Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


England v Scotland – Player Ratings

Where's Dougie Donnelly? - See Episode 108 of the Podcast

15. Stuart Hogg: Looked pumped at the anthems but went off midway into the first half with a head knock and never returned. Stripped ball earning a good turnover. Scotland evidently too reliant on his creativity and get go – 5/10

14. Tommy Seymour: Switched to full back after Hogg’s replacement Bennett went off. At sixes and sevens defensively.  –0/10

13. Huw Jones: Did well for both his tries but was part of a defence which shipped six tries and was at fault for gaps in defence that allowed England to run riot. –0/10

12. Alex Dunbar: Tireless at the breakdown but unlucky to come up against a referee in awe to his hallowed surroundings. At fault for the first try and guilty of leaving gaps for England to steamroller through. –0/10

11. Tim Visser: Largely anonymous. Part of a defensive set up that parted like the Red Sea for Joseph’s tries. One good break in the second half but wasted when he was too easily turned over. –0/10

10. Finn Russell: Incapable of changing games when his team are on the back foot. Won’t be world class until he can –0/10

9. Ali Price: Switched to the wing as part of a makeshift Scotland backline. Was superb in the air and coped well with being asked to play in an unfamiliar position in a match like this – 5/10

1. Gordy Reid: Scored a try. Held up well in the scrum. But was part of a Scotland forward pack that was too easily wound up by England – 0/10

2. Fraser Brown: Occassion got to him and yellow carded within first two minutes. Could have been much worse. Lions contender going into the game. Unlikely to be in contention at all now – 0/10

3. Zander Fagerson: Held up well in the scrum but getting too involved in the afters. Needs to grow up. Missed three tackles – 0/10

4. Richie Gray: Couple of good breaks through a strong England defence but too easily found out (even by the referee) at the breakdown  – 0/10

5. Jonny Gray: Falls over on the ball too easily for someone of his size. Gave away a soft penalty after a Scotland try that might have seen them claw their way back into the match. Made 8 tackles and missed two. No longer a shoe in to make Lions Test squad – 0/10

6. John Barclay: Communication with the referee was excellent challenging him on his inconsistent decisions and reluctance to show cards to England players. As Captain must shoulder responsibility for not tightening things up or switching to Plan B after second try – 0/10

7. Hamish Watson: Managed some of his trademark runs but exposed at the breakdown. Back to touring with Scotland in the summer. No longer deserving of a nickname – 0/10

8. Ryan Wilson: Tackled well but not quick enough to the breakdown to clear out bodies. Largely anonymous – 0/10


16. Ross Ford: Hardly an impact sub. Scotland should be looking elsewhere for a replacement hooker – 2/10

17. Allan Dell: Soft hands for Jones’s second try and made a huge 6 tackles. One of the highest of any Scotland player despite coming on as a substitute. Should start against Italy – 5/10

18. Simon Berghan: Nothing to suggest he should be starting. Might be worth a punt though for a laugh – 2/10

19. Tim Swinson: Does what Tim Swinson does but way too late to make any sort of impact – 2/10

20. Cornell du Preez: A debut to forget. Game was gone and made little impact. Must start against Italy – 2/10

21. Henry Pyrgos: Presumably given the nod to kick Price to the wing in order to steady the ship. Did nothing of the sort – 0/10

22. Duncan Weir: Asked to play full back. Did as well as could be expected. Game was lost well before he was introduced – 2/10

23. Mark Bennett: Injured himself with almost first touch of the ball due to being indecisive. Not the player he was at the World Cup. Hopefully switch to Edinburgh and their all star all firing back line will be just what he needs – 1/10

It might seem gimmickly to give zeros but the truth is an International team of Scotland’s calibre should not be shipping 60+ points to anyone. Not even the All Blacks. This was a dire performance and rather than pulling together the team completely fell apart. Completely unacceptable at this level.

Scotland were not helped by the referee but then again he didn’t make them give away a bucket load of soft penalties and Scotland were slow to respond to his advice about their behaviour at the breakdown (regardless of whether they agreed with it or not).

The coaches, of course, must shoulder some of the blame and it’ll be interesting to see if those petitions demanding Cotter stay are quietly mothballed.

82 Responses

  1. That was bloody awful. 0 for most of the players is maybe a bit extreme but agree that sort of performance is unacceptable at this level. Questions surely need to be asked of how Cotter and co prepared the team mentally for this game, they looked completely rattled once Hogg went off, if not after the yellow card.

    God knows how we’ll do next week if Hogg, Seymour, Bennett and Wilson are all injured in addition to the guys we’ve lost already. If I were Conor O’Shea I’d be watching the tape of this game and licking my lips

    1. The English are all bragging again bcos their team is winning but they playing against teams that are all rebuilding. Come world cup they’ll lose in semi finals, breaking their heart again just like all their teams does. If Ireland should play the way they did against NZ they’ll beat England by 20+.

      1. You silly man. England, as you know, have always been better then Scotland at rugby. So grow a pair.

      2. Have Scotland ever won the World Cup?
        Unlike you and your shallow outlook, I would love Scotland to win the WC.

