Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Scotland v Ireland: Six Nations 2019, Match Preview pt II – head to heads

[Edinburgh, UK. February 04, 2017] Stuart Hogg is congratulated by teammates after scoring his second try for Scotland vs Ireland in the RBS Six Nations Championship at BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh. (c) ALASTAIR ROSS | Novantae Photography Photo Credit: Alastair Ross / Novantae Photography

It’s been 14 years since Scotland and Ireland last met in Round 2 of the Six Nations (rather anomalously the dark blues have played Wales eight times in their second match of the tournament since then). Unsurprisingly no-one from either of the two teams that day is involved on Saturday!

The most recent encounter between these two sides was last season’s clash at the Aviva Stadium and 30 of the 46 players who contested that game return this time round, 15 for Scotland and 15 for Ireland. Here’s how they match up:

Tale of the tape

67   Tries   76
94kg   Average weight   97kg
279   Total caps   338
135   6N caps   164
28.3   Average age   29.3

896kg   Pack weight   900kg
12   Tries   29
199   Total caps  368
6N caps   177
27.7   Average age   29.1

151   Total caps   160
6N caps   62
   Tries   13
26.5   Average age   26.4

4 changes to Scotland starting XV from last Test (v Italy)

  • 11 – Maitland for Kinghorn [+]
  • 3 – Berghan for Nel [-]
  • 4/5 – Gray for Toolis [+]
  • 6/8 – Strauss for Skinner with Wilson moving from 8 to 6 [-]

15 Stuart Hogg
14 Tommy Seymour
13 Huw Jones
12 Sam Johnson
11 Sean Maitland
10 Finn Russell
9 Greig Laidlaw (c)
ADV Scotland
ADV Ireland
ADV Scotland
ADV Ireland
ADV Ireland
ADV Ireland
15 Rob Kearney
14 Keith Earls
13 Chris Farrell
12 Bundee Aki
11 Jacob Stockdale
10 Johnny Sexton (c)
9 Conor Murray

1 Allan Dell
2 Stuart McInally
3 Simon Berghan
4 Grant Gilchrist
5 Jonny Gray
6 Ryan Wilson
7 Jamie Ritchie
8 Josh Strauss

ADV Ireland
ADV Scotland
ADV Ireland
ADV Ireland
ADV Scotland
ADV Ireland

1 Cian Healy
2 Rory Best
3 Tadhg Furlong
4 James Ryan
5 Quinn Roux
6 Peter O’Mahony
7 Sean O’Brien
8 Jack Conan

16 Fraser Brown
17 Jamie Bhatti
18 D’arcy Rae
19 Ben Toolis
20 Rob Harley
21 Ali Price
22 Peter Horne
23 Blair Kinghorn

ADV Ireland
ADV Ireland
ADV Scotland
ADV Ireland
ADV Scotland
ADV Ireland

16 Sean Cronin
17 Dave Kilcoyne
18 Andrew Porter
19 Ultan Dillane
20 Josh van der Flier
21 John Cooney
22 Joey Carbery
23 Jordan Larmour


Backs – advantage Ireland

Both sides have picked back 3s with top notch aerial skills and who are excellent under the high ball. Ireland will feel it is an area they can attack with intent and Scotland’s selection maybe tends a little more towards being able to defuse some of the bombs coming their way.

That being said England were able to have a pretty decent crack at nullifying the Irish kicking game. Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton will also know if they don’t put their high balls right on the money the Scottish trio of Stuart Hogg, Sean Maitland and Tommy Seymour will need no second invitation to counterattack.

Forwards – advantage Ireland

Injuries have knocked out some first choice back rowers for both sides but there is still plenty of talent on show. Ireland will bring a lot of power – in particular Scotland know the damage Sean O’Brien can do. The Tullow Tank is 32 now though and has had a horrendous run of bad luck with injuries. Since the Lions tour in 2017 he’s averaged just 61 minutes of game time per month.

