caps isn’t it? Centre is a rich area. Jones, Taylor, Ringrose and Davies will all be in the mix. Daly will go, but who knows which position as.

      Moriarty, Watson, Barclay could go in Back Row, Russell could go at 10. Halfpenny WILL go whether he should or not. Zebo?

  18. If I was picking a first choice 23 with everyone fit and on form I would go with:

    Dickinson Brown Nel
    Gray Gray
    Barclay Strauss Watson
    Laidlaw Russell Dunbar Taylor
    Seymour Hogg Maitland

    Subs: Ford, Sutherland, Fagerson, Swinson, Hardie, Price, Horne, Jones.

    9 of that 23 are currently injured or not match fit. And we are currently on track for our best 6 Nations in years! That bodes well…

  19. My 1st choice would be….

    Dickinson, Brown, Nel
    Gray, Gray
    Barclay(Capt), Strauss, Watson
    Price, Russell
    Dunbar, Taylor
    Seymour, Hogg, Maitland/Visser (if he keeps improving his defence)

    Subs: Sutherland, Ford, Fagerson, Swinson/Cummings, Hardie, Laidlaw/Pyrgos, Jones, Wilson/Denton

    1. Agree save that Jones looks a bit special and nudges out Taylor.

      Hardie and Watson get a half each. The penalty machine at international level that was Barclay, now seems to be the nailed on the wall candidate for captain.

      Price and Pyrgos to share the role for club and country for a couple of years yet. Don’t see Laidlaw returning; but he’s paid his dues and deserves his sunset years making some French cash.

      Wilson is looking great this season (again today) and will be in the mix, especially with GT. Strauss’ future is uncertain, though for me the starting 8 if fit.

    2. Easy to see why you have gone with that. Think Cummings and Price haven’t shown enough at club/international level respectively yet to be ahead of Swinson/Gilchrist and Laidlaw but of course they are the future.

      Maitland and Taylor over Visser and Jones was marginal and based on the balance of form, but Viss and Jones both on the up for sure, happy to be playing whoever is in better form when it comes to those two.

      Pyrgos over Laidlaw I disagree with flat out unless Laidlaw retires.

      Wilson & Dents fair shouts as first reserves for back row. Bradbury could replace in a year or two easily though.

      1. My bench selection was such that if Swinson, Laidlaw & Wilson were injured or placed in 1st team ..then next up would be Cummings , Pyrgos and Denton.

        Cummings is a player I would expedite into the senior squad. Looks an absolute stick on for future captain. Watching him play recently ..he already looks better than Gilchrist.

        Can’t really decide whether Id have Taylor or Jones alongside Dunbar. They both bring something different. Taylor is a terrific bench option because of his ability to play FB, wing and centre all at a very high level. Jones is a natural centre…. seems a very intelligent rugby player…with fast hands…runs terrific midfield lines and shows maturity (reminds me of BOD). Taylor was rapidly becoming 1st choice centre until he got injured.

        There’s a great core bunch of next wave talent coming through very close to challenging for extended squad inclusion, Kinghorn, Hoyland, Cummings, McCallum, Cosgrove, Hastings, Graham to name a few.

    3. To be honest with Dickinson and Nel back I would pick the same team as played on Saturday. R Gray has returned to form, the back row were all outstanding. I would probably have Laidlaw over Price, Price needs another couple of good games to unseat him. The backs I would keep as is, Taylor would come in for Bennett on the bench and Horne for Weir. Visser keeps the 11 shirt, Maitland has been solid but unspectacular, I thought he looked a bit slow and didn’t seem to have the confidence to back himself, Visser is a poacher, give him the ball with a sniff and he will score.

  20. VC will be missed at the end of the 6 nations. He has instilled a belief that has been missing for many years, and has recognised the advantage of small athletic mobile back row players.
    I certainly don’t discount a vey competitive game at Twickenham. Who knows!

  21. Any word on what happened in the tunnel at half time? Sounded like a punch up between Ritchie Gray and Moriarty. Clearly helped get our boys fired up for the second half.

    1. I still think we should get Moriarty a Scottish wife, so that we can try to get those genes in a blue jersey in the future…

  22. Credit has to go to the guy sitting in North 9 row U whose companions soon realised every time he went to the toilet Scotland scored. His stoicism in the face of repeated forced trips to rancid urinals by those around him saw Scotland through! It’s sacrifices like that that makes for a true national hero! 16th man he was!!

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