Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Wales 21-10 Scotland

Leigh Halfpenny
Leigh Halfpenny gets a pass away - pic © Alastair Ross / Novantae Photography

This game in Cardiff will be remembered as the inaugural outing for the Doddie Weir Cup, but aside from the result there wasn’t much memorable about a tussle in which Wales stifled any Scottish attempts at creativity with superbly executed defensive strategy.

For a game with more kicking than we usually see from Scotland, the opening exchanges were notable for a missed penalty to touch by Adam Hastings and three Leigh Halfpenny penalties. Scotland’s only half decent chance came from Alex Dunbar breaking through a Hadleigh Parkes tackle but the support runners weren’t there and neither were they in the right position when Adam Hastings chipped into the goal area for Leigh Halfpenny to gather safely despite a tricky bounce. That was one of the few inroads Scotland made into the Welsh defence.

After twenty minutes Wales were up to 9-0 and Scotland were giving away a lot of penalties in the eyes of Mathieu Raynal. The Frenchman doesn’t always see eye to eye with Scottish teams at the breakdown but on these occasions most of his calls were hard to argue against.

Scotland did at least have the nudge in the scrums with Allan Dell, Stuart McInally and WP Nel earning Scotland and Hastings his first shot at goal.

Having had one try denied by the TMO due to a foot in touch, George North got the score he was after on the half hour mark; brushing off Dunbar, Huw Jones and Blair Kinghorn on his way to the line. It was painfully soft, even knowing as we do how difficult North is to stop when he gets motoring. Leigh Halfpenny uncharacteristically missed the conversion.

Thankfully Scotland responded with a score of their own, kicking two successive penalties to touch and giving the Welsh maul defence something to think about. The second effort splintered metres from the line and gave skipper Stuart McInally a clear look at the try which he took with a sidestep.

At 14-10 and with Scotland performing much better in the later stages of the second half, things were looking up. Unfortunately, that would be the scoring finished for Scotland.

Half-time: Wales 14-10 Scotland

The style of the second half was pretty similar with both sides kicking a lot and putting heavy pressure on the opposition breakdowns.

The second Welsh try was another painful moment for the Huw Jones defensive highlights reel as a simple set piece move took the ball into the midfield and Jonathan Davies ran down his channel with no more required than a simple fend.

Scotland had plenty of chances though.

There was the Jonny Gray try that the TMO ruled had been a (pretty clear) double movement after a series of pick and goes, and another what-if shortly afterwards as the lively George Horne chipped through for his brother who on first glance looked to have gathered it whilst diving but was revealed not to have control.

As Scottish pressure increased in search of a score to close the gap, Welsh indiscipline did too and Elliot Dee was sin-binned for repeated infringements near to the line. But Scotland weren’t sharp enough to capitalise on the advantages Raynal was affording them – too many times the ball stayed close in when the backs were screaming for it out wide. Whilst he offered a boost in the pace of the game from Price, George Horne was possibly too involved and often took too much time to get to the base of the ruck to distribute.

It was an interesting outing for young standoff Adam Hastings, who was under a lot more pressure than he would have experienced on the summer tour and he will have learned a lot – he saw plenty of ball. Not all of what he did was great and he wasn’t able to ghost through half gaps as he often does for Glasgow, but he didn’t look ill at ease and slotted his kicks confidently.

Without the ball Wales looked supremely confident in their defensive structure and their line speed meant every pass along the backline was fraught with danger; frequently Scotland came back inside which meant precious little for Kinghorn, Seymour or either Jones to work on.

Scotland in turn were forced to turn to their pack to try and provide incision, and as often happens they made heavy weather of it when under heavy physical pressure. Hamish Watson carried as hard as usual but the lack of a line breaker at Number 8 is still a worry and the sight of Blade Thomson going off injured at Murrayfield on Friday night may mean another look at Matt Fagerson next weekend. The rest of the bench did provide some impetus – Fraser Brown in particular. The presence of Greig Laidlaw next week might mean the Glasgow hooker gets a start.

When even the scrum decisions were going with the side packing down with seven men, you knew this wouldn’t be Scotland’s day – although will it ever be, in Cardiff?

Scotland are left still seeking an answer to this Welsh question, and are likely to face something similar – or worse – when South Africa come to town in a couple of weeks.

First up, attention will turn to Fiji and the restoration of a full strength squad

This one’s for you, Doddie. Shame about the game though eh?

Referee: Mathieu Raynal (FFR)

SRBlog Man of the Match: Hamish Watson battled tirelessly and was the standout in a Scotland shirt. Plenty of players (Nel, Ritchie, Gray, Hastings) were heavily involved in the action but had blots on their copybook. Watson sitting the much heftier Ross Moriarty on his backside was a memorable moment in a game short on them.

126 Responses

  1. Disappointing. Simply had to score when Wales went down to 14, ample opportunity but squandered it. When you crush their scrum and have a penalty advantage surely the thing to do is spin it wide, especially with an extra man? Brain fart by J Gray, that was as blatant as your going to get.

    Credit to Wales their defence had us out of ideas going forward, Hastings kicking was a bit clueless at times although overall I didn’t think he played that badly. Our support play was laboured, any breaks we did make weren’t well supported resulting in turned over or slow ball. We have shown with Russell that our kicking game agajnst a rush defence is a potent attacking weapon but we just weren’t accurate enough today.

    As usual Wales proved masters of the aerial game, we took them on at it but couldn’t match it. Didn’t think Price had a great game, very slow, G Horne was a step up when he came on.

  2. Huw Jones was not to blame for the try, left covering too men by the inside defenders.

    Ali Price should not be starting for Scotland. He offers nothing and constantly tells the ref how to do his job instead of just getting on with it. Horne is miles better.

    Scotland threw the game away really. Struggled to adjust to the Welsh defence in the first half, kicking all our possession away badly. Second half much better tactically (good use of blockers in attack with Hastings coming behind), but should have finished off at least 3 or 4 chances.

    Horne’s chip over for Horne would have been magical if he had collected it properly.

    It wasn’t a disaster, I would say Hastings learned a lot from that game. Kinghorn did well at 15. Outside backs didn’t really get a chance to play for the first 60 minutes. Forwards were poor in he first half and should have finished off a few tries in the second.

    With a few key players back, we are still in fairly good shape.

    1. I think you have it right Fraser. Difficult to single out individuals it was just a poor team performance.

      We never scored against 14 and Wales induced tactical scrum resets to eat into the card time. (come on Raynal sort it out).

      Thought Berghan and George Horne made a difference.

  3. Frustrating. Don’t know how it wasn’t a penalty when they went through the Welsh scrum on 5. Two fluffed chances. Wilson not a test number 8. Someone dynamic needs to put their hand up alongside Hamish Watson. Fagerson looked good when on. I really really don’t understand Dell -just looking at the size of him, no go forward and the set piece always crumbles. Half backs were a muddle. Time for G Horne to start. Welcome Russell back. Dunbar solid. One to forget for Huw Jones in defence. Front row changed when needed but why not try Graham for Lee Jones earlier. Pointless bringing on Pete Horne. But above all, genuine hatred for Jonathan Davies commentator.

