Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Scotland v Wales – Player Ratings

Ali Price
Ali Price in action during Scotland vs Wales in the RBS Six Nations Championship at BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh. © ALASTAIR ROSS | Novantae Photography

After a brilliant win over Wales at BT Murrayfield, here is how the Scotland players went.

15. Stuart Hogg: Lovely assist for Visser’s clinching try. The heart of a Scotland backline that is flying – 8/10

14. Tommy Seymour: Carried hard after a quiet tournament so far, and got his reward with a score after a generous pass from Visser – 8/10

13. Huw Jones: Effective in defence, seemed quiet in attack but made the most metres with a couple of great chances – 7/10

12. Alex Dunbar: A monster in defence, and had more work in the second half in attack. One horror kick though and another iffy clearance! – 7/10

11. Tim Visser: Didn’t get much to do in the first half but was resurgent come the second. Had 1 try, 1 assist, try saving tackles – my Man of the Match – 9/10

10. Finn Russell: Kicked superbly from the tee and constantly threatened. The epitome of “organised chaos” – 8.5/10

9. Ali Price: Lively but more controlled than expected – the future of Scottish rugby is safe in this man’s young hands – 8/10

1. Gordon Reid: Had a solid 50 minutes, scrummaged hard and was very effective in the loose – 7/10

2. Fraser Brown: Definitely Vern’s first choice at hooker now – 100% at the lineout and some great jackling over the ball – 8/10

3. Zander Fagerson: Scrum worries remain but the youngster steadied himself in the second half and carried hard and often – 7/10

4. Richie Gray: Really has upped his level this tournament – carried and carried, over and over. Right back in Lion contention – 8/10

5. Jonny Gray: Up against Wyn Jones, surely Gatland can’t ignore Stat Boy either after this one. Super – 8/10

6. John Barclay (Capt): Led from the front, and was total pest at the breakdown. Joint top tackler with 10. Communicated with his team and worked well again in combination with Watson when he arrived – 9/10

7. John Hardie: Lasted all of 24 minutes – replaced by ‘Pinball’ Watson. With Hardie going for a scan post match, that experiment may not be repeated against England – 5/10

8. Ryan Wilson: Carried plenty and contributed to a great overall forwards display. Not the biggest back row you’ll ever see but hurls himself into the contact and shows some nice hands. Scotland’s top carrier with 17 carries but only narrowly pipped for top metres made too – 8/10


16. Ross Ford: Got 10 minutes, did nothing massively noteworthy but allowed bodies a rest and helped his defence see the game out – 6/10

17. Allan Dell: A mixed bag from Allan. He’s not built like your typical prop and the scrum went backwards when he came on, but his loose work continues to impress.  – 7/10

18. Simon Berghan: Not Used

19. Tim Swinson: Not Used

20. Hamish Watson: Pinball was electric when he came on, making a mockery of his benching. Alun Wyn Jones credited him afterwards with much of Scotland’s influence at the breakdown. Must start against England – 9/10

21. Henry Pyrgos: Much better from Henry than we’ve seen in a Glasgow shirt of late, and helped close the game out well – 7/10

22. Duncan Weir: Not Used

23. :Mark Bennett: Not Used

224 Responses

  1. Here’s to Visser silencing some critics, he was good in defence today. I can’t tell if Hogg is weak in defence or if he is missing tackles no one would make but he has missed try Savin tackles in each game. Watson was great, Reid had a great opening 20 in the loose. Jones up akes so much space for others, he does so many subtle things very well. Fair play to Price I was a bit worried when he and Russel were giggling before kick off. Guess we just need to embrace the kids and their personalities. Devastated we are losing Vern, shame on you SRU. What a result, so proud and delighted to stick it over them in such a comprehensive way. No matter how much they shout about it, they just aren’t as good as they think they are. Anyone see Jiffy on the red button? Would love to have him in the bottom of a ruck.

    1. Been couple of tackles in tournament he should have nailed. Don’t think today was one of them though.

      1. Sorry, this reply appeared in wrong place. It was in answer to someone questioning Hogg’s last man tackling. (A comment I now can’t spot anywhere on the board. Maybe I dreamt it!)

    2. Visser had a strong game. Can you remember the commentator mentioning North? Him or Maitland for England is a tough one. Seen Taylor got on the scoresheet from 15 yesterday – seems a strong bench option since he is efficient at centre, wing and FB.

      Poor form from Wales continuing to claim ‘trys’ despite replays showing no such thing. Seen AWJ then saying the “two disallowed try’s could have swung the game”?! I’d have a Ferrari if I won the lottery buddy..

      Biggars flop deserves a thorough mocking

    1. There are several positive “things” you could comment on today…………… isn’t there????

      1. There are but it wasn’t a perfect performance by any means. Don’t get me wrong, I’m chuffed to bits and there were indeed lots of good things. However, we still looked a bit dodgy on a couple of restarts and the scrum was far from satisfactory despite an improvement there on last time out. If Horse is out of the England game we are getting a bit thin on world class back rowers. Fingers crossed it’s just a minor knock as we will need him against the white orcs.

  2. I can see Huw Jones in the same mold as Conrad smith , does all the subtle and basics very well and when space appears he will take advantage of it. just wish all our injured players are fit for england, imagine we had dickinson, nel , swinson strauss, Laidlaw, Horne (on form) , either scott or taylor , and maitland as our bench.

    I wouldnt object to cummings over swinson 2 good options as replacements.

  3. In terms of the Lions, many players put their hands up for selection today.

    Fraser Brown: Was great at the line-out and in the loose, decent outside-bet
    Richie Gray: Good performance again from the Big man, Outside-Bet
    Jonny Gray: Stat Boy brilliant as usual, Probable starting XV place
    John Barcley: Great game, his leadership may be better than Laidlaw’s, outside-bet
    Hamish Watson: UN-BE-LIEV-ABLE, IMO he should be the Lions 7
    Ali Price: With Youngs off form has the slimmest of chances, Outside-bet of being a bolter
    Finn Russell: Was one missed kick for touch, short of perfect, In the Squad
    Alex Dunbar: Superb work at the breakdown and carrying, In the squad (IMO)
    Huw Jones: Best 6 Nations game so far, outside-bet it may of come year early for Jones
    Tommy Seymour: Great game, In the 23
    Stuart Hogg: LIONS 15 enough said

    If Tim Visser plays this well for the rest of the championship he has and outside chance.

    1. im afraid to say but i feel like we are going to be disappointed with the amount of scottish lions this year once again. i think we have to have more lions than wales if we finish off higher than them in the table. but im fearful that players like jamie roberts will get in over dunbar due to being able to trust players he’s worked with. I think we will get 4 max – 1 front row, a gray, seymour and hogg with maybe some called up as injury cover. but you never know, this is a guy who decided to call up shane williams…

      1. I’d agree, I don’t trust Gatland. Doubt Roberts will go but I think 3 again and a lot of Welsh in comparison

  4. Also, after today’s performance I feel Laidlaw will never start as first choice scrum-half for Scotland again.
    Price delivered a quicker pass and Russell played better because of it. Also Barcley was superb as Captain, communicates to the ref better than Laidlaw IMO.

    1. Watched the game with my English mate. About half an hour in he turns and says “Why does Price keep slowing the ball down at rucks?” Had to agree that there were occasions where it was a bit delayed. He still had a good game but I think it would be rash to write off Laidlaw too soon.

      1. Maybe Price was told to do that.. he could also have been using the moment to make the right decision.

        Thought he had a great game considering how inexperienced he is and quality of opposition. He caused Wales alot of bother and he will to England also.

        I thought Barclay was an outstanding captain today… and Laidlaw will struggle to get it back if Scotland get a result against England

      2. He did have a good game Ruggers, undoubtedly. But if that had been Laidlaw he would have got absolute pelters, with no leeway for being “”told to do that” or “using the moment to make the right decision”. The screams would have been bouncing off the rafters that his service was too slow.

        I’m a great believer that a scrum half can only provide quick ball if he has it himself. Scotland have improved massively in that regard over the last couple of years, and Laidlaw has had his best games when he has had quick ruck ball. Price would benefit in exactly the same way, but there were times today he did look to be a little slow. As you say he is inexperienced at this level, so I don’t think it is a major flaw in his game.

      3. The crowd were so noisy today especially when Scotland were going forward. I think he was probably struggling to hear the players outside him. He was definitely looking up for longer than he does for Glasgow. I think he will get better though.

      4. Watched the TV last night and what it didn’t really show was that for the first 20 odd minutes Price was having to slow the ball down because the line wasn’t being set quickly and he would have been passing to isolated players if anybody at all.

        Thought his cover defence was fantastic.

    2. Nah, not going to rule out Laidlaw after one game of the Price era. He’s still a great captain and a 90%+ goal kicker, which Finn produced today but can’t be counted on to do so every day. Laidlaw’s been written off so many times and proved us all wrong.

      That said, rumours are he’s retiring from international duty in the summer, in which case its all void.

      1. Where did you hear that, Ross? That would be really surprising, as I’m sure he would want to keep going at least until the 2019 World Cup…

      2. I think this will be the end of Laidlaw’s time as first choice because I believe Gregor will start with Price, and as for the rest of Cotter’s tenure Laidlaw is injured so will not play.

      3. Think it might have been the Thistle pod for that rumour Andrew. I hope he doesn’t, and there’s not anything more solid than a whisper from one source. Chat is though that as he’s moving to France he may just want to enjoy that.

        CC I would repeat what I said above about Laidlaw’s leadership, goal kicking etc. He is top quality in many ways and I don’t think we can rule out a return to first choice after about 90 minutes total of international rugby for Ali Price.

