Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


6 Nations 2018: Wales 34-7 Scotland

Wales v Scotland
© Scottish Rugby Blog

Scotland arrived in Cardiff with high hopes following a strong autumn. That has happened before. Things did not go the way they hoped in Cardiff.

That also, has happened before.

As predicted, the game was played at a furious high tempo, and with that came plenty of changes in possession. Yes, there was chaos, but the only ones who would have found it gratifying were playing in red. The Welsh chaos felt intuitive, supportive and incisive. Scotland’s version was confused and panicky.

Losing two tries within 12 minutes was exactly the start that Scotland did not want. The first was after a long period of play and Ali Price threw a pass aimed at Welsh that was picked off by Gareth Davies who ran the length. At that point, Scotland had actually looked okay with a big charge by Jonny Gray giving the away fans something to cheer.

Leigh Halfpenny scored the second minutes later after Price was whistled – quite rightly – for a squint feed when Scotland had a scrum in their own 22. Wales recycled carefully and spun it wide to their fullback who scored his first try for Wales in 5 years. The defence was far, far too inviting.

Chris Harris had a start to forget as he was given several hospital passes in the face of determined tackling from the mostly-Scarlets backline and Scott Williams in particular, including one from a set scrum at the tail end of the half when Scotland had a rare incursion into the Welsh 22 following an excellent chip and chase by Huw Jones. Harris was barely involved in the rest of the match.

The lineout was a weapon in the autumn played with pace and accuracy, but it misfired badly in the first half here. McInally was at least a positive in the loose as the Scottish pack failed to make a dent in the Welsh defence.

If you were looking for a positive – the scrum was very solid indeed. No worries, eh?

Half-time: Wales 14-0 Scotland

The second half started with Scotland failing to clear their lines and John Barclay conceding a penalty at the breakdown. Another identical one from the captain 7 minutes later gave Wales the perfect start and continued Scotland’s misery.

With just half an hour to play and Laidlaw and Wilson on to perhaps provide some respite, the first scrum penalty against Scotland came.

At 20-0 The game was already out of sight. From “roughly two tries a game” Scotland were looking at a big fat zero and their tactics weren’t helping. There was too much aimless kicking which gave the players a breather – they looked knackered – but it was utterly useless as a way to get them on the scoreboard. The midfield had no ball to play with and the tactic of unstructured nonsense in the backs only works when you have momentum and a platform from the forwards.

Hamish Watson carried tirelessly and Hogg did what he could from the back, but there was no platform. By 64 minutes Halfpenny had another try, and Wales were chasing the bonus point. Replacement Wyn Jones barrelled over for what looked like the vital score but it was adjudged held up by the TMO.

With front row replacements on the Welsh scrum finally got the edge and the lineout continued to wilt under Welsh pressure. Makeshift they may have been but the Welsh defended their turf like their lives depended on it and attacked when it was on to do so, not just because they wanted to.

A superb finish by Steff Evans put the final nail in the coffin and secured the bonus. Pete Horne scored a try with a sneak from the base but the TMO let that one go, sparing Scottish blushes to put some points on the board with 78 minutes gone.

Basically, it was Scotland of old, the Scotland that the rest of the world sees, the slightly talented but ineffectual and mentally weak view of the team that we all take such umbrage at.

Maybe actually they are right, and we are wrong?

It’s hard to argue with it based on this evidence when a team looks so helpless and without a plan. When they forget everything they’ve ever done and play like someone has just showed them a bad computer game of rugby five minutes before kickoff.

It was so disappointing to see from a Scotland team that played so well last year. We can take losses yes, but when there is spirit, when there is effort and focus like there was against New Zealand. When there are so many errors and a lack of direction, it is the Scotland of old and one that we and the players had thought was perhaps in the past. I can only hope that there is a sea change next week when France will visit.

For another year, the wait for happier times goes on. The Wooden Spoon is once again a dangerous reality.

Referee: Pascal Gauzere (FFR)

Attendance: 74,169

SRBlog Man of the Match: Hamish Watson was one of the few Scotland players to emerge with any credit for tireless effort and the only decent carrying by any of the pack. The starting props were useful in the set-piece but anonymous like much of the team.

264 Responses

  1. Yes, disappointed – great opportunity to show character and development of the squad but it appears that it was almost the same team that played against England turned up today…

    So what is in common with both of these failed games I wonder?
    – expectation of glory
    – intimidating home crowd support
    – the other team employs the dark arts well i.e. off ball play, little remarks to get our boys to lose their cool

    Strike this match – an opportunity lost to silence critics and Gatland.

    Assuming we put things right in all other games this 6 nations and play/develop well – i look now to 6 nations 2019 and the RWC to be the place where we must be outstanding.

    1. I thought the crowd were very quiet today. Very different from Ireland last year.Maybe I was higher up but I think it was cos after 20 mins it was never a contest. The squint feed free kick looking back was the killer. We had nothing from then on. The radio was saying that Davies try was pure Garland genius. It wasn’t luck or guess or hope he knew that we’d play that way and just waited for the long looping pass. Bingo and with the game plan sussed it was the beginning of the end. Can we have Visser back in please in the squad and a solid Lee Jones to start?

    2. Australia beaten twice, ran New Zealand very very close and much much more exciting rugby.

      I wasn’t sure at first about the change but there is enough already to justify it.

      With Vern you cannot say these results were guaranteed. You could maybe have said struggling against Fiji and Samoa wouldn’t have happened yes but would you rather the way it happened or beating Italy, Samoa, Fiji and losing twice to Australia and New Zealand without much of a jump out of the seat?

      Had that happened and Vern was still there I’m sure your comment would have been oh why didn’t we take the chance to take a young exciting coach in Townsend what a chance missed. Your comments are bit cheap to be honest.

  2. *sigh* Same old same old.

    Pass marks for Watson and Hogg, the rest of them were awful. Endless stupid mistakes.

    That centre pairing doesn’t work, Dunbar or Taylor should be back in at 12 next week if fit. We can talk about lack of carrying from the pack but the backs were a shambles as well.

    I felt quite sorry for McCallum having to come off the bench into that shambles.

    Beating France and Italy has to be the aim now.

    1. Seymour was good for the 60-or-so minutes I endured the game. Great in the air, solid in defence and tried his best in attack.

    2. You and I were not at the same game. Watson and Jones get pass marks. The Scrum held solid, line out disaterous and where was Hogg when they scored both tries in the first 15 mins, Did his kicking or chiping game work? No, so lets not appease him, he was poor today and lets stop being so very kind. He didnt get a great deal of ball on a plate but made wrong decisions with what he got , he was not the only one , Hogg will be seething tonight.We need to say it as it is.

      1. Hogg was in the line attacking when Price threw that pass. You don’t think a full back spends a whole match in his own half do you?

      2. He left the back door lying wide open , I expect any full back to be the last line of defense , not the first line of attack.

        The clue is in the word ‘full back’ thanks for your wisdom all the same, such as it is.

        Hogg has a skill , but it comes at a cost to those around him.

      3. He is indeed. Every team has everyone in the line when attacking and I think I mean every team that’s why an interception is a try awaiting most of the time. You can’t blame Hogg for that. Price made a big error and that is the end of it.

  3. well many changes for next week I say:

    1- Reid (Thought he was quite good today)
    2- McInally (Good in the loose poor line-out)
    3- Welsh (ok)
    4- R Gray
    5- J Gray
    6- Hamilton
    7- Watson
    8- Denton
    9- Laidlaw (Price has been slighty off form all season and today was awful)
    10- Russell
    11- Maitland
    12- Jones
    13- Bennett
    14- Seymour
    15- Hogg

    16- Lawson
    17- Bhatti
    18- Berghan
    19- Gilchrist
    20- Barclay
    21- Price
    22- Horne
    23- Kinghorn

    1. Russell was awful! He can’t hack pressure and lacks a rugby brain at times. I would drop him if we had any other S/O

      1. He had some brain farts but at least he was trying to make something happen. What else could he do when his forwards make negative yards and run sideways all the time. Plus he’s got no experience in the back line to help him

      2. My giddy aunt , The scrum was rock solid and he squandered what he got. He was like a fart in a trance and history will show it. We need him to find ways to break the gain line , he is the playmaker.

      1. Really ? The guys on either side were liabilities and Hogg intervenes when he fancies – Jones showed up today, that is the only nailed on conclusion I got.

    2. Pretty much agree with the next games suggested lineup.

      Russell can be great and terrible ..against Wales he was terrible. He needs to learn how to achieve consistency in his game and continuing to give him starts after playing poorly is like saying its acceptable.

      I think we need to think hard about using Hogg at 10 and Maitland or Kinghorn at 15 and benching Russell.

      Surely Hamilton and Denton given a chance against France.

      Harris is not International standard.

  4. The worst performance since losing 20-0 at Murrayfield to England. It was another freeze. The fear and hesitation when receiving the ball was palpable. No real ideas or plan, and constant silly mistakes again. The hesitancy when players received the ball was not something I expected. Static and easy to defend. Not many pass marks from 1 to 15 I’m afraid.

    1. Lack of leadership is partof the problem. Great leaders can get the team to block out and focus on job at hand. Miss some old heads in that team badly

    2. England were a class side , Wales were there for the taking.Someone has to win , someone has to lose, yesterday we were humped and it started long before we arrived in Cardiff.

  5. It’s the hope that kills you. Another grim lesson about buying into the hype. Wales were better in every aspect. Not all of our players were poor, but i am even less convinced by the change in personnel than prior to the match. Felt the team that finished looked more like the team that should have started. Can only hope that this will prove a massive arse rocket.

    1. I don’t think we will see Toolis, CDP, Price, Mcguigan, Harris next week. Doubt if any will even make the bench, price at a push. Expect Gilchrist, Wilson, Laidlaw Dunbar and Maitland to come in with Denton, L Jones, Bennett/Taylor, Richie to come into the squad

  6. Forget this game and move on, we learnt which players to take for the rest of the tournament and which ones to chuck in the dumpster.

    Positives – Seymour looked fresh again , i take back what i said about him.
    The Scrum held reid/welsh done their job and i was impressed with mcallum when he came on.
    Players who i can think of that actually looked interested were Watson and Jones, to a lesser extent Gray and Seymour.

    My team for France.

    1. Reid
    2. Mcinally (due to lack of option)
    3. Berghan
    4. Gray
    5. Gilchrist
    6. Barclay
    7. Watson
    8. Wilson
    9. Laidlaw
    10. Russell
    11. Seymour
    12. Dunbar (if fit) or Horne
    13. Jones
    14. Maitland
    15. Hogg
    16. Lawson
    17. Bhatti
    18. Mcallum
    19. Richie Gray (if fit) or toolis if not.
    20. Denton
    21. Price
    22. Horne then Bennet
    23. Kinghorn

    1. Berghan should be nowhere near the Scotland team. After stamping on the head of his fellow Scotland team mate Fraser Brown (who has a history of concussion issues) Berghan should nowhere near the Scotland side. We cannot allow people who aim to maliciously hurt their fellow Scottish professionals and say this is okay behavior if we want a good and sound team environment. Berghan being named in the starting 23 would cause a huge rift between the Glasgow and Edinburgh boys which I would like to avoid

      1. Berghan should be nowhere near the squad because he’s gash. Welsh was fine yesterday apart from not carrying and McCallum had a perfectly good debut.

  7. For next week, assuming Dunbar/Taylor not ready, start Horne, Maitland, Wilson. Denton and Kinghorn on bench.

  8. Russell just needs to play the ordinary pass once in a while. It’s like Haarlem Globe-trotters some times

  9. Scotland is relentlessly awful at all team sports. Our culture dosent support ambition and aspiration. We are more interested in drinking, slagging each other off, and sectarianism.

      1. How can you say the Welsh are rubbish they have Won 11 GrandSlams only one or two behind England countless GS and have won more 5 and 6 Tournaments then anyone , including shared titles .
        In football they reached the semi finals of the E.C but rugby is there sport , they had the bad old days in the 80’s and 90’s but are getting back they have won three GS in 12 years and a 6 N championship , they are a rugby nation they were the first team ever to beat NZ we have not beat them ever .

