Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Wales v Scotland: Our Player Ratings

Wales v Scotland
© Scottish Rugby Blog

They say its the hope that kills you… once again Scotland fans were left looking into their hands as the team turned in an awful, shambolic performance against the run of our expectations. Yes, Wales played some of their best rugby in the last five years but did they have to hand it to them on a plate?

15. Stuart Hogg: Clearly our  best player… but was counter attacking from poor ball most of the time and rarely got a chance to come into the line. Occasionally looked distraught at some of his teammate’s idiotic decisions – 5/10

14. Tommy Seymour: A couple of decent moments and actually saw plenty of ball – mostly from Welsh kicks – but when he did attack he got no change from a solid Welsh defence – 5/10

13. Chris Harris: Sadly played much the same way as he did during his 20 minute debut last year. Anonymous after he knocked on late in the first half. – 0/10

12. Huw Jones: Lively given the dross that was happening either side of him but as was the general pattern, few genuine opportunities in attack. Defensively made a few big tackles – 5/10

11. Byron McGuigan: Pretty dreadful – 0/10

10. Finn Russell: I’m a big fan of Finn but absolutely mince today; at Twickenham at least he had a makeshift back division to blame. His worst game in a Scotland shirt – 0/10

9. Ali Price: Made very few good decisions. By comparison Laidlaw looked lively…this says everything – 0/10

1. Gordon Reid: The scrum went well. Looked completely out of depth elsewhere but achieved his only goal – 6/10

2. Stuart McInally: Nothing in loose in the second half and the lineout was a joke. Bonus points for scrummaging – 2/10

3. Jon Welsh: See Reid above – 6/10

4. Ben Toolis: Did he play? He looked like a star in the autumn but misfired badly under the watchful eyes of Alun Wyn Jones. The lineout was leaky all game – 0/10

5. Jonny Gray: One good break in first half earned some credit but undid it by failing to repeat for the remaining 75 minutes. – 0/10

6. John Barclay: After an effervescent first 6 minutes he looked shellshocked and out of puff. Two second half penalties for the same breakdown offence put the game to bed in Wales’s favour. One of his worst performances in a Scottish shirt – 0/10

7. Hamish Watson: Carried manfully and was the pick of the pack with ball in hand – 6/10

8. Cornell du Preez: Literally achieved nothing with his afternoon’s work – 0/10


16. Scott Lawson: Followed Stuart McInally in being cack at lineouts. We may be able to retire the Match Assassin nickname though as it was a corpse long before he came on – 2/10

17. Jamie Bhatti: Game lost by time of arrival but scrum went backwards – 0/10

18. Murray McCallum: Backwards scrums but way to early to judge him elsewhere. He had a couple of strong barges in the build up to Horne’s try – 2/10

19. Grant Gilchrist: On for Toolis – no worse, but nothing better either – 0/10

20. Ryan Wilson: More aggression that the whole Scottish starting pack in his 30 mins. Will likely start next weekend – 6/10

21. Greig Laidlaw: Looked so much better than Price – which he isn’t. May be in with a shout of starting next week too – 5/10

22. Pete Horne: Should have been on from 30 minutes in when it was clear any one of Harris or Russell was having a nightmare – 6/10

23. Sean Maitland: Had the easy task of playing better than McGuigan. Mission accomplished and will likely start against France – 5/10

194 Responses

  1. Some generous marks there. I’d have had Harris, Russell and Price on negative scores, as they played like they wanted Wales to win at times. If no one else returns from injury or is called up, then Bennett for Harris and Laidlaw for Price are straightforward changes to make. Horne for Russell would give him the shock he needs.

    1. For me the team next week has to be :

      1. Gordon Reid
      2. Stuart McInally
      3. Simon Berghan
      4.Grant Gilchrist
      5.Jonny Gray
      6.Cornell Du Preez
      7.Hamish Watson
      8.David Denton
      9.Greig Laidlaw (C)
      10.Peter Horne
      11.Lee Jones
      12.Huw Jones
      13.Mark Bennett
      14.Tommy Seymour
      15.Stuart Hogg

      16.Neil Cochrane
      17.Jamie Bhatti
      18.Murray McCallum
      19.Richie Gray
      20.Magnus Bradbury
      21.Nathan Fowles
      22.Finn Russell
      23.Nick Grigg

      Bring Denton and CDP in to add some heft to the pack, hooker is a really tough call as I don’t think either of the options from this week deserve to stay (Anyone got a number for Ford?) But in all seriousness I would stick with Rambo for France and give Cochrane a shot on the bench over Lawson.

      People will notice that I’ve left Barclay out, he was shocking this week and in reality we need someone with a head on their shoulders to steady the ship, this leaves the captaincy (as much as I hate to say it with Laidlaw – I don’t like him but when you need the ship steadying he appears to be the man). Also with Russell I believe he needs a rest, give Horne a shot and see what he can do.

      1. So you would give CDP another shot. 2 carries for 6 meters in 50 minuites for a number 8!!!!! 2 tackles and 1 missed!!!!

  2. Congratulations on well and truly sticking a deserved boot in. Those from other media player ratings (Scotsman/Sunday Times) must have been watching another game as every player was at least a 5 out of 10!

    You forgot the coaching team so I’ll help out:

    Townsend 0/10
    Taylor 0/10
    McFarland 0/10

    Time for Toonie to swallow his pride and go outwith the squad for Strauss, Visser, Bennett etc.

  3. For crying out loud, jokes aside people this might as well be a football forum with stuff like this

    1. Rugby snob ☝️
      Believe it or not, fans of all sports are allowed to criticise the team that they support and spend their hard earned cash on

      1. He’s not being a “rugby snob” The sky is not falling . We lost a game of rugby , get over it.

      2. It’s precisely that kind of mentality that allows mediocrity to set in. Scottish rugby has been competitively woeful in the professional era and the fans are rightly sick of it.

        This is a fans forum, and as fans we should criticise this kind of poor performance as thoroughly and passionately as we like. We’ve spent a lot of money and energy on this professional sports team, they have a responsibility to reward our efforts. If you don’t approve and can’t stand it, go and support a junior rugby team.

        Welcome to the professional era of rugby union.

      3. It’s a very ugly vision of professionalism, isn’t it though, Nicholas.

        But perhaps more importantly, it lacks accuracy because it doesn’t take into account three years of consistent growth under Cotter and Townsend. It doesn’t take into account that Cotter had a similar setback last year but that Scotland went on to produce record-breaking performances. It doesn’t take into account the overall trajectory of improvement in Scottish rugby or the particular injury issues Scotland are experiencing or the one-off nature of any match.

        Not making excuses. Providing context. Big-picture thinking.

        I agree with you. This performance was unacceptable and you can bet the team knows it a lot more than you do.

  4. I you should have stayed in them fancy toilets in Bute as your assements on giving players 0 is pure cack. Do you think players go out to play as badly as they did? Bad day in Cardiff. Look for positives not negatives or you will never go forward. Am as disturbed by the performance as anyone but 0 ratings for players is not helpful.

    1. Not the nicest way to say you do not agree.

      Turning up to wear the jersey , sing the anthem and take the pay cheque is not worth a mark.

  5. There’s a bit of me saying we need to move very quickly to finding some positives to take in to the France game. For me Wilson, Horne and Maitland were better than the men they replaced and should be looking at promotion.

    I think Price will get another start after being given a rocket but it could easily be Laidlaw. I’d be tempted to promote young Horne straight into the starting line-up as he’s gone well recently with Russell.

    Bhatti went off with a head / blood injury so its not obvious if he’s available for the next game. Going to need the beef for the France game.

    There’s a few players will have raised their reputation by not being there. I’m thinking of Dunbar in the centre and Fagerson in the front row. Hopefully they will be back sooner rather than later. We missed the direct carries from both. We badly need someone else in the team to make the hard yards.

  6. What’s the point of being so negative. We played poorly, no doubt, but they’ll come back next week with a much better performance. Lots of hurt guys that will want to make amends. Scotland forever! X

  7. If we want to be brutal and send a message to the players i would pick this team.

    1. Bhatti
    2. Cochrane
    3. Berghan
    4. Richie Gray
    5. Harley
    6. Hamilton
    7. Watson
    8. Denton
    9. Prygos
    10. Horne
    11. L.Jones
    12. Dunbar
    13. Bennett
    14. Maitland
    15. Kinghorn
    That KAKAKAKA we saw yesterday was just not standard we expect and one off defeats like this should not happen even on a bad day.
    16. Mcinally
    17. Reid
    18. Mcallum
    19. J.Gray
    20. Wilson
    21. Fowles
    22. Taylor
    23. Hogg

    Drop as many as possible were possible, dont reward that team with the chance to run out to a home crowd.

    [Edited for language]

    1. And watch a French team that is still not sure where they are get some much needed confidence and take us for a 40 point jaunt. Glad you aren’t anywhere near selecting the team Neil. Do you have a whip as well to beat them with in celebration for Fifty Shades coming to a cinema near you?