  5. I’m I alone in thinking Fraser Brown is worthy of a lion shirt? Just seems to be getting better and more confident with every test game. Seldom makes a mistake. Will be interesting to see him front up against Hartley on the 11th…

    1. Agreed roy i think the only thing against him is scotland have not had a dominant scrum , if we had First choice Props i think it would show were brown is in that regard.

    2. He has been good but the English hookers behind Hartley, down to Tommy Taylor are arguably a step up. None of the test hookers are worthy of starting for lions over Jamie George

  6. Up to 5th in the IRB world rankings (leapfrogging France, Wales and South Africa) apparently

    1. He was a 1990s Wendyballer prone to defeat inducing mistakes at major championships. Thankfully no such failings from Tommy Seymour!

    2. I want to know why John hasn’t given Tommy Boyd a mark out of 10. He was excellent today, especially claiming that restart!

    3. What’s hilarious is that one of the London newspapers’ live commentaries called him Tommy Boyd as well, right at the same moment Eddie Butler called him that. Obviously watching the BBC coverage, and didn’t have enough knowledge to realise it was a mistake…I mean, Seymour is hardly an unknown, although I think commentators will probably mispronounce Fagerson’s name for the rest of his career.

      1. Anyone watch Jiffy cut Nicol off mid sentence on the red button while he was naming Scots who had improved lions chances. “None if them will go!!!”

  7. I’ll eat my hat! Fin Russell played brilliantly today. I think Barclay was man of the match. But the lads defended well and took their chances. On that performance I fancy them to take the England!

    1. I’d still make England favorites ….but It’ll be alot closer than some would have you believe ….and Scotland could win.

  8. Rewatching.

    Russell had a fine game. That flat pass for the Visser try.

    Kicked well. And looked like he made the decision for the penalty, duly slotted.

  9. If we combine the first half against Ireland with the second half against Wales then we will give England a hell of a game. Conversely if we combine the second half against Ireland with the first half against Wales we might get a scare from Italy.

  10. Also rewatching – with a couple of beers, savouring this long, long awaited win.

    Front row – Wales are not Ireland, or France, and John Lacey wasn’t falling for their tricks. All three starters did well today, and overall the scrums were equal. You can’t ask for any more.

    Second row – what a battle. Jake Ball must have felt like the gooseberry as AWJ took on the Grays on his own. Mrs Gray will rightly be very proud of her boys tonight.

    Back row – Hardie was having a good game before he went off, but Watson was monstrous. Wilson is having his best run of form in a Scotland jersey, and I’m bursting for John Barclay to captain the team today after the way he was treated under Scott Johnson.

    Price – a good game, but his service was slow at points. He will be licking his lips at the chance to play Care and Youngs at Twickenham after owning Youngs when Glasgow outclassed Leicester in the Champions Cup. Like Brown with Ford, he has the chance to usurp the elder player. Go for it young man.

    Russell – just pure gallus. Like Hogg, but with a cheeky wee grin. if he goes with the Lions, fine. If he tours with Scotland, fine. Just don’t stop enjoying the game Finn, it is a pleasure to watch you.

    Centres -Dunbar could do with some kicking practice, Jones looked like he was match fit. They are a good combination outside Russell.

    Wings – before the game I would have said the Welsh would have the advantage under the high ball. Nope. Visser was a delight. He looked like a man with a point to prove. He managed North well, and showed excellent footwork to make yards in some tight spaces. He also set up Seymour them took his own try with aplomb. Seymour – class, pure class. The restart take was something we would have been howling at Scotland for losing, and he did so well for his try.

    Hogg – I’ve watched the pass to Seymour several times. He fixes 1/2P, Williams and North with that take and give. Allied to the fizzing flat pass from Russell and you have rugby heaven.

    Subs – Pyrgos did well, Dell and Ford provided fresh legs. Watson looked like he was on from the start and would still be charging about by the middle of next week.

    For Wales, Ken Owens is a tidy player, very useful around the pitch. Neither prop did much. AWJ carried Jake Ball. Warburton and Tipuric are exceptional. I never even noticed when Faletau replaced Moriarty. Webb and Biggar need to concentrate on playing rugby not refereeing it. Other than that Liam Williams was the only one who really put his hand up today. George North, sadly, does not look anywhere near the player who burst on the scene half a dozen years ago.

    1. Agree with all of this.

      Aside from the obvious, i.e. Russell’s passing and running, Hogg’s running and passing, Visser and Watson.

      A few other points that stood out:

      Russell pulled back on a few offloads in the tackle retaining possession. No grubbers. Exceptional all round performance. A game like this against England and he puts himself on the plane to NZ. Deserved MoM.

      Tommy Boyd did everything proficiently, under the high ball, passed and finished brilliantly (despite the high tackle).

      Reid won the first turnover tackles, and another wonderful turn over towards end of first half – a real physical message bulldozing straight through the man – and stabilizes the scrum.

      Jones didn’t see much ball but was important. His dancing for the first three points in the game, the last 3 points before half time. Then the great, legal, decoy line for Seymour’s try. Very good player.

      Barclay’s response to Lacey after the third scrum. Lacey is then scolding the Welsh captain for pulling at scrum 4 at start of second half. Good post match interview. Q. Can you beat England? A. *Pause *Deadpan. We’ll have a look at them.

      Contrary to what I remembered, we actually played pretty well in the first half and kept the score ticking over. Inverdale summed it up as game simmering and about to come to the boil.

      Really good try saving tackle by Price on Davies just after the Scotland try. Then that break through the middle for the six point lead before being substituted.

      Prygos owes Visser one of those beers Cotter was talking about for saving his blushes when the ball bobbled out he scrum. And was charged down. But otherwise controlled the game well.

      Exited well all game, clearly been some practice. Even when Boyd and Russell were pinged for crossing you could tell it was a training ground move.

      There’s a real camaraderie in this team. Sticking up for each other all game particularly Fagerson, Price, Reid, Barclay. Reassuring Fagerson at the scrum. Russell playing with a smile and confidence is contagious.

      As others have said Gatland looked pissed off. Will he be as ruthless to his own as he was to BOD.

      Wilson was almost as immense as Strauss last week. Good carries and watch his work rate from 70 through to 75. Can barely pick himself off the floor by the time Watson nails the turnover. Really turning into a test standard player.

      Lovely moment in the Barclay interview when Cotter almost looks in tears and hugs Wilson.

      1. Absolutely agree about the camaraderie. In the build up someone mentioned not being bullied and the team laid down that marker. Also, never seemed to lose confidence in getting the job done. I thought we were lucky to be four points down at half time but the assurance that they carried in the second half was palpable. And Finn seemed to strike a great balance between expansive rugby and keeping his head and the ball. Extra responsibility for kicking didn’t weigh him down. So pleased and proud.

  11. I’d also like to give pass marks to the Beeb. I thought the match commentary from Butler, Mossy and Nugget was informed, neutral and a marked contrast to the usual guff spouted by Jonathan Davies.

    And didn’t Katherine Grainger look lovely sat in front of a very unhappy Warren Gatland? Must admit to having a bit of a soft spot for her :o)

    1. Really? Martyn’s Williams constant reference to Zander Ferguson, calling Wilson Brown and Eddie Butler with Tommy Boyd

      1. I think Chris Patterson is excellent – really balanced, intelligent and even handed. Butler is usually very good as well and Martin Williams is a breath of fresh air compared to JD.

      2. As AMW said Williams is a breath of fresh air compared to Davies. Although at the end Davies was fairly magnanimous. It must just be the heat of the game that makes him a one-eyed eejit.

        Butler realised he had been calling Seymour wrong. You could hear him laughing at himself just after half time. There is no problem making a genuine mistake and otherwise he was good.

  12. It’s funny how different w can see things. I don’t rate any of the BBC pundits except Wood. Paterson is wooden. Mike Blair came across very well during the France game. BT Sport coverage and pundits have set the bar over the past couple of years, the BEEBs old boys come across as irrelevant, maybe they are good for casual fans as BT do focus on very technical analysis but I think their pundits having only recently retired and are very articulate you see the difference.

    1. I like Mike Blair a lot and thought the pre, half time and post analysis he did was great. He is in the same mould as Wilkinson and BOD.

      1. BOD I like Wilkinson doesn’t provide analysis, he provides cringe worthy David Brent style soliloquys about heart and effort

    2. Paul O’Connel is great to listen to. Fair, knowledgeable and articulate about the game. He is an example the rest would do well to follow.

    3. Erm, I quite enjoy some of the BT analysis, but I think it is a response to Sky’s “product” analysis, which is so overbearing.

      Personally I prefer watching the game without all the analytical frippery – let the players do the talking. I would take exception to being classed as a “casual fan” on the basis of which type of commentary I prefer.