  2. Bit harsh on Huw Jones, i thought he took his tries very well. He should get at least a 6 for them.

    Although we have beaten Wales and Ireland, we havent been able to back up the performance in the next game at all. If anything the France and England games were massive backwards steps after such great wins. If Hogg, Bennett, Seymour and Wilson are all out for Italy I would line up like this:


    Du Preez

    At the end of the day the win against Italy would make 3/5 wins and I think this side would be capable of that, Italy looked terrible v France

    1. this would be my team.

      1. Jon Welsh
      2.Pat Mcarthur
      3. Simon Berghan
      4.Scott Cummings
      5.Richie Gray
      6.Jamie Richie
      7.Hamish Watson
      8.John Barclay
      9.Sam Hidalgo Clyne
      10.Finn Russell
      11. Tim Visser
      12. Peter Horne
      13. Matt scott
      14. Joe Ansbro
      15. Huw Jones
      16. Stuart Mcnilly
      17. Ross Ford (Replacements LH)
      18. Zander Fagerson
      19. Jonny Gray
      20. Tim Swinson (Backrow)
      21. Ali Price
      22. Alex Dunbar
      23. Sean Maitland
      Reserve Player
      24. Tommy seymore

      1. Bless! At least he’s here and engaging. More than some do. I’d forgotten all about poor Joe Ansbro. I liked him as a nippy centre and would have looked good on the wing too if called to fill in. I last heard he was teaching somewhere. I wish him well.

      2. Apologies Neil and Rory, no intention of having a go or anything. The unorthodox collection of first choicers, young-guns, golden oldies and non-squad players threw me a bit and was genuinely wondering if it was a serious lineup or a joke around.

        For the record on the team to play Italy I think we should stick as much as possible to current squad players and wait until the summer to blood the new guys. Think there is a lot to be said for knowing the systems the guys have been working on in training for two months and also for giving a lot of the current XV and squad a chance at redemption for last week. Against Italy is not the time to roll the dice selection-wise.

  3. 2 words – Dan Parks. We seriously need his game management and kicking skills brought in to the group to steady the ship. Russell had a nightmare and is not a serious number 10 at international level, the long mis-pass on his own try line summed it up. There is risk taking and there is downright irresponsible. The kick offs out on the full and penalty kicks missing touch are amateur stuff.

    Brown (stupid foul) and a couple of others like Russell deserve a zero, marks for the others are very harsh/unfair in my opinion. All the little breaks that went our way in the first 3 games, it was paid back and more in this match.

    1. The penalty kicks missing touch were a tactic – we had no hooker on the pitch, and were happy to play without one by avoiding a line out until we had to

  4. 100% agree Cammy. I’ve lived in Ireland for the last 15 years and have seen how the attitude to rugby has changed. The way to get kids playing (and thus improve the team in 10 or 15 years) is to have a successful national team. Results like today’s not only hurt the current team, but the way it is perceived by youngsters. If Scotland want to be a top 5 rugby nation, they’ve just got the start winning championships. Nothing less. Success today will breed success in 10 years. As I said, I’ve lived in Ireland for 15 years. My local rugby club is in an area where, when I first moved her, rugby was discouraged. None of the local schools played rugby, and the club had a player base of maybe 30. That’s 30 in total, from 1sts to minis. Today, due to the success of Ireland at the national level, it has over 300 members, and 6 secondary schools in the county have rugby teams. I feel for Scotland to progress as a rugby nation over the next decade, we’ve got to take our chance with this once in a generation group of players. We’ve just got to win.

    1. Nobody pretends that yesterday wasn’t a terrible hammering.
      But it doesn’t cancel out the good that has been done this season at Murrayfield.
      As the 6 nations moves to a shorter and shorter time, presumably down to 5 back to back weeks by the end of this decade our small pool will be more and more tested.

      1. Yep, last year beat France for first time in a decade, this year beat Wales for first time in a decade and beat 4th best team in the world. May finish 6N victorious in all home games. Yesterday sucked but we are slowly learning to win. It’s a long road but we’re heading in the right direction.

  5. It was poor but I think this article is lazy journalism. Doesn’t deserve to be written I’m afraid. Very harsh and emotional. Just because we were sure we’d have a chance doesn’t mean we go to the opposite extreme. I do agree with some of what you say but again I think we’ve gone from one extreme to the other. Typical Scottish reaction.

  6. Agree with Referendum, Cammy you should have “taken an hour, had a cup of tea & went for a nice wee walk” before writing this.

    1. Two questions: Firstly what happened to Hoggy, and is he available for next week? Secondly (off subject) if a project player plays for Scotland then subsequently moves abroad to play, has a family abroad, are his children eligible to play for Scotland?

    2. In Cammy’s defence, I’m sure there is a large dose of (dark) irony in this article. He doesn’t actually think they deserve 0/10. Agree we need to get right behind the lads, but a bit of venting is understandable given how shocking the march was, as long as it’s followed by a more balanced response.

  7. Re Hogg, its not clear, Scotland attacking on the left Russell tackled by Launchbury knock on, Hogg takes a knee & goes off not to return.