    1. Dell has a look of fear about him.It may be a while before we see him at his best. I thought the welsh loosehead looked hotheaded which is a vulnerable and exploitable. Missed opportunity.

  4. I found that pretty disappointing. Outmuscled. Again. The Welsh props were there for the taking and them getting parity in the scrum was pretty rubbish from Scotland. Seemingly lightest pack under Toonie. It showed.

    Not convinced Del is the answer at loosehead – but then who is?

    I also think Brown should’ve started. He is more abrasive than McInally and that is what we needed. I would also have brought Gilchrist on earlier.

    Anyway, my summary would be:

    In credit:
    George Horne

    In deficit:
    Ali Price
    Huw Jones
    Jonny Gray – not his best game
    The rest of the starting pack (other than Watson)
    Coaches- seemed to have to change tactic at half time with more dummy runners/blockers in second half. Surely they knew Wales would defend like a Sean Edwards team?

    Did fine, nothing more:
    Lee jones
    The subs

  5. I don’t think we need to worry too much. We know full well that Russell coming in is a major upgrade and that’s no knock on Hastings who did ok behind a struggling pack. I like to think Hastings will be a solid to good option for us behind Finn which is a major upgrade on the calamity to ok options pre Russell. Maitland will also come in for Lee Jones who played alright.

    Up front I would start Alex Allan at loosehead, I rate Dell but don’t think his form is the equal of Allan’s. Other than with Bradbury out I would only change Ritchie for Blade Thomson but that looks unlikely given his head knock. Other than I don’t really think there is anyone who is going to come in and transform us, Wales were just better.

  6. Dunbar, Rambo, G Horne, Watson stood out as positives. Our locks aren’t good enough. I know criticising Jonny Gray is treated as treason on here but he is not world class. He is the best we have but lock is a major weakness for us as is back row depth. When you watch what other nations and clubs get from top locks Gray is a shadow of them. He is mr consistent and won’t ever have a howler (although brain dead moment today cost us 5 points) but Thats all you get. Back row today was ineffective and average outside of Watson. All fit it’s a different proposition at wing forward but not deep enough for an RWC year. H Jones shown up a couple of times, L Jones didn’t let anyone down but didn’t do anything spectacular, a very L Jones performance, Kinghorn looked competent but no better (not a criticism of him, we had so little ball for him to attack) and one great take aside where was our vice captain in the backs? Seymour is turning into the invisible man of our test side. Rambo led like a warrior, Watson battled non stop, G Horne looked lively and Dunbar had a cracker considering how little go forward ball the pack gave us.

    1. Don’t disagree with much of the above. As I said this morning I had big hopes for JG today as he has been fronting up for Glasgow physically in champions cup. He wasn’t great. But Toolis was pretty invisible too.

      I am not sure McInally was as good as you have said. I thought he was ok but I don’t think he is as good as Brown on current form and Brown is more physical.

      Think Toonie selection was wrong today. Brown and Gilchrist probably should have started and maybe also MFag. Wilson is such a better 6 than an 8 and I would suggest that’s where he needs to play – Rennie seems to have reached that conclusion with Glasgow.

      The worrying thing is that at least 5 of the 8 today were probably nailed on first choices. Not sure they are now:

      Dell – Alex Allan, not sure he is a test prop
      McInally- probably starts next week as skipper this week
      Nel – Berghan?
      Gray – probably plays but needs a good game, under pressure I would have thought but who from?
      Watson- starts
      Wilson (?) – don’t think he will be at 8 for Fiji, maybe at 6…

      Quite dejected really.

      1. Fair nough on Mcinally. I do think he was excellent but also think that form this season favours Brown. Brown is the only forward other than Wilson who has any niggle and Wilson’s manifests itself in stupidity. Browns got that streak which I’d like to see Gray show. Gilchrist has a bit of it about him but we don’t have enough nastiness in our tight 5. That touch of that the likes of Lawes, Etzebeth and O Mahoney bring

  7. Got to pull you up on Hastings who kicked from hand abysmally all day and was caught in two minds all too often resulting in lost ground and lost momentum. Back play in general looked like they had no idea what they were doing. Lots of wild passes or players looking for a pass and finding no one to pass to. Huw Jones was poor in defence costing two tries. Baby Gray wasn’t effective carrying and gave a stupid stupid penalty away and why oh why when refs call “use it” we invariably hold on and get turned over. Are we progressing under GT or did we plateau under Vern? I’m thinking the former after this (REDACTED) and the summer tour loss to USA

    [edited for language]

    1. Couldn’t agree more. Infuriating stuff. When Hastings missed touch in the 3rd minute I felt we were going to have one of those days…again.

  8. Decent. We didn’t collapse in the Cardiff cauldron, we contested and for me, that’s the biggest takeaway and success for the team.

    Winning here today was never fundamentally required but proving that they could operate well under the most hostile of conditions was the important forward step.

    So, yes, always like the team to play at their best and see the boys win but not horribly outraged as per last visit where we all but collapsed.

    1. This period of development and optimism started with RWC 2015. 3 years on I don’t think we should be accepting a performance and score line like that as a decent result if we harbour any ambition to be more than everyone’s second favourite side due to our flair. I’ve argued before that after a decade of tripe I’m happy with entertaining rugby and home wins but the fan base generally seems to want this to be a long term development process rather than a purple patch in which case we need to see development.

      1. In the climb from the depths, I think current ‘2nd gen’ will not go very much further….the ‘3rd gen’ are key for RWC2023 …need developing in strong, successful and competitive environments at Edinburgh & Glasgow.

      2. It could be argued that 21-10 is significant progress from 34-7, with probably a greater discrepancy in experience in favour of Wales this time around. Wales, currently ranked third in the World and playing at home, were good for the win, but we pushed them very hard in what was a neck and neck game, or thereabouts. It’s not about acceptance or outrage – disappointment fair enough. We’re not there yet. Until we actually beat any of the home nations away with any sort of consistency why should we expect to win?

      3. Agree Matto…Personally I’m disappointed because we could have won that game, save for the persistent “umbles” at crucial moments.

  9. Selection for next week based on that performance ?

    1. Allan
    2. Mcinally
    3. Berghan
    4. Skinner
    5. Gilchrist
    6. Wilson
    7. Watson
    8. Denton
    9. Laidlaw
    10. Russell
    11. Mcguigan
    12. Scott
    13. Dunbar
    14. Kinghorn
    15. Maitland

    16. Brown
    17. Mcallum
    18. Nel
    19. Gray
    20. Thompson
    21. Horne
    22. Hastings
    23. H.Jones

  10. Pete Horne gets in on bench in front of Hastings. Give him a week off.

    McGuigan hasn’t done much of note at all yet so not sure he deserves a start for a must win match. Seymour was very quiet today though. Would visser like to reverse his decision?