  13. This was an assured performance by the Scotland team today and one of the most pleasing things is how cohesive they look together. I thought Hoggy’s apology to his team mates when kicked out on the full was instructive. They now set themselves very high standards and are ‘honest’ when the don’t meet those standards. We are seeing excellence across the whole team now on a regular basis. Some highlights for me:
    1. Reid rucking AWJ (I think) for turnover
    2. FB not missing one throw
    3. Fagerson emerging as the dominant 3 and winning penalties (oh and being first in to defend any off-the-ball skirmish
    4. Ritchie carrying in the mid-field time and again and setting up the fast ball for Seymour’s try
    5. Jonny – for continuing to head the tackle stats
    6. I thought Barclay is a classy, highly intelligent captain and his time has now come for Scotland. If we beat England, I would be surprised if he doesn’t have leadership role in NZ this summer
    7. The incredulous look Watson gave when he rolled for 8 metres and was pinged for not releasing. No whining or ref backchat, just a raised eyebrow!
    8. Someone said above the work Wilson did between 70 and 75. This guy is 110% committed to the cause. Telfer would call him honest.
    9. Price’s quick thinking in attack and defence.
    10. Russell is beginning to have time to see plays that only the great FHs get. His pass to Hogg could not have been more precise in position and weight for Visser’s try
    11. Visser was awesome today in all aspects of the game. He beat North twice in tight spaces to
    12. Dunbar turn over by ripping the ball on someone else’s tackle. He is genuinely world class at this
    13. The angle Jones ran on Seymours try was classy. Our back line is looking razor sharp.
    14. Tommy did what he is very good at and scored. I really enjoyed watching him tell Hogg where he wanted the kick put through to. These guys work things out together in game. Wonderful to see
    15. Hogg is a genius at entering the back line at the right time whether in the first phase or 20th. He did this on so many occasions yesterday and Wales couldn’t cope.
    Roll on England. What a cracking test match that will be.

    1. Anyone notice that Russell was sitting deeper than normal off first phase ball? Probably by 3-4 metres. He only really moved up to a flatter position after multiphase ball. Looked like a ploy to avoid the Welsh rush defence. Either that to try and bring them on to us with a dog leg. Normally he would just dink it over the top to keep them honest but that clearly want the plan. Davies was usually the one that came early and at times there was clearly panic to close down our midfield. Have to say some of the lines our backs were running were just mesmerising. Brilliant to watch. Looking forward to how our backs develop over the next few years.

  14. Not sure why all the hype about the lions. The less that go from Scotland the better, I know is shows that we are thought of as scum by the 6n elite – but that’s nothing new.

    This will be a lions tour like the last one to New Zealand in 2005, a white wash and one you don’t want to be associated with.

    U.K. And Ireland have the players to win but they wont because warren gatland is a terrible coach. He made an absolute meal of the last tour against the worst Australia side in history (let me remind you that james o Conner was playing 10 for the Aussies) He is of the old school of ignore what’s in front of you and stick to my plan, if it’s not working do it again, and again.

    The proof is quite clear when none of the good coaches JS, VC even Townsend wanted to be part of it

    1. It’s a fair point. We’ll have our own chance to take on NZ in the Autumn – hopefully without the level of first choice players injured we have now.

      Agree that now that all our coaches (and doctor) have been snubbed we may well not want to play much of a part. Garland’s style wont match ours and I doubt it’ll topple NZ.

      I think the other thing is that even if Scotland beat England and Italy and win the 6N less than a quarter of the squad will be Scots and the same for the starting XV. That’s because our success recently has been built on good coaching, teamwork and 100% performances from all involved. Think I prefer that to having a team of Vunipolas tbh.

      That said, letting Hogg, J Gray, Barclay and Russell go and learn Gatland and the England players’ systems and learning a bit more about New Zealand isn’t a bad thing at all.

      1. I’d like to see only a couple of scottish players go with the lions.

        Barclay, for me, is as class as Sean O’Brien, perhaps better because of his leadership. However, he is 30yrs old, Id rather he avoided burn out and injury.

        A couple of the younger guys maybe…who are part of our leadership group.. J Gray. They can learn the different approaches and use that information for Scotlands benefit.

  15. Brilliant result , a few observations to get the thinking men going. We never used all of our bench ! Didnt need them, our fitness must be at absolute peak IMO .Just been on WRU Live and the most amazing stat for me was that there were only 7 scottish turnovers. Even more amazing , was who did the turning over !!! not the lads you would expect :

    Brown (1) Baclay (1) Dunbar (3) Visser (2)

    I will not go into the tackle statistics but they also make intersting reading. In the backs the most tackles (5 each) were made by Huw Jones and , Wait for it, Finn Russell. He looked like he was really enjoying his game yesterday.

    Finn Russell impressed me yesterday, however , Visser has been outstanding for Quins of late and yesterday stood literally and metaphorically, head and shoulders above IMO. With this form and that height, he has brought a new dimension to the side and I fear to say where we might be going now.

  16. Scotland now have good depth in positions, I reckon at least 2/3 in every position (when fit)

    Alastair Dickinson
    Allan Dell
    Gordon Reid

    Fraser Brown
    Ross Ford
    Stuart McInally

    WP Nel
    Zander Fagerson
    Moray Low

    Richie Gray
    Grant Gilchrist
    Scott Cummings

    Jonny Gray
    Tim Swinson

    John Barclay
    Rob Harley
    Josh Strauss

    John Hardie
    Hamish Watson
    Chris Fusaro

    Ryan Wilson
    Adam Ashe

    Ali Price
    Greig Laidlaw
    Henry Pyrgos
    Grayson Hart
    Sam Hidalgo Cline

    Finn Russell
    Duncan Weir
    Ru Jackson

    Tommy Seymour
    Rory Hughes
    Lee Jones

    Alex Dunbar
    Matt Scott
    Peter Horne

    Huw Jones
    Mark Bennett
    Richie Vernon

    Tim Visser
    Sean Maitland
    Duncan Taylor

    Stuart Hogg
    Blair Kinghorn
    Peter Murchie

    Pretty good depth there I’d say…

    1. Hogg and Russell are so far ahead in the pecking order I would hate to see them injured. Not least because they inspire the rest of the team and create so much.

      1. I too would hate to see them injured but with replacements like we’ve got then it’s not going to be the end of the world to have Duncan Weir, Jackson or Tom Heathcote backing up Finn Russell or for Hogg, Blair Kinghorn or Murchie.

    2. The depth is getting there. But as said above Russell is streets ahead of any other regular FH. So much so there’s an argument you move Hogg, Laidlaw or Jones before you play Weir, unless Jackson can get some game time. Moving Hogg is less daft than it sounds looking at the replacements for FB.

      I think Maitland then Taylor / Jones are probably first then second reserves respectively for FB before anyone else gets a look in.

      I think it’s pretty even between even for Visser and Maitland for that starting Wing spot. Both are bang on form. Seymour starts.

      Interestingly the average age of the playing XV yesterday was just 25.67. If that means the younger players are peak in a couple of years, need to keep giving experience to similar aged players in the older positions e.g. Dell even if Reid has moved ahead of him as first replacement (and will be watching Kebble with interest next season). For this reason would be great to see Hoyland get some game time as we’re a bit relatively old out there on the wing!

      1. Wing backup needs to improve….its so important to our established playing style.

        D Hoyland, R Hughes, D Graham all have potential for those spots.

      1. Good spot. Has anyone heard anything on the Dickinson injury and whether England is a possibility?

      2. Does Edinburgh’s player management need a look into?….seems like the longest list is long term Edinburgh injuries….Dickinson Nel Gilchrist Sutherland now Hardie. Just bad luck maybe but seems to be recurrent.

    3. I would also add Ben Toolis as cover at 5. One of the stand out players in an otherwise under performing Edinburgh team.

  17. Based on what Andy has said above could you imagine at the moment even playing our effectively second XV against a team :

    1.Allan Dell
    2.Ross Ford
    3.Zander Fagerson
    4.Grant Gilchrist
    5.Tim Swinson
    6.Rob Harley
    7.Hamish Watson
    8.Adam Ashe
    9.Greig Laidlaw
    10.Duncan Weir
    11.Rory Hughes
    12.Matt Scott
    13.Mark Bennett
    14.Sean Maryland
    15.Blair Kinghorn

    This is a world of a difference from when we had a choice of De Luca, Jacobson, Parks and Mossy

  18. And finally if we go by the above you would have a 3rd XV of :

    1.Gordon Reid
    2.Stuart McInally
    3.Moray Low
    4.Scott Cummings
    5.Tim Swinson
    6.Josh Strauss
    7.Chris Fusaro
    8.Adam Ashe
    9.Henry Pyrgos
    10.Ruardiah Jackson
    11.Lee Jones
    12.Peter Horne
    13.Richie Vernon
    14.Duncan Taylor
    15.Peter Murchie

    Now I still wouldn’t be scared of this side turning out for a test match thoughts?

    1. Eight of those players featured for Glasgow against Ulster and it was a disaster.

      Fusaro, Vernon and Murchie will never start another game for Scotland.

  19. Oh and let’s not forget a 1st XV :

    1.Alastair Dickson
    2.Fraser Brown
    3.WP Nel
    4.Richie Gray
    5.Jonny Gray
    6.John Barclay
    7.John Hardie
    8.Ryan Wilson
    9.Ali Price
    10.Finn Russell
    11.Tommy Seymour
    12.Alex Dunbar
    13.Huw Jones
    14.Tim Visser
    15.Stuart Hogg

    1. I really rate Hardie and very glad we have him but without doubt my 1st XV would have ‘Pinball’.

      So happy to see the long awaited and deepest of summers approaching for the team…I do hope that the team will continue to develop as strongly under Townsend.

      1. Hardie has been great for Scotland. Its like his play lifted the bar for scottish back row forwards. Watson has stepped up to a level I didn’t think he had. Looks superb at the moment.

  20. Hardie now injured and out for tournament. Would like to see either scott cummings covering second row and swinson covering back row or denton back.

  21. Never mind anything else right now. England have been atrocious so far. If only Italy were a bit better.

    1. I dont think england have looked good all 6 nations – if italy can stop england getting a bonus point win ill be happy.

      1. brown was mince for that try. hogg has to be the safest bet for a starting Lion in any position.

