Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Scotland 20-26 South Africa

Scotland v South Africa
© Scottish Rugby Blog

Another cold November evening at BT Murrayfield; another sold out Autumn International. The lights out and a glittering blanket of smartphone stars; the Red Hot Chilli Pipers. We’ve been here before, haven’t we?

It was something a bit different though this time, as the Springboks came to town, something they hadn’t done since 2013. The last time they did it was a 28-0 outmuscling, and it was a similar bullying Scotland were on the receiving end of in the 2015 Rugby World Cup, the latest in a dreary record that reads won 5/26.

Having come close to New Zealand this time last year and beaten pretty much everyone else of note in the last two years, luckily for long suffering Scotland fans our team have changed a bit since then and this was another chance to correct the record of South African dominance.

This time last year you’d have bet the house on it, but South Africa are on a bit of resurgence themselves. The new grey shirts were different, would the outcome be any different?

Scotland started with a nice attacking lineout move but it ended with a penalty against for holding on. The refereeing was indeed perhaps a source of worry, but not as worrying as the ease with which Handre Pollard and zippy scrum-half Embrose Papier side-stepped the Scotland midfield to bits. Backed up by some great offloading by RG Snyman and Steven Kitshoff, Jesse Kriel had the easy job to dive over for the opening score.

Scotland looked confident with ball in hand but perhaps relied a little too much on kicking and there were one or two balls that were dangerously loose to the lightning quick back three South Africa now possess.

Scotland have some skills of their own and it was the midfield partnership of Pete Horne and Huw Jones that sparked the capacity crowd to life with a scintillating try featuring two out-the-back offloads from Jones that also owed plenty to Sean Maitland.

With the scores even and the ground buzzing, Jones sadly undid all the good work by losing the ball in contact and giving the visitors a pretty straightforward try off the ruck for Handre Pollard.

Kitshoff vs Nel was a fascinating battle in the scrum, but the ginger Bok got the best of the first-half exchanges including a penalty which Pollard duly slotted.

Laidlaw took a penalty of his own to keep the scores within 7 points but Scotland were doing a little too much faffing in the middle area of the park. As against Wales, they struggled to build momentum from nothing and the big Springbok forwards were stopping Scotland’s from punching too many holes in the narrow channels.

Scotland may not have such power, but they do have trickery that the Boks aren’t too aware of, including a repeat of the sneak lineout move – Alex Dunbar vs Ireland replaced by Hamish Watson – that earned the openside a try five minutes before half time, coming off the back of a brilliant chip and chase by Stuart Hogg that pressured Willie le Roux to clear into touch.

That left it all square for a few minutes, until Pollard kicked a scrum penalty to restore the visitors lead going into half-time.

Half-time: Scotland 17-20 South Africa

The second half was more of the same, with South Africa led by captain Siya Kolisi imposing themselves physically and occasionally illegally, but Scotland were given some respite when an ill-judged pass from Pete Horne was slapped down by Willie le Roux. Perhaps harshly, he went to the bin for it and Laidlaw restored equality with the penalty kick.

No matter how much more threatening in attack, Scotland are still Scotland though – so they duly fumbled the restart then McInally gave away a defensive penalty which Pollard kicked.

With Reid off and Dell on, the Boks were still mincing the Scottish scrum so Pollard earned more shots at goal. Referee Roman Poite’s arm was pointing the same way as it had in the first half; sadly for Scotland the teams had switched direction.

Huw Jones set the crowd alight (again) with a few scything runs through the heart of the South African midfield, one following a maul for a good 22 metres that had the forward purists purring. As the benches began to empty, Scotland were behind by 3 but playing in the right areas.

With the man advantage they got a little carried away by spurning an equalising penalty kick for a lineout and maul – which ended in a scrum to the visitors. Stuart Hogg was limping badly but still managed to run three-quarters of the pitch to pressure Le Roux chasing his own kick, which shows his commitment. Finn tried to take the pressure off with a long range drop goal which wasn’t all that far off and Hogg went off after that.

Jonny Gray was left in charge, in the absence of the any of the many vice-captains and going into the final ten minutes, that wacky Hastings/Russell combo was back in full effect.

Pollard had a rare missed kick just before he went off, but replacement kicker Elton Jantjies had another chance from the same position just inside the final ten minutes and slotted it to stretch the lead out to six points.

Despite the South African stranglehold on the game, with three minutes to go, Scotland had a penalty for a lineout in the corner, and one last chance. Brown’s lineout was secure but having only managed one really good maul into the Springboks all game, it was almost inevitable that the ball would end up slipping away for a South African scrum, much as this game had after much promise.

Scotland’s attack was less effective once Hogg went off and they seemed to have less ball, but the pack still put in a huge amount of work in defence to try and keep their lads in touch. Bodies were clearly tiring though, and as has almost always been the case, Scotland had no answer to the power of the Boks in the dying stages. Even stealing turnovers seemed to end up with the ball back in dark green hands and forays into South Africa’s 22 were rare in the last quarter.

To go toe-to-toe with South Africa is no bad thing especially after the ease with which they crossed Scotland’s line in the first half, but plenty in the Scotland camp will feel this intriguing test match might be another one that got away.

Referee: Roman Poite (FFR)

SRBlog Man of the Match: Scotland’s most effective attackers all afternoon were Stuart Hogg and Huw Jones, but the centre nicks it for those two cheeky offloads during the games best try.

115 Responses

  1. Ach it’s hard being Scottish sometimes. Pretty good performance, not a lot to complain about, just we didn’t have quite enough. Massive Russell fan but unfortunately that was the worst I have seen him play for Scotland. He’ll bounce back and so will the boys in blue.

    1. It’s tough sometimes. I was at Murrayfield in 1997 for the 10-68 loss to the Springboks!

      We are in much better shape these days! Still frustrating to loose though!

  2. Infuriating, but probably the right result. Poite let the Springboks away with a lot at the breakdown – can’t think how many times I saw Kitshoff lying on the ball and making no effort to roll away – but ultimately we could have won that and made some terrible decisions.

    Positives: we lived with them for a full 80 minutes and could have won it. Horne and Jones were good (hopefully that will put a stop to the “Huw Jones isn’t very good” hot takes from certain pundits) and other than in the scrum the pack fronted up.

    Bad: Nel taking a mullering in the scrum from Kitshoff. Finn’s decision making. Ali Price’s decision making – what the hell was he doing trying to run down the blindside from that scrum at the end? Would like to see G. Horne and Kinghorn on the bench next week

  3. Agreed. Jones is quality. As is P. Horne.
    Disappointing that some “fans” don’t appreciate him.

  4. Disappointing.

    SA were there for the taking.

    Positive was that there was little between the sides.
    Negative that there was little between the sides and we completely butchered some great possession when SA were blowing out their rear exteriors.

    exemplified by that great Jones run followed by sheepishly giving the ball right back …was almost a crime.

    Do we even know what our best side is?….If thats it? we won’t be doing much at RWC. might as well roll out the ‘moral victory’ lines now and just enjoy the wee holiday.

    Those who think Wilson is good choice at no8?…shake my head. He just falls to the ground with the ball.. and pulls his limbs in like a tortoise when threatened. Skinner is not a natural 6 …better at lock. We have a plethora of promising 6s …why play a lock there?

