Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Argentina v Scotland: Match Preview

Magnus Bradbury in action during Scotland vs Argentina
[Edinburgh, UK. November 19, 2016] Magnus Bradbury in action during Scotland vs Argentina in the Autumn Test at BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh. (c) ALASTAIR ROSS | Novantae Photography Photo Credit: Alastair Ross / Novantae Photography

KO 8.40pm (4.40pm local time)
Saturday 23rd June 2018
Estadio Centenario, Resistencia

TV coverage – Channel 4 from 8.10pm
Some new faces and voices this week with Lee Mackenzie presenting and (most likely) Eddie Butler in the commentary booth. No confirmation yet which injured or ex-Scotland players will be joining them but hopefully some decent analysis to be had!

The Squad

There are just 3 survivors from the last Scottish starting XV to tackle Argentina on their own turf – Stuart Hogg, Peter Horne and skipper Grant Gilchrist are the returning players. Tim Swinson and Dougie Fife were also involved from the bench back in 2014 in a side that was a blend of first choice and developmental selections.

The back 3 is the same trio that finished the game against the USA with Blair Kinghorn the only man to start all 3 games on this tour and now arguably inked in as first choice for Scotland on the wing. The young Edinburgh player will provide a real attacking threat alongside Stuart Hogg and Dougie Fife – who makes his first Test start for more than 3 years.

The inside backs are unchanged from last week with Peter Horne and Nick Grigg continuing their centre pairing and the “Hornstings” (I’m not giving up until this sticks…) partnership of Adam Hastings and wee Georgie Horne given another chance to strut their stuff on the international stage.

The pack is strengthened by 5 of the players who opened the tour against Canada. The Scots will be expecting the toughest test of their credentials so far this summer but there will also be a belief that if they can get the fundamentals right (in particular scrum, lineout, maul) they will create scoring opportunities against the Pumas defence.

Skipper Stuart McInally returns alongside club colleagues Allan Dell and Simon Berghan with the experienced combination of Tim Swinson and Grant Gilchrist backing them up in the second row. The back row of Magnus Bradbury and Devid Denton both carried strongly in Edmonton and will need to get Scotland over the gainline in Resistencia. They’re joined by hooker Fraser Brown in his less familiar position of openside flanker. Brown has played in the back row on a number of occasions for Glasgow as well as covering there for Scotland (including last week against the USA). It’s likely that Gregor Townsend is exploring his options for flexibility within next summer’s 31-man squad for the RWC in Japan.

Off the bench George Turner will cover hooker (and maybe back row as well – who even knows any more?) as part of an all Glasgow front row with teammates Jamie Bhatti and Zander Fagerson. The presence of Ben Toolis and Jamie Ritchie among the replacements should mean little drop-off in intensity for the Scottish pack as the game progresses – essential when taking on the physical Argentinians.

Boasting a whole 11 caps, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne is a relative veteran among the substitutes for the backs with his colleagues James Lang (1) and Chris Harris (3) still very fresh faces on the Test scene.

There’s another step up in the experience in the Scottish XV this week (290 caps v 182 caps) and it’s also the heaviest pack selected so far this summer at 900kg. Both factors could well be crucial if the dark blues are to take down an Argentinian side that will be smarting after back to back defeats to Wales.

15. Stuart Hogg
14. Dougie Fife
13. Nick Grigg
12. Peter Horne
11. Blair Kinghorn
10. Adam Hastings
9. George Horne

1. Allan Dell
2. Stuart McInally (c)
3. Simon Berghan
4. Tim Swinson
5. Grant Gilchrist
6. Magnus Bradbury
7. Fraser Brown
8. David Denton

16. George Turner
17. Jamie Bhatti
18. Zander Fagerson
19. Ben Toolis
20. Jamie Ritchie
21. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne
22. James Lang
23. Chris Harris

Not selected – Murray McCallum, Lewis Carmichael, Charlie Shiel, Mark Bennett, Byron McGuigan

Argentina Scouting Report

Record in this RWC cycle

Played – 29
Won – 8
Lost – 21

Games against Tier 1 opposition

Played 25. Won 4. Lost 21. Argentina must have the toughest schedule in world rugby. A dozen matches against Australia, New Zealand and South Africa since the last RWC with another 9 to come before even making it to Japan – the Pumas may be testing themselves against the best but it provides little opportunity to build up any winning momentum.

Route to RWC 2019

After their 4th place finish at the last World Cup Argentina were one of the 12 automatic qualifiers for next year’s tournament in Japan. There will be some physical games in their pool which contains England, France, USA and Tonga but with New Zealand, South Africa and Ireland all on the other side of the draw if Argentina can get a new coach in place and recall their European-based players they will be looking for another run to the semi-finals.

Danger man

They may not be quite the powerhouse of days gone by but the Argentinian pack can still be brutally effective at what they do. Wales smothered the South Americans with an aggressive defence and a huge amount of physicality in their pack to stop the Pumas ball-carriers on the gainline.

Javier Ortega Desio was one of the few Argentine forwards to manage to consistently get on the front foot and his ability to break tackles will be a real threat to Scotland. He may be particularly keen to break a try-scoring drought that stretches back to 2014 – when he crossed in consecutive games against Scotland…

Rising star

21-year old Bautista Delguy only made his Super Rugby debut for the Jaguares in February this year. The winger has notched 8 tries in his 9 starts for his club side before picking up another 5-pointer in his 2nd cap for Argentina having played both Tests against Wales. As with so many of the Pumas players Delguy has come through the 7s pathway as well as a couple of years playing in the World Rugby U20s Championship. It’s a system that seems to allow young Argentinians to hit the ground running and Scotland will need to be wary out wide on Saturday night no matter who is selected.