      1. Hope your not as harsh on yourself in your life or you’d be a wreck of a human being. Horne should have collected yes but he bought a ticket and I thought he was decent when he came on and he clearly has an understanding with his brother.

        Horne didn’t drop the ball forward without an advantage? He didn’t hit early to reverse a scrum, nor did he give away a penalty in the scrum after a knock on which led to a loss of 60 yards and then lose a try from it. Thought the ref helped at times to cause issues but we had to adapt better and quicker.

  11. Kinda shows how much your missing with Injuries/Non-selection for various reasons

    1. Darryl Marfo
    2. Ross Ford
    3. Zander Fagerson
    4. Tim Swinson ? (not alot of option)
    5. Richie Gray
    6. Magnus Bradbury
    7. John Barclay
    8. Josh Strauss
    9. Greig Laidlaw
    10. Finn Russell
    11. Tim Visser
    12. Matt Scott
    13. Duncan Taylor
    14. Sean Maitland
    15. Stuart Hogg

    16. George Turner
    17. Rory Sutherland/Jamie Bhatti
    18. Murray Mcallum
    19. Blade Thompson
    20. Dave Denton/John Hardie
    21. Henry Prygos
    22. Duncan Weir
    23. Sam Johnson/Mark Bennett/Chris Dean

    Alot of Power and go forward the main thing missing.

  12. When Toonie played for Scotland he was occasionally mercurial but too often abysmal, trying to be too clever for the rest of his team.
    Why are we then surprised when Scotland, under his coaching, invariably over complicate things and appear to be totally clueless. Wales plodded through the basics and won.

    1. I’m not sure you can say Wales plodded through basics. The welsh defence was immense, regularly putting us under pressure in attack and forcing us into errors. What’s annoying is that is the same as it’s been for a number of years and we’ve not learnt how to combat what we know is coming.

  13. If i were to pick from a fully fit pack for the World Cup this is the 8 that would be starting + Bench

    1. Daryll Marfo
    2. Stuart Mcinally
    3. Zander Fagerson
    4. Richie Gray
    5. Grant Gilchrist
    6. Blade Thompson
    7. John Barclay
    8. Magnus Bradbury

    16. Fraser Brown
    17. Rory Sutherland
    18. WP Nel
    19. Johnny Gray
    20. Hamish Watson

    1. Daryll Marfo? He has been playing at Boroughmuir. not even making hte Edinburgh bench with all the Scotland players missing.

  14. Quite simply their best players J.Davies, G.North played and scored, our best players Hogg and Russell didn’t play.
    Denton. Thomson, Fagerson would all improve the back row.
    Maitland, McGuigan, Scott, Laidlaw would all improve the backs.
    Brown should start (whether 2 or 7).
    Hastings did ok but he’s no Russell
    A loss but no bad

    1. I’m not sure I’d go for Brown at 7 when Watson is available, he was immense yesterday, one of the few forwards who got over the gain line.

  15. How did the ref look on TV? Don’t think he stood out but I was in the Gods. Will check it out properly watching it back.

    Wasn’t sure on a couple breakdowns he was very quick on the whistle either way. But I was annoyed we didn’t adapt to his style quick enough. I counted six pens in first 20 mins against. That is test losing and unacceptable not to adapt.

    One crucial call that affected the match was their first try. They had a scrum and we clearly marched over it and demolished it. Because of that they had nothing to push against so they then go forward slightly pick the ball up and score. That to me is criminal decision making from ref and has to be better in that particular decision.

    Any other thoughts?

    1. Ref was pedantic but generally fair i thought. One or two odd calls notably Sco off their feet at an attacking ruck. Couldn’t see it in the replay.
      Too many penalties awarded: a sign of indiscipline but also weak game management by the ref.

  16. The Welsh defence stifled the limited Scottish attacking threat which very quickly ran out of ideas as the phases were repulsed. The inexperience at half-back was evident, which was to be expected. Hastings would have been better served with Laidlaw inside him controlling the game, rather than being expected to be the primary controller. There was very little evidence of the much hyped chaos strategy which Scotland are supposedly trying to play – Scotland may aspire to play at a high tempo but lack the players to dictate this style of play against the top teams, on this showing.
    Johnny Gray illustrated yet again that he is some way from being an international quality lock. Ritchie was plainly out of his depth and is well short of bulk for an international blindside.
    It might be a worthwhile exercise to revisit the pre-match head to head ratings. Of the starting 15, from my viewing, only Dell, MacInally and Nel outperformed their opposite number.
    The exiles will be back next week, and there will be changes. Interesting to see if Townsend will revert to his strongest team to bed them in for the challenge of the South Africa test, or continue with Toonie tombola to try out combinations and players in advance of the RWC. Do contributors believe he knows his strongest team?

    1. Discouraging performance in some ways. Scotland have taken some steps forward in the last few years this one felt like a step back. Sometimes these type of defeats provide springboard to progress
      …so hopefully the inexperienced guys took alot from the match. Failure teaches much more than success.

      Wales played excellent defense and decent unspectacular attack rugby…and it was good enough to keep Scotland at bay the whole match.

      Don’t know if its down to GTs rugby ideals or just that Scotland doesn’t have the power needed to break strong defensive units.

      Not a fan of Gatland’s rugby at all….however he has Toonie’s number its fair to say. He has shown the RWC competition how you beat Scotland.

      GT and the coaches need to step up… not just some of the players.

      JG needs to be benched or out the 23 for a bit….he just tackles…rarely breaks the line…all the top locks do that frequently as well as the grunt work. There is good reason he didn’t go on the lions tour. His bro is a better player imo. He just seems to be assured of his place and I dont see why. Pete Horne is another. Big mistakes in crucial games are becoming almost expected from him. Seymour hasn’t done much of note for a long while….Dell, Price…the list goes on.

      Hastings looked ok…he can play better than that but looked a rookie today. Kinghorn didn’t do anything of real note today… but to me he looks a natural at test level. Dunbar played pretty well in patches. Watson doesn’t seem to be having the same high impact he was having a year or so ago.

      We are absolutely screaming for a a quality powerful number 8. Its killing us that we dont have one. Ryan Wilson most certainly is not the answer in that spot.

      Need to be much better

  17. Yup, I will never forget the grim memories of Toonie passing to the man out side him and watching the ball to the ‘overlap’ bounce into touch as the invisible man failed to materialise.
    Toonie will probably not give Duncan Weir another cap, not rating Weir’s competent adequacy above fanciful (occasional) inadequacy of some others. This was a close match for much of the time, it might have been closer with Weir executing correctly and competently step by step building a score, even if without the Va Va Zoom that seems to be the most important thing now. Hastings has more potential, it might take another season or word cup failure to make or break Hastings etc. Will be educational regarding both Scotland and Toonie, hope it goes his way but I worry about the odds against.

