Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Scotland 53-24 Australia

John Barclay
John Barclay scores for Scotland vs Australia - pic © Alastair Ross / Novantae Photography Photo Credit: Alastair Ross / Novantae Photography

If you are looking for a bad start to an international test match, how about losing your one genuinely world class player in the warm up?

Stuart Hogg was forced to drop out late on with a groin twinge, and it meant a reshuffle of the backline: Sean Maitland going to fullback, Byron McGuigan on to the wing and Ruaridh Jackson on the bench.

The atmosphere was certainly nowhere near as charged as before the New Zealand test last weekend. The game even kicked off while the music was still going, and it had barely stopped before Pascal Gauzere had awarded Australia a penalty. Gauzere and Barclay don’t always see eye to eye at the breakdown and he gave a second kickable penalty almost at the next breakdown. Reece Hodge slid it wide of the posts – but it could have been a long afternoon had it continued like that.

Australia were well served with ball carriers and they probed the expected channels in the Scottish line early on. Tommy Seymour slipped off an early tackle and you hoped he wasn’t having one of those games – although certainly in the first half, he did.

The roar of the BT Murrayfield crowd came back when Scotland made the best part of 30 metres with a rumbling maul. Huw Jones almost put Ali Price away during the referee’s advantage but the pass went awry. To compound it, Finn put the kick to touch past in goal, giving the Wallabies a scrum rather than Scotland the 3 points they could have had.

Set an example by Stuart McInally and Hamish Watson, in his first start Byron McGuigan finally got his Scotland career going with a couple of hard carries and a spell of solid pressure gave Finn Russell the first points with a kick at goal 15 minutes in. It really kicked into gear just a minute later when he created the first try with an opportunistic hack – of the sort he has been wise to all season in the Premiership where he is the top try scorer – when a poor pass from Bernard Foley left the ball on the deck. McGuigan hoofed it into space and managed to cope with a few odd bounces before dribbling it round Hodge on the goal line and diving on it.

As if that wasn’t enough of a fairytale start, he nearly had another try inside 20 minutes chasing a chip kick fter a neat breakout with Russell but was denied by the hand of Will Genia who just got to it a second before.

With a makeshift backline, Scotland were making the most of the possession and doing well at the set piece but when it spun wide or even wide-ish there wasn’t quite the speed of movement or decision making we’re now used to with Hogg in harness. Plenty of chances went amiss.

The defence looked sharp and withstood most that Australia threw at it in the first half. The Wallabies are a shrewd side though despite the multiple handling errors they made, all they needed was to get within close range for Bernard Foley to thread a neat grubber through for Tevita Kuridrani to land on, Maitland in tow like one of those fish that hang out on whales.

Their second try came minutes later, Foley and Kuridrani again combining with a grubber move but their ball came from a Tommy Seymour fumble as he continued another forgettable half of rugby and the momentum was going the wrong way. Maitland hauled Foley down but he managed to offload it to the big centre for his second try.

Just when it looked like Australia might take all the momentum into half time, Sekope Kepu made a brainless shoulder barge on Watson’s head at the breakdown and was red-carded. That altered the game dramatically. If you are looking for a bad end to a half of rugby…

Ali Price
Ali Price breaks out with the ball- pic © Alastair Ross / Novantae Photography

Scotland took the lineout, set the maul and barged towards the Wallaby line. Ali Price took the ball out, feinted one way then went the other but had long enough arms to dot it down. Finn Russell converted to restore the advantage to Scotland.

Half-time: Scotland 17-12 Australia

Australia came out at a canter in the second half and within minutes were camped on the Scotland line. They probably hoped to get a foothold in the match before Scotland’s man advantage took its toll on their stamina. In the end it was a pretty easy score that Kurtley Beale made by darting through a gap between Hamish Watson and Finn Russell.

With Australia now back in the lead, Scotland found an interesting response, making a meal of a tap penalty as Price’s offload to McInally spilled loose. Luckily Australia spilled it in turn and the play was so disjointed that all McGuigan had to do with the ball at his feet was to spin it left to the deceptively quick Maitland (when he gets going) who had an open run in past several Wallaby forwards who couldn’t catch him.