Previous results

Scotland and Argentina have met on 7 previous occasions in South America with the home side victorious in the first three matches and the Scots currently on a 4-game winning streak in this fixture:

Argentina 14 – 26 Scotland

Buenos Aires, 14 June 2008
Argentina: Horacio Agulla (1T); Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe (1T); Federico Todeschini (2C)
Scotland: Ross Ford (1T); Graeme Morrison (1T); Chris Paterson (2C, 4P)

Argentina 16 – 24 Scotland

Tucuman, 12 June 2010
Argentina: Gonzalo Tiesi (1T); Juan Manuel Leguizamon (1T); Felipe Contepomi (2C)
Scotland: Dan Parks (6P, 2DG)

Argentina 9 – 13 Scotland

Mar del Plata, 19 June 2010
Argentina: Felipe Contepomi (2P), Martin Rodriguez Gurruchage (1P)
Scotland: Jim Hamilton (1T); Dan Parks (1C, 2P)

Argentina 19 – 21 Scotland

Cordoba, 20 June 2014
Argentina: Javier Ortega Desio (1T); Joaquin Tuculet (1T); Nicolas Sanchez (2P, 1DG)
Scotland: Stuart Hogg (1T); Henry Pyrgos (1T); Duncan Weir (1C, 3P)


Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)
Assistant 1: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant 2: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

M. Raynal has only refereed a couple of Scotland games in the past 8 seasons but previous experience of his style of officiating in Glasgow matches should mean that Toony and his troops are well aware that the French referee tends to strongly favour the side in possession if they are showing positive intent.

The experienced whistler hasn’t exactly been a lucky charm for Scotland. In 2012 he was the man in charge when Andy Robinson’s side were humbled by Tonga despite M. Raynal hammering the Sea Eagles in the penalty and card count. It was Scotland who were on the wrong end of the same ref’s wrath when Vern Cotter took his charges to Twickenham in 2017 and then…stuff happened which we don’t talk about.

Scotland’s previous games with M. Raynal in charge:

  • 2012 – lost to Tonga (H)
    Penalties: 37 (For 25 – 12 Against)
    Cards: Tonga 3 YCs
  • 2017 – lost to England (A)
    Penalties: 18 (For 5 – 13 Against)
    Cards: Scotland 1 YC (Fraser Brown)


151 Responses

  1. Some points for discussion as always:
    Fraser Brown starts at 7 rather than Ritchie
    Harris on the bench and no Bennett
    Swinson starts and no room in the 23 for Carmichael
    …to name but 3…….

    1. 1. Brown was our best back-row player last week. Next year we will only have a 31 man squad to take to the world cup and will likely only take 5 back row players making both Brown and Mcinally versatility to play back row indispensable.And McInally played number 7 against New Zealand for last half an hour and it didn’t hamper us one bit if anything his ability at breakdown at 7 got us back in the match.

      2. Bennett should definitely be there ahead of Lang and Harris but can understand to an extent that Bennett only came back from a long injury lay-off in January and shouldn’t be rushed back too quickly.

      3. Never been a big fan of Swinson. Would have had Toolis and Gilchrist starting with Carmichael on the bench.

    2. What HB says.

      I know it’s impractical, but I often get the feeling that if Toonie was left to create the tactics and coach the players, but team selection was taken out of his hands then we could punch even higher than we have been under him so far!

      In addition to concerns over Brown and Swinson in the pack, I think Grigg and Horne outside Hastings is a very lightweight centre and would be a worry as well.

    3. Playing two 7s is all the rage but two hookers? Toonie is either a genius or a madman.

      I mean is it a shoe in that the guy with 2 on his back always throws in at the lineout? Or is in the middle of the scrum? Who gets to score the maul tries? Interesting when you start pondering on it.

      Less whimsically this looks like a pack designed to compete on the floor whilst also going forward with ball carrying a plenty.

      And will Kinghorn keep kicking? He is not the main kicker for Edinburgh so that worries me.

  2. I had a gut feeling that we would see Swinson in the 2nd row, otherwise, what would be the point in him coming to play one game at 6.

    Aside from Brown instead of Ritchie, which would’ve made more sense to me as a substitution, I think the biggest surprise/concern is the same 9-10-12-13 that didn’t seem to work against the USA. Some big performances required there.

  3. I have no problem with Swinson as long as he plays in his proper position in the second row. Fraser Brown did look good in the back-row – and always has done when required – so no real issue though hope Ritchie gets some game time.
    Big surprise for me is that Bennett isn’t starting and not even in 23. Maybe it’s redemption time but hope Toonie will act quicker to change things if the starting line up doesn’t deliver. P Horne can move to 10 and Lang to 12 so that at least get some experience at pivot if need-be. Just need a win!!

  4. Edinburgh front row being replaced by the Glasgow front row feels right for this test. Less tombola and more sensible selection. Turner has played well this tour and Fraser Brown seems to be very injury prone. McInally will bring strong leadership , this side has a better feel to it.

    I feel Bennett has not done enough to warrant being selected and I hope he gets back to his best very soon. We know he is capable and could exceed that level given time. Who knows perhaps he will peak again before the RWC as he has the potential to be a match winner.

    I am hoping Dougie Fife has a good game , he has done a lot to improve his profile , so this is his test.

    1. I thought Bennett was the pick of the centres last week, so I’m disappointed to see him drop out.

    2. I presume your criteria for Bennet’s non selection doesn’t apply to Grigg or Harris?

      1. To be honest i thinks its quite possible none of the current centres besides Horne will get into the 2019 squad

        Grigg – Jones
        harris – Dunbar
        lang – Scott
        Bennett – Taylor
        Horne – competing with all the above + dean/Johnson when eligible.

        Feels like a waste of time bringing some of those people on tour.

        Horne sure, lang ? mabey due to versatility i can understand.

        Does anyone really think the rest will ubsurp the current first choices though ?

      2. Gregor Townsend did not pick Bennett, retained Grigg and for whatever reason put Harris, who has done nothing in every one of his caps, on the bench. His criteria, his game , his name, but it is fair to say , Mark Bennett is well short of the form we have come to expect.

      3. To be fair Bennett wasn’t initially selected to go on this tour and was pulled in as a replacement for Alex Dunbar. So Townsend didn’t really want Bennett in from the start, it’s no surprise he’s not included today. Bennett could still come good for the 6N and World Cup, he just needs more time to rediscover his form of 2015!

      4. @stu2 Scott will be harder to ignore when at Edinburgh in the coming season (if he plays well), especially so given he will be partnering Bennett.