  8. The zeros are a bit excessive. However, the Scotsman and Hersld ratings are over-generous in comparison. I’d give Russell, Price, Harris and McGuigan a 2 and Du Preez, who I really thought was gonna grow into test rugby, a 1. Statboy deserves better then a 0. As does Toolis. Neither of them were the ones missing tackles or knocking on. A lot of this game was reminiscent of the Munster weegie game after Foleys death. Glasgow totally froze that day and Townsend admitted he hadn’t prepared then properly for what he knew was coming. Clearly he hasn’t learned his lesson.

    1. This. Well, slightly – I think Harris and Du Preez were both as woeful as each other and just about deserved a 1.

  9. We need to remember it wasn’t that long ago we put 50 points on Australia & were within a stride or 2 of beating NZ

    1. But that’s why the performance stings so much! If we’d brought that intensity and accuracy to the cauldron of the Principality Stadium we’d be crowing about a famous victory. But we failed to fire a shot.

  10. Ouch!
    Like others have remarked here, dishing out zeroes is harsh. Constructive criticism will achieve more, hard as it may be to find it. Although they deserve a rocket up their proverbials, these guys did not go out there intending to lose or give Wales a hand up. And, given the public nature of it, they will be hurting much more than us armchair critics.

    Having said that, maybe you should also rate the officials. The TMO’s failure to highlight the blatant forward pass in the run up to the beautifully-taken try that gave Wales the bonus point and Gauzere for being happy for Laidlaw to be neckrolled into touch by Patchell. Lineout…their third try.

    So, the Scots’ performance was pish and Wales unequivocally deserved to win, but those two tries should not have stood.

    1. The LH try after Ali Price feed rankles. Look at Danny Care 78.14mins vs Italy, crooked feed as you’ll ever see under the nose of the ref. Consistency across the matches please World Rugby.

      1. Inconsistency is annoying granted but refs are human and so make errors and with so much to watch it is almost impossible to be completely consistent all the time.

        What annoys me about that is that I’m sure the ref would have highlighted that to the teams in their wee chat before hand to coaches etc (which I think happens in rugby) So for Price to take a risk on that when it is highlighted and clearly he will penalise the first one that does it on each side to set a stall in the first match of the six nations 2018. It was going to happen and with already being under pressure we got a reprieve and Price in that action cost us the game. That is not to blame him for the defeat just that we needed to get back up the park and stay in the game and we could have done that. He has his chance not to make a preventable error and he choose badly.

  11. This is an unofficial protest. Join me in a silence. Give them what they gave us. I have nothing to say to the nil pointers.

    If you agree , just say


      1. You should be saving your breath for that package in the bedroom baldred. Good luck….

  12. These hysterical reactions are childish – let’s try to move on. I’ve just watched the whole game again not for the purposes of self-flagellation but to try to really work out what went wrong. Here’s my conclusions:

    Most obvious first, Wales played really well. They made very few mistakes. Their ball handling from 1 to 15 was excellent. Almost no dropped passes, excellent rush defence, good forward carries and excellent finishing.

    Finn had a terrible day. I’m a great fan and I’ve watched nearly every game that he’s played over the last 2 years. Approximately every one in ten games, he has a disaster and that just happened to be yesterday. He’s rarely mediocre and the other nine of ten games, he’s just brilliant. Please let’s keep him for the France game. Horne just doesn’t have the ingenuity to win international games and there isn’t anyone else.

    We just didn’t get the rub of the green. Chipped kicks just didn’t bounce well. Previously they might have fallen into Scottish hands – they just didn’t yesterday.

    The line out was a disaster especially in the second half. This just wasn’t expected and should be corrected for next weekend.

    So all in, a major disappointment but I think we have scope to turn this around in the coming weeks.

    Lastly the following should get one way tickets back to their clubs: CdP, McGuigan, Harris and Lawson.

      1. Oh aye that’s right – he went off when we were 0 – 5 down ;)

        Before i get pelters i’m not actually suggesting Finn’s not 1st choice. But Horny has stepped up well for us in some important games and that seems easily forgotten.

    1. Agree about finn, part of the problem yesterday was that there was no one to chin him about his brain farts. Harris and jones are still new to Russell. Dunbar or horne would tell him wind his head back in. JB went to bits and lost his voice

      1. What’s frustrating is that Russell and Price controlled the game really well against the AB’s so we know they are capable of it, it just seemed after that first try that the team were demoralised.

    2. Unfortunately those ‘one in ten’ games are always on the big occasions, when so called ‘world class’ players need to step up. But hey, as long as he looked the part against Treviso or Newport Gwent Dragons…

  13. Can’t be bothered thinking about ratings but suffice to say CDP and Harris haven’t looked up to it and probably McGuigan too, many of us suspected it before yesterday. I’d thank them for their effort and tell them they’re out the picture for now. Get George Horne, Hardie and Visser in the wider squad at least. Denton, Maitland, Dunbar/Taylor/Bennett to be involved. I’d give most of them another chance including Price and Russell.

    Must say I think the marks and comments on Toolis are well harsh, the line-out went all wrong after he went off. I’d keep him in.

    Townsend got it all wrong again I’m afraid, he needs to get more pragmatic.

  14. Extremely harsh in some cases. Particularly the 0’s. Nobody goes from a 10 to a 0 for one poor game.

  15. Team for France:

    Reid, McInally, Welsh, Gray, Gilchrist, Wilson, Barclay, Denton, Price, Maitland, Jones, Bennett, Seymour, Hogg.

    Bhatti, McCallum, Lawson, Toolis, Watson, Laidlaw, Horne, McGuigan.

    That would be my side with Dunbar in at 12 and Bennett out if Dunbar is fit. There is no need to POOP ourselves but after that dross performance we do need to bulk up a bit and expect the players to respond to the stinging criticism they’re deservedly weathering at the moment. Big call to have Watson on the bench but him and Barclay is too small for the France game so I’d have his impact from the bench.

    1. It’s going to be a hard enough game with 15 on the pitch but 14…

      Assuming you meant to have Russell at 10 that is a fairly sensible team although if Richie G is fit he might be in with a shout of the 23.

  16. Yes, it was very poor all round. And Wales were pretty good. Not going to comment on the ratings awarded other than say that eight out of the starting 15 being awarded zilch is a bit harsh.

    CDP played himself out of Test reckoning for a while, perhaps for ever. Like others who watched on tv, surprised his name was not mentioned at all until a few minutes into the second half. I can not ever remember that happening with a loose forward.

    It’s all about focusing on France next Sunday. In difficult handling conditions in Paris last evening, they fronted up fairly well to a tough Ireland pack and even allowing for the conditions they still at times weren’t afraid to spin it wide. Definite signs of a France resurgence there.

    I think they will aim to strangle and bully us front, as they’ve done with some success in recent years. Having said that, their scrum was creaky at times so there’s some encouragement there.

    Sunday could well be a day for us to have to be pragmatic in getting to grips up front early, not being bullied at any time and, through pack effort, earning the chances to attack wide or through central channels.

    I’ve no idea what happened to our carrying and driving game yesterday. It was there for the first five minutes and came back in the last 10. I hope it comes back as we will absolutely need it on Sunday.

    Still feeling very downcast after yesterday’s gubbing in Cardiff, but retaining faith in the ability of the squad and the coaching team to get us back up there and ready for France.

    1. We are a different team when the pack start making the hard yards, yesterday they were shocking

  17. Yea, let’s beat people up making their full debut in an intimidating away stadium. We’re all Scotland supporters and the clue to what that means is in the word “supporters”. It’s boring, sensationalist journalism to give players 0 points; when Scotland have beaten teams convincingly, for example Wales last year, did we mark all their players with 0?

  18. Is anyone else bothered that our attack turns into a ‘blancmange’ when up against a fast up ‘rush defence’? It’s happened so often in the last 5 years you’d think we’d have worked it out. The little dink kicks to counteract this were all kicked too far or bounced Wales way, but it was the right thing to do and it did create panic. Other thoughts. Is Johnnie Gray really tall enough to be an international line-out jumper? He’s also huge and difficult to lift. To say Gordon and Welsh were alright in the scrum and nowhere else is parsimonious in the extreme. Expecting a few sidesteps to match their blistering pace were we?
    It’s fine having a ‘vent’, but get real. If either of these props is injured, we’re in trouble against the Freanch trolls this week.
    Lastly, a big well done to Ryan Wilson when he came on. Different class to CdP and wasn’t sucked in by the dross surrounding him. Led by example.

    1. You’re right about Wilson. I’ve not been a fan of his generally, but against Wales he steps up.

  19. Our 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. Our main weakness has absolutely nothing to do with wingers. Our main weakness is the lack of large, fit and fast forwards to break the gain-line and who won’t allow themselves to be bullied of pushed back. The last thing we need is a novice being brought in, who isn’t even a winger.