    Russell…. when he is great ..brilliant….when he is bad …aka today… yikes!

    SA are not all that…. they may have run NZ close recently…but NZ look a far better side to me. SA mainly comprise of a bunch of thugs who can do the basics with a rugby ball.

      1. I think he was actually quite poor. At leat partially responsible for 2 Bok tries. Scotland’s elephant in the room though is restarts…

      2. The thing with Russell is that he just doesn’t command a top test match. He’s got some lovely tricks and attacking vision sometimes… but the composure to control a top match is lacking. He is probably the best we have tho… so there that is.
        I think in 4 yrs Hastings will be the better overall player.

    1. We made bad decisions today at crucial times that’s what cost us the game.Thought referee let SA away with overly aggressive illegal counter rucking and felt that was a area we were too passive.PS how can the TMO miss a blatant head butt we don’t need that in rugby.On the other hand never a yellow card for le roux not even a penalty

      1. …yes …as do NZ. NZ offer more in attack tho.

        It often looks to me…that we keep trying to play the same way…even when we dont have the talent to execute what we strive for. It becomes as one dimensional a plan as we slate Gatland for at Wales. If we dont start doing the basics like retaining possession when the attack breaks down…we won’t be going any higher up the rankings. Yes…SA do that basic stuff very well.

  5. Russell was a liability today and I suppose we will just have to accept that. Townsend needs to stop tinkering though and decide on his best 15 and pick them consistently. Our ball presentation and subsequent rucking was garbage today and we were blown off the ball all too often. Wilson’s total inability to do a number eights job and take catches is killing us. Laidlaws loopy passes are all well and good when the oppo don’t blitz but that combined with Russell staying too flat was a recipe for disaster. Bench was all wrong today as well. Gilchrist, Berghan, Strauss, Dunbar all back in the starting 15 for next week for me. Want to see pudding in the bench too. Can’t throw Hastings in when games are tight like today and expect him to play like John Rutherford. That being said, Jones, Watson and Hogg were faultless today. Maitland was good with ball in hand too as was Mcinally.
    On a side note, Chris Paterson is the most gutless co-commentator going. Absolutely refuses to say anything controversial or offer any sort of criticism of decisions or players. Contrast with Brian Moore. Different gravy

      1. Agreed. I felt for Laidlaw more than anyone in world cup against Australia as I thought he’ll not much it to another world cup. Great credit to him that barring injury he’ll be there and probably first choice.

        I did get frustrated with the lack of ability to make ground in the bashing up today. That particular play is not down to slow ball as much as momentum and power from the big guys. Yes South Africa were well set but what can we do differently in that area? Do more of what South Africa?

  6. Another few things…McInally has many positives….but lineout throwing aint one of them. Lineout was often a shambles. Nel is not our best TH and Dell was a liability in the scrum yet again.

    Ireland will be well excited after today. They should take a chill pill tho…they played an NZ knackered from a long season.

    1. To be fair to Dell, the SA THs were consistently boring in. The most egregious example was immediately after Poite gave his ‘picture’ speech.

      1. But is that not the point? They were illegal but did it without getting caught. We aren’t as naïve as even two seasons ago but we need to learn more of the dark arts so that we can play the referee and win these contests by what the referee says is fair.

    2. Ruggers Beating New Zealand is no mean feat and they were absolutely fantastic tonight. Why shouldn’t they be happy. I for one am delighted for them.

      1. Yes. NZ look a bit vulnerable for the World Cup. The irish pack was brutal tonight, so effective and clinical (few wobbles at lineout though). Retallick finally bullied into giving a performance as bad as his haircut. NZ never really looked like constructing a try which is something to say!

        Any dreams we have of thriving in the 6N have a big green obstacle in the way. They must be odds on favourites for another grand slam.

  7. I thought the scoreline flatered us. We are woefully underpowered in the forwards and in defence. Townsend needs to learn that the Tombola is not suitable for international rugby and the best side needs picked every game – like Ireland.

    Wilson offers absolutely nothing. Our forwards got schooled in the breakdown. From 20 mins in it was obvious that Finn was having one of those games so should have taken him off there and then.

    Two good tries were a positive but we need to evaluate our approach to the physical side of the game which is light years behind SA, NZ, Ireland, England, Wales and France.

    1. If GT picks Wilson for RWC its a waste of squad pick…. the only reason for selecting him would be we only have 14 fit players. Strauss and Denton in same boat. We have other better options. Shame Bradbury and Blade Thompson couldn’t play…surely our best no8 options maybe Ashe(if ever fit) too.

  8. I thought our physicality was pretty good today but we seemed to lose the plot at the breakdown where it just wasn’t working in terms of ball presentation, ball recovery, counter rucking, speed!

    Russell was getting such such slow ball against a blitz defence he was on a hiding to nothing.

    Hogg and Jones were world class today. Peter Horne probably had his best day for Scotland today!

    1. Agreed Big Al. Although BBC pundits suggested that the way the ref controlled that let South Africa away with alot.

      Did anyone see the south African captain backwards headbutt. Highlights at end of BBC coverage. Certain red on 30 mins. Could have been another Australia humbling for us. So annoyed that was missed. Peter Horne should have been right in Poite’s ear at next stop.

      1. Yeah I’ve seen that, a certain red. To be fair didn’t notice it during play but you’d hope one of the officials on or off the pitch would have and we seemed to make very little fuss to help them.

      2. I think it was an attempt at a head but however it was a fairly weak one. Horne who was underneath would not have seen the deliberate body langage and just seen it as a him being pushed back by someone getting on his feet.

      3. Ok turns out he’s not being cited but warned. Can understand Horne may not have seen but if i remember his face at time it looked like he knew what happened. I doubt the ref on field would have allowed it to only be yellow. Although this outcome as football has become this season in Scotland that ur allowed to be violent without the ultimate sanction. Pretty poor all round

  9. Berghan is better than Nel. G.Horne must be involved. Hogg masterful despite being out for a couple of months, the guy’s talent with ball in hand and with the boot is outrageous. Russell and Hastings shaky yet again, when will we bring in a steady influence on these guys. The sooner Dan Parks joins the coaching team the better.

    1. What on earth happened to Price? Gone from looking like potentially world class… a complete liability in the test arena. G. Horne way ahead of him…if it wasn’t for Laidlaw’s penalty conversions would be top choice.

      Feels like there are more questions than answers after that match…..weve got one 6 nations to answer them before RWC.

    2. Hogg class even half fit. Maitland did ok not much ball Huw Jones quality dangerous every time on ball. P Horne decent in attack and defence. Seymour not much ball did ok. Russell played too much rugby in wrong areas one of his poorer games. Laidlaw got too much slow ball and maybe as a captain should have went for 3 easy points. Reid held scrum up did ok in loose right decision to start him. McInally some good tackles and runs but some poor line out throws. Nel pinged at scrum a few times think Berghan better option. Toolis did not do much wrong without having much of a impact. Gray quiet game and disatrous restart take which caused easy points at vital time. Skinner quiet game not much impact. Watson typical pinball performance pick of forwards although in wrong position defencially for SA first try. Wilson out powered by bigger pack not that Strauss did much better when he came on.