  18. A rerun of the 6 nations game. Wales blitz defence very good and we cant cope. Again we come up against a streetwise team and we cant cope.
    Afraid Toony and the coaching staff have to take the blame for this one.
    Not Gray who gave his usual 100% or Hastings playing his 4th cap agsinst a very well organised and aggresive defence.

    1. What would you have changed in that selection/gameplan readingjock ? I thought overall they stayed in the game and pushed them hard in the last 20 mins. Pretty decent outcome for a backline containing only Dunbar/Jones as first choice and missing some quality in backrow.

      im not to displeased, the union made a million, raised awareness for doddie, No one on our side got injured and it was a good learning experience for Ritchie,Hastings and Kinghorn.

  19. Agree with most of the above re Wales defence & greater organisation & awareness. However, a lot of potential first choice players missing – personally think that John Barclay was greatly missed for experience & skill at the breakdown. More aggression definitely needed – Gray & Toolis combination lacked grunt and brain today. Back-row a real conundrum – Barclay, Denton/Thompson, Watson a likely first choice with either Wilson or Bradbury on bench? Definitely think Laidlaw/Russell half back pairing will provide experience & spark; Price had a mediocre day today & Hastings is a bit raw in experience,though a couple of great territorial kicks showed his game definitely can adapt if needed. Disappointing if not unexpected result, having just a couple of the exiles in today would have made a big difference I think. A win against Fiji is now really important.

  20. Can anyone point me to the law that defines and describes the sanction for double movements? Interesting, because informally (cf. England vs Ireland 2016 et al.) it refers to a second movement of the person once tackled, something that happened many times in that game and went unpunished. But then Raynal was his usual crappy, inconsistent worst. I felt for Dillon Lewis when he was penalised for not releasing because that had rarely happened all game. Raynal is – and has consistently been – a terrible ref. His calls hurt both sides, though. How was Elliot Dee getting a YC for two infringements when they committed 4 in a row earlier?! And how did two consecutive scrums that went the same way end up with different outcomes? Useless.

    But that’s not why we lost. We lost because:

    1) Wales’ (offside) defence was excellent
    2) Wales adapted much better to the ref (inconsistent decision-making aside)
    3) Wales were able to execute more clinically
    4) the coaching staff let our players down
    5) the players didn’t trust the system
    6) the system didn’t appear to work
    7) we panicked like a paedo in a playground at the slightest sniff of an opportunity
    8) we’re still mentally weak.

    We all seen the likes of Jones et al. devastate better teams with far less, but that didn’t happen despite us creating myriad opportunities. Until we get the psychology sorted, we’ll always lose this game. It doesn’t matter that JG and AWJ were roughly equal stats-wise because there are more people with AWJ’s belief in the Wales squad.

    Anyway, congrats to Wales, and I wish them well against Aus. My only question is: given how efficient and effective they were in attack, why did they not attack more?!

    1. Double movement is not a law of rugby union. However, once tackled to ground (and held) you must release the ball…so it is in fact a penalty for not releasing.

      A certain amount of leeway for crawling and rolling and placing the ball seems to be given in general play that does not apply at the try line.

      1. You’re allowed to place the ball in any direction, though, aren’t you. To me it looked like he was tackled and landed with the ball short, then placed it on the line.

      2. Yes…but it must be “immediate”…

        For general play, placing the ball backwards, “immediate” seems to mean about 3 seconds…when placing forwards to score, it seems “immediate” is really immediate.

      3. He had a movement after he was tackled which is why his next movement placing the ball over the line was, correctly, penalised. It was pretty stupid from someone with his experience.

  21. On the plus side, the RWC is not played at the pricipality. Line outs were good.

  22. Such a frustrating game to watch both for seeing toonie out coached by Gatland as much as seeing a few of our key players key weaknesses come to the fore. The most depressing being the lack of go forward in the pack.
    I am afraid JG is just an honest pro – great in pro 14 but without the real combination of physicality and gamesmanship that the team needs. We must give Gilchrist, Skinner and Toolis the game time.
    Similarly Wilson, never a test number 8 and declining in the pecking order of 6s he should return to the pro 14 and let Denton and Hamilton with Richie off the bench take the games time. Let’s hope Thompson can play at least one game.
    Dell and Allan are not at the races (unlike Nel and Berghan who are both looking great) but we don’t have many options. We do seen over reliant on Watson for ideas and god forgive us if he gets injured.. let’s hope hardie finds his mojo at Newcastle.
    A big week for Toonie

  23. Everyone needs to calm down, this wasn’t a disaster. There is no need to single out players or bemoan others that are missing and no need to drop half the team. I find it absolutely hilarious that in the eyes of some Marfo becomes a better player with every game he doesn’t play in, the guys had 3 good games in his career. I’d love to see him come back and show he can play at that level consistently but he’s only ever played a handful of games at pro 14 or English Premiership level, the team isn’t missing him. Dell and Allan are more than competent looseheads at international level. Gray is also more than competent and yes we’d all love to see him dominate games more but he doesn’t and neither will Gilchrist, Cummings or Harley so lets not talk of dropping him. I’m interested to see Skinner come into the side as he looks a player but he’s not a giant of a lock, similar in stature to Swinson in fact so anyone expecting a bulldozer will be disappointed.

    Gatland outcoached Townsend yesterday. We rocked up and they smothered us completely in defence. And despite that if Pete Horne had caught his brothers chip we would have been within touching distance with Wales still a man down as the game headed to its conclusion. We could do with more go forward up front but that would have been Bradbury yesterday had he been fit. Ritchie and Wilson are fine players and for all people bemoan Wilson he was the player who went back to remonstrate with Moriarty when he put in a cheap shot after the ball had gone, at least one player in the side has the balls to stick up for his team mates and you need that. I know when we next play England and Farrell or Itoje are putting themselves about that I’d want Wilson on the pitch. Ridiculously underappreciated just because he doesn’t carry like Bill Mata.

    1. On what evidence is Dell more than competent at international level? Point out 1 good game against a decent side. Likewise Allan, maybe he will be, but he’s not played. Gordy Reid should be ahead as are, Marfo and Sutherland when fit, because they did it against top quality opposition. It is perfectly possible to play yourself out of contention.

      1. What? For starters neither did anything incompetent yesterday.

        Allan, Dell, Bhatti, Sutherland, Reid and maybe even Marfo are all much of a muchness. None are top class and each has different strengths and weaknesses but all will do a competent job. Marfo is clearly the weakest of the lot though, 3 good games in a career that he’s been unable to back up since and people think he will be starting at the world cup. Come on now. The best bet long term may be Sutherland regaining previous form but Allan has been the form Scottish loosehead this season and Dell is fine, he’s bulked up enough to keep the scrum steady and is far more capable in the loose than the likes of Reid.