      1. So you think our wingers are on the same level as England, Wales, Ireland and even France’s wingers because i don’t think they are even close. I think McGuigan, Lee Jones, Maitland and Visser are just not top level international quality.

      2. No, I don’t think that our wingers are a match for many other teams at the moment. But that’s not the point. Having the best wingers in the world wouldn’t have changed Saturday’s result. That’s the point.

      3. I agree pragmatic optomist – our first/second choice props do a lot of carrying – but for all the solidity Reid and Welsh gave is they offered nothing around the park.

        Our locks carrying was poor and to be honest Gilchrist really is no better.

        Finally the backrow – Watson was the only one to make any sort of impact – I know the Wilson groupies were quick to latch onto the couple of carries he managed, but the bottom line is our backrow are too small. Watson is our perfect 7, but we desperately need to brutes at 6 and 8. Barclay is a 6.5 and carries poorly, too upright and Wilson is too small. Much as it pains me as he’s not the brightest player and has hands like coo’s tits but Denton has to be considered for the France match.

        We need a carrying outlet or the French will just steamroller us.

      4. Correct we need some bullys up front. Players who love a scrap, zander and brown are good for this but we need more. Jonny Gray looks like as intimidating as my gran

      5. I’d take Maitland, Seymour and Visser over Earls, Adams, Evans, Watson, May, Nowell. Especially the first two, they are excellent.

      6. Watching the game Welsh and Reid often seemed to be in positions offering themselves up to carry, but it looked wincingly unconvincing. It looked tactically bad. 2nd row, or back row should have been in there with the props lined up for hitting rucks. Playing to the strengths/abilities. Fair play to the big lads though – scrum was solid.

      7. Also agree that we are short of animals in the team. Oh for a Hines. And farmers – players with farming backgrounds are always handy. Not afraid to put body parts where others wouldn’t.

      8. Agree on your backrow comments Stu. The big lads are coming. The last couple of U20s world championships we’ve seen Scotland teams well up for the physical challenge. Pushover tries, bouncing players off, general brutality. When we’ve got Crosbie at 6, Fagerson at 8 and old timer Watson jackalling away, we’ll have the front foot ball we need to let our backs do their thing. That may be another 5 years away, but our Union took so long to adjust to professionalism that we’re just seeing the first few players coming through who’ve had the benefit of a proper academy system.

        We may have to wait a little longer for the team that can routinely win 6 Nations away games. But that team’s getting closer. It’s just about whether we as a fan base can allow the new breed to make their mistakes, or we become impatient and entitled at the first green shoots of recovery.

        Plenty of examples of both attitudes on this blog…

  20. Yep, Blair Kinghorn and Darcy Graham are bright hopes for the future but not quite ready for the Six nations – summer tour or AIs maybe.

  21. What the actual… ZERO for Jonny Gray?

    Yeah, what did he do, apart from more tackles than anyone else (either team), zero tackles missed, more defenders beaten than anyone else (either team), second most metres made of any forward (1m behind AWJ), second most carries of any forward (1 behind Moriarty)? He even threw in an offload and the kind of barnstorming line break that he supposedly never does. I mean, what does he have to do to get ONE out of TEN? Should he nip round to yours at halftime and bake you a cookie?

    There’s just such complacency around Gray’s enduring quality that it grinds my gears, especially given that he’s still only 23 years of age. Despite being our youngest starting forward, he was leading the pack. In fact, with honourable mention to Watson, he WAS the pack for much of the game. Give him a mark, for the love of…

    1. Yea, but why rely on stats when you can make a subjective judgement based on whether you like Scottish players or not, e.g. Stephen idiot Jones in today’s Sunday Times.

    2. Well said! I thought Gray was at least as good as AWJ, but he and Watson alone can’t carry a team with a poor game plan.

      1. He’s called ‘statsboy’ for a reason. To be regarded as a true international lock he needs to bring some serious nastiness to his game a la Hines or Big Jim Hamilton, to become a serious hombre. All very well making tackle after tackle; technically correct but Courtney Lawes scares people with his tackling. He carries but he doesn’t punch holes like AWJ. Johnny may end up, like Ross Ford, with a bucket-load of caps but must grow to influence games, intimidating and dominating the opposition.

      2. Courtney Lawes scares Jules Plisson with his tackling. He loves tackling the little guys, but not so much the big guys. That said, Gray’s a big lad, I’d really like to see him smash the opposition with carries and tackles.

      3. He doesn’t give away 5 penalties on average a game either. That always frustrated me about Hamilton. However useful he was in some areas he always cost Scotland. Sometimes Wilson can do the same. Hope he learns a bit quicker. Penalties and discipline is the most important aspect to winning a six nations match.

      4. He did punch holes. That’s what defenders beaten means.

        This is what I mean by complacency about his talent. Yes, it would be great if he was intimidating and aggressive like Hines or Hamilton. Do you think that either of them had that level of intensity aged 23? (Hint: they both got their first cap aged 24).

        I hate this idea of “all he does is make tackle after tackle after tackle”, like that’s somehow easy, the soft option. The amount of work he does is truly extraordinary, and about attitude more than anything else. But it’s not enough for some fans. He has to dominate, has to run like Ezebeth and offload like Nakarawa. And you can see him bringing on these elements of his game. But yeah, but let’s slag him off because he’s not the finished article at an age when most international locks are just starting out.

        He’s still a full world cup cycle away from his peak. There are elements of his game that need to improve we’re talking about a genuinely world class player. But he has a shot, and he’s done that purely on strength of character and willingness to learn.

  22. Team for France;

    1. Reid
    2. McInally
    3. Welsh
    4. R.Gray (If not back Toolis/Gilchrist will have to suffice)
    5. J.Gray
    6. Barclay
    7. Watson
    8. Wilson
    9. Price (had a poor game still better than Laidlaw though)
    10. Russell (only other option is moving Hogg to 10 and playing Kinghorn at 15)
    11. Kinghorn (Maitland and McGuigan just aren’t international level)
    12. Taylor (If neither Taylor or Dunbar are fit Horne starts ahead of Harris)
    13. Jones
    14. Seymour
    15. Hogg

    1. Laidlaw was good when he was on. I think if he’d started we would have been much less likely to take aim at our own foot and pull the trigger.

      1. Laidlaw was at his slow best – watch our try and phases before it – see how pedestrian it is.

        He was still light years ahead of Price though.

      1. I think multiple changes and bringing in more guys who are not ready is not the answer, I would be concerned if this is the outcome as we would have learned nothing from yesterday.

        We are at home, go for experience , steady the ship, the big decision has to be Laidlaw and the consequences if he is selected for Barclay, the latter will see this team is not big enough for both of us (I think, hope to be wrong).

        If we were being realistic before the AI’s we would see France at Home and Italy away as being the must win’s.

        We now need to get down to the business of France at home. How is the injury count ?

    2. Playing a 21yr old out of position on his test debut in the 6N? He’s a good player but that is way too risky.

  23. The comments with regards to Cornell Du Preez i would have to agree with,for an Boer he lacks many of the Afrikaanse rugby playing traits i would associate with Boers,which are strength power aggressive attitude , bullying of opposition and bags of heart,maybe these might show if he was wearing the green and gold of his birth nation. At least his fellow countryman WP Nel (pronounced veer peer WP in his native tongue) shows more of these traits when playing in my opinion,ditto Strauss,so for me Denton or Wilson to start in his position.

      1. Ashe has a good skill set but as you say he’s at least a stone underweight for a test eight. Bradbury has the bulk but not the experience to go with it.

    1. If CDP was the real deal do you imagine that he would have deigned to become a project player? There are downside risks with taking individuals who lack the mental strength to play for the country of their birth and have no close family ties to their adopted country. The term ‘mercenary’ comes to mind.

  24. Overall I agree with the ratings but I think some of the new boys are being made scapegoats. Seymour 5 and McGuigan 0 – was there really that difference today? McGuigan at least looked like he gave a …. and he chased down a few people in defence.
    Jones 5 and Harris 0 – really? Jones did some good work but had some howlers also. Harris was very unfortunate to receive constant hospital passes which brings me to my main point… Price and Russell were so bad today I don’t think it is fair to rate any other back outside them.
    The biggest worry for me was there seems to be no ability to adapt or change the game plan. Russell seems to be following set moves and will pass to Harris even if Harris is already surrounded by defenders. The biggest disappointment for me was Russell’s attitude in the second half -he looked like he had given up and was seen barely chasing defenders when they broke the line. Someone like Beauden Barrett would never be seen doing this. Having an off day full of handling errors is fine but the attitude stinks.

    Despite all this I would still start Price and Russell next week. We know they are good players and they need the chance to redeem themselves.

    Final points – the need for a back-up 10 has never been as clear as during that game. There was so little ball carrying by the forwards that I began to think it wasn’t in the coaches gameplan.

    1. You need to watch McGuigan again – the number of times he put a feeble tackle attempt in was really disappointing – yes he tried to make amends but if he’d made an effort the first time he’d not have needed the chase back.