      1. Hogg and Jones are absolute class would not trade them for anyone else.

        Reid simply put is a solid front row guy. I wince when Dell comes on. Reid might not be a fancy rugby player…..but our scrum crumbles at LH when he doesn’t play.
        Nel is past his best. Berghan and Fagerson our best THs at test level….think McCallum is potentially better to.
        Wilson/Denton/Strauss….please stop picking them GT!!…. none of them are good enough…next up please! …and no not M.Fagerson at 8 either…. too small!… good young player …he is a 7 id say. Graham could also be a good option as back up 7 to Watson.

        Laidlaw post match ‘yeah we just needed to play faster ball’… funny that Greig….who would have thought that? …so why didnt you el capitan?

      2. @RuggersB:

        You dont want townsend to pick the following players at 8:

        Wilson, Denton, Strauss and Fagerson. With Injuries to Thomson and Bradbury i’m wondering who you would pick? Most were calling for Strauss to start and GT benches him and you are still annoyed.

        Nel didn’t have a great game but lets not get carried away as he did well against fiji. Fagerson is injured and McCallum has yet to overtake him in the pecking order at club or country.

        Laidlaw couldn’t do much given how we were getting dominated at the breakdown. G. Horne is pushing for a place but Laidlaw has proven his worth time and time again.

  10. Adults going off, not kicking the penalty, blame the second rows, talk Hogg up, talk Horne up, blame McInally , blame the very muted Finn, all missing the elephant on the room.

    SA yellow card, man off, we take 3 points immediately , but what next !!! I think we lost points to 14 men (was it 6 but someone will correct me on that ), not that it is important the point being this.

    Compare Japan, they took a try immediately England went down to 14 and a second one before England were restored to 15 men .

    What more is there to be said, only one thing , the same flaw in Cardiff repeated again in Edinburgh.

    Toonie changes the sides again and again and again and again and we love picking the new sides and arguing over details , but Toonie fails to fix the fundamental game management issue.

    Missed opportunity, that was the moment the game was lost. A try would have won the game.

    Great first half, the better team won, we only just , came second.

    Actually, a really good game of rugby and I still love Scotland, this is a side full of good rugby , I am just so disapointed for them, it must be so frustrating.

    1. Tell us then Ben. What is the elephant in the room that you have mentioned 3 times now.

      What is the secret that only you know that will win us a 6N and a World Cup?

      1. I am not capable of telling you how we should win the 6N or World Cup. I never said that ,no need to contort , get all school teacher on me. In among all the bluster I have a point , just an opinion based on fact. It is in the post if you want to read it , but here goes.

        Scotland are not ruthless enough against 14 men. We scored three points today (WR 5th) but lost points as well. Against Wales (WR 3rd) we scored none.

        In both games if we had taken the opportunity to score 10 points (which the statistical types say ) is the average for a 10 min yellow at professional level we would have won.

        Case in point: Japan ranked WR 11th scored 14 points during England’s yellow card today (WR 4th).

        That is not a secret only I know and I am happy to share it , even if we dont want to read it or believe it.

      2. Not really an elephant in the room when you don’t actually highlight what Scotland do better to take advantage of the 1 man advantage.

        I do however agree the point, but it is red zone decision making that seems to be the issue. Jonny Gray against Wales, lineout drives up cul de sacs today, simple mistakes from restarts.

      3. Great now we are on speaking terms lets you and me work it out with some help from anyone who passes by.

        I think getting the facts out and acknowledging reality is the start. Hence raising the point.

        There are loads of errors in that period , no point in looking at each one as that is fixing the symptom IMO.

        Big picture : We do not seem to adopt a killer attitude and be relentlessly predictable in that period. Not scoring against 14 is becoming a habit IMO. We need to break that habit.

        Something gets in the way and we end up making the errors.

        I suggest it is about 2 high level responsbilities :

        Collective responsibility :
        *Preparation ( mental attitude)
        *Coaching – What are our routines against 14 men
        *Leadership – The presence to calm the team when they all get excited about whipping 14 men.

        Individual responsibility:
        *Do simple things , the basics , do them well,
        *Conservative decision making (no finsanity)
        *They make the rash decisions not us.

        There are better qualified people than me , I do deal with tough things daily but there are better than me out there! That is a good start to Soton’s Challenge.

      4. BenF – I think you’re right the YC period was the big chance we blew. Annoyingly we wasted it through sloppy mistakes. First we failed to collect the restart when Jonny couldn’t take a ball far too high for him which really Wilson should have called. Instead he bounced, we fluffed around and SA got ball they then hung onto for 5Mins before kicking a penalty. To compound matters we later had a scrum in the middle of the pitch and handed over our put in because of our engagement, after Dell has just come on. This let SA rundown final 3/4 mins. We’ve improved in restarts but really this is a set piece failing we’ve struggled with since before Cotter. Neither mistake is an outrageous gaff by itself, just the kind of small lack of precision and execution that robs you of momentum. Look at Ireland lady’s night and under intense pressure they make very few of these mistakes and so keep possession and build pressure.

        This period was compounded by the choice not to kick the points to draw level. I understand their decision but it was naive in my view. We could have heaped
        pressure back on SA and did not need to play like we were chasing the game.

        Both mistakes were poor game management but overall not too despondent. We are a very good team but need something to take us to the next level. The backrow blend is wrong but not much else IMO

  11. Not a lot between the two sides there today, and yet another Test that we could have won. In the minutes running up to getting to 20 all, the Saffers looked close to being out on their feet. We then recharge their batteries with a bungled restart gather followed by concession of a penalty to give them the lead again. On such things do closely fought Test matches turn.
    Hogg looked back to his best today which was great to see. Interesting he takes most of the touch-finding penalties now, presumably to ease pressure on Russell and capitalise on his seige gun boot.
    Nel? Maybe he’s gone past his peak now.
    So, like Wales, a disappointment but not a disaster. We’re still mixing it with the world’s top sides and no longer suffering the embarrassment of the humpings we routinely endured from 2000 to 2014. It’s a work in progress.

  12. I think Toonie well within rights to experiment. Talk of Nel being finished is way way premature – because of what one tough game against SA. Finn obviously can control games and has done so this season, including in EPC. I think he plays better with more responsibility and quicker ball. I also don’t think we’ve seen our best team this Autumn, but one day I would like to see this team take the field: Nel, McInnaly, Sutherland, Gray, Gray, Hardie, Barclay, Strauss, G Horne, Russell, Maitland, Taylor, Jones, Graham, Hogg. I’d love to See Watson and Hardie back vyying for 7, I’d love to see Fagerson, Ritchie, Bradbury, Wilson all competing for 6 and I’d love to see Thomson and Denton competing with Strauss for 8. I’d like to see Dunbar and Taylor interchangeable at inside centre. And Hastings and P Horne competing at club and country for the plan b FH berth (not inside centre). Seymour and Kinghorn pushing, the talent that is Darcy Graham. If only everyone could just be fit and in the squad at the same time.

  13. Commentators said game would be won by better half backs – to-day they were the South Africans. Neither Laidlaw not Russell had a good game but what lost us the game was the breakdown where we were totally outplayed. I am not convinced it is Wilson’s strength nor Watson’s best skill and Skinner is not an experienced 6. Dunbar, Brown and Ritchie are probably our best over the ball. Mcinally was quiet in that area to-day.
    I agree with others that the Tombola needs curbed! However, I expect it to get another turn of the wheel for the Argentina match. Hornstings to start? Please no risks with Hoggy’s fitness – Glasgow need him for those Lyon games in December.