From that try, Scotland looked resurgent and the Wallabies looked like a team at the end of a long season giving up on the idea of a surprise party for Stephen Moore in his last game.

The one man disadvantage probably was the decisive factor; the Scottish tempo would tire 15 men let alone 14 and as they had against New Zealand they stuck to the blueprint rigorously.

After some pretty loose hot-potato from both sides, a series of pick and goes close to the line got Scotland into the 22 and when it came left Jonny Gray at first receiver had an easy run in. You’d back any of the five guys outside him to have scored it too.

Jonny Gray breaks away to score for Scotland –
pic © Alastair Ross / Novantae Photography

The substitutes bench made a physical impact of the sort you want, Jamie Bhatti and Zander Fagerson with several huge charges into tired Australian bodies for big gains in ground.

Scotland too were sharper in their game managament. Huw Jones had been quiet for most of the game but when Finn Russell took a quick tap just inside the 22 and spun it right in the centre’s general direction, he had too much pace to be stopped once he managed to gather the ball. Russell missed his second conversion but by then it was Scotland 34-17 and the home side looked well in control.

Byron McGuigan took his second try on the hour mark even as a dispirited Stephen Moore had left the action for the final time to an ovation from the crowd. Price carried it close but couldn’t stretch out this time, the ball was fed to Maitland who had linked well with McGuigan all afternoon and he popped it out to the Sale man for a simple finish.

The Wallaby bench did actually help to lift the visitors with fresh legs welcome for a team who were all having to cover that little bit of extra ground, and they spent the period after the hour mark camped in the Scottish half. Gauzere went to the TMO who ruled that Lopeti Tomani had indeed squirrelled his considerable bulk under the ruck and over the line for the try.

A brief respite.

At 39-24 the Scots still felt pretty safe but they were a little cavalier with the penalties in the last quarter of the game. Without a man advantage it could have been a different story, but John Barclay wasn’t having any deviation from the plan and battered over from close range under the posts to make it 46-24.

Ever a stickler, Gauzere binned Kurtley Beale for slapping the ball out of play as he and McGuigan chased for it which to be fair felt like kicking the poor wombat in the bum when its head is stuck in a hole.

Scotland got the ball straight into a maul from the lineout and it was only ever going one way. The hugely impressive Stuart McInally at the back of the maul was the beneficiary, on for a second spell after replacement FraserBrownhad gone off with a head knock. It was no less than he deserved after a fine series, and it put fifty past Australia in an 8 try win.

Can you imagine if Hogg had been on the park?

Referee: Pascal Gauzere (FFR)

SRBlog Man of the Match: Byron McGuigan did well for his two tries given the notice he had that he was starting (about 5 minutes). Watson and McInally were superb but John Barclay led from the front. His penalty-winning turnover just after the hour mark killed any hope of an Aussie resurgence in the game off and his try capped it personally.

70 Responses

  1. Absolutely agree with Barclay as MoM, and if there was a player of the series it would also be him.
    Great day with London Scottish nicking an injury time win !

    1. LS result was downright burglary!! Unlike the guys at Murrayfield – I never thought I would see the day we would put 50 on one of NZ, Oz or SA. ???

      1. Looks like LS atoned for the Hartpury disaster at home, when they managed closing the game out straight from the Scotland international 2001-2007 playbook…..

      2. Aye, got a few breaks from officialdom for a change. Now for the ‘noisy neighbours’. Hartpury apart, I cannot think of any side I would rather beat.

        Pity Embra couldn’t make it a total Scottish clean sweep this weekend.

  2. For the first match in a long time I saw our forwards consistently breaking the 1st tackle and making metres. Was a joy to watch. Our backs are pretty handy too. Is there anyone Huw Jones can’t skin?

  3. That was fantastic. McInally, Gray or Barclay motm for me. McInally certainly the Man of the Autumn. There are big challenges ahead in the Six Nations but I cannot wait to see us in Dublin and Cardiff in particular.

    The lesson for the fans from this autumn for the fans should be to stop being fixated on individuals coming in or out the team. I’ve read comments, some verging on hysterical, about Lee Jones, Sean Maitland, Simon Berghan, Ryan Wilson, Grant Gilchrist and Byron McGuigan all of whom performed very well for us. A good team is more than the sum of it’s parts and we now have a true squad we can rely on.