      1. Mcguigans running back of welsh kicks was shamefully weak. He looked genuinely fearful of being tackled. There’s a reason Glasgow let him go and we saw it on Saturday. Lee Jones is twice the player

      2. My argument is not that McGuigan had a great game or that he should be in the squad – I personally would rather see Maitland, Lee Jones or Visser in there.

        My point was I didn’t see a 5 point difference between him and Seymour and that overall it was difficult to assess the backs due to the awful ball from the halfbacks and lack of strong forward carries.

        Swapping McGuigan for Julian Savea would not have changed the outcome of this game.

    2. Agree about Harris – he may or may not be international class – I suspect not – but even Jim Renwick would have struggled with the pish the 2 Harlem Globetrotters half backs threw around on Saturday.
      Price is in so many ways a better scrum half than Laidlaw, but Laidlaw would have bossed it, sent Russell 30 yards away, slowed it down and got the forwards running properly in their pods to try to create opportunities and position for the backs. Then it can go wide.
      Those two fantastic tries against Exeter have unfortunately been seen to be the norm, not the exception, so let’s try it every time.
      Our try ( far too little and far too late of course ) came after 17 phases – look and learn Toonie.
      And as so many have said on so many forums, how utterly galling to have to suck it up that Gatland has been proven right about the Lions selections.

      1. How does a game 8 months after the lions tour prove anything about the Lions selection? Scotland beat Wales and Ireland prior to the selection process , those were the games that should have led to more Scottish players on tour. They also beat Australia away from home during the tour. This seasons results have no bearing on last seasons tours.

  25. Some re-assessment required by all no doubt primarily by the coaching staff.
    The dull ache at the back of my head (there are plenty in the front that are considerably sharper) is that this could be our Italy 2007 moment.
    Up until then Hadden was all for the wide wide game and got a couple of results. Then came the 21-0 after 10 minutes. He abandoned his philosophy and took the team and I would go as far as to say the game in this country, so far into its shell that we have only recently uncovered players who know how to play rugby again. We scored (if at all) in increments of 3, went an entire year without scoring a try at home and laid the foundations for Gatland and his ilk to say we are a poor rugby nation……and “always” have been.
    Is this the cross roads we face again? That you don’t become a good team overnight nor a bad one is a cliche but no less valid for being one.
    We have the ingredients for a good team. They need to be moulded and furnished with a game plan that lets us see the good stuff more often than the bad – from play to play as well as game to game. This is the coaches responsibility first and foremost. They don’t have the week to week rigours of club duties. They have time and opportunity to thrash these details out. Of course they have limited time with the players before internationals but that should also be part of the planning process. In fact, they are probably closer to the players than most other national coaches.
    It doesn’t have to be all on or the other. Some middle ground required.

    1. We had a gameplan that was working fine when Cotter was in charge, now you are suggesting we undo all that and look for a new one?

      I thought at the time it was not required to change coaches.

      I also thought during the Autumn games that this rugby is brilliant to watch but you cannot go into every game with such a poor defence where the attitude is it doesnt matter how much the other team scores we will score more.

      Under Cotter we had a good balance based on hard work, a strong defence with a lethal attack when the opportunity came.

      1. Stu…That was completely different circumstances where we had a player sent of in the first two minutes then injuries resulting in players playin out of position, without suitable like for like bench replacements.

        We got three good wins last year and the mood was last year was positive. Right now the mood isn’t positive and I dont know what to expect in the next game.

      2. Andrew, the mood was fantastic yesterday at 2pm.

        It’s hard not to come to the conclusion this team are chokers that wilt when the pressure is applied.

      3. There is no point in looking back we have what we have now and he will work it out.

        Gatland has been with Wales for 11 Years. Continuity does have its benefits, however so does a structure that feeds 4 professional teams.

        We did not handle the rush defense well. One positive, we did have a rolling maul in the second half that I felt went reasonably well, we used to be dreadfull at that, so lets just get a few basics sorted.

    1. Agreed, their role is to play good rugby: not to spout pious platitudes about effort, angst and ambition. In fact, let that apply to all sports. Play your game, retire to take up some other activity and shut up. BBC sports programmes would improve if there were more Bill McLarens and fewer (pick your own tedious, droning, ill-informed former player from any sport).

  26. It’s not worth much, I guess, but 11 of yesterday’s side also started against New Zealand. In that game, we seemed to have a better idea of how we wanted to play, made better decisions, and made fewer errors. The forwards were ferocious, and went through the phases before going wide. These same guys let us down yesterday, but they let themselves down more. They can, and will do better.

    I’m sure that there will be a few changes for France, but I do feel a bit sorry for some of the new caps who are finding their feet at this level and are being made scapegoats for a collective failure.

    Anyway. I’m moving on. That game is gone, and the next one is a week away. I’m expecting those selected to redeem themselves. And that they will remember the “organised” bit, not just the “chaos” bit.

    Lastly, 0/10 for JG? Harsh.

  27. The inaugural Scotland XV biscuit ratings!

    Hogg – jammie dodger
    Seymour – custard cream
    McGuigan – party ring
    Harris – pink wafer
    Jones – gingernut
    Russell – rich tea
    Price – rich tea (dunked)

    Reid – digestive
    McInally – hobnob
    Welsh – digestive
    Gray – shortbread
    Toolis – malted milk
    Barclay – bourbon
    Watson – gingernut
    Du Preez – space in the tin where a biscuit should be.

    Chocolate biscuits are reserved for a win.

    1. Sorry, Alanyst. These judgments are meaningless without supporting statistics and data. My research suggests a chocolate-based framework is appropriate for this scenario: Butterfingers followed by Snickers. The lads couldn’t handle it when it came to the…uh…Crunch(ie).

  28. In all seriousness, this was a really hard one to take. This does not, however, make us a terrible team, however awful this particular effort. It also does not definitively end the international career of anyone, and that kind of talk is unfair and counter-productive. It may cause someone to be out of favour for a long time, perhaps never to return, but that is not our call to make at this stage. Players can improve. What it does highlight is a huge collective weakness in performing in the most intimidating cauldrons of international rugby away from home.

  29. I didn’t really understand the selections. Townsend wants to play like Glasgow, so why did he leave Peter Horne on the bench?
    Horne plays for Glasgow, right? Nearly every week. How many caps does he have? 20? Maybe more?
    You could have picked him at 12 and then left Jones at 13.
    At a push you could even have picked Bennett. He came through the Glasgow ranks although you’d still have a player out of position.
    Harris looked nervous and unfamiliar. I’m not surprised, this was his first start at this level with 70,000 Welsh fans trying to put him off.
    If was when I saw that strange selection in the centre that I though this would either be inspired or go horribly wrong.. ..
    Contrast with Gatland. No messing around there, he mitigated the short prep times and injuries by picking 2/3 of the Llanelli Scarlets!

  30. Sad, sad day after the optimism of the Autumn tests. Watched the Ireland game later and their pack looked awesome. We really need some big ball carriers in the pack.

  31. Scotland were in the game up to half time…Wales were ahead through 2 tries which even they would agree were “gifts”…the difference between the teams at half time, the score apart, Wales had less handling mistakes, and the rub of the green…the second half was a different story, both teams knew that the first score after half time was going to be pivotal…and so it proved to be. Wales scored first, Scottish hearts sank, and they lost the game right there. Wales did the job, they got some breaks in the first half and they were clinical in the second. Scotland showed a worrying lack of spirit, particularly in the second half, and no plan B.

  32. If as many of the players were worthy of a zero rating then I’d suggest that Wales would have won by a far greater margin.
    Indeed if any player rated zero that would have been the case. Wales grew quickly into their game after being gifted two quick tries but even at half time we could still have got back into the game.
    The second half performance is what rankled most.
    On to the French game and restore our belief.

  33. Glad to find some genuine disgust on this blog. Post-match in Cardiff I felt like the only one! But that, in a nutshell, is the issue with Scottish Rugby. Get your scruffy ankle-length drinking kilt on and enjoy your day, who cares that our team is an absolute embarrassment. I couldn’t believe the response from my fellow Scots post-match, where the general attitude was ‘hey ho’. I was furious. We are not here to make up the numbers. No amount of patronising platitudes from Welsh fans can change that, but it appears for many involved in Scottish Rugby that just being involved is sufficient – and that goes from the supporters to the players to the coaches to the SRU and ‘our’ pundits. When will we see, your like again? My guess, never.

    1. Hear hear. I left a blog last week after getting stuck in to a so called supporter who thought it was funny that Richie Gray had withdrawn from the squad with a calf complaint. Apparently humour is allowed the forum adjudicator informed me !
      Can you imagine an All Blacks fans forum cracking jokes if one of their core forwards was out injured ?
      Sign of our rugby times maybe or my advancing years making me increasingly crabbit !
      Thank God I have my 84 and 90 Grand Slam memories to sustain me. Slim pickings nowadays.