      1. Imo ….in the match day squad could have done with ….

        Z.Fagerson, Barclay, Thompson, R Gray, Taylor, Dunbar, Bradbury, Kinghorn, D Graham….+ a few others….

  14. I don’t think we played particularly poorly today but South Africa’s physicality was relentless. Their counter rucking was brutal and we didn’t really have an answer. Their defence was up fast and bruising and I think you could see Russell struggling to get going with so little time and space and there were a couple of loose passes as a result as well. In the first half especially I think our own defence was as muscular as we’ve seen under Townsend but over 80 minutes the sheer force of South Africa was enough.

    I don’t think you can really single players out today either. Our scrum didn’t go well but there were some dubious calls from Poite and some blatant illegal scrummaging also. Ultimately though after that one scrum that was totally marmalised your whole front 5 have to take it on the chin, I think we miss a scrummaging lock like Hines or Hamilton sometimes, Swinson is oft mentioned by props as being the guy you want at 4 so perhaps we miss him in games like this.

    If there is one other thing we lack I feel it’s a Jason White type character. Not just from a leadership point of view but we very rarely see a Scottish player put in a one up thumping hit to turn the momentum. Swinson has also done this in the past and Turner can put in a thump but there’s no 6 foot 5, 17 stone lump knocking anyone back the way White used to at the moment.

    1. I agree , we should not single out players . We should have tired them out by the last 20 minutes however it was the other way around.

      1. Another weird arrogant thing that we shout about in saying that we are so much fitter than SA or England etc.

        This so-called fitness advantage is negated in having to tackle your opposite number who is generally 5-10kg bigger than you and you are knackered

  15. Was at game tonight and although it was difficult to judge individual performances from back of North stand it just felt like the game slipped away from us in last 15 minutes. Overall I thought SA just deserved to edge it but it was a game that could have gone either way and they will know they were a test match today.
    It looked like we were having a hell of a job securing ball at the breakdown and took a bit of a pummeling in that area with the consequence that we had a lot of slow ball. Our decision making at the sharp end of a tight game was suspect and we must learn from this experience and the top teams.
    Still have the feeling we are trying to force things when we don’t need to and playing too much rugby in the wrong areas of the pitch. Other teams have sussed us out – in the second half of both the Wales and SA games we must have had 60% plus possession but the opposition were quite happy to give us the ball and wait for us to cough it up.
    On the bright side we were within a score of one the form teams in the world, Hoggy looked back to his best and Pete Horne and Huw Jones weren’t far behind – not Finns day though!

  16. I’m fairly happy that we ran a very good SA side close.
    Lots of positives – I have to eat my words and say that P.Horne has made a massive step up. He has obviously been working on his in contact play a lot. His combination with Jones is clearly our best centre pairing at the moment. Speaking of Jones – very impressive today.
    Watson and Hogg also very good.

    Main downside I thought Wilson was poor. Russell kicked away possession in good areas way too much – I think people saying it was his worst ever game for Scotland need to get a grip though!

    Our first try was absolute class.

  17. Russell and Hastings seem to have the same problem at 10 – passing to their 12. Peter Horne can certainly distribute and it’s rarely a “shovelling POOPY POOP” scenario. I understand the basics of a “Warrenball” type approach of one-up runners to suck in the defence and give Hogg and Jones some more space to play with; but the wide pass needs to come a lot sooner than it is currently imo.
    The problem against Wales was that Jonny Gray seemed to move the ball more often than Hastings did.
    And it’s not an obvious thing stopping them like a rushing centre or pressure from the defending pack; they’ve both shifted the ball brilliantly for Glasgow in the past. Why have we forgotten the basics and stopped playing rugby?

  18. Team for Argentina?

    1- Reid
    2- Brown
    3- Berghan
    4- Skinner
    5- Gray
    6- Strauss
    7- Watson
    8- Fagerson
    9- Horne
    10- Hastings
    11- Maitland
    12- Russell
    13- Jones
    14- Graham
    15- Kinghorn

    16- McInally
    17- Allan
    18- Nel
    19- Gilchrist
    20- Ritchie
    21- Laidlaw
    22- Dunbar (or Grigg)
    23- Seymour (or McGuigan)

    1. 1- Reid
      2- Brown
      3- Berghan
      4- Skinner
      5- Gilchrist
      6- Fagerson
      7- Ritchie
      8- Ashe
      9- Horne
      10- Russell
      11- Maitland
      12- Harris (chance to sink or swim)
      13- Jones
      14- DGraham
      15- Kinghorn

      16- McInally
      17- A traffic cone that isn’t called Dell
      18- Nel
      19- Cummings
      20- GGraham
      21- Anyone who can consistently kick an oval ball between 2 sticks and/or take less than a fortnight to pass it.
      22- Dunbar
      23- Seymour

    2. Allan

      McCallum, Turner, Reid, Ritchie, Strauss, Laidlaw, Hastings, Harris.

      Think we’ll see several players rested including anyone who has started all 3 so far. I’d start Alex Allan as I believe Reid whilst steady in the scrum doesn’t do enough in the loose, Dell conversely is ok in the loose but a big pack like South Africa was not the right game to play him in. We need better options here and Allan has been in good for this season. Really need Sutherland and Bhatti to get back to their best form though. I’d keep Skinner at 6, by all accounts that’s his natural and preferred position and we need a big 6 a lot more than an undersized lock given our lack of grunt. Great find though. Graham and Ashe complete a big back row, I’d rest Watson given that he’s undisputed first choice and must have a few bruises the way he put himself about yesterday.

      Backs largely the same, the more time Horne and Jones have together the better. Graham and Horne could be exciting so worth a look now before we run out of games. Assume Hogg will be rested give his limping off yesterday.

  19. I am like everyone else v. Disappointed. This game was there for the taking and yet again we failed to take it. Yes Russel and Laidlaw were collectively below par but the game was lost at the breakdown. I don’t think our forwards had the appetite to get stuck in . They were to a man pedestrian to get to the breakdown and easily cleared out of the way. Compared with the speed and commitment of the Irish in their game against the Ahs we are not fit to clean their boots. I think after some scintilating stuff from the backs leading to the first try our forwards were hoping they would just do the same again so didnt bother putting the hard yards in. South Africa were nothing spectacular but you can bet the house they would have moved up a gear if they went a score behind. They made the 10 minutes they were down to 14 men look easy.
    Argentina now a must win game just to tread water.

    1. Yes it would be good to see some off the passion and ferocity of Ireland rub off on Scotland. The Irish simply refuse to be bullied and the look of sheer intensity and exhaustion when they are subbed speaks volumes. They are not notably bigger than us bit they play above their weight in all senses. When do you see a Sottish forward actually take the ball moving forward and really driving at the opposition. Can’t really figure Jonny Grey – is he actually good or really just pedestrian. You can see why he never made the Lions – simply not enough impact.

  20. I thought we did well enough…

    We have to be at our absolute best to beat a team like this S.A. squad. We made a few poor choices today, they punished us for them (something we failed to do when the reverse happened).

    Poite didn’t seem too interested in refereeing the game, and they got more out of that chaos than we did.