Up against him Jamie Ritchie is a very different style of player and he’ll look to win the breakdown battle through his speed and athleticism. Ritchie has been Scotland’s best forward this season and has made the absence of Hamish Watson slightly easier to bear.

Subs – advantage Ireland

There is an awful lot more strength in depth for Gregor Townsend to call on this week, although injuries are still exposing Scotland slightly in a couple of key positions. Ireland also have plenty of experience on the bench – but it may well be that if the game is in the balance both coaches will play their starters in key positions deep into the game rather than risk change for change’s sake.


–  If he makes it off the bench D’arcy Rae will be the 30th player to make his debut for Scotland since the last World Cup. Starting with Zander Fagerson against England in the 2016 Six Nations there have been 8 new caps in the final year or so of the Cotter regime and a further 22 (including D’arcy) in the Townsend era:

  • 8 props
  • 2 hookers
  • 2 locks
  • 6 back rows
  • 2 scrum halves
  • 1 stand off
  • 6 centres
  • 3 wings / full backs

– Combinations can often be key. Here’s how frequently each of the Scottish teams’ units have started together for the national side:

  • Front row – 2nd time
  • Second row – 10th
  • Back row – 1st *
  • Half backs – 31st
  • Centres – 2nd
  • Back 3 – 18th

– Since the last Six Nations the Irish back 3 of Kearney, Earls and Stockdale have scored 1 try in a combined 15 appearances. The Scottish trio of Hogg, Seymour and Maitland have notched 6 in 13.

Rob Harley is in line to make his first Six Nations appearance since March 2016. His previous 2 matches in the tournament were also against Ireland.

– Ireland hooker Sean Cronin made his Six Nations debut back in March 2010 but has yet to start a match in the championship with all 31 of his appearances coming from the bench.

Missed part 1? Check it out here. Featuring the previous history between these two sides; Ireland scouting report; and Scotland’s record with M. Poite as referee.

* the breakaway trio did play most of last week’s match together after Sam Skinner had to be withdrawn after just 12 minutes.

88 Responses

  1. There are quite a lot of 50/50 calls there that could have gone either way, which suggests it could be a pretty tight game.

    Backs I would say overall about even on recent form, with Ireland having a slight advantage in the forwards (mainly at prop). Even the subs are fairly close for the most part.

    The key battle is going to be the scrum – particularly if it’s going to be wet – as if we can’t at least get parity it will be a long day.

    Overall, Ireland probably have the stronger team, but the Murrayfield factor might be enough to make things more or less even.

    Has to be the match of the round for me.

  2. Advantage Ireland in the backs based on box kicking and receiving said box kicks?

    Our backs are much more talented than theirs, especially in the centre.

    1. For sheer inventiveness, I’d agree with you, but as a whole, the Irish backs are a stronger, more consistent unit. It doesn’t help that we haven’t been able to have consistency in the centres due to injuries/loss of form, but the silkiness/elusiveness of Johnson’s running and distribution is encouraging.

      Perhaps also, despite a couple of errors, some wee glimpses of the Jones of old last week, especially one burst of acceleration in midfield in the second half that took him well beyond the gain line. If he can find his timing and general mojo, I think we’ll be in really good shape in the backs if we win enough ball. Two big ifs there…

    2. Mainly the half backs and their ability to control a game that make the difference. Not to say that Russell and Laidlaw can’t come out on top on the right day (and Murray and Sexton were off their usual high standard last week). But in a head to head 2 players who have been among the world’s best in their positions for a number of years now have to have the advantage.

    1. My impression is that Earls has been playing better than at any time in his career over the last year or so.

      1. A lot of Irish performances get talked up because the fans are desperate for their province’s players to be in the international XV. It’s like an arms race of bragging the likes of which you rarely see outside of a primary school.

        When I have watched Munster recently (against Glasgow, Leinster, Castres and Exeter) Earls has been average.