      1. For some of us, humour is just one of our coping mechanisms. We’re just as disappointed as you, I think.

    2. Absolutely agree with you West Country Tartan Army. We must demand better, otherwise we’ll have the same old poor performances time after time. I noticed Sean Maitland smiling and bantering with some of the Welsh players after the game. What the f*** do you have to smile about?!!!

  34. Big Josh made his comeback from injury this weekend and played 80 mins as captain for Sale against Scarlets in the Anglo-Welsh Cup. Apparently it was a fine comeback display, and he scored a try on 70 minutes, powering over the line from 5m.

    Unfortunately for Josh, the last thing the Scotland team needs at this moment in time is a big, ball carrying number 8…….wait….

    1. Managing competative men with egos is not easy.

      At Glasgow Townsend was very ambitious and it was his way or no way. Is that sustainable as a national coach!

      Like Tom English says ‘this is a place where big dogs roam’ no place for petty squables.

      The SRU spent a fortune on Stauss. Now is the hour for that payback. Time to man up and get on the phone. Sponsors and fans need an answer and they need it now.

  35. Someone mentioned in a previous post that the Scotland team lacks a sport psychologist…apparently its not something we embrace. However, the other teams all have them…Here’s the thing; Gatland was already convinced of a 20 point margin victory last Friday. Convinced enough to tell the Welsh rugby board of the scale of this victory i.e. he saw clearly some how.

    How I wonder could Gatland be so sure as to even take the risk of stating it so!? I suspect that a good sports psychologist can not only help prepare the team mentally but also give useful guidance on what the other teams psychological weaknesses are and what kind of scenario might break them i.e. an early interception try…I wonder if Gatland instructed his backs to take every risk in the early stages to get an interception pass on the back of sport psychologist insights?

    Shouldn’t we be looking very seriously for a top of the line sports psychologist? Hasn’t these freak loses to england and wales told us that these débâcles are not just by mere chance?

    1. The best sport psychologist should be the coach.
      That’s what Alex Ferguson was. A man who could get the biggest star ego and most fragile journeyman playing for each other.
      It starts with selection. as a player you should look across the team and think you’re as good as or better than the opposition. Toonie threw a couple of left field choices last week, notably Chris Harris. We’ve banged on about the quality in our centres, and Townsend had the choice of Horne or Bennett, 1 current and 1 former Glasgow Warrior who both know his game plan and the other Glasgow backs inside out. 1 of them is an inside centre with a good try scoring record, composure, passing skills and hands, and the other is an out and out attacker with an excellent try scoring record. Both have over 20 caps.
      instead of picking them, Townsend chose Chris Harris and a positional change for Huw Jones.
      That’s questionable IMO, that’s the kind of selection you should make on the American tour in Summer, not in the 1st 6N game away at the Principality and the kind of thing which means that if you go 7 points down to a freak intercept inside 5 minutes you stop believing there’s a way back.
      Gregor will learn. He has to….

    2. Gatland’s fond of letting us know his predictions after an event. He’s not so good at telling us before…

    3. Townsend had allready done something like that as he was down looking at how Manchester City prepare for games and using what he learnt to focus this squad for the 6 Nations

  36. This isn’t journalism this is very poor form indeed. At least the player ratings for England last year tried to justify the zeros across the board. You’ve put as much thought into this as people think Townsend did to his team selection. People are clearly wrong about Townsend but you have set yourself up to look really shallow and clueless. If you are going to be critical be constructive. You’ve just given license to more poorly informed people to troll like there is no tomorrow.

    Give a zero if they had a shocker and no reason to back it up. Give tiny bit of praise for a more than steady scrum and give the subs slightly more than those that they replaced cause they would have done well to be much worse in some instances. I’m a fair man so I’m giving your player rating piece (if you can call it a piece) a 3.

    Lacking in much thought, research. Showing ability to throw the toys out the pram rather than be constructive. You did turn up and spend five minutes compiling the words which is less time than it took for this post. Overall should be a must do better and in fact I think what is so poor is that I think you can do better.

  37. If we are rating people, I think we should be rating the coach. I feel that the SRU made a fatal mistake in replacing Vern Cotter with Gregor Townsend. I must admit I don’t know the inside story, and nor do I know what the practical possibilities might have been of renewing Vern’s tenure up until the World Cup. Gregor is just not in the same league as Vern. He rode on Vern’s coattails last year, but now he has been found out. It is difficult not to see his approach as complacent, arrogant and one-dimensional, and he let the players down badly with selection and game plan at Cardiff. Maybe he should be given the rest of this series to show that he has more to offer, but if we end up back in wooden spoon territory, he must go. More hard=nosed and competant Replacements are not impossible to see.

    1. Cotter rode the coat-tails of Glasgow just as much.

      FFS I cant believe one shocking result and some folk are questioning the wisdom of Toonie being appointed.

      1. It’s cos of Gregor’s risky selections as much as anything.
        Would Vern Cotter have thrown in a new centre who’s completely unfamiliar with the Glasgow game Gregor wants to play and who has no pedigree at this level in a move which also required a positional switch for one of the backline’s star attacking talents away at the principality in the 1st 6N fixture?
        Not unless that was his only choice……..
        He would have picked Horne, probably with Bennett on the bench.
        And Gregor has made much of work rate, but he managed to pick a number 8 who managed 2 tackles and 2 carries in an hour.
        Vern Cotter always balanced the 2 opensides on the flank with a ball carrier at 8. Ryan Wilson was available and Denton could have been on the bench.

      2. Cotter dropped Denton – he would never have picked him for last Sat. Wilson is not a ball carrying 8.

    2. Who would we replace him with! The goose that lays the golden eggs has flown. Bringing in men of the stature of Cotter is a challenge particularly after u turning on experienced SH heavyweights.

      Townsend’s peers (with the exception of Italy) are all heavyweights, what direction were we looking in!. Perhaps a local coach would bring loyalty and we seek long term stability for short term loss !

      No way back, only forward. We will need to wait till the sorcerers apprentice graduates.

      It will work out in the end , in the meantime there will be collateral damage.

      We lost because of fundamental preparation and arrogance. Chapter 1 page 1.This will get worse before it gets better.

      1. Interesting point of view. I wouldn’t have let Cotter go either, but let’s not forget that his first 6 Nations was a whitewash, including a 40-10 home loss to Ireland which which if anything worse than last Saturday. Coaches – wherever they come from – deserve time to implement their vision.

    3. In general I think the “home” coach is not a good move — only New Zealand do it well.

      Who has a “home” coach right now?

      France – unravelling
      South Africa – in disarray
      Australia – erratic
      Argentina – sliding away to irrelevance

      and in recent past we’ve had
      England (Lancaster) and Wales (Howley — albeit temporary) suffer under “home” coaches.

      Simple fact seems to be that home coaches don’t perform. I can see three main reasons…

      1) Their selection was probably advanced over a better coach from elsewhere for sentimental reasons.

      2) They are likely already embroiled in “factional” BS within the union.

      3) They may share the same biases/tendencies as their players — this leads to narrow horizons.

      I think GT deserves a longer shot – 2 bad losses (Fiji, Wales), 2 good wins (Aus, Aus), 1 “near miss” (NZ)…and the rest as expected…It’s about par.

      In any case, with ~ 18 months to the WC it’s too late to change tack now…let’s give him that chance at least, and then start shopping if unsatisfied.

      I wish he & SRU would stop going on about “playing our way”. It’s essentially an admission that we don’t know how to win, and gives other teams an easy first objective.

      1. That home coach you so easily call rubbish has given us three of the best ten results in our recent history.

        This is exactly the opposite of what we would have heard had Cotter stayed. Utter nonsense.

      2. Who said he was rubbish? Not me.

        I said he deserves more time and that (so far) the good and bad games balance out…

        The time to decide is after the WC.

      3. Alanyst talks sense, but we know better. Would it be better if he had another post before taking this one ?

        No way back now.

      4. ‘Utter nonsense’ – is that the best you can do. The best results was Ireland and Wales last year under Cotter in the 6N.

        Less nepotism more realism.

      5. Alanlyst you didn’t say he was rubbish and your post has merit. I don’t think I was trying to respond to your post but one a further up calling for the coach to be sacked. Had Cotter have stayed and we had achieved what was expected in the 6 matches last year then people would have been saying we should have taken Townsend cos its the same old same. Ireland and Wales were very good results last year too but you talk about realism. Realism is saying that we’ve had some horror shows and some magnificent performances. Throwing the toys out the pram as many have done on here is not helpful nor realistic.