    All in all, I think the team will have learned a lot out of that narrow loss. I’m off to put £5 on a IRE/SA final at the world cup. 125/1 on Paddy Power last time I looked.

  21. We had no solid platform yesterday – very slow ball from the pack, due to near non-existent back and second rows at the breakdown. That combines very poorly with the moderate tempo of Laidlaw’s delivery and makes Finn more likely to try the impossible (although granted, under no pressure he still made some mad decisions e.g that depressing chip after Jones’ break being one).
    We don’t need a light pack to play fast rugby, we need go forward ball and that requires real grunt – when will we start getting the correct selection in the pack on a consistent basis to do this? I’m not sure why Toonie hasn’t grasped this yet. Tombola and experimentation has being ongoing for a couple of years now, and with months left before Japan we need some steady selection of the best team. (fine rotation and injuries have played a part, but I still think selection is overall wrong when the best team has not been rested for the hardest test e.g. Saffers).

    1. The Tombola is just plain weird and has cost Glasgow in the past when facing the battle hardened pack of Munster who played together week in week out if they were fit.

  22. I think this is becoming a bit of a theme and there seems to be a blueprint that teams are using to defend against us. Wales and SA both used similar tactics, where they come of the line hard and fast with a defender blitzing the outside channel to prevent us from getting the ball wide. This limited our options and meant our ball carriers often got swallowed up by their forwards defending the inner channels around the rucks and off 10 and 12. Once their bigger forwards were able to get over ball they became very hard to clear out and thats why we saw a lot of penalties. Once a big, physical team like SA have time to set defensively then they become are very hard to breakdown. I only remember a few instances yesterday where we got to attack against an unstructured defence.

    I think countering these tactics will be something we will need to master if we are to move forward and win these types of games more regularly. I hope Tooney has something up his sleeve to counter this. I think Finn should have used more of a kicking game varying it more with chips in behind the defence, landing in front of the 15, to put some more doubt in the defence, and make them think about turning. This can be a bit catch-22 as there is a high chance of loosing possession so should be used sparingly.

    1. A number 8 who can bust tackles would help. We have this weird arrogance regarding our forward pack and for some reason don’t like guys who break the gain line as a carrier first and foremost.

      1. I agree and our best option for that role would probably be Strauss but he seems to be out of favour for some reason or another. He’s also getting on a bit and probably not part of longer term plans, Bradury can also play that role so it’s a shame he’s not available. If teams are able to shut us down from going wide and forcing us to play narrowly, then we need to be able to get over the gain line. Maybe we just are not going to have the personnel to outmuscle teams like the springboks and need to find innovative ways work around it. At times yesterday it looked like we continued to make it easy for them and played into their hands.
        Also, I’m a big fan of Hamish Watsons but our back row looked lightweight yesterday and struggled to clear the rucks and retain possession when their forwards were in over the ball.

    2. I agree regarding rush defence…we just didn’t seem to have an answer…Although we tried the kicking/chip game from fly-half many times…and it didn’t seem to work. If the kicks are covered then we need the confidence to push wide (quickly) and get past the rush with their wingers holding back anticipating a kick. We too often hesitated, making what would have been a good move look pedestrian. When we did it right we scored (Horne’s try).

      I also would have liked to see a few more grubbers in the wide channels (down the touch line if/when the opposition wingers rush up).
      We did a few times last season with jones, seymour and hogg all linking up nicely.

      Unrelated…but not getting the ball out of the scrum/maul when we don’t have the upper hand is getting infuriating…I just don’t understand, you can see the penalty/free kick coming and they wont get the ball out of there.

  23. It’s strange how many people are criticising players ( eg macinally) who were on when Scotland were in the game, yet compliment players who were on in the 4th quarter when Scotland were outplayed in the forwards completely. To say Macinally can’t throw in is ridiculous based on the stats. Remember Brown missed the one that led to Mata’s Try v Fiji.

  24. I still think ‘elephant in the room’ is Laidlaw and I have felt this for two years or so. Against fast line speed, blitz defence or when we are struggling at the breakdown Laidlaw becomes a liability. Yes he has put in some great performances when that does not apply – vs England last year for example. Yesterday, Laidlaw was slow to the breakdown; faffed at the ruck thus allowing counter rucking which almost certainly sapped additional energy from the forwards (the Boks couldn’t believe their luck); his pass was the usual short, slow and floaty self meaning Russell had the defence at least two strides closer than necessary (no means did he adapt as he should have). On top of this Laidlaw doesn’t hold defences with any running threat, cannot track like Horne , Price or Pyrgos (listed in order for that) nor kick particularly well. What about his much vaunted decision making? Yesterday our exits were atrocious – Laidlaw bos kick to nowhere vs a Hogg howitzer to oppo 22? Not taking the 3 point at 20-23 nails this argument for me.
    Therefore I would argue we take a brave decision to start with Horne for a number of games with Pyrgos or Laidlaw on bench (letting Price continue to rebuild form at Glasgow) and see what dividend it brings. George Horne’s rate of progress deserves this. He might even have been on Hogg’s or Jones’s shoulders yesterday with his brilliant tracking. Russell, Hastings or Hogg could all kick for goal.

    1. Price has slumped, I now question what can we expect at peak . He needs off the pitch coaching he is just a bit stale . Maybe he needs to get away from Glasgow and find himself in a new club with new coaches. Nothing wrong with the ones he already has, it is just time for a fresh start , look at Pyrgos for example.

      SHC has upset someone however one to watch, he is getting game time in the premiership.

      George , well not sure what is happening , is he just being bled in rather than full immersion but he is not a Laidlaw, he brings other strengths.

      All others are just temporary , I cannot even remember the name of the irritating Edinburgh replacement SH.

      As a kicker Laidlaw is flawless and a good leader. The ball was slow coming back yesterday , they dunted us back , they were swimming and adjusted to Poite better than us.

      I dont think Laidlaw’s time has come. These scrummies tend to be playing pro rugby till their late 30’s. Stringer called it a day this June aged 41,

      I am a Laidlaw fan and think he has years of service and the decision to go on with Scotland after the RWC will be his, not ours.

  25. Some good points being made – I’ll highlight a couple and perhaps add another thought:
    * Losing physical battle – we did, but not by much, and not entirely surprisingly given that we were giving away a stone a man in the pack
    * Scrummaging problems – struck me that Brian Moore had it right that Kitschoff was stepping out and into Nel’s side, but equally he wan’t binding long enough for Poite to know it wasn’t his fault
    * Breakdown – think we were a little unlucky here, felt that RSA were allowed to delay the ball coming back by just a second or two every time they tackled (holding on to the player, often holding the ball to our players as well), certainly enough time for them to reset a smothering blitz defence
    * vs 14 – it’s been said, but need to be more ruthless

  26. People giving Toonie grief for tinkering with the team need to accept that’s what the AIs are for. We need to blood new players, try new combinations etc at some point. He also said no players would play in all 4 games this autumn.