    2. Eddie Jones is being ridiculous. “That’s not rugby!” Yeah like all the cheating at Rucks and scrums is rugby. They played the laws to their advantage and made a game of it. Brilliant not stupid. Well done Connor. Hope he doesn’t come up with something equally brilliant to derail the Scots.

      1. I thought it ruined the game to be honest. I’ll be pretty pissed off if they do the same at Murrayfield. This has been the best 6N in terms of quality for a while, but if this tactic starts being used it will just marr the rest of the championship.

        Campagnaro’s try was class though.

      2. It is a very simple tactic to nullify by picking and going or get the ball away without a contest before they get round. So I applaud them and Scotland will now no what to do now. Italy tried to win within the laws. Most teams try to win by pushing the laws or blatant cheating so I applaud trying to the win this way. I thought it was fascinating rather than a 79 point drubbing that would have been boring.

        In terms of nullifying this could you actually score a try from anywhere? Since there is no offside line get a winger to go past the ball and kick it straight to him and you’re in behind the defense with most defenders in front of the ball? They’ll never do it again.

      3. You still can’t be in front of the kicker without being offside. I think criticism of Italy has been over the top but it broke up any rhythm in the game and ultimately, rugby is about a contest for the ball and this was a negative spoiling tactic. A bit odd England struggled so much with it – pick the ball up, form a maul and drive forward and you’ll break the gainline and create an offside line. But I hope this tactic isn’t repeated, like not engaging the maul it makes rugby look a bit farcical.

      4. Best comment from the studio was that Italy were still fresh(ish) at the end not having wasted energy at rucks. Jones’ idea of rugby is that the opposition should lie down and let his team walk all over them . Hope England are as confused and error prone on 11th.

      5. unless your going for the win, i think what italy did was very negative. they tried to not concede as many tries and not make it a cricket score, i think if italy tried to be more positive and go for the win they may have shipped 50 points but scored 25-30 (we saw what they are capable of with players like campagnaro). personally if i had paid £90+ to go and watch that I would be very disappointed.

        Grum – you say that Italy were apparently fresh at the end. if i was italian i would be raging that my players weren’t run into the ground at the end

      6. I think you try to win within the laws why not? It won’t be repeated with any success for a while anyway as teams will take a few mins to work it out out of the heat of battle. Think we had similar negative comment on “choke” tackle tactics but that is now accepted as a legitimate tactic.

        In terms of not contesting a maul I think again you have to use the laws if ur getting overrun. I hate watching teams dominate by mauling constantly over the line when the laws are so swayed to the attacking team. Very difficult to defend legally. That is an area I think laws could be changed to balance it up a bit.

  22. lets hope their fitness can last for the whole 2nd half and italy have a serious chance of winning against this team. just need to keep playing it smart

  23. I don’t know what the situation would need to be for us to win the 6N this year but I don’t think that will happen anyway…

    By far the best case scenario would be 3rd overall and the Triple Crown!!

    1. If Scotland win the triple crown then we have a huge chance for the championship. Lots of permutations for us to win the championship from there. England do what they did today they’ll be done and dusted by clinical Scotland.

    1. you can do what you want next weekend. but id worry about 11 march if you play like that again

    2. Welcome, Red Rose. Two things for you to check. Your grammar and your calendar. Calcutta Cup for instance is Saturday 11 March. But thanks for stopping by. See you at Twickenham. Remember, it’s Saturday 11 March, not next Saturday which is a 6N rest weekend.

      1. I should really have checked this before I trolled! Sorry guys at least I’m an honest troll lol ?

      2. Or you could have just not trolled at all? It’s just very sad and shows lack of class. You could have just said well done?

      3. Well done guys you’s should be proud of Scotland this week! As an England fan I am worried about next week and think we deserved to lose to Italy this week, all things being said if we both play the way we have been playing then it should be a great game.

      4. Wonderful reply. Thank you. It should be a great match. Hopefully we can hang in there. See you next week.

  24. Hardie deserved more than a 5. His tackling was huge.

    Shame he’s now out. Having a choice of him and Watson is ideal.

    I think du Preez will feature now.

    1. For pity’s sake why? Have you seen him play for Edinburgh the last few weeks?

      No? Neither has anyone else!

  25. Looks like both Denton and Taylor are fit again. Both played full matches this weekend. Will be interesting to see if their are in next match.

    1. Taylor adds something, but of an Elliot Daly in regards to his versatility. Denton feels like a big step backwards

      1. Yeah from what I have seen in their matches… Taylor is ready for a bench spot… Denton is a long way off.

  26. one question would be should John Barclay continue to play at No.6 or should he move to No.7 for the England game, I think Hamish Watson was immense in the game this weekend and it would be hard to overlook him, I think it should be

    6.Hamish Watson
    7.John Barclay (C)
    8.Ryan Wilson

      1. As Neil has said I think Magnus Bradbury or Rob Harley could have the bench spot, David Denton is a possible option although this would be a step backwards.

      2. I watched Bath last weekend and Denton was not at the races. He needs game time and not just a wee drop. Well off international pace. I suspect even he would be scared of being dropped into the 23 at this time. Harley all day long, 2nd and back row capability.

  27. I get the feeling that quite a lot of the psychological barriers (fear) of facing England are getting much lower :

    *Many premiership players in the scottish squad (fear factor and familiarity with the premiership standards)
    *Glasgow success with Leicester
    *England struggling with Wales for 60 minutes and were outfoxed by Italy who were hammered by Ireland.
    *England took thirty points from Italy , Ireland took sixty .

    Scotland have confidence and momentum: England , who, while not playing well , are winning.

    The odds heaviliy stacked on England 3/13 versus Scoland win 9/2. But that feels wrong based on what we have just seen.

    If your a betting man get the bet on now before the odd shorten.

  28. Forza Italia!…the way is now clear….attack the axis of ego!

    England are not a team of great players — they are a good team well coached and with a strong sense of their own superiority.

    ABs, Australia, Ireland, France, even Wales would all have had a field day against the Italy tactics. England didn’t because they have an egomaniac organiser at the top, a plan that works so long as the opposition play along (or can be forced to), and a group of stormtroopers on the field to carry it out.

    So attack must be (respectfully) chaotic, and defense must be more rapier than bludgeon — quick off the blocks and attack the 9-10-12 axis when possible.

    And hit Mike Brown hard…just because…

  29. ‘Angry Eddie Jones calls for changes to rugby laws’ says news.

    “I hope it will get addressed before we play Scotland because if teams do that it is going to kill the game quickly. There’s no rugby going to be played,” George Ford said.

    “I’ve never seen a referee lose his perspective of the game. That’s the reality of it,” Jones said.

    Eddie Jones is rattled and his efforts will be in preparing England for ‘the bogey man’ appearing in a navy strip. Or will they !!!!!!!

    This next one is about 2 wiley old coaching adversories outwitting each other.

    He is asking Bill Beaumont to change the laws of rugby and put a tackle off side line in the rules. (Desperate or just side show)

    We have already put backs in lineouts, I would like to think that his head will be spinning like something out of the Exorcist thinking what a ‘Cunning bunch’ the Scots are.

    Or is it just more noise and bluff. I think we need to be careful and stay out of this or we will also get distracted.

    I can see lots of politics this next few weeks. I hope we just extract the coaches and players from the nonsense that is likely to arise …

    1. A tackle offside line would be a problem as then it would be impossible to intercept or block offloads once a team got behind your defensive line. Can’t see world rugby going for that, although it remains to be seen if Italy will persist with this tactic or whether it was a one-off surprise.

    2. Scotland might be wise to use this tactic once or twice, even if only as a wind up when playing England. It would certainly keep them guessing and could damage English forward momentum if the timing is good. I’m just not sure how other referees would deal with it though. The reaction might be very different to Poite. I wonder what Nigel would make of it?
      Eddie Jones was up to all sorts of tricks and unorthodox tactics when in charge of Japan, so don’t think he should be taken seriously.
      Irrespective of politics, Eddie Jones isn’t going to bounce the IRB into any kind of quick decision.

    3. Like said above if u can’t tackle after a line break without being offside the game is done. It’s so easy to work round this I don’t see what the fuss is about. Eddie behind closed doors will be shouting his head off “Why were u all so stupid not to work this out? Ya numpties!” Or the after watershed version anyway.

      Italy did their homework and found out what their ref would do beforehand. That would be done again but then doubt any other ref can interpret it differently now being a precident.

      Scotland should have a go every now and again just for the wind up if nothing else. Eddie Jones is the master of underhand. He’s just annoyed he didn’t think of it for Japan. Complete hypocrite. Cotter and Jones the opposite of human beings. Hope the strong silent type wins through this time. He’s beginning to make a habit of it. What a great end of his Scotland career that would be. Might even see a tear from the big man. I think I might do the same if we did it. The run has been exactly my entire life. Would love it to end. It’s not just a hope now, not a dream. A distinct possibility. Go with Eddie’s attitude at Wales. It’s just another rugby field where we play our game.

    4. Thats the aim of all that garbage talk from loud ‘wee man’ syndrome Jones. He wants to distract us from our momentum and focus.

      The thing is…the more he does it..the more apparent it is that he feels threatened.

  30. The positives obviously far outweigh the negatives – and lets not kid ourselves there were still negatives. But that in itself shows how much further this team can go. Lets hold our players to the highest of standards and objectively rate them.

    Reid 6, Brown 6, Fagerson 6 – (Front row did ok, but were marginally weaker in the scrum than Wales)

    J. Gray 7, R. Gray 8 – (V strong on own lineout, but never disrupted the Welsh and were not disruptive enough at the lineout maul)

    Barclay 7, Wilson 7, Hardie 6 (Watson 8) – Noticeable improvement in clearing out and avoiding being turned over after half time – Excellent breakdown domination and turned the tap off on conceding penalties.