  38. Well let’s be honest it was always going to be hard without dynamism from the front row and losing Dunbar made it harder.If you could have picked it again I’m sure he would have gone with an all Glasgow back line and maybe Wilson to start.
    Looking at the big picture the fact remains that there is still a serious lack of depth/competition in quite a few positions-
    The most depressing thing about Sat was the lack of leadership and focus on the pitch and slowness in addressing what needed to be done from the coaching staff.
    As an English friend I was watching with said’there is no way Eddie would put up with the garbage Price and Russell are producing’ .
    There are of course pros and cons to this situation but I do wonder if Toonie is perhaps, even subconsciously, too close to the (his) Glasgow players and let’s them get away with stuff too easily?
    The really frustrating thing is that ,in spite of the ludicrous lyricism of Stephen Jones in the ST about Wales, how beatable they were.
    I rewatched the game without volume, and if you take away all the testmatch ballyhoo and judge purely on what you see, it looked a typical average mid/bottom table Pro14 game albeit with a v poor effort from Scotland.Scarlets have been playing well above that level recently and the fact that 1/2p scored twice tells you everything about how dreadful Scotland were.
    I don’t concur with letting that team have another chance at all.Time for Toonie to get tough.
    Keep the front 5 with Richie for Tool is if scrum was okish
    6- Hamilton
    9-George Horne
    10-Peter Horne
    12- Dunbar/Jones
    15- Hogg


    Controversial I know but GH deserves a chance and PH is a better player than often given credit for. The omissions need to know that no one is irreplaceable.
    The contrast with the tremendous display in the Davis Cup against very formidable opponents , by Cameron Norrie was notable and like an earlier poster I find it quite astonishing that apparently they don’t use the expertise of a sports psychologist-there is a lot of talent in this squad and some of the extremely poor display on saturday must be due to other factors than purely physical.
    This is a recurrent theme let’s be honest ,of weakness at the highest level, especially in foreign unforgiving environments.
    I hate to say it but there was almost a little bit of sulking on Sat that things weren’t going their way, and at times they looked incredibly like they were a scratch team-as always it’s a thin line between conceit and self belief.
    Come on guys you are capable of much better than that!

    1. We should NOT bring in GH right now, he is not ready. No more wildcards.

      Like it or not , we have set up Wales for a crack at the slam and Scarletts are in the European Cup , so why would they not be a tough side to beat in a welsh jersey.

  39. A good team (which we are) does not become a bad team overnight.

    The occasion clearly got to a number of players – Finn and Ali looked too relaxed and were possibly overconfident before kick off, and looked shellshocked after 20 minutes and both had stinkers.

    CdP and Harris have shown that they are not test level and shouldn’t be capped again, and I always had the fear that McGuigan’s performance against Australia was a fluke – and so it proved.

    It’s a game of momentum and we crumbled after the intercept try, but had Jonny’s break led to a try before then I reckon our confidence would have soared and we would have gone on to win.

    Apart from the 3 mentioned above I wouldn’t change too much for the France game, although a few players need a rocket! I fully expect a much better performance on Sunday.

    1. I agree with everything you say, except for your middle paragraph. In our present circumstances, we simply can’t afford to dismiss players and say they shouldn’t be capped again. How about the notion that players can: a) learn from their mistakes; b) develop naturally as players; c) build a better understanding with teammates; d) be the best option still standing.

      Why do you assume that McGuigan’s performance against Australia was the fluke? We’ve only got a sample of two matches. Perhaps the Wales match is the outlier?

      I’m not saying we shouldn’t drop CdP and Harris and McGuigan (who is now out of the reckoning anyway due to injury). I think we should. But we can’t and shouldn’t dismiss them as a failed experiment that must never be repeated. I personally think Finn and Ali’s lack of control/accuracy, and the unwillingness through the forwards to earn the right to go wide massively and negatively impacted the outside backs’ ability to find a way through.

    2. When Jonny’s break resulted in a Penalty to Wales , I think that was the turning point in the game, no one was there to support him. The writing was on the wall, Fine Margins was the expression they used a few seasons ago , well that was the one moment , our lost try was as good a boost as any to the Welsh.

      The interception came as their defense was up and we tried to spin wide(looking for Hogg who was up in the line looking for that next try to beat whatever record)

      We are so gullable.

      1. It felt like a missed opportunity for sure but it didn’t turn the game. What turned the game was the whole first half of error and compounded error and actually amazing we were just about still in the game at only 14-0 down at half-time. But it really was very difficult to come back from there.

        We had an interception try
        Squint feed at a scrum 5 metres out.
        Dropped ball when we were on the front foot in their twenty two releasing pressure multiple times. Harris was a culprit at least twice.
        Not finding touch for a penalty.
        Squint Lineout, lost ball or messy ball from lineouts.
        Miracle passes (Jones to Price when he broke through comes to mind) when recycling was the smart play.

        You just can’t have so many mistakes in one half of rugby and expect to be in the game. You can have some mistakes but not that many.

  40. I was quite serious about Gregor. He was completely fooled by Gatland, and his statement before the match that Scotland could beat any team in the world was wildly optimistic. Not a credible comment by an international coach. And what did he say in his half-time talk? Nothing that produced any improvement. Hope I’m proved wrong for the future, but not holding my breath.

      1. I see you missed the point again. Gavin is quite correct, this was a gunfight and he prepared us with knives.

  41. Byron McGuigan, Richie Gray and Duncan Taylor ruled out of France test. That’s one player Toonie doesn’t need to drop anyway.

    Hopefully means Alex Dunbar is available for selection? Shame Gray is out as his bull would be useful against the French pack.

  42. There’s nothing like a bad result to bring out the wailing and nashing of teeth brigade. It was bad, we all accept it was bad. The players will know it was bad and they’ll be hurting a hell of a lot more that we are. They can do better and I believe they will do better. Townsend made some mistakes and he will learn from these as well. But now is not the time to be throwing the whole team under a bus or running Townsend out of town!

    We have a game on Sunday against a big french team which is just starting on its path to RWC19. Our defence will need to be an order of magnitude stronger and we will need our ball carriers to be much more aggressive.

    Then comes a stuffy and physical England and Ireland away, two really hard games. If the performances don’t get any better and the results are humiliating for those three games, that’ll be the time for the despair and crisis.

    Personally I think we’ll beat France and Ireland and get a bp win over Italy and a bp loss to England (don’t know why but the bloody English just seem to not know how to lose at the moment) and end up 3rd behind England and Ireland.

    Although I might just be clinging to the last vestiges of hope…

    1. James…People are entitled to show they are not happy as Saturday’s performance was a disgrace.
      Fans spend hard earned money following and supporting the team and expect at the very least for it to be competitive. Nobody expects to win every game but do expect full comitment with the basic things done correctly.

      Things need change dramitically for next week otherwise I dont see any remaining games being won.

      1. People are indeed entitled to their own opinion – calling for Townsend to be sacked after the Wales games shows us how much that opinion is worth of course.

      2. He will survive , we made our bed , we will lie in it, but at what cost, this will just eat and eat and eat , even when we have good days, it is still there.

        There will always be results that do not go your way, however this was a catastrophic failure. Nothing worked in Wales.

        A lot of corporates invested in the Scottish Rugby Brand.

        This is the biggest rugby tournament in the world with big brands on the shirts. This is not the local club with the grocer sponsoring the ball.

        We didnt just get this one wrong, we got it completely wrong and showed gross immaturity. Anyone that thinks otherwise is delluded.

        We have a new game to work on , but do not be dishonest with ourselves, this is costly and unless we feel the true pain of this, we will never recover.

    2. I find it very offensive to see posters criticising others for being angry.

      The natural reaction for any balanced person with an ounce of pride in his blood is anger.

      lets not try and play the big man and make out it is immature or unhelpfull to be angry.

      The reputational damage is huge.The sword of damacles is already swinging.

      We talk about England last year, this was nothing like that. We have gone back a very long way with this episode.

      I have seen this before , this is how far back we have travelled:

      Italy 34 Scotland 20 (2000)
      Scotland 17 Italy 37 (2007).

      I expect criticism for this but something was fractured on Saturday, hearts and minds were lost and that is a priceless thing.

      1. Totally agree with your last paragraph, Ginger. That is the most heartbreaking thing about the result.

        I also agree with you that anger is not immature or unhelpful. It’s one natural response to such disappointment.

        But if that leads to people calling for heads to roll after one (admittedly awful) performance that isn’t reasonable or helpful.

        Put it this way: if thousands of Scots turn up to Murrayfield on Sunday still angry from the Wales match and too annoyed to enjoy the match or cheer because GT’s still the coach or Player X is on the field, then that just makes failure more likely.

        The psychology of the situation is critical, as you say. As supporters, we have a big part to play in building up the psychology of the team and individual players or conversely tearing them down. Just read Nick de Luca’s recent article about how the crap he got on social media stopped him from sleeping a wink the night before internationals. Or, to use a football example, how Gary McAllister was booed by Scotland fans. We hope they’ll be mental giants and not affected by external forces, but that’s not realistic and it’s also a developmental process. It might be cathartic for some fans, but it doesn’t help achieve what we all want.

        I don’t agree that this was ‘nothing like’ the England game. It was very like it many ways. An away game in a boiling cauldron of a stadium against a team that clicked with our forwards not fronting up and some inexperienced/experimental combinations in our backs (albeit for different reasons in the two games).