      2. Liam McLair Wales are good are rugby cos it’s their national sport and they’ve got their professional structures spot on. From 95-2004 they were about as good as us.
        They’ve been ok at football recently by having one of the world’s best players and Aaron Ramsey. We used to play them in the old home championship and the win record was 2:1 in our favour. We qualified for 5 consecutive world cups. Don’t tell me they’re better than us.

      3. Liam, that’s not the bit that I was saying applied to the Welsh and Irish. Interesting that you’re OK with me allegedly implying that the Irish are rubbish at team sports, even though they’re 3rd in the world…

    1. I don’t agree with what you are saying but we don’t have the same sort of jock sports culture that exists in Wales and England (i’ve no experience of Ireland).

      1. We do but Wales are a rugby nation they have won more tournaments then any other nation at 5 and 6 nations , won 11 GS 22 TC , in the last 12 years they have won 3 GrandSlams and a 6
        N title , there no mugs and they were getting back to where they used to be but lost Gatland to the lions , they had there really bad days in the 80’s and 90’s but they got over them , we’re football nation but the Taffs love there rugby and can beat anyone on there day if there up for it , there a bit like France used to be , do not under estimate them .

    2. I’m afraid there’s a lot of truth in that. It’s part of our cultural psyche that to aim high in any sphere is “elitist” and therefore to be avoided. Mediocrity is actively encouraged.

    3. Only because we have had so little to cheer about over last 20 years. When Andy Murray won Wimbledon the whole county was on a high and boasting

  10. The most embarrassing thing was people genuinely believing we would thrash Wales by 20+ points at the Millennium stadium. I was more confident than ever that we could get a result there but to say we would win that match comfortably when Wales are so good at home is laughable.

    I was hopeful but also had the respect and understanding that players like Adams, Evans, Shingler, Navidi, Moriarty (last year), Parkes, Patchell etc have all been on incredible form and if we were to pull of a victory it would be only by a small margin.

    The cockiness that some displayed talking about Wales like they were Italy was just pathetic.

    1. I have to fess up to being one of the cockiest on here and am now sitting in front of a humble pie supper.

      That was a total shocker today. We actually began pretty strongly before gifting 7 and then setting Wales up for another 7. After that, despite continuing to have the majority of possession in the first half, we still posed no real threat.

      Most of the second half was even worse than the first and it made me wonder what on earth had happened to the Scotland of the last two AIs.

      Serious work to do in preparation and selection for France next week.

      Toweringly ironic that the front row held up rather well for most of the match, leaving the shambolic to occur elsewhere.

      All credit to Wales. They were as good as we were bad.

      Will reserve comments on individuals until the Blog’s Player Ratings come out.

      1. For what it’s worth, John, I don’t think you were cocky before the match. You had high expectations, as many of us did, and rightly expected Scotland to put in a good performance which could very well lead to a convincing win.

    2. Good post. It appeared that many in the team had bought into the fantasy that all that was necessary for a walkover win was to turn up.
      Scottish away wins in Cardiff are a rare occurrence and far better Scottish teams have gone have been unsuccessful there. Even when we have won, victories have been hard-fought and by small margins. Winning away from home regularly in the 6N is the mark of a top-class team. Scotland under Cotter were not at that level although there was a clear line of development and progression. Yesterday was a major setback and the coaching team and senior players are now under serious scrutiny. The next few weeks will tell us a lot about both.

  11. I hate to say I told you so, but I did tell you so.
    Then again, I only predicted Wales by 8 so I was badly wrong too.

    Mcguigan, Harris and CDP are not quite good enough for this level. There were selection errors even accounting for the injuries.

    You have to accept that the game plan Townsend insists on will pay off big time sometimes but go badly wrong just as much.

    1. Hard to believe CDP played. He was anonymous. Townsend should make up with Strauss and get him in the team.

      1. Have to agree, although the entire pack seemed subdued. They need to start these matches as if they were ‘looking for a fight’.

  12. Russell was God awful. Tried his socks off, but I cannot ever recall a game where a 10 has piled so much pressure on his centres, who
    hadn’t a clue what was coming. Never gave even a hint he could actually manage the game. No plan B. Sadly, no alternative to Russell either. No doubt he’ll be brilliant again, but he was Wales MoM for me.

  13. That was an absolute disgrace. I am of an age where I am used to false dawns but that today was terrible. Lose? ok but to not show any threat in attack, give away easy possession and not look like scoring till all was lost was disgraceful. The backs were a disgrace and Russell needs to take a reality pill, too cocky by half. Back to basics for next game or we will be fighting Italy for Wooden Spoon again. Disgraceful today.

  14. That’s the first time in 10 years that I’ve turned a Scotland game off in disgust. Barely made 60 minutes.

    Being a Scotland fan is like being in an abusive relationship: even though you know you shouldn’t, you go back based on the slimmest hope that things will change. But they never do. Worst part is that I won’t get any decent money for my now worthless tickets for the Italy game.

    Townsend needs to take a long hard look at himself, because that was inept. Our selection fears were validated and we were weak where we were meant to be strong and vice versa. There was no real semblance of a plan beyond fling ‘n’ hope. Hogg, Watson and Seymour were good, the rest dire. Yeah, the ref wasn’t any good (as expected), but the Scotland who ran NZ close and thrashed Aus would’ve devastated a pretty budget Wales team. We’ll be lucky to beat Italy.

    Right now, I can’t imagine Toonie having any supporters as next Lions coach.

      1. Recorded the game, woke up & saw score on twitter (3am here in Oz) & deleted the recording without watching. For that reason I can’t/ won’t comment on the content of the game. Reading the contributions here is more than enough detail, thank you.
        Likewise I don’t think the players or management, outside of team announcement duties, should show face until they emerge from the tunnel to play France.
        No Twitter messages about lessons learned or hurting boys taking a hard look at themselves. No happy joking instagram clips from training.
        We need to know….that they know….we know….today was unacceptable.

      1. They’ve certainly got some good players, but looking at the squad it didn’t inspire fear in the same way that some have done in recent years.

    1. Worst part is how much money your making off of scamming Italy tickets? Take a look at yourself.

      1. What? you can sell em on Stubhub, completely legit!!
        Unless that’s a joke…….

      2. Maybe you should take a look at yourself instead of lobbing baseless accusations of skullduggery. Not that it’s any of your business, but I got the Italy tickets for my birthday and until shortly after half-time on Saturday was looking forward to the game. Now, though, I’m not terribly keen on spending a ton of money seeing Coach Toonie winning his first wooden spoon.

  15. Scotland are looking at a whitewash if they play as badly as that the rest of the 6N. Very poor execution, awful lineout, poor decision making etc. Russell and Price were terrible as were McGuigan, Harris and others. Fair play to Wales as they played with a passion the Scots lacked. England or Ireland would have racked up 50 or 60 though.

  16. The backs seemed impatient. Rushed. All self inflicted. The forwards had nowhere near enough impact, watson aside and ritchie grays initial break.

    All in all, it was an embarrassment. Townsend will need to find the spark to light the team for there home leg against France if there is to be a glimmer hope for us to challenge for the title.

    Russell, when he is off, is really(!!!!) off unfortunately. Price had a bad one, far too flat with his passing. Laidlaw when he came on was too slow and did not fit at all with the style of play Scotland are aiming for.

    Scotland should be worried if that’s how they’re going to perform.

    As a Scotsman, I’m very worried. Off the back of that game, the wooden spoon is Scotlands.

    1. Townsend should be looking to give George Horne a bench spot v France. He’s been playing better than price this season.

  17. When you appoint Townsend coach you have to accept that they’ll perform as headless chickens if the plan doesn’t work.

    1. That sums it up nicely. There’s no pragmatism under Townsend’s game plan. There will be loads of hysteria off the back of the result but the result could just as easily go our way next weekend. Overall though the pragmatic teams usually win things, the naive and stylish teams don’t.

  18. Very naive game plan and poorly executed. Thought we lacked leadership throughout the team today. Barclay, McInally, Gray, Russell and Hogg should have collectively worked out what was not working and sorted it. Wales played very well with some very clever players. Seem to not understand that you need to build pressure.

    Centre combination did not work – Harris seemed to have a tough day. We lost the one on one battles as well. Russell should have nailed some of the kicks.

  19. Are main weakness is definitely are lack of decent wingers. Seymour despite being off-form on his day can be class but all the other wingers have serious issues. Maitland whilst good defensively lacks any attacking threat or ability to score tries. Visser is great at finishing tries but struggles defensively and in the build up play. McGuigan is a bit like Visser but less prolific. Lee Jones doesn’t have enough to his game.

    Darcy Graham looks a great future talent but right now with our limited options in this area I would seriously be tempted to bring in Blair Kinghorn and play him on the wing. He has gained the most meters, beaten the most defenders, and has the joint 2nd most clean breaks in the pro14 aand 8 tries already this season. He has pace, trickery and most of the tries he scores are winger like tries so i think he would be perfect on the wing

    1. I do not think any one is listening , it is at times like this I save my breath, there is always a better use for it .

  20. Ashamed,embarrassed,humiliated,weak,outclassed,destroyed and capitulation were the words running through my head as i watched this totally gutless shambolic performance ,not one player can say they played well,two tried their hardest i guess,Jones and Watson maybe Seymour. It seemed like an group of strangers whom had never before played together were told to just go out and do your own thing during the game because we don’t need an plan A or B as we are playing an makeshift 2nd string side. As for GT he looked clueless watching on with fingers crossed in hope rather than someone with any ideas to change the debacle unfolding before his and our eyes. my word Italy and Connor O’Shea must be feeling very confidant and looking very forward to playing us,as for the French English and Irish well they must be laughing inside even though they are professional rugby players with mutual respect for whomever their opponents maybe. i feel so empty,so please until a proven run of positive results( like England’s run of the last 2 years)can people please refrain from saying certain players are world class or combinations of players are better than combinations other teams have because all this just adds to this unrealistic truth. sorry if i have come across a bit down and depressed.

  21. Agree with a lot of the individual player criticisms. But by far the one simple failing, the one element missing was….passion. The Welsh had bucket loads. We had none.

    1. I can handle losing it was the lack of fight,concentration not going into contact with any kind of conviction that made my blood boil.

  22. The best way to respond to this , is a silent protest. Call a silent protest.

    Do not post, we need to stage a silence and make a protest. Silence will get the attention of the mainstream media.

    They are paid from our pockets to entertain. Hogg looked out of place, kick in hope chips, he is the highest paid guy in Scotland .

    Townsend gambles on a lump of coal from Newcastle called Harris and a walking talking beard called McGuigan while the flying dutchman is ignored.

    Russell was on the pitch but oblivious to anyone else around him. Price was out of place , if he wants to gamble, go the casino on the Clyde, Laidlaw brought sanity to the hinge.

    Barclay was lucky to stay on the pitch. blatant professional fouls. He was poor and leadership needs improvement. Wilson shone on arrival for CDP who is just another lump of beard.

    Jones showed all his class, this lot will not be long in robbing him of that, it will be impossible for him to sink to their level.

    Reid and Welsh did not let us down.

    1. “Do not post, we need to stage a silence and make a protest. Silence will get the attention of the mainstream media.”

      This has actually cheered me up.

      Industrial action from talking pish on the internet!

      1. Or rather, not talking pish. Sorry Haggis, not posting here is not going to make the slightest bit of difference – the mainstream media pay very little attention to us!

      2. Well we need to do something, at least we can draw on humor , it sets us aside from the rest. But we have just lost to a nation that have a dragon for a national symbol, an animal that never lived and if it did it was slayed by the Patron Saint of England. All they have is rugby , when we beat them it feels like you have taken their kids from them.

      3. Rory , I contest they should pay attention to us!!! They should, because when it comes to speaking absolute p*sh we come right to the top of the sump, like Killie Pie grease on water. Other brands of pies are available for proof of concept.