    1. I could not agree more. I was impressed with Scotland during the 6N and these matches have not disappointed either (they gave the world champion All Blacks all they could handle and now the world runner-up). I must admit that I am still learning the sport but Scotland appears to my novice eyes to have a force to be reckoned with. Now I need to find a jersey and find a local fan club here!

    2. That last sentence Stuart sums it up perfectly. Scotland are definitely greater than the sum of the parts at the moment.

  4. “Deceptively quick Maitland” very deceptive, the Australian second row almost caught him.
    McGuigan had a storming game and Russell was very sharp apart from his touch kicking…
    It’s a shame the red card ended it as a real contest but still a great result to score 8 tries. We would have lost that a few years ago.
    Definitely missed Dunbar in defence as well.
    Entertaining rugby all round.

    1. Can we finally put to bed the line about Maitland pace. Today was the first time in forever that I’ve seen him open up. He is not rapid, he is heavy footed as hell. Why does every pundit talk about his pace?

  5. I could have done without Rory’s last comment about Hogg. In his absence previously unheralded players stepped up. The team played as a team not as a service industry for one player. The extraordinary feature of these AIs has been how players who must have doubted when ( if ever) they would be capped have filled the shirt and how in the face of injuries Townsend and Barclay have kept the format and the faith.

    1. To be fair, I don’t think Rory is suggesting that this team is in any way a ‘service industry’ for Hogg. However, he’s a world class broken field player and, no matter how well Maitland did, Hogg would have been cutting them to ribbons in some of the broken field situations where it was Maitland was getting the ball.

    2. @Grum Well said , here, here, by a country mile, the best comment this year. Where have you been hiding!

      The most exciting thing about today, is the confidence we can draw by taking to the field without (the undisputed talent ) of Hogg, without notice and not just beating , but thumping Australia. We learned today we have depth, creativity , talent, and innovation.

      Today was immense because the strengths of every man on the pitch needed to and were allowed to shine.

      Great captaincy once again JB.

  6. I was a bit worried in the first half with Finn’s kicks missing touch, thought he might have been getting coaching from Dan Parks

  7. Before I go on to read the rest of this article after your opening line, Byron, I’ve had to pause to comment that our performances over the last two years have shown that Hogg, great player though he is, is definitely not the only genuine world class player in this side!

  8. What an outrageous game of rugby! I thought after the first few mins we were seeing the bad side of our house party half backs with missed kicks and turn your head and wince passes but they sorted it out and it made for a thoroughly entertaining game. Thought Robos comments were interesting when he said it really looked like the whole team had bought into Toonies fast and furious game, and he was right. If we get the scrum sorted out (it wasn’t bad but I thought the ref was actually quite nice to us on a couple of occasions by not resetting) then there won’t really be any weak parts to our game if we play like the last couple or weekends.

    Without trying to be too critical Jones is an intriguing one for me, maybe I’m not looking at him properly but I thought again that he didn’t really do that much other than a couple of nice touches and lines then taking his try well, but teams just seem to be scared of him, and rightfully so given his records, which buys space, maybe he’s just not as visible as the likes of Hogg. Thought Maitland did well at fullback, there were a couple of occasions where I think Hogg would have backed himself and pinned his ears back, but he positoned himself well (which is what he is good at) and had a good game. As above Russell was in full Toonie mode, I don’t think “it’s not on” translates to whatever music is in his head. I really think if Hoggy started he would have torn them to shreds a couple of times.

    Thought The backrow were fantastic, Wilson played well and proved his detractors wrong. I noticed we weren’t committing big numbers to rucks when they had the ball unless there was a chance of snaffling it, in which case we piled the bodies in.

    There were loads of mistakes all round but it didn’t matter, playing a ludicrous brand of rugby like that there always will be. Poor Tommy Seymour, he really hasn’t had a good autumn has he, lots of us were saying he should have been dropped for Maitland not Lee Jones and he proved us right.