      2. I don’t think you can get 75 caps for Ireland and 250+ appearances for Munster by being average! Personally what I’ve seen of Earls in recent times is a player who is crucial to how Ireland and Munster want to play. If he’s missing it has a big impact on some of the options they have. Stockdale has had all the kudos in the last year and a half but, for me, Earls is a far better all-round player on the wing and bigger contributor to Ireland’s successes and the heights they’ve reached in the last few years.

    1. Its good of Fraser Brown to come back just in time to put Earls in his place.

      That’ll be one of the highlights of the weekend if FB gets the shoulder in. Perhaps Ryan Wilson could be nearby.

      1. Just hope no one gets caught doing this stuff. We can ill afford indiscipline to go against us. Doesn’t take much of the wrong stuff to cost us and tackling even fairly can cost you if seen in the wrong light. We need to be up for it but controlled. Any of Brown’s Twickenham nonsense and we’ll be up against it just like England were last week. They got away with it by playing the 14 men period well. We do not have form in this area at all. Not a gamble I’d like to take.

  3. With the high winds and certainly with a wet pitch if not actual rain, I think this will be won or lost in the packs. If that makes it the bish bash bosh kind of game I suspect every single member of the starting forwards and bench will need to stand up and be counted. Hopeful though that a throaty Murrayfield will help keep the performance levels high! Important to put some doubt in Irish minds early as well pressurising the halfbacks.

    Dogged win by a handful of points with both teams scoring under 20…anyone?

  4. Gotta disagree on the backs, old chap: I’d take Seymour over Earls, Johnson over Aki and Maitland over Stockdale any day. Our three play for better clubs than their three, and our backs in general score more tries/cap. And Kinghorn is surely better than Larmour… Not sure Ritchie is the equal of the great Sean O’Brien, either.

    Interesting that our subs have score more tries in fewer games, although most of those are wee Kinghorn! Really excited about this game, even if I think our chances of winning it are remote. If we do so, I think we’ve a reasonable chance of making it to Twickenham unbeaten. If not… :(

      1. I didn’t say he wasn’t. But Maitland is a better player. Mike Brown was player of the championship in 2014, but that didn’t make him better than Hoggy.

    1. While I don’t subscribe to the Seymour is in poor form argument he’s not reached the heights he did pre-Lions tour.

      As I’ve mentioned elsewhere Earls is crucial to how Ireland want to play.

      If Johnson can kick on from a very positive first cap (against very poor opposition) he’ll be a very handy player for Scotland – but one swallow doesn’t make a summer!

      Stockdale’s made a flying start to his Test career – 12 tries in 13 caps. Maitland’s play in the Autumn was the best of his Scotland career. More complete skillset but doesn’t have the raw speed and strength of the younger man.

      Kinghorn and Larmour are both generational talents. They’ll hopefully be going up against each other in big matches for years to come.

      Ritchie is flying – Scotland’s best forward this season. SOB is 32 and he’s been hammered by injuries. If he was still the same player he used to be Leinster would have found the money to keep him from moving to London Irish at the end of the season. If he can get an injury free run it’s possible he could still be a big factor at the RWC but right now he must be working his way back to some kind of form.

  5. Would of really liked the Gilchrist/Toolis partnership for this one at the lineout to see if there are any weaknesses is the Irish 2nd row partnership Of Quinn Roux and Jack Ryan, 2 good individuals but inexperienced, Hopefully Gilchrist and Gray can have some success in that regard, With Stander missing also it should really be an area Scotland target if the conditions are bad.

    Hoping the inexperienced partership of Aki-Farell while extremely physical can be exploited in the wide channels and turned around by some
    smart lines from Johnson/Seymour/Jones.

    Lets hope Kearney will have abit of rustiness or it will be a long day trying to finish of any breaks, his defensive positioning is probaly the best in the world also (kicking)

    Ireland will be very predictable but stopping it is going to be the challenge, not expecting alot of tries from Ireland.