      4. Haggis – we have the unicorn as our national animal! Following yesterday it may be changed to my little pony.

  23. The wheels come off shortly after that first interception try. Then away-from-home panic play set in and with that, lots of errors. I said previously that if our scrum held, we would be fine: how wrong I was. The front row of Reid, McInally and Welsh coped well and should be in the starting 15 for the next game. The lineout was poor but I’ll refer to the panic comment above. We don’t have good alternatives at hooker.
    The Price/Russell combo seriously misfired but swapping Price for Laidlaw is unlikely to be better although I suspect that’ll happen next week. A lot of poor ref decisions I thought but let’s face it, the best team won today.

  24. Townsend got it wrong on every marginal call. Cornell Du Preez hopefully ended his Scotland career, that was shameful. McGuigan and Harris are just average AP players and bringing the three of them in meant we lost a possible advantage in experience and ignored three of the more street smart players we have in Wilson, Horne and Maitland.

    Speaking of smart no one will ever accuse Ali Price and Finn Russell of that. Price blew the game in the first 10 minutes and Russell buckled under pressure in the first half (how many times do we see missed touch in the big games at big moments?). However they are what we have an we go again with hopefully better coaching and more leadership around them.

    Townsend seems to think we can play fast and tire the opposition out. Rennie seems to think Glasgow can be lighter and faster. Call me cynical but I feel this is slightly naive. In the big games oxygen doesn’t seem to be an issue for teams with a massive sports science budget.

    1. It’s telling that Cockers has injected some real steel into Edinburgh but Rennie is stuggling to make Glasgow toughen up yet here we are with Glasgow’s half backs crumbling under pressure and no sign of Bradbury, Ritchie, Crosbie, Bennett or Kinghorn. On the flip side, cornel was poor as was Toolis so I’m at a loss really. I guess it’s just a general Scottish player mentality thing. We just aren’t good enough and until the kids come out of the youth ranks with the same ‘dog’ in them that the irish manage to instil, we never will be

  25. Generally agree with others. The game plan was rank and Wales dealt with it no problem. We must go through phases first to earn the right to go wide and a bit of patience in their 22 would help. We blew so many chances in the 1st half and even in the autumn although we scored a lot from far out, the accuracy when in the opposition 22 in the Autumn was also poor too. That’s one of the things Cotter really drilled into the team- patience, clarity and calm when in the red zone and eventually defences will fracture eg for Hornes try. Also felt we really missed Zanders ball carrying as none of the forwards bar Watson really made any meaningful yards. As for Russel he tried to rush everything, even when kicking to touch, which is when you need somebody on the field to tell him to just calm down. Townsend must learn from this quickly as otherwise we are in big bother. Also am I the only one who really doesn’t rate Matt Taylor as a defence coach. I get its players fault for missing tackles but the narrowness of our defence and the ease at which they gained yards must be down partly to his systems!!

    1. Defence was awful – so many gaps appeared. Don’t think Jones / Harris looked right as a combination, but any centre pairing would have struggled with the pish served up from half back

    2. People who say Reid and welsh did ok are missing the fact that they contributed precisely eff all in the loose. They had obviously been told to just go wide off every ball and Barclay as captain is culpable for not realising this wasn’t working and changing the plan in the pitch. Telling that gilcho came on and almost immediately the forwards were much more involved but the damage had been done by then.

  26. We pumped Vern Cotter for this nonsense. We won in the autumn with Cotters side, today we lost with a names out of the hat selection and a couple of likely lads at half back. They can come back, they can play better, but this needs immediate and ruthless action. Some should be declared injured and removed from the squad.

  27. Well we can stop bleating about Gatland’s Lions selections now because we well and truly proved him right.
    Hard to single out individuals but Price was culpable for the interception- people criticise Laidlaw for being hesitant in his passing!
    Racing must be checking the terms of Russsell’s contract.

      1. I don’t think this vindicates Gatland in the slightest. A game like today is down to a failure of coaching.

      2. sorry but no. If the lions toured this summer and the tournament finished with 5 performances like that from Scotland then yes. But last year several players form deserved the call. And Wales were poor. I’ll always maintain Gatland’s selection was a disgrace!

  28. The key issue from Scotland’s performance and game plan was having no direction. There were very few ball carriers offering themselves as an option and if they were offering themselves, they were taking the ball static and going sideways.

    We must have ball carriers gaining the hard yards and pulling in defenders in order for us to find space out wide. If not, it makes it very easy for the defensive line to drift or hold their ground as we saw today. It also forces the attacking team to force things as we saw today.

    I agree that Russell was not his best today but he had very little to work with so all he could do is try things.

    For next week:

    1. Gordon Reid and Jon Welsh secured the scrum but they offered nothing around the field. It may be worth just giving the young guys a chance. They will actually offer themselves as a ball carrier.
    2. Gilchrist is a very good ball carrier in addition to his ability in the set piece and should start over Toolis.
    3. Cornell Du Preez was anonymous in this game and has not really repeated his initial form for Edinburgh over the last couple of years. Any of Bradbury, Hamilton, Wilson or Denton would offer more. I personally think we need a big solid ball carrying number 8 to take us forward and Bradbury seems to have shown the greatest ability to get over the gain line.
    4. Ali Price was not particularly composed but like Russell, it was probably forced as he had little options available. I would give him another chance given his form in the autumn. I personally believe that George Horne is ready to step up and should be given a chance sooner rather than later but until then we should give Price another go.
    5. McGuigan wasn’t helped by his teammates inside him but I was not convinced prior to the game that he is a better option than Maitland or Visser despite his man of the match performance against Australia. An option I always thought would be interesting to try is playing Bennett on the wing. We have so much competition in the centres – with everyone available it would probably be Taylor and Jones with the potential argument for Dunbar. Bennett is still one of our most talented players and I think it would be worth trying, albeit not necessarily in the six nations.
    6. The centre partnership was always questionable for the first game of the six nations in Cardiff. Even Jones and Bennett would have been new but less risky. If Dunbar and Taylor are unfit, we should start Horne and Jones.

    On to next week…

    1. Reference point 3. There is a big couthy lad, plays No 8 for the Palmerston Place Church 24th company BB, spotty face and drinks Irn Bru (full sugar version) at half time, but dont tell Townsend or he will have him in the squad next week.

      CDP was clearly wrong, as is Denton , in Toonie we hae nae trust and I have just requisitioned a lorry load of banana skins which should be arriving at EH12 as we speak.

      For the avoidance of doubt Haggis Rugby has nothing to do with me, he is much too sensible.

  29. The first 5 minutes of the game looked positive, thereafter;

    The defending was the poorest I can recall in recent times.
    Russells missed kicking to touch was a joke and frustrating to watch and just put the pressure straight back on Scotland
    The amount of errors whilst in a good field position seemed constant.
    No one really created any real attacking chances, this seems odd after the number of scoring opportunities that Scotland have created in recent games.
    It didnt look like we tried to change the gameplan at half time when it was clear that it was not working and non existent.
    Reid/Welsh werent overpowered in the scrum but didnt offer much in loose play

    This game was so dissapointing after having so much belief that we would at least compete. The thing is this was Wales B team and Scotland made them look good.

    1. Sadly , due to the ineptitude of the WRU , we missed the first 5 minutes , despite queueing for an hour- entered the stadium to the sight of a welsh halfback running towards me.

      Then it just got worse , no composure , no thought , I won’t say no passion as i’m Not inside any of their heads , but it was woeful

  30. Tried too much too soon. Where were the 6, 8, 10 phase plays? Then scarily fragile mentality…I thought that those days were gone…but when we needed cool calm play after the interception try we started headless running and poor passing. Horne is not as talented as Russell but he is calmer and more able to be happy doing the simple things right. Laidlaw and Horne for me. Centres didn’t work at all, although Jones was ok, CdP useless, Wilson did more in less time, I would be happy with Denton back also, otherwise hard to tell. Looked like a different team from November. Sports psychologist needed to help them know how to dig themselves out of poor on the field decisions and behaviours instead of doing the same and expecting better results.
    Another interesting fact was the lack of penalties from either side (it seemed from first viewing) and that shows the importance of patience and creating and taking try scoring opportunities. In that area Scotland were awful.

    1. Agree about the phases – the try ( which should have been disallowed as no way was Horne the back man in the ruck ) came after 17 phases from the forwards. Look and learn, Toonie.

      1. Just watched Ireland win because they put the final play through 40 phases when they needed to…that’s what wins games now in top level rugby now. France did nothing wrong in that play, but the point is that Ireland didn’t either. Clarity of purpose, character, discipline, patience, leadership. That’s why Ireland won and lack of all of those in the Scottish display is why we lost- badly.

  31. I still believe that Scotland are on the verge of producing an outstanding team, but not with some of the players on the field today. There are really good backs to choose from, but there are big changes needed in the forwards, and some who could play are not in the current squad. I applaud the idea of fast, chaotic rugby, but having the ability and the players who can adapt their style of play when circumstances require it, is something that is currently missing from Scottish rugby. On another matter: I have seen 5 forward passes in the two games today and none of them picked up!

  32. That was horrific. Not much to say about it other than I hope the team and coaching staff have an understanding of just how badly they have let everyone down today, including themselves.

    (Goes off to repeatedly slam head against wall in darkened room)

    1. You have too much faith in humanity. They are eating and drinking beer right now. It starts at grass roots, too many good kids get overlooked in favour of others who have supporters and heritage in our small minded clubs. Rugby is a working class game in Wales, our structure needs to catch them at school , as it did in the 70’s. No way back in the current structure.

  33. The Chiel comment reply: You are wrong , our centre combinations are always , always having to play second fiddle to Hogg and Russell , they take any rubbish that fresh air chucks at them and get injured having to tack back and tackle for Hogg while he is up looking to take at first receiver or pop in wherever he choses. We are far too predictable, any idiot can see that Glasgow and Scotland look to him.

    Our game plan is completely visible and easy to defend. We score from broken play where there is no structure. Scotland will never progress until we play as a team and respect all 15 men on the side.

  34. ‘… and sent them homeward tae think again!’

    Perhaps Cammie, Iain and Brodie might wish to revisit their pre-match analysis on the blog, this time with the tartan tinted glasses and contacts removed. The hype on this blog was reminiscent of the lead-up to the Twickenham 2017 debacle when numerous inflated reputations were deflated. Disrespecting a team with a proud tradition, playing at home, was never the smartest thing to do.

    Time for a dose of reality – Toonie is no Cotter and the SRU need to be challenged on why they levered the latter out to install the former who was untested as a coach at this level.

    The team selected contained too many untested players who are not of test match quality, and the tactics adopted were naive. Too much of Scotland’s success is dependant on Russell being on the top of his game and being allowed to play. When he isn’t and defensive systems are deployed that stiffle him then the result is a performance similar to what we have seen on too many occasions to be an anomaly. The point has been well-made that the so-called leaders on the field crumbled when it was clear the plan chaos was rather plan chaotic.

    I agree that at least 3 of today’s starters should never wear a Scottish jersey again. A similar number need to be dropped and a more pragmatic game-plan adopted for next weekend. Its up to us as supporters to really get on the backs of players, coaching staff and SRU administration and let them know our disgust with pathetic individual and team performances which are unacceptable and unprofessional.

    1. You are correct, it is question time, it is a job for the (Borders) boy heritage at the SRU . However we are stuck with it. Vern Cotter was the finest coach we have had in recent times. This guys school playground tactics are a disgrace.

    2. Vern Cotter was whitewashed in his 1st 6N.
      Like Cotter then, Toonie is learning at this level and so is McFarland.
      They both have tremendous records turning unfancied clubs into contenders so need time.

      1. Well I like a fact as much as the next man , however a fact out of context is nonsense.

        Vern Cotter inherited on a team of jack the lads who were getting paid well and could barely cross the whitewash.

        Scotland were close to needing to qualify for the RWC and in November 2017 we equaled our highest ever ranking of 5th, my point being , our direction of travel has improved.

        Townsend inherited a side that are noted for scoring tries and have clearly raised the standards of international rugby.

        In Cotters time we beat Wales and on each of the pervious occasions lost by 3 points.

        Today we were humiliated, I repeat humiliated.