        But, to go back to your main conclusion, yes, something was fractured and hearts and minds were lost to some extent. It’s up to the team to find ways to repair that damage as best they can, and we can support them in the process.

      2. Thanks for your input there Stu.

        Reality check time……..

        1. We lost a game that was always going to be tough to win. Yes, the manner of the defeat surprised us, and we made basic errors that contributed significantly to that defeat, but it was always likely that we would go into this weekend looking for our first win – so nothing really changes.

        2. We will see a reaction on Sunday, of that I have no doubt. Will that be good enough to beat France? Who knows, but I’ll be doing all I can at the game to give them the support that might help.

        3. If we win on Sunday, confidence is up, we get a rest weekend to recuperate and then batter into England. Make no mistake, a victory against England would be a huge result. I’m not confident of the win, but I am confident that we’ll turn up for it – result will largely depend on how well England react to that. If they play the game tactically right, they have the tools to completely shut us down.

        4. Ireland in Dublin is a game that on paper should be a cracker, but in reality will likely be a turgid affair with neither team getting particularly on top. Ireland will inevitably grind us down, and likely squeak a couple of late tries to make the scoreline look more flattering.

        5. Then Italy….for me, this game will actually tell us how far we’ve come. If we confidently despatch Italy in Rome, then we have made progress. If we get involved in an arm wrestle then there is a real chance we lose, it’s at that point that I’ll then accept that we have regressed, but not now, not when the championship itself is still up for grabs, not when we’ve still got 2 home games to play, get a hold of yourself folks.

      3. Andy N – did you manage to sort yourself a ticket then?
        Still have a spare if anyone is interested. May be a harder sell after Cardiff.

      4. We were playing a very good side last year. This was not the 1st choice Welsh side and they are ranked 7th. England were always a bigger scalp and a higher ranking, so I stand by my comment while respect your opinion. Those Italian losses were much more akin.

        Rugby fans the world over, even Guscott want Scotland to do well.

      5. Andrew McGavin and Andy N – best posts I’ve read on here. Way more even-handed than I would have been.

        I know that sport is all about pure forms of emotion – joy, pain, anger – and this Scotland team has given us plenty of all three in the last couple of years. So, sure, if you feel like a hissy fit, have a hissy fit. But it won’t change the fact that we’re a decent team, who can beat anyone on their day (particularly at home) and can lose badly to the top teams (particularly away). And the first half of that equation becomes harder if the anger affects the atmosphere at Murrayfield.

        Belief that we haven’t moved on since 2007 just makes me genuinely confused.

      6. Andrew, I read that article about NDL a while ago and genuinely felt bad. I hold my hands up and admit I was often highly critical of him (among others of his era), I don’t think I ever sank to the depths of trolling and abuse but certainly some harsh criticism. The article did give me a bit of a reality check, it is only a game and the guys are out there doing their best, everyone is prone to a howler now and again regardless of the situation. I remember Dan Parks being booed off the park at one game, shocking behaviour by the fans in question. I understand the frustration but all it achieves is trashing the poor guys confidence.

        The only ones I have no sympathy for are people who look like they can’t be bothered or don’t care, one player in particular really annoyed me in the game at the weekend.

  43. Just looking at the starting 15 that took to the field against France in 2016 : Hogg, Seymour, Taylor, Dunbar, Visser, Russell (Horne after 5), Laidlaw, Dickinson, Ford, Nel, Gray, Gray, Barclay, Hardie, Strauss. Two or three positions that would now bring debate, but close to a ‘dream team’ of our modern era. To a man played very well that day and i imagine most of us would have some confidence in that line up starting on Sunday.

    1. I still look back on that game, and the way that Strauss played that day. He was absolutely huge for us, even after his kidney (?) injury, and I find it absolutely inexplicable that Townsend doesn’t feel that he’s able to trust Strauss any more to do a job.

      Townsends ‘falling out’ or whatever it was with Strauss cost Glasgow dearly, lets hope they can find a way to work together again, for Scotland’s sake.

  44. Toonies selection gamble was a 6n rookie coach mistake and will have had the other 6N’s coaches smirking. 1 Inside centre injury effectively led to an experiment moving one of our best outside attacking threats (Jones) into a more crowded midfield area and replace him with a new cap who most people hadn’t seen anything of. He had Horne available to slot in (or Grigg if he wanted to experiment). And then picked Mcguigan ahead of Maitland and Visser and Jones who have all been involved in Scotland’s recent progress. From having a fairly settled attacking threat back line, we ended up with an inexperienced patchwork experiment which ensured that we couldn’t conjure anything meaningful in attack. I wonder what Hogg and Russell made of the selection? Russell had a mare, but maybe he felt it was all on him to deliver something given the shambles outside him. I’m not excusing his terrible performance.

    I wonder if anyone agrees that the back-row selection effectively removed Scotland’s third line-out option (Wilson) which gave Wales an opportunity to attack Toolis/Gray more effectively. Just a thought. Wilson’s many detractors on this site will maybe cut him some slack after seeing what the alternative looks like. He’s not the biggest, but he gives it 100% whenever he plays and he tackles his heart out.

    1. Or maybe Harris struggled because he kept getting man and ball passes from Price and Russell?

    2. What did Hogg and Russell make of the selection! You have hit the nail on the head.

      You are not the only one that has it stuck in his mind that Scottish rugby is all about apeasing two lads so no offence.

      When we did not have hogg against the aussies and 15 men did their job.

      None of us, is as smart., as ALL of us.

      We only have one plan and it is flawed. The other 13 need to be involved in the game.

  45. I do think we have made progress. No doubt about it, if you compare our current squad with that of five years ago. The improved strength in depth is clear, and will get better. We do have the tools to do the job if we use them right. The real problem lies in the coaching. OK, Vern is gone and we can’t get him back, so there has to be some sort of major sea change among the coaches, and among a (very) small group of players. Let’s hope lessons have been learnt, and that we can pull it out of the bag on Sunday. I absolutely agree with the comments on home bred coaches.

  46. Ian Malins player ratings in the guardian is a much better piece of analysis than this one and the drivel that Stephen Jones writes in the Sunday Times.

    1. I just checked the Guardian player ratings and my initial thought was that they were generous to Scotland and harsh on Wales.
      If you have a look at the different components, though, it sort of makes sense:
      Back 3: Scotland 17 Wales 20 – man for man Wales were better, with McGuigan the weakest link.
      Centres: Scotland 11 Wales 13 – again their centre pairing was much stronger, mostly in defence, which was why Harris was brought in wasn’t it – for his defence? 6N proved a step too far for Chris Harris.
      Half-backs: Scotland 11 Wales 14. Says it all really and those scores are being generous to Ali and Finn. Bad day at the office with poor decisions from both. That’s not to take away from Davies and Patchell who both stood up.
      Front Row: Scotland 17 Wales 19. Not for the scrum, which was probably the only thing which exceeded expectations, but the lineouts and loose Wales dominated.
      2nd Row: Scotland 12 Wales 13. Wales edged this with AWJ and Cory Hill slightly better than Jonny and Ben, respectively.
      Backrow: Scotland 15 Wales 22. And here is where all 3 Welsh players had a stormer, and our “jackals” failed to perform.
      The benches were scored pretty evenly but by then it was all over.
      Personally I think we lost it at 8,9,10. Very little control and kept trying to go wide too soon. CdP should have offered himself for carries off 9 more, and Ali should have asked him to! Cannot see either starting against France and if we had a backup flyhalf neither would Finn.

      1. Interesting comparing the scores given to the units, that is something we have been thinking might be an idea to reflect the nature of the team more. We’re always looking at better ways to write these games up but this is the accepted system for now.

        However look how close the Guardian (renowned for its lack of Scottish rugby coverage but I’m glad Dmac found some) scores are and ask yourself if that reflects either the scoreline or the game you watched? Each of those groupings is roughly a point per man different which suggests a narrow loss by say 7-10 points max. It was a drubbing and only really the gulf in the back row scores reflects that, and even then only because he actually undermarked Watson. We also thought about a Pass/Fail scoring system, with that as a basis only McGuigan, Harris, Price, McInally, Watson and CdP failed – and everyone else gets pass marks…

        So is it a better piece of analysis, than John’s or is it just less harsh?

      2. Not sure why I can’t see a reply link next to Rory’s comment below so this may be out of place! I don’t think you can give player ratings just based on the final score and that’s the main problem with these articles. Wales were worthy winners but on another day they don’t get an intercept and the forward pass try is (correctly) ruled out, are we really saying that should change how the whole team is rated?

      3. I know what you mean Rory in that it does seem close, but if you think about it if ANY ONE of our units outperformed Wales we’d still have lost, but by the 7-10 points you talk about. The fact that every Scottish unit was beaten is reflected in the final scoreline.