    1. Kearney’s positioning is outstanding, but according to Luke Fitzgerald on the Left Wing podcast (who played regularly with him) his actual tackling isn’t that great.

  6. Watching the woman’s game and the Scotland 13 is 5 yards in front of the rest of the defensive line every phase and offside most of the time. Just asking for someone to slide through the space.

    Rest of the game is interesting – well drilled but sometimes seem to be going through the motions rather than thinking on their feet. There’s a lot less cheating than in the men’s game which is refreshing.

    Scotland seem to have improved from the recent past, but still miles behind the likes of England and Ireland – hope the investment in the woman’s game starts to pay off in the next couple of years.

    Someone needs to tell the ref she doesn’t need to scream her instructions all the time (something a lot of male refs are guilty of as well, but not as high pitched….).

    Disappointed with the coverage – why no analysis at half time? I just about switched off after watching arty low level pitch side shots for 15 minutes…..

    1. Anyone know what the injury and concussion rates are like in the women’s game compared to the men’s?

      1. No, but I would be very surprised if it isn’t much lower. The physicality and collisions in the game isn’t anywhere near the same level (yet….).

  7. I thought this under 20s team was meant to be a “golden generation” coming through, same team that won the under 18s six nations last year. Humped by Italy and Ireland at home, got France and England to come, both teams that regularly spank us. Not particulary encouraging…

    1. Yeah it is disappointing but not sure we should expect the u18’s results from last year to translate the following year. Next seasons results should be the true test as i think only 6-7 of them are involved this season (plus they all have an extra year to develop).

      As long as we can churn out 5-6 quality players a year for our 2 clubs then we are set and shouldn’t worry too much.

    2. Nobody said this was a gold u20 generation and even if the u18s did well last year, they are still only u19 – a massive difference at this age group.

  8. Furlong v Dell is a mismatch.

    Finn needs quick ball.

    P.S. Looking forward to Brown v Earls in SH.

  9. Not really relevant to this but just watched Northampton vs Newcastle. Former Scotland u20 player Rory Hutchinson won MOM and was one of the best matches I’ve seen. Harris and Dunbar had decent games too. Options at 13 looking pretty good.

  10. Feeling frustrated by the off the ball play that Ireland have resorted to and in ability to see the playbacks.

  11. Scotland have done a lot well but killing ourselves with mistakes. Still at HT opportunity to take Ane by the scruff of the neck but I feel we need to get the next score.

      1. Absolutely! My question is why Laidlaw’s not raising all this with the ref? Only time he’s tried to speak to the ref is when Best is in his ear already!!

  12. Everyone advocating dropping Seymour prior to this game can you please turn your attention to Jones

    1. If Seymour hadn’t over run Jones he’d have been in the corner. And the less said about that pass to Maitland the better…

  13. Strauss and Russell have been excellent.

    Seymour should not be having brain farts like that with his experience, kind of shows why Kinghorn would of been a better option.

    That hit on Hogg from O’Mahony should be a yellow at least, Late, deliberate and no arms very cynical.

    I think Scotland have been strong in patches but have probaly blown the win not getting in ahead at half-time. Hoping im wrong and Scotland can step it up a gear next half.

    Expecting Ireland to come out strong and with confidence.

    1. The no arms from Kearney on Seymour is a straight yellow as well.

      What’s the ref doing out on the pitch as he’s not reffing the tackles!

      Also, first Irish scrum penalty should have been a penalty to Scotland rather than against!

    2. Hogg challenge by POM was a deliberate ..YC all day. Thankfully Berghan sorted out Sexton with Wilson reminding Sexton he better not come back.. on the way

      Ireland are a dirty team… have been for a long time.

      Impressed with Scotland, Ireland getting little from the Scotland pack.

      Scotland running out of puff might be an issue though last 20 mins.