    Agree with The Chiel, Barclay the player of the tournament hands down, Hogg a close second. Barclay has to be nailed on as captain now after performances like that. Lot of guys stuck their hands up which is the primary purpose of the AIs after all. 2/3 and running the all blacks all the way, job done. Roll on February

    1. Interesting – I thought Jones was outstanding but Maitland reasonably solid but not threatening from fullback (ie returning kicks, he was better in the line running moves) and slow.
      Guess there is a lot of interpretation depending on what you are looking at.
      Seymour is looking nervous, needs a big confidence boost.

      1. Agreed, I defiantly owe him another look in detail. To be fair to Maitland he probably wouldn’t have trained at fullback and Hogg is brought into a lot of 1st receiver moves that other fullbacks wouldn’t be. He did have a few runs and made some ground, he’s just not Hogg, but very few in the world are. He was indeed a bit slow, what’s happened he used to be pretty quick? Looks a bit more bulked up than he used to be?

        Seymour recently reminds me of Sean Lamonts orange glove phase back in the day, he went through this ridiculous phase of dropping anything that came his way, I remember at one match, can’t remember who or what but the whole stadium gave Sean a rousing cheer when he finally caught something. Maybe he needs a rest.

    2. I really hope Gatland’s Lions haven’t Cuthberted Seymour. He’s such a talented and likable player, but he’s unrecognisable at present.

    3. I felt that Maitland recognising that he had space, and was up against a couple of forwards, was one of the most intelligent bits of rugby in the game. He had his head up, and reacted to what was in front of him.

      Huw Jones is like Jonathan Davies for Wales. He doesn’t seem to make a bad decision in attack or defence, but makes an impact in each game.

  9. Point I forgot was generally I don’t like red cards (for or against) as they can ruin a good game but that was such a blatant and deserved red card I don’t care. He could have done Watson some serious harm there, absolutely the right call. Thought it was a nice touch Stephen Moore getting a hearty round of applause, a good player and a good guy at the end of a great career.

  10. I’ve always rated McGuigan, was a bit raw at Glasgow but seems to have matured into a very good wing.

    Brilliant tremendous victory, Barclay immense, Finn himself, McInally looking like 1st choice hooker.

    The Aussies obviously hadn’t bothered to think during their coaching sessions this week, perfect tactics for Scotland!!!!!

    Red card 100% merited.

    I’d say apart from Hogg – Jones, Price, Barclay, Gray must be near world class

    And to think today was achieved without Hogg, Taylor, Dunbar, R Gray, Nel, Ford.

    Well done boys

  11. I just hope that in true super sub fashion of the day that when I get home to watch the match through on the BBC that Gabby Logan has come down with a last minute bug and they had to get Dougie Donnelly out of the crowd to anchor the coverage for what would top off the best day and most convincing performance Scottish rugby has seen in decades.

  12. Right let’s just get some thing straight, that was excellent! If anyone says we haven’t improved watch the NZ and AUS games, we now need and MUST back this up with six nations wins against France, Italy, Ireland and possibly Wales.

    1. I would say Ireland are a step above Wales at the moment, but I think we should be beating at least one of them.
      Frankly I’m looking forward to England at Murrayfield as well – could be a cracking game.

  13. A word for Jamie Bhatti today, thought he was really impressive in the second half for a player who could be argued was or is sixth choice in his position.

    He was relentless in defence making a couple of good hits as well as offering himself as a ball carrier often and to notable effect. Has much better hands than a traditional Scottish prop too! No problems with his scrummaging either which looks much more assured when Turner isn’t beside him. Next step in his development has got to be adding a destructive element to that scrummaging as he’s certainly impressive enough in the loose that he could be competing with Dell to be our best option on the bench when all options fit if you want impact.

    1. Anthony few points this Autumn has shown us :

      1) We don’t need Laidlaw – let’s face it Price / Pyrgos are more than up to the challenge.

      2) Peter Horne’s international days are far from over – was outstanding at times today

      3) Daryl Marfo / Byron McGuigan – both were revelations and should be starting come 6N time!

      1. I’m not sure I’d let Pyrgos in the stadium with a ticket let alone on the park. Greig has far more influence. Long term it’s SHC, Horne, Vellacott as Prices back up.