    Re project player’s kids – i assume as Daddy played for Scotland son is qualified. (anyone in mind David)

    1. When he took a knee there was no contact with another player, certainly not to his head. Possibly the high tackle in the 8th minute (from which we won a penalty, from which Finn missed touch)? It actually was hardly a tackle at all from what I can see, more like the open heel of the England player’s hand direct to Hogg’s face. I agree with others who have said that that tackle warranted closer attention from the ref.

      1. I’m pretty certain it was this high tackle that caused it. If Hogg had stayed down (like Daly), this weak minded ref would have no doubt taken more of a look.

      2. Itoje’s hand to the face pulls Hogg back, Haskell then forearms him straight in the face.

      3. To slowwalk 90;
        I think that’s a bit rich; Daley clearly couldn’t continue…in what way did he ‘stay down’? Have a look at the Daley incident again. It was clearly a tip tackle; however, a closer look will show that as Daley lands, he bounces up slightly off the turf and your hooker comes to ground his head seems to then catch Daley full square on the the head. Have a look.
        England didn’t really commit to some of the rucks yesterday leaving a solid defensive line so partially negating the advantage of the back row you’d picked. I think there was also fair bit of trying to take out guards before being bound in the ruck?

        You’ve a good ,young team that will become very good. they will be better for this and it happens to most teams at some point; Eng v S Africa in 2003, the latter hammered; Eng hammered by Aus 76 -0; Eng v Wales 62-5 in ’07 then Wales then win the grand slam in ‘0-8 with virtually the same squad.

        You’ll do well over the next year I’ve no doubt, but I don’t think yesterday was in large part down to the referee.

  8. Agree 100% Cammy. If we want to be considered one of the real top sides in the world then we have to raise our standards as supporters. No more games too far, off days, the lads gave it their best but it didn’t come off. That was a disgrace and must never be allowed to happen again. That’s not to say defeat is unacceptable, but in that manner certainly it is.

    And let’s not have any excuses about England being too big. The graphic before the first scrum showed a difference of less than 1kg per player and the Scotland pack showed good physicality with ball in hand near the English line. The problem was mentality and organisation.

    Finally, much has been said of ‘organised chaos’, a tactic which has of course made this the most exciting Scotland team in some time. But too much focus appears to have been put on that. Getting the ball super wide as soon as we have go forward means our excellent centres have barely had a chance of their own. The truth about ‘organised chaos’ is that it is a system based entirely around 1 man, Stuart Hogg. And it took our attack 40 minutes to begin to adapt to his departure. It should be a tactic which we use, but we need more variety to get the best out of all our players.

  9. Fair split between those who think I’ve been too harsh and those who think it’s deserved.
    Sure the guys will challenge me on podcast about it. Worth listening in this week.

  10. I agree with Cammy here. I’m glad the article didn’t go for scraping the barrel for scraps of optimism approach. As for this being a typical Scottish over reaction, No! If Ireland shipped 60 points to England there would be a massive negative reaction – it’s a sign of expectations of a good team. My Irish mates at the moment are being very critical of their team and it’s supposed all black crushing credentials – their words, not mine.

  11. I get the temptation for a howl of rage into the the darkness after that, but IMHO this is poor from the usually perspicacious Mr Black.

    Firstly, no-one deserves a zero if they set foot on a test match rugby pitch. They’re putting their bodies (and in the case of Scotland, their actual brains) on the line for your entertainment. Show them a bit of respect.

    Zander Fagerson needs to grow up? He’s the youngest player in the tournament, and he’s playing 70-80 minutes at a time. He’s growing up faster than anyone on earth his age. He shouldn’t be put in this position, but with Nel injured, there isn’t anyone else.

    Same with the back row – of course it was phenomenally risky playing 3 sevens against the English monsters. When it was clear the ref had a blind spot for holding on in the ruck, we were done. But again, we were playing 3 sevens because there was no-one else.

    The one area that we are objectively better than England is in the back three. And for the last quarter of the match, our back three was Tim Visser, Ali Price and Duncan Weir. To have a chance, we needed everything to go right, and everything went wrong.

    Finally, we all need to take a bit of responsibility for this – all this talk of a Scotland team missing a third of its starters going to Twickenham and beating a full strength England put pressure on the Scots and riled up the English. It was silly, it was over-the-top, but let’s face it – it felt good. That’s why we did it. This team had earned that feel-good factor. Now, against Italy, they have to earn it all over again. But having already scored 10 tries and given us some amazing moments, let’s not overdo it in the other direction.

    1. Good comment. I was at murrayfield for Wales and Ireland and will be there for Italy. This team has given me the most excitement watching rugby for years. This result hurts but it hurts them much more than me. I hope they bounce back, beat Italy well and get a finishing place they can be proud of. It might have checked our feeling of being on an upward curve but no one said it was going to be easy. A lot of hard work to come.

  12. I assume the 0/10s to be a joke, but how ironic that the Blog is retweeting about a lack of respect for Laidlaw, and then publishes this . . . . It’s a sad day when I have to rely on Stephen Jones for a more objective view.