        Not all, but many of the factors responsble for todays humiliation ,have been the source of debate in this blog for the last 2 weeks and most of us in here talk nonsense.

        Harris , CDP , McGuigan and the free spirit that is Russell have been debated to death in here and what transpired today was forseeable.

        We might as well have played a taylors dummy from Jenners in their jerseys today.

        At least a tailors dummy would have had presence.

      2. stephen: You are saying GT gave VC good quality players . What are you implying ! exactly .

        Are you saying Rennie did not supply GT good quality players. Or Cockers ?

        Well he has and they underperformed.

        What has changed is this is Rennies fault?

        He has lost one pro 14 game to Edinburgh who form the other half of the Scotland Squad.

        Dont think so. The PRO 14 leaders and Euro qualifiers.

        GT is getting the same quality he used to give Rennie.

        What has changed ? The feed of quality is excellent but he picked three wild cards and in ia 6N international not even 1 is acceptable. 3 in the 6N opener away in the most hostile environment in the tournament.

        While he cannot pick the phone up , make peace with some proven performers, one of whom is IMO and according to statistics one of the best strike rates ever in a Scotland Jersey to play a walking talking beard, a big soft boy and a scarecrow who plays for the nearest AP team to the borders.

        Sorry you need to do better than that.We need to waken up .. this all smells like!!!!

      3. Well let’s see.
        I didn’t like the wildcard picks of McGuigan and Harris. Would rather have risked Bennett and Jones if no Scott available.
        I see no benefit in being really negative. Not right now.

      4. Next week is another game and we will spoil someone’s party. That is as positive as it gets.

        There is absolutely no point in deluding yourself yesterday was anything but pathetic. Our fans, clubs and sponsors pay the players and coaches and yesterday will cause long term problems.

        Like the man said earlier, why did we punt Cotter .

        Price and Russell gigling in the anthems.

        You had to keep watching to believe your own eyes.

        We were 14-0 down at half time and our immediate response was to give them a further 3 .

        Leading from the front, Barclay gifted them another 3.

        Gatland got his half time talk worked out.

        If we had come out and scored , the game was back on.

        We should have sent the subs on at 45 mins , all of them.

        Componded errors, this is the 6N , not the Border league cup.

  35. Out: Harris, Harris, Harris, McGuigan, CdP, Bhatti.
    In: Maitland, Bennett, Horne, Visser, Berghan, Denton, Strauss, Hardie.
    Decent: Jones, Hogg, Watson.
    Severe kick up the arse: Price, Barclay, Russell, Gray, Townsend.

    We must beat France. Then all to play for against England.

    The reality is the prevailing view of how good you are in northern hemisphere rugby is fixed by how you play against England. Win that and this game is as irrelevant as our victory over Ireland last year.

    1. Harris looked way short of Test match quality. A costly experiment not to be repeated. Bennett must fancy his chances of a return against France.

      1. I hope this game has taught Townsend that you can’t get away with trying to be cute with selection in international rugby.

        Leaving out Bennett, who has played in a World Cup QF, for Harris was madness.

    2. Interesting sub plot when Barclay was stumbling about as we formed a line out and JG was hallering at him “John! John! Get in line.” Changing of the guard….discuss?

      1. JG is not a captain, yet, he prefers to concentrate on his own game and had he found his off load early on it may have been a different game , but he didnt and it wasnt.

        We have options / such as Laidlaw or Grant Gilchrist which might mean we need to compromise in the second row.

        McInally could lead them if Barclay was dropped however right now, I want no more gambles from the ring master.

  36. Oh dear god that was bad! We’ve set the Welsh up with all the momentum and confidence they need to go on and win the bloody competition now.

    All the talk before the game was about us playing fast and loose and Wales looking to bash up the middle – Wales new how we were going to play and implemented a simple and effective defensive system which we never looked like breaching. We looked set up to defend how we thought Wales would play and got caught out when they attacked with a different style to expected. Had the coaches not watched any Scarlets games?!

    People said we’d miss Dunbar for his defensive role. How right they were!

    I never understand why we seem to run set piece moves where we pass the ball in fancy patterns and run set lines but behind the gainline and nowhere near the defence! Possibly this is because, as others have said there wasn’t enough go forward from the pack to create gaps in the defence.

    There was one attack in the first half inside their 22 when Price picked and went right to be met by someone waving to him to go left. By the time he’d dithered round to the left he got swamped and the attack was over. I wonder if there was a communication issue with the noise of the roof being closed.

    The worst thing for me was the lack of aggression and physicality in attack or defence and the inability to keep calm under pressure and when in the “red” zone.

    The most disappointing thing is we had all these things in the game v NZ in the autumn. The lack of consistency is so frustrating.

    Hopefully, like Samoa in the autumn, this is our bad game (and it was dire) out of the way and, again like the autumn, we come romping back with ever improving performances throughout the championship. Because i really can’t sit through that again!

  37. The one good positive today, for Scotland and Edinburgh is McCallum played and scrummaged very well. He has a bright future.

  38. Well. Just arrived back home, having been to the match with my 15 year old son and a couple of other exile Scottish mates who live south of the border.
    What a downer of a game. I really had my hopes up today, based on our recent form, but that was dreadful. I suppose I’m old enough to know better than to get my hopes up.
    I’m not sure whether today was as bad or worse than 2010, when we managed to lose that game in the last 5 minutes (I was at that one as well). Maybe worse, because I really believed that we could be competitive now: I wouldn’t have minded losing if we had at least come out and given them a good game.

    1. 2010 was a good performance that turned into a catastrophy (that the group of players never really recovered from). Yesterday was just a really poor performance – outplayed from start to finish in every aspect (maybe apart from the scrum).

      1. The first ten minutes we were dominant totally. Almost total possession in that time so your post is factually wrong. Any criticism has to be fair and correct to have credibility and yours has neither.

      2. Well Referendum I don’t quite see how I have rattled your cage.
        All I said was the game was poor, I had real hopes for our team. By referring to 2010 I was trying to compare this game to the feeling as I left that game. (As a loyal fan over many years I have been to a fair few stinkers, yet I keep coming back.)

        I think you came at me a bit strong there. A bit unjustified, I would say.
        Was I critical? No. Just felt that the team were better than what they produced on the field.

        So wind your aggressive neck in mate!

  39. Some here thought we’d tonk Wales but rugby is their game and they’re never easy at home. Llanelli scarlets have come onto a game and with all the injuries Gatland built the team around their combinations.

    The same people who thought we’d smash Wales are now in the depths, but have a think….. we’ve been here before….
    In the Autumn of 2014 we trounced Argentina and Tonga gave the ABs a scare then got whitewashed.
    But we came good in the end……

    Townsend is changing the team, introducing a new style and he’s also learning.

    He and the team will come good. I hope we get a result against France but I think that by the end of the 6N we will really begin to see Townsend’s style taking effect.

    He turned Glasgow from a stuffy nearly team into pro 14 champions who could score against all comers and got them into the champions qf for the first time.

    Give it time and have more realistic expectations.

      1. Yes. The team had new combinations and flaked under the pressure. I’d be surprised if it happens again.

        Did you see Ireland v France? 2 teams who looked like they couldn’t score for toffee relying on battering ram forwards. That game might be effective but it’s not exactly good to watch.

        I don’t think we have that problem.

        It’s a start. Toonie will get it right.

    1. JJJ: You mean he took Lineen’s team and improved it, they pumped him for Townsend as well before his work was done.

      Only a fool would think Scotland would tonk Wales in Cardiff. The pundits thought it would be tight and we are all realistic.

      What no one (except a few with PHD’s in hindsight) thought that we would be hammered .

      The World Rugby side ranked 5th have just been hammered by the 7th .

      This is about perspective and we need to get some. A narrow loss away from home is accetable at this stage in our journey. A pumping is not and it will not sort itself out in the 6N.

  40. It should now be obvious that other teams think we’re flaky, especially away from home, and that if you crank up the pressure a bit we go to pieces.
    That’s what Eddie Jones said about us before England battered us last season and while Warren Gatland hasn’t said that, you can tell he thinks it. 2 Scots on the Lions?

    That flakiness is a product of 20 years of losing and even with all the talent in the world it’s difficult to reverse.

    It’s very Scottish to be wildly optimistic and then extremely harsh when hopes are dashed but it doesn’t help.

    As fans the best thing to do is back the team unconditionally.
    Wales do well because of their legendary ‘hwyl’. Their whole country invests in the team and we used to have something similar, but it’s been shot to to bits.

    Just get behind the team and they will respond.

    1. correct

      The game was lost the second those anthems were sung. The pressure, expectation, occasion, intensity and media got to the players and they were incapable of thinking. The lack of leadership within the team is causing this. Anyone who has played in big occasion will know how valuable it is for both confidence and focus to have someone to turn to who just has a calm head and is unfazed by it all.

      If Scotland had a POC in the second row he would have settled the team got the forwards going forward and told the backs to be patent and wait for ball. Instead you have a captain who despite his many caps is infact very inexperienced in winning and is struggling to control a bunch of young lads losing their head around him.

      Laidlaw for all his faults – and im not his biggest fan- would have done some of this

      1. I think Barclay himself lost his head. You could argue it was lost when the roof went on. As far as I am concerned it happened way before that. They should have been down and had some orientation at the stadium , they had their last run out at Murrayfield. I think that is a mistake, just off the plane and into a game like that. No way.

      2. Ginger I couldn’t agree more with this. One of the most intimidating stadiums / atmosphere that a lot of our team hadnt played at and we do the team run at the comfort blanket of Murray field. Bound to contribute to that shambles of a performance where they looked like rabbits in the headlights

  41. What a hoorendous performance… and rarely has a Scotland performance left me in so much despair …and so much worse with the over inflated expectation from the media, especially the bbc.
    No idea where to start but by half time I was already looking forward to the Summer tour when we head out to USA and Canada… I thought we were suppose to be preparing for the 2019 World Cup, testing ourselves against the best of the Southern Hemisphere… Ireland are playing 3 tests v Aus, England 3 tests v SA and we are off to Disney world so might as well take along the kids and start rebuilding…. have we given up on 2019? Well we certainly need to give up on half of this team, blimey, Johnny Gray… slow, lumbering.. let’s get him off to Bristol and get someone to pay his wages and get some new talent in, CdP completely anonymous… maybe a French team needs some back up.. they like um big, at least Bradbury might get some game time, McGuigan found out, and you must have sympathy for Harris.. toonie madness to try a new combo in Cardiff and yes he was completely found out.. ahhh so team v USA
    Fagerson, Brown, Nel
    Cummings, Toolis
    Hamilton, Bradbury, Watson
    Horne ( Finn at home)
    Dunc Taylor, Jones
    Maitland ( a winner- and we need to win),
    Hogg (will still be fresh having missed start of season)
    Then Hardie (will need him in World Cup) and … it is all too much… the pain of supporting Scotland

  42. Rubbish.

    You get behind players that show willing, talent or even a bit of basic skill or speed.

    That was about as bad a debut as I’ve ever seen from Harris. God knows what Toonie saw in him. No pace, no passing, no defense. Hugo Southwell eat your heart out. If he’d concentrated on the game as much as he did on ruffling his hair, things might have gone better. Or perhaps not due to a complete lack of all round ability.

    Barclay as captain was embarrassing. Nothing literally nothing to say to the ref. When things go wrong he’s just a child with a smacked arse. The same immature pettiness reflected in his hilarious viral pranks was on display for all to see again today.

    I can live with Russell and Price as they’re talented as hell and usually willing. Though was irritating Price stopped playing every time he flung the ball away.

    McGuigan I sort of don’t want to cuss. But a journey man who takes far too long to build up any speed and with all the deft handling of Hagrid is probably a favourable description.

    Worst of all was GT. Everyone watching could see that we had no ability to attack while Harris and McGuigan were fouling things up and yet he dallied with his head in his hands waiting to bring on Horne, Maitland, Wilson till things were dead and gone. Also if he still holds grudges against better senior players who should be in the squad he needs to bury them now.

    This was worse than England last year. No yellow card, no significant injuries that could not have been mitigated by the right replacements and weak opposition.