  14. Frustrating that before the first try 2 clear penalties were ignored (on Hogg and crossing/blocking) as it changed the game significantly. Was only a penalty though, never a card.

    I don’t understand how the TMO calls Scotland back for a forward pass 10 phases earlier but doesn’t pick up those.

    Tight game, Scotland really need to cut out the stupid errors in defence and finish off their chances but could go either way.

    Kinghorn really isn’t looking like a step down from Hogg, Johnson playing well again, Strauss carrying very well and Russell looking dangerous.

    Plenty of dominant tackles from Scotland as well……

  15. The Irish are doing well milking the penalties from the ref, Scotland need to maintain their discipline and work the ref abit better.

  16. Didn’t understand all the positivity about Harley in the 23 and sure enough he’s been woeful since coming on. All ‘the niggle’ in the world won’t help if you can’t do the basics of tacking and catching. Good honest player but he’s not up to test level.

    1. Considering all the injuries it was understandable Harley was included….but yeah…he just isn’t international standard…he’s a solid club pro. He wasn’t the reason we lost out though… We missed far too many chances …the execution was poor today as a team.

  17. Too many basic handling errors today from Scotland. When will we learn that retaining the ball is often the bet option?? Ireland are very ordinary in attack despite having 3 tries… they just play basics more consistently.

    1. Absolutely, not chasing the game but suddenly everyone is trying the miracle offload. Ireland won by playing boring % rugby and relying on Scotland making mistakes. And we duly made the mistakes.

      Oh, and the ref helped them along as well.

  18. It peters out to nothing. The story of Scotland’s second half. Eddie Butter annoying but right

  19. Townsend’s tactic of having them run around like headless chickens still isn’t working. When will he learn?
    Also the level of basic errors is totally unacceptable. They were utterly utterly pathetic

  20. F*******cking disgraceful refereeing again. Turned both halves. Sick of this F******cking sh*****ting boll0000000cks every time. At what point does the SRU actually f****ckijg do anything??????

  21. There’s definitely something here where any team that is allowed to play dirty off the ball when not penalised by the ref will create frustration. Scotland need to learn how to deal with this without letting themselves get frustrated.

    The upside is that Ireland will feel a little more confidence about facing Scotland in the RWC pool… That’s too Scotland advantage!

  22. Scotland did not have enough speed on the ball to get it out wide.

    Matched them Physically so disappointing from the backs.

    Dont understand why Gray was on for so long, Messed up a few lineouts at key moments.

    Ritchie overall was my MoM. Russell faltered slightly in 2nd half but still a strong performance.

    Scotland need more experience in the pack, you could hear the Irish all the time anytime scotland made a slight error, did not hear the same from Scotland.

    To sum it up… Ireland did not win that game, Scotland lost it.

    1. Same as last year against Ireland though. We need to become an 80 minute team. We also need to learn to play so the ref is taken out of the equation.

  23. Frustrating game. We got the holy grail of parity up front for most of the match but not clinical enough behind to seize control of the game. Rarely actually got our strike runners on the ball and second half just drifted away from us when we had to chase it.

  24. Scotland made too many basic errors and Ireland took their chances well.

    However, you have to wonder how the momentum would have been different if it wasn’t for some absolutely appalling one-sided decisions by Poite. In my old age I am pretty mellow and usually fairly neutral in my assessment of the ref, but that was awful. 2 of Ireland’s tries came directly after poor calls (or lack of), and left Scotland chasing the game. I don’t normally mind if the ref’s interpretation is different than mine, but Ireland were getting away with murder and exactly the same things Scotland were getting pinged for.

    Pros – Kinghorn, Johnson, Russell, Ritchie, Strauss
    Liabilities – Seymour, Maitland, Price, Jones, Harley

    Why take Johnson off instead of Jones? No cover for 13?
    Hopefully G.Horne will be fit next game as Price doesn’t look like a threat.