    A couple of clichés :

    1. Reality check. We’re not the fourth best team in the world, and England are well ahead in 2nd and would give the ABs a real run in a series, not a one off like Ireland. They were always going to produce a performance, particularly when they were almost full strength. Pity we chose the same day to produce our most insipid showing for a long while. From the outset Fraser Brown set the tone. You can argue the colour of card ( nailed on red for me ) but there is no arguing it was a dangerous and particularly stupid tackle. Back foot from the word go.

    2. Throwing the baby out with the bath water. Simply, we’re far better than that and we need to put it behind us. I’ve seen posts on various forums saying thank god Cotter is leaving. Almost as stupid as Fraser Brown. When we’re at full strength, we’re currently a fairly young team pitching around 6 in the world, with plenty of time to develop. The two good wins against Ireland and Wales shouldn’t be lost sight of.

    Yesterday was just awful – seniors, under 20s ( who at least gave it a good lash ), women ( and fair enough it’s professionals v amateurs there ) and 7s. As my English friends watching with me sang afterwards, “Let it Go”. And get enough fit bodies on the park to finish on a high against Italy ( who as always will target the game against us as their winnable game )

  13. Devastated as I am as a mere spectator, one can only imagine the effect of this defeat on the Scottish team’s morale. No-one could argue with the justice of the English win but I believe strongly that the MAGNITUDE of our defeat can justly be blamed on the match officials, above all on the referee. No Scots team would want to be saddled with the ignominy of the worst defeat in Calcutta Cup history……but that is the cross our players must now bear.
    People talk about adapting to a referee’s interpretations at the breakdown but in training coaches will be repeating ball-winning drills again and again and again until they become second nature to the players. The coaches will also try to ensure that these drills conform to the rules. If on the field of play our players are then constantly penalised for putting these drills into practice, the breakdown will become a virtual no-go or no-contest area for them, destroying any hope of turnovers, which are both key to disrupting the opposition’s continuity and to giving opportunities for attack against a relatively disorganised defence. Any resultant penalties (against) also gift the opposition huge territorial gains or an immediate 3 points. Conversely, our strike-rate when we achieved a modicum of continuity and managed to get into anything like a scoring position was pretty good
    Yesterday it was almost as if we were being punished for daring to aspire to a place at the top table in world rugby what with the myopic decisions of the referee, the TMO Ben Skeen’s non-award of a yellow card for Hughes’ late tackle, and the ignoring of a blatant knock-on by Danny Care at the base of a ruck in the lead-up to his own triumphalist, swallow-dive try. THAT really was rubbing salt into our wounds.
    Finally, that game should lay to rest our long-held notion that our opposition’s advantages in size can be negated by moving them about the pitch and thereby tiring them out. Both France and England proved yesterday that their strong physiques (disparagingly called “globogym” in this blog) in no way diminish their mobility or stamina. Much more attention must be applied to this area of our players’ development, otherwise we will always be outmuscled and inevitably defeated.

    1. Post of the week. I don’t know but maybe someone can tell me, Is this the way this ref plays all his matches with this pretty unique interpretation? if so then coaches and leadership in the team didn’t do their homework. Clearly England did. That to me is the biggest failing.

      In terms of “Globalgym” it maybe disrespectful but it is a funny take on “ruckgate” and is more imaginative than the stupid rascist comments I got thrown at me constantly yesterday. In the end it’s a light hearted joke that most see as a bit of jest. And clearly we see the result of England’s first decent performance in this championship.

      1. Don’t recall any of this criticism when he reffed Glasgow at Leicester in the ERC 6 weeks ago. Perhaps my memory is fading . . .

      2. No! The tiresome ‘globogym’ comments was exposed as ignorance as to modern strength and conditioning. Stats indicated the Scottish pack as being heavier than the English one. The levels of athleticism of the home side were of a different order rendering nt Plan A obsolete.

    2. The TMO in our 2015 RWC QF was Ben Skeet. He cost us dearly that day playing a similar interventionist role in coming in to persuade Joubert to bin Maitland for a deliberate knock on. On Saturday, intervened to overturn the refs decision to card Hughes for the tackle on Seymour. Very strange way of operating for a TMO….I have never quite seen the like….as if he was in charge not the ref. It has happened twice now….both counting against Scotland. Weird.

  14. As gutting as that result is we just have to hope it goes down as a major lesson to what is a young teams still very much on its upward curve. For the Italy game I’d go with:



    Dell, Ford, Berghan, Toolis, Bradbury, Pyrgos, Weir, Hoyland.

    This is assuming Hogg, Seymour and Wilson are unavailable. I’d mainly stick with the same team and give them a chance to bounce back, I’d like to see them going with the mindset they’ve let themselves down this weekend and only a total crushing of Italy will even begin to repay that. Hughes and Maitland are probably next cabs off the rank and both will defend well against an Italy back line that has a fair bit of size and could have a trick or two up its sleeve. I’d rest Dunbar for this one as he looks knackered and Scott deserves a chance. I’d bring Swinson in at 6 mainly because I think his abrasion will be useful and I’m not convinced anyone else is really putting their hand up in the back row unlike Toolis in the second row who deserves to be on the bench. I’d be tempted to either start Berghan to see if he could be a long term option as a solid scrummaging tighthead (a rare commodity) or drop him altogether and bring a younger option like McCallum or Rae onto the bench with the last ten or fifteen minutes in mind. Yes they are young but I really think our teams biggest weakness is depth at prop and we need more options.