        I get that you can play yourself out of contention but you can’t just drop the entire team because they all played poorly when the coach was clearly out thought.

      2. He didn’t keep the scrum steady in the few scrums he was involved with yesterday, Which looked beaten on his side. And he was outmuscled by bigger men in the loose. Spin it however you like, but it’s self sabotage to play a lightweight prop at international level. Regardless of whether he has bulked up, he has relatively narrow shoulders, a neck and a waist. I’ll be worried if he starts against South Africa. It’s like having someone who can’t pass / kick as your fly half or butterfingers in the centres. Sometimes it’s a simple game! As for Marfo, he’s clearly bigger and stronger, more than held his own against Samoa, New Zealand and Australia and was reportedly good for Edinburgh before then. As far as I think is known he’s been injured since, but was still given a contract extension where Cockerill said he was influential and a big part of the clubs plans. So, if he makes it back it’s reasonable to think he’s in contention.

      3. It’s not criticism for criticism’s sake. Coaches make clangers that would be obvious if they weren’t so close to the team. So if Sutherland, Marfo aren’t coming back, let’s see the fix: Reid (where we got last 6 nations), Allan and I think Berghan should be tried (Fagerson will be back before RWC). If there was a more powerful platform yesterday and a broader guy at 8 things may have been different. They need to get the simple stuff right so we’re not handing the opposition a psychological fillip from the start.

    2. The weird thing is that we all knew what Wales were going to do defensively, so why didn’t Toonie and his team come up with an attack strategy that nullified that? Or, if they did, why wasn’t it executed correctly?

      There weren’t many players who let themselves down hugely yesterday, although there were costly errors from several, so I totally agree that there’s no need to castigate players or demand that they be dropped. Yes, Huw Jones got caught out, but Dunbar (for example) made fools out of Davies, Parkes and Moriarty, and I doubt any Welsh fans are calling for them to be dropped as a result (he also floored Lydiate).

      I still think we’ll beat them at Murrayfield next year.

  24. Perhaps the conclusion here is that a team drawn from 4 pro sides is better than one from 2 pro sides. I am not saying we need another side, I am saying we need to have a greater strategy for exiles. Someone posted this was practically a full welsh side as they have a few exiles and they are all injured. Gets you thinking, We are looking solid in the Pro 14 (even when we strip away our International players) , wales are a bit mixed but they do have an International side that works.Wales have been through bad times as well, our academy is working , I feel we are at the next stap in that journey , what next ?

    1. The thing is, two of those four Welsh sides got dealt with comfortably by our sides. The difference was in the coaching, not the players. Anscombe did nothing all game, Halfpenny only dealt with kicks, North had two good runs, Davies had one good run…

      1. Not sure I understand, we might even be in agreement.

        Our 1st choice home based international side lost , but both our sides fielding a team of composite players, won. We have a greater dependancies on exiles than Wales at international level . Wales have the luxury (and cost) of four pro sides to develop it’s skill base. We will never get a third side IMO , I can see no infrastructure to support. In fact our efforts are in making Edinburgh a sustainable experience at the minute.

        Despite all of that, it was not a massive loss, from early on the match it looked like a game we could not win, so what do we need to do to overcome the gap between pro14 success and international success !

  25. Like everyone else i’m very disappointed at yesterday’s result. Once upon a time i enjoyed watching us playing against Wales but have seen us lose too many games that we should have won, yesterday was another.
    A collective depressing performance from Scotland , we knew what to expect but seemed little able to affect the outcome which is the most upsetting thing as we have in GT an imaginative enough coach.
    We had enough opportunities and line breaks to win but despite having an almost complete Glasgow backline, butchered them routinely in a most un Glasgow like fashion.
    Reynauds interpretation at the breakdown didn’t help as hands were constantly ignored in the ruck and defences allowed to stray offside at will. We could argue the interpretation was the same for both sides but with only one side looking to attack it harmed us more than them.
    What needs to happen?
    The Dunbar/Jones centre pairing were found wanting in defence yesterday, Did this not happen against Wales (or was it Engerlund) last year? Matt Scott for me is the in form centre , get him in there.
    Russel would obviously have made such a difference but Hastings had to be blooded in a serious international. Job done.
    The forwards Had no go forward. We have known for some time we need a dynamic ball carrying forward In the mould of a Vunipola or O’Brien. The rift needs to be sorted with Strauss or sentence Denton to a 6 month course in offloading and get one of them in.
    I’d like to see Hardie regain his form at Newcastle (in 2015/16 he was the first name on anyones teamsheet) and spell Hamish Watson for the last 20mins.
    J.Gray was toast all day long against AWJ. The welshman being some years beyond his sell by date this should not have happened. Gray is immense for Glasgow but does not seem to raise his game at international level the way locks such as AWJ do, nor does he have any bite to his game. Time to give someone else a run in the jersey. Ditto for Toolis.

    1. Don’t forget Gray had AWJ on toast two years ago. We need a ball carrier, but Gray essential to all things defence.

    2. Scott is concussed, isn’t he? Same with Denton. And what did AWJ do better than Gray yesterday? No dominant carries, his only dominant tackles were assisted, nothing really of note in the tight or the loose. The only thing he did was keep whispering sweet nothings in MR’s ear. And we got plenty of go forward in the second-half.

    3. I think Gray is starting to show that he is a good PRO 14 player but not a top flight International.

      1. One poor game (or rather, less than exceptional) and suddenly he’s “not international class”. I think you’ll find that most “world class” locks miss more tackles, hit fewer rucks and/or make fewer carries. The problem is that the opposition know he is going to be the ball carrier because we don’t seem to have many other options.
        His lineout work is top drawer and his work rate round the park is exceptional. that being said, I’ve always thought he could be more dynamic/explosive both in attack and defence, but I’d much rather he made 10/10 tackles than made 2 big hits, missed 3 tackles and wasn’t even in position for the other 5 (like some locks who make the headlines).

  26. Consistency in referring decisions – really? It should be skillful play which wins games, not whimsical or capricious interpretation of the laws.

  27. Easy now. It’s really tough to win in Cardiff and the only NH team which does it with any consistency is England. Even Ireland usually get beaten there.
    We went there with a 22 year old 4x capped fly half in his first proper season as a first choice pro and a 22 year old debutant on the flank.
    Wales had more of their frontline players available.
    We will improve.

  28. Thought it was Wilson’s best game in a Scotland shirt I can remember. Fairplay to him, maybe the emergence of Denton, Bradbury and Thompson as reasonable competitors for the 8 jersey have given him a boost.