    Sick of Scottish rugby. Samoa or Canada or Georgia or Japan would have put up a better fight.

  43. Reminded me of a few Glasgow games over the years when we’ve gone wide too early – Wales fanned out across the pitch removing space. They often looked like they had a three man advantage. The forwards needed to carry more and go through the phases. Don’t know if going wide was GT’s plan or what the players decided.

    Goes without saying more players had a bad day than a good one. Front row held up well. JG has clearly been working on his carrying – he and Watson showed up well. McGuigan at least looked keen to get involved. Everyone else pretty much looked like shadows of themselves …

      1. His shtick seems to be to jog towards the opposition line then check, change direction then get smashed behind the gain line and lose the ball. What is soooo difficult to understand about running hard and straight at the shoulder of the opposite man. Force equals mass times acceleration. Basics!!!

  44. It’s time to accept that Warren Gatland was right last summer, and that he knows our team better than we do.

  45. It’s not going to get any better with Russell at 10. Guys he’s played over 30 tests and he still plays like that. I would play Hogg at ten now that kinghorn has emerged. Hogg is a great kicker from hand and good decision maker.

    1. Well you do have a point , he is always up sniffing for the ball, best thing to do is play him at 10 where he can get it every set piece and we can get a fullback kick us out of trouble and tackle.

      Please before I get hecklers , save your breath, Stuart Hogg did not lose the game for us today. Cut the dependancy with Hogg and deal with the 10 issue.

  46. P.S. Don’t bother with the player ratings for the Scotland team. No one turned up.

    1. No lets have them, it will be fun to watch us appeasing them. Today the people we talk up week in week out let us down, it will be interesting if we get any real honesty from the bloggers (not the writers).

  47. Why do we play like headless chickens in Wales, is it the Scottish mentality? Where were the cool heads today? The players with all that experience? Somebody needs to have a word with Russell – again, he was disgraceful today playing casually the whole game as though we were 30-0 up and playing behind a dominant pack. Even missed his usual penalty to touch, should be unthinkable at this level. I would drop him for the next game and play Horne at 10. Half backs still control the modern game and ours seemed clueless today. We mustn’t panic and make wholesale changes but we need the senior players to step up and get control home and away!

    1. The coolest head on the pitch was Huw Jones, he went through tacklers and did his tackling very well. He showed up as did Hamish Watson and our experienced props held that scrum solid all match. (Bhatti – that is another story )

      We have had hundreds of comments in here but not a single word of praise for two guys we have overlooked and recalled to do their duty. Show up they did.

      Take a bow Reid and Welsh and shame on us.

      1. Allan: Well they did, if you look again, you will see they did and they never threw an interception the whole match, or chipped away the posession.

        Also take a look at the last 10 blogs at the Prop crisis and lets recalibrate our memories.

        All the nonsense before the game was keeping the scrum solid, they did the job that was asked of them. No penalties , a price feed howler and then Bhatti came on and the scrum wheeled like a windmill.

        Berghan with his fancy feet will be back next week so you will get what you wish for.

        Barclay will lead by example an get sent off for a professioal foul ( the refs will have noted that howler).

        I will save my breath.

    2. What the hell are you on about? what players do we have with experince, barkley? The man has no experince compaired to others. He has lost 70% of his games in a scotland shirt. He doesnt know how to handle the pressure of a game like that- We have a team of young lads who have no one to look up to, no calm heads on the pitch. Scottish rugby has been awful for 18 years, so these players have to figure it out on their own. Finn Rusell is is young and needs an experinced player helping him, whos he got around him – 2 guys with 15 caps between them and scrum half with about the same

      this is the problem we have no seinor players, no one with the abilty to calm the team down – tell the backs to be paitent etc. wales have got lions, multiple 6N winners etc, Ireland the same plus cup winners

  48. I think it all started to go wrong when the Welsh oompah band played Flower of Scotland…. sucked all the passion out of me anyway!

    But seriously, the 6 nations isn’t a disaster until it’s over. Yes, it was a terrible performance and the team and management deserve some scorn. However, I firmly believe that Scotland are still a good side and fully expect a very different game at Murrayfield next week.

    Some changes need to be made( CDP,Harris, maybe McGuigan), but I would keep the core of the team much the same.

    You can abuse me later if I’m wrong and we play that badly in the rest of the games.

    1. It is far from over , the Irish had a tough day at the office and we have yet to see how England deal with Italy. I do hope we have not lost too many to injury , the rate of attrition in Cardiff is always high, if we get out with few injuries we will do well.

    2. Two wins from this tournament would be good and 3 would be excellent. France and Italy are must win games if we want to continue with the belief we are an improved side and if we could beat England at home that would give us some momentum for the summer.

  49. Many posters here talking doom and gloom. Yes it was probably more abysmal than the freak England result. That said, by consensus, this is the most talented squad for a generation. Over the next 2 years, we will see if dumping Vern for Gregor was wise. You cannot call that at the moment. Interestingly, Cotter immediately identified our scrum as needing improving, hence Nel. The very best national sides need an all court game, the ability to adapt. Interestingly, the Warriors 2 stand out performances this season using the same mantra were Ed and Exeter at home. Exeter away was flinging the ball wide always and being lined up in the outside channels, sound familiar? At Scotstoun, a more conservative approach for an hour with superb defence, gave us the opportunity to go wide when it was on. The away Edinburgh game was identical. Townsend is a fabulous coach, but unless he gets the defensive basics right and of course the abscence of Nel etc is a factor, we will flatter to deceive. Gutted.

  50. Is Townsend really a fabulous coach though? As long as he’s Scotland head coach I will be happy to continue betting on the opposition in crunch games, where pragmatism counts for a lot. For the avoidance of doubt, November friendlies are not crunch matches.

    I will repeat, Wales skinnied in the betting market after the Scotland team was announced. That says a lot. Selection errors, clear ones.

    Injuries aside. Maitland, Denton, Bennett, BOTH Hornes, Kinghorn should be more involved. Sadly some of us questioned the status of CDP, Harris and McGuigan before today and were proven right. Get John Hardie back involved ASAP, we need a lunatic who looks to knock the stuffing out of boys in the tackle, Hardie does that and a whole lot more.

    1. Visser would have got back today for all his many faults he has pace he has stature and he would have made an attempt to catch the first try .

      You are right , this has to be laid at the door of one man and one man only , the three crash test dummies need to be put back into the stockroom. Any dunderheid could have seen Harris was a liability , Centre is the key position in modern rugby and we played someone as effective as a scarecrow.

      1. You’re right, I forgot to mention Visser. His exclusion from the 40 MAN squad was a real head-scratcher. Nobody can convince me McGuigan or Harris are better than him. The argument that Visser has been sent away to work on weaknesses in his game while McGuigan is all gravy is absolutely laughable.

    2. Well I dont know , but for me this feels like a clash of personalities with Visser. Mcguigan looked like a wee boy playing a bounce game on a sunday school trip. A wee boy who can be shoved around, Visser is good, he may be costly good, but we already have a few of them so what is one more.

  51. Note to Townsend: when Glasgow won Pro12, Strauss was a key component. Not Du Preez, not Wilson, not Denton. Get on the phone.

      1. Strauss was very well paid at Glasgow and was not always on fire. I can imagine parting negotiations went badly.

    1. Nice one and you are right. Denton is tame, CDP never fulfilled his potential and not likely to either.

      I do not think Strauss face fits. I cannot see Strauss being shoverd around. Will he dance when GT whistles, doubt it, I recall Hogg was droped for talking to Ulster and Glasgow needed him.

      Will he make that call ? Doubt it.

      1. Not sure what happened but Struass was not happy at notnbeing offered a contract as his kids and wife were settled. Blaimed GT i think

  52. A little time to reflect but hard to find any positives. That 23 between them can and should play better. Harris, McGuigan & CdP certainly didn’t play well enough but not sure it’s really their fault. The whole team looked lathargic & passionless with no real game plan. That’s the coaches job & also the senior leaders in the team. We don’t have enough options for wholesale changes, Wilson & Denton for 8 & bench spots and hopefully either Taylor or Dunbar at 12 to allow Jones to move back to 13. Laidlaw looked ok to play a bit faster & at times, possibly played quicker than Ali G, sorry, Ali P. Defending practice and tactics for all this week plus injections of Scottish pride, if available from the local pharmacist.

    1. Sr leaders. please tell me who they are? because this is the point im trying to get people to understand. we have none. JB has a lot of caps but is not an experinced winner. All but italy have 6N winners, lions, Euro cup champs. We have nothing – we have a bunch of young guys flapping about

      1. Barclay – pro14 winner Scarletts.

        Glasgow pro 14 winners Reid, Gray, Price, Russell, Hogg, Seymour, Wilson .

        Huw Jones – Currie Cup Winner.

        Nope this is about leadership not excuses.

      2. Ok a tiny bit of domestic succsess but nothing compaired to ireland and wales sadly. the point im making is that even when wales are depleted they still have experinced heads who have been there and done it. you put AW jones or a paul o connell in our squad they would suck up the pressure and re assure those around them, get the forwards smashing it up. we have a very good pool of players but they are learning the hard way

  53. The game was not out of reach at 14-0 if everyone had played to their capabilities there was still 70 minutes left to turn things around.

    After the result in England last year and that today it will allways be on our minds that something like this will happen untill a run of results are achieved both home and away over a number of seasons.

    Today was a disgrace.

    I dont know what we were thinking off selecting Harris and McGuighan in the stating line up. These guys should have had to prove themselves over a number of games before being given a starting slot. A one off decent peformance should not merit a starting place before tried and tested players (i,e Bennet and Visser).

    The team Cotter built was good, anybody forcing themselves into that should be clearly better than the player he is replacing.

    1. Andy while I agree how many were saying this before the match? Toonies Tombola has often worked clearly didn’t today and clearly too soon for McGuighan and Harris. I was surprised that Lee Jones didn’t start even for his defence. He was hugely impressive in the autumn and other than the two tries what did McGuighan do in the Australia match? I can’t remember. Jones was brilliant in both seen and unseen work. He really has to start next week with Seymour and get one of Taylor, Dunbar, or Bennet back to plug the midfield gaps. The other two can fill the bench with quality if they are available.

      1. McGuigan scored his two tries and ran over Will Genia a couple of times. I think he got MotM because the team won in his debut.

  54. Today was a pretty dismal display all round and criticism should go to players and coaching staff for individual errors and game plan, lack of Plan B and generally panicking when it started to go wrong. There wasn’t even much of a chance to get any “hope to kill you” today so to me it wasn’t this hopeless false dawn and Armageddon everyone seems to be talking about. I didn’t see this coming and not many did but in amongst all the plaudits that Scotland have got since Townsend took over there have been signs and actual results that show we can get it very wrong. Fiji and Samoa as prime examples.

    Many have posted here with constructive criticism but some it’s just way too far. Look at the comments post Ireland, Wales last year, New Zealand and Australia twice you’ll see Russell is best in world, Hogg unplayable, our back line the most exciting in the world and for a generation for Scotland. What a back row we have, Barclay what a captain’s role he has played etc etc. Then we go to this Barclay is past it, can’t captain should retire, Russell has never proved himself, blah blah blah. I know it’s upsetting when we had so much genuine hope for today, and we feel let down but take a breath and be fair with the comments. Russell still has work to do and today was way off but he has been outstanding many many times.

    Clearly certain new faces didn’t stand up and probably will need to be taken out to be given some time to adjust to the top level but we are 5th in the world. That ranking doesn’t come by accident. We’re just off our most successful year win wise and we think this team is past redemption.

    Clearly we weren’t very good, clearly Wales were not anywhere near as bad as suspected. Should Wales get another win next week then this result will get some context and should we manage to play like we do at Murrayfield then we are back to the over optimistic claims of world dominance.

    We’ve a long way to go but I’ve had more joy and pleasure watching Scotland play rugby this past year that at any other time in my life and for that I am grateful.

    p.s. Bring back Mr Visser MBE. He’ll solve most of our problems in a few lack ditch tackles and a hattrick at the other end.