    1. Latest news on injuries not good at all. I think after all the good he has done for Scotland it would be harsh to drop/rest Alex Dunbar. Shockers in midfield are all the more noticeable because of the try-conceding consequences. I’d be inclined, if he’s fit, to stick him back out there on Saturday and give him his chance to show he remains a class player. Got to hand it to England, there were aspects of their attack set up from set-piece that just seemed to confuse and unbalance a midfield defence that had been pretty stalwart in the first three rounds but was shredded yesterday. And we may need Dunbar’s experience on the field if we have to pick much less experienced players next week.

  15. You’ve admitted our area of weakness is our props and where are Italy strongest? We go backwards against them then the game is in the balance. The summer is where we experiment not this week. I’m slightly nervous about Italy depending who is out with concussion. Hogg looked ok going off so perhaps not a terrible hit just an initial daze. Unlikely they are all out next week surely?

    1. Hogg failed his HIA so will be on return to play protocols. Seems unlikely he’ll be available but minimum is 6 days so he could just make it.

      I don’t think Italy’s scrum is particularly good anymore but we are fast running out of backrow options if Wilson is out too. Need fast ball, when we lost 2 years ago it was because Italy slowed our possession down and hung in there. We’re miles better than them but not there is a lot of pressure on this game and our squad is in the middle of a full on injury crisis. Grim – but one more push and we can be satisfied with the season as a whole.

  16. I’m devastated. We’re all devastated. The TEAM will be devastated.

    It was a perfect storm against us. Our worst performance under Vern. England’s best performance under Jones. A ref interpreting the law differently for both teams and bizarrely not binning Hughes. More injuries to key players and at important times.

    What the guys need to do is start tomorrow by locking themselves in a room and having it out. Rant at each other, giving certain people what they deserve. Shout and scream and swear about all he injustices. Quite frankly, a bit of a punch up would probably the best way to lay it all out can could be a cathartic experience.

    Get it all out. Get fired up. And take that all out on the training pitch, then at Murrayfield next Saturday.

  17. Very harsh. So many things went against them injury and decision wise that it turned what was a bad day at the office into a day they’ll want to forget. I doubt any of them deserves 0/10 as they all put in effort and most did something positive at some point in the game (bar Mark Bennet although you can hardly blame him for his bad luck). Only player that truly disappointed me throughout was Barclay, allowing himself to be got at and for completely failing at keeping the team working cohesively. Will need a new captain when Townsend takes over.

  18. As an Englishman I was surprised by the magnitude of the victory, not that we won. I thought we would squeak home in the last 10mins when the bench emptied.
    I’ll probably get pilloried for this, but it is slightly bemusing to a rugby fan who happens to be English to see fellow rugby fans motivated by hatred of the opposition, not really rugby is it.

    1. Congratulations Rob on a powerful England performance yesterday. Have to say, even though it was unpleasant to see some anti-English bile poured onto the BBC HYS, I’ve not seen anything that could be construed as actual hatred for England on this forum. And on HYS itself, a lot of Scots thankfully intervened to challenge and apologise for the cruder anti-English outbursts. Once again, well done yesterday.

      1. BBC HYS is always full of abuse. Some forums just attract these types of posters. This type of thing might be bemusing to someone who’d never used the internet before, it is just run of the mill online garbage.

  19. Well Cammy, your player ratings have generated comment for sure. For me they are neither accurate nor fair in any sense and do not give anyone reading them the impression that they are a reasonable assessment. To award Huw Jones a 0/10 is bizarre given he scored two of our three tries and was playing in the most exposed position on the park at 13 – I know I’ve played there countless times. When the guys inside are held or fall in towards the set piece or breakdown, at 13 you are left stranded. As for your comments on Mark Bennett’s injury being because of indecision on his part, well that is just crass. Let’s hope that it’s a medial problem rather than an ACL issue. As a previous contributor offered, we were hit with the perfect storm. England played fabulously well throughout, hardly making a bad decision. The ref was indeed inconsistent at the breakdown but hey guess what, refs tend to be homers in all internationals. We’ve had our fair share of 50/50’s when at Murrayfield. Injuries worked against us. 8 HIA’s over the two away games is a huge number. The yellow card hurt us even though it was right at the start. Ali Price is where Brown would have been at the lineout for the first score and this was one of the reasons that JJ scooted through unopposed. Had Brown still been on the park Price would have been further infield and may have got a hand on him, I stress ‘may’.

    England’s use of dummy runners at the 3 lineouts they scored from in the first half was excellent. They’d identified that Russell is a potential weak link defensively and by faking to run down his channel, first with Farrell and then twice with Hughes, they created space between Dunbar and Jones and romped through each time. The Scots brought Watson in after the first score but wrongly for me, played him at 12, where really your best midfield defender/leader should be. They should have stuck him at 10 and shuffled everyone else out one slot. By doing that they might have been able to close the gaps further out. Simply put, we are nowhere near England at the moment, but we can take a lot of learning from yesterday as well as some encouragement for scoring 3 tries, 2 of which came after lengthy phase play.