        Otherwise agre except for the starting of Marfo and Mcguigan. If all are fit Marfo shouldn’t be starting

  14. So this year
    Wins 7
    losses 4
    only 1 match were we got clearly beaten the rest we could have won.

    114 points score this autumn for scotland.

    We should be Expecting to beat Wales France and Italy and for the England and Ireland games to be 50/50

    The big thing will be starting well in Wales , it is unacceptable to lose against them based on current performances.

  15. Excellent! Not watched the game back on TV but to crush the 3rd best team in the world is fantastic. Watching that I think we’d have beaten them even with 15 on the pitch.

    Looking forward to watching the game on TV.

    Still doesn’t make up for losing last week…

  16. Sadly had to miss the game today as the whole family has flu. I feel as I did in 1990, when I couldn’t go to THAT game and watched it at home. That is, I am immensely proud of what this team has achieved.

    There is much more comment I could make, and analysis the match in detail. But this feels almost like a once-in-a-generation performance. The challenge now is to make sure it is not and that we can push on and challenge for the 6N and World Cup.

    When we attack quickly with intensity and accuracy, I don’t think there is a team in the world that can handle it. We’ve beaten two of the top 4 in the world this year, one of them twice and run the best team unbelievably close. The next thing to do is bury the memory of that other match in London early this year.

  17. A lot of good rugby played today great to put 50 plus points on a very good Aussie team red card aside,but 6 nations we will have to improve our scrum,restarts and pick and go defence to challenge. Thought line out went really well and some lovely angles were run today and we have proved were strength of squad is better than it has ever been and youthful as well

      1. Lions hangover. Needs a good December and January, lots of competition now with jones, Mcguigan, Visser, Maitland

  18. Great win but Russell needs to improve his kicking to touch or we will suffer in the 6N. Its cost us several times before but never seems to get mentioned because he’s otherwise so good.

      1. Wasn’t there last week but looked awesome on TV. Today was pretty good given that we were playing for giggles after 60mins. Been at far worse.

    1. He is good but lets be honest , missing your touch kicks is a schoolboy howler, you need your stand off to get his kicks right,it is the basic point you would coach to your 1st year schoolboys.

      Previous Scotland teams would have lost confidence at that kind of buffoonery. It never gets mentioned as they have become resilient and confident that they can bounce back.

      We know he is costly, but this far, willing to pay the price.

      1. It was one kick. Let’s put things in perspective. He had a BBC great game. In all the matches between the both sides that is the most points scored by one against the other.

      2. James, It was more than one , the one in the 30th minute, from a penalty (completely unenforced) gave the ball to the Aussies who scored their first try 20 phases later.

        It is not the first time in international or club rugby this flaw has arisen.

        So lets get perspective, it is a repeat error and in some games a score is all it needs to win or lose the match.

        We were never in danger the minute the card came out, in this match.

        I like Finn Russell, he has really taken a battering for Scotland and Glasgow, and is worth the ticket money,however if we are to progress, no point in brushing this very fixable error under the carpet. Some days that would have been the ‘fine margins’.

  19. Probably no coincidence Seymour was the only one of our players to go on the entire Lions tour, he looks ruined right now. Treated like dogs our players were, no doubt Tommy will find his form again though.

    Selection in the front row is going to be real tough if everyone is fit come Feb. McInally looks first choice hooker now, but the likes of Bhatti and Marfo were/are what…..4th choice?

    1. Eh 1st Choice, the others need to take their places from them IMO. They still need to get back to fitness and form to compete.

      1. Agreed Bulldog. The guys in possession should be looking at the rest and saying “If you want it, take it off me..”

  20. The most encouraging thing about today? We can play a lot better than that. The first Kuridrani try came from a stupid mistake and we had a few missed touch finders etc.
    To hammer Australia, red card or no, with what was beginning to look like a bit of a scratch side with the late Hogg injury is hugely encouraging.