  47. I think much of this blog epitomizes Scottish support. We go from the sense of being a World Cup contender and believing the hype and praise of others to the conclusion we are inferior and lack talent …all in and around one match.
    I think, sure, it was a substandard performance compared to the levels shown v NZ and Aus ,however, Wales in all aspects of the match from coaching, performance levels and tactics were better on the day.
    Its always a sore one to be wrong, and most of us were, including the entire Scotland team and coaching staff. Looking at the 6 N as a whole it is always a tough challenge to win away from home. Especially against England, Wales, Ireland & France…not one of these teams can just ‘turn up’ and expect a win. I think we went into this match with the wrong attitude… and we got burned for it.

    We have an overall squad of good players some who are average and a few who are excellent and a few more who have potential to be great. We have a coaching staff who are new to this competition and level but who have excellent coaching abilities and are respected in the game.

    We should all take a chill pill…realize that we are all not perfect and make mistakes. I think it is showing humility , belief and good faith that will allow us to achieve the consistency and balance that we haven’t seen yet and what most of us hope for.

    I like what GT is trying to do…as I think it suits us…and it is enjoyable to watch. People talk about his selections as bizarre we have have this plethora of game ready proven fit and in form players he has to choose from. Which clearly we do not. If we achieve consistency in our core performance and selections we will challenge the top teams in important competitions. No sports team has a devine right to be the best..even when they go out shopping big time for it. Thats the beauty of sport I think.

    1. 100% agree! Don’t forget the bookies still have us reasonable favourites to beat France, and then let’s give it a crack against England…

  48. I think some people are being ridiculous claiming it’s harsh to give someone a zero. Why should someone get a mark out of kindness if they did nothing throughout the game. Can’t think what Harris, Price, Bhatti, Barclay, Gilchrist and Du Preez done to earn a mark so fans claiming it is harsh to give them no marks please enlighten me to what you felt they done right.

    What I will say is there is clear basis in the ratings for your favorite and least favorite players. For example McGuigan who was still pretty awful gained 31 meters with ball in hand and beat two defenders in his 54 minutes on the pitch. Yet Seymour in his 80 minutes only made 35 metres and beat no defenders and made no more tackles than Mcguigan yet Seymour is your joint top rated back and McGuigan zero.

    Jonny Gray is another one. Made 15 tackles (none missed), gained 34 meters (more than any of other of our other fowards by some distance) and beat 4 defenders yet gets zero yet Ryan Wilson who made 4 meters in 30 minutes is treated as some sort of messiah.

    Reid and Welsh both never even made a yard with ball in hand. Reid made 3 tackles missing 2 and Welsh makes 2 yet both get 6 despite contributing little. Toolis whilst not being great still made 9 tackles missing none yet doesn’t even get a mark.

    Finn Russell made 76 meters with ball in hand, just 3 less than Hogg, and beat 4 defenders. No it wasn’t his best game and he made mistakes but he wasn’t worst one out there.

    My point is that players like Jonny Gray, Finn Russell, Byron McGuigan etc. are taking up most of the flack despite not being the worst ones out there. Whilst Seymour, Matitland, Reid, Barclay and Laidlaw are receiving far less critcism despite being just as bad on Saturday.

    Nothing wrong with giving people zero’s when they deserve it but these rating clearly favor your favorite players and puts all the critcism on the players you don’t like. Clearly a very biased piece

    1. Player ratings are subjective, they are not a fact. I think it is you who is biased.

      Reid and Welsh lost 4 marks for not tackling or carrrying. What more do you want?

      McGuigan cannot hold up the scrum and avoided costing us a scrum penalty all day long, so he cannot get marks for that.

      If you want a rating system on carrys, tackles, interceptions, assists then you might get more satisfaction watching the 13 man game called Rugby League.

      This is Union, 15 men in a Union, (clue is in the word) all shapes and sizes, different jobs to do in a TEAM.

      1. Ginger McGhee – A forward being decent in the scrum but not contributing anywhere else is simply not good enough for international level. After all being able to keep possession in your own put in and not give away penalities during scrums should be a basic necessity for any half decent forward.

        Yes of course there are different jobs to do on a rugby pitch. You expect your forwards to make carries and gain meters and if the forwards make ground this will then force the defending team to commit more defenders which in turn causes more space for the backs and gives you the right to go wide.

        In defence if the attacking team breaks the gainline you expect your backs with their pace to stop the try however you expect your forwards to get stuck in and make the tackles so this doesn’t happen and so many times on Saturday a Welsh player got the ball near the ruck and just ran through the defence and this was largely due to Reid and Welsh not playing their part.

        In the autumn we seen many of our forwards such as Nel, Marfo, Fagerson, Bhatti, Du Preez, Barclay, Wilson, Gray, Watson, Hamilton etc. making the carries to allow our backs the space to play with the freedom needed to score trys and making the nitty gritty tackles which nullified the oppositions attacking threat. On Saturday with the exception to Gray and Watson this did not happen and both our attack and defence suffered because of it.

        Rugby is a team game and we need everyone to contribute and with neither of our props making a yard or barely making a tackle we struggled and surely two players who contributed so little should receive a far lower mark.

      2. The statistic that was truly remarkable (as reported by the 1014 guys on YouTube) was how little CdP did. Apparently, he only made 2 tackles in his 48 minutes on the pitch and only carried twice in that time, making 6 metres.

        People have agreed he was anonymous, but it’s rare to see that supported so dramatically by the statistics. Compare to Toolis, Gray and Watson who made 9, 15 and 12 tackles respectively. Barclay only 5 interestingly. Gray, Barclay and Watson all made around 10 carries.

        Maybe Scotland’s systems dictate that CdP is not the go-to man for carries, but these stats suggest he was as close to anonymous as a player can be, especially for a Number 8.

        Was he injured? It doesn’t make any sense at all for a professional player, and a player who at his best can be outstanding and who has been hitting good form recently. And why wasn’t he hoicked at half time or before?

        In my opinion, whatever the reason for his anonymity, he is the only Scotland player who deserved a 0 or close to it. I would give him a 2.

        Btw, unless SRB wants to make it a ‘tradition’ to give lots of zeroes for a really bad team performance (and I don’t see why they would), can we actually have meaningful player ratings from now on? Something that will actually differentiate between players’ performances, based on more than emotion, instead of throwing them all into a ‘basket of deplorables’. Fair enough to try it once, perhaps (Cammy’s zeroes for Twickenham 2017), but it was a weak-ish attempt at irony first time around, so for what it’s worth I’d vote to do away with it in future.

      3. I’m assuming CdP didn’t want to get those oh so soft, life giving, turning-water-into-wine, miracle hands that we hear so much about dirty.

      4. 3 or 4 seasons ago we couldn’t wait for CdP to qualify and everyone wanted him in the team on the back of his performances for Edinburgh.
        Then he broke his ankle and wasn’t the same player afterwards.
        There were good signs of a return to form at Edinburgh this season.
        He’s not a mug. He’s played for SA U-20s and played regular Super rugby when he was very young.
        Maybe he’ll be dropped, but I don’t think he should just be written off. If he can hit good form he’s a top notch player and a good hybrid of ball carrying and ball handling 8.

    2. Blake, I agree to a point but statistics often don’t tell the whole story. They don’t reflect guys being out of position or dropped balls, or general lacklustre play.

      Also on the props, given our rake of injuries with our first and second choices I think we need to be happy with holding our own in the scrum, which we did. Our scrum was a bit creaky even with our first choice bench recently. Both of their tackle stats are pretty woeful though, fair enough if a prop isn’t a passing and ball carrying colossus in the loose but they need to make their tackles and hit their rucks.

  49. Ok Flake, nothing new in this post.

    lets hear the comprehensive rating systenm then. I already told you the props got deducted for their lack of ball carrying , which you have ignored.

    1. Ginger, don’t let it get personal with the name-calling etc. One of the reasons so many of us love the SRB is that it doesn’t go in that direction.

    2. Ginger McGhee – Firstly no need to be childish and immature and call people names just because you have a difference of opinion with them.

      Secondly I fully understood that you had knocked 4 marks off the props for lack of contribution elsewhere but what I am saying is to have the joint highest mark just for a doing a job in the scrum despite contributing nothing elsewhere is just ridiculous and clearly shows the lack of rugby knowledge of the author of this article and yourself. Maybe they deserve to get 3 or 4 marks for doing a good job in the scrum but no more than that. To say any prop should just automatically get a rating of 6/10 for doing well in the scrum is just beyond silly and when so many have gotten such low marks it just seems unfair that two players who contributed so little get 6/10

      1. Did we ever get an alternative proposal for a ratings system . Might be worth getting that tabled before we play tomorrow!

  50. Have to say I’ve always enjoyed your guys take on the rugby and you generally try to be objective and positive. But this post and the amount of 0 ratings makes you look like petty douche bags. But I guess that comes with sport… those who can’t play at the highest level make themselves feel better by tearing players apart for one bad game.

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