    1. I spotted that too. Seems a bit weird. Especially as he can’t kick but managed 2 penalties for a total of 9 points! It was actually Contepomi.
      Seems Kevin has hit the bourbon early.

  5. Strong pack
    second row was to be expected
    I understand brown coming off the bench to cover 7 but starting ? we know he can do a job there but this feels so stupid and stinks of toony just wanting to do his 1 crazy ass pick of the week. Surely would have been better for Ritchie to gain experience and he is a a far better backrow player. I think brown will do a decent enough job but it should not be an excuse for the selection.

    backline is ok with what we had available it was always going to be lightweight i guess.

    I do not get the grigg selection we have an abundance of quality centres im not sure why he is being picked. Chris dean would have been a better pick for the tour.

    back 3 picks itselfs

    Hopefully this is the last time we see harris in a tour squad.

      1. I disagree ofc blake, dean is more of a 12 but can play 13.

        He has been consistently solid in defense and while not flashy in attack is a glue for that edinburgh team.

        Hugely improved in the last 6 months

        Grigg has been exposed against the top teams alot, yes he can hit a hard line and tackle people like a rocket when his timing is right, but his defensive and tactical brain is not quite there for me. can he offload by the way ?

    1. I agree. The Brown selection will do nothing for the development of confidence of the young back rows. If they had a poor game then give them this one to rectify it. Playing a hooker in front of them is a nonsense. This selection largely feels OK but Brown stinks of a development tour gone bad and now Toony is too scared to play his development players. Brown will get creamed by Argentina in the back row and the youngsters may well do, at least they would learn something in regards to their position. Back row selections on this tour have been a mess.

  6. Grigg is not international class and just isn’t as good a centre as Chris Dean, Mark Bennett, or James Johnstone for that matter.

    1. Jones and Taylor are our only centres who are international class. Horne has his moments but the “B tier” are very good the C tier you mentioned are not there yet but competent. We only have a handful of true international calibre players and only Hogg who is arguably world class. Finn, Greig, Barclay, Rambo this season, Nel and Tommy are international standard.

      1. One thing to consider is that Toony seems to be looking for a ball-playing creative centre at 12 (2nd 5/8), and he’s already tried Jones there with little success (although HJ managed it fine during his time in RSA).

        Which leaves Pete Horne and James Lang as the two that fit that model… We’ve got a couple of skilled big lads (Taylor, Dunbar, Scott) a smattering of tricky runners (Jones, Bennett, Grigg, Dean), and Harris – we don’t know what he is yet – but they would all be a 13 in that type of pairing, although the rest of us might put most of the first three in at 12 without too much panic. Centre riches we have, but there are not many distributors, if that indeed is what Townsend wants.

      2. Yes, this seems to be the plan. Lang played fairly well in the Canada game so hopefully he will get a decent run out here to see a bit more of him. I suspect Horne with Lang as backup may be the future plan at 12 (at the moment)

  7. FYI:
    15: Maitland
    14: Seymour
    13: Huw Jones
    12: Dunbar
    11: Taylor
    10: Russell
    9: Laidlaw
    8: Wilson
    7: Watson
    6: Barclay
    5: Gray
    4: Gray
    3: Nel
    2: Ford
    1: Dickinson

    Just to consider the team we are putting out for our most difficult game of the tour, compared to a select team (obviously some noted absentees from this list!). Very few bar Hogg/Front row would get in ahead of this team. Which realistically is great for depth by Toonie. Forcing these lads to step up and front up is important. USA was gutting should have been put to the sword considering the start but ultimately we wont have many test scenarios (if any) like this before the RWC to blood them in an environment where some errors may not be capitalised compared to more effective opponents.
    Argentina is a big test for these guys to prove they should be considered as competition for the 1st XV.

      1. Sadly you are probably right. I am worried that Taylor might never wear Blue again either. Or Nel.

  8. Go for it Dougie. No Mark Bennett shame on you. There’s a few players who’ve proven since last autumn that they don’t have the ability at international level. Ì hope not to see them in a Scotland team ever again.

  9. I was thinking about what success looked like on this tour. If we take winning on Saturday as a given.

    For me its finding 2 or 3 players who could go into the first 6N game 1st XV without you worrying. And another for the bench.

    Kinghorn. Big tick already.
    Horne excited to see if he backs up last week where he was our bright spot.
    Bradbury big test but he was pretty good against Canada.

    Win and these three play well I will be content.
    A N Other also steps up then I will be happy. Lang perhaps?

      1. For me he would have to do a lot more than he has to date.

        I feel like our desperation for a back up 10 and his name is probably placing more expectation on his back than is good. Id like to see him become first choice a Glasgow first.

  10. Brown ahead of Ritchie is just a barking selection. Part timer against specialist. Toonie trying far too hard to show he’s a brilliant coach imo.

    I will repeat this even when Brown is being handed the MoM trophy . . . :)

    1. I actually think Brown is a superb flanker. Agree it is odd not to have Ritchie starting though.

      1. Brown is pretty good at the breakdown…been a good few times he’s made crucial turnovers.

    2. I suspect that playing flanker will be more of a relief for Brown. He’s always been pretty good at the ruck, ball carrying and tackling. Now he can do all that and not have to worry about scrum and line-out as much.

  11. I going to have to blame the man who selected the man that selects the team, he doesn’t seem capable to me. I see a field with a depth of rich top soil , but in the middle of it is a man digging down to the clay looking for something better, and I’m finding it disturbing to watch

    1. I like the analogy and I sort of agree with it. We are looking for something that is not there. I have observed from my time playing that making a few changes usually brings the newbie up to the standards of the rest of the side (they raise their game) however with so many changes the standard is fractured.

      Those who want to see new guys tried out on tours have a point, however I do not think going into a RWC with positive memories such as losing to the USA is empowering. Teams need to feel success and draw upon positive memories when facing strong tests.