    Barclay and Watson great as per (that James ******** Haskell went on the Lions tour and neither of them did looks criminal now), McInally was excellent (has to be first choice now please Toony) and Bhatti and Fagerson caused havoc when they came on. Now if they can just sort their scrummaging out…

    1. Agreed. Not a perfect display, could have done even better. Berghan I’m afraid a liability at tight head. Tommy Seymour is totally out of form at the mo. Horne weak at times in defence. Poor handling occasionally. One completely numpty restart.
      But….but.. we absolutely stuffed them and deserved to. Second half scrum solid. Driving maul a real weapon now. Breakdown play fantastic with Barclay, Watson and Wilson totally out gunning the Wallaby back row. Line out despite a couple of blips excellent throughout. Boldness in attacking constantly, and doing so at a pace that unsettles and confuses defenders.
      A margin and manner of victory that will haunt the Wallabies for decades to come.
      We’re definitely back!

  21. Couldnt watch the game but also couldn’t avoid score !

    Please tell me this is up on iPlayer or somewhere now ?

    1. Of course it is and YouTube will have it soon enough and highlight packages galore in a few weeks

  22. As a side note, apparently only the second time a NH side has ever put 50 on a SANZAR side. Ingerlund v SA being the other.

    Truly memorable.

  23. Hope Fraser Brown’s OK – he was absolutely twatted, and after only just coming back from injury. And Hoggy, too, I guess.

    1. A real shame for Brown given his recent injury woes. Hopefully he is OK.

      You could see from their body language that both he and Hogg were gutted to be deprived of their time on the pitch.

  24. I thought it was a strange game to gauge. Scotland trying to do something early on but were making mistakes and allowed Australia to claw back into it…then the moment of madness from Kefu….game changed completely. Not sure if Scotland would have won this match had it not been for that sending off…would have been close I think. Still can only beat whats in front of you….and Scotland certainly did that.

    Hogg was a big loss…. Maitland backed up well…however there were several opportunities that everyone could imagine Hogg would have torn Aus apart…Maitland just didn’t have the pace or flair to do same. Maitland had a good solid game tho.

    Scotland actually ended up benefiting from Hogg dropping out anyway…McGuigan got his chance and was superb…and should be a starter on the wing in the 6N.

    Great games also from Barclay, Watson, Jones, Russell, Price, Gray, McInally . Bhatti looked a player with a lot of potential too.

    We’ve gone from potentially having depth…to having great depth…with more young players coming along nicely.

    GT doing a great job. Roll on the 6N….hope we can continually improve. Thats the thing….we look like we haven’t in any way reached our peak.

  25. Delighted and not sure where best to start. Was at the game and just watched it back on tv too.

    Barclay deserved his try for all his Trojan work over the 3 games. Would also credit him for Jones try today. Never noticed at the game but on replay he’s standing beside Finn as he’s about to kick to touch and I’m sure the captain tells him to tap and go right which leads directly to the try. Excellent awareness and leadership.

    Mcguigan could have scored 4 but deserved his 2.

    Ryan Wilson was solid at collecting the restarts which have been a problem for us and it continued to be an issue when they avoided him at kick off.

    I’m mostly delighted at how ruthless we were. It’s the killer touch we’ve never had. That as soon as they got red card we scored and the same again after the late yellow. Once we had the opportunity against a weakened team at half time the goalposts had to shift for us to put a record score on the board and the boys delivered.

    The best thing now is I haven’t got a clue who our strongest 15 would be going into the 6 nations. Excellent to give coaches a selection headache.

  26. What an excellent performance by the whole squad.

    The half time changes of Fagerson and Bhatti seemed strange at first, but then once you factor in the Kepu red, and saw them breenging about in the loose, you could see it was inspired game management.

    It was disappointing to concede 4 tries, but Australia are a creative side, and it always looked like Scotland would score more.

    McGuigan, Horne and Maitland all stepped up well today, as have Marfo, Berghan and McInally across the Autumn. Think of the players injured or omitted – Nel, Ford, Dickinson, Dell, Gray, Strauss, Hardie, Laidlaw, Dunbar, Taylor, Bennett, Hogg, Visser, Jones. That’s nearly a full team who you wouldn’t be upset to see in the starting line up. We might not have the strength in depth that England or NZ do, but you don’t worry if someone is injured or losses a bit of form anymore as there are guys champing at the bit to show that they deserve their shot in the jersey.

    And how much of that is down to the environment created by Townsend and his coaching team?

    Last point – Hamish Watson and Darryl Marfo. Two blokes who just don’t look like professional rugby players. With his ‘tash Mish looks like he should be featuring in a Noel Coward West End hit, and Marfo is a baggy-shorted Balthazar Brat. They have been wonderful the last few games though!