  29. Well that was a frustrating afternoon screaming at the tv. Not sure how many times Townsend has to pick a light forward pack and watch them get barrelled backwards in contact to see that we need bigger ball carrying players!
    For me a few things stood out/ frustrated me…in no particular order

    Wilson is not an international back row at 6 or 8. Keep him to the bench at most to cover the entire back row. Please get some bulk in for next week. Denton will do for now but ideally would like to see Thomson and Bradbury getting a run when fit.

    Hastings struggled against the welsh defence. Not a surprise really as he wasn’t helped out much by Price . Remember when Finn first started he had laidlaw taking a lot of the pressure off him with box kicks and choosing more carefully when to release the ball. Maybe we should give Hastings some time in the saddle with Laidlaw pulling the strings from 9?

    Our forwards kept the ball for too long. Not scoring against 14 men was criminal. Again a little bit of lack of control/ authority from the half backs.

    Why do our forwards insist on taking the ball STANDING STILL at the side of the ruck? Every other international teams forwards RUN ONTO THE BALL at pace. I am sick to death of watching Jonny Gray stand 5 yards to the side of a ruck, catch the ball, turn sideways and then get chopped down immediately and not make any ground. This then just gives other teams the chance of easy turnover ball, especially when the rucks were a lottery like they were yesterday. Lets bench Gray for a game and hopefully give him the rocket he needs. He always seems to play better when alongside his big bro.

  30. Quite a bit of over reaction here I’d say. Away from home we secured opportunities to win the game – we weren’t clinical enough and needed a more aggressive pack effort. But we’re not a million miles off. Key thing is dealing with aggressive line speed better.

    In the pack, maybe Skinner and Thompson will help. I think Bradbury and Matt Fagerson also have a good shout. Confident Ritchie will get there but maybe a little behind those two at the moment. Didn’t think there was much wrong with front row or Jonny Gray. I don’t think Toolis is quite up to test level though and much prefer Gilchrist. When Richie Gray is back he’ll be straight in if he shows any form.

    But overall issues weren’t so much personnel as execution. Hastings did fine and we need to give him time to develop. Cardiff is one of the hardest places to go in world rugby so he’ll be better for the experience and next time he goes he’ll have a dozen more caps to his name.

    1. I think ‘overreaction’ might be a bit too strong. Not everyone sees the big picture as you do , however everyone feels let down and that is what I am reading and feeling. We probably did not expect to win, we did expect some progress.

      We are ‘not a million miles off’ that I agree with, so what went wrong ! From the start of the match nothing worked, it was only going one way and against 14 men we gave away scrum penalties and could not score. That is not coaching , that is not lack of clinical finishing. We fell for every trick Wales pulled.

      I think our supporters were humiliated yesterday, we know they are better than that and the score line was closer than the credibility gap. Fortunately history will only show the score, not the depth of dismay at the way we went about it.

      Eddie Jones got it right when he called the welsh ‘cunning’. We need to get smarter , we are not playing gentlemen we are playing men who will win at any cost.

      1. Come off it we should have the honesty to admit that was an unacceptable 10 minutes. Most of yesterdays shortfalls were old wounds reopened. I stand by my point , nothing to do with the referee .

        Can you imagine the NZ AB returning home having failed to take a single point off of 7 men in the scrum and being tricked into giving away a penalty. There would be a lynching squad at the airport.

      2. I’m not saying it was acceptable. I’m saying that MR screwed us in the scrum and at the ruck. Wales appear wheel a retreating scrum and it’s play on. Scotland appear(?) to wheel a scrum and it’s a penalty. MR is incompetent. He’s been incompetent in every game I’ve seen him ref, including our famous double against Leicester.

      3. Reynal may have missed the first wheel but never missed the second, it remains a penalty so dont do it.

        We needed the ball, we needed the try, they needed to waste time, they knew he would not send a second man off, we had the extra man , we had the horsepower to keep it steady, he adjudged we wheeled. They gambled and we were nieve.

  31. Is Johnny Gray a 1 trick pony ? who would be your starting test locks if everyone was fit ? somthing i would like to hear about in the next pod.

    1. Every side needs a Jonny Gray, as spectators we dont see it , everyone who has played rugby knows the players that look good and those that you could trust with your life, a players player and Gray is the kind of man you want in every team. I also do not agree with the criticism of Toolis. I used to feel he did not justify a place however he has matured considerably. We have a broad range of very competent 2nd rows , difficult to know who to leave out, I feel it depends on the opposition and what game you want to play. Thankfully, not my decision.

  32. Bog standard “Scotland at Millenium Stadium” loss….typically 7 to 15 points from 2000 (2002 the exception) to 2012. Since then, gubbed in 2014 and 2018, close loss in 2016.

    On that basic measure we have seen no improvement in this fixture in well over a decade…for me, a systemic issue, rather than individual players or even coaches.

    1. Alanyst, this was a completely different game to many of those matches you mentioned. But for two Huw Jones missed tackles, a brain-fart by Jonny Gray, a 50/50 TMO call on Horne’s try, and a lack of control at the base of a wheeling scrum by Wilson, the scoreline could have been 9-31 to Scotland. Obviously ifs buts and maybes but Wales have been the better team for 15 years , in terms of rankings, and especially at home.
      I think if this game had been played at Murrayfield those missed chances would have stuck.

      1. I agree entirely that we have come out to play for a win in a way that previously we couldn’t do…

        But for all that the scoreline remains stubbornly the same (or worse)!

        As you say, the frustration should be that this was a game we could have won, if we had just been a bit sharper

  33. Team for Fiji?
    1- Dell
    2- McInally
    4- Gray
    5- Gilchrist
    6- Wilson
    7- Ritchie
    8- Fagerson
    9- Laidlaw
    10- Hastings
    11- Maitland
    12- Dunbar
    13- Jones
    14- Graham
    15- Kinghorn

    16- Brown
    17- Allan
    18- Berghan
    19- Skinner
    20- Watson
    21- G.Horne
    22- Russell
    23- McGuigan

  34. I dont think the referee did anything that bad tbh, had a good game overall.

    You could of put any ref on that game we still would of lost.

  35. A disappointing defeat but not a disaster as some have already said on here. Peter Horne’s loss of control of the ball reminded me of another occasion at RWC 11 v England when de Luca treated the ball like a bar of soap when all he had to do was catch it and fall over the line to score. Had Horne P scored, we would with a conversion have been four behind with, what, five minutes to go, and still very much in it – despite our lapses throughout which others have pointed out in detail.
    Haven’t seen the territory stats, but watching it from up high in the stadium, it seemed that easily more than 50% of the game was played in the Wales half.
    That Wales defending is hellishly impressive, and we have to find new or better executed ways of breaching theirs and others’ highly organised rush defences.
    Thought Hamish Watson had an excellent game. Aside from his jackalling and linking, from memory he carried a lot too in his characteristic pinball style. As an out and out 7, he has the right to see others in his pack making hard yards. So, agree, we do lack gainline-breaking power up front.