  12. Is it just me who is a supporter of scar and wished he remained king of pride rock and not Simba

    1. No.

      I like that Warleggan chap in Poldark too and think he is being stitched up by the producers. ;-)

  13. The pack looks ok but not sure about the experiment of Brown on the flank. I guess Toonie is looking to experiment and expand the versatility of the squad, but other nations don’t seem to have to make such odd selection choices…

    Not sure about the centres, Grigg doesn’t do it for me and if plan A doesn’t work I’m not sure switching in Lang and Harris adds much to the team (Lang because he’s new, Harris because I don’t think he’s up to it).

    Looking forward to seeing how Hornstings get on and the back 3 but not sure who covers the back 3 as Harris on the wing doesn’t work for me.

    I hope Toonie knows what he’s doing!

    1. I think Toonie may be sticking to his guns and looking at exposing players to test rugby rather than going for the win above all else. Bennett can cut it at this level, we know that and he just needs to recapture form. Grigg, Hastings, G Horne, Harris, Lang will all be relative bolsters to make the RWC squad. Even Pete Horne is far from nailed on if Hastings is trusted to travel as FH back up.

    2. “but other nations don’t seem to have to make such odd selection choices”

      Mike Brown on the wing.
      Elliot Daly at fullback.
      Brad Shields at lock.
      Maro Itoje at flanker.

      Toonie is clearing channelling his inner EJ.

      1. Daly and Itoje are very very capable in those alternate positions, they just aren’t there best. Brown can play wing he just isn’t fast enough. Brad Shields you are spot on. Brown is not a flanker, turning out for a prem side is not international. This isn’t covering a sin bin, he is starting in front of specialists. It’s uncomprehendable. What exactly is being developed during this development tour? It feels like 9&10 and that’s it.

      2. Brown is a flanker converted to hooker. He’s played HC rugby at flanker. No worries about his ability there at all.

  14. Interesting selection, no issues with the forwards, IMO Ritchie is not a 7, he is very good but a 6 and the Brown @ 7 selection sort of makes sense. Its the backs that trouble me, Grigg has a big heart & is an honest player but simply to small & unfortunately not an international class centre. Fife is certainly much better than he used to be so merits his place. 10 remains the biggest issue, Hastings did ok last week but has it all to prove, I’d have preferred to see P.Horne, Lang, Bennett @ 10,12,13.

  15. Can I also add: please god not Eddie Butler for the commentary? What do beeb commentators need to do to get put out to pasture!

  16. Why is the team not:

    15. Hogg
    14. Fife [shows we lack depth on the wings, surprised Toonie hasn’t played Fraser Brown here]
    13. Bennett [class is permanent]
    12. Lang [if we can find a decent sized specialist 12 that would useful given injuries]
    11. Kinghorn
    10. Horne or Hastings [come on, who is current back up fly-half?]
    9. Horne

    1. Dell [what is so good about Dell, is any better than Bhatti?]
    2. McInally (c)
    3. Berghan or Fagerson
    4. Toolis
    5. Gilchrist
    6. Bradbury
    7. Ritchie [why oh why would we play a hooker in this position?]
    8. Denton

  17. And for the record this is the full strength line up, with any possible areas of contention flagged

    15. Hogg
    14. Maitland
    13. Jones
    12. Taylor / Dunbar [no need to pick one as never fit at same time]
    11. Kinghorn
    10. Russell
    9. Price / Horne [one or other with Laidlaw on bench, I’d still have Price]
    8. Denton
    7. Watson / Hardie [one or other with Wilson on bench, Hardie needs to come back into the fold]
    6. Barclay
    5. Gray
    4. Gray
    3. Nel / Berghan [neither fit at the same time]
    2. McInally (c)
    1. Marfo / Sutherland [neither fit at same time and Dickinson has gone]

    Bench: Brown, Fagerson, Bhatti, Toolis, Wilson, Laidlaw, Horne, Seymour.

    Done. None of the young guns make it apart from possibly George Horne.

    1. I’ll be very surprised if Laidlaw isn’t starting at SH. Price has failed to live up to his breakthrough season, maybe George will manage where he failed to but I think he’ll still be a bit too raw when the World Cup comes round.

      I think Toolis might be a bit soft for test rugby.

      Really want Bennett of old back to compete with Huw Jones, but that horse has probably bolted.

      1. Its difficult to see a spare 13 on the bench, especially if Pete Horne is a nailed on the wall squad man (unless Laidlaw is there to cover 9 and 10). Otherwise could see Bennett or Scott with the ability and time to find form?, they might even form a partnership before he WC…

        I still prefer Toolis to Gilchrist, but there’s bound to be injuries through the pack! And let’s not rule out Toonie finding room for Nick Grigg in the front row…

      2. I am a big fan of Mullet Boy Toolis but think he is the lineout guy rather than the hard man. That combination is how I see a perfect second row.

        Its why sacrilegious as it may seem I am not 100% sure Jonny is a shoe in if all are fit. For all his skills he is not a great lineout jumper especially on the opposition throw.

      3. Rory – not his age but the seriousness of the injuries. He’s nowhere near his best form and if he doesn’t recover his explosive speed it’s unlikely he’ll reach those heights again. Reading his interview was pretty depressing about how our brightest talent thought he’d achieved everything after getting to a RWC QF. Just think he could easily struggle to ever find rugby so easy again.

      4. Laidlaw will be our 9 at RWC. Strauss is much better than Denton. GT needs to get his head out of his backside with Strauss. If he has issues with him it’s his job as coach to rectify his play.

    2. Is John Hardie gone for good ? Could the SRU be big enough to show compassion and allow him to compete for his place? Is anyone in the know !

      1. Agree that Hardie has to be given the coming season to almost re-prove his worth, he is absolute class when fully fit and firing. Is Strauss also gone for good? I’d have him fighting it out with Denton for No.8 and definitely ahead of Wilson in the 23.
        Also Blade Thompson could be a real option if he does well at the Scarlets?

      2. Interesting that when talking about this Fraser Brown selection, Toonie referenced our specialist sevens “Watson and Hardie”. So still in thinking.

      3. Thanks Kevin. Do you have or can you find out this stat? In Hardies caps so far from start or bench how many has he gone off injured in? I think its a fairly high percentage.

        How ever good he is if it’s likely his style causes him to go off injured is it worth considering that you have only half a player in ur line up?