    Price 7 – (Webb out shown him, but was very good for someone so young)

    Russell 8.5 – Both tries came from either a flat pass or taking the ball to the line. Simple and unexciting stuff but no tries without it. 7 from 7. Still a couple of small errors but excellent composure and management

    Dunbar 6.5 Solid in defence with the odd punch in the midfield – half mark lost for the worst kick in living memory

    Jones 7 – Subtle, but the running lines created space on the outside – still needs to be better in defence though.

    Seymour 8, Visser 8.5 (Great under the high ball, chances taken and great in defence – all round great wing performances)

    Hogg 8 (great hands and commands the respect of the opposition to the point they don’t rush him but would rather have a flat defensive line – showed great imagination and understanding for the grubber kick as a way of combatting)

    All round it was a 7.5 to 8 out of 10 We need it to be 8.5 to 9 out of 10 to beat England, but its do-able

    1. I agree with all of that except needing to better. Maybe slightly better in first half but I reckon we were more solid than against Ireland and England’s scrum doesn’t seem quite so dominant as France’s. Reid will shore it up enough. England aren’t as good as this run shows. We need to be careful yes and not become complacent but they are not as good a side as results show. We’ll need a bit of luck and alot of belief but we can do it. Visser could do with breaking his duck against England…

  31. I think we can push England to maybe 5 points, if I was a betting man I would say about 21-17. I don’t think we will win but then again I didn’t think we would beat Ireland or Wales (Or push France) so anything could happen.

    1. I didn’t ‘expect’ to beat Ireland or Wales or France but I thought we had a fair (50/50 or close enough) chance in each. England away is probably more like 10%, maybe 20% at a push (previous years possibly struggling to make a case for more than 5% chance, if that)!
      As I text to an England supporting friend on Saturday, despite events this weekend (and without trying to be too pessimistic), a bonus-point defeat would actually still be a ‘good’ result at Twickenham for us. I’m going into this one the same as my last visit to Twickenham (for the World Cup QF), expecting a defeat, hoping to get a try or two to cheer and to keep it within 10/15 points would be a bonus. We all know how that turned out, so here’s to going one better!

      1. I also think England are beatable – they have looked very scratchy. I am struck by the lack of leadership they have on the field, which was not just shown in the Italy game but against Wales and France. We are also looking very sharp at converting opportunities into points. Having watched Scotland for years I had no expectation of scoring the Visser try as there was no space and plenty of cover. We seem to deal with teams bashing it up and the defence while not perfect is strong. But… is still England and that unbeaten run and our poor record. But the boys seem to have no fear, great cohesion and find a way to work it out. It is the hope that kills you!

      2. Wholeheartedly agree with your first point, it has gone too far, teams are scrumming in a fashion to milk a penalty, not to get the ball out, they are only using the ball when it becomes clear they are not going to get a penalty. Get rid of the penalty except as you say in cases of clear cheating. Then we can maybe see hookers striking, pushing teams back off the ball and stealing it, scrums basically. Maybe I’m getting carried away but then maybe we can do away with all the stupid engagement coaching by the ref too.

        Don’t agree with your second point, Mauls are fine, a test of a teams technique and power. The whole “tractor and trailer” thing or whatever you want to call it still confuses me slightly but refs generally get the call right there.

      3. Oops that was supposed to be in reply to CSC below.

        In reply to Andrew, agree with your point about Visser and space. I think we have our improvements in the calibre of our centres to thank for that. In years gone by when we had Parks, De Luca and co, no one was a threat so didn’t draw defenders in, no one threw dummies etc. Now we have Russell and Hogg who transfix the opposition, Huw Jones who seems to have a fantastic gift for timing passes and that is creating the space for Seymour and Visser who must have the highest strike rates of any Scottish backs this century. Visser has had his detractors (myself included on occasion) but he can score tries for fun if you give him the ball and a sniff of some space. If he really has learned how to tackle then he is a formidable force.

        On the subject of tackling, Hogg, just about the only suspect part of his game is his last man tackling. Now I appreciate a lot of the times by virtue of being the last man doing the zero or hero stuff you are not going to stop them all but I think I have seen a pattern. Hogg seems to always try and go high on his covering tackles like he wants to knock their heads off and smash them into the fourth row of the stand and he often misses. I think a better strategy would be a more Chris Patterson-esq ankle grab, thoughts?

      4. 1.8T – regarding Hogg and tackling. Both Kearney and Brown missed tackles over the weekend that lead to tries – both were Visser-esque (if we are allowed to say that now). Perhaps it might be fairer to say that they were North-ish.

        Full back is exposed, and as a position it can lead to missed tackles simply because the try is always on. Hogg can definitely work on his technique to cut down the chance of missing, but I don’t think he would eradicate it from his game entirely.

        As for the power in the tackle, we see players trying to rip the ball in the tackle a lot nowadays, but usually when the tackle has been made at closer quarters, but much less when the players are at full speed in space.
        Creating a turnover opportunity is king in modern rugby, so Hogg is trying to do that, but again it is so hard to do. I’d agree with you – make sure the tackle is made, first and foremost, then worry about turnovers or preventing the pass out of the tackle.

      5. Hogg is a gifted attacker and on the ball mesmeric. His strength is not tackling and his benefits far outweigh his limited tackling shortfall. Glasgow and Scotland have a game built around him so as long as he keeps away from injury situations it is not important. Our Centres can tackle ‘like the crack of doom’ as Bill McLaren would say and that is another strength we have – This team is working and if Hogg was not there, we would find a replacement, just not one quite as unique as him.

  32. I only watched the game last night but I have to say from reading all the comments and plaudits first (not trying to be pessimistic) I was expecting a better performance. We did a lot of things well and were by far a better team than Wales but there’s still a lot of room for improvement. It was a solid all round effort, a clear case of “didn’t have the best game but won anyway”, that’s a good thing as that’s how teams win things.

    Stand outs for me were Gordy Reid in the loose, made a right pest of himself. Pinball Watson was outstanding when he came on, made it seem like a very foolish thing to bench him but now that Hardie is out (who was also doing fine till he got injured) I’m sure the 7 shirt will be his again. Visser played like a man trying to prove a point, solid under the high ball, right there on the receiving end of a cheeky Hoggy pass again for his try and he even (shock horror) made a couple of cracking tackles. He definitely gets to keep his shirt.

    Other honourable mentions are Hogg for completely outshining his Lions rival 1/2p, that pass and the little kick through he did were things of beauty. Russell had a solid, I hate the term but, mature performance, handled the pressure well, mind you I don’t think pressure really bothers “the gallous one” anyway, if he’s playing with a grin on his face you know good things are going to come our way. Barclay was cool and collected, a captains performance you could say. Wilson’s excellent form continues.

    My favourite bit though was the general look of cohesion and comradeship in the team. Although all the handbags and that is all very childish I think its good to see guys sticking up for their team mates, giving the welsh some needle (they are plenty good enough at it) they seem to genuinely believe in and trust each other, that’s how teams become good teams, i.e. greater than the sum of their parts.

    Wales looked a bit clueless at times and made a catalogue of basic errors, the kind of stuff we would have served up until recently. As much as I hate the guy with the kind of passion I normally reserve for Liam Williams and Mike Brown, Rhys Webb had a good game and did his Lions chances no harm. Someone needs to punch Dan Biggar in the face, hard.

    Best bit though was the look on Gatland’s face through most of the match, its going to be quite hard for him to justify all the Welsh lads he’s going to take now!

      1. Yeah that’s right. Biggar was the one in the air. It was ridiculous yet what Visser did next was brilliant. Adjusted his tactic, won many high balls and was never pinged again. I think the ref was the only one to see that particular one that way. It was a nothing and just play on.

    1. Bigger’s dive would have been laughable in football let alone rugby. There is a large line up of folks who would like to punch Bigger flush on….Webb… Moriarty, Gatland would be next ones up too…. along with Jonathon Davies, the now pundit, whom I would have to to be told I had punched too many tool.

      1. RuggersB this sort of comment comes dangerously close to breaching Rule #1 and Rule #12 of our comment policy. Try to play nicely, even with people who aren’t here.

      2. All good. I completely get there are certain “personalities” in the game who are deeply, deeply irritating to Scotland fans but we just need to find better ways to express it!

  33. Scotland up to 5th in the World Rankings, leapfrogging Wales, SA and France. Highest ever. Good times.

    1. Brilliant news. Delighted. We have the chance to stop England get the longest unbeaten run too. Was thinking even a draw might keep us in the championship. Would depend on Wales v ireland and Ireland v england though.

    2. I think as we won by 15+ pts we actually put enough distance between us and Argentina and have secured our seeding in at least the second pot or RWC draw. Depending on results, Wales or even France could drop into 9th. I think I’d rather play Argentina than either of those but Georgia would do just fine.

      1. Correct FF, would need to lose by 15+ to both England and Italy to drop to 9th. Look’s like a tough ask to get top 4. Win against England and beating Italy by 15+ is minimum requirement and even then we rely on Ireland messing up a bit.

        Been thinking about who I would rather play. Given that RWC is in Japan does that change anything? Even though it’s in Northern Hemisphere it feels more like a Southern Hemisphere world cup given that the Sunwolves play in Super Rugby etc? Jaguares seem to be doing well in SR as well so I feel Argentina could improve. Fiji best option for us from that pot I reckon.