  36. Another throw of the dice for Saturdays team:

    1. Allan
    2. Brown
    3. Nel
    4. Skinner
    5. Gilchrist
    6. Watson
    7. Wilson
    8. Fagerson
    9. Laidlaw
    10. Russell
    11. Graham
    12. Scott (if fit, or Jones)
    13. Dunbar
    14. Maitland
    15. Kinghorn

    16. Bergan
    17. McInally
    18. McCallum
    19. Gray
    20. Denton
    21. G. Horne
    22. H. Jones or (P.Horne if no Scott)
    23. Hastings

    1. Change Scott and Dunbar around and I could go for this one, both are more accustomed to the 12 jersey but Scott has more experience of actually playing 13 if memory serves me correct.

      I’d maybe look at the balance of backs on your bench. More likely to have a SH, FH/centre and a back 3 so if Hastings on the bench then I’d have Seymour as my last bench option rather than Jones or Horne Sr.

  37. Losing was not the low point of this game, this was :

    14 men ,
    10 mins ,
    No points

    There is no avoiding the facts and those facts take us back years.

    I recall one match under Hadden at Murrayfield, Wales went down to 13 men and a welshman in front of me saying ‘how many men do we need to take off before Scotland can score against us’.

    Sometimes , the truth hurts.

    1. Hah, dark times. Wasn’t so long ago that Wales couldn’t score against 13 Aussies. They’ve gone from least efficient in attack to highly efficient in two years – a good turnaround.

  38. Had a bit more time to reflect on the game. I was pretty unhappy at Reynal’s refereeing yesterday but then I started to think his interpretation of the offside line and breakdown should have been well known to the Scotland analysts. The combination of slow ruck ball, Wales fast line speed and lack of policing of the offside line killed our attack in the first half but it shouldn’t have been a surprise. Actually it was a big test for Hastings and my heart sank when he missed touch with the first penalty. It was only later in the second half with bench changes, playing a bit deeper with dummy runners and an injection of pace from George Horne that we looked threatening. Actually thought George Horne did enough to displace Ali Price for the foreseeable future.

    On another day we could have won that game. A tiny bit more patience for the Gray opportunity and stickier fingers for Peter Horne and we’d have had enough momentum to close out that game. Away to a team significantly above us in the rankings its not too bad.

    Tighten up the mid field defence, especially off fast first phase ball. Get the right balance in the back row. I’d bring in Fagerson and move Wilson to 6. (Rennie isn’t daft) Then put a rocket up the front 5 before the game.

  39. Jonny Gray copping plenty of flak for the ‘double movement’. Only trouble is that it was a Welsh hand scooping it back not Gray pushing it forward. Dillon Lewis, the Welsh tighthead, is the man that tackles Gray to ground. At no point does he release, leaving his hands in on the ball. As he continues to pull from a jackalling position the ball gets dragged onto the Welsh line. No clear release from the tackler who then plays the ball is a penalty Scotland…

    1. That’s actually a strong argument for a penalty try, if the tackler prevented Gray placing the ball on the line for the score.

  40. Now that I’ve calmed down and flicked through the match again. The referee wasn’t great but was fairly balanced, I thought the yellow card was pretty soft, only annoying thing was the scrum towards the end against 7 that we lost the ball on, I can’t understand for the life of me why it wasn’t a penalty advantage to us, we went straight through them.

    Kinghorn did fine, the back 3 didn’t get much ball to work with in attack but his kicking game was measured and assured. Lee Jones showed up well a couple of times, Seymour very quiet again, he would be in a dangerous place if it was my tombola with Maitland and McGuigan to come back.

    Huw Jones was caught a couple of times but they were hardly howlers, good play by the welsh forcing him into a 50/50 decision and he got it wrong. Dunbar played very well I thought, showed a fair bit in attack too which hasn’t been his forte recently IMO. I really don’t get all the hate Pete Horne gets on here, what exactly did he do wrong yesterday? He fumbled a very tricky ball rushing towards a rapidly approaching dead ball line. Hastings will have got an important lesson, he goes to the bench with Finn coming back. Price I still think was pretty bad, it’s a vicious circle as we all know, lack of go forward creates slow ball, which stops you going forward. What is always clear to me though is your 9 taking an eternity does you no favours. G Horne was a definite step up when he came on.

    As for the forwards, I thought Dell struggled, his side of the scrum seemed the creakiest. WP gave away a few penalties too but otherwise had a pretty good game. McInally played well but I was very impressed with Fraser Brown, he deserves a start in some of the games.

    1. Continued…

      Second and backrows were just overpowered. With Gray and Toolis you have two fairly skilful locks who control the line out and make their tackles all day, they offer very little in terms of ball carrying though. That’s fine if you have a clear ball carrier in the back row but we don’t have one of them either. I didn’t think anyone in the back row played that badly I thought Ritchie was solid if unspectacular, Watson was outstanding and Wilson has a pretty good game too. It’s just as a unit they don’t offer enough bite. God bless him pinball tries but he is not a big powerful ball carrier, neither is Wilson. We need a big no8 end of. When you are playing against a very effective rush defence like Wales you need to punch up the middle, throwing the ball from side to side just makes you go backwards.

      All in all I don’t think there’s too much cause for concern, he backs will be strengthened by the exiles becoming avaliable. We just need to sort out who we pick in the forwards. For me Allan in for Dell, Wilson to 6, Fagerson in at 8 (if Denton isn’t avaliable). Laidlaw and Russell in, Price out and Hastings to bench. Maitland in / Seymour out. Fiji is a must win and we have struggled against Pacific Islanders of all types in recent years (some of the results paint a rosier picture than the reality)

      1. Great and fair summing up.

        Thought Price really was on the money with some of his box kicks which made us really good territory at times but other than that was pretty unspectacular. At least he has learned not to throw interception passes in Wales which is good.

      2. Yeah, Pete Horne gets abuse no matter what he does. It was a really difficult catch and the fact that he almost made it was good – a lot of people wouldn’t even have got that close! I still don’t think he is the future as he isn’t quite good enough to take Scotland to the next level, but lets leave the criticism to when he deserves it!

        I mostly agree otherwise – although I would say rather than H.Jones making the wrong call, I don’t think there was a right call – if he had gone the other way, so would the ball.
        While I agree Laidlaw with Horne on the bench is likely our strongest option, I would like to see Horne starting at least 1 game – people slate him as just an impact player and I would like to see what he can do from the start.

      3. It was 2 on 1 , he got it wrong in a split second. He wont be the first and the last talented scottish back to miss his tackles. Talking of which where was the full back in that play.

  41. Finn Russell will make a huge difference – contributed significantly to Racing’s victory on Sunday against Montpellier. He has the x factor that was sorely missed against Wales.

    1. Great miss pass to Zebo for the first try and 2 stunning backhand offloads.
      If he carries that form through to Scotland, he will take us a long way.