    If Hogg isn’t broken, Seymour has to be dropped and I would be tempted to bring D’arcy Graham in to the 23 as well.

    1. Player Ratings

      Dell (6) – Managed to maintain Furlong reasonably well but was never dominant.

      Mcinally (7.5) – Carried Hard, Some dominant tackles and Strong at scrum and Lineout.

      Berghan (7) – Good game generally and added abit in open play.

      Gilchrist (7) – Solid, Consistent, nothing spectacular though.

      Gray (6) – Strong defense and had a few decent carries, Messed up atleast 2 lineouts and possibly a third, Would of brought Toolis on.

      Wilson (6) – Good until taken off at half time.

      Ritchie (8.5) – Pick of the forwards, very good defensively and has taken to international rugby like a duck to water, Some good steals also.

      Strauss (8) – Guessing he was scotlands best carrier, seemed to make yards almost everytime he carried, another strong game in a row.

      Laidlaw (5.5) – Service was slow and it did not appear to be an issue with the forwards, Contributed in my opinion to a lack of cutting edge in attack, needs to manage the referee better.

      Russell (7.5) – A very good first half but was mostly contained in the second.

      Seymour (6) – Was very good under the high ball but completely screwed us with ‘that pass’ which should not be happening for someone with his experience, needed to hold his depth more for the almost try towards the end of 1st half.

      Johnson (7) – Very consistent and good support to finish of the russell break under pressure, Keeps the 12 shirt another match for me.

      Jones (4) – Would bring in Grigg or Dunbar at this point…

      Maitland (6) – No real errors and Made some inroads in defense, looked like a player returning from injury though.

      Hogg (5) – Off to early to give a proper rating, Shocking hit from O’Mahony that the TMO had to bring up..

      Would do Subs but running out of characters.

      Kinghorn gets a 7

  25. Afraid it is same old Scotland. Ireland were there for the taking.

    People can blame Poite who does referee the game in a certain way but we only scored once; an intercept try.

    Huw Jones is off the boil: we have no other international options at 13 though.

    O’Mahony should have been carded for Hogg take out?

    Same old Scotland I am afraid. Same old Murrayfield too; no atmosphere.

  26. Hugely disappointing today…Ireland were there for the taking. Ireland look like a team that have peaked and are regressing. Solid in defense predictable attack. They looked a much better side when they lost to us in ’17.

    Its not so much the physicality of teams that beats us…its just solid ball retention and defense. We cough up far too much simple possession.

    Hard to gauge where we are truly at today…because 1/2 the team weren’t even 1st choice. Im sure all the post match GT will be about ‘where we need to improve’ but they are the same lessons that have been there to be learned for how many years???

    We just aren’t making that leap to the next level ….until we do the basics better and more consistently…we won’t get there. Frustrating. GT needs to solve this to play the game he wants to play…and be the coach we want him to be.

    1. It’s not easy to make that step.
      Ireland are the no. 2 team in the world. They are full of settled combinations who know how to win games.
      I think we will win one of our remaining games.

  27. A team which is used to winning and knows how to do it v. One that isn’t.
    Ireland racked up 25 phases gaining exactly half a yard but we’d give them a penalty.
    When we did the same we’d give them a penalty.
    Got to learn from this.

  28. Like previous comments, I get really wound up by the TV producer not going back to see certain incidents, particularly when a bit of foul play is involved. Thought we were unlucky with a few ref calls and TMO intervention today. Close match, good scrum, lost a couple at the line-out, good tackling, but too many silly mistakes (knock-ons and forward passes)cost any momentum in the second half. I usually defend Tommy Seymour, but he made some bad mistakes today.
    One that got away for us, but very little between the teams.

  29. One of those days when nothing goes right. From the ref, to Hogg off early to the small errors that mount up and kill us. Ireland really aren’t all that good.

    I thought most individuals played very well. Ritchie was superb again.