  34. Rugby is at its most exciting when the emphasis is on a running, handling game. Too often in recent years we have seen turgid performances dominated by the rolling maul and kick to touch, interspersed by a lumbering forward taking two steps before falling down amid a heap of bodies, then after an interminable delay the SH ships the ball on for the whole process to be repeated. As EJ said after the Eng/Ity match, although in difference circumstances, “this isn’t rugby”: and now he wants the rules changed before the next match. Perhaps said with tongue in cheek, as England seem to be revert to those tactics when things are not going their way. I will support a game of rugby which displays skill, speed, talent and athleticism: a game where guile has the advantage over grunt, so in response to Eddie, let me suggest two simple rule changes which would encourage such play.

    1. Dispense with the scrum penalty, except in the case of “professional” foul play. This at a stroke would solve many of the current scrum problems.
    2. Outlaw the rolling maul within the 22 yard line, with the ball having to be “used” before it crosses the line.

    Rugby is a great sport. Yet the current laws allow boring tactics to win games. Where is the excitement in that? If the IRB really want rugby to develop as a global sport, then some such changes will need to come about.

    I am aware that such suggestions many not be entirely welcomed and would be happy to see any comments or alternative ideas.

    1. Agree with all of your points CSC.
      Rolling mauls are simply legalised obstruction and makes the ‘size’ thing even worse in modern rugby. Plays into the hands of England, France and S Africa largely, and teams who trawl the world for monsters instead of skills.
      Point 2 is particularly appealing, although the big teams will probably say it is just ‘sour grapes’ on our part, or inability to compete in that element of the game.

    2. Totally agree CSC – the milking of scrum penalties is my major bug bear. If you lose every line out because you are a foot shorter than your opponents you don’t concede a penalty every time. Why should you when it is a scrum?

      Both are simply methods for restarting the game quickly and safely after a stoppage.

  35. I’ve just watched the game again.

    Barclay and Wilson were incredible. Huge tackle and carry numbers.

    Russell of all people actually telling his team mates to calm down when we won the penalty that he kicked for the last points of the match. Maturing finally?

    Hamish Watson over the ball against 5 Welshmen…and winning the turnover and penatly. Immense.

    A monkey off the back. Hopefully some innovative ideas on how to take on Globogym in a fortnight

    1. Barclay & Wilson were fantastic in that match. Wilson, for a relatively lightweight no8 really throws his body on the line time and again. Really impressed by how Wilson has matured and improved since VC has coached. He is close to becoming my 1st choice 8 even ahead of Strauss. Barclay looks a far better captain than Laidlaw.. who is very good too to be fair… Barclay is better at dealing with the ref tho.
      Hardie was unlucky with his MCL injury. He would have had a great game too I reckon. Watson outstanding.

      If Watson gets injured tho… we dont have that same breakdown threat from anyone else which would be a big setback.

      Fagerson is coming of age too. He is getting more confident at this level… makes some mistakes still…but he will be world class prop in a few years.

      1. Agree with all of that RB. What really warmed my cockles in the stands was that as we took the lead we turned the screw. Very different from the team not too long ago, who would score, get ahead, take the foot of the pedal, concede, lose. Wilson was at the heart of that pressure, just throwing himself into tackles that sapped Wales of their momentum and belief.

      2. There is a phase of play ~75min mark where Wilson makes a tackle, gets up, ball comes out ruck and he makes another. This repeats four about 5 phases until Scotland win the pen and Wilson collapses in a heap, utterly exhausted. Wilson personifies the Scotland renaissance in my view. I used to wonder why Townsend and Cotter persisted with him, but I now see why he’s one of the first names in the XV. Fair play, Ryan, this humble pie tastes delicious.

  36. Couple of Dunbar stats that I enjoyed:

    1. After his quick throw for the Hogg break at the end of the first half, he now has 100% throwing success AND 100% catching success at the lineout.

    2. He’s won more turnovers that anyone else in the competition. Itoje is second, Warburton is third. In weeks 2 and 3, Dunbar matched the number of turnovers made by all 11 other starting centres COMBINED.


    For a long time he was so endlessly, distressingly injured, and it’s easy to see why other members of the backline have taken the plaudits. There’s also a lot of competition for the centre berths, at Scotland and the Lions. But no-one else has a centre like Dunbar.

    1. Thats fantastic stats from Dunbar. If he can stay clear of injury…and he’s had a shocking time of it with injury…he is world class. He’s not a BOD type centre… he’s not a crash bang centre…he’s somewhere between that I think. All the other teams seem to have one or the other.

      1. Most fans and pundits seem to inked in Henshaw due to the Irish hype machine. I think Dunbar does a similar role but is a better player. It’ll be interesting to see how the selectors separate performance from reputation because we have a raft of players who have flown under the radar but just getting recognition now.

      2. Henshaw is a better ball carrier and is busier in attack than Dunbar IMO but Dunbar is a better defensive centre. Problem is, Farrell might be nailed on for the defensive coordinator at 12

    2. He’s one of my favourite players. For all the (accurate) talk about our depth at centre, as far as I’m concerned it’s Dunbar + another.

    3. If Jonny Gray is Stat Boy, and Dunbar is a grown up, does that make him Stat Man?

      Those breakdown figures are astonishing – more than all the other centres combined. It shows how hard all parts of the team are working to secure turnover ball and keep the defensive line intact, and that Dunbar is a diamond.

      Thanks Angerine for posting them.

  37. I see eddie jones has come out and said the pressure is on us to win and that we are favourites or somthing along those lines .

    Another move to take the public eye of how bad the performances from england have been so far compared to last year from them.

    No pressure on us , i think most fans just want to see the same type of passion , skill levels and see the players playing with a smile on their face, a good performance is all we want and hopefully the result will sort itself.

    a hell of alot of pressure on england after scraping past italy and with them not putting together 1 solid performance yet.

    saying that , i think scotland will win by 42 -28, or around about that. We have been the form team this six nations and only some lack of experience has held us back abit.

    1. Goblin Head Jones…

      I think even people in his own country can’t stand him. He tried to wind up folks from his own countries national team …I would never do that against Scotland…coaching a team to play against them would be horrific experience enough. That mouth of his pushes everyone’s buttons.

      He is just trying to deflect the mounting pressure on his team and himself…who are favorites for everything…and have been playing poorly throughout the 6 nations. They will never repeat that win run in my lifetime… I’m sure of that. Pure ego …that Jones guy.
      VC a much better man.

      Scotland have nothing to lose at all…. 3 home wins will represent good progress. A win against England would be a bonus. Championship win … would be remarkable.

  38. When Hogg chipped over in the 29th minute and claimed he’d touched down before Halfpenny (asking for the TV review), it wasn’t as ‘cheeky’ as it looked. Both Hogg and Halfpenny had a hand on the ball before and during grounding. Does anyone know what the rule is there? Watching at the time, and re-watching it now, logic says it’s not a try, but is that the case and why? If both players ground the ball at the same time, why is there not an equal claim for a try?

      1. great question Andrew – if you look back (circa 28th minute) the moment that they touch the ball is almost identical and I believe Hogg is in contact through to the ball being grounded. In which case is it not that the benefit should go to the attacker???

        Obviously didn’t make a big difference in the end, but it wouldn’t be the first time that a failure to go upstairs in a Wales Scotland game goes against us !! Certainly it would have been worthy of a frame by frame slow-mo

    1. I would always like these to be checked just in case. It can look very different to reality at full pace. At a crucial point in Glasgow game Ospreys knocked it forward over the line to make it a two score game. Had it been checked would not have been given. Always worth checking when someone is even a little bit enthusiastic regarding close calls. I suppose its the ref in me desperate to get the right and fair call.

  39. Re comments on rugby commentators above, there is nobody in front of a microphone today who has reached the heights of the late great Bill McLaren. In terms of entertainment value, an informative style and all round added value to the TV or radio experience, Andrew Cotter, is the best of those currently working; Bill Johnstone, certainly evokes memories of his uncle; Brian Moore improves the further he gets from his playing days; Eddie Butler is OK, and most of the others (I could not comment on overseas pundits) are journeymen at best or a long way behind.
    There are of course some who should not be allowed anywhere near any broadcasting apparatus more sophisticated than two tin cans connected with a piece of string. Tedious, inane, whining, monotonous, outright bias, and sheer ignorance, are unfortunately all to evident in such characters. No names no pack drill, but ex-players seldom transfer well to radio or TV.

    On an entirely different matter, BBC Scotland should insist that its overcrowded stable of football commentators cover at least two sports, and those that write newspaper columns be sent to Alaska to cover ice-fishing until such time as their copy makes that pastime entertaining.

    1. QUOTE – There are of course some who should not be allowed anywhere near any broadcasting apparatus more sophisticated than two tin cans connected with a piece of string. Tedious, inane, whining, monotonous, outright bias, and sheer ignorance, are unfortunately all to evident in such characters. No names no pack drill, but ex-players seldom transfer well to radio or TV…..

      What you mean John Inverdale?

    2. If we are to choose our favoured commentators / analysers I would probably go for the following as my top 5 in no particular order:
      – John Beattie
      – Brian Moore
      – Will Greenwood
      – BOD
      – Mike Blair
      You could add McGeechan to that list on occasions. Hope this doesn’t make me a ‘casual’ watcher – not an accusation my wife and kids would recognise.

      1. John Beattie is a terrible commentator/pundit. Biased, parochial, and can’t hide the chip on his shoulder over England.

      2. Greenwood is good, but unfortunately has to work with the dross that makes up the rest of the Sky roster.

  40. In terms of the matches that matter for the championship.

    Scotland should take a bonus win against Italy especially with what might be at stake.

    Ireland v Wales is going to be hard but Ireland favourites.

    England V Scotland too close to call but again with England slight favourites. Will be high scoring though. Often is at Twickenham.