  20. Stereotypical high minded statement…could you leave us to wallow and rage, at least for a day and you will see that we have moved on.

    The Scotland team will return the respect given yesterday but not anytime too soon.

  21. I hardly think someone has never been there is in the position to award 0/10, low marks yes, but 0/10, you should really rethink this post.
    Secondly, the breakdown, it was refereed correctly over the ball, the Scots being guilty of repeated slowing down and sealing off. The concern I would actually have was the Scots taking out a guard of England as the ruck formed, illegally creating a space to drive round the side of the ruck. Poitre was correct last week that you can’t pull people into a ruck, nor can you clear a man out who is not in it.
    Thirdly, yellow cards, Brown was so lucky not to have a red, as for Hughes, the TMO instructed the ref “late only no card”, just as the ref was going to card him. I disagree with over use of technology, and this is one reason why, but don’t call the referee for it.
    Scotland had an absolute nightmare, which many English have sympathy with. They will continue to improve, and I hope Cammy orders custard with the humble pie he will be eating shortly.

    1. Totally agree with your comments on the 0/10 ratings Rodney but think Cammy is trying to generate debate. His comment on Bennett injuring himself due to his own indecision is crass! I would take issue with you on the refereeing tho. IMO the ref was inconsistent at the breakdown and this favoured England massively. The way he reffed it effectively neutered both Watson and Barclay who are renowned dogs on the floor. None of the England back row are known for these qualities. Your comments about clearing out of ‘guards’ at the ruck confuses me. You’re either part of the ruck or you are in front of the ball and hence out of the game. Should you block an opponent trying to reach the ball whilst you are not part of the ruck then you are guilty of obstruction. All sides clear out way beyond the ball looking to tie in players, normally scrum halves. I’m not saying that’s right just that it happens and is rarely penalised. Refs in this and other games tend to favour the home team in 50/50 decisions. I think the Scots have had their fair share of them at Murrayfield this season so far. On the subject of cards. I agree that Brown’s should have been red and would have been had it not been so early in the match. Hughes should have seen yellow. He made a pathetic attempt to wrap his right arm around and it was definitely late. The ref communicated with the TMO that he would card Hughes as it was a second offence following a similar one by an England player in the first half. Nothing came back from the TMO which should have changed his initial decision. Remember this guy cost Wasps a home quarter-final in the Champions’ Cup with a ridiculous decision in Connacht.

    2. I appreciate your view on the refs interptetstion but how about this: Visser makes a clean break and is tackled but not held by Nowell. Before he gets up, brown flops on him and wrestles the ball out. Isn’t this a penalty for playing the man on the floor? Another incident was a tackle where a second after the ref calls tackle Hartley, the tackler, strips the ball off the carrier. No release of the tackled player. Isnt this a penalty too? Neither were given btw

  22. Can’t believe negativity. yes it was a shocking performance but to suddenly turn our backs on this team which has given us joy that we haven’t had for years is a disgrace. just hope we can put a decent team out for Italy. Cammy Black you are a disgrace!

  23. Also, Dan parks was good for scotland but Finn Russel has a greater variety of skills in his little toe than parks had, sorry Dan.

  24. Also, was it not a missed high tackle by Itoje that connected with Hoggs temple that put him out of game?

  25. Searching for news on the Scots injuries I came across this website for the first time. And I’m glad I did. Firstly, Cammy, because your player reviews put a smile back on my face. Secondly, I’m delighted to see that I’m not the only one who noticed the one-eyed ref. (By the way, I live in SW France and watched the game in my local bar – by the end, even my French mates were agreeing that the ref had an agenda, probably of not wanting to show that all Frenchies are anti-English or just first-6 Nations overwhelmedness (mibbe it’s a Brexit thing?!). Also glad that some folk have picked up on Itoje. He henceforth goes straight into the “dirty English 2nd-row Bastard” category alongside Colclough, Dooley, Johnson and Ackford. He was previously in the “English 2nd-row gentleman” category with Beaumont and Bayfield. From the way England started the game, and his pre match comments about Wales having turned up on Friday night, it’s obvious that Jones got most of his team totally wound up to get stuck right into it from minute one. I’ve never seen such aggression in the play of guys like Itoje, Haskell, Nowell before. Our boys were just “out-agressed” from the get-go, and never recovered their composure. We really needed a Jim Hamilton in there, not those nice Gray lads. In one other point, isn’t it striking that we don’t have anyone, ANYONE, who can replace Hoggy at full-back? We literally don’t have anyone who can fill in as such a crucial position. The most obvious candidate is Maitland, so why the hell did Cotter not have him on the bench as cover for the back three???!! And Russell shouldn’t be getting the stick he’s received. Receiving the ball in an outgunned team, in between a 9 and 12 he’s not used to playing with would test anyone. He wasn’t found particularly wanting. We now need to beat Italy by 20pts to be able to hold our heads up at the end of this tournoi.

