Sorry to over-extend that particular Toony-related jape further, but you’ll see why.
In addition to the recent announcement that Dan McFarland is set to leave the Scotland setup, now there are rumours that defence coach Matt Taylor could be a target for Eddie Jones. This all comes after his own defence coach Paul Gustard left the England coaching group to take over the top job at Harlequins. England are now without both full-time attack and defence coaches.
Just over a year out from the next Rugby World Cup, it is an odd time for coaches to be jumping ship, before a chance to execute the endgame, if you like. And especially, you hope, it will be seen as such by Scotland A cap Taylor who has spent so long getting these players (for Glasgow and Scotland) to the stage where they can, for the most part, actually defend.
Of course Scotland’s defence has been ropey at times, but that ropiness usually goes hand in hand with bad performances. In short, when they execute their systems properly, the defensive system Taylor has them playing can be very good indeed so there’s nothing to suggest Taylor wouldn’t be on the RFU shortlist. It could just be more “exile-baiting” with Twickers throwing their weight about to keep the SRU honest. Don’t overstep the mark or ALL YOUR COACH ARE BELONG TO US.
Shaun Edwards of Wales has been mooted as another possible candidate for Jones while successful Wigan Rugby League boss Shaun Wane (to Sean Connery, Marion Morrison to everyone else) has also just stepped into the job hunt with no news as to where he could end up, but the Thistle podcast lads mooted him as a possibility to join the Scotland setup.
In other news, John Barclay is to undergo surgery on the Achilles he injured during the Scarlets semi-final win over Glasgow and the recovery in Edinburgh will keep him out beyond the Autumn Internationals. It gives Stuart McInally a good shot at the captain’s shirt on an ongoing basis following on from the summer tour.
Barclay hasn’t blamed the Scotstoun pitch, but the Scarlets have been very vocal this week about how hard it is as a surface to fall on in terms of bruises, scrapes and carpet burns. Not all artificial surfaces are created equal, it seems.
All the best with the recover, John.
Final bit of good news? Finn Russell in a Barbarians shirt, where he will team up with Greig Laidlaw to face down England at Twickenham.
It could be perfect.