    1. Ade; the players that you list that were not available that would improve the team were first chices in 2015. I dont think players such as Dickinson, Hardie, Laidlaw, Strauss and Ford will feature much now and dont think their return can really be relied upon to improve the team as injury, age and other reasons make them probably rarely available if at all.

      However, there is still Denton, Matt Scott and Bennet that are still to return and give further options.

      1. That’s a good thing, people who are solid performers being dropped because there are better options is a sign of an improving team building strength in depth.

        If Dickinson can find form and fitness there’s no reason he can’t come back. When they were on form together Dickinson and Nel were destroying scrums for fun and both are pretty handy in the loose too. We have found out that there are other options in the front row and the cupboard isn’t quite as scarily bare as it seemed.

        Ford like Lamont last season may now be put out to pasture, Ford has stuck around and given us the usual 6/10 performances for so long because there was no one better, Brown had already usurped him and now McInally has firmly thrown his hat in the ring, still his experience and safe pair of hands (although not at the line out) are good to have available.

        Laidlaws game isn’t comptible with Toonies game. Pyrgos I thought hasn’t been bad when he has came on he’s just not the live wire that Price is. Finn, Although he was a bit wayward yesterday, has shown he can kick just fine too.

        Still a place for Strauss and the others you mention though.

      2. Does anyone know what the situation now is with Hardie? I havent seen anything further. He is definetly an option thatit is better to have

  27. Great result. Townsend seems to be getting something extra out of everyone. Also bringing in new players that just seem to play the same way as the rest of usual team.

    My only concern is for the 6N, the defence at the moment seems to be be weaker under Townsend than what it was under Cotter and seems to opeate on the basis of it doesent matter what you score, we will score more. I dont think we will get away with that plan against England and Ireland in the 6N.

    1. Good point , the 6N is a different matter altogether. The teams we played in the AI’s were here to play flowing rugby. They threw it around, they enjoyed the game, they celebrated the end of their season. The Samoa game was like a ‘friendly’ international.

      I am not sure the Welsh , English or Irish will rock up to play ‘test match footy’.

      What we learned is that we need an entire team to win, a team that play for each other and not for the crowd. That has moved us on , however the 6N is a whole different contest.

      That is not to say we should not be confident , Scotland are the side that has risen above themselves , our home nation counterparts have been quite flat in comparison.

      1. I think there is more for Wales and Ireland to worry about with Scotland than vice versa.

        Wales are a boring one dimensional defensive team. They can’t do what we can do in attack…whereas there is evidence from the way our front pack played against 2 of the worlds top teams that we are learning how to front up. We should be slaughtering them.

        Ireland are tougher ..they defend well and attack better than Wales…still, they don’t attack as well as we do. Even in Ireland we should either run them close or beat them.

        England by far the toughest nut to crack in 6N. We should however really give them their toughest game of their winning run… they’ll probably win it…but then nobody has really attacked them yet. Hopefully we have a 1st choice team available and give it a good go.

  28. On Maitland…he played well enough I thought. He’s a bit linear and straightforward (safe but predictable) compared to others…this served well in the years when mistakes usually killed our hopes, but it seems a bit dull nowadays…he’s a dummy and a step away from the first XV in my view (Hogg, Seymour, McGuigan for me), but well worthy of a bench spot.

  29. Also…for the first time since whenever, our young guys are in teams where winning is normal, not an anomaly. Many have had difficult times too…this renaissance effect can only be good for team psychology.

You might also like these:

Craig is joined by John on the injured reserve list to have a wee look at the URC action from the weekend.
World Rugby has taken steps to ban Dupont's Law amongst three new law changes to be brought in in July.
Scotland came up frustratingly short in their final Six Nations match against Ireland, losing out on a place in WXV1 in the dying minutes. It was a disappointing end to what has been a very good, if not spectacular, tournament from Scotland. Eleanor has the talking points.
Scotland's Womens Six Nations came to a frustrating end with an eminently achievable third place slipping out of their fingers in the final minutes. Skye rates the players.

Scottish Rugby News and Opinion