  27. We can have no complaints about our play in broken field and on turnover ball. Scotland of old would have butchered many of the chances which we now create and put away. We have a (reasonably) settled backline who seem to know inherently what support lines to run. Our backs often throw the pass/offload without looking just knowing the support player will be there.
    It is the forwards which seem to be suffering most from the Toombola and this is what is costing us these games. We should be settled on our best pack of forwards by now and give them the entire 6 nations playing together for continuity and familiarity prior to the world cup this would help our defence as well as attack (Watson and Wilson were at sea for the first S.A try yesterday). After these autumn tests we still are no clearer to what that pack looks like. Skinner has looked good but he should be slotting into an established pack not thrown in as part of an experiment. Gary Graham and Blade Thomson have been mentioned, will they become part of yet another experiment ?.Strauss has been brought back from the wilderness (no idea why he was left out previously of what he has done to be redeemed), John Hardie may yet make a return (harshly treated in my opinion) and we collectively feel that a big ball carrier in the Vunipola mould must feature. Ireland should be our example, they have a good blend in the forwards but you can’t tell me that they are beasts of men. Ian Henderson is no bigger than Johnny Gray ,Rory Best and Peter O’Mahony could even be considered small, Their props were going backwards at scrum-time yesterday yet the collective sum is arguably better than their individual parts. They are masters at retaining possession and they keep battering away at the opposition hoping to make the odd yard between them, not relying on one big battering ram. Most of all they benefit from continuity of selection and familiarity with their chosen attacking ploys and defensive system.

    1. Largely agree with what you’ve said there. In particular about Ireland, they don’t do anything too flashy but just do the basics really well and play at an intensity that the opposition can’t live with. It’s been drilled into them for a long time, everyone knows their role inside out. Scotland on the other hand have developed a more high risk approach, when it comes off it’s great to watch but doesn’t aways happen and needs a lot of things to click.

    2. Yes, I think we should continue to experiment in the forward pack…because its blatantly obvious that we dont have the combination right to move to the next level. I reckon GT sees R Gray as his ideal lock…but he isn’t and may never be available due to his injury situation. Argentina may be a good chance to play Cummings, who to me , plays similar R Gray minus the experience.
      Its not just 6 and 8 that we dont know…. the front row isn’t settled yet and neither are the locks.
      Even at 7 ….Watson is a very good at 7…but isn’t overall as effective against the bigger 678 units such as Wales and SA. Ritchie, Hardie and Graham all may be better suited at 7 against the big guys. SA would have been perfect to play Thompson at 8 either starting or off bench….shame. Bradbury ditto.
      Our backs are pretty settled (just need a few guys back from injury)

    3. Did you notice Ireland’s game yesterday how exhausted I think it was the Irish prop Healey was when he got subbed he was blowing for air don’t think any of Scottish lads that were subbed had given that level of dedication a few per cent per man turns defeats into victories.

  28. Bradbury, Barclay, Thompson, Denton all missing from this series.

    I like Wilson but he looks a handy squad player rather than a starter.

    Vs Argentina
    15.Hogg, 14.Maitland, 13.Jones, 12.Dunbar, 11.D.Graham, 10.Russell, 9.G.Horne
    8.Strauss, 7.Brown, 6.G.Graham, 5.Skinner, 4.Gray, 3.Berghan, 2. McInally, 1.Reid

    Reps –
    Kinghorn, Hastings, Laidlaw, Watson, Gilchrist, Nel, Turner, Dell

    1. Sorry, but think that J. Gray is an average Internaionalist. I think Skinner/Gilchrist is a better combo.

      1. I agree re J.Gray, however he does tackle very very well. Gray has not progressed and when you see Itoje, Ryan, AWJ it puts him in a wee bit of perspective

      2. J Gray whilst he rarely does a whole lot wrong …is just an average international lock. He plays with no ‘demon’ about him at all. No aggression, just puts his big frame consistantly in for the tackle. He’ll never be a lion…and if he does it’ll be coz there are virtually no locks left to pick from. He is another Wilson….seems certainty every selection …and from his play …I have no idea why.

      3. I rate Gray but maybe it’s interesting to remember he made his name as a lock who made 20 tackles a game and never missed one in games that we usually lost.

        Now we’re a more competitive side do we need a lock who can tackle all day?

      4. Half on the blog are bemoaning about the Toonie Tombola and here you are saying to swap out our most experienced and consistent performer in the pack? One missed restart and suddenly he’s “average”.
        Skinner/Gilchrist might be a better combo against some sides (horses for courses) but against a tier 1 side I would always pick Jonny over either.

      5. Spot on RuggersB
        Gray has no”demon” in his play and that applies collectively to the Scottish pack. Wilson does have a bit of it, but not often purt

    2. My team for Argentina Kinghorn Hogg needs protection from injury Maitland Huw Jones P Horne D Graham let’s give him a start Russell still best 10. Laidlaw. Strauss G Graham let’s see if he’s good enough. Skinner worth another go at 6. Gilchrist for aggression. Gray needs a big game. Berghan lets see if he can do a bit more in loose than Nel Brown think he is better starter and McInally gives better impact from bench Reid did good enough job yesterday Subs Allan. McInally Nel Harley Watson. G Horne Hastings. Harris

  29. On reflection , SA are a powerful team who are gaining momentum yet we scored a couple of amazing tries. The frustration being we could have done better in a few key areas of the game. Some basics need fixing.

    I would say they are better than 5th in the world however the differnce is the score was about right for a RWC ranked 5th v’s 6th shoot out.

    We are top 6 and capable of sustaining that ranking. We could have picked the names out of a hat yestterday and they would have performed to the standard of 6th in the world.

    We are in a better place , but the the sands keep shifting so we never quite feel satisfied. It was a great game and one thing every nation will agree on, is that they need to play at their best to beat us.

  30. Some great rugby!

    Despite the saffa foward aggression, on different day and different ref that game would be ours…

    Only one bad call which, to me, shows we have yet to master our composure… 20mins to go 20-23, no time pressure, no massive score gap, easy 3points on offer and we don’t take it.

    1. We made a handful of errors at key times, whereas SA didn’t.
      Finn trying to fling the ball wide in our own 22 then Jones getting caught and losing the ball.
      Nel losing the ball forward just when we were starting to pressure them in their half.
      Gray missing the restart. Bad positioning and then Wilson not calling for it instead.
      Not going for the 3 points when 23-20 down.
      Price choosing to try the short side when it was obvious there was no room.
      Those were the negatives but there was much to be pleased about too. However disappointed I am at the result this is a very good South Africa side and on another day we would have put 15 points on them.

  31. One thing I’ve noticed from the 3 games this autumn is we’re getting in to really good positions with our lineout maul but there seems to be a big reluctance to release the ball to the backs quickly when we stop going forward. I can understand that the forwards want to keep control and to build the reputation of their maul. However, we should be using it to tie in as many opposition forwards as possible and then to release the backs. Ours backs are now good enough to finish most opportunities and run some fantastic lines. Even against Fiji in the first half our outside backs were screaming for the ball with a 2/3 man overlap and the maul was static. The more we get a reputation for keeping it tight the tighter the defence will become. The forwards need to think about releasing it more as then fewer opposition defenders will enter the maul and they will in turn get more go forward. We just need to mix up the point of attack more if the lineout maul is going to be one of our key weapons.

    1. Exactly. Did the same against Wales, too. The maul has sucked in a load of defenders, you’ve got Jones, Hogg, Russell, Seymour et al. baying for the ball, so give it to them and help them do their thing! So frustrating and predictable and pre-Cotter. A strong maul doesn’t need to score tries, and if you keep turning over possession then your maul isn’t going to be perceived as strong.