      4. I hope Toonie does rate him , however I lean towards that being just talk. With such a long break, taking Hardie feels like the right decision. He does not need rested , he needs game time, needs a new club so what better way to showcase him and retain a relationship.

        Snubbed. Will he join the list of faces that do not fit!

  18. Having watched Argentina for the last 2 weeks this Scotland team should really win by at least 10 points or we should be disappointed.

  19. Re. Brown, and Swinno last week….Maybe the thinking is that the WC squad of 31 will need 3 hookers and 6 props (5 if a dual LH/TH goes)…and about 14 backs…which leaves 8 or 9 to cover second row (3 or 4?) and back row (4 or 5?).

    Basically, a compromise is needed somewhere, and you can’t put Watson or Barclay at lock or hooker, or a Gray brother at 6….hence testing and building dual position options.

    Assuming Rambo remains first pick, either Brown or Turner will be thumb twiddling, so makes sense to provide back row relief. Carmichael may also be quite important from that point of view…& McCallum or Welsh will save a spot as LH/TH cover.

    Or maybe Toonie just forgot his glasses and wrote the wrong name on the sheet….:)

    1. Probably right, only squad space for 4/5 back rows and as we play Japan four days after we play Romania (so three rest days) it could be useful to have someone moonlight there against Russia and avoid players having to start both games. We have a number of hooker/backrows and at least three fringe players who cover lock/backrow (including Harley) but at the moment you’d only say McInally and Brown are nailed on for the RWC squad.

      Also anyone notice Tennants will be title sponsor for Scottish domestic leagues. So we’ll have the Tennents Super (six) League. Not sure if that is the right message for the new domestic elite environment!

  20. Is John Hardie gone for good ? Could the SRU be big enough to show compassion and allow him to compete for his place? Is anyone in the know !

    1. Noticed in Toonie’s Interview about Brown that he mentions we have 3 No 7s not on tour – he named Watson, Barclay and Hardie. Make of that what you will

    2. I’m with you all the way on Hardie , and so many others that aren’t being selected or given match time , though they have a proven world class ability , the way current trials are going we won’t be ready for 2023 world cup, first is ranking positioning after the autumn internationals 2018, and then the six nations 2019 , it’s only by winning the games in front of us that will give us a strong world cup draw . There are some very talented young players coming in, it would be foolish I feel, to be over ambitious , these kids are the distant future. If we get it right now then the future will take care of its self.

  21. In what way did we not get a strong WC draw this time around – weren’t we ranked 5th or something ridiculous like that for this draw?

    1. Well, I guess 5th is no better than 8th from the point of view of the draw.

      If June series’ so far are anything to go by, we’ve drawn the short straw for pool…SA, Ire, NZ all looking strong.

  22. Couple of question marks from me around Brown starting at 7 and Bennett out of it completely, but easily the strongest side so far put out on this tour so no real complaints.

    Hoping for a powerful showing tomorrow night and a good win. Which would be a pleasing end to this long season, in anticipation of even better things to come from Edinburgh, Glasgow and our ‘exiles’ in Pro 14, AP, Top 14, and the national team in the AIs.

    Argentina is one of the few places where we have a good recent away record – alongwith Australia lol – and let’s keep it that way please.

    Agree with many on here that Kinghorn is shaping up to be the real deal in the back three at Test level. Tougher exams await him in the Autumn and during 6N 2019, but the lad is a real prospect.

    Mone, Scotland!

  23. I can understand picking Brown at 7. Against Canada, I can only remember 1 turnover at the breakdown, and that was from Carmichael. To be fair, we didn’t need any turnover ball against Canada. Against the USA, it was a similar story until Brown came on, and he turned things around a bit.

    Competing at the breakdown has been an important part of our gameplan ever since Watson broke into the side to give us two 7s. Picking Brown, I think, is a nod to the fact that the balance of Bradbury, Denton and Ritchie isn’t right for how Scotland want to play.

    As a minor, slightly off-topic moan, I do think we underestimate the value of players like Harley (at least at club level) and Wilson, because they don’t go on barnstorming runs. I think those boys do really good, unglamorous (and probably illegal) work at the bottom of rucks to slow or steal opposition ball, and that can be just as important as a break over the gainline. Even Johnny Gray occasionally cops a bit of flack because some people don’t see the value of tackling compared with line breaks.

    1. Totally agree regarding breakdown work – Scotland have tended to do well when we’ve competed well at the breakdown (England, autumn tests) and a lot of our natural jackals are absent – Watson, Barclay, Dunbar, Wilson & also
      Rambo for the previous 2 games. Brown is definitely in that gang & he made a big difference when he came on last week. Bradbury seems to be getting there & will be formidable when coupled with his hard running. Wilson has his critics but I reckon he really does a lot of graft & Cotter, Toonie & Rennie all seem to appreciate what he does. Would like to see him at 6, with Denton or Bradbury at 8 & Watson/Harris/Barclay at 7.
      On slightly different note, wonder if Barclay is inked in enough to maintain the captaincy in future? There’s a thread for another day!

      1. McInally should keep it, he’s a born leader and should be one of the first names on the sheet now. Barclay competing with Wilson for 6.

    2. I don’t think people bemoan Johnny Gray because he doesn’t make line breaks. I bemoan him because he is so passive. He makes his shackles but the tackler always makes ground. He very rarely wins the collision with an offensive tackle.

  24. I hope Denton plays well at 8, but I just don’t understand the blind support he receives from other posters here to play in this critical position. He can’t pass or offload as he’s proved at every club he’splayed for. He can only charge ahead before hitting the deck. He does make ground, and is a big enough unit to play at 8, but doesn’t have the skill set or mentality needed. Other than Strauss we’re still looking for an 8 in my view.

    1. Love for Denton – simple There is an old proverb :

      In the land of the Blind – the one eyed man is king.

      Bath dropped him like a stone for Faletau and Wales have dropped Faletau for Moriarty. But he played well in the RWC 2015 so we can make a number 8 of him. What is the matter with you man, can you not see it!!!