    I’m not knocking him as no doubt he gave it everything but Harley was diabolical, no way should he be next cab off the rank even with all the current injuries. He looked what he is, a limited club/pub team player. How about the big blonde lump at Edinburgh. Gary Graham must be shocking to get left out for Harley.

  30. Very frustrating – we were architects of our own demise.

    But one major thing to come out of the game is we have the making of them in the RWC and they are not the side they think they are.

    1. It has certainly given fire to the belly of the RWC game. We’ll be having no more of it when that game comes round.

  31. lineout stats
    Ireland 11/11
    Scotland 7/10

    Clean breaks
    Ireland 8 Scotland 4

    one interesting stat..Finn Russell..made 7 tackles ..missed 6

    1. Hmm, for me Russell made at least 3 very important tackles and I don’t remember him missing any that led to breaks.
      He does tend to make the hit then get out of it and let someone else take over sometimes – I wonder if these are counted as misses?

      The 2 line breaks by Ireland that led to tries are the main worry for me – where is the second line cover that other teams always seem to have? Seems to happen far too often.

    2. Don’t know where you picked those stats from , but they’re nonsense. Some very good tackles from Russell today.

  32. Quick reflection post-match. Leaving aside concerns about the ref and TMO performances, we still had enough possession and territory to have won that today. We lost it mainly due to unforced errors, errors when forcing it and poor discipline.
    An example being we had a great chance to keep the end of first half momentum going straight into the start of the second. Then two pretty unnecessary penalties within five minutes of the restart see us pinned back where Ireland wanted us.
    There really wasn’t a lot between the sides today. How ironic that, having pretty much achieved parity if not something of an edge, especially at the breakdown, up front, we find other ways to lose the Test.
    Didn’t see anything about Ireland today to fear them at the RWC. But did see enough errors and indiscipline for our own team to scare me to death!

  33. Terrible from game by the ref and terrible from us. Literally could not have made that any easier for Ireland. I think we may have broken a record for most knock ons in a half.

    If Hogg is fit next game we should select Kinghorn and D. Graham on the wing. Experience is valuable but Maitland and Seymour’s experience didn’t help them today and were both poor. Jones should be dropped but not sure who would replace him and I also think we have seen Harley’s last game in a scotland shirt…he was so bad.

    Russell played reasonably well, as did Ritchie and Strauss but both gave away a stupid penalty each.

    Team for next week (if fit)

    15. Hogg
    14. Graham
    13. Johnson/Harris
    12. Horne/Johnson
    11. Kinghorn
    10. Russell
    9. Laidlaw
    8. Struass
    7. Ritchie
    6. Wilson
    5. Gilchrist
    4. Toolis
    3. Berghan
    2. Mcinally
    1. Dell

    1. Hogg is quality enough to play 13 and would bring confidence to those around him.

      Team for France (assuming all fit/recalled), Need speed to tire up that big pack and George Horne deserves a start.

      1. Allen Dell
      2. Stuart Mcinally
      3. Simon Berghan
      4. Grant Gilchrist
      5. Sam Skinner
      6. Ryan Wilson
      7. Jamie Ritchie
      8. Josh Strauss
      9. George Horne
      10. Finn Russell
      11. Darcy Graham
      12. Sam Johnson
      13. Stuart Hogg (Surely a better option than the 13s available atm ?)
      14. Sean Maitland
      15. Blair Kinghorn

      16. Fraser Brown
      17. Jamie Bhatti
      18. Zander Fagerson
      19. Richie Gray
      20. John Hardie
      21. Greig Laidlaw
      22. Peter Horne
      23. Tommy Seymour

      Sadly this will never be the team but imo this would burn that fat french team to the ground.

      1. Bit silly everyone dropping Jones. Clearly still best 13. Kinghorn dropped just as many in worse positions.

        For me Seymour took one great take, but cost a try at both ends.