    1. Thanks for inserting some levity into proceedings. I was going to post something similar. Today was hugely disappointing but one absolutely awful performance doesn’t necessarily mean the upward trajectory of the Scotland team has changed … yet. if the 6 nations table going into the 5th game has us in the bottom 2 with a points difference of -100 odd then last year could be the blip other nations fans will think it was. But until then I’m going to have faith that the players and coaches will look to fix things. A recognisable game plan for starters!

    2. This is the best post I’ve read on here today. Thank you for bringing some perspective and balance to the discussion.

      Re the players who didn’t perform well, especially the newcomers in the team, one of my pet hates is people writing them off completely on the basis of one performance. People are even writing off McGuigan who was MoM in our previous match!

      It does look like Harris and Jones struggled to find any rhythm or connection, which probably put pressure on Price and Russell to try too much, but that does not make them useless or worthy of being permanently discarded.

      We have really good players with a really good coach who got it seriously wrong on the day.

      I do question why GT didn’t do the Captain’s Run in Wales instead of Murrayfield. BVC did the same thing last year before the Twickenham debacle and in both games our team seemed frazzled, edgy and overwhelmed by the environment right from the start. That decision from GT gave me a bad feeling even before the match, but I still had high expectations.

      I still feel we could play a stormer against France next week. Expectations definitely lower though…

  55. I remember the day when I was at School we used to get PE and we played rugby for the first time….wether you liked it or not. Everybody loved it. Heavy cotton shirts, soaking wet by the end of the game and covered head to toe in muck.

    Nowadays rugby isn’t even part of secondary School Education unless you choose to take it.

    What do we really expect from the National team where rugby isn’t played as standard in schools? Unless things change, and we have 4 pro teams to give a bigger player selection I dont see anything changing soon other than random success.

    Both Wales and Ireland with similar populations and have 4 pro teams and can afford them, Why cant Scotland?

  56. I believe the coaches need to have a look at themselfs as much as the players.
    Vern brought that hard as nails focused mentality and so is Cockerill, mentality needs to change big time.
    The only time i have seen this team really fired up under townsend was against the all blacks when Doddie came on, even against australia they conceded a few tries for silly reasons and the same with samoa and fiji.
    Who is the defense coach ? they was some ridiculous gaps.
    we need to bring in some heavyweights also for this type of tournament were the defense is so much better than against SH sides.
    Berghan to start and Mcallum on bench
    Bhatti on from the start for his Ball Carrying, we not winning against france in the scrum either way so play to our strengths.
    Gilchrist or R.Gray if he is back to be more dominant in the lineout.
    Denton or recall Strauss at 8 tempted to bring on Wilson or Hamilton at 6 but Barclay deserves a shot to redeem himself.
    The backline Imo needs a better balance of power so either Dunbar returns or Bennet goes to 13 with Jones at 12, cant start horne the combo is to lightweight.
    Maitland on if only to steady the ship, would really have liked Visser in as he is test standard despite the odd thing here and there.
    Basically – Power Power Power ! , we will still have the flair with those guys in.

  57. Brought back down to earth with a bang! Spineless performance and is very hard to justify the inclusion of certain players for next week. CDP, Harris and Mcallum (not for any fault of his own) should and will be dropped from 23. God, if it was up to me I’d get rid of Price from 23 after today’s showing but cannot see Fowles stepping up to bench position and no chance of G Horne being upgraded considering he wasn’t even in the initial 40 man squad (madness). Barclay should be dropped from starting 15 but can see Townsend staying loyal. Russell really needs to up it next week, he’s no longer a young inexperienced player in sporting terms. Gatlands decision to have him carrying the tackle bags on the lions tour was thoroughly justified yesterday, unfortunately. There’s a solid argument to have P Horne start at 10 for France, certainly considering his previous controlled performance against them at Murrayfield in 2016, can’t see it happening however.
    Team I think we’re likely to see next weekend:

    1- Reid
    2- Mcinally
    3- Welsh
    4- Gilchrist
    5- J Gray
    6- Barclay
    7- Watson
    8- Wilson
    9- Laidlaw
    10- Russell
    11- Maitland
    12- Dunbar (please God be fit)
    13- H Jones
    14- Seymour
    15- Hogg

    16- Lawson
    17- Bhatti
    18- Berghan
    19- Toolis
    20- L Hamilton
    21- Price
    22- Horne
    23- McGuigan (Duncan Taylor if fit)

    Obviously if Richie Gray is fit then straight into starting 15, with Gilchrist on bench but reckon still too soon. Gilchrist offers better ball carrying than Toolis IMO and his extra weight will be appreciated vs France. Would like to see the inclusion of Denton or even better, Strauss. But something tells me Townsend doesn’t feel the same way. Anyway let’s hope for a better weekend next week and a slightly cheerier blog and comments section.

  58. I got a bad feeling as soon as i saw Scott Johnson in the tunnel just before the teams took to the field.

  59. Lineout percentage yesterday was 78%. We conceded 18 turnovers (mostly from interceptions and knock ons) and let Wales make 18 clean line breaks. They had 60% possession in the second half. The pen count and tackle count/success were more or less even. Reid and Welsh made a whopping five tackles between them, Reid missing two. Johnny and Toolis made 15 and 9 missing none. Jones made 11 tackles but conceded 3 turnovers. In fact, russell (3), Harris (2), jones (3) , price (2), mcinally (2) were the worst for keeping the ball. The welsh centres didnt give away a single turnover and only missed two tackles. Harris had 2 runs and made …. 4 metres. There were virtually no metres made by forwards, only Gray, Watson and mcinally got into double figures for metres gained with johnny the only one to carry decent figures (34 of the packs 83). Our starting pack of forwards carried 50 times. Theirs, 51. So where was the game lost? Imho, by playing through the backs too much with little conviction or accuracy therefore giving the ball away as a result, and when our forwards did carry, they didn’t carry effectively (83 metres made to Wales packs 113 metres made)

  60. Well…. now had a few hours to reflect, but haven’t watched it back and not sure I ever will!

    I am still dumbfounded. However, this sort of performance has been in the offing all season, at least from a Glasgow perspective. The backs often look on edge and trying to rush everything and against a street smart Gatland team they exploited that, ruthlessly.

    Players who didn’t step up in my opinion include McInally, Jonny Gray, Du Preez. Toolis was poor and Gilchrist is a better option if R Gray isn’t fit.

    McInally was poor imo. JG tried hard but isn’t the world class lock we all thought, yet. Sad to say but the only top class lock on the pitch was AWJ.

    Du Preez is not international class, nor is Harris. For me they go and Denton or Strauss come onto bench as Wilson will start.

    Chris Harris- feel for the guy. But at 27 and two terrible performances at international level he has to go. It’s a tough gig and there is no need to experiment with him any longer.

    Price was not very good at all. However Laidlaw doesn’t fit the game plan so price may stay.

    Russell, for me, has been average all season. No option though.

    Depressing but team for France:
    McInally- I think massively overrated but no-one else
    Hardie- will be barcs but back row was blown away
    Dunbar or Taylor
    H Jones

    Starting to look threadbare…. not injuries but lack of form. Depressed.

  61. I have been reading this blog for a while now and for the first time have felt compelled to join in. I was looking forward to yesterday’s game will real excitement but also with a sense of nervousness or maybe that was realism in disguise.

    The game was shocking at every level and clearly as others have more eloquently said already, several of the players were not at their best, rather their best Is currently not good enough for Scotland. I don’t want to be accused of making excuses but we are a small nation with only two professional teams, one competitive domestically and the other beginning to get there. Much was made of Wales’ missing players but what our absences showed was we still don’t have the strength in depth nor do some of our players have the experience to play at this level which paradoxically they can only get by playing, making mistakes and learning from those mistakes.

    The negativity in this blog over the last 24 hours, while not surprising is disappointing. Much has been said about the lack of leadership on and off the pitch. Not many leaders in those commenting or not many who would get my head back up and inspire me with the passion that was missing – since your leadership style appears to be punish the guilty.

    While painful teams, people and businesses learn from mistakes – given the opportunity. There are changes need to be made but GT is not a bad leader, Scotland are not a bad team. We had a bad game but what is most important now is how we respond – that will give a much better measure of our leadership, sense of community and potential to be great. For me this applies to the fans too…………….

    Let’s get behind the team, not on top of them. I’m beginning to look forward to Murrayfield next week!

    1. Welcome to the zoo and what a good way to join in , immediately criticising the posters for their ‘dispointment’ and ‘negativity’ (whatever that means) .

      Hardly an examle of lifting people up, where did you read about that tactic? What was there to be positive about other than it is a day behind us. We all deserved better yesterday.

      Many in here understand leadership from tough environments not from a few management books. The first stage in recovery is acnowlodging the truth and there is pages of it in here.

      If you enjoy quotes and leadership paradigms try this ‘only dead men and fools never change their mind, dead men cannot and fools wont’. Team selection was dreadful, a dreadful game plan poor travel arrangements, we need to man up and get on the phone Strauss for one.

      The brands that are plastered all over our shirts deserve more , as a ‘leader’ you will understand the value of stakeholders and what we need to do now to recover stakeholder confidence. Next week is another week and France at home has much better odds anyway, however 34 – 7 is a fact that no words will change. Danage done . The worst decision would be to back the same team for another week

  62. The pack selection needs to be more ‘horses for courses’ from now on. Barclay and Watson are a brilliant combination on their day but if the referee takes against their approach to the breakdown it leaves us with no plan B. Strauss or Denton back in next week please.

    In the medium to long term we should be looking to integrate some of the younger, physical back rows coming through into the setup. Too early this 6N but I’d like to see Ritchie, Crosbie and Matt Fagerson tour in the summer (Bradbury as well)

  63. In some ways that was worse than England 2017. At least against them we scored 3 tries. I don’t think Hardie can play either. His face was cut so badly in a club game last week he had plastic surgery.
    I think Toony might be tempted to go for it next week and we will get more leftfield stuff from the tombola. My bet is that Barclay goes, Laidlaw comes back as capt. and he brings in someone else, maybe Matt Fagerson who’s very young but performing exceptionally well.
    If Dunbar and Taylor still fail HIA then he might go all out attack (with defense a 2ndary consideration!) and pick Jones and Bennett. Bennett will be raging at being out of the team.
    One thing is clear. Toony is unconventional.
    Cotter had a spine of ball carrying 8, 2 classic ‘Scottish’ pain in the backside opensides Laidlaw and backs who won Glasgow the pro 14. Gatland had injury problems and limited coaching time so he picked the Llanelli Scarlets because they were winning and all knew each other inside out, same as when he started and picked the whole Ospreys team.
    That’s what conventional coaches do and I don’t think that will be Gregor.
    Hold on for the ride. I think we’ll get a record peppered with both Australias and Waleses. Much like Toony the player. Might make life interesting.. …..

  64. Lots of bricks aimed at CdP but in fairness his form for Edinburgh (winning in both the league and challenge) justified inclusion and don’t be surprised if he gets another shot.

  65. I think the turnover on the Welsh line (after JGs charge) was absolutely critical……….Enough about yesterday hope the 6N is like the AI – we get better as we go along.

    Last year the French brutalized us, really hope Dunbar is back as he was sorely missed yesterday, Du Preez was anonymous yesterday & whilst I do think he is an excellent rugby player, maybe a more pragmatic approach is required next Sunday. An hour of bashing from Denton is what is required. I also think we miss the hardness of John Hardie. Blair Kinghorn must be close to making the 23 too

  66. Ask yourselves one question: would Russell be the first choice for any of the other five nations (or even on the bench)?
    There you have the crux of the problem.

    1. Well, Russell has a long way to go to match the standard of Sexton or Farrell. Look at Sexton’s match winning drop goal yesterday – could Russell have done that? (It pains me to praise the whinger Sexton, but he’s a damned good player).

      Finn is good on his day, but is pretty woeful on his bad days. Nothing he tried came off yesterday and I’m not sure why. Forcing things? Lack of composure? He may make it yet as one of the top NH fly halves, but he needs to complete his skill set.

      1. The other 6N teams all have different styles so would he get in another team is moot.
        He’d get into those with styles closest to Scotland e.g. Wales.