      He did have a really bad kick charge down as well though…..

    2. Changed man since he moved. I have my theory , but it is not a popular one. He may be able to bring that play to the AI ‘s but the 6N may shrink him back into his shell.Keep watching.

      1. Correct Rory ….and I will be, think you secretly love it and may even be my fellow conspirator, in disguise .

      2. Doubt it, I rate Hoggy very highly as one of the finest players it has been my pleasure to watch over the last 10 years covering the game here. And there have been plenty of unpleasurable ones!

      3. I think (based on close observation) that his theory is thus: Stuart Hogg is a negative influence on, say, Russell, Hastings, Jones, Horne, the Glasgow team, the Scotland team, any team he plays in, the game of rugby and possibly the universe because some sort of unbridled ego issue means that Hogg becomes the most important player in the team to the detriment of all others. I could have it wrong though, I’m sure Ben will correct me!

      4. Near perfection as always Rory , but the universe !!!

        Your a genius ,there might be Scottish qualified player out there , great idea. Maybe we could rocket Scott Johnson off on Virgin Glactic to find them, with the Bay City Rollers hit ‘Bye Bye Baby’ echoing through the PA at Murrayfield as a send off.

        Neil and Blake will be the first to card them in their team sheets (as ever)..

  42. Website ate my comment… fair call, but I’ll try again regardless…

    I’ve complained about MR’s refereeing and others have observed that we should have prepped better for him, but consider Leicester vs Warriors in 2016 – he’s happy with broadly legal competition at the breakdown. Then look at England vs Scotland the same year – he essentially bans us from competing at the breakdown. Then look at him on Saturday – he allows both teams to slow the ball down hugely and makes extra effort to coach the Wales guys out of penalties. In three games he’s had a totally different approach to a key facet of the game; how do you prepare for that?

    Of course this doesn’t excuse the players or coaching staff for not adapting. I think this is where Wales really edged it and, like NZ or Ireland, gave the ref what he wanted to see. We need to get Richie McCaw in to teach us the art of streetwisery. Finally, on several occasions one of our players received the ball and hesitated about what to do, changing direction or just panicking. Every time a Welsh player got the ball, they knew what to do.

    1. Good call on McCaw and he is has scottish heritage . Agree with you there though I would think Cockers is a reasonable bet having played with the ruthless Martin Johnson.

      1. My recollection is that he generally gave them a couple of warnings each time to release the ball.

      1. Would need to look closer but the Welsh seemed to know how long to hold on to the ball to slow it down then letting go just in time but also letting go when told. It’s possible Wales have asked him before the match could u tell us if we’re illegal and we’ll let immediately please sir and Scots haven’t bothered so that may have helped Wales in the breakdown.

  43. So don’t know about anyone else but I have the fear ahead of Fiji. They always have world class outside backs but now they have Nakarawa, Mata and Yato their forwards are also looking terrifying.

    We really have to control the tempo of this game, cut out sloppy turnovers and execute an intelligent kicking game for territory. I think our lineout maul should be a big weapon and we are going to face big tacklers but nowhere near the organisation of wales. So we should win but this game has banana skin written all over it.

    1. Having tried so hard, so much possession yet failing to score, the big enemy will be confidence. It is all about what is going on in their minds.

      FiJi will play fair , they just love to play rugby, winning is important but not vital. Rugby will be the winner this Saturday.

      Wales on the other hand define their nations reputation on the world stage through rugby.

      Don’t you feel so proud to be a scot.

      1. Wales clinical but boring and how do they get off with being at least a metre offside in defence they have been doing it for years yet that twat Jonathon Davies calls it good line speed he is more biased than even Brian Moore.

    2. I also have the fear for this one
      There’s an inevitability that Fiji are going to rise as a power in World rugby. They have and are retaining the players. They’re getting regular top-flight club rugby exposure. The test team coaching is improving. They’re going to hand out some spankings and upsets and it really wouldn’t be good to be on the front line of that.

  44. Six players added to the squad this morning: Strauss, Weir, Grigg, Cummings, Ashe and HOGG :)

    Four look they are out for the series: Scott, Lang, Denton and Thomson.

    Three released back to Edinburgh: Ford, Pyrgos and Fife.

    1. Didn’t see that coming. Let’s hope Strauss can do a job, although I don’t think he’s played much this season. Obviously great to have Hoggy back, but I don’t want to see him against Fiji – let’s save him for SA.

  45. Wales are a dull dull team to watch. Do the basics and are canny in being offside and slowing the ball down. After that no flair or finesse.

    This game was there for the taking and on another day we would have got the job done. I have no doubts we will give them a spanking at Murrayfield in the 6N.

    Thought Horne Jr really shifted the momentum.

    Did no-one else think the welsh pulled the ball over the line rather than it being a J Gray “double movement” ?

    1. All I agree with. I reckon its harder to call an offside if all come up as a line. Much easier to see one out of the line looking suspect. Like the yellow card offside just looked wrong. Given that refs should know the tactic and research it. Ping it early on and so make it harder to do as the match goes on.

      Remember when Price was introduced against Tonga and we said he’s so much faster off the mark. Now we’ve got Horne who is even quicker and Price is being called slow. He is such a threat everywhere, his support running is incredible hence his try record. Very Visser like. He is fast off the mark but I also think he’s much more vocal and organises and demands what he wants too. Him and Finn are a real threat for the future.

      Comments already addressed the issue of the try above. Seems again some streetwise stuff going on and Gray being completely innocent.

      1. Price has definitely got slower and more conservative since Cardiff in the 6Ns.

        Understandable to an extent, but when pace was a major part of your game you are going to have to rethink your strategy.

    1. Because he’s always been bread and butter, and is playing very well for Worcester Warriors. So why not? I’d like to see John Hardy and Blair Cowan have a run out this Autumn, also Tim Visser the man who made big George North look ordinary when Scotland beat Wales in 2017 , under Vern Cotter who is one of the few coaches in the world who could out smart Warren Garland .

      1. Blair Cowan? Why?

        Visser has retired.

        Hardy hasn’t played for 10 months.

        Do you watch rugby?

  46. Stu2 All fair points. I do think Townsend merits some criticism for his handling of certain players. I for one would love to have a player like Visser to call upon if needed but Townsend seemed to have just slammed the door on him, prompting his retirement, Strauss the same (minus retirement) when both still have a lot to offer. I hope Strauss gets a shot somewhere this autumn. Hardie doesnt merit a place at all but I do believe at Newcastle he will make both 6 nations and RWC squads. Weir I can actually see sense to. The last thing we need against Fiji is a Finnformance. I agree with the above poster, I have an unsettling feeling about this Fiji game. We should be looking at a 12-15 point win but I dont trust our game plan or leadership to achieve it. We cannot try to out-Fiji Fiji

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