  32. Last night at the end of the game, my primary emotion was annoyance – the Saffers were poor in the second half and we should really have capitalised – but then off course, we were worse.
    I am beginning to get annoyed by Townsend and how our side are playing – I hope they watched the Irish last night and took note. That was how Scotland used to defeat the “big” sides – all out mental defence and taking our chances – as we have become a “better” side that part (mental all out defence) of our game has fallen by the wayside.
    Defensively we are weak now – the Saffers scored two very soft tries, we gave them up with barely a whimper – ally this with teams knowing all they need to do is rush defend us and you can see how easily we might start losing games in the next 12 months. Ahhhbut we will just score more tries you might cry, but not if we perform like yesterday.
    I think Russell is a fantastic player and I am totally happy with his laconic style – I don’t want my 10 painting his face and screaming mon then at the opposition – I want him in his zone and controlling things. If this zone is him smiling and appearing too relaxed, then so be it. But what annoys the feck out of me is Russell’s inconsistency – he will never be regarded as world class until he can get his head around the fact that he needs to sort this out first and foremost. String 4 or 5 excellent games in a row and we might be talking about him finally fulfilling his enormous talent.

    I think we can now accept that Jones has defensive issues – nothing that cant be resolved with good coaching, but more importantly is Taylor the man to do this – since he has come on board we have become poor defensively. Of course, it’s not all about systems – a look at the ESPN stat site suggests that some players are missing too many tackles.

    1. I would be keen to look at the plays where Jones missed his tackles or where he was out of position? I am not saying you are wrong or right ?

    2. I dont think you can blame Russell.

      There is no 10 in the world with an attacking style as good as his who has close to his consistency except Barrett.

      Different between those 2 is that Barrett will get alot more help from the forwards being on the front foot.

      Has anyone seen russell have anything but a good performance when the forwards dominate ?

    3. Jones missed a couple of tackles, but are those defensive issues? This is just confirmation bias, like looking for Horne’s brain farts or Laidlaw’s slow service. Jones is fine defensively.

      1. Jones has never convinced me defensively – which isn’t the end of the world when you consider what else he brings to the table. You then factor that in when coming up with your defensive strategies.

        As to your other other comments, it’s pretty difficult to avoid Horne’s brain farts – they are so spectacular.

      2. It is easier to criticise a man for being in the right place and missing the tackle (which is basic)than it is to criticise one for not being where he should be to execute a tackle ( subtle).

        I think we dont cover accross adequately, it is a system thing. On the attack side we dont have make the opposition look average when we get through and have half a dozen lined up to score.

        Might as well drink to it , we might lose a few , but we are no longer shy about getting over the white line.

  33. . A couple of standouts being Maitland and Wilson who both missed 3 – one of Wilson’s missed tackles was appalling and could have led to SA scoring, when is Townsend going to see what many of can see. Townsend is desperate for Wilson to be our Peter O’Mahony – but he’s never going to make it. We were completely out-muscled yesterday and whilst it’s not all down to Wilson, what is the point in playing a small 8 against the biggest most aggressive pack in world rugby. We really missed Barclay – he would have made a huge difference.
    We never got close to front foot ball, allied with Laidlaw’s pedestrian service and it’s easy to see why Russell might not have been given the best environment to display his prodigious skills.
    Here me out here, as this might sound like heresy but I wonder if defeat next week against Arg might actually be better for us in the long run. It might make Toonie realise that size and power is still important up front, that he has to focus like Ireland, on playing your best side every test. If we beat Arg next week then Toonie will once again be vindicated – he will write off SA as, let’s face he talked them up too much yesterday – a win yesterday wouldn’t have been the best of his career and he knew it. Toonie needs to knuckle down, he needs to realise that maybe his way isn’t the only way and focus on the fact we are 10 months from a RWC.

  34. I am not really sure we have improved that much from last autumn – we don’t have a settled side – our defined pattern appears to be Glasgow 2015 lite and we still struggle for consistency.
    One final point – Horne played quite well yesterday, nothing special – but we were once again a couple of centimetres away from an interception caused by his trademark brain fart. The thing that concerns me the most about Horne is he doesn’t appear to learn from his mistakes and let’s face he makes quite a few, he will always be a liability – whether it’s worth it for the rest of his game is a debate that will rage on late into the night.

    1. Agree with your musings Stu.

      Matt Taylor’s time is up. We are defensively feeble. Also the Tombola needs to be retired. Ireland and Wales have a core of maybe 20 players with gigantic numbers of caps. The best players play when they are fit. If we want to experiment then we should play more games against the likes of Tonga, Georgia or Canada etc.

      1. Agree re: M Taylor. We are progressing as an attacking unit….but flirt between stagnation and regression in defense. If GT wants to go to the next level and actually beat the top 4 teams ….the defense has to be much better, more aggressive and more streetwise. We’ll just float around the next tier of teams until we improve significantly in that regard.

        As it stands… the outcome of RWC looks like a mediocre 2 nd in group followed by losing to either SA or NZ at knockout.

  35. This is what happens when you experiment with your squad in the most important game of the Novembers matches.

    Bad selection and game-plan by Townsend, has Toony lost every game to Erasmus at Glasgow and Scotland level ?

    What we need for this game was our best carriers and breakdown players as i mentioned previously.

    Gray/Toolis was unaffective and we have seen this in the pass against the highest opposition.

    looking ahead to Argentina – Quick ball/Speed and linebreaks will be our most effective strategy.

    With this and some squad experiment on a more suitable game here is my squad.

    1. Alex Allan
    2. Stuart Mcinally
    3. Simon Berghan
    4. Sam Skinner
    5. Grant Gilchrist
    6. Matt Fagerson
    7. Jamie Ritchie
    8. Josh Strauss
    9. George Horne
    10. Finn Russell
    11. Darcy Graham
    12. Peter Horne
    13. Huw Jones
    14. Sean Maitland
    15. Blair Kinghorn

    16. George Turner
    17. Allan Dell
    18. Murray Mcallum
    19. Rob Harley
    20. Hamish Watson
    21. Greig Laidlaw (9/10 Cover)
    22. Alex Dunbar
    23. Tommy Seymour

    1. That’s not a bad team but I’d like to see Ashe involved, perhaps at 6 if Fagerson is still out or from the bench. Ashe, Ritchie, Strauss would be a big and mobile back row.

    2. Watson is consistently our best forward, why would you have him on the bench with young Ritchie starting? Starting Graham over Seymour is fairly risky. Harley/Gilchrist over Gray: madness. Start Gilchrist and Gray with Skinner on the bench.

      1. Cam – Watson is our best forward i agree, but its only argentina, against teams like SA i would start Watson.

        Graham is to cap and get some experience, he has been in good form and has alot of experience around him, its the type of game which would suit him.

        How is Gilchrist/Skinner With Harley on bench madness ? They have been stronger performers to me than Gray this series. And Harley has been on excellent form for Glasgow or you dont think he can step up against an underperforming Pumas side ?

      2. I don’t think we’re in a position to say, “it’s only Argentina”. And Gray is consistently quality for us internationally and powers the scrum, whereas Harley hasn’t been involved in international rugby in ages, although he’s been great for Glasgow.