    But I think the clear match that I could call this far out is Ireland v England. Haven’t looked too closely at France match with Ireland but Sexton has been lauded. So it looks like we caught a break with his injury. But I reckon Ireland win this match fairly comfortably at home.

    So this shows that it will be between Ireland and whoever wins between the Auld enemy. Points will be crucial and Scotland will have to pile them on with others fighting to win matches rather than a bonus point. Could be an incredible end to championship.

    Anyone any thoughts?

    1. Enjoy your optimism, but I think England are absolute favourites.

      I can’t see us pulling off a win at Twickenham this time around, I think we’ll be squeezed out or England will respond to their latest performance and pull out a belter. This said if the boys can get the losing BP and a BP win against Italy, securing third, I would be very satisfied with this Tournament.

      Then again… Scotland have nothing to lose, everything to gain, let’s hope something special happens on the 11th, I’d love to see some silverware out of this!

    2. Referendum, I think it’s very hard to call any of the remaining Tests affecting the upper half of the table, except Sco at home to Italy. We should win that and indeed might have to win to stay in the top 8 for the RWC draw depending on how 6N round four goes.

      I think Wales at home to Ireland could be a real spectacle. What with Wales desperate to atone for their disappointing results so far and even more desperate to avoid dropping out of the top 8. And Ireland still in with a real chance to win the title. On top of that, there’s quite a bit of ‘history’ between the two sides and so we can expect some niggle to surface from time to time. Because I don’t think there’s much between all of the top five 6N sides at the top of their game, and because there’s probably more for Wales to lose (as they see it) than Ireland to gain, I think the Welsh could sneak this.

      Calcutta Cup at Twickenham? England will be most people’s favourites. I’ve a funny feeling they will shy away from an open, running game because they’re worried about the speed and skill of Scotland’s 9 to 15. So my guess is they will try to pummel us up front. Which may well backfire because we showed v France we just won’t give up under a forward onslaught, we battled back in the closing 10 to subdue the Ireland pack, and we dominated the Wales pack especially in the loose for most of the second half. We need to continue to work on scrummaging – not so bad v Wales actually – and I’m sure that’s right in hand now. Can’t/don’t want to say we will win, but we are entirely capable with this squad not only of laying the Twickenham hoodoo but also of doing it in some style if everything falls right.

      On the final weekend I can see France beating Wales, motivated by the same fear of the drop below 8th that will motivate Wales when playing Ireland.

      Ireland v England. A close call again. If by then we’ve already beaten England, a draw would be, as they say, ‘NICE’!

    3. The lack of cards so far has been remarkable. There have been so many neck rolls around rucks that haven’t been called back. Really hoping that the England v Scotland game doesn’t have any game changing marginal calls against us. You can see the Twickenham crowd really pressurising the referee if its close.

      I’d be tempted if I was VC to play the video highlights of Leicester v Glasgow to the boys every night for the next 2 weeks to remind them they’ve nothing to fear.

      1. Wise words indeed and you and I know that is all England will be doing these next few weeks, playing videos of their greatest successes against Scotland.Standard RFU international preparation.

      2. Its been bizarre the lack of cards shown…considering some of the offenses committed …and the availability of TMO assistance.

        Maybe they are being saved for the final games….

        Scotland have absolutely nothing to fear…England are a good team surrounded by an awful lot of hype.

    4. John Mc. Looking at it from a purely mental aspect I’d agree. Twickenham hoodoo etc but let’s take that away for a moment. I think that will hardly affect this Scottish team.

      In terms of pure rugby. England have been fortunate or mentally tougher in the crucial aspects of the three games so far in which they deserve credit. But have the performances been as clinical and dominant as last year’s six nations? France had the dominant scrum, didn’t take their chances. That game could have gone either way. But the scrum likely to having parity will make a massive difference against England. To come so close to beating France with such scrum issues is laudable.

      Wales game. England were outplayed for parts of that game and hung on. But like Scotland have done thus far too. Scotland broke away and won comfortably having been under pressure. England needed both class from certain players but a big error in operations from Wales to hand the opportunity. England shouldn’t in anyway shape or firm deserved that win.

      Italy was ridiculous. Poor all round both from problem solving and general play for first 40 mins. Against any other team in six nations they’d have been too far behind to recover in second half.

      England haven’t played a team like Scotland for a while. Fast, running rugby. It has turned out England have the two toughest games last and I reckon Ireland are the best team in tournament by far. We just caught them cold and were clinical.

      All teams make errors yet some of the stuff England have done so far have been uncharacteristic. So for all these reasons England are slight favourites but no more than.

      Be interested in thoughts disagreeing with this…

      1. Nothing in there I’d want to argue with, Referendum. Quite the opposite. And I think your point about Scotland’s players not being affected by our past record at Twickenham is spot on. Their total focus will be on how they can win that Test, knowing that they are actually good enough to do so, and mercifully free of the emotional, historical baggage supporters like me tote to Twickenham every two years.
        It’s nearly a fortnight off yet I’m already getting very excited about 11 March.

      2. I’d say Ireland are probably the best side overall…..but its a close call. England ….as ordinary as I think their rugby is at times… keep on churning the wins.
        Scotland, whilst dominated for a big stretch of the Ireland…I always felt…if they could just refocus and take their own game to Ireland.. they had a bit more flair than them. Id say that Ireland have a squad that is a larger pool of talent tho.
        Wales can bleat all they want about the 3 points that never was….but I suspect that what really got to them was that Scotland have now leapfrogged them. Scotland are now better than Wales.

        Something I totally agree with Scotlands coaching team is that ….Scotland can be much better. Thats what is exciting about this team…. some of the play is the best rugby I have seen for a long long time. The success tho will be determined by how much they can reduce the basic errors.
        If Scotland turn up focussed and put in more than 40 min performance….England are in for an extremely tough match.

  41. I was thinking, could we build a Lions team/squad out of truly detestable individuals? I honestly can’t think of any in the Scotland team that would make it. Trying to see us through the opponents eyes, maybe Greig would be considered to be a bit whiny, Ryan Wilson used to be a liability, and Zander if he keeps on aggressively standing up for his teammates would be up there too, but the others are way ahead of us in the sheer bawbaggery stakes IMO.

    Joe Marler
    Dylan Hartley
    Dan Cole
    George Kruis
    Courtney Lawes
    James Haskell
    Jamie Heaslip
    Rhys Webb
    Dan Biggar
    Liam Williams
    Owen Farrell
    Jack Nowell
    Mike Brown

    Honourable mentions to Chris Ashton, Conor Murray, Jonny Sexton, Tom Wood, Danny Care and Simon Zebo

      1. i think he had that ferret shaved off for a bet. luckily he wears a scrumcap like a wimp so we dont need the see it if not anyway.

    1. Ha ha ha, good call Andy! I can imagine this would cause ructions around the 6N as each countries fans announced their prospective anti-Lions squad. Although to be honest for me it is a pretty short list.

      I’ve warmed to Marler. I think he has matured in the last year or so, so I’d drop him to he maybe squad.

      Hartley, Cole – fair enough.
      What has Kruis done to be on the list?
      For me the second row slot has to go to a French player. Stand up and take a bow Pascal Pape – if you can stand up that is…..
      Haskell – how can you include him in this? It’s like kicking a puppy! :0)
      Stander would be in
      Webb – if it was purely on the pitch he’s in. Off the pitch he seems a different chap. Care and Youngs can travel as 9s instead. Wee Greeg on standby
      Biggar is a whinger, but he’s got nothing on that old luvvie Sexton. I think Finn would be on the list for a lot of foreign fans, maybe next year. By then they will be sick of his cheeky chappy gallusness while orchestrating Scotland to a Grand Slam.
      Earls – first name on the team sheet. He’s such an eejit that he covers 12 AND 13.
      Liam Williams comes across as a grade A numpty – he’s in.
      Ashton definitely.
      At full back I would say it is a toss up between Brown and Hogg. Hogg isn’t favourably viewed beyond the border after the diving thing.

      1. It’s likely that off the pitch Brown is a perfectly decent chap. On it, he’s often been a complete kn*b, and he has shown that more and more as his form has declined these past two seasons. In fact, after that appalling missed tackle for Italy’s second try on Sunday, there’s a good chance he won’t even start at Twickenham on 11 March.

  42. So, I was reading various comments on various blogs about who should in the 23 with the Lions against New Zealand and I found myself getting a bit wound up. In spite of how well Scotland have played there is still minimal representation on the tour, even to the degree that Hogg isn’t even in a lot of proposed XVs.

    Now from a Scottish perspective I think that it would benefit us more if no players toured with the Lions, but for me it’s more about recognition for the efforts of the players and the coaches, and proving that we have, finally, returned as a force in World Rugby.

    The subject has been done to death already, and I’m not going to attempt to pick a team, instead I am going to give a few opinions on what should happen regarding the touring party, although I am looking at it from the point of view of a fair-minded coach:

    Regarding Scottish players; IMO Hogg is nailed on. Yes he has issues defensively, but there is no better attacking player in the 6N. Russell is in great form and should at least tour, Watson is the standout 7 in the 6N and should tour, Dunbar has been a rock defensively and may be a bolter, and I reckon both Grays should go over too.

    AWJ, who has been touted as Lions captain shouldn’t tour. In terms of form he wouldn’t be in the top 6 locks, and I think his captaincy isn’t up to scratch as demonstrated on Saturday.

    Halfpenny is a shadow of his former self and would be back up FB at best, but probably shouldn’t tour.

    I don’t understand the hype around Furlong. He is good in the loose but he bores in at scrum time. A fit Nel is better.