    1. Several good points, but one correction: Russell is very used to playing with Price and Pyrgos at 9 and Dunbar at 12. They’re all teammates at Glasgow. I’m a big fan of Russell, but he simply must, must, must cut out the skill slips (missing touch from a penalty; drop out out on the full) and brain fades (long pass on goal line) if he’s to become a top player in all circumstances.

  26. I found the marking amusing Cammy, but there are a lot of ‘sense of humour’ failures about at the moment.
    One of the most irritating aspects of the game, was that we knew exactly how England were going to play, but could do absolutely nothing about it. You don’t pick a back row of Itoje, Hughes and Haskell and expect them to avoid contact. England effectively had 5 locks playing and were intent on violence.
    So, what do we do? Pick 3 x smallish open sides in the back row?
    Really. What happened to horses for courses?
    The team appeared to be completely overawed by the occasion, and didn’t look to have a good mindset.
    Other irritants this weekend:-
    1- Selection – Dodgy decisions, seemingly based on loyalty to players, rather then who would be most effective in a given match.
    2 – Brown – Should really have been red carded according to current strictures. Needs to engage brain this week. He is still the best hooker in the squad, although I would like to have subjected him to a little ‘water boarding’ after Saturday.
    3 – Defence – Who can offer any? Dunbar & Jones – What happened? How can centres that good, be turned into gibbering idiots, simply by adding some dummy runners?
    4- Nathan Hughes – If someone is poleaxed chest high when he doesn’t have the ball, and is then carted off the pitch, how can this then be construed as a fair tackle?
    In what way was it not dangerous?
    5 – Ben Skeet TMO – Twat & Moron. Official.
    6 – Scott Hastings – By failing to point this out to Dallaglio who said “it was a perfectly fair tackle” by Hughes on the BBC commentary. Does he really need to be quite so subservient? A real timeserver with nothing to say IMO.
    7- Braying triumphalism – If you live in England you have to suffer these brainless tossers and their comments. Not a lot of fun. Next year is their turn.

    I’m hoping that we manage to recover strongly against Italy this week.
    Yes, there are a lot of injuries, but if we can’t put out a strong enough team to defeat Italy, then maybe the comments about lack of depth are all too true.
    They just need to perform with some intensity.
    5 games, three wins, once close loss, one hiding. An improvement.

    1. Skeen as TMO has form when it comes to Scotland. Remember in the WC he’s the one who insisted Maitland be carded for a deliberate knock on, on the ten meter line!!! I had never seen anyone carded for that so far from the try line before and I hope I never do.

      Scott Hastings is an example of the tartan cringe. Unwilling to stand up for his own lot in the face of his English paymasters for fear of being branded some sort of biased pound shop braveheart. People like him, and to lesser extent Nicol and Paterson on the Beeb, need to realise it is possible to speak up in defence of Scotland, and be totally justified in doing so. Him and his brother are increasingly becoming an embarrassment to Scottish rugby since retiring. Lest we forget, it was Hastings snr who actively campaigned against Creamys attempts to professionalise Scottish rugby in the 90s along the Irish model. I wonder where we could have been if he’d been less of a selfish git?

      1. Regarding punditry, there may well be something in that. It wouldn’t help the game in Scotland when you see the representatives of Scottish rugby as being weak or submissive and in any way apologetic of their nationality.
        Go on a football forum and see what they say about Scottish rugby.
        You’ll likely see plenty of references to ‘no voting tories’, ‘public schoolboys’, ‘barbour jackets’ and although I don’t go in for the reverse snobbery (and also that I find that the support base at rugby is more mixed than is often presented), I do think there is certainly an argument for Scottish rugby being too submissive and appearing as an old boys network. You wouldn’t get this from Wales and Jonathan Davies, would you?
        It’s 2017, rugby is professional. It should and could be played by all. The game needs to be expanded beyond the public schools of Edinburgh and beyond the borders where there just aren’t the numbers regardless of the disproportionate quality. Make the public proud of their side, not just by what they do on the pitch but by Scottish pundits and commentators showing a bit more passion and to be honest, a bit more partisanship.

  27. We looked like a bunch of amateurs and made England look like world-beaters. Jonathan Joseph must have thought he was playing Penzance 2nd XV.

    I think they completely crumbled – lost their nerve because the fear of humiliation and their record at Twickenham. It reminded me of the Wales 60 – 5 Scotland match a few years ago when Hogg was red-carded. A dispiriting, fear-ridden exhibition of mental weakness and chaos.

  28. I really don’t understand anyone saying Brown’s tackle should have resulted in a red card, and don’t really understand the citing. Daly landed on his back, so it’s a yellow. Surprisingly clear cut, as far as I can tell.

  29. I’ve just found this blog and have enjoyed reading the comments, thanks.

    One thing that has moved me to comment, though – the Hughes tackle that has excited much comment here – it was very slightly late but was a legal tackle, in that it was not a swinging arm, and was a genuine attempt to tackle the player. A yellow would have been excessive; the TMO called it correctly.

    The ref might not be the best but the big decision that he got wrong actually favoured Scotland (Brown’s yellow rather than red).