      1. Wales haven’t dropped Faleteau! He is Wales first name on the team sheet. He’s rested because of the lions. Moriarty has barely played for his club this season due to being dropped. Denton is bang average and not up to it, what GT sees in him over Strauss I have no idea. Denton is such a one dimensional and unintelligent player. He is an excellent athlete and a poor rugby player considering the level he plays at.

    2. I don’t think it’s blind support, it’s simply that some of us aren’t prone to ignoring facts in a bizarre quest to slate one of the few decent 8s we have. No, he’s not Faletau or Read or Picamoles or Parisse or Vermulen, but on his day he can run through people, break the line and offload to supporting runners, as he’s done many times domestically and internationally. He’s certainly done more internationally than Josh Strauss (though I’d love to see Strauss replicate his form against France for us ) and our other options are either too wee, too inexperienced or both. When the likes of Bradbury, Fagerson, Crosbie et al. are ready, it’ll be great, but we’re not there yet.

      1. Yes, it’s not nice to read the dissings of a player who in the last year has shown clear signs of a return to his 14/15 form and who’s still, I think, young enough to add more to his all round game.
        Denton was, for instance, exactly what we needed as an impact sub v France at Murrayfield this year, when for the first time in a long time we outmuscled a France pack in the last 20 or so to grind out a win. And I know it’s going back a bit, but it’s worth having a look at the last 10 mins of the Italy 6N Test in Rome 14. A couple of Denton contributions then were critical to getting us into field position for Duncy’s drop goal.
        I hope he can round out his game, for his sake and the team’s. He’s a big, powerful unit who can play a major role for us in the run to and at RWC 19.
        This is only my opinion; other commenters are entitled to theirs!

      2. It’s nonsense to write off Denton by comparing him against other country’s 8s. He gives us a go forward that very few others in the team provide, and the comparison should be with Wilson and Du Preez who’ve filled that shirt this year and gone hiding. DD is a team player and does an important job that few others available to us are capable of doing.

  25. I have seen Denton take the ball 4 times and on the last one he thought about passing but just could not do it. He is tackling very well, but is bang average ,takes a few with him, he is all we have got , so I get the positive comments , but lets stop ,for goodness sake making out this guy is the saviour , he is a stop gap for now.

    Nice to see Hasting pick up Horne on the inside for the try despite Hogg screaming for it. Hastings is a man with a mind of his own , just what we need.

    McInally leading by example, selfless leadership, now that is a captain. What a difference a week makes.

    1. Just saw him with a nice offload to grigg in a flowing play. Our tighthead decided to do an overhead offload 1 meter away from the tryline though.

      Hastings looking quality so far.

      1. As a Bath fan I’ve seen a lot of Hastings over the past few couple of seasons and never seen him play as instinctively as this. He and Horne are clearly benefiting from the pairing.

      2. JP07: Have you seen a lot of Denton, how did he do at Bath ? If you had the choice of Dents of Falatau, which one would you select all day long?

    2. Who branded him a saviour? I think we just wanted some heft in the back row as it was embarrassing when other teams steamrollered us there.

      1. Denton at Bath was making up the numbers once he had settled into his usual mediocrity hence shipping him off to Worcester at the first opportunity. Denton or Faletau? Is that a trick question?

    3. Who said Denton was a saviour? Some including me just said he’s more of an asset than a liability at our current stage of development at Test level.
      Don’t usually back Scotland but we were 17/10 on Bet 365 which was a ridiculous price and I’ve already cashed out!

      1. Good one John, these blogs talk about Denton like he is the next best thing to Stuart Hogg , great to see some realism, he fills the jersey , that is all.It angers me to see us deluding ourselves.

    4. Hastings has a nice chip and chase game , I see a few others had a go but failed , he takes it well.

  26. Gotta say, PG had a typically awful game. So many baffling decisions, the last penalty for rolling on the ground, for example. Also disappointing that we lost the second half. Still, great first half! More like that in the AIs!

      1. I saw him get one pass in , back to George Horne. Ironically I think he would have been better to take it in on that occasion and draw them out wide. I think it has all been said, he got the game and did his thing.

      1. I meant Raynal. I may have been a little tipsy when writing that stuff, hence my tongue-in-cheek Denton worship…

  27. Still does not make up for the USA loss.

    Would have liked to have seen all the subs on at half time to show what they could do with the game won.

    Brown was good at 7 but we know he can do a job there anyway, would have preferred to have seen Ritchie.

    Hopefully that is the last we shall see of Swinson.

    1. If Toony had brought on all the subs at half-time and we had let Arg back into it you’d be the first one on here slating him. Also with injuries you need to hold onto subs to replace them, don’t want to play a man down for 30 odd minutes.

      USA game was a disappointment but you learn from it and move on, don’t dwell to long.

      1. No scott M i would be slating the players who came on for not delivering the same standards as the first 40.

        Beating a pish poor Jaguares side does not make up for a first USA loss, they are a bang average tier 2 side for christ sake. Townsend seems to remove the fundamentals of a team from the game when we come up against tier 2 sides and it cost us again. It was horrible selection.

  28. Really sloppy, lazy stuff from Scotland in the 2nd half. Were they told to play a different game and just couldn’t be bothered. Very impressive 1st 40, no intensity in the 2nd.

  29. Blew them away first half. We do seem to suffer from second-halfitis though. Mostly forgiven against a poor Pumas team tonight, but there’s something still missing in Scotland’s ability to go for the outright kill after a good first 40.
    Tour ends on a high note for me here. We needed a big win to end this long season, and we got one.

  30. Really happy to see the performance of George Horne and Adam Hastings. I think a couple of weeks with Toony has really brought them on.

    Some of Scotlands passing was fantastic tonight given the conditions. I think after 60 or so minutes we’d only had 3 handling errors.

  31. I dont care how crap Arg are at the mo that was a fantastic first half – Horne and Hastings were just sublime, I really do think Horne can be our Aaron Smith – he has all the skills and attributes.

    The perfect Scottish scrum half – hard as nails, always looking for a break and a cracking service.

    1. Agree he was excellent and always kept the opposition guessing. The one really noticeable area for improvement is his box kicking. For Glasgow and Scotland, the opposition kick receiver seems to have at least 10 yards of space in front of him when he catches it. The box kick simply has to be contestable or it’s just giving possession away.