  67. Depressing – Yes, reading through the posts, we all know areas where it didn’t work, brain farts and players who wilted in the pressure, but now some calmness and clear judgement is needed at this time to progress. As we all know, some players won’t come back from this, GT knows if he is to excel and develop in this role, which don’t forget like a lot of the team, he is still inexperienced and learning, then use this game as a sticky for him, because as much as it hurts, the good will come from it and when it does, this game will be the reality check for players to refocus on. It is a blessing we only have 7 days until the France match. Over to you GT, show us we are all not misguided and our faith that we are growing and going places is not misjudged. I still think we are.

  68. To say that i am not Gatland’s biggest fan would be an understatement, but he taught us a few lessons yesterday. He soaked up last season’s defeat, our displeasure of Lion’s exclusion, and the hype surrounding Scotland, then put it all into a game plan to destroy us. He largely kept his mouth shut prior to the game, and then, once the deed was well and truly done, stuck the boot in. He knew they’d batter us and win by about 20. Feck sake. The hype is a curse and, like Gatland, we should keep quiet until the deed is done. Until we’ve actually won in Cardiff, beat England etc for the first time in so long, then that is the bar. There’s no reason to believe we’re going to do it, until it’s actually been done. Hammering the Aussies at Murrayfield in the autumn does not predict a win in Cardiff in Feb. There is a mentality issue and i think we could be a lot more hard nosed and grim. Why can’t we just say ‘we have not done this for ages and we’re really fecked off about it. The odds are against us, but we’re going to do everything we can to put that right’ and then head out for a fight.

    1. Given all the hype around the game and the pressure on quite a callow squad, I think Toonie walked into a trap by sending out the team to play exactly as Gatland expected. There really was no need to pile so much pressure on ourselves by playing miracle pass 100mph rugby from the off. We could have held onto the ball, worked out way into the game and let our side settle. I think this game was more a coaching failure than a personnel failure.

      Toonie is a smart coach. I hope he learns these lessons and is a bit more pragmatic in future. Next Sunday is now a must-win match.

    2. In fairness the squad and Toony were quiet. The hype came from the national press and pundits.

  69. The biggest frustration for me is that Ireland or England would’ve come back and even if they still lost, it wouldn’t have been such a comprehensive humping. Is some of that down to players and experience? Yes, sure, but there are players there who should have stepped up and, man-for-man, I still think our 23 has more potential than theirs. For me, this is a result of Toonie’s inexperience as a coach, which is why a lot of people were nervous when he got the top job. Gatland’s been coaching Wales for 10 years and Ireland before that and knew what to expect. Toonie rocked up thinking his ‘fastest gun in the west’ approach that has sporadically worked for Scotland and Glasgow would be enough. It was naive, almost embarrassingly so, as was his selection, but hopefully he learns from it. Hopefully he and his staff harden the team up and equip them with a plan B for when plan A fails, and hopefully they realise that plans A and B can be adapted depending upon the opposition.

    1. It is the magnitude that is mindnumbing. Lost 2 early tries however you do expect to give up the first score when away from home then settle. It was a score too many but they held till half time. It is what happened then you need to question.

      A long way to go , lets hope we have no major injury problems. Scotland have been overwhelmed by injuries and have made , forced or otherwise , too many changes for this match.

      1. I don’t think we can blame the injuries. Yes, Dunbar and Taylor were missing, as was Little Richie, but, excepting the two newbie backs, the squad selected could have easily won with a bit of restraint, fortitude and a half-decent game plan. Comparing that game to the game is 2016 is illuminating.

      2. Not blaming the injuries, just consider the preparation was inadequate, looking in the wrong direction. Poor start to the second half , players too tired to change the game after the half time talk.

  70. Yep – definitely 1 – 0 Gatland there. We need to beat France and Italy, as well as avoiding another pumping, for par. Cardiff was potentially the most likely out of an unlikely 3 possible opportunities to show progress.

  71. Slow and depressing train back from Cardiff last night. I was shocked with the performance yesterday however I only needed to look at the history books to see the all to familiar results. I agree this was a similar performance to the England game last year. They struggle away from home in intimidating surroundings. At times it was school boy rugby – players not playing with heads up and the defensive organisation was horrendous. Have to say I think Chris Harris has had his one and only full cap for Scotland. Looked completely out of his depth and I always worry about ‘good’ sevens players moving to the 15-a-side game despite his performances for Newcastle. Huw Jones is not a 12. Missed Dunbars ball carrying ability which would have proved an alternative to the basketball style rugby we have grown to love. Feel for Peter Horne. He should have started and when he and Laidlaw came on there was a slight improvement. Finn Russells relaxed and care free approach has brought us much joy however he needs to learn to change it up when the wonder pass / kick is not on. Little leadership on the field despite Hoggs efforts from the back. Barclay was absent. A lot to do now ahead of the France game and they didn’t look too bad against Ireland last night! Believe the performances are in us however selection is key and the big game players (Hogg/Finn/Seymour) need to be firing.

  72. It is Harris second cap , hopefully his last, however that is unlikely and it would be better if we played as a team and stopped thinking 12 men are there to give them nice clean ball when they fancy turning up.

  73. Rant: We’ve had hope from the autumn be crushed in the 6 nations before, but this feels worse. More hope, after hammering Australia, nearly beating NZ, and a bigger disappointment, hammered by a depleted Wales. Some of the selections have to be questioned. 6 nations opener away is no time to be trying out new combinations. Has Russel ever played with Jones at 12? I don’t think so. Have Jones and Harris played together? No. Madness to try them there. Praying for Dunbar or Taylor to be fit next week. If not it would probably be better having Bennett in the centre, a bit more experience despite lacking match fitness. Again (hate to keep saying as it looks so unlikely) but we need a 3rd pro team. Gatland, when Wales suffer injuries, can just lift players that play together at clubs and put them in, tried and tested combinations. We have to pick random folk and hope they play well together first time.
    The forwards looked hopeless. When Ryan Wilson came on I had to ask if anyone had seen Cornell du Preez, was he even on the pitch? Cant remember another performance by a player where they did *nothing*. Denton, Hamilton, or even Bradbury needs to start v France. du Preez obviously is not interested. Cant have someone that just turns up sometimes. Still not forgiven him for that dropped ball v NZ either. And whatever the reason Strauss is not in the squad, Townsend needs to get over it. Beg him to come back if need be.
    Defence was woeful, a simple delayed pass opened gaps and there was acres of space on the outside. May have been to do with the new centre pairing, but little excuse. Is it better to have Scotland of a few years ago with no try scoring ability but a passionate defence, or now with a try scoring ability but an often embarrassing defence? I dont know.
    France, in transition again, will be physical and could suffocate our ludicrous attack. That attack needs a platform, as Glasgow found out in Europe this year, and if we cant do that most basic thing right, what was the point of all that improvement under Cotter? I’m beginning to fear that potential and promise will never turn into anything. Forever learning lessons, never moving past just potential.

    1. “Forever learning lessons, never moving past just potential”

      Sounds more apt than #asone.

  74. Bit worried about the coaching yesterday. Tactics seemed to be wrong and then there was no instruction to change how they were playing. Toonie seemed to expect the guys on the field to sort it out and didn’t intervene when they didnt.

    When Horne came on he went to the 13 position rather than the 12 he normally plays with Jones moving out one to the normal Glasgow set up?

    Whenever Wales kicked to our back 3 or Russell the instinct was to move the ball rather than take it up. That gave the Wales defence time to spread out. Should have taken it up more before passing to make the defence react.

    Russell seemed to get deeper as the game went on and passed more to Jones to take it up. Needed to mix it up more and attack the line himself more.

    Don’t know what the defence coaching has been doing for the last week but our open field and scramble defence was the worst its been since Samoa. Fortunately our set piece defence was good in comparison.

    As for the lineout! What happened there?

    Our gain line success for the forwards would be an interesting stat. We did get quick ball but usually ended up going backwards off it.

    1. Wales were far to big and physical for us up front and were by far too good enough . Wales are a good team that have been without there coach for nearly two years and we should give them credit , we beat Australia but they had a man down through a red card .

  75. I think we have a psychology issue. Rugby and Scottish sport in general has a macho attitude towards sports psychology and mental health. I think its something we really need to start to embrace more as its obvious to all that we have a fragility there. English Rugby uses Prof Steve Peters.

    If I was Toonie I’d also be on the phone to Doddie Weir and Jim Telfer for some motivational speaches this week

    1. I usually like Tom English but his piece after Australia and his piece here really does show up the mentality of Scotland which he has clearly bought into for these moments. Overly hyped up and overly critical. I think he was swayed a bit with what he was saying before the match that Scotland would take Wales to the cleaners. He was part of why I was so optimistic he had a compelling argument.

      But we can’t just throw it all out and start again. Even if it is a whitewash this year it will be hugely disappointing but not a disaster.

      I do hope we turn it around and France at home could be a worse fixture up next. France don’t generally enjoy a trip.

      Lets hope the team is more recognisable this week to one that has at least some decent experience of International rugby.

    1. It’s a tabloid overreaction disguised as an opinion piece. It makes our bitching on here seem restrained and objective…

    2. English went too far with some of his hyperbole, but I’ll cut him some slack because self-evidently he loves it when Scotland does well, unlike the sneering superciliousness of some other journalists and former players.

      1. We kind of do. But Cammy has underplayed it the last two podcasts and guests haven’t prepared for it.

    1. Not too fussed on the top either. The best top, imho, was the last one with the tartan down the side.

  76. It is far from over, England are struggling with Italy, Ireland did not have it easy in France. Cymru are on for the slam and you can avoid the spoon by winning the remaining games and put this behind you. This would be a distant memory and you could do us a favour my celtic brothers. Our players are cosy with yours , Halfpenny was comforting Hogg rather than celebrating his 2 tries and resurgence in the 15 shirt, why can the fans not follow his example.

    The leek was eaten and I struggled to get a beer on after that. Next time I will offer to eat my ticket. Pob lwc am yr wythnos nesaf.

    1. You’re playing decent rugby, the Scarlets are great and i will probably plump for you as 2nd team but can’t get over Gatland. We cost him the Ireland job back in 2001 but by God he’s got his revenge on us ever since.

    2. Unfortunately it IS already too cosy. It is very easy for you to be magnanimous in victory (again). Chatting to some Welsh supporters after the game, they actually had the gall to say they know how I feel, “we haven’t won the 6 Nations for 5 years”! But as long as plucky Scotland are every Welshman’s second team we can all stand arm-in-arm and let you spank us again next time. After all, Scotland are just there to make the numbers up.

      1. Wales had a long, long lean period which lasted from the mid 80s until the mid noughties, and it’s their national game. Most of them do know what this feels like.

      2. Imagine winning the 5 nations twice during your ‘long, long lean period’! Painful. If a 5 nations points difference win is not enough to break the cycle, then ours goes back nearly 30 years! Besides, the point was quite clearly that the current 6 Nations Champion-less run was considered by Welsh supporters to be the ‘painful period’, which says it all.

      3. They won it once in 1994. They were whitewashed in 2003, won one in 2002 and when England and France dominated from 95 – 2000 didn’t win much either. They had other humiliations too. Beaten by Samoa? Twice? At home in key world cup fixtures?They had the same issues we do now.
        Flaky, inconsistent and went to pieces when pressure came on.
        I remember the day they showed signs of recovery, which was giving England a scare at the RWC 2003.
        It’s their national game, of course, but they didn’t really turn the corner until they nailed their professional structure in the mid noughties. Even then they fluctuated and I remember them being trounced by the likes of France, NZ, the Boks and I remember them being knocked out of RWC 2007 group stages by Fiji? Gatland made them consistent. He might not win a popularity contest up here, but he’s a great coach, it’s undeniable.

        We could emulate that. I hope Vern wasn’t our Gatland and we’ve just got rid of him….

        I feel we’ve nailed some of the professional structure, although we could do with the super 6 (which is naturally being resisted) and there are some amazing schools rugby programs.

        Lets see… I think we’ll be OK….