    3. We were 3 or 4 individual mistakes from beating the #5 side in the world. That’s not a bad selection or gameplan that’s lack of player concentration.
      Then you want to put out what is effectively our second string against a tier 1 side that is only a couple of places below us in the rankings? Madness Neil.

      1. Merlot please go do your research.

        We should not just be scraping wins at Murrayfield we should be slaying opposition that are not NZ or Ireland, We are good enough to beat any other side in the world with our full strength team.

        That pack was ridiculously underpowered and meant we had slow ball and no go-forward.

        All in all ? bad selection.

        And really ? effectively 2nd string side?, I’M AN IDIOT

        Bear in mind no one will be starting all 4 games or supposed to be even playing in all 4.

        Take into Account Hogg will likely be injured also.



        Thats 13 players i would consider right in that mix of first choice in that squad

        Allan, Fagerson, Ritchie
        Horne, Graham, Harley, Kinghorn have been in excellent form for Club and the ones selected for the internationals been great to.

        so another 6 strong additions to that squad.
        (19) now

        Horne i was not happy about but his performance against SA means he has gained back a little more of my trust + this game should be suited for him.

        The only one who is abit of a look at is Murray Mcallum.

        What would your side have been ?


  36. I was thinking about what I said on the preview thread, that this was a game we COULD win, but needed the following to happen:

    “If our half-backs are beautifully in sync.
    If we take our chances.
    If our midfield defence is more effective.
    If the back row blend is a masterstroke.
    If we have parity in the set-pieces.
    If we can force the same number (or more) of turnovers.
    If we we front up in the loose.”

    To be honest, I’m not sure we managed any of that, though possibly the midfield defence was a bit better than the Fiji game, although there are question marks over both tries.

    At the same time though, if we didn’t manage any of that, but we only lost by 6 points, we must have done something right? Can’t quite put my finger on what it was, at this felt like a long way short of a cohesive team performance.

  37. As a first time SA visitor to your fair capital, I must say the experience was brilliant. Your fans are knowledgeable, but generous. The city looked brilliant. The food stuck to my ribs. Pre-test hiking up the Arthur peak made the lager flow better. The stadium is awesome! So imposing to walk up so high, to great seats on the East side. Lights out show! Will bring many back for another test, soon, I hope! Scotland just need a proper 8 and 6 thumper/bouncer, and maybe bigger props. Thanks Edinburgh!

    1. Glad you had a great first visit to Edinburgh. Wish we’d beaten you but there you go.
      That was some gathering of enthusiastic, flag-waving SA fans high up in the South West corner on Saturday.
      Good to see the mojo returning to the South Africa Test side.
      Nearly bumped into your captain at the airport yesterday, and took care to walk in front of him, not behind him!

      1. Hahaha! He’s a good man. Proper soccer move that. Sorry! But the Willie card — all square.

  38. We should take Steffan Kitchoff from you, he looks completely Scottish anyway. How he doesn’t burn to a crisp in the South African sun is beyond me.

    1. His freckles fill in, at summer time. Great player, the Ginga Ninja. Hasn’t been outplayed all year.

  39. The team for Saturday could go two ways. Experience to close out the season or experimental to blood some of the players pre 6N.

    1. Dell
    2. McInally (c)
    3. Berghan
    4. Skinner
    5. Gray
    6. Strauss
    7. Watson
    8. Wilson
    9. Laidlaw
    10. Russell
    11. Maitland
    12. Dunbar
    13. Jones
    14. Seymour
    15. Hogg.


    1. Allan
    2. Brown (c)
    3. McCallum
    4. Skinner
    5. Cummings
    6. Ashe
    7. Ritchie
    8. Fagerson (Strauss if Fagerson still out)
    9. Horne
    10. Hastings
    11. Graham
    12. Scott (if fit)
    13. Jones
    14. L Jones
    15. Kinghorn

  40. My team for Argentina:
    G Horne
    P Horne

    Subs: Brown, Reid, McCallum, Harley, Ritchie;
    Laidlaw, Hastings, Kinghorn

    I wanted to keep the backs the same as SA, for the continuity we’ve been crying out for (and I think they’re our best backline atm), but George Horne deserves a start, shifting Laidlaw to the bench. Hastings and Kinghorn cover the rest of the backs and deserve a run-out in their proper positions, injuries permitting.

    Dell and Berghan also deserve a start, but with the Argie scrummage I’ve put the old stalwart (and big lump) of Ross in there to stabilise (and lead). Off the bench, Reid can shore up the scrum if necessary and McCallum needs a run. Brown over McInally? Either would do.
    I wanted to try Skinner at 6 again to see if he can continue the Fiji form. Toolis has not had a great Autumn so that leaves Gray and Gilchrist. Calls for Cummings are premature, if you’ll excuse the expression.
    Let’s have our best performing 8, Strauss, starting for once. Rest Watson? Not on your nellie – this isn’t Fiji.
    Harley and Ritchie will cause havoc in defence and attack, respectively, off the bench.
    Give me a call, Toonie. :)

  41. My team for Argentina with a blend of experience.

    15. Hogg
    14. Graham
    13. Jones
    12. Horne
    11. Maitland
    10. Russell
    9. Horne
    1. Reid
    2. Brown
    3. Berghan
    4. Skinner
    5. Gray
    6. Fagerson
    7. Watson
    8. Strauss

    16. Dell
    17. McInally
    18. McCallum
    19. Gilchrist/Cummings
    20. G. Graham
    21. Laidlaw
    22. Hastings
    23. Kinghorn

    1. All these team variations – Ireland and Wales absolutely know what their starting 15 are. Hardly anyone in the Scotland team can be reagrded as nailed on – this cannot be right.

  42. Was away at the weekend so just watched the game there just now. I read a lot of negativity on here but personally I thought we played reasonably well bar a couple of issues.

    First half I thought we played pretty well. Both tries we conceded were a bit soft but excellent skills from SA to finish them off so fair play to them. Never really got into a proper rhythm but took our chances reasonably well. SA wouldn’t really let us get into a rythym. Russell wasn’t playing that well, a lot of his ideas weren’t coming off and he wasn’t being allowed much space to work in resulting in him dishing out a few hospital passes or rushed kicks. We certiainly didn’t have the upper hand at the breakdown but weren’t getting smashed either. A few of the issues I saw with guys getting blasted out of rucks, we should have had the ball away by the time they happened. All in all at half time it was a good game and was anyone’s game.

    As for the second half well SA just did what they have so often been very good at and strangled us out of it. They dominated he breakdown and their rush defence forced us into errors on the ball. Nel struggled a bit in the scrum although a few of the decisions were questionable, he was holding his own in the first half. We can take a bit of solace in the fact we were in it up to the end despite being outplayed for 40mins they only won the 2nd half 6 – 3. Mind you that yellow card shouldn’t have been one and we failed to capitalise on it.

    For me, as we found out against Wales “blitz” style defence is our weakness and we haven’t came up with a way to combat it yet. We also struggled again against a team that target the breakdown. The first is a coaching issue the second is a selection issue, Toonie must take notice of these issues and act on them. A few years ago I would have been pretty pleased about that game but not now, we expect more.

    1. “A few of the issues I saw with guys getting blasted out of rucks, we should have had the ball away by the time they happened.”

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