      But overall another really encouraging performance.

    1. What you don’t like your rugby coverage to operate under the golden rule of no more than 2 players in shot at any one time?

  32. Glad we ended on a decent win though shame the intensity wasn’t there in the second half. Surprised our scrum didn’t show a bit more dominance given the massive weight advantage – maybe goes to show how vital technique is – and restarts have come back to bite us. Looks like we got the strength of opposition wrong, USA were loads better than the Pumas were tonight.
    Horne & Hastings looked good which is great news for next year & I get that Denton hasn’t the best hands but at times tonight, he made valuable hard yards & for now at least, is a useful player to have. Thought the starting front row looked good in the loose too.
    One bloody kick & would have had a full house but on the whole, an insightful tour for Toonie.

    1. The USA was about poor preparation , poor selection and captaincy. Lets not forget we put more points on Argentina than Wales but gave them a few more points . I dont think Argentina were poor , I think Scotland just showed up early on and adapted the the changing conditions well. Despite criticim from other posters, I think he got the subs just about right. I would prefer to see McInally on till the final whistle, this guy is a great captain, steady , selfless and doesnt desire to be seen .

      1. Can’t agree that Argentina weren’t poor. I think that first half was one of the worst performances I’ve ever seen from an international team. They were much better in the second half, which links to my main worry from last night, which is how Scotland’s level drops off when the opposition ups the intensity and accuracy.

    2. To be fair the one thing Argentina have always dominated in is the scrum. I’ve seen them dominate the all-blacks scrum dozens of times so doubt our pack, although very good, would have dominated them

      1. Argentina weren’t poor? They were abysmal. We capitalised wonderfully but let’s not kid ourself that was their worst performance i think I’ve seen. From a world rugby perspective it really concerns me how they are currently, the game is better for a strong Argentina. That said Ledesma will make an instant impact given he already coaches them. It won’t be that easy in November.

  33. Some posts on here are ridiculous. Moaning about how woeful the pumas were in the first half then saying we dropped off the pace in the second!!!! The pumas were 8th in the world but got a shellacking from the welsh, twice. So at home and facing a Scotland side that had just lost to USA they were favourites to win.
    Overall superb performance in difficult conditions. Brown played excellently at 7 to silence his selection critics. Gives us a flexi option for RWC.
    Hastings and Horne both put their hands up and Grigg finally showed why he was on tour.
    Denton is IMHO now #1 No8 for us and nearly back to 2015 form.
    Sorry for Swinson as that looked bad and doubt he’ll have enough game time to get back into reckoning. However Toolis and Gilch again impressed.
    Kinghorn seems to have made that wing spot his own. Not so Fife. Harris and Lang just not up to this level. Yet.
    6 great tries and adapted our play well. Great stuff.

    1. Harris did put in one dominant hit, but was otherwise anonymous. Lang literally did nothing.

      1. I feel that Harris and Lang weren’t given enough time. Should have been on 15min earlier. By the time they came on the ball wasn’t coming out the line with the same efficiency per earlier in the game.

    2. It’ll be interesting to see how much he has made that spot his own when Seymour and Maitland are the competition. Perfect back 3 foursome for a test 23 though. 3 who can cover fullback, 3 who can cover wing from Hogg, Maitland, Seymour and Kinghorn. Real depth with competence behind them if needed.

      1. Who would you bench, though? For me it would be Maitland, not because he’s the worst (which I don’t think he is), but because to me he seems like the perfect guy to launch on alert five.

      2. It sounds obvious but I think it depends on form of Maitland. He goes through these periods where he doesn’t seem to be in the best place mentally and then periods where he is on fire. The thing with Maitland is there is a real class in him which I don’t think the others except Hogg have, just don’t see it as regularly as I’d like, I think he is the best of all of them defensively. This part of his game has come on tremendously since joining Sarries. This season I’d drop Seymour based on form but hopefully after a summer off he is back to his best. The other class act I’ve left out is Taylor. The rare example of a centre who is genuinely a great winger when pushed out there. Or is he a winger who plays centre? If ever there was a season we could do with a run of fitness from him it is the coming one.

      1. The were according to Oddschecker. When I checked (before the squad was announced) we were 2/1 and they were something like 10/14.

      2. Punters across the world playing in online markets viewed Argentina as favourites, which would explain them being odds-on in contrast with Scotland’s ludicrous price of nearly 2/1 against. It’s not the bookies but the punters whose weight of money determines the odds. There’s something of a lag effect in punters’ minds here based on Scotland’s overall form pre-15/16 and last week’s shock defeat by the USA. As I said earlier, I tend not to back us in Tests ( purely for superstitious reasons) but I could not resist odds of 17/10 against. If I had had more cash to spare, I’d have absolutely lumped on there. The market defied all logic, as it has before when I’ve been tempted to back us to win at prices like 11/2 against the likes of Australia in Australia.
        By any rational, recent form-based and non-betting standard, Scotland should have been seen as overwhelming favourites last night. Goodness knows why anyone would have put money on Argentina after their two defeats to Wales, the second of which was comprehensive.

  34. While the first half was excellent against the pumas, the second half is concerning, against Italy, Usa and now Argentina we have let teams back in ? is it somthing the coaches or captains are saying ? they seem to forget they are still representing our nation and want to drop off. they should be firing 100 % all the way through and treating it like a full on test match still. We need to get that ruthlessness, have some respect for the oposition and put them to the sword.

    1. Not to mention our second-half performance against England which, with another ref, would have resulted in defeat. Although I think Italy were ahead at half-time, were they not?

    2. Collapse again USA was naivity of youth I think. Against Argentina, it is totally normal for a team that ends a game as a context early on to take their foot off the pedal. It’s very difficult to keep intensity up in that situation, conditions deteriorated rapidly and then lots of changes were made. Nothing really to worry about.

      Italy was a v poor performance away from home but they were superior to us until about 60minutes – a very different situation.