  34. Regarding Laidlaw comments about the ref – I thought it was fine.

    All he said was Scotland couldn’t work out what Poite wanted and how to stay on the right side of him – perfectly fair comment.

    He didn’t say Poite was in the wrong, just that Scotland struggled – again – with his interpretation.

  35. Today – forget about the referee you don’t make a dozen or more handling errors against the #2 team in the world and expect to win. POM blindsided Hogg, I’m not sure how the referee missed it. Without Hogg we struggle. Nothing wrong with our hearts, but errors killed us.

    2 weeks time – I’d look at our best players & try & get them on the pitch at the start, the French are going to be big & physical, so (as long as Dunbar is in some sort of form).
    15.Hogg, 14.Maitland, 13.Dunbar, 12Johnson, 11.Kinghorn, 10.Russell, 9.Laidlaw, 8.Strauss, 7.Brown, 6.Ritchie, 5.Skinner, 4Gilchrist, 3Nel, Mcinally, 1.Dell

    1. Suspect Hogg will be out. Does not look good. O’Mahony will get away with it. But Scotland were poor and ref was sh*t but he didn’t lose game for us. Fed up hearing “we will learn from this”!

    2. Agree that Seymour has run out of chances to shine now. Not saying his Scotland career is over, but Kinghorn has to start on a wing if Hoggy is fit to play FB.

      Don’t agree on Brown as a starting back row. Once again, Wilson’s positive contribution was demonstrated by a) how we bossed Ireland in the loose first half and b) how much we missed him after he went off.
      Thought Strauss had his best game for us since Paris 2017. At last, an 8 who can make yards carrying.
      Hate to say it, but Huw Jones is on borrowed time, he’s in a form slump.
      Johnson was good again today. He’s taken well to Test rugby and looks the part.
      We simply have to improve our calling and/or throwing in at crucial line-outs. Failings here at key moments are just killing us.

  36. Shattering incompetence for players supposedly at test level: far too many handling errors. Ireland didn’t have to work hard for their win. Also seems to be a lack of strategic vision from the coaching team. GT is neither building a winning team nor a game plan good enough for the 6N, and even less for RWC2019. Battering-ram rugby doesn’t gain yards for Scotland, and fails to tie in the opposition; decision making under pressure is lacking from the training schedule; slow ball from the breakdown persists and poor positional awareness abounds. Strategy and selection go hand in hand, and the repeated appearances of a few players have seriously hampered Scotland’s rugby development over the last few years. Ireland were not good today – Scotland were abysmal.

  37. OK, turns out I was whining over nothing – my internet’s just slow! Apologies, chaps…

      1. Yes, I see it’s gone now. There wasn’t actually any swearing in there, whereas there’s tons of vaguely censored swearing in loads of other posts, so your enforcement of your language policy could do with some work. And do we have to lose the entire post? Seems unnecessarily punitive. Disappointing.

  38. Poite was sh*te and TMO no better.

    First try should have been a penalty yellow for taking out Hogg.

    Twice in second half getting on front foot and penalised for nothing. Ireland score.

    They were the decisions that changed the game. Pivotal moments.

    Sure silly penalties and frustration crept in thereafter. But we were in it at half time despite poor refereeing. And gone by the Ritchie penalty second half.

    Stinks. And was obvious to everyone watching. Petty things like watching Scottish distance in lineout but not Ireland.

    Huge positive was almost parity at scrum time. So hat off to Dell.

    Time to see some of the young guns, specifically: G Horne and Graham. They were the best players of that age bracket so let’s combine them with Hogg, Russell and others.

    Jones needs time to play back into form.

    Greig, Seymour are excellent options off the bench.

      1. They didn’t show the angle but apparently it was. Refereeing cost us. Big errors cost us.terrible combination

      2. First try looked like the Irish 13 was marginally in front of the kicker as well. Never mentioned/reviewed in commentary/analysis which is disappointing.

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