    A lot of calls for Billy Vunipola which I don’t understand. Players who aren’t fit at this time of year shouldn’t be considered as they will be undercooked by tour time.

    The Welsh representation should be minimal. I’d take L. Williams, Warburton, Webb, maybe Tipuric but that’s it.

    Of course, with Gatland being in charge none of this will matter, even if we win our last 2 and Wales lose their last 2 I will pretty much guarantee that more Wales players than Scottish player will tour.

    1. Jeremy Guscott has an article published by BBC sport today which names his lions team based on 6N week 3 performance. He had FIVE scots included.He chose Hogg, Visser, Jones, Barclay and Brown. The 15 comprised 5 scots, 5 irish , 3 welsh and 2 English.

      It is just building us up for a fall at Twickenham ! Probably not. Just had a thought, maybe he thinks we could win and does not want to build England up (cunning)

    2. Let’s wait until we see the final table. If Scotland finish 1st or 2nd and Wales finish 5th it’s going to be very hard for Gatland to pick his favourites in reputation. Guys like Faletau, Halfpenny, Biggar were nailed in to tour a month ago but are going to have to do something amazing to stay on the plane.

      1. Well, Scotland finished 3rd in 2013 and Ireland 5th, but far more Irish were on the tour…

    3. Frazer – a lot of proposed XVs have got one thing in common. They aren’t going to be the starting Test XV in New Zealand. So why give two hoots about them? I saw one yesterday which had about 8 Welshmen in it which came from a Welsh fan via the Lions twitter account. They had obviously just put it out there to stir up debate and keep their brand in the news.

      Also, you say a fit Nel would be better than Furlong, but in the next sentence dispense with the currently injured B. Vunipola because he will be undercooked come tour time. Surely the same argument applies to Nel?

      Also, what of the counter-argument that an injured player with 5 or 6 games under their belt is the ideal tourist as they are fresh mentally and physically? I would be having a good hard look at both Nel and Vunipola as they both are top class in their positions. Vunipola especially has come along very well under Eddie Jones.

      1. Ade, I said that Vunipola should be discounted due to injury, as should Nel incidentally, purely due to the fact that they won’t have been exposed to top level rugby for a number of weeks, and will only have a short time to play themselves into form prior to when the squad is announced, and my core point is that players ought to be picked on merit rather than reputation. Even if Nel comes back within the next 4 weeks, he will only play against Scarlets, Connacht, Treviso and Dragons and Vunipola would play Glasgow, Bath, Quins and Saints – hardly adequate preparation for the ABs.

        When I compared Nel with Furlong, again I was using that comparison to dispel the hype around Furlong, who seems to be seen as the tight head messiah, and who is a good player, but not a great one. I wasn’t trying to suggest that Nel be included in the squad for one second, although were he fully fit he would be 1st choice TH for me.

  43. I think the reason primarily England have looked more scratchy is a lack of go forward ball normally generated by Billy Vunipola. Nathan Hughes just isn’t in the same league. George Ford is a great fly half on the front foot but nowhere near as good on the back foot (like most fly halves.)
    If I were England I would not want an open game.In my view the Scottish back line are the more clinical and creative and the Scottish pack are better in the loose,maybe with the exception of itoje and even then I wouldn’t swap either of the grays, Barclay or Watson for him. So 10 man rugby then for England with Marler scrummaging acutely to go for scrum penalties and Farrell kicking to corners. Unfortunate that there’s no big Scotland number 8 uninjured and on song.
    On a side note, if I were Italy I would have pulled out their ruckless tactic after half time.i know they didn’t against Ireland but generally they compete pretty well until halftime and doing it after half time would have meant no opportunity for England to ask their coaches for a mitigating game plan and may have offset their drop off when the bench came on. Admittedly EJ could have got a message through the subs bench.

    1. England will try to smother Scotland from the start of the match and then open up if/when they see Scotland dropping in focus and confidence.

      I hope Scotland select there opportunities, and when time is right, go hard through the 9, 10, 12 axis of England. Ford is a fairy. England will be very aware of Scotland’s pace off the backs… Their backs have nowhere near the flair…and use very structured play to attack. If Scotland get good fast ball to their backs they’ll cause England more problems that they have had for quite some time….if not …England will win in a scrappy affair.

  44. If Billy V is fit, he travels. Simply as that. There is no other number 8 in worls rugby that offers such a destructive carrying option.

    Vunipola on crash ball #1 – two men to bring him down. Stander on crash ball #2 – two men to bring him down. 4 AB’s out the game to our 2. That will be the crux of the Warrenball strategy this time around. Big pack and some mobile backs to make the best of the space available.

    1. Not disagreeing with Vunipola but you’re forgetting the one possibly two guys required to clear out the tacklers and secure the ball, unless you’re planning on the lions playing “O’sheaball”.

      1. Look at BV at his best over the past 12 months he has added the offload and he has also at times went, one assumes, for the crash ball and when taken it to the line plays the pop pass instead – its an incredibly powerful tactic. If fit he travels, he plays and will be a game changer.

        Probably 6 back row players travelling with Itoje being the hybrid lock / flanker.
        Warburton, Stander, O’Brien, B Vunipola, Falateu – then you are looking at Robshaw, Watson or Tipuric

  45. For Seymour’s try – 9 phases a beautiful delayed pass & a lovely dummy run by Jones, for Visser’s try 13 phases & a cracking Russell pass & magical Hogg hands. Almost NZ esque.
    Re the Lions Martin won’t be far away but Faleteu needs a performance to justify his inclusion.
    If it were me no residency qualified boys would go……….

    1. That’s a little harsh, rightly or wrongly the project players now represent their respective countries, and by extension are eligible for the B and I Lions.

      I really hope that Hamish Watson’s efforts are recognised in a call up for the Lions. He has, in my eyes been the standout back row forward in the tournament, and a back row of Stander, Watson and Vunipola would be an excellent balance of power and good old fashioned ball-snaffling nuisancery!

      1. That is a wonderful back-row, which is why it won’t be the starting one in any game, far less test. Watson being the guy who won’t figure.

        Billy Vunipola and CJ Stander (fitness allowing) are IMHO not only nailed on tourists, but probably Test starters. Both terrific players.

      2. I’d like to see O’Brien, Watson , Vunipola…..

        Like you say tho…. never happen.. not with stubborn chump in charge.

    2. You mean those ‘Simple’ tries that Eddie Jones has been referring to in the press?

      Great tries…and anything but ‘simple’.

      1. I hope we have a media exclusion in the camp from the goblin’s guff. Just let it all pour out, BVC can edit it, and put on motivation board on match day.

      2. Yeah hoping Scotland coaching and team ignore all that utter garbage from Jones and use the ‘good stuff’ on the dressing room walls of Twit ‘n’ ham.

  46. I see Anti-Scot Gatland is spending the day on Thursday before match with England and their coaching staff…. to no doubt help plot an England win v Scotland. A Scotland win really would screw his pre selected lions pics.

    1. Totally unconcerned about Fatland and where he goes and what he does. He won’t influence Jones one whit, and when it comes to selecting a Lions squad, it’s up to him, whether we like it or not. As for the composition of that squad, I guess we will see whether he is a top quality coach or a brass necked Bluffer.

      I was in NZ when the Lions were last there and we know how successful SCW was then. I fear a repeat.

      1. Who cares about the Lions; a full strength Scotland would give Australia a good run for their money this Summer. How epic would it be if we went and won away to one of the SH giants whilst the English Welsh and Irish Lions were getting spanked 3-0…

      2. On the other hand we are horribly dependent on Russell and Hogg at the moment. Wouldn’t be a bad thing necessarily to play a few tests and prepare with the likes of Weir, Jackson or even Kinghorn. At some point we’re going to have to cope without our stars. Maybe even give Townshend an opportunity to get Hastings training with the squad if he is seen as next cab off the rank. Russell and Hogg aren’t going to play every game in the RWC.

      3. Yeah we are very dependent on Russell , Hogg and a few others…we should be using the OZ tour with competitive teams with a mix and match of experience and new young talent.
        The likes of Weir, Jackson….etc I think we need to move on from them. They have been good at times…but clearly aren’t the future of a successful Scottish side. High level test exposure to young talent is hugely beneficial…. Kinghorn, Cummings, Hastings…etc

      4. Problem is Kinghorn never really plays FH for Edinburgh so would be asking a lot to get him to jump in for a summer test series. Hastings has only started a handful of senior games. Until either of them are actually playing FH in senior professional games, they aren’t ready to do anything more than train alongside the squad. Kinghorn could be pushing for FB spot soon but if he is to challenge at FH for Scotland he needs to do it with Edinburgh first. For now, we need Weir and Jackson even if they are yesterday’s men.

      5. I’d agree with that in a 6 nations context for e.g.. however, for this summer tour…and considering GT needs to find his own pool of future talent I would disregard club form. Youth are upend down in their development regardless. Top level test exposure helps no end to their skills development…and maybe gives them the motivation to get there quicker.

  47. Billy vunipola apparently back fit and playing for saracens against Newcastle this weekend…may even be back fit for Scotland the following weekend…

    1. Same for Ali Dickinson. Would be great, if unlikely, that he is back in Scotland contention for the England match. He has really been missed at loosehead.

    2. ….also…. we heard all the same stuff about Faletau playing for Wales against us. I didn’t notice he was on the field until someone told me he’d been on for 10 mins.

  48. I like watching BBC Alba… confuses the wife and the kids… but didn’t need the English to see how badly Dickinson was hurt there. Best wishes to him and hope it wasn’t as serious as it seemed…

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