  35. Interesting tour, I reckon GT simply picked the wrong team last weekend. Lessons not learned from the World Cup game in Leeds. George Horne is excellent & a real threat. Fraser Brown looks ,if anything, better @ 7 than he is @ 2. McInally made a real difference too. All in all no bad. Not got to much depth in backs

    1. Looking back, I agree the selection for the USA match underestimated the opposition, hence yet another embarrassing result on a summer tour taking the shine off an expected result v Canada and a very good result last night.

      Argentina will surely be better when we play them in the Autumn.

      Australia look like they’re coming again judging by all three performances against a strong Ireland side.

      Not sure about where SA are right now. Sort of on the up after a disastrous 16/17, but tbh neither England nor the Saffers looked strong across 80 minutes times three of Test rugby.

      Looking forward to the AIs later this year. Despite the USA hiccup, a few guys have stepped up well during this tour and shown they have potential to deliver at the highest levels – 6N and RWC.

      Really good to see McInally fit, firing and doing a good job as a skipper. I wonder whether there will be serious competition for captaincy come the 6N – on the assumption that Barclay if fit probably keeps the role for the AIs?

  36. anyone have a link to full match replay? The website for game replays on Reddit rugby doesn’t work for me

  37. the Welsh game in the Autumn will be interesting as we will be forced to only use players playing in Scotland. Obviously we don’t know how seriously the game will be taken, whether it’ll be seen as a Test Match or just a development game. Even so I’d like to see this team.
    1- Marfo/Dell (depending on form and fitness)
    2- McInally (C)
    3- WP Nel
    4- Cummings
    5- J Gray
    6- Bradbury
    7- Watson
    8- Wilson
    9- G Horne
    10- Hastings
    11- Kinghorn
    12- S Johnson
    13- H Jones
    14- Seymour
    15- Hogg

    16- Turner
    17- Bhatti
    18- Z Fagerson
    19- Carmichael
    20- Ritchie
    21- Price
    22- P Horne
    23- Fife

    1. I would be going

      1. A Dell
      2. S Mcinally (Captain)
      3. S Berghan
      4. G Gilchrist
      5. J Gray
      6. J Ritchie
      7. H Watson
      8. M Bradbury
      9. SHC (Welsh Knowledge)
      10. A Hastings
      11. B Kinghorn
      12. A Dunbar
      13. H Jones
      14. T Seymour
      15. S Hogg

      16. M Mcallum
      17. B Toolis
      18. L Carmichael
      19. F Brown
      20. G Horne
      21. P Horne
      22. S Johnson
      23. D Graham

      I would be Wanting to keep S Mcinally on the field for the Full 80 so no need to have a replacement but Brown is there covering backrow should an injury occur.

      Mcallum can cover both sides of scrum and props have been known to last the full 80 these days so only 1 versatile prop is good for me.

      Carmichael for 2nd row and backrow cover depending on how the game is going.

      From the backs bench i would be looking to change a few things as the game goes on and really speed it up. Hornes, Johnson and Graham are all lightning quick and support very well.

      1. Pretty sure you have to have three front row replacements on the bench to avoid risk of uncontested scrums.

  38. Looking back at the squad we took to the 2015 RWC, I think we’ll have strengthened massively in some important areas, especially front row, back row and at centre where we’ve added real depth. Some very good players will be left behind. My squad, assuming no injuries:

    Tight head: Nel, Berghan, Fagerson
    Hooker: McInally, Brown, Turner.
    Loose head: Dell, Bhatti.
    Second row: J. Gray, R. Gray, Gilchrist, Toolis.
    Back row: Barclay, Watson, Denton, Bradbury, Hardie.
    Scrum half: Laidlaw, G. Horne, Price.
    Fly half: Russell, Hastings.
    Centres: P. Horne, Dunbar, Jones, Bennett.
    Wing: Maitland, Kinghorn, Seymour, Taylor.
    Full back: Hogg.

    Most likely not in the above to force their way into the squad probably Ritchie, Ford, McGuigan/Jones, Pyrgos. Wildcard: Sam Johnson.

    1. If we could go with that squad I would be absolutely delighted.. And would start buying up tickets for the later stages of the tournament.

  39. Got to give it to Gregor. I think he’s the same coach as he was a player. An erratic genius.
    I thought his selection looked……interesting…. but they played amazingly well and he has a great record in his first year. Hope it continues.

    1. Thought last night the 3 young lads looked promising in George Horne Adam Hastings and Magnus Bradbury this alone made it a worthwhile tour.Good strong front five also mind you Argentina are a poor team just now.

  40. Quick question does anybody know if SHC will be released by the Scarlets for the Wales game in the autumn? (its outside the window)
    On yesterdays game, Hastings and Horne showed how much they benefitted from playing the game against the USA. Would Matt Fagerson as well? Bradbury is a very impressive aggressive ball carrier the one you know is going to hurt every time he carries. Toolis showed up well. Berghan is much more dynamic and along with Dell, makes a nuisance of themselves around the pitch defensively. Denton was strong but continues to give away penalties.
    Leadership group of Gilchrist, Hogg and McInally were very impressive, Hogg was excellent and was working, it seemed to me, with the other two to get the team gelling and put them into strong positions around the field.
    Centres played well, but its such a position of strength that they could find themselves outside looking in come the World Cup with possibly Lang, Bennett, Dunbar, Taylor and H.Jones all fighting over these positions. Peter Horne obviously could be a back up 10, but so could Lang.
    Overall the best thing is Marfo, Ford, Nel, Gray, Gray, Barclay, Watson, Wilson, Laidlaw, Russell, Seymour, Dunbar, H.Jones, Taylor and Maitland haven’t played and hopefully get well rested and have good preseasons are ready to fire with Japan, just over the horizon.

    1. One would imagine they will be releasing their Wales players…so their non-welsh players will be required

    2. Just an aside, another example of a post critical of Denton without any basis of fact. Denton gave away precisely 0 penalties!

      But other than that, I agree with the rest of your post, that there seems to be a real sense of strength in depth developing in most positions.

    3. Hogg and Leadership team. Sorry , dont agree, will never agree, he is a tactical weapon and we build our moves around him but leadership is not his strength, never will be.

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