  77. Russel unfortunately had the same sort of game he did against England last year,it seems some days he can’t be bothered,far too casual,I think Townsend has a real problem,they don’t seem comfortable playing his way,or any other way.

    1. Looking like he can’t be bothered is his style. He looks exactly the same when it’s coming off its just you don’t notice cos it looks brilliant and it is. His ability to stay in the moment and forget the past both good and bad is his greatest asset. He had a very bad day at the office. I back him to come back next week.

  78. I think it was Dean Ryan who pointed out how much Scottish rugby fans oscillated between proclaiming successes and deriding failures. He was right. Simple truth is, Scottish rugby tomorrow morning will be in exactly the same place as it was last Monday morning.

    As expected, GT has got it throughly in the neck. The same GT who apparently was far too good to learn anything from working with Gatland and Howley last year on the Lions tour. Someone who is now described as being “inexperienced” and “unproven” whereas last week he was talented and innovative.

    The contradictions are everywhere to read…..Scotland MUST play with pace and gusto and therefore MUST play Ali Price….or no, we mustn’t, control is what we need. We NEED Greig Laidlaw, not this harum scarum nonsense!

    Scotland’s lack of Lions in the 2017 party was a DISGRACE and Scotland’s players are CLEARLY superior to both Wales’ and Ireland’s…or no, we are weak, limited and have no spine. Gatland was a biased fool for not picking more of our players….or no, most of them don’t even deserve to start for Scotland.

    I could highlight more of the hypocrisy and double standards, but I won’t.

    In reality

    1) After years of limited resources, we’ve now proven an ability to score tries against anyone. 41 last year alone tells it’s own story.
    2) When others underestimate us, allow us space to play or face us at Murrayfield we are now a real handful. That is a big step forward.
    3) When others take us seriously, are really motivated against us or close us down and play a power game against us, we struggle.
    4) Until we show the mental strength required to win away from home in the 6nations we will be mocked.
    5) England, Ireland, France and Wales have a power advantage against us, especially in the forwards. We rely on players reared elsewhere to try to compensate…and no, none of Strauss, Denton or CDP have ever dominated at international level.
    6) Our domestic club game doesn’t generate players ready for the pro level. It never has. The need for more intense (and cross border) competition for aspirational players has never been greater.
    7) We can’t absorb 12 front five players being out – for us to beat good opposition we need most of our players available…and them to be on song.
    8) We got precisely the number of Lions selections last year that we deserved. Some of the comments about Welsh Lions (AWJ, JD2 in particular) were a disgrace…and gave a ready made team talk for the Welsh boys yesterday.
    9) Gatland may well have no respect for Scots rugby players – but why should he? He played for Waikato against the Scottish Front Five in 1993 and he’s never lost a game against us. Respect is earned, not given.
    10) Scotland will bounce back against France and raise their game against England. It is Ireland in Dublin that will tell us where we really are.

    Most importantly…we are nowhere near as bad as we looked yesterday….or as powerful as Australia made us look.

  79. To be honest, I feel much the same reading the doom and gloom comments of the past 24 hours as I did when I saw the ‘we’re going to give them a spanking’ nonsense last week.
    Absolutely gutted at yesterday’s result, but feel it’s probably unfair to single out individual players. I don’t believe any of them will let us down like that again.
    We may not win, but I believe Saturday’s game will be a belter. Sure we all remember the panicked comments after the first Autumn international – see how the following games turned out.

  80. We’ve seen this picture before many times over the last 15 years and yet the magnitude of almost beating the All Blacks and then trouncing Australia proved too tempting to resist yet another slide into hopeful fantasy. As fans we watch every game, listen to rugby podcasts, read press articles and the optimism was inescapable. The All Black game in particular fooled too many into accepting the usual media hyperbole.

    The most disappointing facet of last week’s disaster was the tactical lethargy that followed the mental collapse of the opening 20 minutes. Rather than make some bold substitutions early in the game Toonie continued to watch the spine of our team fall apart. Eddie Jones has never been shy of the shepherd’s crook, pulling Luther Burrell after 30 mins against Australia, and that would’ve been enough time to see the back of CdP and Price.

    That’s said with the benefit of hindsight but moving forward we need to be able to adapt our tactics mid-game. The likes of Hamilton and Denton deserve a recall for what will be a crushingly physical 80 mins against France and we can only pray for the return of Dunbar.

    1. I assume you mean backrow Hamilton, not Hamilton who has retired.

      I believe he is injured isn’t he?

      Denton is playing well for Worcester but remains to be seen if he can transfer that form.

      I think if anything this has exposed Toonie’s naivety as a coach. I was concerned at his acceleration up to Scotland coach, and am still skeptical. I think they should draft Cockers in on his free days in a consultative role for Scotland to be honest. The coaching team is pretty green and needs a knarled voice to balance things out.

      Vern had the players as close to consistency as we’ve ever seen, England game aside, though we did haemorrage players there so it’s not like that could have been much worse anyway.

      Has already been said but we desperately need an alternative to Finn. He needs the competition and a reality check. It’s all very well playing basketball in the pro14 but when you’re under the cosh in Cardiff against a very fired up Welsh team that is not the time.

      I think the more games Hastings starts getting at Glasgow, the better.

  81. Please can we have the following,
    More destructive ball carrying from the pack? Denton Strauss R Grey
    If we want to play Jones at 12 then we need a Jones like 13 who attacks those wider channels better? Bennett or Taylor
    If Jones is our 13 then please have a ball carrying 12, with a threat Dunbar or Taylor
    Defensive strength out wide Maitland will talk and communicate better outside a 13 than anybody I can think of who is Scottish.
    France I suspect will try to steamroller us so defensive strength is a huge priority but let us all get behind these players and coaches because only 10 weeks ago they were all our heroes. Time for some tough self reflection yes but one swallow a summer does not make. Neither does one defeat destroy any t exam unless w allow it to happen.

    1. Excellent posts. My constant refrai is there is no big forwards capable of bashing the teams in this tournament. It’s a huge problem for scotland

  82. Just read that Byron McGuigan is out for this week, and Richie Gray and Duncan Taylor will not be joining the squad.

    1. Offside Line says Alex Dunbar ‘hopes’ to have completed return to play protocols. Not sure if that is encouraging news or not…his presence in the backline on Sunday is absolutely vital.

      1. Straight from the SRU website “Scotland wing Byron McGuigan has been ruled out of this Sunday’s NatWest 6 Nations Test against France at BT Murrayfield with a hamstring injury.
        McGuigan sustained the injury in the second-half of the national team’s round one loss to Wales in Cardiff on Saturday and has returned to the care of his club’s medical team for ongoing rehabilitation.
        Scotland’s management team also confirmed lock Richie Gray (calf) and centre Duncan Taylor (head) have not recovered sufficiently to join the Scotland squad in camp this week ahead of this Sunday’s round two Test at BT Murrayfield Stadium (kick-off 3pm).”

  83. Just watched a rerun of the match ( well somebody had to!)after taking 48 hours to get over the disappointment of Saturday’s debacle. Genuinely thought we were in with a shout and our inability to change our game plan on the hoof was the most disappointing aspect of the game. That and the fact our no 8 seemed to have got left behind on the bus (42 mins before CdP troubled the commentary team)
    Wales weren’t great but they didn’t have to me given our error count and our defence was nonexistent at times. Genuinely hope Alex Dunbar is fit for France as he has been badly missed and would allow Jones back to 13. Price didn’t have a great game but he wasn’t the only one and he still inexperienced at this level and still has a lot to learn.

    When things are going his way Finn Russell can be almost unplayable but when they aren’t he can make our backline look like the keystone cops. He can go from sublime to ridiculous in the blink of the eye and needs to add maturity and guile to his armoury. Harsh? Maybe but when your 14-0 down and under the cosh and your mates have just won a hard earned penalty in your own 22 to get you out of jail and you rush to take the kick and miss touch someone needs to have a stern word.

    1. Not harsh at all, we need stability and we can not build it around him. He is not going to change.

      He is off to France which will kill or cure. Lovely guy, brave and he has a great ability to shrug off errors without self condemnation. Always a smile on his face. Gets his tackles in , which is more than some.

      I think he has missed touch just once too often.

      1. “I think he has missed touch just once too often.”
        Seriously, this is PROFESSIONAL rugby. It’s not acceptable. Cue the usual Finn fanclub with all the usual euphemisms… ‘mercurial’ ‘maverick’. Newsflash, it is possible to be talented and creative without being sloppy, complacent and making simple horrific errors. “but we haven’t got anyone else” – misses the point. We can still expect better from our players, particularly those that are talked of in such glowing terms.

      2. It’s not so much the missed touch itself, although that was aggravating enough. It was taking the kick so quickly and not recognising the need for stability and building pressure with lower risk rugby.

    2. Must say when he rushed that kick and missed touch I got that sinking feeling of any hope of coming back into it evaporate as thr welsh fans around me seemed to be completely unaware of the significant of the missed kick.

      No doubt he should never miss touch and just play it safe rather than yardage but if he csn’t be trusted then take that away from him. I reckon Hogg should be taking these types of kicks. Reliability and length. It’s a no brainer

  84. I have to agree about Russell and professionalism. It pains me to say it now but this is why Biggar was on the plane to NZ and Russell wasn’t. Do you see Biggar missing touch with a rushed pen from hand when he didn’t need to? Puts the whole team back under pressure. Give yourself a chance for Christ sake.

  85. I’ve never been comfortable with Scotland having “arrived” at a new level. On Saturday evening (several beers in) I’ve got to a place that feels right – we are just utterly win or bust. One week we will be great and run in tires and others we won’t. That feels right. It makes for an interesting life but will only ever be one-off wins and never consistent.

    There is no plan B, Finn has no plan B…and there is no backup 10 for other options (I actually quite like Horne and will be interested to see how he plays 10 for Glas next season when Finn leaves but he is a bit of a maverick player too. With Jackson (even more flaky than Finn) the next option we just have no safe pair of hands (Weir is nowhere at Ed and unlikely to have a contract next season).

    Also, Scotland (since Hines) lack a nasty/hard streak up front. We have some good players (McInally and Watson stuck in well I thought) but no standout hard nut. Strauss was the closest we had but he’s out of favour. Bradbury might get there but is a longshot. To quote Eddie Jones, we lack “test match animals”.

    1. I hope Cummings toughens up. He has the physique and the athleticism. Similarly for Fagerson-2.

  86. Is the drop goal a lost art? Ireland used it, as a last resort on Saturday, but it won the game. I remember Australia taunting England by using the tactic five times in one match. It has the advantage of really confusing any defensive plan and its threat can pull opposition players out of line. Too useful a skill to be ignored and worth adding to the Scottish back line armoury. Just think, if you can’t get past those French forwards, float the ball over their heads.

    1. It’s a very good call. You can actually build points quite well doing that. But the biggest asset is doing it in a match situation when it’s just building the score board means that you’ve practiced it as a team many times in real time match situations so when it comes to a kick to win match everyone can do the job they need well. Was it Argentina we fluffed a drop goal years ago to go out of the world cup?

  87. When Wales started their recovery back in 2003 they were also flaky.
    In fact they were whitewashed in 2003, won 2 in 2004, won the slam in 2005 then won only 1 game in 2006 against 14 man Scotland and drew at home with Italy then won only 1 game in 2007 against England, lost to Italy and were knocked out of rwc 2007 by Fiji in the first round.
    Gatland made them consistent, but it shows that it can take a while for even a talented team to shake the shackles of a 20 year losing streak, which is what our team is emerging from.
    I didn’t like Townsend’s team selection but he’s been a good coach at Glasgow and is learning. Give it time and let the team focus on performance and they will get there.

    1. Last match will have been a learning experience for Townshend that’s for sure. France game is must win or it really will he crisis mode.

      We can still return to respectability but the whole squad, coaches included are going to have to dig mighty deep.

  88. I think Scotland will win Saturday, hope springs eternal . I believe France fitness will be an issue for them in the last 15 -20 mins. But just hope there will be some sort of parity up front in the first 30-40 mins otherwise the ref might make it a long afternoon

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