    Scotland were very unlucky in losing the brilliant Hogg, then very soon after that losing Bennett too; those losses did cause problems for them.

    However, complaining about the officials misses the reality of what happened on Saturday.

    1. A slightly late but legal tackle?!?!?!
      You’re an idiot Gus. You’re an idiot Gus. There, I’ve said it twice. One for each of your names. Do you have trouble remembering it?
      There were no arms used, so he clearly wasn’t swinging them; which is about the only thing you got right.

      1. The one i dont understand why was not a yellow was the itoje one on hogg he grabbed him round the neck going up to head and slammed into ground and was clearly not in control of his actions at this point.

      2. Thanks for your feedback.

        However, I’ll ignore the abuse and continue to engage in the debate about the ‘tackle’. If an attacker kicks or passes, and the defender has already committed to the tackle, then the tackle is late but not serious foul play, if it was a genuine attempt to tackle the player.

        From what I remember of Saturday’s match, there was another English player (Lawes?) near the tackle who turned his back on the Scottish player (Seymour?). I think that the Scottish player may have sustained his injury in that collision rather than via Hughes’ challenge. The commentary team made no mention of it but that was my impression at the time.

  30. Firstly, I don’t agree that the guys all played badly. We came up against a much stronger team, in an England which finally played to their potential. Unfortunately we didn’t. I don’t want to make excuses but any international team would have struggled to compete away from home when their hooker gets sin-binned after two minutes and they lose their best attacking player (and his replacement) after only a quarter of the match.
    We were playing the #2 side in the world with a weakened team, FFS. It was ugly and painful but we DID manage to score 3 tries against them.
    Just a thought – it’s not too hard to imagine if it went the other way. Hartley gets yellow-carded after two minutes (and most people say he was lucky it was only red). Then Farrell gets injured so Teo has to come on after 20 minutes. 2 minutes later he has to go off so Antony Watson comes on and Daly has to switch to inside centre. Now I’m not saying we would have won as their forwards played the best I’ve seen them. But you’ve got to say the likes of Russell, Hogg and Jones would have had a field day with whatever ball we got. Not to mention Dunbar, Seymour and Visser steamrolling through the 10-12 channel.
    @ Pragmatic – Brown WAS luck not to see a red – it wasn’t a red but only because Daly landed on his shoulders rather than neck. Many refs would have shown a red.
    @ GusGus – Hughes was lucky not to see a yellow. It was high (anywhere above the chest is high these days), late (the ball had already gone) and no-arms (well, one, obviously).
    @ Neil – Itoji was lucky not to see yellow – seen them given for these type of “instinctive” high tackles (trailing arm syndrome) – including Hoggy himself. Seen an equal number not given though.

    1. RE: the cards

      Brown was lucky Daly didn’t end up on his neck as he wasn’t in control of him at all. But the fact that he clearly landed on his back meant a red would have been the wrong call. Fans constantly get this wrong – English fans were up in arms when Daly was sent off for an innocuous looking tackle in the air that resulted in the Argentinian 8 being carted off because ‘he didn’t mean it’. He was sent off because he landed on his neck. Intent, force, luck – none if these are relevant.

      OTOH with Itoje’s high tackle it was a reckless yellow all day long, regardless of how deliberate or how much force it had. Refs have decided not to apply the new directive however, and this was a home-town call.

      My opinion on Hughes is that a late tackle is by definition potentially dangerous. As the player was injured it should be judged on result and therefore should have been a yellow, but this is a little more marginal. Intent, luck etc. again is irrelevant. It has to either be no-penalty or yellow, but penalty and no yellow is a nonsense. Home-town call again I’m afraid.

      1. Hughes wasn’t high for me but it was what would be classed “reckless” with no real attempt to wrap the arms around the player, more of a stiff arm tackle.

      2. What was gauling for me was the incident when the referee was going to yellow card an English player. Was it Hughes? He was persuaded not too by TMO. Fair enough if he was persuaded that the tackle was not deserving of it. But he was giving the yellow for its being a second offence by the team for repeated high shots or dangerous play. So it was deemed enough for a penalty. Had Nigel Owens decided this he would have followed through and ignored his friend in the stand.

        Unlike the French game where injuries were either unfortunate or friendly fire by Scotland. They were clearly issues with tackles that caused players to have to go off that were illegal. This had to be sanctioned more strongly and had a material affect on the match both in terms of unable to play with players selected and unable to utilise the extra man for 10 mins. Very disappointing from the officials involved.

  31. Please Scotland team, let us see a full 80min performance with the team fully clicking together tomorrow. It would be a great end to this 6nations; we haven’t had it yet, its due.

    From all of Scotland, send BVC off with a smile…

You might also like these:

The Scotland team to face Chile this weekend has been announced and features 10 changes from the side that beat the USA last weekend.
Rory watches as Scotland reach the half way point in their tour with victory over the USA in Washington.
Craig is joined by Rory and Iain to look at the latest news including Scotland's win over Canada and the upcoming test against the USA.
Gregor Townsend has picked the strongest XV possible from his touring squad for the visit to Washington DC to play the USA, writes Rory.

Scottish Rugby News and Opinion